2006 brought on the big 40 for me and the birth of the first b3 guitars to send out to the world. 2007 will bring on a new set of challenges as I get married in Feburary.
Musically I have spread my wings and picked up the acoustic, along with my first few solo gigs. I figured if I could tackle this, it should broaden my horizons and prepare me for the next decade. Maybe it’s part of maturing and a bit of a departure from the rock show we play as “Mean Gene and the Portable Jon’s.” It also helps in the slow seasons to pick up a few extra gigs.
Gearwise, I was shopping on a budget but ended up happy with the gear assembled. I nabbed a Washburn D56SWCE, which is a really well built electric/acoustic out of China. You can see the heavy Taylor/Martin influence in their building and it’s tastefully decorated with wood binding and abalone soundhole purfling.
On stage with the band I noticed that if the bass player is crankin’ it, my acoustic howled. I picked up a moderate volume sound hole plug from lutehole.com. This helped minimize volume issues and turns your volume down if you need to practice quietly at home. It’s available in a variety of woods and volume dampening.
For an amp, I had been at a local buddy’s music store, Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven (lightningjoes.com), located in Arroyo Grande, California, where he’s loaded with more cool gear than you can wave your pick at. He had a wide array of amps, but I became most intrigued with a manufacturer called Centaur (centauramp.com). I hit eBay and found an older 100 watt combo for $205 after shipping; a small 2-channel amp with 2 horns and a 15”. Upon receiving it, I noticed the tweeters were missing so I contacted Centaur and they sent me out a pair free of charge. How’s that for customer service!
Upon installing I noticed an EVM 15L, which made me feel like I got a killer deal. Plugged in, this baby has Wheaties to spare. Their newer models feature 3 channels and some with multiple power amp six channel setups. I found it to be a very natural sounding amp and allows your guitar be heard without discoloring, plus it handles vocal and other plug-in accessories with grace.
Another worthy note is I couldn’t believe how quick and black my fingers were turning after only a few minutes of acoustic guitar playing. I had been using the D’Addario EJ26 Phosphorus Bronze Custom Lights 11-52, so I switched over to their EXP26 coated strings with very satisfying results.
Hope you all find new musical goals to take on and overcome with every New Year.
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