Covid caused a huge uptick in guitar sales and repair requests. If you're considering trying to fix it yourself rather than wait in line, here's a simple rule of thumb to keep in mind.
The COVID pandemic clobbered many of our favorite pastimes but proved to be a boon for the sales of some things, especially musical instruments. But while guitars, unlike bicycles (another pandemic fave), can be shipped without any significant disassembly, that doesn't necessarily mean it's smooth sailing once the box arrives and you pull a new, or at least new-to-you, instrument out of its case.
You did your homework, you found the right guitar at the right price, and it arrived with no visible damage. Whew! And yet after a quick tuning, something obviously isn't right.... Now what? If you're lucky, a local guitar repair technician can look at the instrument and help you determine if there's something faulty or if the problem is simply a matter of adjusting it to suit your playing style. But while finding the right guitar was a lot harder than it would've been in 2019, finding a repair tech with enough time to help you may be even more difficult. What happened?
Welcome to another unexpected wrinkle of now: A lot of us have more money to buy stuff, but if you buy something that needs fixing and you can't fix it yourself, those newly memorized mantras about patience may be put to the test. The ratio of stuff needing fixing to people who can fix things is seriously out-of-whack.
One of the reasons is that the recent dramatic uptick in people playing guitars has far outstripped any increase in the number of people being trained to work on them. This mismatch is made worse by the fact that even learning how to diagnose guitar repair issues takes considerably longer than the time it took all those COVID-trapped souls to find their dream rig online and have it delivered. Others didn't have to buy anything but a set of strings because they pulled a long-neglected guitar out of the closet, or, worse yet, the attic or garage, only to discover that their 6-string vehicle for trips down memory lane was no longer drivable.
Guitar repair techs are often one part mechanic and two parts psychologist: They're good at what they do because they understand both you and your instruments.
And while I hate to make dire predictions, a quick survey of lutherie and guitar repair schools doesn't indicate that "Guitar Repair Tech" is high on anybody's YOLO list of alternative occupations. That means the long delays of getting your guitar repaired is probably not going to improve anytime soon, and the same holds true for amplifiers. (I'm using the term "repair tech" instead of "luthier" because many people assume luthiers only build guitars.)
Those readers familiar with the online world of guitar repair videos are probably asking, "What about YouTube?" While it's true that some excellent diagnosis and instruction is available online, the DIY movement isn't for everyone and not all the guitars needing help fit that category. Bringing your brother's Seagull acoustic back from purgatory is one thing, but dad's Martin D-28? The former seems like a fitting guitar for testing YouTube-instructed setup skills, but with the D-28 it's probably best to find a repair tech with experience working on Martin guitars.
A simple safety test to keep you from getting in over your head and doing real damage is this: If you're altering a replaceable part on a guitar, such as the bridge saddle on an acoustic, or if you're making an adjustment that can be reversed, such as to the truss rod, go for it. However, if you're disturbing glue joints or a major part of the guitar, slow down. Taking the saddle out of the bridge on an acoustic guitar and altering or replacing it is one thing, but trying to reglue a loose or cracked bridge can result in real damage. (My rule of thumb is that those who have paid someone else to restring their guitar are probably not candidates for learning even the most basic setup that requires only screwdrivers and Allen wrenches, such as on a Strat.)
Yet a long-term solution to delays for instrument repair is going to require a more basic adjustment, and that's in how people who fix things are regarded by society at large. While luthiers who build guitars get lots of respect, those who repair instruments do not, even though guitar repair techs often have a tougher job.
This is because while the guitars they work on may be very similar, the people playing them often vary widely. Yngwie Malmsteen and Ry Cooder approach the Fender Stratocaster with very different goals (and very different strings), and acoustic guitarists have an equally far-ranging approach to playing instruments that are remarkably similar despite different woods and body shapes. Favorite guitar repair techs are often one part mechanic and two parts psychologist: They're good at what they do because they understand both you and your instruments. Only when repair techs get more respect, and better pay, will there be enough of them to meet demand.
Joining the Classic 5, the new Classic 7 and Classic 8 provide the enhanced bass response and sound that music creators around the world have trusted for years.
Building on KRK's legacy of sonic accuracy and performance, the brand announces the expansion of its CLASSIC line of studio monitors with the addition of 7- and 8-inch models.
Incorporating over 30 years of innovation from the world's leading studio monitor manufacturer, KRK's CLASSIC product range was designed using concepts from the brand's previous ROKIT lines to deliver the same high-quality mixes that customers have come to expect from KRK at a lower price-point.
"We are thrilled to welcome two new solutions to KRK's family of professional-grade studio monitor offerings," says Sterling Doak, Director of Marketing for Gibson. "Joining KRK's CLASSIC 5, the new CLASSIC 7 and CLASSIC 8 provide the enhanced bass response and sound that music creators around the world have trusted for years. Perfect for all genres of music, KRK CLASSIC monitors provide artists, producers, and engineers with the renowned KRK sound, without breaking the bank. Plus, with three sizes to choose from, there's now a CLASSIC monitor for everyone."
True to their name, KRK's CLASSIC active two-way studio monitors are packed with a multitude of time-tested features, including innovative bi-amped Class A/B amplifiers with a built-in automatic limiter and a low-resonance enclosure for minimized distortion and colorization. With the optional ability to engage the +2 dB KRK Bass Boost, the CLASSIC line of studio monitors can hold true to the acclaimed KRK sound that music creators desire.
Like the CLASSIC 5, the new CLASSIC 7 and CLASSIC 8 utilize a 1-inch textile, soft-dome tweeter paired with either a 7-, or 8-inch glass aramid woofer, depending on the size monitor selected, delivering a clear midrange and tighter bass. KRK CLASSIC monitors feature a front-slotted bass port, which reduces boundary coupling and allows for flexible positioning within a room. It also is designed with a preinstalled hi-density foam pad to decouple the speaker enclosure from the surface, helping with clarity and accurate frequency response.
With high- and low-frequency controls, users can adjust the monitors' sound to their environment and preference, adding versatility and improved accuracy for mixes that translate in any production environment. Additionally, multiple input connections (XLR, ¼-inch, RCA) allow for universal connectivity, making it seamless to integrate CLASSIC monitors into any studio setup.
The simple drive is stacked with an adaptable-gain configuration, distinctive pre-gain low-pass filter, and dynamic-asymmetrical clipping.
Adding to the company's array of high-quality guitar effects, NativeAudio has introduced the new Kiaayo Overdrive pedal.
The Kiaayo (pronounced key-eye-yo) is based on the idea that less-is-more and provides a streamlined interface for an unlimited overdrive experience. Implementing a 3-knob layout, the Kiaayo offers an adaptable-gain configuration, distinctive pre-gain low-pass filter, and dynamic-asymmetrical clipping. The result is an amp-like overdrive that responds to the dynamics of your playing for sustained leads and articulate chording.
- Adaptable-gain configuration designed to make the Kiaayo the overdrive solution for a diverse range of instruments and musical styles.
- Pre-gain filter aimed to reduce aggressive harmonics which in-return provides a smooth and warmer overdrive experience.
- Independent volume, gain, and tone parameters to allow for total customization of overdrive tones.
- Asymmetrical clipping tuned to provide a dynamic tube-like response.
- 9-18VDC operation provides adjustable headroom for additional overdrive capabilities.
- Smart switching system to engage effect in either momentary or latching mode for expanded operational capability.
- Top-mounted instrument and power jacks designed to save and reduce pedalboard space.
The Kiaayo is priced at $189 USD and can be found at participating NativeAudio dealers and purchased directly at nativeaudio.com.
Slowhand will hit cities in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida with bassist Nathan East and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II backing him up.
Eric Clapton announced yesterday he will be hosting a series of concert dates across the U.S. in September 2021. Tickets for these shows will go on sale starting Friday, June 18th at 10am local time.
Eric Clapton's band for these shows will include Doyle Bramhall II, Paul Carrack, Nathan East, Sonny Emory, Steve Gadd and Chris Stainton with Sharon White and Katie Kissoon on backing vocals. The show will feature Jimmie Vaughan as special guest.
The newly announced shows will be Clapton's only North American dates for 2021 and will precede his European tour, which was recently rescheduled to Spring of 2022 due to ongoing COVID restrictions in Europe.
Eric Clapton North American 2021 Tour Dates:
September 13 - Fort Worth, TX Dickies Arena
September 15 - Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
September 17 - Houston, TX Toyota Center
September 18 - New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
September 21 - Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
September 23 - Atlanta, GA Gas South Arena
September 25 - Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
September 26 - Hollywood, FL Seminole Hard Rock
The company's first stomp carries a 4-pack of separate "gears" of variable analog overdrive textures and harmonic content along with a clean blend feature.
GENZLER AMPLIFICATION proudly announces a "redux collaboration" that brings Jeff Genzler and Andy Field back together again developing a newline of bass effect pedals under the Genzler Amplification brand. Both forces have shared design passions that date back to the early 1990's while working together at Jeff's former company, Genz Benz. Andy and Jeff, along with current Genzler Amplification engineer Scott Andres, were responsible for the products that put Genz Benz on the map so many years ago.
Along the way, corporate acquisitions of GB by KMC Music and eventually Fender Musical Instruments, and the decisions that lead to the finale of Genz Benz, all principals went their separate ways. Andy was soon brought-on at Mesa Boogie to develop their flagship line of Subway bass products. Eventually Jeff and his wife Catherine decided to jump back into the game, starting up Genzler Amplification with Scott Andres again as principal engineer. Jeff and Scott working together again developed such innovative products as the Bass Array cabinet designs, the Magellan series of bass amplification, the recent Nu Classic series bass cabs, and Acoustic Array combos.
While Andy remains at Mesa designing new Mesa specific products, with the blessings of management there, this new "gig" brings back the fun and collaboration of working closely with good ole friends and compadres. "When you've worked so long together in the trenches over a few decades, having this team back together just feels good all over again," Genzler states.
"Through the years, and through all of the crazy adventures of this music products industry, we remained close friends," reminisces Andy Field. While chatting one day, they realized right then, that they missed the unique collaboration that had fueled years of design passion and decided that this would be as a good a time as any to "get the band back together" for a "fun and creative" side project (or reunion tour) that was more than 30 years in the making.
The Genzler Amplification pedal line will be exploring a variety of pedal concepts based on decades of collaboration together, looking back into hundreds of pages of their old design ideas, and to explore interesting circuits that were started but never used, blending them with new innovations. A retrospective of sorts, this is a chance to dig into their collective pasts to develop what they feel players would use and appreciate, going forward.
The first pedal in the line is the 4 ON THE FLOOR, CLASSIC BASS OVERDRIVE, offering 4 separate "gears" of variable analog overdrive textures and harmonic content along with a clean blend feature. HPF and LPF controls are included to shape the overdrive engine's signal path. This pedal offers touch sensitive asymmetrical and symmetrical overdrive characteristics, variations of compression and overdrive complexity, along with a true bypass. The versatility allows this to be used as a clean boost, shifting through various overdrive gears to all out heavy, saturated drive. This pedal also offers another level of versatility as it accepts nearly any power supply; 9 – 18 Volts, either polarity.
DRIVE (GEAR) DESCRIPTIONS – This 4-position switch works like the 4 speed gearshift on the transmission of your favorite classic car, selecting one of four available drive algorithms.
- 1st GEAR: Reminiscent of a tube amp's clean channel (including natural harmonics) with a bit of overdriven tone when driven hard. Many players will find that this works well as an "always on" tone.
- 2nd GEAR: Emulates a tube amp's mildly overdriven tone, with a small amount of dynamically compliant clipping asymmetry. This is a natural feeling, touch sensitive algorithm with very mild compression.
- 3rd GEAR: A more aggressive up-shift from 2nd gear, this moderate, asymmetrical overdrive is less compliant, with greater compression for a tighter feel.
- 4th GEAR: This is the most aggressive gear of all -- a heavier, symmetrical, low compliance overdrive that can enter distortion territory when driven hard.
The 4-OTF-PEDAL will be an excellent compliment to the companies MAGELLAN 350 and MAGELLAN 800 Bass amps. The new pedal will start shipping late June, 2021, and USA MAP is $229.99.
Genzler 4 on the Floor Demo
Genzler Amplification is looking forward (and backwards) to this new journey together and engaging with the player community on exciting new designs, while hoping the community appreciates these bonds of friendship and longevity that have joined up again to create exciting and enduring products. More to come, soon......
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