## Michael Lemmo Rig Rundown!

+
Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

# Taper Tricks

### Last month I mentioned that I had more graphs to show you, so let me jump right in. In a previous column [May ‘08], I mentioned that audio taper pots

Last month I mentioned that I had more graphs to show you, so let me jump right in. In a previous column [May ‘08], I mentioned that audio taper pots aren’t really logarithmic in a true sense, but that they employ a trick that allows them to mimic a log taper. Of course, I just breezed right on past that statement with no helpful explanation, so allow me to expound.

There are audiophile-grade pots that I understand provide a very close approximation of a logarithmic curve, but they’re large and expensive (and sometimes ganged – two pots in one – for stereo rather than mono applications), and aren’t suited to the guitar. Instead, guitar manufacturers almost universally use inexpensive pots that come from a handful of companies, such as CTS.

So as to clarify the difference between logarithmic data and non-logarithmic data, let me show you a Bode plot again (a logarithmic graph – this is the same graph shown last month), along with a second graph that shows some data in a non-logarithmic format.

 Bode Plot
You can see that the Bode plot is logarithmic in nature, because the scales multiply by powers of ten. For example, look at the distance shown between 100 and 1000 on the vertical scale. This distance is the same as the distance between 1000 and 10,000, and the same as the distance between 500 and 5000. Why? Because the scale multiplies by powers of ten:

100 = 1 x 102
1000 = 1 x 103
10,000 = 1 x 104
500 = 5 x 102
5000 = 5 x 103

Each major division line represents a tenfold increase in value. The relationship of 500 to 5000, or of 100 to 1000, or of 1374 to 13,740, is the same: it’s a tenfold increase. So the distances between these sets of numbers are the same; this graph is all about relationships.

Now look at this graph:

This graph is not logarithmic, it’s linear. That is, it shows a direct, linear correlation between the vertical scale and the horizontal scale. Obviously, you’ve seen tons of graphs that use this format.

This graph is not logarithmic, it’s linear. That is, it shows a direct, linear correlation between the vertical scale and the horizontal scale. Obviously, you’ve seen tons of graphs that use this format.

By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, this second graph illustrates the trick employed by cheap guitar pots to mimic a true log curve. The graph’s vertical scale represents the output of a pot, from 0 to 100 percent. The pot’s value is irrelevant – this scale shows percentage values, not absolute values. The horizontal scale represents the 300 degrees of rotation for a typical CTS pot as used in the guitar industry.

The black line shows the plot that a linear taper pot would make. It’s perfectly straight: if you turn the pot 10 percent (30°) then you get 10 percent output. Turn it 70 percent (210°) and you get 70 percent output.

Now look at the blue line. This is what a true logarithmic plot would look like. You can see that you have to turn the pot pretty far before the output starts to rise appreciably. If you had a pot whose output truly followed this plot, then it would produce a perfect volume increase or decrease. That complaint you may have heard about some pots that act more like a switch than a pot, reducing volume suddenly and dramatically in a way that makes it difficult to control, wouldn’t apply to this pot at all. It would work perfectly.

But don’t hold your breath. The gray line is what you actually get in a guitar pot. The trick? Determine the pot’s midpoint value (typically 10 percent – remember last month’s column?) and then print two separate carbon sections – one on each side of center – to make up the overall trace. Oh, and make the two batches of carbon material that are used for the two sections have different resistive values. Clever, huh? You can see that the result, which is really two linear sections, does a moderately effective job of following the logarithmic plot that it’s designed to mimic. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but at \$5 it’s the best you’re going to get, and it’s arguably good enough. I say arguably because it works and most people don’t notice that it’s not perfect. If you do, if you want better and aren’t afraid to pay for it, then it may be time to start rummaging through that audiophile parts bin down at the Wal-Mart.

Happy hunting!

George Ellison
Founder, Acme Guitar Works
acmeguitarworks.com
george@acmeguitarworks.com
772-770-1919

## Epiphone Unveils the Jack Casady Fretless Bass

Designed by legendary bass player and founding member of Jefferson Airplane, this instrument features a Casady-designed JCB-1 Low-Impedance Humbucker and a three-position rotary impedance control for versatile tones.

As a founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, legendary bass player and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Jack Casady’s full driving tone and innovative melodic bass work have defined the role of bass guitar in rock and roll for decades. Liberating the bass from its traditional role as part of the rhythm section, Jack’s pioneering approach to bass brought the instrument to the forefront. The new Epiphone Jack Casady Fretless Bass was and is the culmination of years of experimentation by Casady to find an instrument with superior electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass. It features the Casady-designed JCB-1 Low-Impedance Humbucker, and a three-position rotary impedance control for a wide range of tonal versatility.

Jefferson Airplane’s debut, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, was recorded in February of ’66 and released in August of that year. “It had somewhat of a local success,” explains Jack. “It was the material that we had been playing as a group around the Bay area for a while. We recorded it on 3-track, all pretty much live performances.” When the original singer, Signe Anderson, left the band to have a baby, it was Jack who convinced Grace Slick, then performing with her own band the Great Society, to join the group. The roster complete, Jefferson Airplane rocketed to superstardom in 1967 on the initial strength of their hits “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” making them a cornerstone of San Francisco’s burgeoning rock scene. Jack’s ground-breaking bass work was a highlight of Surrealistic Pillow, the Airplane’s 1967 breakthrough album. “That album was really a unique statement,” says Casady in retrospect. “There were a lot of different styles of songs contributed by everybody, including an instrumental acoustic fingerpicking original tune by Jorma called ‘Embryonic Journey.’ It was quite an eclectic album and I think it still holds up today.” Jefferson Airplane subsequently released a string of acclaimed recordings–After Bathing At Baxter’s (late ’67), Crown of Creation (’68), the live Bless Its Pointed Little Head (’69), Volunteers (’70), Bark (’71), Long John Silver (’72), and the live Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (1973). The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

With the release of his solo album, Dream Factor, Casady opened a new chapter in his ever-evolving career. Featuring 11 songs and an impressive cast of collaborators including Paul Barrere, Ivan Neville, Jorma Kaukonen, Warren Haynes, Box Set, Fee Waybill, and Doyle Bramhall II among others, Casady showcases his signature sound in a variety of settings, traveling through blues, rock, country, folk, funk, R&B and soul influences.

One of the most innovative rock and roll bands in American music, Hot Tuna recorded their latest album, Steady As She Goes, at Levon Helm’s studio with GRAMMY®--winning producer Larry Campbell and captures the energy of Hot Tuna’s live performances. Jack, along with longtime band mate Jorma Kaukonen, teamed up with Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin, Skoota Warner on drums, as well as Larry Campbell on guitar, fiddle, organ, and vocals to deliver an absolute masterpiece.

With sweeping chords and stormy melodic lines Jack’s bass distinguished not only Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna but also a variety of solo and side projects and recordings with artists including Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby, Warren Zevon, Country Joe and The Fish, SVT, Rusted Root, and Gov’t Mule.

## Mark Tremonti Unveils Sixth Studio Album

Tremonti L to R: Tanner Keegan, Mark Tremonti, Eric Freidman, Ryan Bennett

Photo by Chuck Brueckmann

The End Will Show Us How is scheduled for global release on January 10, 2025.

Mark is backed in Tremonti by Eric Friedman (guitars), Tanner Keegan (bass) and Ryan Bennett (drums). Each song on The End Will Show Us How is intended to take the listener on a journey as Mark sets out to create an album of a dozen individual compositions each unique from the other. The debut single “Just Too Much” is a perfect example of this. The song opens with a driving guitar riff – the basis for the entire song - as Mark delivers the message to keep pushing forward no matter what adversity is in front of you.

Tremonti’s musicianship and songwriting is on full display on each song on The End Will Show Us How. Tracks like the opener “The Mother, The Earth and I,” the thought provoking “It’s Not Over” and the epic closer “All The Wicked Things” show that Mark continues to create compositions that continue to engage audiences - both old and new fans alike. “Nails” is a musical idea that Mark has had for years and finally found the inspiration to complete. “Tomorrow We Will Fail” is an inspirational piece that talks about not putting off until tomorrow something you can conquer today. “Now That I’ve Made It” is a message for anyone who has ever had anyone doubt them and try to hold them back from following their dreams. The End Will Show Us How was produced by longtime friend and collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette – the producer Mark has worked with exclusively since 2007.

The End Will Show Us How

## Michael Lemmo Rig Rundown

What does someone who works at Norman’s Rare Guitars bring on the road?

“It’s a loony bin.” That’s how Michael Lemmo describes Norman’s Rare Guitars, the coveted Los Angeles shop. Lemmo was tapped to join the store and eventually host their popular Guitar of the Day web series after Norm’s son Jordan spotted Lemmo jamming in the store and introduced him to his shop-owner dad. Norm kept in touch and eventually offered Lemmo a job, starting with his Lemmo Demo series of affordable guitars.

Lemmo toured through July with Allan Rayman. Ahead of their date at Nashville’s Basement East, PG’s Chris Kies caught up with the guitarist for some unofficial Lemmo demos.

### Godzilla!

Lemmo got this Jazzmaster new in 2012, and its wear and tear is 100 percent organic—no relic job. Over time, Lemmo says, he “went to town” with it, starting with swapping out the factory bridge for a Mastery bridge, which holds it in perfect tune. He switched in the green anodized pickguard, and inspired by his guitar hero Eddie Van Halen’s red kill switch, he installed a red knob on the volume pot, then a blue one for the tone knob, to give it a Nintendo 64 vibe. Finally, a friend helped him pot a PAF humbucker in the bridge position. Lemmo runs D’Addario NYXL .011s on this dino.

Tucked into the headstock is Lemmo’s prized pick, a gift from EVH himself. As random luck would have it, the famous guitarist began dating Lemmo’s friend’s mother during Lemmo’s first year of high school in Pennsylvania, and 14-year-old Michael had the opportunity to spend a couple hours talking guitars with Eddie one day. Van Halen gifted him this pick, which doesn’t stay in a glass case—Lemmo performs with it.

### Low-End Evergreen

This backup Jazzmaster circa 2000 is set up to be a low-register, baritone-like guitar, with heavier-gauge strings and another PAF in the bridge. Lemmo leans on it to complement key changes and vocals in the lower register.

### Base Camp

Lemmo likes a robust, clean base tone to build from on electric. At home, he usually plays through pre-1965 Fender amplifiers and trusts his pedals to give him all the tonal flexibility he desires. For this gig, he’s rocking a backline Fender Twin.

### Simple Pleasures

Lemmo relies on his stomps for tone sculpting, but he doesn’t need much to get the job done. His signal hits a Korg tuner, followed by an Xotic EP Booster, Bearfoot FX Honey Bee OD, Red Panda Context, Boss DD-7, and TC Electronic Ditto. They’re all wired up to a trusty Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS7.