== A Brief Introduction == i think it's creepy to refer to myself in the third-person, so i won't do that. basically, for the purposes of this site and profile, i'm an admin for shortscale.org, musician, and shortscale guitar enthusiast. i got involved with the rest of the cats you see crunkin it up around here in early 2006 on the jag-stang.com forum. right off the bat, i could tell these were some dudes with a lot of hair on their chests. it was hot, and i say that in a totally unattracted sorta way. . . but let's face it, they're hawt. secondly, they loved guitars, music, and talking about them. in fact, the membership of that site was possibly one of the most diverse and well-read set of guys i'd come into contact with who didn't make me want to shoot myself after 5 minutes of exposure to them. what i also noticed was they were completely unappreciated and unsung on that site for reasons i have yet to understand. without getting too much into the details surrounding teh takeover, it was decided that most of us splinter off and open up shop in a less restrictive, broader-based site in april of 2006. i know i've basically given more of a synapsis of shortscale.org than of myself, and that's really too bad. i'm not going to let my description of why we're here be the sole definition as i don't consider my opinions to be any more valid than the rest of the crew. i just get to delete stuff and change the banners. LOL RATS!!!!1
over the years, i've collected a decent assortment of gear. well, not really, but what i do have works well for what i need it to do (play loud). my rig is simple because i don't want to be futzing around with too many stomps and steps when i'm playing on stage.
i'll start with the axes since that is, after all, why we're all here.
American Vintage Series 1962 Jaguar
this is my baby currently. it's a 1962 american vintage jaguar. great reissue of the original. i've removed the string mute and replaced the bridge pickup with a seymour duncan mini jb humbucker. i'll probably reverse that if i ever get my hands on the jaguar hh model. for now, i play this guitar at almost every show. my main love for this guitar is how good it feels to play it. the offset body and contours seem to hug you gently no matter how high or low you like to sling your guitar. after owning this since late 2005, i can see why a lot of people would shy away from this instrument. they are very temperamental and difficult to get properly setup. i even tried to improve the sustain by having a tone pros tune-o-matic bridge put in. BIG MISTAKE. first off, the jerks at the custom shop actually drilled on the body of this guitar without my authorization. the results were terrible, and i had nothing but difficulty getting the guitar to intonate properly. off the over-priced bridge went (with the help of Aug of course), and back went the original. thing plays so much better now (strung with 11 guage fender super bullets). did i mention that i love my jaguar?
American Special Toronado
before the love affair with my jaguar, my mistress was this 2004 american special toronado. as you can see, body styles are almost identical, though the toronado is definitely lighter and built for a more aggressive style of rock than the jaguar. i'll never forget the first time i played a toronado. it was at the sam ash in ontario, california. i'd already had my interest piqued about these beauties by an article in guitar player magazine, but NOBODY in my local area had one for me to try out. lo and behold if the stars didn't align before i wandered into that retailer with a little bit of time to kill between computer-geek-gigs. there it was, a bright yellow, mexican made toronado hanging from the wall. i took it down, plugged it in, and just played it for 10 minutes. the action was superb, and all around it was completley comfortable to play. it had that "jaguar hug" i mention above. i was hooked, so got one a few months later. even though the bridge is hard-tail, i use 10 guage fender super bullets for strings (they're very inexpensive and durable). i've been told many times this guitar reminds people of a les paul-ified fender guitar, but i think it's just a unique blend of a lot of classic looks and sounds. i recently split the coils on both humbuckers, and it's opened up a whole new set of tonal possiblities. plus, i now have made it my mission to get the p90 version of the toronado. they're hard to find and expensive when you do, so wish me luck on that one.
1969 Re-Issue Competition Mustang
i got this guitar to be a backup/counterpart to my jag-stang, so the picture shows it with a stacked humbucker in the bridge. i've recently reversed that mod to the original configuration of two single coil pickups after borrowing a 1964 mustang from Aug. i guess you could say i've grown out of my old position of hating all things single coil because i totally got into the sounds coming from that guitar of his. it's snappy, it's punchy, and it plays great in both clean and overdriven modes. reverting my axe this setup went a long way in reproducing that vintage sound, but i realize i'm going to need better pickups than what came stock in order to truly get that tone i'm after. regardless, i have to say that this crafted in japan guitar plays and feels great. the frets are clean, the neck is straight, and the finish throughout is pretty much perfect. i string it up with 10 guage fender super bullets.
American Deluxe Stratocaster
this was my first really nice guitar. it was originally equipped with a mint pickguard, fender noiseless pickups in the neck and middle positions, and humbucker in the bridge. at the time, however, my band was in a quasi-metal phase, so changed the electronics and guard to a pearloid with emg81 and emg85 pickups. the sound is still quite snappy and even, but this another guitar i will be returning to factory status when i get the chance. i may end up getting a pearloid guard cut to hold the pickups, though, as i really think the blood red, translucent finish plays really nicely against the swirling white and silver of the replaced pickguard. anyway, this was a mainstay of mine for a few years (purchased in 2000). the neck is probably the most comfortable of any guitar i've ever played. and the schaller locking tuners combined with the LSR roller nut give it incredible tuning stability (strung w/ 10 guage fender super bullets).
Fender Jag-Stang (tEh kUrDtzz)
my jag-stang was my wife's wedding present to me. i'd wanted one for a long time because they were so damned different looking. and i will have to admit that the cobain mystique was a selling point. anybody who wants to front on that is just an asshole. i was in high school during the height and fall of nirvana, so the whole subject is one that hit members of my generation pretty hard. i can't say i've ever written a song, worn a flannel, ripped a pair of pants, or even smashed a guitar because of what any rock star ever influenced me to do, but i will own up to being first interested in this guitar because of one. i also modified this guitar (strung with 10 guage fender super bullets) a couple of times. when i first got it, i put in a seymour duncan lil screamin demon in the neck and a seymour duncan jb in the bridge. . . both black. eventually, i took them both out to be replaced with a fender noiseless and humbucker in the neck and bridge respectively. with all of the re-arranging of the electronics going on with my axes, though, this guitar will also be changed back to something closer to a stock setup sooner than later. the stickers (a gift from my daughter when she was about a year old) will stay, however.
Fender Squier Series Stratocaster
this was the first electric guitar purchased for me. it was christmas of 2005, and i remember the day we picked it up from the music store in canyon country, california. i knew little to nothing about these things back then, but the bigger pickup (a humbucker i later learned) looked cool. the guitar also came with a floyd rose II bridge and locking nut. these were all things, again, i knew nothing of. once i did start playing it at full volume, it became clear that the pickups sold on these mexican strats of the day were very prone to microphonic feedback. . . a big no-no. so, first i upgrade the bridge to an emg81 with no help from anybody but the pickup manufacturer's website (a pretty geeky thing to do back then). i loved the tone, and the evil mp-feedback disappeared. within a couple of months i put in a pair of emgSA pickups in the neck and middle position, and this guitar remained my axe of choice for about 5 years after that. though i've adorned it with some very tacky appointments (the actual pentium cpu resting inside the wiring cavity is brilliant), there will always be a warm place in my heart for this, my first baby.
for years i've kind of laid dormant on the whole amp subject. for starters, i've a great one since late 2000 in my marshall (detailed below). basically, i don't think i've really considered all of the potential tones that are out there, locked up inside different equipment. my next conquest will be a fender bassman 100watt head. hopefully, it's picture will grace the following list. . .
Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 100watt half-stack
a pride and joy, to be sure. this pair was actually purchased at two separate times. the speaker cabinet -- a marshall 1960A 4x12 -- came first when i bought my first amplifier head: a marshall (surprise!) valvestate 8100. there was a cabinet designed for this amp, but i opted for the "industry standard" 1960A w/ celestions. i knew that i'd have it for many years to come, and so far, it's been 8 years and counting.
the head, on the other hand, was indeed more versatile than the amp i traded up from (you guessed it! a marshall valvestate 8240), but it lacked the warmth i was looking for and knew that those speakers were capable of pumping out. i knew it because i'd been going to the local guitar superstores and jamming on the expensive amps for years before i finally took the plunge. at this point, i still understood very little about tubes, why they produce those sounds, how to care for them, etc, and yet i could still feel that difference when i cranked up those floor models.
eventually, i couldn't take it anymore, and my choice was the marshall jmc2000 triple super lead 100watt head. what more could i ask for? three channels (clean, crunch, and lead) with three independent eq's; two effects loops; two speaker outs with switchable settings for 4, 8, and 16 ohm output; emulated line out; deep switches for tonal shaping (two different switches for each channel); and a built-in power brake which reduces the amp from 100watt to 30watt operation with the press of one button. warning: this amp is DEFINITELY complicated when you're first using it. it's not difficult to use, but it will take several sessions of playing with everything to really get comfortable with how the amp operates. my personal setup doesn't even use the fx loop. instead, i use a single patch cable plugged into the in and out of the first loop. using a footswitch, when i engage the fx loop, i get a volume boost; it's great for live situations when you need to pop out above the mix for a lead. another caution is regarding the factory footswitch: it's junk. i broke three of them at over $100 each to replace before i wised up and bought my axess electronics cfx-4 function switcher (pictured in effects section). this amplifier is nothing without its ability to switch between 3 distinctly different tones, and the cfx enabled this to happen reliably again.
this is very obviously the largest section on my page, but i just can't say enough about how much i love my marshall. hot rodded with jj tubes, the thing just screams and purrs when i need it to. we have a great relationship, i guess.
Fender Prosonic half-stack
for years i had been pining for a prosonic. ever since i demo'd one at a music superstore, i thought the tones were just incredible. finally, at the end of 2005, i got up the courage to buy one. my choice? the 100watt head version. designed by amp guru, bruce zinky, it's quite unlike anything else fender put out before (after years of them being discontinued with zinky's departure, fmic has released the supersonic). great things come in threes, i guess, because this one's also got three tricks up its sleeve. only this time, it's in how the amp operates. a switch on the back of the amp puts it into class A mode (30watt), class AB mode (60watt), and class AB solid state (60watt). most folks like myself seem to opt for the class A since that's such a sought after tone. it's been a temperamental amp to say the least, i'll have to admit. i replaced all of the tubes with jj's, but the clean channel just refused to settle down. finally, i experimented with different tube types in the preamp section and ended up with a 12AX7, 12AT7, and two 12AU7's to get something that was still loud and warm with plenty of headroom. the future's unclear for this amp as it requires a bit more tinkering than i typically like to go through in my equipment. . . all of that energy's been reserved for the jag lately, anyway! ha!
the cab is nothing special. just a $250 4x12 fender job i picked up off of musicians friend. the cab itself is okay enough, i guess, but the speakers could do with a change out. later, evil ted.
Fender Pro Jr.
amazing things do come in small packages. with it's 8 inch speaker and two control dials, this little gem will never leave my posession. it was one of those impulse buys that has a great story behind AND ended up being a better decision than i dreamed possible. while at the local guitar superstore (i'm at those things more than i'd like to admit), i was shopping for a small practice amp i could use to jam at our then guitar player's house. i perused the crate and marshall small combos, but none of them offered anything but a name-plate with no tone behind it. finally, i stumbled quite literally into a diminutive, silver faced box on the floor. it had a name on it i knew and trusted (fender), and it appeared to be in that small, combo amp size i was after. so, i plugged in and was greeted with roar that made me jump. i looked down; the volume was at 3! what was in this little beast? a quick glance revealed it was 15watt tube amp! incredible. so i played it some more, and was just delighted by the crisp highs and melting mids. even the low-end from this guy wasn't too bad, just depended on the guitar you put in front of it. the clincher was that after only a minute of playing, a rep from PRS came over to ask me to turn it down. "sure, pretentious ass." so i dialed it back to 2 which DID have an effect, but the damn thing was still louder than you'd think. and it was loud enough for the rep to come over ask me to turn down AGAIN or he'd have to ask us to go somewhere else. home with me this amp went, and it's been on every record i've made since.
so, i'm a minimalist. shoot me. excuse me if i don't like to tap dance on 15 different stomp boxes at a show. my motto is i'd rather write good songs than cloud them up with over-priced sheetmetal and plastic. don't get me wrong; i've tried many pedals and at one point even had quite a decent collection. however, i found that i was spending more time on the pedal board than i was on the drawing board, so i simplified. since purchasing the prosonic, however, i've had to select a precious few additions to my arsenal. below are the results of this dichotomy.
Boss GT-6 Effects Processor
believe me when i say i do not have the gt6 because it's got so many user-programmable and factory presets available. it's not because of the usb interface. it's not because it's got a super sophisticated amp modeler or even the ability to layer several effects at one time. the truth is, i use it primarily because of the midi interface that sends a signal to the axess electronics cfx4. that combo allowed me to ditch the marshall footswitch, so i don't care if i look uncool to the indie kids; they can cry all they want about how cool their small clone, poly chorus, and bassballs are. i don't need any of that. in additon to the midi, of all the dozens of things the gt6 does, i use: the tuner, the eq, the noise gate, and RARELY some chorus or delay. . . very rarely. i'm just not an fx person, so i don't dive into them often.
for the afore mentioned prosonic, i got these: a boss ns2 noise gate, a peterson strobe-o-stomp, and a generic foot switch. the ns2 is nice, i guess. i've owned one before and it did the trick, so i didn't hesitate to get another one when the need for noise supression presented itself again. i have to admit that the peterson virtual strobe is the best tuner i've ever used. the way the graphics present themselves while tuning, it really feels like you're getting a more accurate read and tune. the footswitch, well, the guy who i bought the amp from on ebay didn't have the original for the prosonic, so this is what i ended up with. really exciting, right?
my brother and i have been in this band of ours (Saturday's Child) for over 9 years now. we've put a couple of really great records and done a decent amount of playing out live. can't wait to get back in the studio!