Search This Blog

The Gear

Being a List of Instruments and Implements Employed in the Creation Thereof.

Asheville A-style mandolin. Purchased in August of 2010 at Melody Music in Keyser, WV, it is nice and black and mandoliny in ways that my previous mandolins, all of which met horrible and ignominious fates, never were.  Ironically the most recent addition to my instrumental arsenal, considering that I learned the basics of mandolin many years before I even attempted to play many of the other instruments I've recorded with during this project.

Audacity (freeware).  My standby method for capturing live performances in two-track form (one vocal, one instrument) and home to several indispensible plug-ins which I've been too lazy and/or technically inept to find in forms I can integrate into other software.

Behringer Xenyx 802 mixing board.  Got the job done in the early days.  Picked up a disturbing buzz after being dropped in early April and was retired in favor of Heckman's MOTU in early May.

Eden's guitars.  My beloved stepdaughter is a singer-guitarist-songwriter in her own right and I occasionally end up grabbing her instruments or indeed having her play on the songs.  She has a killer 1964 Kay "#102" 6-string and a "Maestro by Gibson" Les Paul Jr. copy, as well as a small Mahalo nylon string uke-guitar.  The Maestro is the one I most often use for extreme oddball tunings and massive   braindead slide parts and so forth.

Epiphone 12-string acoustic.  Looks similar to but is much less cool than the Epiphone Bard my dad owned in the '60s (far right here):
The action gave up years ago and it can now only be tuned a whole step lower than usual and capoed on the 2nd fret.  Still sounds pretty good, even great (when my wife plays it).

Fender Hot Rod Deville 4X12, 2005 or so.  Standby live amp and home of the only overdrive sound I've ever truly liked.  Stompboxes have proven not to be my friends.  This thing does everything I need it to do and seems to get along with my 330 more than you'd expect.  I put a pretty high premium on simplicity.

Fender Telecaster Deluxe, 1978.  Thrashed but plays just fine, thanks.  This is actually my dad's first and only electric guitar; I learned to play on it.  I do must of my recorded 6-string solos and lead work on this one.

Fender Twin Reverb, 1976 (approx).  Another heirloom from my dad's band, Thunderhill, a fine fine amplifier that was rendered unworkable for years despite and probably indeed because of the best efforts of too many of LA's reputable repair shops, it is finally back in working order.  It is nice.

GarageBand.  Worth noting because all of the MIDI sequencing done since started to attempt it (late May 2010) has relied entirely on the sounds in its basic package.  In the early days a lot of the drum loops came from its library, too, until I started cooking up my own.

Harmony acoustic tenor guitar.  Ancient and practically unplayable, this was probably my dad's first full-size guitar, bought in the '50s, but its true origins have grown murky over the years... it might equally well hav come from San Antonio, a Sears catalog, or elsewhere.  Often mistaken for an acoustic bass, it ain't; it's a tenor guitar of the type popular in the late '50s folk revival boom and on the Mickey Mouse Club in the Annette days.  My only archtop, almost purely decorative.

Hohner harmonicas, in several keys, mostly Marine Band or Special 20.  The two C-harps belonged to my grandfather on my mom's side.

Hyundai bass, fake Fender P.  Bought from my freshman year dorm roommate in 1990.  Surprisingly high quality instrument which I've never found any reason to replace.  Quite possibly an actual Korean-made Fender P with Hyundai's label slapped on it, as Hyundai apparently makes everything thereabouts.

Jim Dunlop USA Nylon .73mm picks.  Any thinner and they flap around like paper.  Any other constituent substance and I will shatter it within 15 minutes.  Thanks, Dad!  I have one or more of these on my person any time I am out of my house.

MacBook Pro.  Everything goes onto here.  Depending on the requirements of the song I use either Garage Band or a very old version of Audacity.  I should look into fixing this.  I am not a software wizard, so this is often trial and error in almost random proportions.

Martin D-28 (severely messed up).  Another of my dad's old guitars, this one still sounds pretty good but is damaged from weather and extreme use to the point where it ain't easy to play.  Was my standby acoustic during the "West Virginia sabbatical" that took up most of August, 2010.

MOTU 828mkII.  On generous extended loan from Heckman (Tom), the MOTU became the default recording unit in early May of 2010, vastly improving the sound quality of all things analog.  Pictured here with Korg tuner, pen, tube of superglue.

Rickenbacker 330.  Made sometime in the '80's and procured by me, apparently unplayed, in 2001 or so in the Most Epic Win Evar on e-bay for very little money in the grand scheme of things, this is my standby guitar for almost everything.  Had to be black hardware (cf. Paul Weller, Brix Smith).  Honestly, guitars are just guitars, but I would consider being buried with this one.

Rickenbacker 610-12.  Late '80's.  I've been playing this guitar almost as long as I've been playing any guitars at all.  Some collector-types have been appalled at the condition of this guitar, which has seen a lot of travel and a lot of live use.  Such people are unforgiveably lame and must suffer the indignity of being themselves and bear it as best they can.

Sigma 6-string acoustic.  Dreadnought with cutaway and electronics, which were the three things I needed when I bought this, on the occasion of my brother's wedding in 1999.  Normally I would have borrowed my dad's Martin D-28 for such an honor, but I was doing a duet with Dad, so I had to bring my own.  It's served me without any fuss ever since.

Shure SM-57 microphones.  Two of them.  Unchanged since 1965 like many of the best things in the gear world.

Shure SM-81 Condenser Mic.  Huh, I thought it was spelled "condensor".  Oh well.

Squier Precision Bass, totally messed up.  Heckman's.  Was my standby bass during the "West Virginia sabbatical" (see notes on the Martin D-28).

Toys and kids' percussion.  Good stuff.  The miniature steel drum is a particular favorite.

Ukuleles.  The orange one is a no-name (although I'm pretty sure it's German) model that I got for Miranda on what must have been her third birthday, and the blue is a Mahalo that I got her as an upgrade several birthdays later.  It sounds better, but has one major articulation problem.  I used both sporadically until July of 2010 when Eden very quickly taught herself to play; shortly thereafter Miranda picked it up again as well and even started to teach Ridley chords on uke, so I pretty much have no call to play uke myseld any more.

Washburn B-9 5-string banjo.  Restrung and ready as of mid-April.

Yamaha PSR-11.  I honestly don't know what the hell this is.  It's one of those not-synth plastic keyboards with the 16 presets and the crappy beats that everyone had in the '80s.  For one reason or another this was in my wife's house when I met her.  I play it on 39-40 and throw weird effects on it to make it palatable or bizarre.  I'm a terrible keyboard player and have never owned a real synth... not as a point of pride, just true.  This provided the only keyboard sounds heard on 39-40 until the very end of May 2010, when I began to use MIDI sequencing; since then it has still been the source of all the "live" keyboard playing.