A site dedicated to the music and musing of Carl Strempler

Month: November 2011


If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time you will know that I’ve got a pretty good collection of guitars going. I don’t “collect” guitars, rather I expect that every guitar will be a working guitar to be used in live or recording situations.

I love the sound of a good Gretsch and I’ve never had the privilege of owning one. You just can’t beat the shimmer of a Bigsby tremolo. I’ve played a lot of Gretsch guitars that didn’t meet my expectations. On one occasion I borrowed a Gretsch, gigged with it, decided it wasn’t for me. A few months ago I was browsing Kijiji and noticed a guitar that might fit the bill. I offered to trade a Fender Nocaster for this Gretsch 6118T-LTD 125th Anniversary. The 6118 was just a few weeks old. The plastic was still on the pick guard. The Fender wasn’t being used, and while it was a great guitar, it just was not a unique voice as I have a Fender Custom Classic Telecaster I preferred to play. I made the offer for a straight trade and the deal was done.

When I received the guitar it played wonderfully. It is a very solid feeling Gretsch with a pinned bridge, locking tuners, and TV Jones PowerTron pickups. I found the pickups to be a bit too powerful with a bit of a mid-range hump. I switched them out for a TV Jones Classic Plus for the bridge and a TV Jones Classic for the neck pickup. The results are superb. Exactly what I was looking for. The guitar has a nice balance between the pickups and retains that Gretsch twang.

This year’s Christmas bash is on December 17th at the Park Theatre (see my Gig Calendar for details, a small number of tickets were still available at the time of this post). I have the opportunity to play a set with the Bald Billy Blues Band and one with Network. In the blues band set I’ve added Sleepwalk, a perfect tune to bring things down a bit and play a tune that has been a mainstay of so many great guitar instrumental bands of the past 50 years. I recorded this cut at last week’s band practice. The signal chain for the lead guitar is a Gretsch 6118 -> Durham Sexdrive -> Tone King Metropolitan.

Lead Guitar – Carl Strempler
Rhythm Guitar – Bill Kirkpatrick
Keyboards – Gary Brenner
Bass – Adam Halstrom
Drums – Greg Boettcher

Gravity Live with Katherine Penfold in IROC and the Regulators

In October we (the Network band) had a chance to reprise our gig for Wellington West as IROC and the Regulators. Last year the gig was in Kananaskis, this year it was in beautiful Montreal. One of our sets was video recorded. The sound from the microphone on the camera so the mix varies depending on where the camera is on the stage. I love how Kat sings this tune.

Since this gig was in Montreal and we were flying in for it we had to use gear sourced locally. I was able to bring theGigRig and my favourite Strat. I had arranged with Boutique Tone to rent a Divided By 13 RSA 31 and I was pretty excited to try it out in a live setting. When I arrived I found they had just sold it. Jeremy at Boutique Tone was apologetic and recommended I try the Jackson Britain 3.0 combo. After viewing this video Jeremy wrote me back saying “Seriously, I don’t think tone gets any better than that.”

The amp has two channels that you mix together and a foot-switchable boost that I connected to the GigRig. You can set the amp to 12 watts class A using EL84’s, 25 watts class A using EL34’s, or 50 watts class A/B using EL34’s. The amp was loaded with a Celestion Gold, fast becoming a favourite speaker of mine. This is a LOUD amp and it has incredible addictive muscle. You hit a note and it projects it. Listen to how thick this amp sounds. All I’m using is the amp with some delay. The signal chain is a Fender Custom Classic Strat -> Diamond Memory Lane Jr -> Jackson Britain 3.0. For the solos I’m kicking in just the boost. The sound of the amp is retained by the use of theGigRig. This switcher is what allows me to bypass all pedals not in immediate use, and do switching on the amp at the same time. I don’t think I was in the PA for this gig because the amp was so loud and it was set to the 12 watt setting. Incredible.

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