Yet another cut from “Yule Rock the Park!” at the Park Theatre on December 17, 2011. This is one of my favourite Albert King songs, Born Under A Bad Sign. The noise and interference at the Park Theatre can be a bit much with single coil pickups. Listening back to this I’m thinking maybe a Suhr Silent Single Coil backplate system would be a good upgrade for my trusty Fender Custom Classic.
Here is a cut from “Yule Rock the Park!” at the Park Theatre on December 17, 2011. This first set, the blues set, with Bill Kirkpatrick singing. We had the great privilege of having a 3-piece horn section for this event. I don’t think I want to gig without a horn section anymore, it was so fun. The arrangement is pretty true to the Albert King version, though I probably should have used something with humbuckers in it. The first time I ever heard this tune was on Eric Clapton‘s Money and Cigarettes album so the Strat tone on this tune stuck with me.
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
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.
As our band, Network, has been preparing for a private function next week in Montreal I’ve been recording the practices with my Zoom H1. Here is a little gem from this week’s practice that I think is pretty good.
Katherine Penfold – Vocals, Gary Brenner – Keys, Hal Ryckman – Drums, Dave Christianson – Bass, Yvonne Burman – Backing Vocals, Carl Strempler – Guitar.
I’m back from vacationing in the Rockies. It was a great time of golfing and fishing and hanging out with the family, but its back to business and back to music. I’m doing a number of gigs with Katherine Penfold in the next two months. This had me going back to some previous session work, rough and finished tracks to figure out how I was going to play some of the material live. I stumbled upon this video of the guitar session and then a video of Jordan Jackiew.
The pick referenced in the video is this Red Bear that I ordered online. Nice tone, similar to the sound of tortoise shell with a satisfying attack and warmth. No turtles were harmed in the making of this pick.
The rig used for these tracks is a PRS McCarty with Lollar P90’s and a Fender Custom Classic Telecaster with a OC Duff custom wound bridge pickup. These guitars go into the Swart AST. On some of the tracks I use a Durham Sexdrive pedal for mild compression and a RMC Picture Wah. I love the RMC Wah pedals because they are so warm with no harsh points anywhere on the pedal.
In this clip from the King’s Head gig on Dec 17, 2009, I used the GigRig to switch between two primary patches. The first patch is the sound I use for the “clean” chorused sound of the single note rhythm figure. The GigRig was configured to select the Rhythm Channel on the Tone King Metropolitan. The signal chain goes into a Durham Sexdrive pedal to add compression and a small amount of grind and then into a Diamond Halo Chorus pedal; a great sound for that old school 80’s funk feel. The second patch was used for the distorted shots and solos. On this patch I’m still using the Rhythm Channel but it is passing through a Fuchs Extreme Cream overdrive pedal and then into a T-Rex Replica delay. The result is a ripping lead sound. The Cream Supreme pedal is similar to an old Ibanez Tube Screamer but with a high quality FET boost section, much smoother and with a full range of frequencies. Bet SRV would have loved this pedal.
Katherine Penfold is fantastic on this song. She really lays it all out there. I love the grind she is getting with her voice on those bends. Dave, our bass player, comes in and the feel is a bit odd. I asked him about that later and he told me that as the evening progressed he developed a huge blister on his finger and was struggling to play the part. Ouch. Playing hurt, what a champ.
I’ve always been fascinated by poly-rhythmic devices in music, playing one time signature against the other. In this latest installment of my Oasis series I’m exploring the push and pull of rhythms which puts me in mind of a bustling market where events synchronize and then clash. At times edgy and frantic. At times harmonious.
Note: On April 7 I adjusted this tune slightly to pan a part left to right toward the end of the song to add some interest and “motion”.
Second in the Oasis series, this is Progress. The organic gives way to the relentless push forward. The grit of sand gives way to the grit of industry. The tune builds as guitars come in and grind it out for dominance. Perhaps there should be a ? at the end of Progress.
The synth pads are a combination of Rapture and Dimension Pro. The lead sound off the top is typical Lyle Mays, tone reminicent of a flute. The guitar sounds are the PRS McCarty -> Fulltone OCD -> Swart AST -> AxeTrak isolation cab so it can be turned way up for a thick tone. Even the bass is recorded through the Swart for added grind.
Note: April 8, I made some adjustments to the mix. I noticed when I was listening back that the synth lead sound was a bit too high in the mix. I also extended the ending so the reverb wasn’t being cut off.