My names Kevin and I don't have a problem



  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    I will be very interested in the "more to follow". One encouraging thing I can say is that I have been extremely impressed with the compressor models on the Helix (and also the Boss MS3 I had before), and in fact prefer them to anything I ever tried in a separate pedal.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    edited July 2019
    Well I missed the Jam session Tuesday due to man flu, but I did the first gig Saturday at a pride event. It was outdoors on a quick change festival stage, so the very portable quick set and go of the HX was a bonus. It was just a 45 minite set so I forwent Wah and other ancilliary pedals.
    I shall need to adjust the various gain/output settings, at stage volume the 'extra' bit of volume really jumps out. I had configured the boost to do that rather than feel hopeless when I'd got to 10 on the guitar and had no more options. I had configured a 'synth like' sound for one song, again the level of aggregated drives/comp etc. made me reach down to catch the guitars volume. These things can be sorted.
    Overall the festival stage was typical in that it was very loud but the monitors were distorted and kept feeding back. Once we'd got them turned down to within thier capabilities it sounded much better.
    So overall I'm going to stick with this HX unit, next gig looks like a month away, so I've got some playtime to get things slick.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    /non-guitar related content/
    I had no idea that forwent is the past tense of forgo. You learn something new every day!

    Back to normal... how often do you need a quick setup setup? Is it the kind of thing people ought to have available?
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Nicholas paul we don't generally play festival type stages with my current bands as they are all covers. If one of the new country rock bands ever takes off that may change, but presently that looks dormant.
    So mostly We have a stage to ourselves and reasonable setup time, but it's as well to be flexible. For instance the funk band played a wedding this last sturday and we shared the stage with a DJ. She did the first two songs for the bridal dances and then we did 2x1 Hour sets finishing at 9.15pm. She then took over for the rest of the evening. So a quick pack and leave was very useful especially in that rain! I was home just after 10:30 and it's a 50 min drive! It also helps having fewer and smaller cases strewn about backstage or stuffed in crevices behind gear and out of sight.
    I also get hassel because my analogue pedal board was almost a metre wide and about 650 deep. This 'looks' like a lot of real estate, but in practice I would just have that much empty space in front of me with a mic stand and to prevent clocking someone with the guitar neck. Also I take 3 guitars on a single guitar stand, so that too takes up a little space when the stage is tight.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    If you don’t take the real estate, the singer will! Actually, I have a board that’s over a meter long and I worry if it’s too big. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
    That wedding sounds like fun. And it sounds like you were well prepared. In, out, get paid, gone!
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Well last night I played a gig (yes a Tuesday).
    Long story even longer: country band got a referral from another gig months back and got booked for a country music club night at Stanway rovers fc function room. 10 days ago the singist announces that he's in Bulgaria (he has business interests there), and won't be coming back in time! So bass player gets an old mate singer/guitarist to stand in, someone I've known for 50 years as he comes from the same village I grew up in. I even went to school with his baby sister, but we've never played together in all that time. We got to rehearse once for two hours in the singers house last Friday between 5-7pm and off we go.
    To be honest I got quite anxious about this one because I'd not heard several of the songs he wanted to do and had never played a bunch more. I had to work on 'Crazy little thing called love' and travelling wilburys 'End of the line' four mavericks songs with brass and two new songs for me to sing amounst others and knew all the guitaring would be down to me!
    Anyway we got there (straight from work, car loaded all day etc.) and set up easily. Hot venue with the aircon not working!!! It went well enough and by the end of the third set I was loving the Tele into the Hot Rod Deluxe with just a hint of it's own overdrive. Also used the 335 and the HX fx and the acoustic straight into the PA via the Mese Rosetta. very pleased with the tones, less so with some of the playing, but recoverred well enough.
    New Toy pedal alert, (well first live use, I've had it ages).
    I also did something I've never done before and used a MEL 9 (electro harmonix pedal) live. If you've never seen one check out the excellent video demos. In practice I don't think the sounds stand scrutiny, but properly mixed they can add a dimension to the band sound.
    We played a couple of Mavericks songs and I used the MEL 9 to blend with overdriven guitar for the brass parts (well as many as I could manage). I probably could have got away with just soft O/D guitar, but it was a nice contrast. I also used it with a blend of vocal choral effect swells on another slower song to nice effect. I think it could get tiring on the ears pretty quick, but I was pleased to have taken it along and will probably use it again.
    Anyway I'm back at my desk this morning having survived, but I could do with a kipp. I'm not young and bouncy the morning after these days.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    I do know what you mean re being tired the next day after a gig ES! Good to hear the gigs are still coming in though - sometimes it seems the ones pulled together at short notice turn out the best. Pleased to hear you're finding the HX FX useful too. I've kind of become addicted to going direct into the PA with my Helix LT. I have not come across the MEL 9 before so will look that one up.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Nice write up, ES, and I would go along with a Tele straight into a Fender amp.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    I broke a string!!!

    That may not sound that special to some people, but we did a gig on Friday night with the funk band in a slightly different format. Only one lead female vocal and a dep keys player. I did my usual with athe fender HRD combo and the Line 6 HX FX plus a dunlop Wah into the front. Three transmitters into the smoothound receiver. I do swap guitars throughout the set. Strat, Tele and 335.
    I broke the top E on the 335! I can't remember the last time I broke a string at all let alone on a gig. I asked the drummist if he could ever remember me breaking a string and he said no. No real hardship, I just substituted the Tele for those songs I prefer the 335 for and got to the end of the first set. In the break I replace the top three strings so as not to have a plinky single string sound and carried on.
    The odd thing is that the strings were not suffering intonation or tuning problems and they looked and felt clean and smooth. It must have been fatigue in the string. Because I use three guitars they don't individually get played hard through a gig and I find I can often leave them a few weeks betweek changes. Truth be told I can't remember which guitar was due the next change (I rarely do them all at once), and because the 335 gets taken to jams and mini rehearsals I guess it was overdue a change. Lesson re-learned, keep up to date with the string changes. Doh!

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    I know how you felt ES - I never break strings either, and I use 11s which are fairly robust. Must have been the first time in five years at least, but one went at a gig a month or two ago. to my amazement. It was on one of my strats, doing a pop gig, and pretentiously enough I was able to just swap the guitar for another strat and carry on, what a poser eh?
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Yes Megi, I swapped guitars after the song and carried on, even half the band didn't notice. Worse than that, it occured before the lead break so I had to re-finger around the lack of a top string. They say if you can cover up mistakes, thats a good sign.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    ESBlonde said:

    Yes Megi, I swapped guitars after the song and carried on, even half the band didn't notice. Worse than that, it occured before the lead break so I had to re-finger around the lack of a top string. They say if you can cover up mistakes, thats a good sign.

    Definitely a good sign, and a compliment to your playing ability ES. That's what a pro does in my book - handles the issue, doesn't seek attention, just does what's required and carries on. Although kind of annoying if they didn't notice the difference in guitar sound at all - I mean, why do us guitarists bother with the tone niceties of different guitars if no one even notices? :D
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    ESBlonde said:

    I can't remember the last time I broke a string at all let alone on a gig.

    I will be playing tomorrow and noticed that I don't have a spare set of strings in my case. I remembered reading this from you, ES, and quickly threw a spare set in. Like you, I cannot remember the last time I broke a string.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Lester said:

    ESBlonde said:

    I can't remember the last time I broke a string at all let alone on a gig.

    I will be playing tomorrow and noticed that I don't have a spare set of strings in my case. I remembered reading this from you, ES, and quickly threw a spare set in. Like you, I cannot remember the last time I broke a string.
    Good call Lester, and I hope it wasn't required. I am a bit of a belt and braces man in that I know/plan how I would overcome pretty much any foreseeable gear failure. It's a question of experience I guess. That said I ought to carry a spare set of valves or at least a pre amp valve. Again can't remember the last time I had to change one at a gig, but it's an angle to cover. I can of course go through the PA and again most people wouldn't notice apart from me.
    I do carry spare strings, a string winder and a hand held tuner so I can string up off stage if I need to. I also have pliers in the car to trim string ends if I really want to, but I just got on with being all 1960's and had the ends wound in a circle and back through the peg head hole.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    No broken strings but there was one thing happened that I didn't count on happening: the whole street suddenly lost electricity. My wife and I were playing at a church's Sunday afternoon celebration of its building being 20 years old. Just moments (I'd say less than 2 minutes) before we were due to play the electricity was restored, so I would have thanked the electricity board's workers if I could have for their timely work.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    Sounds like divine intervention.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Well the onward march of time, so a few more lines.

    Saturday the 9th November must have been important, I took a dep gig for that date before christmas last year. Around March the bass player from one of the country bands I occasionally gig with told me he had taken a gig for that date and needed me, I told him I wasn't available because I'd given myself to another gig. He rang me from time to time to ask me to do the date (I did a couple of others with him in the meantime), but I remained committed to the other gig. Then the other band I was depping for dropped me on another date (by polite consent) and swithed another. Country band continued to badger me, and I then did a date with the other Dep band that was very loud and uncomfortable. In the end about 6 weeks ago I wriggled out of my commitment, again with friendly consent, and told the country band I was available for guitar duties on the 9th.
    Well it all looked straight forward and easy until two weeks before when I was told the singer guitarist had urgent business overseas and would not be available, would I sing all night., my voice wouldn't stand 3x45 mins and I simply don't know that much material that I can sing and play at short notice. I ran a friend that plays in another country rock band I jam with and asked for his help. Robert is retired, plays keyboards and sings He also loves his county, but doesn't know a whole night material either.
    So we cobble together about 45 songs between us that we can alternate singing and meet at the bass players house to see if we can pull it off. Then the tuesday before the gig we have a full rehearsal with the drummist and we are set to go.
    So having not been available I end up fronting the band singing songs (I had to read all the lyrics because I don't do this) and being Mr. jovial. Luckily the event was a huge success and we pulled it off. I guess the lesson here is don't do favours, it comes back to bite you!

    I've no gigs now until NYE (my first NYE in 20 years, I must be mad), so Sunday evening I'm trying out with a soul band that I might dep with on occasion. It's tends to be famine or feast. Oh I have committed to Panto again in February, that should be fun.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    edited January 2020
    A new year and some recent highlights including a NGD.
    Friday 20th December I was winding down for the last day in the office when I received a call at 9.30 in the morning. Kevin can you do a gig tonight? Er, who, what when where and why? A band had a gig near Bradwell power station in Essex and thier singer guitarist was unable to do it because his MIL had passed away that morning.
    I had covered one gig with this band about 5 months ago (after just one rehearsal), so we elected to do that same set and it was all go. An hour and a halfs drive each way and the crowd was very small! But we had fun and got paid.
    Next up was NYE, and I can't remember the actual last date I did NYE but certainly 20 years (none this century)! We had to rehearse a new lady singer (we feature two in the funk band), so had a session or two in the run up to the event.
    It was a black tie event in a village deep in commuter land and they had a three course dinner (which we and our partners were encouraged to have too) and then we played the gig from about 9:15pm.
    I'm sure it's not a coincidence that these successful go getter types were dancing from the first bars and remained enthusiastic the whole night. A great crowd for sure and although I had been dreading it, the night passed quickly and easily. We even got our respective parners up on stage for the midnight countdown etc.
    I even felt recovered (no drinking while I work and drive) the next morning.

    So some of you may remember that I have been on the hunt for a 'lifetime' acoustic guitar. Well the opportunity sort of fell into my lap Thursday 2nd Jan when the rain set in and spoiled my outdoor plans. I suggested to herself that we took a drive to Stevenage and visit Coda, and she agreed! Having arrived and found the place neatly hidden beside the high street I spent the next couple of hours or so trying umpteen quality guitars. I started with Gibsons as my reference (a J45 and Hummingbird 125th Anniversery) and then moved along the rows onto the Martins (D18 and 28) through the Atkins and the Brooks and even a Used Private stock PRS, a couple of Taylors and some more I can't recall. The PRS played beautifully and all that bling nearly turned my head ( the used price was relatively affordable given that it listed new for about £8.5k a few years ago! But in the end the sound was uninspiring and plugging it in revealed a not at all pleaseant sound to my ear. The Hummingbird also had me going back to it despite the fact that I'm not enamoured with the looks. But the final draw had me sitting in front of 5 Atkins, two in particular became the subject of comparison against one another. In the end I plumped for the Atkin Essential D, the example I liked had the aged finish rather than the mirror, but either would have been fine with me. The case turned out to be impressive too and includes a built in Temp/Humidity gauge in the lid, nice touch.
    I need to address the nut slots which are a little high for my taste and then after a week or two I might drop the saddle height a little. I also bought a Fishman rare earth pickup which I have yet to fit, it requires the careful reeming out of the tail pin hole to fit the socket and I'm not feeling brave enough yet!
    I love the sound of this thing and the fact that it's just light and comfortable, making me want to play it all the time. It's been an exciting two weeks, probably the most intense action filled in years. I'm now starting to prepare for Panto in February, I have no gigs between now and then but a few rehearsal sessions booked with various bands.
    Onward and upward.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    On the one hand it sounds like you have a relaxed gigging life with gaps between gigs while on the other hand getting calls to gig that evening sounds as pressured as it can get.

    I am glad to hear about your Essential D. I hope it turns out to be the lifetime guitar you have been searching for.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    It does sound manic, as Les pointed out, but I bet it’s nice to be in demand! Sounds like a a couple fo fun evenings, especially when the mrs can come along too. Nice!

    I’m not familiar with Atkin. How does your compare with Martin? Well done on finding your long term keeper. What a good feeling.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Nicolas, the Atkin is made in Canterbury by a small team. They used to make 'like' models and name them suitably. These days the modal names are not so likely to get them sued. That said they can rival a decent Gibson or Martin for those flavours. They made a nice '43' Gisbsoneque model that got rave reviews. Check out thier website.
    From being quite busy it's now gone fairly quite (which is also nice). Odd rehearsals with a country band once a fortnight and I've got the set list for the Panto to start on which includes 3 Queen numbers! Otherwise March looks Dire for dates atm, but things change rapidly enough.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    Canterbury! They must be oozing very cool seventies music in that case! What a great story. I really ought to check them out.

    March looking dire, hey? Does that mean you’re getting money for nothing?
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Well it's panto week, my hear is buzzing with umpteen songs and we had first dress rehearsal yesterday which is the first run through for the band and the first time the cast have to experience a live band.
    I spent half an hour saturday refining the setup on the Atkin acoustic. Having got the nut much lower a couple of weeks back it was time to tackle the bridge saddle. I measured the action at the 12th fret as 9/32+ then I slackened off the strings and popped out the bridge pins. I eased out the saddle noting the orientation and took it into the garage. I marked 3/32 to come off the bottom, then laid a piece of fine wet and dry on the flat cast table saw. It is important to keep the base very flat and so I checked every few strokes to ensure I was flat and even (harder than it sounds without a jig). I erred on the side of caution, you can always take more off. Re-fitted and re-strung. I didn't measure the result, but it felt very comfortable and no rattles when pounded so I'm going with that for now.
    Took it to the panto and plugged it into one of my Turbousound milan M10 powered cabs which I tucked under the chair I was sitting on. Boy this thing is a treat and so full sounding. One of the songs was the Beatles All you need is love which I had hoped to play on acoustic and use an overdrive pedal for the lead break. Unfortunately sitting on the speaker means I can't get enough volume with the overdrive without masses of feedback (who'd a thunk it)! So I have elected to play it all on the strat, no one else cares anyway.
    So I'm in the office today (Monday) plus Tuesday and then Wednesday morning only. Then taking the rest of the week off so I don't burn out double shifting (it's an age thing). Sunday is a day of rest, we have developed a tradition of a day out in Southwold (less than an hour up the coaste) for lunch and a bracing bit of fresh air to revive my buzzing head, so thats a probabilty weather dependent.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    There is a boarding school for girls somewhere near Southwold. I used to play there in the summer when the school was let to a holiday company.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    So I bit the bullet.
    I've been a bit reticent to cut a bigger hole in my new Atkin given the money I have invested, but I couldn't put it off any longer.
    I took the guitar to the bench in the garage (with a fan heater for company) and checked the string height against my silky smooth Epiphone acoustic which has very low action. I decided that the nut I adjusted before panto was good but the bridge saddle could lose some more height, particularly on the treble side. I also hadn't properly installed the socket for the Fishman rare earth blend pickup because of the 'cutting a bigger hole' issue.
    So strings off (slacken the tuners and pop out the bridge pins), saddle out, then sand down the correct amount from the right end off the bottom of the saddle. I'd calculated with a striaght edge how much at the bridge to reduce at the 12th fret. It measured right and had a flat bottom for optimum contact, so I popped it back in. Then the hard bit, I'd bought a tapered reamer online back in January, so I popped out the end pin and with a big breath commenced enlarging the hole to 12mm for the pickup socket/strap pin.
    I held my nice shiney new guitar and turned out the hole checking for fit every now and then. I also didn't know how deep I had to cut through the internal end block, all the way was the answer.
    Then cut the pickup cable to length and resolder the 3 core and screen correctly. That bit was easy, I just covered the guitar to avoid solder splashes and soldered it up, I didn't even feel the need to test it before fitting because I like to think I know what I'm doing on that front. Next I couldn't get my fat arm right inside to push the socket through the new hole, but the wonderful Mrs ESBlonde stepped in to save me faffing about with long pliers/grips/magnet tools and swearing to get it done. It fitted nicely but I was concerned the strap ring might not be far enough on to allow all styles of jack plug to fully seat (It would probably be alright but now was the time to be sure). So I pulled out the socket and adjusted the nuts on the inside threads to expose another 3mm thread and re-inserted it (well herself did). Got it all screwed up. and fitted the strap. Re-fitted the strings and tuned up to pitch.
    I've just treated myself to a TC Polytune clip on for this guitar, I have a tuner on the HX fx for electric, a Kork pitch black on my old pedal board and a Korg GT4 hand held in my 335 case. I also have a tuner on the phone, but decided the clip on would be better for gigging and it seemed to have the best reviews. No more one handed/balancing the tuner on your knee and then plugging back into the PA with a pop when you're done.
    So I tuned up and the action is great (as expected), the strap feels secure and even more so with a plug in the end. Mrs ESB asked if why I hadn't plugged it in to check? Well I was confident but plugged into the practice combo just to show her I can wield a soldering iron.
    So it plays beautifully, is easy to plug and play and with the Polytune on the headstock is simple to keep in tune. I have reservations about leaving the leather strap permenantly attached and harming the finish, so for now it will be removed from the tail pin and coiled in the case under the headstock.
    Rehearsal with some country guys Tuesday night and I'm looking forward to it.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Phew! I was nervous there for a minute but it is nice to know that all went well.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    How is everyone doing?

    A few weeks into the lockdown here, I have to say it's not too bad. I'm working from home driving a laptop to control my desktop PC, so apart from minor irritations and frustrations that's working fine.
    Playing wise I've not spent as much time as I thought I might with a guitar in hand. I did post one acoustic song on a local fb page for the neighbours, one other chap in the village was doing a sterling effort several times a week, so I wanted to support his efforts. I really should do that again.
    Mrs ESB and I take it in turns to do the weekly shop (reducing the chance of contact) but other than delivering some cakes to my mothers care home for VE day I've been nowhere (pretty much like everyone else).
    About the home and allotment it's been a great opportunity to catch up on jobs, saving an hour+ each workday on travel is a boost to productivity (unless I flop into an arm chair).
    One of the big jobs was going through my shed and prepping for scrap a lot of old tech cables, lights and some sound gear. Sitting in the sunny back garden with a few hand tools taking apart units and lamps that I had sweated over accumulating and building into a 'rig' many years ago was a bit of a heart wrench, but it's old tech and has no use or value in todays market, plus I'm over 60 an dhave little interest in lugging it all about and setting it up. Modern digital equivelents and LED lighing is cheap enough and a lot less bulk and weight.
    Anyway I broke the lamps into constituent parts of aluminium, copper and steel. I have a large suitcase full of heavy multi core copper cables with the connectors all cut off (I nearly cried thinking about the hours I spent putting them on decades ago). I've broken 3 eight chanel 80 amp theatre dimmers and it all sits on the back patio waiting for the time when I can take it to the scrap yard and weigh it in. I think I feel better about getting rid of it all, I think it's been 3 years since any of the old PA had a use and many more years since the lighting rig came out - probably 7 or 8. I doubt I would have a use for any of it again having modern light weight replacements.

    So nothing much guitar related. Perhaps writing this will get me more inspired.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,721Member
    A little bit similar here in regards to dejunking. I've taken the opportunity of being locked down to start getting rid of things that I haven't used in a while, or won't use again - be it books / CDs / DVDs / clothes/ odds and ends / spare bike parts etc etc. It can be hard, but I think it'll be worth it in the end.

    Music-wise I've again taken an opportunity created by lock-down - in this case no gigs - to focus on new styles of guitar playing that need a lot of practice. It's been good fun and I've met, virtually and on the phone, some new friends. Not sure gigs will ever return as we knew them.

    Life-wise, I've been okay to work from home, so that's actually been a bonus as I'm normally driving 70 miles to work.

    So in many ways it's actually turned out okay so far... Although I miss not being able to see my folks and I don't like to think too much about it too much as I'd just started going round there a bit more frequently than ever before to support them. Not sure when that bit will ever change, either :-(

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Derek_R said:

    Not sure gigs will ever return as we knew them.

    I can imagine polycarbonate drum shields being issued to every member of the band.


    Well done, both of you, for doing a clear out.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    No joke, I’ve heard that acrylic sheet is in short supply! Other people must have the same idea!
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