Friday, February 8th, 2013
At various times in my life I’ve surrendered to the urge to collect musical instruments. It’s a common ailment among my peers, and probably one of the less damaging addictions one might suffer. But over the past few years I’ve tried to go straight, stick with the instruments I have and definitely stay away from oddball stuff that once called out to me.
Then I ran across an Ebay auction for a Martin Tiple. Now the “tiple” is one of a number of smallish stringed instruments played throughout the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world, where the word is pronounced “teeplay.” But a Martin Tiple is a strange member of the `ukulele family, an instrument that was vitally important to the CF Martin company in their history. I’ve learned a lot about the Martin Tiple by visiting Uncle Emile’s Blog, The Martin Tiple.
I started off tuning this tiple like a modern tenor uke, G C E A or C6 tuning. But we discovered that it plays and tunes better one step higher in a D6 tuning of A D F# B. (more…)
Sunday, September 30th, 2012
The heading on this blog says it’s about home recording and acoustic guitars. I actually became an acoustic guitar nut before I became a recording nut. We hosted our first guitar gathering back in 2001 with the idea that I would have a chance to try out guitars I could never experience otherwise. (more…)
Saturday, June 16th, 2012
I think of this blog as being about acoustic guitar playing as much as it is about recording, but somehow the gadgets seem to get most of the attention. I’ve been fooling around with playing in different keys while using open G tuning and came up with a post that focuses on the playing side of things. (more…)
Saturday, March 12th, 2011
The mics and preamp on the Q3HD deliver a new level of audio quality to lower cost video cams, simply by being as good as today’s average pocket recorder. But I read posts by folks who have the Q but are still frustrated in their efforts to get the sound they hope for in their videos. (more…)
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
I use an electronic tuner for my stringed instruments. I use one often. When I tune by ear I do a terrible job, so I much prefer using a gadget to help me. I’ve tried lots of different tuners over the years. When I played mainly electric guitar I used tuners with 1/4″ jack inputs. When I moved over to acoustics, I often used the Sabine stick-on tuners. But things changed when I discovered the Wittman MiniTuner – I started installing these inside all my acoustic guitars. (more…)
Sunday, December 13th, 2009
Traveling to and from Hawai`i involves big changes in humidity, and this is a recipe for trouble with an acoustic guitar. I’ve suffered from rising action and even finish cracks from the wood swelling when I travel to the islands. Friends who have brought instruments from Hawai`i to California have experienced just the opposite – buzzing low action and a real risk of seam separations, braces coming loose, and even cracks in the top and back.
For a number of years builders have worked on more stable replacements for the wood in our guitars, and now we have plywood, aluminum, and a range of composites including fiberglass, kevlar, and carbon fiber. In fact one of the pioneers in carbon fiber guitars, Rainsong, started their business in Hawai`i and attracted a number of local players to their instruments.
Composite Acoustics is a relatively young company that started with a dreadnaught and bluegrass focus, but thanks to my encouragement (hey, I wrote them an email) they’ve developed some very fingerstyle friendly models, especially the new OX body style. (more…)
Sunday, September 13th, 2009
I’m enjoying some time in Hawai`i and part of the fun is getting back together with my Epiphone Masterbilt EF-500M. This is the first Epi EF-500 I bought, it’s a “second” that I bought used (second squared, I guess). For that last few years I’ve left this guitar in Hawai`i so I don’t have to carry an instrument on the plane.
I’ve tweaked and fiddled with this guitar for a while, especially since I brought it to O`ahu. The humidity is pretty tough on instruments. The tuning machines have always been stiff and they’ve gotten worse lately, so I decided to swap them out for the new Grover Vintage Sta-Tite 18:1 machines. (more…)
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
I love the clean, natural sound of an acoustic guitar, but when it’s time to play for a room full of people in a coffee shop, restaurant, or club a pickup inside the guitar comes in mighty handy. There are several different styles of pickups, but they all need a jack so they can be connected to an amp. And installing that jack is a lot easier with a couple of tricks.