Guitar Flangdang 2014

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Hard to believe two years have passed already, but we’ve circled the sun twice and it’s time for another Guitar Flangdang here in Walnut Creek. This is the ninth time we’ve hosted a get together for builders and fans of fine handmade guitars and as always it was a blast. (more…)

 


Ever Heard of a Martin Tiple?

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…)

 


Guitar Flangdang 2012

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…)

 


Playing the Keys of C and D in Open G Tuning

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…)

 


Playing the Angles with the Zoom Q3HD

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…)

 


Installing a Wittman MiniTuner – In an `Ukulele

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…)

 


Composite Acoustics OX Raw

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…)

 


New Tuning Pegs for that Masterbilt EF-500M

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…)

 





About the Blog

    Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

    I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

    I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.

    Welcome!

Philosophy

    My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

    But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

    I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

    Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

    I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

    But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.