Stratocaster engraved
Back in the day, there was just this one guitar and a backup Gretsch BST1000 that never got played until the defiled '71 Strat was stolen. Carving a nekkid girl on a guitar was just a fun thing to do, and there certainly wasn't any thought given to preserving a valuable collectible for future bucks to be made. It was stolen in its case, so whoever got it was probably a little surprised and disappointed. I don't think that it was easy to get rid of!


12/01/10- Naturally, My periodic cycle must include a trip through Guitardom, as it's one of my longest-standing interests, stretching back to my high school days. During this phase, I usually practice a bit to regain "my chops", listen to new music to learn new things, read forums to catch up on the latest buzz and the newest gear, and tinker with the gear that I've got.

I never ask "why?", even though realistically, my gigging days are behind me. Learning is fun, and personal challenges are a good enough reason to wake up every day. Learning can be drudgery since it involves listening with a purpose and practice, practice, practice, but the reward is knowing that you've improved and can do things that you couldn't do before.

The Internet forum adds a somewhat new aspect to this, compared to the days when info came solely through friends, the music store, magazines, books and the music itself. Although useful, solid information from smart and knowledgeable folks is shared within the community setting, a healthy percentage of the banter is regurgitated conventional wisdom, opinion presented as fact, and outright aggression... which can be entertaining, nevertheless. Much guitar talk tends to center around gear, summed up in an affiction called Guitar/Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). It's a natural topic for forums since it lets everyone show off shiny new toys, get opinions about prospective purchases, and demonstrate their knowledge in matters relating to gear.

Forums can be a slippery slope if you're serious about learning/playing guitar (which, IMO, is a solitary pursuit): The forum communities have a huge social component, and can suck major time from actually doing things. I only say that because I spend more time than I should reading about playing than actually doing it. I'm glad that they weren't around when I was learning to play guitar.

The forums are an eclectic mix of folks who wouldn't normally hang out together (in real life), like the elder guitar hobbyists who can afford expensive gear that they couldn't when they were younger, and the youngsters who just want to learn and play, and who often have to get the most bang for their buck. Expensive gear is nowhere near as important as the drive and discipline to practice if you want to become a good guitarist. As they say (and it's true), tone comes from the fingers.

Having achieved geezerdom, I can afford (well, sort of...) to indulge in some of that shopaholic compulsion, but I'm limited most by the available space of our house. Which means, no Marshall stacks or additional amps. Stomp boxes are okay because they're small, they mothball easily and don't take up a lot of storage space. Of course, I already have all the stompboxes and multi-effect gizmos that I could ever want, so this is about continually ugrading the collection so I can have cool guitar stuff at different places throughout the house (except in the kitchen and bathrooms).

When I wrote my Jonesin' For A Leslie article a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that none of the stompbox Leslie speaker simulators did the trick; I was resigned to the belief that my search had ended with the acquisition of Motion Sound's Pro 3x, which has a rotating horn-- it's the crucial half of a real Leslie speaker. Well, there's a new entry on the market from Germany, and the widespread forum praise (plus a Youtube clip) convinced me that it was worth checking out, and adding an addendum to the article. Actually, because of the article, I felt an obligation to buy one and check it out. See my article, below.

Since I was getting a new pedal, I felt the responsible thing to do would be to get rid of one: The H&K Rotosphere. Unfortunately, eBay showed that other folks had the same idea, and not wanting to compete with them (or pay the fees), I searched Craigslist. I didn't find anyone else selling one, but I did find someone who wanted one and was willing to trade a Gibson "The Paul" for it, plus a little cash. I was happier about having something that someone wanted than about actually wanting the Gibson... but I rationalized it as being a "beater" (versus the Goldtop which is too purdy to play... sigh!), so I went for the deal. It's actually a pretty nice-playing and sounding guitar.

Gibson Les Pauls

As they say, one thing leads to another. I really like the Gibson's flat radius fretboard and its beefy bridge humbucker pickup... but it doesn't have a whammy bar and you can't retrofit a high performance tremolo gizmo very easily. So I started scoping out the Ibanez models. Lo and behold, a couple weeks later and I had two of 'em. It's also a cautionary tale about the awesome power of G.A.S.... (and I won't even mention the Line 6 PodHD 500!)

2010 Guitar Articles:


Real Guitar Porn Tinkering is also fun. I don't have much regard for the practice of "relicing" guitars (making new ones look like they're older than they are), but I'm okay with guitar porn, a.k.a. recreating some of the look of my long lost Strat from my college/post-college days. It's partially a nostalgia thing, but I have to admit that it was fun to do. For me, much more engaging than carving respectable doo-hickeys, like flowers or vines.

It would be presumptuous to call this "carving", since it's really just Janet Lupo line art engraved in the wood, and shaded with crosshatching and dots, like comic art. I was reluctant to do any deeper carving (bas relief) since it's more difficult given the subject matter-- and I didn't want her to look like a stylized Indian temple carving. Unlike clay sculpting, wood carving is a subtractive process, so you can't add wood back and give it a second go-round.

I think I've gotten a little more conservative as I've aged since I actually considered giving her a bikini before I came to my senses and just did what I wanted to do. However, I did change her positioning so that the guitar jack isn't located at her crotch, as it was on the original-- Although that does expose her crotch, the act of plugging in doesn't suggest that she's being violated by the plug... I thought it was a fun gag back then, but it seems misogynistic now. Sexist, okay. Misogynistic, nokay.