Thursday, August 11, 2016

3 am

A new musical offering from Billy Radd

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gibson 2013 SG Deluxe Guitar

Here I am again touting a new guitar in my collection. I know, I know, you might not really care about my obsession with guitars, but at least it is legal (at the moment anyway).

This one was acquired by pure chance. My wife Anita Gayle and I were shopping for some gardening supplies and made the mistake of "just dropping by" our local Guitar Center store on our way back to the car. We made our way back through the store making jokes with the sales staff about offering them a little snack from a small veggie fertilizer bag I was carrying. As we approached their wall of used guitars, one stood out from the rest, a new-looking Gibson SG Deluxe. "Oh, that's a lot of guitar there, and the price seems a bit low considering the excellent, spiffy condition," I thought innocently.

Anita Gayle sensed my mental drooling and asked, "Would you like to have that guitar?"

"Well, sure, but I have a few really nice ones now," I said, not taking my eyes off this orange beauty.

"Why don't you try it out. Maybe you should get it," she countered. Then, she said something about me not living forever, which is actually very logical, but a little morbid and sweet at the same time.

Anyway, I called over one of the sales staff who took it off the wall and handed it to me. I looked it over very closely and remarked it looked new. He agreed and told me it had likely set in a guitar case (included in their price, BTW) and hardly ever played since it was bought three years ago by some rich guitar collector. He had brought in three of these 2013 SG Deluxe models and traded up to something (or things?) of more value two weeks ago. The others SG Deluxe models were blue, and lime. This stunning orange one was the only one left.

Anita Gayle was listening intently and asked what this guitar sold for new three years ago, got an answer from the sales guy, looked at the price tag and said to me, "If you want it, I think you should get it". And, I am a firm believer in not arguing with your partner when she is handing you what you want.

So, I did get it, along with a nice strap. I played with it for about two hours yesterday, and another two hours so far today. It is another very sweet guitar "ride" in my stable and I will be surprising my guitar teacher with it for my lesson in two days. It has more features than I had discovered at the store so I did get a pretty good deal.

As you can gather from the previous fortuitous tale, I am one lucky camper on a number of levels, right?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Les Paul, An Inspiration

Les Paul, one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, was born in 1915 in Wisconson. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, Gibson Guitars, a company who owes a lot of its success to Mr. Paul's vision and inventiveness, honored him by adding a "100" to their Les Paul Signature Logo on many of the Les Paul models made in 2015.

Today, I am the proud owner of one of them, a beautiful Les Paul Classic in Sea Foam Green. In honor of Les Paul, and in order to make the most of his beautifully-designed instrument now residing at my home, I will be starting to take guitar lessons from a private teacher here in Asheville next week.  I need to develop some real "chops", and at my age, I need to progress in music theory which I've heard will help keep my brain functioning a little better through regular practice under the tutelage of a teacher/coach. And, as anyone who knows me can tell you, that is an ambitious but worthy goal.

This particular Les Paul model has many modern features (too numerous to name here) incorporated into its classic design.  You can check out Gibson's page to find out more details about this handsome musical icon, the 2015 Classic Les Paul guitar.

I've wanted a nice Gibson Les Paul since I saw Joe Walsh play his 1960 Les Paul Standard in a basement bar in Kent, Ohio, in around 1968. It's taken me a while, but I've finally got one. Now, if I could only play like Joe . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Age of the Drone

Moog Sub Phatty - bottomless range

It has taken me a year of un-concentrated effort to sound the depth and breath of my Moog Sub Phatty analog synthesizer. This thing is challenging my creative limits and I am not disappointed by this in the least.

Living in Asheville for five years now, and becoming somewhat familiar with the local electro-music community here, has given me some insight into electronic music expression that I never intended, but welcome. I have bought and sold a few synths in my life and felt almost obligated to have one in my home studio after moving here 5 years ago since the Moog plant is in Asheville.

As the Moog site states,  "The Sub Phatty features a wide range of parameters just below the surface, and all the features are easily accessible from the instruments front panel, or via the free standalone plug-in editor. Select filter poles, assign wave mod destinations, or specify pitch blend amounts - it's all there."

Besides being able to also use the keyboard as a midi controller, the free plug-in editor provides a nice screen interface to explore the depths of all the features and goodies the Sub Phatty has to offer, and seamless integration control for various pro DAWs like Logic Pro, which I personally use.

All in all, I'd say the Sub Phatty's price point of under $1K is one hell of a deal for an analog synth with digital features considering its built-in Bob Moog legacy, versatility, depth, and quality build.

But, if you get one for yourself, bring a shovel to the party - it can get pretty deep in there!