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April 18, 2008

Hot Dog

I plugged Red Dog in last night.

Les Paul Standard... Cable... 100W Marshall...


Locals in the Southwark area may have noticed their lights dim ever so slightly between the hours of 8 and 10pm last night. I've never seen our cat move so fast as when he recognised the familiar pop-click-hummm of the amp power switch. Move over Dyson, your days as feline public enemy number one are at an end!

I've not played Red for too f**king long. Focusing on the acoustic is great. It really is. But it's not Red. Oh no... My 'relationship' with Blackie the Ovation is one of comfort and love. Pipe and slippers with a nice cup of tea. Red makes me want to jump into my (neighbour's) Aston, crank up the Bachman Turner Overdrive and bury the loud pedal into the custom-fitted shag.

Excuse me, I think I may be wet...

What does suck, though, is that with all the practice I've put in over the past months on the acoustic, my skills on the electric have atrophied. Last night I found myself overbending, missing strings and fretting too hard. My fingers acted like digital Keystone Cops, falling over each other instead of getting out of the way. BUT... even one note, played well, on a Les Paul is capable of fracturing space and time.

You know, I think I'm going to stick with the stock Burstbucker Pro pickups for now, rather than swap them out for Pearly Gates as originally planned. They sound soooo nice... like a chainsaw slicing through hot butter.

I'm telling you, there's nothing like strapping on a Gibson to put the swing back in your stride.


Axe Victim said...

Whatever you do DO NOT swap out modern Gibson pick up's for aftermarket pups. You will only regret it. Not that I have done it of course, all of my money seems to go to my dentist which is why I don't have a 'proper' Les Paul. But what I mean is that the modern Burstbuckers are recreations of the original PAF's and as such it is how a LP Standard is supposed to sound. I'd give my hind teeth for a cherry burst Les Paul Standard except that my dentist has already got first dibs on 'em. But that's another story.

Pribek said...

"My fingers acted like digital Keystone Cops, falling over each other instead of getting out of the way."
That's great, I may "borrow" that one.
It won't take you long to get back in the groove on the Les Paul. Just close your eyes and play one note for a couple of minutes. Sounds silly but, try it and see.
Axe Victim is dead right about the pick ups too, I think.

Kenski said...

Okay, okay... I'll hold off for now :-)

Two of my heroes, Warren Haynes and Dickey Betts, use the Pearly Gates pickups in their LP's (allegedly), but their guitars pre-date the BB Pros. I love the raw 'Texas Blues' sound they give and that's the tone I want some days, but the stocks give something similar yet subtley different when driven hard.

Played clean, though, the Gibsons are much warmer...

Perhaps I need to just get a beaten up LP from back in the day when the stocks weren't so meaty. Mortgage... new guitar... mortgage... hmmm... tough choice!

Kenski said...

Jack... I'll try the one note thing. Actually, just doing chromatic scales is probably another good thing to do as I need to get used to the scale length again...

AND standing up whilst playing!!!

Hell, I think I can stand up and play one note... but not on one leg!!!!!

Pribek said...

Standing on one leg and playing type of sobriety test, perhaps?

Axe Victim said...

Ah yes, the old stahnding up while playing routine eh? Not an easy trick to perform at first. Comes with practice, like all things.

Man, if you can afford to buy an older LP just for the tone then just go for it. You only live once. A word to the wise though. Don't make friends with chaps that work in guitar stores. You'll end up with way too many guitars (as if) and you'll be perpetually skint. As indeed am I!!!

Finally, Kenski - after reading your blog from start to finish I realise that you have very much the same musical taste as me (I also love Disneyland for adults). For example: Please Be With Me. Man alive I have that song on the original vinyl LP by the band that wrote it - Cowboy. As for Dickey Betts ahhhh...

Another thought is to buy a cheaper Epi Lesalike (I have one so it is no shame) and retro fit that as much as you like to experiment with. Mine is fitted with a Seymour Duncan jazz at the neck and a 59 PAF at bridge. It has a very mellow vibe which is what I am all about. So that's a less expensive option and where aftermarket pups come into their own. You culd own several in fact. Now there's a thought.

Kenski said...

AxeV, you're killing me. Unless my dearest mother has thrown it out, I have a copy of Cowboy's "5'll Getcha Ten" (wasn't that the album?), too. Love it. First heard of them from the "Duane Allman Anthology" and went through a phase of buying everything I could find on Capricorn Records. I currently only have access to a "Best Of Cowboy" CD, which has many of the tracks but I prefer albums to compilations, if that makes sense.

Am I going to have to visit my parents house to check what else I have on vinyl? Damn...

My Pearly Gates are currently installed in a non-name-brand LP copy. They make a sound like the world is ending, but let's face it, in a game of 'who do I want on my team' the Gibson's gonna get picked first!

Hey, since you like 'real music' you should check out

Good music. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

If I can (which seems doubtful, but one can hope) I'm gonna make the 3rd May Skinny Molly gig.

Dave Jacoby said...

I just had the reverse experience, pulling out my acoustic after a long time focusing on my Tele twanging. It's strung light, so I didn't get the "Oh my goodness! That's so hard!" that often comes. (Buddy Guy plays acoustic guitars like they're electric, which is why they sound like unplugged Stratocasters in his hands.)

I just ended my Idolize Skydog phase for this year, but I'm glad you, your LP and your Marshall are happy together, even if your neighbors aren't. B)

Axe Victim said...

Yes, '5'll Getcha Ten' is indeed the album and I too discovered Cowboy from that very same Duane Allman Anthology Pt 1. Of course it goes with out saying that you also have Pt 2 as well as 'Dreams'the boxed set, and then there is the 25th anniversarry edition of Layla featuring on whole CD devoted to the 'Jams' in which Eric first meets the Allman Brothers and invites them back to Muscle Shoals, where he is recording Layla, to jam with his band. If not, brother are you in for a treat.

Who are the other bands you mention such as Skinny Molly? Is this a new version of Molly Hatchet? And you have to check out the Drive by Truckers. They are my favorite band of all time - and are playing London in August I have my tickets already.

Finally, if you can make it on a Tuesday over to Airplay Studios we can teach my splinter group ho wto play Melissa and I'll sing it for you. It's probably my favorite Allman's song, written after SkyDog died. I wish I could play like the Allman's. But your blog has inspired me to sit down and graft again. Funnily enough, spealing of Melissa, I am currently writing a new song called Sweet Amelia. Ther eare obvious paralels but none I had thought of before just now. However, God I do like the sound of my own type, if you check out my song 'Black Holes Don't Eat Everything' the chorus is a direct lift of the actual chord E based progression from the verse of Melissa. It was the first thing I ever leaned on the guitar (it took me ten yers to learn anything new) and once I had fopund my songwriting ability and 'voice' I knew that I had to use that chord progression in one of my songs. I'm not sure that one is on our myspace so I will load it to the Axe Victim myspace if need be so you can check it out. I'm off on one so I'l wrap up. Lots of good music to discuss mate. I'm hoping that you can turn me onto some new southern rock bands.
PS Pribek - great tunes

Axe Victim said...

Just checked, Black Holes is on our myspace at

Kenski said...

Hey Axe,

Emailed you at your hotmail account.

You know, I never bought the Dreams box set as I thought they were just repeats of what I had. I've read somewhere that they're different recordings, though?

Damn. Don't have the 25th Anniversary Layla set, just the 'remixed' one. I'll definitely check it out.

Drive By Truckers? Any suggestions for a first CD to get? I see they allow show taping and have recordings at (check it out if you don't already know it, seriously). I'll grab a concert or two!

I don't know much about Skinny Molly other than they're a band who play a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd stuff and one of the guitarists was with LS for a few years after they reformed in the 90's, I figure they'll be loud and southern. Tickets are, like £10 on the door and the venue is tiny!

Sheesh, I'm supposed to be spending today recording. Good job it's COLD or I'd probably sneak out with Blackie and annoy folks in a park ;-)

Axe Victim said...

Yes the archive is a wonderful free resourse isn't it. And I haven't begun to tap inot al lof teh Grateful Dead stuff on there. I have a brilliant Little Feat at the LA Colliswassitsname and tons of teh DBT's live stuff. Make sure wyou get tickets for the Electric Ballroom in August. I'm actually going with Mrs. Axe which will be unusual. She and I don't go to gigs together much these days - but that's another story! Right, DBT starter albums. The essential collection is as follows:

They are all great. I'd probably avoid Gangsterbilly but it does have some great stuff on it including Living Bubba, but this was thier first album and they have moved on an awful lot since. To enjoy the modern sound of DBT try Dirty South, Southern Rock opera, and the new one wassitsname I forget! There's a great review of it on my site too! But the best way is to download the free live stuff and figure out what you do and don't like about DBT and buy accordingly. That's pretty much what I did.

Further on up the road said...

I spent the weekend playing acoustic. Too busy tonight - late at work then another evening commitment.... I hate a busy life sometimes. So Tuesday night it'll be me and my Les Paul and Free, Thin Lizzy etc.