The Startup Musician Podcast

by el jefe de la cucina on April 4, 2014

The Startup Musician started doing a series of podcasts and I’m excited to share that I was the first one. If you’ve ever wondered what I sound like, well, here’s your chance. I use lots of air quotes while talking, so… there’s that.

Anyway, the link to the podcast is here, and while you’re over at The Startup Musician, browse around a bit. It’s a cool site with some great information.


MojoHand FX Speakeasy Boost

by el jefe de la cucina on January 10, 2014

I think I have finally discovered my 3-pedal Desert Island Signal Chain, and all are MojoHandFx stuff. The Bluebonnet OD is a simple and dark OD, the Crosstown Fuzz is Brad’s modified Fuzz Face circuit, and for a solo boost/sweetener, it’s the Speakeasy. I prefer it with the tone and gain maxed out for extra bite and clarity and the toggle in the down position for the most fullness. But I’ve got a half dozen boost pedals on my pedal shelf and none of them give me the giggles like this one does.

I’ve said this before, but MojoHand is one of the only companies whose pedals I will pay full price for and would do so without hearing them first. Brad’s stuff is top of the heap.

Here’s the Speakeasy with those other two pedals I mentioned.


How to Choose the Right Guitar Pick

by el jefe de la cucina on January 2, 2014

As tone aficionados, we try to make sure that we have the right guitars, amps and stompboxes. But we often overlook some of the less sexy ingredients in the signal chain that can make just as much of an improvement as the right guitar.

It’s all in the Pick
The first order of business is to pay attention to what kind of pick you’re using. I have been the player who collects picks right and left, and just wants to have to the ones with the cool pictures on them and I have been the player who can ONLY use his ONE tried and true “lucky” pick. These days, I find myself in the middle of those two. I have found a company that makes a pick that I love, and I make sure that I keep extras with me everywhere I play.

A few years ago, I assumed that the secret to Eric Johnson’s playing was his Dunlop Jazz III picks, and so I swore off every pick in my collection in favor of those little red magic guitar picks. picture of a dunlop jazz III pick

Then I was on Long Island in NY for a gig and I discovered these great picks made by Cool Picks with a kind of grip tape on them so that they wouldn’t slip out of my hand. Those were roughly the same shape as the Jazz III, but they were slightly larger and felt more sturdy. picture of a Cool Pick

After that, my friend, Bryan Kehoe from Dunlop sent me a grip load of these pointy little wonders called the Ultex Sharp. Those were awesome, and made me feel like I was Lincoln Brewster (who surprisingly uses a thinner guitar pick). picture of a Dunlop Ultex Sharp pick

Finally, I’ve landed on a pick that really feels and sounds great, thanks to my friend, Kenny, who uses the same ones. If you haven’t ever tried one, you owe it to yourself to contact V-Picks in Nashville and order a sample pack. These are made of rigid plastic that looks like plexiglass and they come in a TON of different shapes and sizes. Picture of a V-Pick Medium Lite

Keep in mind, what works for one person may not work for another. I’d encourage you to look for your own favorite kinds of picks.

How to Find YOUR Pick
For starters, I always drop the guitar picks on the glass counter of the music store when I’m looking at new ones. These days, picks come in so many different materials, and each one contributes its own personality as it strikes the guitar string. You can get a hint at how it sounds when it strikes the string by how it sounds when it lands on the music store counter. For instance, I’ve found some carbon fiber picks and when you drop those on the counter, they sound like little pieces of glass. Because of that, they chirp a little when they meet the string while you’re playing. By contrast, there are also picks made of nylon and when I drop those on the counter, they make almost no sound at all. Because of that lack of “chirp”, they meet the string with more of a “foop” or a “thud” sound.

It seems like we are splitting hairs here, but if you’re playing a strat through a Fender blackface-voiced amp, a pick that adds “chirp” to the string attach can add too much strident top end. But if you are playing a Les Paul through a Marshall, adding a little bit of chirp on the attack can bring out some of the articulation and clarity of your single note lines.

If you’re serious about sounding better, every link in the chain matters. But don’t forget to have fun with this part of the tone quest. Finding the right pick can unlock new techniques and playing styles in your playing.


Controlling Ableton Live and an Eventide H9 with a Disaster Area DMC-6D

October 3, 2013

Holy Cow. I am SO STINKING EXCITED about the possibilities of how I perform live. This is a quick and dirty overview, but I hope to get a much better video up next week that walk through the set-up (which is way easy). The signal chain is a Turbo Tuner > RAF Mirage Compressor > […]

Read the full article →

Eventide H9 “Dark Matter” video

September 5, 2013

For my birthday last month, my wife surprised me with the Eventide H9, and I could not be happier. This particular patch is Factory Preset #33, “Dark Matter”. Enjoy!

Read the full article →

Demo Video: Tom Anderson Raven, Mojohand Fuzzes, Quilter Aviator

June 4, 2013

Enjoy, my pretties! (Never mind the abundance of blue notes…)

Read the full article →

New Tom Anderson Guitarworks Raven

June 1, 2013

Here are some better pics, courtesy of John Maxwell, from Clearlake, TX.

Read the full article →

Tom Anderson Raven

May 29, 2013

I’m doing a week of rehearsals for a 3-day gig at the Alamodome in San Antonio over 4th of July and the guitar I’ve been living on is an Anderson Raven. Silent P90s in a humbucker size/form, Alder body, rosewood board, and a 5-way switch to split the pups for some clean power. This guitar […]

Read the full article →

New Softube Amp Room plugins on UAD Platform

February 15, 2013

I scripted and storyboarded this video last week and am really proud of how it turned out. Shot at Tranzformer Studios in Burbank, CA, it captures the feel of the studio and the seamlessness with which the Softube amp emulations fit into that world-class environment. I have played a ton of modelers and emulators and […]

Read the full article →

Review: DiMarzio Transition™ Pickups

January 2, 2013

It’s hard to describe how something tastes. If you had to explain what steak, or ice cream, or coffee tastes like to somebody with no taste buds, how would you do it? What words would you use? Describing how a guitar pickup sounds poses the same kind of difficulty on the internet. Many factors make […]

Read the full article →