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Happy New Year! A blistering overview of Q3/Q4 of 2011

Thanks to Henry K., I’m back at the computer writing up new posts for TheToneChef.com. It has been a spectacular holiday season and an incredibly busy year. I’ll let you know what’s been going on…

NEW GEAR:
hmmm… lots of new gear this year, some purchased, some on loan, some as industry accommodations. I got a new Taylor Guitars Custom Grand Concert a couple of months ago. It’s the most inspiring acoustic I’ve ever had in my hands and has me mentally writing a new article, “Why Every Guitarist Needs a Small-Bodied Acoustic”. It’s short-scale, shallow bodied, and small-framed so it cuts through a mix beautifully and sounds nice and polite when played solo. • I just got a couple of new fuzzes from JHS Pedals– namely because the new Switchfoot record, Dark Horses, is a clinic in tasty fuzz tones- and I gotta say, the BunRunner dual pedal is probably the most musical fuzz I’ve ever played. I haven’t played a ton, but until now I haven’t really found a kosher way to use a fuzz pedal in a singer/songwriter, pop music environment but the BunRunner does it perfectly. It also allows for the more crazy and spitty tones, too, just in case you need to blow off some steam. • I’ve had a James Tyler Burning Water at my house since this past Summer and it reminds me what a great builder Jim is. • I got a pair of Line 6 DT25 combos over the summer as part of the beta test team and those are beautiful and smart little monsters. 25watts of power that can be used as a standalone amp, as the delivery method for the POD HD series (excellent tone tools) or as powered cabinets for rackmounted preamp gear like a Fractal FX, Eleven Rack, or ADA MP1 Programmable Tube Preamp. • I received a Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay and seriously can’t believe how amazing it sounds. This is the year for delay apparently, with Strymon’s Timeline and the JHS Panther Delay being released, as well as the ongoing popularity of TC Electronic’s and Eventide’s stompbox digital delays. But for my money, you can’t beat the Dual Tap Delay. A detailed review with video is in the works, but I’m telling you, it’s the dipping sauce to my nuggets these days. SO good. • The latest and greatest piece of gear is a Tom Anderson Classic from 1993. It’s unfinished and naturally relic’d since it has been Tom’s “shop guitar” and “test guitar” for almost 20 years. Beautiful single coils with overall playability that feels like you’ve fallen seat-first into a LA-Z-BOY made of your favorite jeans.

NEW GIGS:
Not a tremendous amount of “new” gigs to speak of. I became the staff producer for The Armchair Project, which is an ongoing project to add fresh music into traditional church services. • I got to play on a handful of tracks for the ever-so-talented Andrea Hamilton’s new record, available here. • I tracked commercials for Farmer’s Insurance, Extended Stay America hotels, Pioneer car audio, and I even did voice-over work for Elixir Strings. • I was on the beta team for the DT series of amps for Line 6. • I am halfway through the production of a follow-up EP for Kip Fox, the most talented male vocalist I know. • My instructional video (Worship Guitar Now: Tones, Tools & Tips) is still in the editing bay so I’m hoping that you’ll see that in 2012. It would’ve been out by now but they’re trying to use computer special effects to make the host less ugly. haha. • I’ve done a handful of on-site workshops teaching college students how to approach live and session work as a thinking guitar player. • And I just completed my 5th full year as a traveling clinician for Taylor Guitars’ award winning Road Show program. My hope is that they want another 5 years, but you never know how long somebody’s gonna need a contract guitar player and Product Specialist. The shelf life is fixed and short. All the more reason to hold it in the highest regard and to wear your appreciation on your sleeve.

PLANNED FOR 2012:
I have articles planned for the next few weeks of TheToneChef.com. Reviews of the JHS BunRunner, the Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay, Taylor Guitars Solidbody Double Cut are in the works and articles on small-bodied acoustics, Beginner’s Guide to getting into the rack effects world, an update on Three years of Line 6’s M13 in action, how to succeed in the mail-away guitar session world, and a primer in studio ownership (hopefully) are all in the works.

MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2012:
• Van Halen will tour but not everyone will care. A little too much drama in that camp to keep up the devil-may-care, good-time vibes.
• I will buy more gear, testing the bounds of my wife’s patience.
• Guitar players will still be trying to find a Dumble in a stompbox.
• Guitar players will still be trying to find a Klon clone on the cheap.
• Guitar players will still be wasting time with fruitless gear-searchess instead of practicing. Frodo is dead, boys. Get back to your metronome.
• Brazilian Rosewood will reach an all-time high of Brazillions of dollars for just the sawdust.
• Gibson will still be Gibson. *sigh*
• Fender will try to sue every family in America with the last name Fender. *sigh* (I share a birthday with Leo, so my deepest love goes out to that company, but still….)
• Hipsters will still love stupid things, but only ironically.
• Everyone who wore a mustache in 2011 will see pictures of it in 2012 and be moved to apologize publicly.

Happy New Years, y’all. Smooch.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Henry K December 29, 2011, 11:18 pm

    Welcome back!

  • el jefe de la cucina December 29, 2011, 11:22 pm

    Thank you, Henry! It’s good to be back. 🙂

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