Less-Boring Looping (“Pumped-Up Kicks” Cover)

Less-Boring Looping

For a while I’ve been playing this loop-based cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped-Up Kicks” at solo gigs and with my duo band, Mental 99. At risk of sounding like a pompous dick, I’ve annotated the performance, highlighting techniques I’ve found useful for making loop-based performances livelier and less predictable.

I’ve covered some of this ground before, […]

Those $24 Acoustic Strings

As if I weren’t already blowing enough money on arcane strings, I’ve got a new obsession: Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum series acoustic strings (which sell for $24 in the U.S.).

If you hang out here much, you’ve heard me bitch incessantly about acoustic strings. I hate the way most modern strings are all hyped treble […]

Ultimate Lipstick-Tube Guitar (with experimental tone control & onboard overdrive)

Screenshot 2015-04-05 12.43.36

Okay, it’s not the ultimate lipstick-tube guitar for everybody, but it probably is for me. It’s my third lipstick-tube pickup experiment — and definitely my favorite.

You may have heard some of these parts before: I used the neck for all my Mongrel Strat projects, and the Strat-sized Seymour Duncan pickups appeared in my previous […]

Magic Fairy Dust: The Veillette Avante Gryphon

I recently reviewed the gorgeous little Veillette Avante Gryphon for Premier Guitar and liked it so much that I bought one. This was my first opportunity to record it in my studio.

The Avante Gryphon is a relatively low-cost version of Woodstock luthier Joe Veillette’s Gryphon, an 18.5″-scale 12-string designed to be tuned a minor seventh (an octave […]

Capacitor Smackdown! Does Cap Type Matter?

Cap Pot

Oh man, I’ve been wanting to do this test for ages! A direct comparison between capacitor types in a standard guitar tone circuit.

So who’s right? The Tone Illuminati who discern dramatic tone improvements after installing vintage/audiophile caps? Or skeptics who say those perceptions are delusional? Does cap type matter at all?

You tell me.

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The Live Looping Lesson

This one’s a labor of love: Premier Guitar just published my live looping lesson. Included are most of the hard-won looping techniques I’ve acquired over the last few years. I crashed and burned 100 times onstage so you don’t have to! ;)

The percentage of my life spent looking at this exact view is […]

Kitschcaster: An Experimental Fender/Gretsch Hybrid

I just completed my third DIY guitar experiment using Warmth parts. This one is a wacky Fender/Gretsch hybrid with a semi-acoustic Fender Starcaster body, a reverse, angled Strat neck, and various Gretsch-like elements, including TV Jones Filter’Tron pickups, a Bigsby/Vibramate vibrato, and a vulgar silver-sparkle finish — a tribute to the Gretsch Silver Jet, […]

Next Victim! A New DIY Guitar

Look what UPS left on my porch: the neck and body for my latest ill-advised “parts” guitar project. I’ll be slapping it together in the coming days, but I couldn’t resist showing off the pretty parts. The body is Warmoth’s Mooncaster model, which is based on Fender’s semi-hollowbody Starcaster, a quirky cult guitar if […]

My Top Three Wiring Mods

Premier Guitar just posted my new article on three favorite electric guitar wiring mods. The concepts won’t be new to anyone who hangs out here — I’ve pretty much flogged them all to death! But the new article includes the step-by-step walkthroughs that I never got around to creating for this site, and PG art […]

Chez Trussart

While in LA last weekend, I got to hang out with the guy who built my favorite modern guitar: the brilliant James Trussart.

I’ve been privileged to know many great luthiers over the years, but the thing that always impresses me about James is the way his instruments seem to be just one expression […]