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Messages - Tony Raven

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Musician's Friend still has it, for $400:

If you buy used, make sure you get the case!!

Sweet little guitars, especially for soloing. The period V-profile neck throws more than a few guitarists, but I really like it.

When an axe has any onboard electronics (pickups, EQ, &/or effects), you need some way to turn the battery off, else you'll have to put a new one in every time you intend to use the guitar.

Unless there's a switch for this purpose, then the most common trick is to use a stereo jack. With a two-conductor plug, battery power is activated by running a lead to the "second channel" on the jack, which is grounded by running through the barrel of the plug.

Any "stereo" jack that fits will do just fine.

So, no, no stereo output.  ;D

The problem, though, might not be with the extant jack itself, but the wiring. A common problem I see is that the jack's mounting nut loosens up, & someone takes a pliers to it. One good twist & the wires get wrapped around the jack body (causing an intermittent short) or even tear loose from a solder joint -- which is why this either needs to be done with a little caution, or with the cover off so you can hold the jack in place as you tighten the nut. (A dab of Locktite or similar wouldn't hurt either.) Check your wiring first or you might just be putting new hardware on a recurring problem.

General Discussion / Re: All Wood Or A Wood Top
« on: March 16, 2012, 10:54:42 PM »
It's definitely one of those "YMMV" situations. I know a few players who turn up their little noses at my mere spruce-top guitars, because (to them) there's NOTHING that creeps up on a select cedar top for tone.

Well, I'm an old hard-rocker with a strange love of folk tunes, so I can readily get away with whanging madly at any old box. I can play some sweet jazz on an archtop, but (weirdly perhaps) this doesn't translate to flat-top. Spruce is about my personal level -- while I can goggle at the tones of a cedar, it's mostly wasted on my paltry abilities.

Back in Santa Fe, I spent a wonderful afternoon at a shop (now apparently defunct, alas), & among the highlights were a carbon-top & Martin aluminum-top. I laughed, I picked them up, my jaw hit the floor -- really, these things sound AMAZING. Use of dead trees is minimal, less than you'd find in an Ovation.

There's plywood, & then there's plywood. Again, IME, a top-notch plywood won't have a chance (tonally) against a mid-range single layer of wood. But there's plenty of tonewood that's poorly selected, or covered in too much finish, so "solid wood" is NOT by any stretch a guarantee of tonal quality.

I should also point out that a quality guitar needs to "age in" to achieve a rich tone. A new guitar can sound too crisp (the wood is still marginally wet) or too muddy (the glue hasn't set to its full rigidity). And an acoustic that sits unplayed for years will not sound as good as one that has been played heavily over a similar span -- it's as if the glue needs to be pushed into its final place by the vibrations running through the body.

General Discussion / Re: All Wood Or A Wood Top
« on: March 11, 2012, 11:04:31 PM »
The "all wood" guitars hold their value better. Years down the road, people will pay more for a used guitar that's got higher-cost materials.

IME, laminate ("plywood") tops are a little quieter & not as tonally rich. But for a guitar that's going to see a lot of gigs &/or be stored in a wide range of temp & humidity, I'd go for a good laminate every time.

It's pretty standard to use 250K or 500K for passive pickups -- generally 250K per coil. It's a brute-force solution, running the pickup through a variable resistor.

But the XB-400 has active circuitry. Rather than blocking the pickup voltage, an active's volume pot is adjusting the preamp's output -- don't quote me, but I vaguely recall an active circuit that had a 10K volume pot. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the 400's is 100K.

Well, darnit, I could put my 400 up on the bench, but I'm tired...

Anyone who thinks they hate country should be blown away by watching Brad Paisley. Lord, what that man can do with one skinny li'l pickup.  :o

When I think Tele, though, I flash back to the late Don Rich. Highly talented fiddler who is now mostly known as the guy standing beside Buck Owens. Here's a good (too-brief) example:

Don't forget that Jimmy Page played a Tele for years (apparently also for "Stairway to Heaven"). James Burton is often associated with the Tele, & Bruce Springsteen has his iconic Esquire.

Discuss Basses and Bass Playing / Re: Greatest bass player
« on: February 05, 2012, 01:56:25 PM »
Entwistle & Jones, definitely -- both inspired me to take up bass. But there's also Jack Casady & Felix Pappalardi. And the first time I saw tape of Les Claypool, I kept picking my jaw off the floor. :o

Southwest Series / Buzz Feiten system?
« on: February 05, 2012, 01:53:30 PM »
I really WANT to like the Feiten system on my D46, but it seems to be defying me. Once I got past the hype about how it's gonna improve my playing, I'm happy that it's just a good bone nut.

But the B string just will not intonate correctly. I use the onboard tuner, but to play a C chord I have to sharp the B a tiny bit... which would seem to put the lie to the Feiten setup.

At the moment I'm not playing much, so I'll probably find time to restring & see if that helps, but I suspect it may need a slight touch of the files.

Anyone got impressions of the Feiten setup? Has it made the promised huge difference for you?

Acoustic Guitar Players Post Comments & Questions / Re: Singers
« on: February 05, 2012, 01:45:32 PM »
I'm prone to stage fright. This is VERY weird as I'm great at public speaking, & can work an audience like you wouldn't believe. But put a guitar in my hands & it all falls readily to heck.

As such, I don't eat ANYTHING for two hours before a show, & I don't drink ANYTHING fizzy or I often find myself fighting nausea.

So, yah, a liter of good spring water nearby, & lime wedges if available. If it's been a good night & I'm relaxed, I might have a beer handy during the last set, but usually I peck at one while tearing down gear, & maybe another after loadout.

With the stresses of setting up & performing, risk of messing up vocal cords is increased. Belting out blues for a couple hours, without proper hydration, is just begging for damage.

General Discussion / Re: Hey, Washburn, we have an idea!
« on: February 05, 2012, 01:23:48 PM »
I've been letting this run in my head, & I think I see part of the problem in getting word out about how great Washburn instruments are: diversity.

If I were to win Powerball & be able to be (IMO) a proper Washburn dealer, I'd open three shops:
  • solidbody electrics, heavily into everything Nuno for starters
  • acoustics
  • basses
Too many stores' websites proudly splash huge corporate logos all over the place... then you walk into the shop & find they don't actually STOCK even a single example of half those. "Oh -- but we can ORDER it for you!!" just does NOT cut the mustard. When someone walks in the door who looks like a credible customer, especially a first-timer, I tend to chat 'em up for two minutes, drag 'em over to a display, & proudly say "You really gotta try THIS." Bam -- emotional buy-in. Most won't buy right then-&-there, of course, but they're impressed that I have THEM in mind, & this greatly improves the chances of a near-future sale... something that ain't gonna happen by flipping through a catalog.

{No, I've not yet opened my own store, but there are at least five shops who've made the joke that I should be getting a commission, because I often know the stock better than their clerks.  8) I love guitars, & I support my fave dealers.}

First impressions are SERIOUS business. If a metalhead looks through the door & sees racks of lovely acoustics, he might never enter; conversely, if the front is clogged with flashy shred-machines, this could be chasing the country players away. If they're all mixed together, then everyone gets the impression the store doesn't give a damn about anyone.

And that's kinda where Washburn is.

Sweet. I almost bought one years ago just for the looks (I'm a total sucker for slabs of MOP). I wasn't really impressed with the acoustic volume or the plugged-in tone, but both can be fixed.

While uncommon (I hesitate to say "rare"), there's not much demand, but you could put it up on Craigslist & see if you can draw $300. Probably not worth the cost to have the inlay piece replaced -- it'll play just fine without it -- but a proper polish & decent knobs is easy. If I offered $175, it'd be because I was pretty sure someone would pay me $350 within a couple months. Original case is definitely a sweetener.

General Discussion / Identifying your Washburn, 1988-2000
« on: January 24, 2012, 09:23:25 PM »
I'm reasonably certain that this this has been posted before somewhere in the Forum, but as I can't find it, I'll bring it up again:

A year-by-year collection of PDF documents. The older ones are pretty primitive (model number, available finishes, & original list price), but starting with 1990 you might find body materials, scale length, nut width, neck & fingerboard woods, electronics, bridge type, tuner type, & neck inlays for all Washburn instruments.

Yes, I wish that photos were included....

Discuss Basses and Bass Playing / Washburn CB line?
« on: January 16, 2012, 08:41:42 PM »
I'm (yet again) late to the party, & only became aware of the CB "Classic Bass" series of basses last year. As so often happens, Washburn put out a rather sprawling line, with all sorts of veneers & pickups, then apparently pulled the plug on the whole shebang. Browsing online, I've spotted the CB4RG, CB14SB, CB5QB, CB16SB, CB14M, CB14MK, CB4QB, CB15OCOK, & a couple of carved-top semi-hollows (no model number listed)... but I can't find ANY structured info about these!!

I'd really appreciate any info on these instruments.

Bantam Basses / Re: Machine Heads For XB105
« on: January 14, 2012, 10:27:57 AM »
I was just out browsing for similar -- an XB-400 with a slightly bent tuner shaft that sticks a bit. Allparts has similar no-names for $13:
Or Gotoh for a few dollars more:

The shape is pretty common. You could probably fit Wilkinson or Hipshot or Grover, if you want to put in a new set.

Bantam Basses / Re: forum newbie, long term Bantam cusodian
« on: January 14, 2012, 10:19:54 AM »
Seems like everyone who has a Washburn headless bass loves the thing!! They don't show up very often, for sure. Personally, I've been interested in a B-20 since playing one back in the 1980s when I was flat broke, & while not "a collector" in the market, I've yet to see one used....

Offhand, all I know is that it's an unlicensed copy of the Steinberger, but without the double-ball string system. (I can't find any indication that this copying led to a cease-&-desist, so I suspect that production was never very large.) Yet I have seen at least one strung with double-ball strings, so maybe it'll handle both?

At a guess, I think it's Matsumoku era, which would be pre-1987. If so, one source says the first digit is the year, so then 1983.

Seems like the (licensed) Hohner version is a LOT more common on the market. If you find any more info on the Washburns, I hope you'll keep us informed!!

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