What?! I watched you die!

Last night the power went out just as we were about to watch Breaking Bad. After sitting in the dark for an hour or so, listening to all my UPSes slowly beep themselves to death, Naomi and I started talking about the small generator we’ve had sitting in the garage for years. We’ve never used it, but at last here was its chance to shine! We’d get to watch Breaking Bad after all!

We pulled the generator out of the garage, set it up on the back deck, and ran a long extension cord up to the TV upstairs. With a little work, we got the generator running, though it was running pretty roughly. I figured it was due to the old gas that had been sitting in the tank for years, but I figured as long as it was running, it should do the job.

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Reducing annoying Mesa channel-switching mute

Beware, this will be an overly geeky, technical post.

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2x12 cab

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2×12 cab

I recently bought a secondhand Mesa Express 5:50 head, and I absolutely love it, but I’m really annoyed by the brief mute in the signal when switching channels. I know it’s there to eliminate popping during channel switching, but the silence is almost as annoying as the pop would be. I figured the silence might not be audible in a full band setting, but after a few practices I’ve found that it’s definitely still audible and noticeable, and it ends up sounding like I’m entering each new section a tiny bit late. I could try to train myself to hit the footswitch a quarter second early, but I was wondering if I can find a way to tweak the circuit to maybe shorten the silence. Continue reading

Rewiring Fender 4×12 cab for Mono/Stereo

In my continuing quest to find the guitar sound that’s in my head, I keep experimenting with different combinations of amps and cabs. I’ve determined that I definitely prefer the fuller sound of more than one speaker playing together. I also really like running two different amps, both switching between them and playing through both at the same time. The latter really makes for an interesting, full-bodied sound.

The obvious solution would be to simply set up two amps side by side, each with at least a 2×12 cabinet, so that even when I’m playing through just one or the other, I’ve still got a nice big sound. But, with a few fun exceptions, Senryu doesn’t (yet?) play stages big enough to allow for such an expansive rig. And, more importantly, I’d really like to avoid lugging two amps and two cabs to each show. Continue reading

Safety First

You know how everyone knows that when you’re drilling through sheet metal, you’re not supposed to hold it in your hand — you should always clamp it, because the drill can catch it and spin it around and turn it into a whirling blade of death? And you know how sometimes you think, “Man, it’s such a pain to clamp it down; I’ll just hold onto it really tight?” That’s exactly as bad an idea as you think.