Tonight I’ve been teaching my son how to operate a metal lathe. Awesome. He’s got a healthy respect for the machine and is doing a good job of understanding how all the gears and levers work together to make the cuts you want to make. This is one of my favorite parts of being a dad.
Hey, look who’s on MTVu’s website.
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.
Beware, this will be an overly geeky, technical post.
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
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
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.
A few months ago I built a simple active 4-into-1 stompbox-sized mixer, which I dubbed Sir Mix-a-lot, for combining my guitar and keyboard sounds to run through my pedalboard and into my amps. At the time, I didn’t yet have an oscilloscope, and so I didn’t really have any way to calibrate the level knobs. I just sort of threw it on my pedalboard and figured that turning the knobs all the way up was probably about unity gain (i.e. the output level is the same as the input level), and so that’s how I’ve been using it. Until now, I’ve generally left the two knobs near the top.
Today I realized that, now that I do have an oscilloscope, I should probably check out where unity actually is for each knob, and mark it. Continue reading