Guitar Musician e-zine     10/11/2006


In This Issue:


 

"Neil Young and Barry Friedman had stolen a Buffalo Springfield sign off the steamroller for Barrys house. They put it up. We all looked at it on the wall and a light went off. That's how we came up with the name" - Steven Stills / Buffalo Springfield / Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / Manassas (note: That steam roller was parked out in front of Sol Betnuns Music Store, which was a converted house on Larchmont Avenue just south of Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood ... Sols' was the music store that supplied most of the great used stuff, the others were "Mad Man Louies' Pawn Shop" on Main Street in downtown L.A., the "Backroom" across the street from the Musician's Union on Vine St. 2 doors down from Milt Owens' Guitar Repair and Barney Kessells' guitar shop on Vine and Yucca both in Hollywood and you had to find out about them to even know that they were there - Dr. Duck)


Some Humor

 

After a long night of making love, he notices a photo
of another man on her night stand by the bed. He
begins to worry.

 "Is this your husband?" he nervously asks.

 "No, silly," she replies, snuggling up to him.

"Your boyfriend, then?" he continues.

 "No, not at all," she says, nibbling away at his
ear.

"Is it your dad or your brother?" he inquires, hoping
to be reassured.

 "No, no,no!!!" she answers.

 "Well, who in the hell is he, then?" he demands.

 "That's me before the surgery."


A Lesson For The Learning

Interested in guitar lessons? - Be sure and check out the guitar lessons offered by Andrew Koblick at Amazing Guitar




 

  • SWR WorkingPro Series Combos

  • Serious sound priced for working-class bassists

  • By Dan Delano
  • Serious sound priced for working-class bassists
  • SWR has accomplished a major feat in its WorkingPro Series bass combos. They have created a moderately priced, extensively equipped line with all the features bassists need on the job, built them to be rugged and portable, and they have done it without compromising the sound that made SWR the choice of professionals in the first place.
  • The series includes a 100-watt 10" for lighter volume needs, a 200-watt 12" and 15", and a 260-watt 2x10". Except for power, speaker size, and some cabinet differences, all share the same basic features. I gave the two largest combos in the series—the WorkingPro 15 and WorkingPro 2x10C—lengthy test drives and found both to be quite impressive. For the serious gigging bassist who has high standards but not a lot of money, the WorkingPro amps are a perfect fit.
  • SWR WorkingPro 15 200 Watt 1x15
    SWR WorkingPro 15 200 Watt 1x15" Bass Combo Amp
  • Good and loud

  • The main requirement of a bass amp is to sound good at volume. It must be clear, clean, and balanced—a sound that is musical and shapable through a wide range of tonal colorings. The WorkingPro 15 and 2x10C have great fundamental sound quality and exceptionally wide tonal range. I personally prefered the 2x10C because of its tight focus and punchy sound. Both of these WorkingPro combos are capable of producing a massive low-end sound beyond their size.
  • This big-bottom capability results from many factors, but the primary one is SWR’s proprietary Bass Intensifier preamp circuitry. It cuts and boosts specific bottom frequencies and adds smooth compression. When I first turned on the 15, centered the EQ knobs, and brought up master volume, I was greeted by a clean, very usable basic sound. When I switched on the Intensifier, the sound instantly became a fat, powerful, floor-shaking tone that seemed impossibly big. The Bass Intensifier is a great feature and footswitchable so you can kick it on and off as desired onstage.
  • Dialing and smiling

  • The WorkingPro amps are extremely tweakable even without the dramatic effect of the Bass Intensifier. A 3-band EQ (with dialable mids on the 15 and 2x10C) gives you excellent basic control of your tone. Another effective and interesting switch is a Wedge EQ. It is a shape switch designed for use when the cab is in a tilted back position to replace the lows lost through less floor contact. It can be used anytime, however, as another quick way to boost the bottom.
  • A Transparency knob (only on the 15 and 2x10C) is yet another tone-shaping tool. It raises the very highest highs to give the tone a glassiness that is very tube-like.
  • Perhaps the most important sound-shaping tool of all is the Aural Enhancer. This knob has been a mainstay on SWR amps since the ’80s and is often credited with creating the SWR sound. As you dial it up, it brings out the fundamental and suppresses frequencies that mask it, making the low-end richer and clearer. It only impacts frequencies that are untouched by the primary tone controls, so it doesn’t duplicate or cancel their effect. From about 2 o’clock on it functions as a mid-scoop, accentuating highest transients and lowering mids to give a sound that is particularly effective for slapping.
  • Even the cabinet itself gets into the sound-shaping game. It is horn-loaded and has a switch on the side that turns the horn off or on or on with a -6dB pad. This is an important control option as you know if you’ve ever used an amp that doesn’t let you defeat the horn or vary its level. The WorkingPro 10, 12, and 15 have an internal speaker jack, so you can substitute an extension speaker for the internal. The 2x10C has a second speaker jack so you can add the extension.
  • SWR WorkingPro 12 200 Watt 1x12
    SWR WorkingPro 12 200 Watt 1x12" Bass Combo Amp
  • Built to play big

  • If you are playing gigs, you need a bass amp that is strong and durable, but more importantly you need one with the structural integrity it takes to play loud. Lightweight speakers and thin-walled cabinets don’t cut it. They get overwhelmed by unruly bass-frequency vibrations. The WorkingPro combos are solid and substantial enough to handle big volume effortlessly.
  • This substantial construction and big bass-capable speakers mean added heft. While the two largest WorkingPro combos aren’t light, they still are fairly portable. Hinged side handles make them easy for two to lift and carry, and a top handle allows one stout person to do it alone. They also come with removable casters so you can roll them from street to stage.
  • Pro-level connectivity

  • Gig situations vary and connectivity needs change. The WorkingPro combos cover all the bases. Connections include a balanced XLR line out that is switchable between line and instrument levels, has a level pad of -10dB, and is equipped with a ground lift. Additionally there is a rear-panel unbalanced line level 1/4" output, a side-mounted 1/4" line input, effects in/out with blend knob, an extension speaker jack, tuner out with a footswitchable mute, and a headphone out. Everything about the WorkingPro Series combo is geared to the needs of gigging bassists, from the sound to the look. I can’t think of any important feature they lack, and they’re way easy on the savings account.
  • Features & Specs:


  • WorkingPro Combo Features(link)
  • 200W power (WorkingPro 12 and 15)
  • 100W power (WorkingPro 10)
  • 260W power (WorkingPro 2x10C)
  • Eminence speakers (10", 12", 15", and 2 - 10" configurations)
  • Le Son horn tweeter (with on/-6dB/off switch)
  • Switchable input (passive/active)
  • SWR preamp with Aural Enhancer, Bass Intensifier, and Wedge EQ
  • Footswitchable Bass Intensifier
  • 3-band active EQ on WorkingPro 10 and 12
  • 4-band active EQ on WorkingPro 15 and 2x10C with sweepable mids
  • Footswitchable mute button
  • Power amp clip LED
  • Switchable limiter
  • Effects loop with front-panel blend knob
  • Gain and master volume (volume only WorkingPro 10)
  • Stamped powder coat grille
  • Balanced XLR direct out with line/direct, ground lift, 0dB/-10dB switches
  • Unbalanced 1/4" line out

GUITAR Q AND A

 

Exercises to Build Pick Speed

Drew Yale; Burlington, VT

Q: I'm wondering if you have any exercises I can do to improve my picking speed. I am working on techniques like sweep and tremolo picking but I am looking for a way to make normal picking much faster. Thanks for any help you can give me.  

A: Two things I recommend are:

  • Practice a triplet lead pattern down your favorite scales. Going down three notes from each scale degree is a great- sounding pattern and because it is an uneven number it really gives your pick a workout and helps to develop speed.
  • Find a single-string classical piece to practice. Most are very challenging and it is much more interesting than only scales. Two of my favorites are Mozart's Sonata #11 and Sonata #16.

    Hope this helps!

    Yours in Music
    John McCarthy
    Rock House


 

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  Tech Tip - Avoiding Hum
By Dennis Kambury

The prime reason for hum is the ground loop, caused when the sound system has two or more different ground points. This is easy to do if, for example, you plug your guitarist's amp into the onstage socket, and your mixer into the socket at the back of the house. These separate points will have different electrical potentials, causing electrical current to flow. The result is easy to hear, but how do you fix the problem?

The best solution is to ensure that all AC power is supplied from one single circuit from the power mains. If that's not enough juice, at least make sure that all your circuits come from the same panel with the same ground.

The ground loop can also be broken by the use of a ground lift adapter, but it's not a very good idea, as this method is potentially fatal -- breaking the ground means that the signal could potentially find its way to earth directly through YOU!

Poor or damaged cables can also be a source of problems as hum can be picked up from light fixtures, motors, and other common electrical sources. Avoid cheap molded-head connectors, and take time between gigs to check your cables for good solder joints, clean connectors, and undamaged shielding.

There is another cable-based source of hum induced from power cabling into signal cabling. Briefly, when the two types of cables are running parallel, the AC signal can be picked up by the signal cable, amplified, and broadcast for the world to hear! Keep your power and signal cables well separated; and, if they must cross, always cross them at right angles to each other.


Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

 
Rosa Passos, Rosa
music
By Danny Carnahan
Rosa is a daring and intimate outing for Passos, a singer/guitarist who has been popular in Brazil for three decades without hitting the American commercial highs of João Gilberto, with whom she’s often compared. This, her first real solo album, places nothing in the way of her voice and guitar, creating a series of sonic dreamscapes, each gently morphing into the next. While she captures the pensive romanticism of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Eu Não Existo Sem Você”, her range and emotion really are best showcased in the six original compositions on the CD. In “Sutilezas” she moves from being whisper-quiet without being breathy to a crystalline directness that cuts right to the heart as she navigates her daringly wide melodic range. In her guitar work, Passos often strips bossa nova down to an almost Zen-like simplicity and understatement. This makes the commanding nature of her accompaniment all the more masterful. Nonetheless, we do get a few tastes of Passos’ more complex fingerpicking chops: When she blossoms into more animated playing on her own “Demasiado Blue,” it’s as if the sun has come out from behind a cloud, the accompaniment perfectly tracking her emotions, from quietly hopeful to a fully voiced joy. (Telarc, www.telarc.com)

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