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Guitar Musician e-zine     05/24/2006

In This Issue:

  "Lenny Breau is one of the true geniuses of the guitar. I suppose he is a musician's musician. His knowledge of the instrument and the music is so vast, and I think that's what knocks people out about him. But he's such a tasty player too. I think if Chopin had played guitar, he would have sounded like Lenny Breau."

                                                                                         -Chet Atkins

Some Humor


Ralph returns from the doctor and tells his wife that the doctor

has told him he has only 24 hours to live.  Given this prognosis, Ralph asks his wife for sex.  Naturally, she agrees, and they make love.  About six hours later, the husband goes to his wife and says, "Honey, you know I now have only 18 hours to live. Could we please do it one more time?" Of course, the wife agrees and they do it again.  Later, as the man gets into bed, he looks at his watch and realizes he now has only 8 hours left. He touches his wife's shoulder and asks, "Honey,  please, "Just one more time before I die?" she says, "Of course, dear."

And they make love for the third time. After this session, the

wife rolls over & falls asleep.  Ralph, however, worried about his impending death, tosses & turns until he's down to 4 more hours. He taps his wife, who rouses. "Honey, I have only 4 more hours. Do you think we could.....?"  At this point the wife sits up and says, "Listen Ralph, I have to get up in the morning ... You don't."


A Lesson For The Learning

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Click here for all products by Eden.

Eden WT-550 and D210XST

Paradise for the ears

By Oscar Sommers

Paradise for the ears

For the past 30 years, the Eden company has been at the forefront of bass consciousness. Its bass amplifiers and cabinets have helped redefine what bass players expect from their equipment in terms of sound and performance. Talk to any Eden player and you're sure to hear the same sweet (and deep) love song over and over. It's not merely a broken record, though, as I found out with the WT-550 amplifier and D210XST cabinet.

A compact power plant

The World Traveler 550 bass amplifier is an Eden classic. It has all the things Eden heads are best known for: clean, warm sound; a hybrid tube preamp; and a simplified EQ that's easy to use. The preamp and controls provide lots of tone-sculpting thanks to defeatable compression, EQ with extensive semi-parametric mid control, gain, and the Enhance knob. There are also controls for a -12dB input pad (via push/pull pot on the Gain knob) and a master volume.

World Traveler 550 Bass Amp
World Traveler 550 Bass Amp

There are two things you should know about the WT-550 head: it has gobs of power and sounds fantastic. The high-current power amp section delivers up to 750W (@ 2ohms) and offers a minimum of 3dB headroom. It sounds great at high or low volume levels and the Enhance knob provides fabulous quick-and-dirty tone sculpting.

The WT-550 is also really small. It's a 1' square just under 4" thick, which contributes to its portability. The combination of compact size and incredibly rugged construction also made the WT-550 feel solid as a brick. In addition to a .090-thick (that's over 2mm!), one-piece aluminum chassis, it also has a one-piece steel cover and is built to military and FAA-type standards. I'd happily stand on it without worrying at all.

Bigger than a breadbox

While the D210XST Bass Cabinet is�yes�bigger than a breadbox, it's not much bigger. Just under 2' wide and 18" high, its only large measurement is the depth: 18-1/2". That spec�coupled with the rectangular PA-style porting and specially designed 10" speakers�gives the D210XST a big low end. The hand-built Eden speakers also supply the clear, even mids and highs, while the selectable tweeter gives the cabinet true high-frequency sparkle. No matter what, the D210XST sounded smooth all over. Eden says the D210XST weighs 59 lbs., but when I picked up the cab it felt lighter. With its size and weight, the D210XST is clearly aimed at players needing a compact cabinet loud enough to play small to medium-size gigs.

D210XST Bass Cabinet
D210XST Bass Cabinet

The D210XST is extremely solid feeling, just like the WT-550. In addition to their sound, Eden is famous for the hale-and-hearty construction of its speaker cabinets, and the D210XST is no exception. Crafted from solid plywood, it has reinforced corners and dado-and-rabbet glued joints. The interior of the cabinet is extensively braced and painted black, while the outside is covered in black carpet. The rear jack panel has Neutrik binding posts for input and link connections plus a pair of standard 1/4" jacks. You'll also find the variable tweeter control on the jack plate, giving you the choice of running it flat, off, at full output, or anywhere in between.

Tonal satisfaction

What I like best about the WT-550/D210SXT rig is its incredible ability to sound warm, articulate, and clean all at the same time. With a lot of bass gear this is a pick-two-of-three type of situation but Eden gives you the whole enchilada. Plus the WT-550 really let the sound of my bass shine straight through without changing it. I just set everything flat, turned it on, and had all the tone I could have wanted. I also found I needed a lot less EQ in general to get the sound I wanted�whether at band rehearsal or during a gig. The EQ and Enhance knobs were practically an afterthought.

The WT-550 is a completely professional bass amplifier that delivers everything most bass players will ever need: power, tone, portability, and flexibility. And the D210XST amplified my sound flawlessly with confident accuracy, smooth projection, and a big, big sound with plenty of low end. Together, they represent a gold standard as a compact, tour-worthy rig with plenty of tone and volume.

Features & Specs:

    WT-550 (link)

  • 300/500/750W RMS power @ 8, 4, and 2 ohms
  • 3dB of headroom
  • Low-noise circuitry
  • -12dB input pad
  • Switchable automatic compression
  • 5-way semi-parametric tone control
  • Mono pre and stereo post tone control effects loops
  • Stereo aux inputs
  • DI out with ground lift
  • Headphone out
  • Tuner out
  • Thermostatically controlled fan
  • Dimensions: 12"W x 3-1/2"H x 12"D
  • Weight: 20 lbs.

    D210XST (link)

  • 2 - 10" Eden-made cast frame woofers
  • E-2700 Eden cast bell tweeter
  • Front-ported design
  • Solid AA void-free plywood construction
  • Dado and rabbet joints
  • Recessed side handles
  • Corner protectors
  • Heavy-duty grille
  • Extended low end
  • Neutrik binding posts I/O
  • 1/4" I/O
  • Adjustable tweeter level
  • Crossover: 3.5KHz @ 18dB
  • Power handling: 500W RMS
  • Frequency response: 30Hz-14kHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB SPL
  • Impedance: 4 or 8 ohm available
  • 23"W x 18"H x 18-1/2"D
  • 59 lbs.




Picking The Right Pick

Charley Holand; Seminole, FL

Q: Does the size or shape of my pick affect the sound of my guitar? Do I need to use different picks to play metal guitar?

A: Yes there are picks that are used to create specific sounds on the guitar. Here are some of the most common.

Thin Picks - These are commonly used for playing rhythm guitar. Because they are flexible, they bend as you strum and help create a flowing rhythm. There also is a percussive sound that is generated that adds a great rhythm effect.

Medium Picks - Medium picks are the most common picks used. You can play rhythm or lead effectively. I suggest new players start with medium gauge picks while getting the feel for the guitar.

Heavy Picks - Heavy picks are widely used for playing lead guitar. Because they have a direct response to your hand movement many players choose heavy gauge picks to shred lead guitar.

Different Shapes - The shape of a pick is very personal. Everyone seems to have a shape that feels best for them. There are small and large picks available. There are even triangle-shaped picks.

Tip Shape - The tip of the pick can be very important. Many lead guitarists use a sharp-pointed pick to help generate more speed while rhythm guitarists tend to want rounded-tip picks to help make a warm rhythm sound.

Pick Material - The two common choices that you have for picks are water based and oil based. Water-based picks absorb water and tend to be easier to grip while oil-based picks are shiny, not porous, and can slip in your fingers as you play.

I suggest that you have an assortment of different picks to use at different times while you are playing; I know I have about 100 different picks to choose from when I play.

Hope this helps!

Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House

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The Glamour of Vegas Online



Pop Quiz with ZZ Top


School's never out for the hottest band of straight shootin' Texans since Davey Crockett defended the Alamo. We pinned down the intrepid trio on their current tour and slapped a pop quiz on 'em. Each band member rose to the academic challenge with flair and aplomb.

Billy Gibbons:

1: When's your birthday? (We need it for our weekly trivia column. Don't lie, this will not compromise national security.)

A: BFG's Birthday is December 16, 1949...! No Lie...!

2: Who's the baddest mo'fo' ever to sling a 6-string? (Support your argument.)

A: There's a bunch of badass gunslingers to consider�anything from some serious metal-meshing to blues-bashing, jazz-jiving, even flamenco. I mean seriously severe slangin' on 6-strings. We know in contemporary circles, there's the obvious across the boards! Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Beck, Page, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, the illustrious combo Keith Richards and Ron Wood, on into the exotic realms from Dimebag, then the dangerous duo from Superjoint Ritual Kevin Bond and Jimmy Bower, Ministry's most outrageous Al Jourgensen master of the maniacal, Eric Johnson's speed demon-demonics, and why not go to Spain? Andre Segovia's delightful delicacies in a flamenco bag, and how 'bout Brazil�Antonio Carlos Jobim with his insane invention of chords requiring a wad of fingers, Santana, Sammy and Eddie Van H, and the remarkable line of Blues originators which list is completely compelling. I mean, MAN! Where does it end!?!?!?!?! It's a strong vision and gettin' stronger. Like Muddy Waters said, "You don't have to be th' best one, just be a good 'un!"

3: Pontificate freely as to why the blues is the leavening in every musical loaf baked in the 20th century. What makes the blues so great?

A: Simplicity in a complex free form. Basics. Layin' on the backbeat and creating avenues of provocative imaginations. And the beauty of a secret language of 'sayin' it' without sayin' it.

4: Do you still have your first guitar? (1962 Gibson Melody Maker) When's the last time you played it? (OK, that's two questions. Extra credit will be given for a complete answer.)

A: It's in the hands of a long-standing good friend Ronnie Seixas, right up the street in Hollywood. And, right up to this moment, it remains a really choice chunk o' wood, hot-rod pinstriping and all!

5: If you weren't a musician, what would you like to do for a living?

A: I don't know rightly . . . Perhaps a pharmacist. Yet, right at this very moment, guitar-slingin' is about all we know.

Extra credit question: Describe the most bizarre experience you've had in your decades of doing that bluesy rockin' thang.

A: Encountering the personal obsession of expanding a curiosity about guitars, guitars, and more guitars. An enlightening interest in all things distorted.

Dusty Hill:

1: What's the oddest question you can remember being asked in an interview? (This interview doesn't count.)

A: Yes . . . odd . . . there's plenty! I suspect this one qualifies: "Will you trade places with me?" It wasn't Donald Trump asking!

2: Tell us about your experience playing with Freddie King.

A: I enjoyed the bass-guitar gigs with Freddie immensely! Learned lots. He always would say, "I like you. You got built-in fuzz in them fingers." I suppose he liked saving dough not having to buy any pedals. Freddie remains a solid figure with a legacy of some really heavy stuff.

3: What's the cream of your bass collection?

A: The highlight revolves around the Fender Bass Guitar. Keep in mind, the phrase says it all: "Fender Bass." Not just any bass necessarily, just, "Fender Bass." Specifically, the true personal favorites are a '53 Precision collection�the instrument which later evolved into the 'Telecaster' bass. Good low-end with a fierce cutting edge. Solid as a rock.

4: What's the most bizarre thing you can think of that happened to you on the road?

A: Well . . . all of it! The road IS bizarre. Plain and simple! We recount on many occasions the first official ZZ show once I joined the band for the appearance down in Beaumont, Texas. I was so excited that I arrived in fine style having left my bass behind! Luckily, a stalwart fan ran across town and fetched his Fender stacked-knob Jazz. We then went for the performance, put on a great show, and tore the house down. Truly a memorable night!

5: Geek question: When Billy takes a solo, what techniques do you use to make the groove behind him fuller?

A: Stand on the tonic! I can lay down a line keeping frills and corners reserved for those special spots between Billy's line. Meantime, I keep it on the down-low and lay that solid foundation to let it rip.

Extra credit question: What do playing poker and playing bass in ZZ Top have in common?

A: Guesswork and a bit of mind-reading. Gotta stay one step ahead of the hounds!

Frank Beard:

(Have you seen the hilarious interview with you in the Smidgville Picayune Gazetteer? It sounds like what you might actually say in such a conversation.)

Yes, we enjoyed a robust exchange on that one! Quite cool.

1: Who's your favorite drummer? (Support your argument.)

A: Yo! Tall order that! I like Dusty and Billy G's reference to the lengthy list of inspirational players and, in this case, a long, long list of influential tub-whackers that have really added a lot to the world of drumming. Some of my personal drum kings go way back to the likes of Elvin Jones, Buddy Rich, Cozy Cole, Krupa . . . Can't leave out another one of the greats, another personal fave, Ginger Baker. Right alongside this extra added bonus lineup: Ritchie Hayward, a personal friend and hard hitter. The Allman Brothers side-by-side dual, Jaime and Butch Trucks, Terry Bozzio�another wizard! I can really get behind the Memphis work on record with Al Jackson. I got to see him laying it down behind Al Green many a night, which was a trip. Just a trustworthy, reliable groove. Billy Cobham stands tall, too. Peter Erskine: tight and right. Dave Grohl is pretty interesting. Chris Layton with that Texas thing. I just like good, solid point. Take time to tune your kit and go get after it.

2: What's the coolest practical joke you've ever pulled?

A: Joining this band! No, actually I'm a bit of a relaxed kind of guy. The real punch line is in the backbeat. I like the 'Big 3'. . . shuffle, cut-shuffle, and the monkey beat. That's the ZZ/FLB backbone.

3: When you were 19, did you imagine that you'd spend most of the rest of your life as a rock 'n' roll superstar? What were your aspirations?

A: Well, I started in a good place. My good friend and drumming buddy Doyle Bramhall I and I began about the same time. Same kind of background listening to late-night radio and picking up on an R&B trip. We were up and running starting our rock 'n' roll outfits to please the girls. Drummers gets 'em every time!

4: How did you learn to play drums? Were you an obsessed woodshedder for a while or did you pick up most of it during rehearsals and gigs?

A: Mostly from my main mentor "Toodie Toddie," an all-around gifted cat who could lean down with a real enlightened approach to the beat. He knew how to handle it all. Before I got to join up with Billy, I played with Dusty and his brother Rocky, when we started The American Blues playing the late-night shift at the famous after-hours joint called The Cellar in downtown Ft. Worth, Texas. Toodie took me in and laid it down, man. The real deal.

5: What's the difference between a good blues drummer and a good pop drummer?

A: Probably not much. Good is good. Pop, blues, whatever. It's just something you feel. Good. Period.

Extra credit question: Aside from Texas, where is your favorite place to play and why?

A: The house and the studio�both in Texas, I may say! And then there's the road. The famous road, where it's all good.

Billy, Dusty, and Frank say, "Thank You!"

Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

Lynn Miles, Love Sweet Love
By Celine Keating
Although it is Lynn Miles� fifth CD, Love Sweet Love shouts �breakout.� It has already earned her 2005 Canadian Folk Music awards for best contemporary singer (English) and best songwriter (English), and it may finally garner the bigger audience Miles deserves. The album�s all-original songs (one co-written with producer Ian LaFeuvre) are about movement, lyrically charting the journey from love to pain to resignation, and musically migrating from country to folk to pop. Miles� concise lyrics are direct yet poetic, personal yet not cloyingly confessional. Her chameleon-like alto is at times reminiscent of Shawn Colvin and (in its breathy lower register) Eliza Gilkyson, but her addictive, hook-laden melodies are all her own. While every song is a gleaming pop-hit pearl, what is most striking is the way Miles varies the musical necklace�s design with LaFeuvre�s ethereal electric-guitar lines laid over her own staccato acoustic fingerpicking and filigreed arpeggios. Anchored by LaFeuvre (guitars, keyboards, banjo, glockenspiel, harmony vocals), Peter von Althen (drums), and John Geggie (acoustic bass), with star turns by James Stephens on fiddle and Keith Glass on mandolin, this CD reaches a far country unattained by most of today�s folk-pop artists. (Red House Records, Inc.,


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