Gibson has released a new guitar from it’s Custom Shop – the Gibson ES-339. Sounds really close to the trademark ES-335 doesn’t it? That’s because it’s a very close cousin! Basically it’s a modern day version of the 335, but the 339 is smaller, more compact, has updated electronics, and a slimmer neck. It features “Memphis Tone Electronics” that keep the highs when you turn down the volume so you retain some bite at any volume through the ’57 humbuckers. The ’59 neck has a slim 60’s profile and the lighter guitar has a reduced weight. It even has the jack mounted on the outer rim, a first for ES style Gibson guitars. These guitars are priced very reasonably for Custom Shop axes as well.
You can usually just about find anything on eBay – maybe you can find an ES-339 on there ending soon?
Here’s an incredible video of B.B. King playing Sweet 16 during the Rumble in the Jungle. For those of you who don’t remember (or weren’t old enough) the Rumble in the Jungle fight was in 1974 when Muhammed Ali fought George Foreman. It was quite a spectacle (as explained below). I want young players to take note at this performance and the way that it builds. It starts out so slow and quietly, and then just builds, and builds with emotion, and you don’t even really hear the horns and keyboard until almost the very end. This is an absolutely incredible performance!
I did some checking, and this performance is indeed from the documentary “When We Were Kings”, which is about the 2 weeks before the George Foreman, Muhammed Ali boxing match in South Africa – otherwise known as the “Rumble in the Jungle”. Don King, who of course promoted the event, put on quite a spectacle before the fight. The “pre-show” before the fight was actually a show all until itself with performances from The Spinners, James Brown, and B.B. King. This documentary received very high reviews on Amazon. The video was released in 2002, and the Rumble in the Jungle was in 1974. When We Were Kings DVD
The B.B. King Sweet 16 video, which was released in 2002 – is actually the full 48 minute performance from the “Rumble in the Jungle”, and also received rave reviews. This would make the PERFECT gift idea for that guitar player or blues enthusiast in your life!
The new Line 6 POD X3 Live has come out in the last few weeks, and I have to say I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been looking at “guitar processors” for quite some time, but none of the all-in-one guitar boards really caught my fancy. I have a small digitech pedal with a couple of dozen amp models and the usual array of stomp effects. I play through a Marshall Valvestate 100w head with a 4×12 bottom, and I use the pedal through the amp, usually driving a Fender HotRod type signal through the Marshall at about 60%, using an Yngwie Overdrive stomp box for lead. I use a few other pre-set sounds I’ve custom created – but I’ve never been completely happy with the thing.
I play through my rig with a PRS Santana Custom as well as an Ibanez Semi-Hollow body Artcore (my favored one out of the 2). Both guitars are dual humbucker setups. I had purchased an SRV custom Strat earlier this year, but it sounded like total crap through this rig. Rather than buy an additional (or new) amp – I sold the Strat. I have kind of toyed around with the notion of getting a second head for my rig and an A/B switch ala Eric Johnson or SRV. Probably a fender head. Or maybe a Mesa Boogie or other type Class A boutique amp. We’re probably talking about a serious outlay of cash here, and then all the trials and tribulations of getting used to taking care of a tube amp – when I’d been really used to my solid state Marshall that’s been very, very good to me.
Enter the Pod X3 Live guitar processor! It has 78 guitar amp models, and 98 stompboxes. It has two inputs, and you can run in stereo with two outputs. You can run 2 guitars through it at the same time, with different processing for each one. It has a mic input and preamp, in addition to headphone out. You can direct out to a PC and record, or you can forgo an amp altogether, and output your signal right to a powered board! Imagine the possibilities of this thing. I can keep 2 guitars plugged in at once, plug in my mic and add an effect before outputting it to the board, and if for some reason my amp dies, I can direct out to the board completely at any time! Oh – and I didn’t even mention the built in tuner and volume pedal. I definitely have to get one of these for Christmas, and once I do – you can bet I’ll write you a more detailed review of what I’ve been up to with it! Check out the Line 6 Pod X3 Live, it’s some real cool new guitar gear.
So I’m listening to Howard Stern yesterday and he has a 45-50 minute interview with Slash from Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver. He’s written an auto-biography of his life with writer Anthony Bozza in a new 480 page epic book. I listened intently to the interview, and Slash is a very down to earth guy. He told story after story in vidid details, from his very first days of heroin use to going to rehab for Oxycontin addition in 2006. I think some of the most interesting parts of this book (once I get mine) will be his youthful days running the streets of Hollywood. Slash had a black mother and white father – who split up when he was 8 or 9. Then his mother dated rock legend David Bowie for about 18 months, and the way he described it to Howard he “probably hated him at the time for being the guy that followed his dad”. He smoked crack at 12 for the first time and partied endless nights around town with his mom’s boyfriend (unbeknonwst to here), and basically quit giving a rat’s ass about school in about the 8th grade in favor of playing guitar 12 hours a day. He took lessons at the local music school just long enough to figure out how to put the leads and chords together and teach himself songs by ear. From that point in, he just woodshedded all himself into the moder guitar virtuoso he is today. If you need a good gift for a guitarist this season or just want a good read for yourself – pickup a copy of “Slash”. It’s only about $15-$16 on Amazon and well worth the money
This is a classic performance of SRV doing Hendrix’s classic Little Wing and a little bit of Third Stone from the Sun. The thing about watching Stevie Ray Vaughan play this live in a video, it’s much different than just hearing it on the radio or a CD. The visual effect of his facial expressions, watching him grab, jab, and crank the whammy bar, his fingers run up and down the fingerboard, seeing how he made the chords and the vibrato he used – it makes it all come together in a way you just can’t hear or describe to someone else. Pay attention young bucks – this is the blues master at work, you only wish you could one day be 10% of what this guitar master was (and still is).
I’ve seen a lot of new gear come out, and it’s not that it all sucks or anything….but there’s so many things that I want, and only so much money to go around. So most times I get what I need, and not exactly what I “want” if you know what I need. Here’s something new that is both, and I don’t know why somebody didn’t think of it before. It’s the ‘1 Spot’ and this adapter cable can power up to 8 guitar pedals. You want more? It powers vintage stompboxes too. It will power Boss, DOD, Danelectro, Ibanez, and many other guitar pedals as well. You even get a converter for EH pedals, in addition to Line 6 pods too. For what this thing does – it’s so totally worth $35 I can’t even tell you. Why? Well, batteries suck for one. Ever try playing a show with a weak battery? I’ve bought an old stompbox for $50 thinking it was a great bargain. Only to find out that the adapter is another $20. With this one adapter you can power 8 stomp boxes and it only takes up ONE spot on the strip. Save money, save space – get one of these for your rig, it’s a great deal!
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