Archive for guitar

Celestion Vintage upgrade

Posted in Music with tags , on September 23, 2009 by rsalit

A few weeks ago I upgraded the speaker in the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe I purchased about six months ago.

This came about after a discussion at Sam Ash about the Fender Deluxe Reverb Blue reissue. I tried the Deluxe Reverb Blue Reissue a while back and loved the sound. It’s got a Celestion Blue speaker and I was playing it through a Gibson ES-335.

It was one of those moments where you find a tone that is sublime and you want to figure out a way to save it, pack it up and take it home.

Of course, costs are a consideration so I can’t do that every time I’m in a music store. Given the short amount of time I had the Hot Rod, I thought it might be possible that the dealer would give me a good trade in and I’d be able to upgrade to the Deluxe Reverb. No such luck – the salesman indicated they’d only give me a few hundred bucks.

However, he suggested an alternative approach to improving my sound. He explained that the the speaker in a Hot Rod Deluxe is a fairly inexpensive model while the Celestion Blue in the Fender Deluxe Reissue is a $250 speaker. Upgrading the speaker, he opined would give me a bigger bang for my buck.

After a few days investigation, I decided to buy a Celestion Vintage ($120). Within a few days it was IN. I brought it home to test. It’s a world of difference. It’s a much richer, three-dimensional sound. The regular speaker, although nice, is a bit harsh and flat sounding in comparison. I had heard that it could take months to fully break in a speaker but this one sounds pretty good – if it improves over time – all the better.

Less amp may give you better sound

Posted in Guitar, Music with tags , on March 3, 2009 by rsalit

I’m constantly looking at new amps. I’m a little perplexed as to the preponderance of high powered amps that dominate the market. PRS recently announced a line of amps, three models of different sounding amps that all come in either 50 or 100 watt configurations. Most bands play in bars or small clubs where a 50 watt of tube power turned up is pretty loud, maybe too loud. I went to see a band a few weeks ago in a small bar and one of the the guitar players was showing me his Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (a 40watt amp) set at 4 and his Les Paul at 1. For a nice lead tone its desirable to have guitars and amps turned up to get that rich, harmonic tube sound players strive for. In other words, he’s not going to get any kind of overdriven lead with those settings. In larger venues, you can turn up the volume but sound guy will mic all the amps and mix the sound through the PA. They don’t need the amps to be too loud as it makes his job harder. The guy mixing the sound can only adjust the volume up, there’s no way to adjust someone if their amp is turned up too high other than make everyone else louder.

A good solution would be one of the amps that have multi-watt capability. Mesa-Boogie has many amps where the wattage can be adjusted.The new Express series can switch between 5 and 25 or 50 watts. Orange amps has an amp that switches between 7 and 15 watts. Egnator has one of thee more interesting solutions in their Rebel 20 amp which allows you to dial in the wattage AND the tube mix. You can actually set a specific wattage and then set the tube mix you desire. That’s pretty crazy.

I was at a Guitar Center recently and played a Mesa Express 5:50. That’s an amp that switches between 5 and 50 watts. I played on the 5 watt setting and turned up the master volume to about one o’clock. It was really loud, probably loud enough at 5 watts to practice with my band. What’s nice is that if I need additional clean headroom, I can move to the 50 watt setting but I’m guessing the natural overdriven tones at the 5 watt setting might be really nice for a practice setting.

if you are looking at an amp that might be able to satisfy your needs in both a practice situation as well as in a small gig, these multi-watt amps might be just the thing.

My Guitars: 101

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 17, 2008 by rsalit

Over the past few years I’ve gotten more into guitars (and guitar playing). I’ve never written about them and thought I would. I’ve never had a collector mentality so I’ve sought guitars that filled a certain niche in terms of playability and sound. In the future I may write about some of the instruments in more detail.

Gibson Firebird


My oldest guitar is a Gibson Firebird (circa 1965). I bought it in in ’71 or ’72 from a friend, Robbie Mazer. He had replaced the soap bar pickups with humbuckers. I wish he didn’t as having the original equipment would probably make the guitar more valuable and, as he was not a luthier, his craftsmanship left something to be desired. Nevertheless, Its a very nice instrument. I recently ( 2/08 ) replaced the standard issue Gibson humbuckers with Seymour Duncan ’59s and the guitar is sounding really good. For me its given it a new lease on life.

Martin D18

In ’74 I bought a Martin D18 acoustic guitar. For many years it was my primary guitar. Even though my style is more suited to electrics, I’ve always loved the sound of the Martin. The action is a little high but its still a pleasure to play.

Fender Stratocaster

About 6 years ago I picked up a Fender Stratocaster (American, sunburst, maple neck). I was looking for that twang that Fenders are so good at. Its a classic guitar with a lot of different sounds.

Taylor T5

Two and half years ago I was looking at a Taylor T5 and considering one as a great solution to getting both acoustic and electric tones in a electric band setting. I was thinking about purchasing one but I made the mistake of mentioning it to my wife. She purchased it for me for Channukah! Its the custom model with the Koa finish. The neck is my favorite and it has some unique sounds. I play the most because of its versatility.