Relearning Guitar

Learning how to play guitar…again

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I loved the sound of the Rockman Soloist that I got from my brother years ago. I always regretted selling it back to him. Oh well. But it had distortion, compression/sustain, and chorusing all built in. I liked it especially since it made my crappy playing sound better. LOL!
I started watching ebay auctions for Rockmans. There were other kinds besides the Soloist such as the X100, Guitar Ace, and a bunch of other stuff including rack mount stuff. But I had the Soloist, and I am not sure what the other stuff would sound like.
The Soloists really seem to get bid up quite a bit, especially if they come with the AC adaptor. The AC adaptor is not a basic adaptor but I think it have dual voltages, and is unique. So I couldn’t just buy it at Radio Shack.
I finally got what I thought was a good deal on a Rockman Soloist ($45 including shipping). It arrive quickly, nicely packaged. When I went to install batteries in it, I notice a lot of corrosion in the battery compartment. I carefully opened the unit up. Using a q-tip and alcohol I attempted to clean the corrosion. It was going slowly. I switched to using vinegar, and this worked much better. I also used a tooth brush. Eventually I got allt he corrosion and gunk cleaned up.
I installed batteries and fired it up. I plugged in my guitar and some headphones. But all I got out of it was a constant squealing with a faint guitar sound in the background. There was a possibilty the switches were dirty. They didn’t slide smoothly. Maybe there was a poor connection, or added resistance there. I couldn’t get it to sound any better.
I went to Radio Shack and bought some TV-Tuner/Control Cleaner & Lubricant. I sprayed the tuner cleaner/lub stuff on the switches, and got them to slide smoothly. The screetching went away. There was progress. If I plugged my guitar into the aux input, I got clean guitar sound out the head phones…well on the left ear anyway. The effects did’t seem to work for this input though. But when I plugged the guitar into the guitar input, I got nothing. I took it apart again, and sprayed the cleaner into the jack thinking maybe those contacts were dirty too. After cleaning the jacks it was slighlty cleaner sounding. But I still couldn’t get the guitar input jack to work, so none of the effects worked.
After trying various things, I gave up. I contacted the seller, and after I sent the unit back to him, he refunded my money. He was very nice. I have been hesitant about buying another one. Also, I have started to wonder if I want everything I play to sound like Boston.

I have been learning some AC/DC songs. It’s amazing what Angus Young does using pretty much only very basic chords. G, A, D, E, etc. I have always loved the look of the Gibson SG. I used to be a big fan of Bachman Turner Overdrive, and the guitarist played and SG. Also Tony Iommi the guitarist from Black Sabbath. And as I mentioned, I have kicked myself for passing up the SGs at the pawn shop when I bought Peavey Horizon II…if they were real Gibson SGs.
I have been watching eBay and Craigslist for SGs. The Gibson SGs are expensive. But the Epiphone versions are a little cheaper.
The reviews of the Epiphone SGs though are not good. At least the SG Special’s. It sounds like the cheaper ones are made from plywood or particle board or something. I can’t imagine they would be made out of partical board! Maybe plywood. But hey, I am seen some cool things made from laminated wood. But maybe if I can find one cheap. I bid on a couple of them on ebay, but got outbid.
Maybe instead of spending a $100 on a cheap Epiphone SG Special, I could save my money and buy a $500-$700 Gibson SG?
I don’t know. I will keep watch ebay and craigslist.

Out of curiousity, I had been watching craigslist for guitars just to see what popped. One day an ad for an Epiphone Les Paul Jr showed up. The guy was asking $70. I went out and read reviews, and surprisingly it actually got pretty good reviews for a cheap guitar. It only had the one humbucker in the bridge position. I figured I could buy it, if I didn’t like it, I could turn around and sell it for about $70, or maybe even slightly more. I thought have a cheap guitar that I didn’t have to worry about scratching or dinging could be fun. Maybe I would enjoy playing again.
I emailed the guy and arranged to meet him in the evening at his work. I noticed the ad had been modified to say $80, but when I originally saw it, it said $70. So in my email, I mentioned the $70 price, and he didn’t say anything about it being raised to $80.
I met him at his work at about 7:30, and we went out to his car. I checked out the guitar and it looked to be in very good shape. I checked the neck for warpage, but didn’t see any. The guy had brought a small practice amp. I had told guy I wasn’t any Yngwie Malmsteen. I played a few power chords, and a couple scales. That was about all I actually remembered how to play. EVerything seemed good, so I paid the guy the $70 and took the guitar home.
I plugged the guitar into my Peavey Backstage Plus amp, and goofed around a little bit. I played along with Ween’s Ocean Man which is an incredibly simple song and only has three chords. It was fun. The guitar actually seemed to fit me much better than the Fender Strat. And it had a good sound. It did seem to got out of tune frequently.

Well, I guess I can’t say that I was ever really in love with playing guitar, but I used to like it lot. I wasn’t one of these guys that played for hours a day. And I was never very good. I had people tell me I was pretty good, but I don’t think I was.
But now I had this beautiful new expensive Fender Stratocaster American Standard with Dimazio HS3 pickups just like Yngwie Malmsteen used. But the guitar just wasn’t as fun to play as the Peavey Horizon II or the Peavey Falcon Custom. This guitar just didn’t fit me as well. The harmonics sucked, and I just couldn’t get the sounds out of it that I enjoyed. And I was always a little afraid of scratching it or dinging it. It just wasn’t as much fun.
When I got married and moved, the guitar just sort of sat packed away. Every now and then, I would pull it out play it a bit, or least the bits and scraps that I could remember, and then I would put it away again. It just wasn’t any fun. Eventually I wouldn’t pull it out anymore.

Now that I had my Fender Stratocaster American Standard, one of the things I noticed was that it fit me differently than the Peaveys did. With the Peaveys, my right hand rested nicely on the bridge. I was able to pick the strings, palm mute them, etc. But the Fender felt awkward. But I thought I would get used to it.
The sound of the Fender Strat was thin. It just didn’t have the harmonics of the cheap Peaveys, especially the Falcon Custom with the Jeff Beck pickup in it. I knew that Yngwie Malmsteen installed Dimarzio HS-3’s in the bridge and neck positions on his Strat, so I bought a couple, and installed them. They sounded better than the stock Fender pickups, but still no where near as good as the Jeff Beck pickup did. And I certainly wasn’t about to have my new Fender Strat bored out and fitted with a Jeff Beck pickup. Again, I figured I would get used to it.
One of the plusses of the the Fender Strat was that it stayed in tune a little better when I used the whammy bar. But with the lousy harmonics, I couldn’t do the Van Halen like howls and growls very well.

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