Archive for the pedals Category

love fest!

Posted in guitar, music, pedals, songwriting on June 1, 2009 by finerstacy

Hey folks, sorry I’ve been m.i.a. for a while.  We played a bunch of shows and I’ve been tinkering with my pedal board day and night.   Pretty close to getting it done.  Ethan and I are doing matching colors…yes totally cheesy, but I can’t deny who I really am…Velveeta to the max! I picked up the fulltone choralflange on ebay and made a friend out of it.  Who said chorus doesn’t bring people together.  Watching a lot of Paul Jackson Jr. videos on line.  His a big xotic effects guy and it’s awesome to hear him jam.

Finer played an amazing show in Chicago at The Orphanage last weekend. The staff couldn’t be nicer and we met some great bands…up from the wormwood definitely played some beautiful tunes.  Check them out on myspace.

John and I jammed at Tilly’s on Friday.  It was a four hour love fest!  We love the patrons and the owner Diana is a class act.  So when you are in Indy come check us out there.  Ran sound for the Bishops on Saturday during a tornado warning…yikes!  The band was incredible!  People were dancing the whole night.

Okay, check out we’re playing everyday this week and two shows will be with the full band so we’ll be glad to have Ethan and Richard laying it down!

Be well!


Can you bare it?

Posted in guitar, humor, musical equipment, pedals, rock on May 9, 2009 by finerstacy

In heaven today!  My wah has come back to me. Crying never felt so good. Got my line 6 mm4…got a ways to go with that one, but it is cool as hell and my A/C boost is in transit back to the Midwest.   Spent the day jamming yesterday and can’t wait to have all the kiddies back home so I can just play and have fun.   Finer has got three shows next week and I’m heading back to NY before then so I can recharge my mojo batteries.  Promise to be back soon with some fuller stories but here’s a quick one.  Back in college.I flew in to NY to meet friends and go to an Ani Difranco show.  Took a cab to Penn Station and started playing my guitar because as usual my friends were late. By the time they got there I was singing some Oasis, Alanis and anything else that ended with an “S” for a group of French exchange students.  Wonderwall never sounded so good and classy.   Ani, was fantastic.  It was just her, no drums, no bass, but still a lot of screaming fans.   We got lost driving home and ended up listening to the Bare Naked Ladies for hours…with our clothes on.

oh la la la la la wah

Posted in guitar, humor, music, musical equipment, pedals on April 30, 2009 by finerstacy

I recently had my mother send my wah, wah pedal from college.  Well, actually it’s not mine. It was my guitar player’s.  He has mine.  We were all sitting around in Waltham, MA practicing one day and he said that his pedal was pretty squeaky so I offered him up mine. He did not ask, but there I was serving it up on a Crybaby platter.   I had my mother send my the cry baby that one of my brothers got me when I was like 10 years old.  I remember playing it thinking this was the coolest thing ever.  You can have a conversation and WAH, WAH!  All of a sudden you’re hanging with the crew from Charlie Brown.    “Stacy make your…WAH, WAH!”  “Stacy do the WAH! WAH!”  You get the idea.  So back then I seemed to always give up things I want to make other folks happy.  Like one time I offered a snare drum to a drummer who said “Well, can I just take off the drum head and keep that?”.    So after a few years of lending out gear I finally allowed myself to be the reciever of some great pedals.  The fulltone full drive, the holy grail and wah, wah with mulitple settings.  But when we parted ways with this band member.   I gave them back.   I wasn’t going to be that person who took the money and ran.  I got to keep the wah, wah because well he didn’t like it.  Neither did I.   I sold it once we moved to Indy and helped to pay for some other gear.   So as now I have this wah, wah and what do I do?  Do call the kid and say hey you have something of mine give it back!  Or do I modify the one that I have and feel midly guilty every time I WAH, WAH?  Or better yet do I call my brother and say “Hey, I know you have a wife and a bunch of kids and bills to pay but could you buy me a new guitar pedal so I can feel better about the sounds I am trying to make?”  Or I can buy a new one and let my friend’s sit there and cry all by its WAH, WAH.

Even better than the real thing

Posted in guitar, humor, jazz, music, musical equipment, pedals on April 28, 2009 by finerstacy

When looking at guitar pedals I always ask myself does that sound authentic or does it sound like a digitized version of the real thing?  I heard some great bands this weekend.  Whoa! Tiger, a local band doing a blend of reggae and Americana and Trent Van Plummer whose lead guitar player could have been straight out of the late 60’s.  His solos were so cool.  He was playing a Gibson with p 90 pick ups and to continue on my Clapton is God theme was playing some really hot licks.  The lead singer also has the coolest voice since Leonard Cohen.  I always leave a club and ask myself what did learn?  Well, of course I need to practice.  No kidding.   But what can I add to my sound that I didn’t know before? Well, I went home and instead of doing the dishes in the sink I  waited for the night to sink in.    Do I go all classic, big tube amp (check), awesome guitar with throw back pick ups (check-thanks SKYDOG!), bad ass pedals (check)  or do I get some of the modeling effects that combine everything and put about 50 years of research in to one box?  Well at first the latter seemed best.  I went out a few nights later and watched a band who has a lot of the same fans come and cheer them on.  One lady is SO hot, that I truly believe she is the reason for the current heat wave and any subsequent heat waves that will ever occur.  I swear not a gig goes by when I don’t hear men and woman a like commenting on her “gifts”.  In their jealousy they always question whether she was born with all of that glory or did the good folks at the plastic company help her reach mucho caliente status.   I say who cares?  She is hot!

Later in the weekend I got to witness the beautiful music stylings of the John Harden Project (Finer’s favorite saxman).  John is always smoking good and is a strong band leader.  But on Sunday, his wife and artist in her own right JP Harden had all of us speachless.  I watched an entire room fixed in her gaze and wooed by her melodies.  It was as if Billy Holiday herself was in the room giving permission for the torch to be passed.  Now mind you JP is half way through her pregancy, barefoot and glowing like mother earth herself.   But she still made it look easy like Sunday morning.  Before the show she took off her shoes to let everyone know that this was her house and we were all welcome to stay but we had to please pick up our mouths from the floor when the gig was over.  I forgot to mention that Ethan had gotten back at 7am in the morning from being on tour to make it to the gig and was doing his thing holding down the fort in the back.    An audience member stood up and started screaming “Ethan!  Ethan, I love Ethan!  He’s so good!”  The lady was mimicing his bass movements.  Grooving with him.  This was a jazz gig…I kid you not! I was about to start screaming with her. I thought hey nobody screams louder for my man then me, but then this good looking girl walked by and I forgot.

when to trust your fingers

Posted in guitar, music, musical equipment, pedals, rock, songwriting on April 24, 2009 by finerstacy

I spent the day with my tech Steve, the guitar E.R working on my “sound”.  My amp has a great tonal quality to it  and you can only blame your tools for so long.  I have to face the fact that the hours put in will lead  me to the promise land.  Or just relaxing into my tone will ease my mind.  It’s fascinating to hear the stories of Marshall, Fender and Vox and what went into creating the sounds we now take for granted.  The fact that Eric Clapton is still of this earth and was a pioneer of the guitar, tone and rock and roll can be pretty overwhelming.  Where do you go from there?  I love writing songs, love melody, love harmony, love playing in a band, but sometimes “me cry alone at night” when I think about my guitar and how much I have not gotten to where I want to be as a player, as a musician, as a soul.  And that’s exactly why I am not where I want to be…because I think TOO much.  I love the guitar so much.  Some times it’s like the waves of the ocean are cradling me and I can play with the energy of the universe other times it’s like I’m Tinkerbell clanking up the sound of the band.

I used to play with a boogie with El84’s. Then I bought a used Jcm 900 that had E34L’s that we then switched to EL34’s.  The amp was great but very mid rangy.  Currently I’ve got the stock KT66’s in my Vintage Modern and tested out some EL84’s  today.  We took off the back of the cabinet and they sounded awesome. But honestly, I fell in love with the clean tone of the Vintage Modern and hesitate to change that.   At Steve’s recommendation we tried taking out two tubes and the high channel sounded incredible but the low didn’t have that sparkle.  I might work with that for a little or get a second head with 50 watts for the high channel and use the 100 watt head for the clean.  Either way I have to do the work, not my cabinet.  But it’s nice to have some of the best tools in the world at your finger tips.  Hopefully, I will spend less time worrying and more time playing.

Steve’s working on cleaning my, excuse me Ethan’s Marshall Blues Breaker pedal.  It got pretty soaked when the house flooded.   It was the first thing Ethan ever gave to me and I remember it was like he was giving me a piece of his childhood.  He felt so strongly that it was the answer to all of my questions.  It’s a great boost with just enough overdrive to add the extra edge to your tone.  I remember never appreciating it enough, actually, I was always angry about it saying “it doesn’t do anything”.  But now I know the sound has to come from me.   So when I called one of my nieces for her birthday and asked her if she liked the sparkling High School Musical card I sent her and if she was over the fad,  She said “No I liked it”.   I thought “Me to, it’s nice to touch something shiny, something carefree and something from your youth that you never let go of even when everyone tells you to grow up.”

Tone chaser

Posted in guitar, music, musical equipment, pedals, rock, songwriting on April 19, 2009 by finerstacy

We had a great show today.  The boys really blew it out of the water.  They were so good.  At one point during “Back and Forth” I had to turn around because Richard played the coolest fill.  John was like throwing this energy blanket of love around the entire town of Nashville, IN and Ethan I  swear was dancing with the angles.  During his solo in “Juicy” we all basically stopped playing to watch him because it was so incredible, so spiritual that we all wanted a taste of what he as digging on.  Just witnessing it was pure delight.   We had the lovely singer Jan’ia spending the day with us.  She’s  John’s wife and I swear if the boys ever get tired of me she can step right in.   She’s a great singer and a very passionate person.  Nashville was incredible.   Almost like a Midwestern take on Stockbrigde in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Everyone was cool and just hung with the band and as we serenaded the city.

I loved playing and singing with the crowd.  I was exciting to debut my new pedals and give them a good run.  The music was strong, but I am still searching for the sound.  My rhythm was tight but the tone is not there yet.  Getting closer I think but I need to spend more time in the woodshed and less time in my head.

We also got to hang out with Brandon and Tim from Whiskey Eye’d.  They had great energy and we can’t wait to see them play this summer at the Ale Emporium for the To Write Love On Her Arm benefit series.   After we got home the boys were off to their next gigs and I got a moment to think of how lucky I am to rock out with them. Truly a blessing and almost as fun as riding in the car with everyone and laughing our tails off.

Can we all sing in a chorus?

Posted in guitar, humor, music, pedals, rock, Uncategorized on April 17, 2009 by finerstacy

So I’ve been swapping pedals on my pedal board and have listened to almost every chorus pedal out there.  I’m really digging on the Voodoo lab Analog Chorus and the mxr stereo chorus.  Two totally different pedals.  The analog is big and rich like…well like analog and the mxr has a tighter more crisp sound to it.   I might get both.  Then I would really be chorusing.

So do we really want to be a member of the chorus or do we want to stand out in the crowd? This seems to be a funny and tear jerking theme in my life.  Back in high school I was a member of the concert choral.   We sang the  more serious songs versus the upbeat show tunes of standard chorus groups.  My senior year we got the opportunity to sing in front of  the governor.    He came  to our town to talk about violence in the schools and how we can all help alleviate the problem.  He posed the question “What will you do to help?” I knew that by dressing up in dark robes with red glitter belts and singing a medley from Miss Saigon we were going to make progress.  The heat was on y’all!  So we sang an opening number took our seats and watched the governor give a passionate speech about our role in keeping the peace.  Maybe if we didn’t use jazz hands at the end of each song or maybe if we didn’t read the music from a binder we could make a difference.  But, I loved jazz hands and nobody was going to rip me from my 2 inch trapper keeper.  So we’d have to think of something else.  The governor ducked out after his speech and we were left singing to the state assemblyman who was very handsome and very bald.  As we were making our way through  the music, my friend leaned over to me  and whispered “Daddy Warbucks is in the front row.”  I laughed just a little which shouldn’t have been such a big deal except that I was singing tenor and I was mixed in with all the boys.  Who’s standing out in the chorus now baby!  The choir director was not happy that night, but I knew the sun would come  out tomorrow.

Now I probably should not have been singing tenor or even been in the group.  My range was like one octave (I have since spent all my time working on the good old vocal chords).  But at the time I was competing with girls who would eventually end up singing for the Metropolitan Opera.  But I was enthusiastic and a could hit a mean middle “C” on the piano so they kept me around.  One Christmas we were asked to sing in the mall during peak shopping hours.  What a great idea!  We ran through “White Christmas”,  killed “Walking in a winter wonderland” and when “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” came up I was the only one willing to take a solo.  Who wouldn’t want to serenade all the moms and dads getting the latest toy for the kids or watch as two young brothers wrestled each other for the last bite of a soft pretzel?  This was to be the image of my muse for years to come. Or so I thought.  About two bars in, I heard a slight whimper, and then it happened, one kid after the next started crying.  It was like someone had told them that cabbage patch kids were not real and that Santa was never going to make that dream come true.   I was doing my best Patsy Cline. I really was, but Patsy knew how to sing and how to tame an audience and I seemed to flame the fire with every note.   I leaned on the piano.   I strutted around and sang in these kids faces.  I even got down on one knee put my hand on my heart and in that one moment I could feel that shiny nose.  And when the song was over I walked back  and stood in the chorus line.  I might have just been a member of  the choir but I was one singular sensation that’s for sure.   So as I look for chorus pedals to fit the Finer sound, I think I’m going to pick the one that makes me cry.   Xavier Roberts and Sebastian my first cabbage patch would have wanted it that way.