Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

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  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    I did like the sound of those Lace pick-ups in that video.  I hope they live up to your expectations when you get them installed.

    And talking of expectations you will of course be promptly delivering some sound clips for us won't you?

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Well you might get "treated" to a track with me using the guitar with band at some point Reg. It's not entirely a stab in dark, as I do have memories of a previous guitar which had a Lace pickup.

    It's a bugger, but I've just had an email from Axesrus, saying the pickups will be delivered by DPD on Monday. But perhaps they are right to send them this way, rather than ordinary parcel post, as it is a fairly expensive item, and I would imagine has cost them a bit more to do. I have found DPD to be an excellent delivery company in the past also, with very good online tracking, and professional delivery drivers.

    I should have ordered the pickups on Wednesday really - leave it to Thursday evening, and there's always a strong chance of missing the weekend - posted on Friday and then Monday is the next working day. I'll just have to concentrate on getting everything else that needs doing sorted over the weekend, so I'm ready to go.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Funny about people's different experiences.  I (and other people in the village) dread having anything delivered by DPD.  The online tracking is OK up to a point, but the drivers, certainly round our way, are crap.  All the houses in our village have house names, not numbers.  Unlike the postman, DPD drivers aren't familiar with the location in the street of individual houses and they can't just follow numbers.  So around 50% of the time the parcel ends up back at the depot "House not found" because they can't be arsed to do their job properly.  Never had the same driver twice, which is part of the problem.  No other courier company has an issue, only DPD.  They are probably great in towns, but they have to make X number of deliveries in Y amount of time, and as contractors only get paid a few pence per delivery.  So if they can't drive straight to it they don't bother attempting the delivery.

    They are cheap.  Royal Mail would have been more expensive.  A company such as Axes4us would have a bulk contract with DPD that will be cheaper than Royal Mail.  My guess is you paid an extra pound for a delivery cheaper than Royal Mail.  But hey, if DPD are great round your area then it's not a problem.  Probably your local depot has higher hiring standards than in Reading!

    Whoops, that turned into a bit of a rant, but any mention of DPD around our village usually does that!

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    No worries Reg - do have a rant on me! Sorry to hear of those troubles. That is a funny one with our different experiences of DPD though - I've always found them great, and have even preferred to deliberately order from places that I know use them, Gear4Music being one such. It must be down to regional variation, or the fact that my house is on an easy to find street and has a big number displayed. 

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Heading off on a day trip to York shortly, so will have a look in the music shops and see what I think of the state of play there, and report back. Have a good day though folks, and see you this evening... image

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,580Member, Moderator

    Round my way DPD and UPS are excellent.

    Have a nice day in York, Megi.

    I'm off to the studio in a few minutes to record a band before heading off to rehearsal this evening with my wife's choir, preparing for an Easter concert where I will be playing drums, guitar and mandolin - in different songs, of course.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Cheers for that reply Lester - always nice to hear what other forumites are up to, and hope it all went well. Wish you lived near me - I'm sure you'd be the right person to record some of the bands and projects I'm involved in.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    So - to yesterday's York trip, which incorporated me paying fairly brief visits to the music shops in the city centre. Was a bit tired yesterday evening, so apologies for not reporting back then as promised.

    First up was Banks Music Room on Lendal - I only went in the downstairs bit, which is electric and acoustic guitars, plus sheet music/tuition books, and a few electric pianos/keyboards. As I recall, there are a least a couple of upstairs floors - last time I looked there was a room devoted to classical guitars, and the top floor had CD's, including quite a good selection of classical, jazz and other "minority" genres. I suppose this may have now gone, given the current market, but I'd like to be wrong.

    But just looking at the downstairs floor, which I'd imagine has to be where most of their sales are generated... Very large displays of Fender, and then Gibson along one wall. All nicely lit, to show off the guitars to best advantage - undoubtedly this does have a visual impact. Looking more closely, I did notice a few 2012 and 2013 model strats still on sale - prices comfortably over a grand, and sometimes closer to two grand. So perhaps stock not always moving so quickly these days. The guitars did look nice though, and I can appreciate it would be a good bit of retail therapy to go in and spend some time choosing a guitar - and I'm sure it would be a good 'un.

    The Gibson display - I counted 22 2015 Les Pauls (with the marmite "Les Paul 100" headstock logo) all hung in a long line, plus quite a few other 2015 models still there. They did also have quite a few 2016 guitars as well. Later when I went outside, I saw a further 3 2015 Les Pauls in a window display - does seem like quite a bit of unsold stock to me. There were a couple of 2015 Les Paul Supreme models hung up, which did have some appeal - a semi-acoustic f-hole design, with a floating jazz style neck pickup, and a fair bit of bling about them (but I rather like bling sometimes). The seafoam green one looked really pretty, and a bit of a head turner. I'd enjoy taking a guitar like that out of it's case at a gig, and the whole pride of ownership thing. 3 and a half grand though - that much money, if buying a guitar, I would spend differently.

    This model anyway, if you're interested: http://www.gibson.com/Products...es-Paul-Supreme.aspx

    The remaining guitar stock was in somewhat lesser numbers, but still quite a few Squier teles/strats etc., also Epiphones (I rather like the look of some of these, especially considering the price can be around a fifth of the equivalent Gibson model). A few Ibanez in there, but they seem to be winding down their stock levels, or maybe waiting to get more in. Yamaha also, and I'm probably forgetting a brand or two. Overall, it seems to be a mainstream brand kind of place - I guess a lot of people will want that, but I'd prefer a few less predictable brand choices personally. They did have some nice looking Faith acoustics there, (in addition to Martin and the usual well-known acoustic brands) - my eye was caught, just on visual grounds, by a pretty Faith Jupiter cut-away electro-acoustic (about £740 if I remember right).

    That's Banks then - I've waffled on so much I'd better start another post. Overall, I'd say a bit too much of a mainstream, 'stocking by numbers' experience for my taste. But the assistants seemed friendly and helpful, and one of the young chaps staffing the place sat down at a keyboard at one point, and proceeded to casually improvise a very nice jazz rendition of "All The Things You Are" which I had to like - talented bugger! 

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Quickly on to the two other shops - this will take less time image

    MOR Music, just off Fossgate - surrounded by metal barriers and with some sign of building work. A notice pinned to one of the barriers informs me that they suffered in the recent floods, are having to get the premises dried out and re-fitted, and are planning to re-open soon, "bigger and better" than before. Always seemed a friendly place to me, though I've never bought anything in the past - I wish them well.

    Red Cow Music, Goodramgate: Reg would like this place - it's all acoustic stock, and seems somewhat "folky" oriented. I could be wrong, but I didn't notice much in the way of high-end price stock. One brand I noticed was Ashbury, also Freshman, and Ozark (including various teardrop shaped double-string instruments of various sizes, not sure what all of them are to be honest). I also saw a few Tanglewoods, and a Faith, plus a few budget level Martins (one of which had a black synthetic-looking back/side in place of the usual wooden back/sides - have to say I thought that looked horrible, whatever it's budget friendly properties).

    For a small shop, they really do pack in the stock though, and I'm sure it's generally all well chosen. A nice vibe about the place - I'd happily go there if after an acoustic at the kind of prices they stock. There was a pretty vast selection of ukuleles opposite the counter - I heard the chap telling a customer they were one of the biggest stockists in the country. Not my thing, but impressive all the same. They also have penny whistles and other acoustic/celtic kind of instruments - not my area of expertise, but it's there.

    So there you have it, my fairly brief impressions of the York music shops, early 2016. I am aware that there is the huge Gear4Music warehouse also in York, somewhere a few miles to the north, which it's possible to visit directly - I've never been, but I'd be surprised if that hasn't had some impact on people's buying habits.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Should say, re all the shops, these are just my brief impressions, and I'm almost certainly not 100 percent accurate, and will have missed things. Just looking at Red Cow's website, there does appear to be quite a bit of stock I didn't see - perhaps they aren't able to display all of it. It was just a brief look in anyhow.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Nice day out Megi.

    Other than for guitars, for folkie stuff in general, including various odd ball bits and pieces the Hobgoblin chain is pretty good.  They do a great range of beginner stuff across a broad spectrum if anyone wants a taster of a particular instrument.

    As usual with folkie stuff other than violins and guitars, for instruments such as Mandolas, Citterns, Zouks, Hurdy Gurdys, Dulcimers (hammered and plucked) Whistles, Bodhrans, Cajons, Bagpipes of all regional variants, and a plethora of other stuff, if you get serious you have to go to specialist builder and pay a fortune.  There's nothing of top quality in the High Street shops unless you just happen to luck out on a trade-in, but again most High Street shops wouldn't touch anything too niche.

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Reg - I'm sure it's true what you say re the need to go to a specialist at a certain level of accomplishment, but I still think you'd find Red Cow worth a look if you're ever in York. They seem to be aiming at affordable folk-oriented instruments in the main, and as such have probably gone about as far towards the niche as they can get away with as a high street shop. What would an instrument with 5 double-course strings be called by the way? - teardrop shaped, scale length similar to a guitar, or perhaps a bit shorter.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
    Megi posted:

    What would an instrument with 5 double-course strings be called by the way? - teardrop shaped, scale length similar to a guitar, or perhaps a bit shorter.

    I can't decide whether you're having a laugh there or not?

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,580Member, Moderator

    A cittern, perhaps?

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member
    Reg Sox posted:
    Megi posted:

    What would an instrument with 5 double-course strings be called by the way? - teardrop shaped, scale length similar to a guitar, or perhaps a bit shorter.

    I can't decide whether you're having a laugh there or not?

    Lester posted:

    A cittern, perhaps?

    Reg - not having a laugh, and absolutely not at your expense I promise - I just genuinely didn't know, and thought you might. There were other similar shape/size instruments with just 4 string courses, and then some smaller sized ones also. I guess the 5 string one could well have been a cittern as you suggest Lester, but somehow thought citterns had 4 strings. I guess I can look it all up on wiki anyhow. image

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Just looking on Red Cow's website, and it appears it was indeed a cittern. They also have bouzoukis, mandocellos, and mandolas - all of which, to my untrained eyes, have a generally similar appearance. Anyhow, one lives and learns. image

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Reg, just realised - of course you documented your repair of a cittern on this very website, hence your wondering if I was being a bit funny. I can well understand how that might have seemed, but I assure you not the case. I somehow managed to follow that whole, excellent, thread without taking onboard the basic point that a cittern has 5 string courses. It's just the peculiar way my brain sometimes works (or fails to work) I'm afraid - apologies again. 

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    No need to apologise whatsoever Megi.  I'm disappointed you weren't having a joke - that's exactly my type of humour    But I did wonder if you were serious after all as your post was so dead pan if it was meant to be a joke!

    It does sound as if Red Cow would be my type of shop.  Good on them for flying in the face of the mainstream, although I guess t'interweb is a boon to small businesses like that these days.

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Maybe I should have pretended and gone with the joke Reg. People have occasionally told me they are not sure when I'm joking in the past - I guess I may combine a strange mixture of dry humour and naive ignorance... image

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,267Member

    A trip round a few music shops sounds like a good way to spend the time of day.

    Red Cow looks very similar in style to Scayles, my favourite local haunt.

    Red Cow seems very geared up to acoustic instruments across a wide spectrum and a definite folk vibe. Acoustic guitars over £1000 almost exclusively Martin. The name Ashbury appearing quite a lot in the mandolin "family" of instruments. Yes - very like Scayles.

    Don't worry about that baffled feeling about the mandolin family Graham - it's even worse when you start to check it out more thoroughly. Confusion over what some of these folk instruments are is not helped as the names of the mandolin family instruments vary between Europe and the United States.The instruments that are known in the USA as the mandola and the octave mandolin tend to be known in Great Britain and Ireland as the tenor mandola, the octave mandola, or the Irish bouzouki. Also, octave mandola is sometimes applied to what in the U.S. is a mandocello. In Europe outside the British isles, mandola is the larger GDAE tuned instrument while the smaller CGDA tuned one is known as alt-mandoline (i.e., alto mandolin), mandoliola or liola. This geographic distinction is not crisp, and there are cases of each term being used in each country. Confusion will likely continue as the terms continue to be used interchangeably! The Octave Mandola and Bouzouki are sometimes difficult to tell apart - although generally the Bouzouki is longer scale, the longer scale Ocatave Mandolas (or Octave Mandolin!) are the same sort of scale length as the shorter scale Bouzoukis. What are called Bouzoukis in the folk world (which seem to have evolved from instruments brought back from Europe by Irish musicians) are not the same as the long necked lute that developed in Greece from Turkish roots now having flat backs and different tuning!

    Red Cow certainly looks like my kind of shop. I wonder if they have the other attributes of Scayles - quiet but knowledgeable staff who will help and advise if asked but tend to just let you try a collection of instruments based on your budget and preferences. I've often found in music stores that do not have acoustic instruments as their major range that I (despite little knowledge) seem to be able to impart more knowledge to the staff than vice versa.Those lovely people at Scayles also seem wonderfully free of that big bugbear of mine - sales staff that keep trying to get you to buy what they like.

    It's great to be able to try out acoustic instruments without having to compete with overdriven electric guitars, thundering basses etc.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    That was a great post Mark, cheers for that - if I ever need to sort my octave mandolas from my mandocellos, I will know who to ask. Cittern = 5 string courses - that bit of knowledge has at least managed to penetrate my skull now...

    "Will you be using your jazz guitar on Thursday?" was one of several comments I received at a gig yesterday evening - I had decided to take my ash strat with the recently fitted new Lace pickups. Personally I didn't think it sounded at all bad, albeit not the same as my usual guitar at these gigs i.e. the red Shine SIL-510 (it says something that this was referred to as my "jazz guitar"). Clearly some of the audience could hear the difference though, and would have preferred if I hadn't been experimenting with a different guitar.

    Yesterdays gig is a monthly one that has now been running for over 3 years - its a kind of "jazz club" (niiiiice...) evening held in a local pub - it's ticketed, and there is a very nice buffet dinner included in the price, which I'm sure is what has made the evenings a success, as with that included, it is a good evening out for the money. The landlord is a jazz fan, excellent compere, and also a good singer who does a few songs during the evening. We also had my friend Beryl singing a few songs as well - I do think people like to hear songs sung, rather than just a load of jazzers improvising away on number after number, and I'm sure this makes a difference re the evening's popularity also.

    Anyhow, to come back to the guitars issue - it was a bit disappointing for me that the re-vamped strat did not go down better. I will be doing some experiment with amp tone control settings to see if I can get closer to the red Shine's tone. But I also think, after a fair while doing these gigs, that there is an audience expectation - I'm sure they would get bored if everything was always exactly the same, but also they do want a known "product", which appears to include my usual guitar tone, which is something I have worked on quite hard I have to admit.

    I also used some chorus on a couple of things - I rather like it for latin numbers, but that also drew mixed feedback. I have another band where I use chorus and other effects quite a lot, and it seems to go down well. It's what people who see that band are used to, but last night's audience are not I suppose. Anyhow - it was just an experiment, and I just felt like giving the ash strat a bit of a run - but no problem, I'll return to the red Shine for the pub jazz club gig, and other similar ones. I think maybe it slightly irks me that a guitar that was so cheap to buy has proved so good but there it is.

    Re the red Shine, I've just fitted it with a set of super-cheap Harley Benton 11-52 strings from Thomann online. These ones:

    http://www.thomann.de/gb/harle...011_e_guitar_set.htm

    And bugger it if they don't actually seem pretty damn nice to me...  I love the string gauge combination for one thing - most 11 sets go down to a 48 or 49, but on the slightly shorter Gibson scale of a guitar like the Shine, the bit heavier wound strings going down to a 52 seems nicer to me, at least for jazz use, and I can still do some bluesy bending on the upper plain strings if needed. So yet another cheap thing that's irritatingly good. Thomann's postage costs from Germany do have to be taken into account, but they even do bulk deals on these strings, and 24 sets, with postage, costs less than £30 - so I think I'm going to go for that.

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,659Member

    It was a good post from Mark, wasn't it? That paragraph about the various geographical and instrument combinations was superb! It should be on Wikipedia :-)

    The jazz gig sounds great, Megi. But you do need a jazz guitar and you really need to play jazz scales and jazz chords, too!

    I quite fancy finding a nice little monthly gig like that. I'm playing a wine bar this weekend so you never know!

    Cheers

    D

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Seems a pity that people are so dyed in the wool that they want everything the same every time Megi.

    Give them another six months of the ash strat and the chorus and then switch back to the Shine without chorus and watch them complain

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member
    Derek_R posted:

    It was a good post from Mark, wasn't it? That paragraph about the various geographical and instrument combinations was superb! It should be on Wikipedia :-)

    The jazz gig sounds great, Megi. But you do need a jazz guitar and you really need to play jazz scales and jazz chords, too!

    I quite fancy finding a nice little monthly gig like that. I'm playing a wine bar this weekend so you never know!

    Cheers

    D

    Thanks Derek - it is a great gig, and to be fair, the audience are all lovely people, and I'm grateful (if baffled) that they would come out to see the likes of me. Must learn to follow the rules though - jazz guitar/scales/chords only - got it, cheers for putting me straight there image

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member
    Reg Sox posted:

    Seems a pity that people are so dyed in the wool that they want everything the same every time Megi.

    Give them another six months of the ash strat and the chorus and then switch back to the Shine without chorus and watch them complain

    Cheers, Reg.

    I suppose the audience for that gig does tend to be older, and maybe a bit set in their ways. And of course, with things like this, one tends to hear more from the people who weren't so happy - there may have been others in the audience who liked the strat and occasional chorus, who knows. I may make some adjustments and then try them again with the strat/effects in the future anyhow, and see if I can't win a few over - haven't given up quite yet. image

  • JockoJocko Posts: 6,871Member, Moderator

    Wean them over. Strat and no Chorus (or Shine with Chorus) then eventually Strat AND Chorus!

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member
    Jocko posted:

    Wean them over. Strat and no Chorus (or Shine with Chorus) then eventually Strat AND Chorus!

    A bit of stealth - yes, I like that idea Jocko. I could try adding just a tiny bit of chorus each time, so they wouldn't notice it happening... image

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    Or maybe go one time with some ridiculous shaped heavy-metal type guitar, and then when I take the strat the time after that, they'll be so grateful they won't care it's not the red Shine. image

    Meant to say - I hope your wine bar gig goes well Derek, and do report back about that. Is it with a band or solo?

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,659Member

    What you need is a Telecaster - very traditional jazz guitars.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,006Member

    For what it's worth, I know from experience I can get a lovely jazz tone from the tele partscaster I built Derek. Don't know what it is with telecasters, but they do undeniably work very well for jazz. Loving that Ed Bickert clip! image

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