NOW THAT THE SMOKE HAS CLEARED, IT’S TIME FOR SOME KEEPIN’ IT REAL

FORGOT YOUR MEDICINE? TIME FOR A DOSE OF KEEPIN’ IT REAL BY STEVE SOEST

That’s right, the GOOD DOCTOR is in!Even-Steven

…and I thought I was busy. Steve Soest is playing gigs all over Southern California, fixing EVERYBODY’S GUITARS, living life large, and he still has time for us here at Jackaboutguitars.com What a great guy!

 

Woops! Two Steve’s…

I’ll have to send him out one of these new extremely way cool Jackaboutguitars.com tee shirts when they become available in the very near future! They’ll look something like this:Jag Shirt240-3

This is only a mock up. Of course the real shirts will look way much cooler than anyone can even begin to imagine or anticipate!!!

Prices aren’t set in stone yet but the way it’s looking I’m guessing they’ll probably be somewhere around $25 which will include shipping within the continental U.S. and for any of you other readers in the other 102 countries where we have been seen, we’ll have to calculate that extra shipping cost (sorry Paul M., Eric C., Jeff B., Jimmy P., Peter F., and Pete T.) (Besides, if you guys mentioned here request a shirt, I may just send ’em with no extra shipping charge if you promise to give ’em plenty of exposure.)

As we get this all figured out (depending on demand and feedback – please drop us a line at [email protected] and if there’s enough response, we’ll probably put up an order form in the right hand column to make it easy to get one of these cool tee-shirts that boast a logo design by the same artist who designed the famous AC/DC logo, my talented brother, Gerry Huerta.

Now for some Keepin” It Real.

FORGOT YOUR MEDICINE? TIME FOR A DOSE OF KEEPIN’ IT REAL BY STEVE SOEST

Yep, It’s time for a public service announcement: Forgot your medicine? Time for a dose of Keepin’ It Real by Steve Soest. This will fix you right up for whatever’s ailin’ you and your guitar.

Here’s some questions…

Steve, I’m lookin to get a bass amp and thought you’d be able to give a heads up on a good new amp for club work. what would you recommend as far as used amps? thanks, Billy Metz

Thanks for the question, Billy. Times are good for small club –sized bass amps! Without getting into specific models, all the major manufacturers now offer smaller combo (amp and speaker in single cabinet) amps with plenty of power and loaded with features (EQ, XLR line out, compression, etc.).

Players no longer need to have monster stacks on stage to carry the fat bottom end. These amps are quite versatile, since most larger venues will have a sound system capable of reproducing great bass tones, all you have to do is line out into the mixing board, and use your amp as a stage monitor! Pack up your bass and head over to your local retailer and try out as many as you can to see what suits you personally. Good luck, Steve Soest

 

Steve, I have a Fender Stratocaster. What would you say is the way to set up the tension springs in the back? Some people cross ‘em over instead of keeping them in a straight line. How many springs do you recommend that I use to help keep the guitar in tune when I use the whammy bar? Thanx. Jim Johnson

Hello Jim – I get asked this question a lot in my repair business. The answer is based on your playing style and your preferred string gauge. My first question to you would be, “How are you going to use your tremolo/vibrato in your playing style? Are you into Jeff Beck, dive bombing, pulling up, flutters, etc.? Will you use it minimally, maybe just a little wiggle at the end of a phrase?

Or, will you NEVER use it, preferring to avoid tuning problems relating to constant pitch changes and the resulting friction?……. Next, I’ll ask you what gauge strings you’ll be using. When the Strat was designed back in the early 1950s, a standard string set was a .012” through a .054”, with a wound 3rd (G) string. As written history tells us, the bridge/vibrato system on the guitar was the most difficult feature on the model to design for suitable performance, and the design was developed to work with the available string sets.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, and want to try a “scientific” experiment, set up your guitar with a .012” string set, float the bridge slightly in the back with all five springs, and guess what?

By the time the Stratocaster’s second wave of popularity came around in the late 1960s, string bending and light gauge string sets were all the rage, so players started removing some of the original 5-springs to try to get the bridge to operate properly with the newly decreased sting tension. This brings us back to you original questions…..IF you’re using .009 gauge strings……don’t do it!

IF you really have to (and you’re in standard tuning), use three springs, either straight, or angled (the whole tension thing is going to be adjusted by the spring claw in the end) and use the newer “hybrid” sets that incorporate the three treble strings from the .009 set (.009, .011, .016 ) and the three bass strings from a .010 set (wound .026, .036, .046 ). You can still bend the three plain strings, and you can enjoy less-floppy wound strings.

If you’re going to use .010 or .011 sets, use four springs (leaving the center spot on the claw and bridge block open). Keeping all this in mind, if you’re going to do the wild Jeff Beck thing, I would float the rear edge of the bridge plate about .075 “ to .080” off the surface of the body. If the second option appeals to you (slight wiggles), float it about .030” OR lightly in contact with the body. (one advantage of the contact to body option is that , if you break a string, the other 5 strings won’t go out of tune, and you’ll be able to at least finish the song before you have to replace the string).

If you’re the kind of player that loves the Strat , but has no use for the vibrato, install all five springs, crank the spring claw into the body, and then tighten down the six screws in the leading edge of the bridge plate. (this has a similar effect to the blocking that Fender offers on the Eric Clapton Stratocaster). I hope this answers your questions without further confusing the situation. If you have tuning problems, let me know in a separate question. I have some methods I’ve incorporated over the years that are previously unpublished I’d be happy to share with all you readers! Steve Soest

 

Steve, what effects pedal would you say is the best for getting that “playing through a leslie speaker” type sound? I’ve heard old stuff from the 60’s that sound pretty rad that were actually played somehow through a real leslie speaker cabinet and figured by now somebody out there has that sound perfected in a pedal. Thanks. Bob W.

Good question Bob- Until recently, I had been using an actual vintage Fender Vibratone (made by Leslie for Fender ) in the studio with a 3-mic setup. It sounded fabulous, but they’re not practical to move around from gig-to-gig (unless you have roadies) and they won’t quite fit on a pedalboard!

Anyway, when it came time to remodel the studio, some of the big stuff got sold off, and the Vibratone cabinet was a victim of the remodel. At that time, (4 years ago) I did quite a bit of research on what was available on the market. I settled on a unit made by Tech21 that was quite suitable, but now my new favorite is a unit made under the Leslie name. It reproduces the tones and features of several

Dale Fortune

Howdy Steve. Been a few years since I’ve been down and chatted with you. Next time I’m down in OC I’ll give you a call. dale

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