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Monkey Steve

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Everything posted by Monkey Steve

  1. while I broadly agree with the supply and demand aspect of this, there does seem to be something of a Dutch Tulip bubble about some of the prices (and not just for Fender, for vintage instruments in general) that they reflect the age of the instrument rather than the inherent quality. Case in point, a few years back I was getting my hair cut and, knowing that I played in bands, the barber asked if I could have a look at his Strat (one of the other barbers had inherited a bass from his Dad and I'd done a set up for him so he could learn to play - a really nice flamed maple Hofner from the 60's). He'd bought the Strat new in the 1970's, had failed to learn more than a couple of chords, and it had sat in it's case for the last couple of decades. Could I give it the once over and let him know how much I thought it was worth, and if I liked it, did I want to buy it? The guitar was in remarkably good shape given how long it had been left alone and just needed a clean, some new strings and a set up...but the guitar itself was a shocker. The neck was much too narrow and it was impossible to play, the pickups were horribly thin sounding, and it had all the other bits and pieces that Fender got criticised for at that time - three bolt neck plate, etc. I set it up for him, but warned him that the 1970's were well known to be a bad decade for Fenders, and this was by far the worst Strat I'd ever played, so he shouldn't be dreaming of a windfall. He rang a shop who offered him £1,500 for it sight unseen, this being about half of what they expected to sell it for - £3k for an utter POS, purely because it was a 40 year old POS Of course, if I'd been buying them up when they went for pennies in the '80's I'd be very pleased with the current state of affairs
  2. There will be some blatant cheating...I won't give the game away just yet in case I think of a better solution, but looking ahead to the next few letters there's one where I'm using the "if you could be qualified to play football or rugby for that country" rule, and one where I may have to put my hands up and admit that I'm just making stuff up. But I'm determined not to download any tracks just to "win" Fortunately I put the whole of my CD collection on to my phone about a year ago (well, I finished it about a year ago, it took a while) - over 37,000 songs
  3. I've given myself a challenge Most days I'm out for a walk before work, between one and two hours, headphones on listening to music. The challenge is to see if I can work my way through the alphabet for a different country for the bands. I started yesterday, and am up to F: A = State Of The Art by Hilltop Hoods - Australia B = Suds & Soda (EP) by Deus - Belgium C = The Great Awake by The Flatliners - Canada D = Paradox: Closing The Chapter by Royal Hunt - Denmark E = BBC Radio One Live In Concert by New Model Army - England F = Marche Ou Creve by Trust - France Thus far I haven't had to make too many difficult choices (Trust aren't my favourite French band, but bonus points for singing in French, which seemed relevant), but I can foresee twisting the rules a bit for some letters. The only one I've regretted so far is Royal Hunt...not entirely sure how I ended up with that album but it's not really my sort of a thing, and I only lasted about 20 minutes. Slightly disappointed that they are the only Danish band in my collection, given the other bands from Denmark that I could have played if only I owned any of their CDs. I do have a couple of albums by a Dutch band that I like (which I convinced myself would be a valid choice for "D") but I am saving them for H (Holland) as I'm not sure I have many other choices. Also slightly underwhelmed by Deus, which I wasn't a huge fan of, and ironically enough while it was playing I was trying to remember the name of a band that I was sure were from Chile that I could have played next. Turned out that they were called Indiscipline and are actually from Brazil. If only I'd remembered before I'd started playing Deus...
  4. I did see (apologies if this has been covered elsewhere on a thread I've missed) that Fender have in fact been pretty active in replacing rosewood with ebony. Obviously this has been prompted by CITES, and they neatly explain that they are using ebony with white streaks in it because it's cheaper a far better ecological choice as most ebony isn't completely black
  5. Got my 4001 in there, and my (sadly now departed) Marshall Super Bass II head, back in the '80's when second hand prices were reasonable and the shops were full of interesting and odd stuff. As I recall, Macaris always used to have "wreck of the week" in the window - some broken (often very broken) guitar that they were selling dirt cheap to anybody who fancied taking it as a repair project These days it's more likely a quick look in the window to see what new guitars they have hanging up, although they typically have a good selection of Gibsons, I did buy a Dean acoustic in there a few years back, and they were pretty relaxed and helpful. So I've always had a soft spot for them
  6. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it, just use it as an inspiration to get back up to speed. I certainly think there'll be a lot of bands that need to spend time getting back to where they were pre lockdown. And if nothing else, it will highlight the areas you need to focus on I had an interesting virtual beer with a couple of musician friends the other week. One has used the opportunities presented by lockdown (he works as a caretaker in a school - with the school shut he's only needed to go in a couple of times a week to make sure that there's nothing which needs attention) and is up to 10 hours of guitar practice on a good day (when not a caretaker, he is a semi-pro guitarist in a reasonably well known band in their genre). The other (guitar & vox) was exasperated with the rest of his band because they are using any excuse not to practice their instruments and write the parts for the next album (as they had agreed to do when lockdown hit). They play quite complicated stuff, and the drummer doesn't seem to have touched his drums for the last three months. First rehearsal back is going to be interesting...
  7. Only the OP will know what will give him the spark, and I'm with @itu in suggesting that there are a list of other things that might be tried. But I say that as somebody who doesn't have any other distractions like a demanding family life. I've actually been using the extra time at home to make an effort on specific things - playing 7 string guitar being top of the list, but writing bass parts has kept me busy too In more usual times when I'm in need of a spark, for me it's changing the strings - new fresh zingy strings and I'm away. I did actually get a new bass this year and I played that every day for the first month, and it's still an inspiration. But the purchase was carefully planned, and in the absence of a new bass, fresh strings, every time
  8. I know we've debated this before, and I've always come down on the side of protecting the smaller sellers by allowing the manufacturer to fix a minimum price. The CMA seems to have completely given up on that, and is happy for the larger retailers to do what they like to undercut the smaller ones - from their open letter to the industry: If your business model does not enable you to compete on price with the big online ‘discounters’ you need to find other ways in which to make your products more attractive to shoppers and protect your margins.
  9. I feel your pain The last time I had to look into this was when a band had agreed on a name which Google told us was in use by about half a dozen other bands worldwide. We'd never heard of any of them, none had released any records, none played the same type of music, and none of them were local to us, so we were pretty confident that we'd never get sued. IIRC the test is whether anybody can complain that you having the same name is taking advantage of their reputation and having an impact on their income. We then thought of a better name which got the Google all clear, so the problem went away. In your scenario, I think the issue isn't necessarily whether you have ambitions to be the next big thing, but whether the northern band are going to take off. But for the moment I can't see an issue with it and wouldn't lose any sleep. In my opinion, a bigger issue to consider is whether this makes it difficult for people to track down your band - I've sometimes struggled to get info on bands (like gig dates) when Google/Facebook/YouTube/etc have got several to choose from, and it's much easier to promote the band if your lot are always top of the search results.
  10. I think the trouble is that any of you might have the virus without showing any symptoms for the first week, or might have a very mild case (certainly there is anecdotal evidence of individuals testing positive for Covid-19 or having the antibodies which indicate that they have had it, without having noticed any ill effects) I've noticed within my mates, who are trying to organise some get togethers in London now that the pubs are reopening, that there seems to be an assumption that somehow you won't catch it off your friends, like it is being spread deliberately by people who know they are ill but are recklessly ignoring distancing. One of the group very bluntly pointed out that he wasn't leaving the house any time soon (he has a vulnerable child with health issues and the family have been told to stay in until further notice) and perhaps the organiser, who has quite bad asthma and Type 2 Diabetes, should be a bit less cavalier about his and everybody else's health Obviously it's different for everybody
  11. No - what it shows is a big spike in deaths in March and April, when the virus hit the UK, and was doing it's worst amongst the at risk populations. But since then the number of death per week has been reducing and isn't much higher than the average number over the last few years: In isolation, that March April spike isn't a game changer when it comes to mortality rates and life expectancies, as these things happen periodically. It should also be noted that the total number of deaths is in itself meaningless - total deaths per year have been increasing since 2011, in line with population growth https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending12june2020/previous/v1 There is also a lot of odd stuff in the data - for instance a significant increase in non-C-19 deaths in that same March/April period, which suggests that a lot of deaths from C-19 were being attributed to other causes (as seems to have been the case in care homes, where deaths of elderly residents in poor health were not unexpected so nobody was looking for coronavirus). But it does also show that over the last few weeks there has been a reduction in non-Covid deaths below the average, which links back to the point that to an extent some people are dying of C-19 who would otherwise be dying of something else (obviously from a general, statistical point of view, not individuals) Of course this doesn't offer any conclusions - for instance we don't know whether we're going to get a second spike as the lockdown is relaxed, we don't know the long term implications on life expectancy for survivors with significant damage to their lungs, etc. As I say, this will play out for a while yet
  12. yes, agreed - there's a long way to go on this, and a lot of moving parts. One of the very interesting comments from a pensions funding point of view (which was, after all, the point of the webinar) was that any change on mortality tables for the general population is likely to be watered down when applied to pensions, because people with large private or company pensions are typically the people in the wealthier areas with better health and longer life expectancies, who we know are less affected by Covid-19 My strong suspicion is that all of the other factors such as poverty and BAME (which as I say, seems to be significantly linked to the number of diabetics in the South Asian communities) will turn out to be proxies for the poor standard of general health in those areas. Maybe the pandemic will get some momentum for improving general health in those communities
  13. I'll apologise in advance if this sounds a little heartless - I say nothing about the human tragedy of current events, and what follows shouldn't be taken as me saying that I don't care, it's purely about the numbers and the risks...It also takes us further off topic, so again, apologies I was on a mortality webinar a couple of weeks ago (for work - I'm a pensions manager and life expediencies and mortality rates have a huge impact on pension funding) and the somewhat surprising message is that nothing much has changed. While 40,000+ people have died of Covid-19 so far, that's against an expected rate of death of about 500,000 over the same period. While they wouldn't have been expected to die of this new disease, most of the deaths are those who were at risk of dying from something else to begin with. Obviously there are exceptions and otherwise healthy people have died, but they are exceptions. There is a slight increase against the expected number of deaths, but not a statistically significant one, and the potential reduction in life expectancy has to be set against the steady increase in life expectancy over the last few decades - as things stand we might be knocked back to life expectancy from around ten years ago, but there has only been a marginal increase over the last decade. The data is emerging to show a correlation between Covid deaths and economically deprived areas, which are acknowledged to already have a link to poorer health and shorter life expediencies than wealthier areas. As a Type 1 Diabetic I should probably be worried that diabetics make up an alarmingly large number of the Covid deaths (although that seems to relate to poorly controlled diabetes rather than diabetics per se) and the spike in Covid deaths in the BAME community looks heavily linked to the high incidence of diabetes in the South Asian population The quote I remember was "it's not the black death - the overwhelming majority of people who get Covid-19 will not die from it". Obviously that doesn't take away from the risk to vulnerable people Of course there are a number of factors at play here -for instance, deaths from car crashes is almost certainly down over the same period. This will play out for a long time to come
  14. having done a Covid-19 test in the last fortnight (negative - I have a chest infection) the test was only offered if I was within the first few days of experiencing symptoms. It is linked to Track and Trace, so the idea is to contact other who you have been in contact with before they start to show symptoms. If you've had it for a week then it's to late and they're not fussed about testing you. This is a slight movement from a couple of months back when a friend of mine definitely had it, but despite being very unwell indeed, was not ill enough to be taken in to hospital, and at that time they were only testing hospital admissions. She she almost certainly doesn't appear in the statistics despite having had the disease.
  15. Yeah, I've had reliable reports of some pubs offering a "takeaway" service since lockdown began, largely those with outside seating or on village greens A mate on the Isle of Man sent me an e-mail yesterday gloating about their pubs having been open for a while now - they banned all non-residents and brought in the 14 day quarantine period quite early on, and currently have no Covid-19 cases on the island. He tells me that it's pretty much back to normal. He's a drummer and plays his first gig since lockdown this weekend. The git
  16. actually, no - my sub packed up a few weeks ago and I need to get it replaced. If there's more bass going through that then I suspect the house's foundations may need reinforcing
  17. Last week I got the new 4k version of the Blues Brothers, which has 5.1 surround sound Pleased to report that whoever mixed the sound has (perhaps lazily) put the bass through just the middle speaker in the set up, while the other instruments are spread around the rest of the speakers in the room. What this means is that because the middle speaker is typically the loudest (because that's where most of the dialogue goes, and I tend to tweak it a bit louder to help with mumbling actors) the bass is literally front and centre on everything. Gloriously loud! Biggest revelation for me was that the bass doesn't play all the notes in the Peter Gunn riff, and in fact is playing some quite interesting variations Thoroughly recommended
  18. I've got an Ortega KTSM - 5 five string acoustic - a Ken Taylor signature (he's big in Germany apparently - I had no idea who he was, but the signature version was a bit fancier than the plain alternative) https://www.thomann.de/gb/ortega_ktsm5_ken_taylor.htm?sid=ad51d9f687f2403a333b43661c0bf11b I don't play it anything like as much as my electrics (typically I practice unplugged at home) mainly because for an electric I tend to hit the strings very hard, and the acoustic gets neighbour-disturbingly loud if I do that, and all the clanking doesn't sound great on an acoustic. But if I apply the right technique it's great, no problem with volume at all acoustically (if anything I tend to be quite light on it, because, as above, it gets to neighbour annoying volume quite easily), and while I haven't played it on stage, it does have a peizo, which retains the acoustic sound when plugged in - more so than the video on the Thomann page would have you believe
  19. Saw Godsmack at Download last year and they had this "drum duel" where the lead singer, who has also been playing guitar for the whole set, got behind a second drum kit and had a "drum off" against the bloke who has actually been playing drums for the whole set. Honestly, made him look like a needy, self indulgent [email protected] - seemed to be very much a "look at me!!! I can play drums too!!!" ego polishing moment Does Ian Gillan playing his bongos count?
  20. Creaming Jesus had two drummers in the early days, one of whom was a very attractive female. They didn't factor in that she might leave when they sacked the lead guitarist that she was going out with at the time - I'm sure that lost them a chunk of their following. Still, as per my earlier post, they did have a spare, and they never felt the need to replace her
  21. clearly the only reason to have two drummers in the band is so that you still have a drummer when you have to sack one
  22. I've had a delivery of strings from Strings Direct during lockdown - dispatched very quickly, slight delay with the Post Office, but was with me within a week of placing the order. If they have your stings listed I'd thoroughly recommend them - always great customer service Also had a delivery (not strings) from Andertons, which was for a couple of items that I knew were not in stock when I ordered them, but came pretty quickly (and after Andertons had given me a "this all depends on our suppliers not being affected by lockdown" warnings - fair enough) The only significant delay I've had (and am still having) is for an order with Gear4Music - again, an item that I knew wasn't in stock when I ordered it, and there seems to be a delay in getting it from the (quite small) manufacturer.
  23. gratuitous shots of my 1975 4001 BT for those pining for a mapleglo...
  24. I have a very similar rule for tattoos
  25. @Berserker as you can see, there isn't one right answer! I'd suggest you be ready for any situation, and take gear along accordingly. In my experience, most pubs gigs won't have their own PA and a sound engineer...but I've played some that do. If there is a house PA and soundman then they will almost certainly expect you to DI. So find out from the venue whether you're bringing your own PA, and if so, then it's for you and the band to decide whether you are being DI'd or not. Obviously this is something you should have tried at rehearsal first... My one tip, if you are regularly going to be DI'd, is to look at something like a Tech 21 VT Bass pedal. I use this because I play through an Ampeg SVT, but most of the time I don't bring it to gigs. The VT pedal gives me a pretty good SVT sound, and sits in the signal chain before the DI is taken. So I still sound like I want to, without needing the Ampeg. If you don't want to sound like an Ampeg then some other pedal may suit you better Where I am being DI'd I've learned not to be at all bothered at what I sound like on stage and to trust the sound man, and as long as i can hear myself enough to tell if I'm in tune, that's fine. It also quickly removes me from the on stage squabbling on which guitarists seem to spend half the soundcheck, about who is too loud and whether they can get "their sound" at the volumes the venue is asking them to stick to. I haven't needed to bring an amp to any gigs for at least five years, and the last time I did it was only because the band I was depping with had a full bass stack (not an Ampeg) that they wanted to bring. I made sure my signal was DI'd from my pedal board, and just used their amp as my monitor
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