Hey gang, just wanted to let you know that you need you need to check out the lastest Rockhouse learning website "RockhouseU" Click here to visit RockhouseU.. No way you will regret it...
I also wanted to let you know that I have opened a Youtube account again. I am just getting started so it is a little silly right now with a couple of test videos with a new camera set up with high quality audio and a couple of videos of what not to do. I will be adding videos over the next few weeks talking about and dealing with any and everything for 6 string acoustic guitars.
I am still learning this great art myself. With a ton of help from the support guys at the Martin factory as well as my local authorized Martin luthier I have been abbe to learn a great deal in only a couple of years. I still learn many new and exciting things everyday and it is my hope to share this with anyone may need answers. None of us know it all so if I can't give you an answer I will find someone that can give you the answer you may be looking for.... You can find my Youtube channel by clicking here...
I hope to explain acoustic design, set up, sound, wood type and so on. everything from the head stock to the endpin in as easy a manner as possible.
Thanks everyone, I hope to see you on the RockhouseU website very soon, and any of our readers are welcome to stop by my Youtube channel, there will be much more content over the next few weeks.
Leave me your feedback, let me know what you may want to see,get more details or detailed information about. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and if I do not have an answer for you I wil find it.
Thanks very much,
©2009 - 2013 Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email jm@RockHouseMethod.com
at 12:28 AM
I have decided to write a brief review about a guitar pick I came across pretty much by accident but have fell totally in love with their products.
I will only be able to tell you about 2 of their picks which are the ones that I personally use, but just so you know they offer a very large variety of picks for pretty much any type of picking style.
The picks are called “Cool Picks” and are manufactured by Cool Music Inc.
Their picks use some very unique grip designs that make them almost impossible to slip out of your fingers, even when playing hard and sweating.
The process is secret of course and even I do not know the details. What they do is add a rubberized material to the top of the pick where your thumb and finger grip it, they also use a sand like texture on some models. I have not tested those yet but I plan to very soon.
The 2 picks I have used (and still use exclusively). Are what I’m going to write about here.
A few years ago a friend of mine handed me a pick I had never seen before. I had a problem with traditional picks slipping out of my hand. He said try this and see if it helps.
It was the Cool Cell which is made of 100% celluloid and has a white mother of pearl shell coloring. It comes in 3 different gauges .50 .75 and 1.0. I personally use the .75 and it works for pretty much any type of music I feel like playing. It is ridged enough to attack hard if I want to but can still strum very lightly and cleanly. It leaves your highs bright and your lows deep and rich. I can’t say enough about this pick as just a great all around pick.
I became hooked on these picks after that day and finally found places to purchase them.
As I have said before I play acoustic only now so I decided to try their Pure Cell pick which also comes in gauges .50 .75 and 1.0. It has a tortoise shell coloring.
It is also made from 100% celluloid and uses what the company calls “Pure Micron Accu Grip”. To me the grip feels almost identical to the Cool Cell but the pick itself somehow has some very minor differences when playing.
I have no idea how they accomplished making it out of the exact same material in the same gauges and yet it seems to play just a tiny bit thinner. It is just a touch more responsive if you are playing Bluegrass, or country songs that mix a lot of short runs and different strumming patterns. This is my go to pick over any other. And I have some picks that cost anywhere from .10 cents to $30.00 each. But none of those match the sound and grip I get from either of these picks.
I use the medium gauge .75 in both picks. I have tried the heavier gauges but for my Martin acoustic the .75 work perfectly.
You can’t find these picks just anywhere. You will not find them in the massive chain or online stores. This company is very selective about who they choose as dealers for their products. I kind of like that. And sorry but you can’t order their products from them directly.
I will include where I normally order mine from, you can also go to their website for a list of dealers.
Bottom line: You owe it to yourself to try these picks. I have found that the average street price is about .80 cents each so they do cost a tiny bit more than many other picks but, well worth the few extra cents you will pay.
Give them a try and please respond back to this post and give me your own thoughts and experiences with them.
Elderly Instruments. This is where I normally order Cool Picks from
©2009 - 2013 Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email jm@RockHouseMethod.com
at 9:44 PM
Hello Rock House.
I am very sorry that I have been away for so long but things come up in life and we have to adjust and change with those things.
Biggest thing that happened was about 5 years ago now I made a decision to stop playing guitar all together. I made the mistake of getting so gear hungry that I over extended myself beyond control. I sold every piece of gear and guitar I had.
Well long story short my awesome wife Jamie noticed that I missed playing and missed it badly, but at the same time she knew I would never begin spending that kind of money again. She suggested that I purchase an acoustic guitar and only that and just play. I took her up on that offer last April and after a ton of research and pricing I decided on a Martin.
If you are going to play an acoustic guitar, what better name than Martin. I purchased series model DRS2L. That designation stands for Dreadnought road series model 2 and the L is for left handed. Any of you that know or remember me know I am left handed.
I decided it is time to write up a review on this guitar, so some of you can see and know that for a reasonable price and a few upgrades you can have an acoustic that sounds and plays like you payed thousands for it.
Here is the basic breakdown and specs of the Martin DRS2 straight from the Martin website. I am going to add a couple of explanations beside some of the specs in case you may not be familiar with a certain type of wood or other material used on the guitar.
Construction: Mortise/Tenon Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Rosette: Single Ring
Top Bracing Pattern: A-Frame ''X-1''
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16''
Back Material: Sapele – Tonally this sounds pretty much like mahogany with just a tiny bit of extra highs.
Back Purfling: none
Side Material: Sapele - Tonally this sounds pretty much like mahogany with just a tiny bit of extra highs.
Endpiece: Black Boltaron
Endpiece Inlay: none
Binding: Black Boltaron
Top Inlay Style: none
Side Inlay: none
Back Inlay: none
Neck Material: Select Hardwood – Many of these came with what is called a stratabond neck which was a quarter sawn high pressure laminated neck. It may sound odd but it did have major advantages such as being almost totally resistant to temperature and humidity changes. However there was a shortage of materials and Martin for now has gone back to an all hard wood neck. I do not know when or if they will be using the stratabond neck on this model in the near future or at all.
Neck Shape: Modified Low Oval
Nut Material: White Corian – Pretty much plastic.
Headstock: Solid/Standard Taper
Headplate: Indian Rosewood Pattern HPL
Fingerboard Material: Black Richlite – I have read and researched dozens of definitions for this material and they all seem to be different. Here is what I can tell you from my own experience. It is pretty much as hard as ebony, not as shiny, but it does still have a great deal of sustain and I do not notice any tonal differences between this material and ebony. My favorite thing about this material is the only maintenance needed for it is to be wiped down with a damp cloth from time to time.
Scale Length: 25.4''
Number Of Frets Clear: 14
Number Of Frets Total: 20
Fingerboard Width At Nut: 1-11/16''
Fingerboard Width At 12th Fret: 2-1/8''
Fingerboard Position Inlays: Style 28 w/ White ABS Dots
Fingerboard Binding: none
Finish Back & Sides: Satin
Finish Top: Satin
Finish Neck: Hand Applied Natural Oil Finish
Bridge Material: Black Richlite – same as above fret board material.
Bridge Style: Modern Belly
Bridge String Spacing: 2-1/8''
Saddle: 16'' Radius/Compensated/White Tusq – This is a manmade material, not really plastic, but often referred to as plastic. It is said that the material allows the sound to come through better when plugged into an amplification system. I have tested it against an all bone saddle and noticed no better sound from the Tusq saddle. I did however notice a much better overall tone from the bone saddle.
Tuning Machines: Chrome Enclosed w/ Small Buttons
Recommended Strings: Martin Studio Performance Lifespan Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP7200)
Bridge & End Pins: White w/ Black Dots
Case: 345 Hardshell
Interior Label: Paper Label
Electronics: Fishman Sonitone
Other Options: Available left-handed at no additional charge. Love that part...
Now to my experience with my own DRS2L.
Basically I love it. I have made some upgrades. I had a bone nut hand carved for it by a Martin certified luthier as well as adding a Martin compensated bone saddle. I also recently added bone bridge pins. These upgrades cost me about $200.00 for all and that is me actually buying about 3 saddles to experiment with different heights. But this $200.00 cost is well worth every penny. It turned a great sounding full size Martin dreadnought into an awesome sounding one.
I actually have friends that have asked when did I buy a D-18, which by the way is about 3 times the price. It honestly sounds that good. Now if you know Martin guitars very well you would know just by seeing it, that it is not a D-18. It has a flat finish and the D-18 is highly polished, and the tuners are different as well. There are many other differences inside and out, but even at a glance from someone who knows Martin guitars these are easily noticed.
The flat finish is probably my only complaint about the guitar. I am told that it will actually allow the wood to breathe and age better and in time we will see. I just like the polished finish.
When it arrived and I removed it from the box and began playing I noticed right away that this is not at all what most people refer to as a mid or entry level Martin guitar. With medium gauge strings the bass is well controlled and also well heard. You can feel the wood vibrate just as you should with any well-made acoustic. But it does not over power the mids or highs. The tone is very well balanced.
After adding the upgrades, bone saddle and nut and bone bridge pins the sound really came alive. I play around a lot of acoustic guitarists that play D-18’s and even D-28’s and they still have a hard time believing what I paid for my DRS2L, even with the added upgrades.
Full retail is around $1099.00. Street prices range from about $799.00 to around $900.00. The street price difference seems to depend on which neck the guitar has. That is just my own observation. I do not know that for a fact. Mine has the hardwood neck and set me back around $900.00. So I have right at $1200.00 total in it and the sound and volume from it are right up there with Martin models costing $3000.00 or more.
The action was a tad bit high. That was easily fixed when I added the bone saddle, by simply sanding about a 32nd off before installing it. Now the action is dead on 3 32nds on the low E string and 2 32nds on the high e string. I can get it a tiny bit lower if I use light gauge strings. This is a pretty standard string action for most dreadnought body guitars. Martin does leave theirs a tiny bit high from the factory since many of them are played by Bluegrass players or heavy handed pickers that need the action a little higher.
I blow most similar Taylor guitars away when it comes to sound and volume. I am not knocking a Taylor I am just saying for far less money I get better sound.
It is an all solid wood top back and sides and the Fishman Sonitone pickup works great. Martin has the volume and tone dials hidden just inside of the edge of the sound hole so they are easy to reach but no extra holes in the solid body of the guitar. Even the battery is neatly tucked away inside of the body of the guitar. The only way you would know it has electronics is to look at the end pin. I normally only use mine for tuning, as I have not found a reason or need to plug it in yet except for testing. It has plenty of sound unplugged when playing smaller places. But when plugged in to a decent amplifier or PA mixing board it still sounds great. The bass mids and highs are still very well balanced. I just prefer playing unplugged.
And before anyone asks, yes this model is manufactured in the plant in Mexico but you would never know it unless you looked at the label inside of the guitar. As I said before I have had several people that thought I was playing a D-18, the sound is just that good. Now of course it is not a D-18, but for the price I am yet to find a guitar that can match it.
I highly recommend this guitar.
Here are the upgrades I recommend for it to get the best sound. Many may love it as it is right out of the box and that is fine as acoustic guitar tone is personal to each person, what I like you may not. But here are my recommendations none the less.
First order a #2 compensated saddle from Martin, it drops right in. If you want to lower it a bit unless you are educated in how to sand and lower a saddle please let a Martin authorized luthier do it for you. Next you will need a Martin truss rod adjustment wrench. The nut for the truss rod is located at the base of the neck inside of the sound hole and is very hard to reach and adjust with a standard allen wrench. The one from Martin is designed to reach it easily and costs very little. (This is a must with an acoustic guitar) If you are not familiar with how to make truss rod adjustments please let a Martin authorized tech or luthier make any adjustments, and in most cases if you will ask them they will explain to you how to do this. There is also a ton of videos and reading material that will help you understand all of this much better. Some of which you will find using the links I have listed below. I would also have a Martin certified luthier carve a bone nut and install it. It really does balance the sound better. Lastly order a set of bone bridge pins. The all bone set up is very well rounded with great volume and tone, and also increases harmonics.
My saddle from Martin was about $25.00 with shipping. I did the height adjustments and installation myself. The nut cost me $40.00. I had it hand carved from a bone blank by a local Martin luthier. I DO NOT recommend that you try anything with the nut yourself unless you are very well trained in how to do this. Far too many things can be broken trying this yourself. My bone bridge pins I ordered from Maury’s Music and were about $39.00 with shipping. I will include links for all at the end of this.
After that just play and listen.
Dollar for dollar I have not yet found a better deal from any company for an all solid wood constructed electric acoustic guitar. And this is a Martin, which means they stand behind it for life. Which brings me to why I kept saying please use a Martin authorized technician or luthier. They will only warranty parts made or installed by their authorized people. And if you use someone not Martin authorized and they happen to break something then you will be stuck paying for the repair. I really can’t stress that enough.
Go online and check the Youtube videos of this guitar, check the reviews. It really is a great guitar at a decent price. And as for those that call it an entry level Martin, I will put my Martin DRS2L against any standard dreadnought out there. There is nothing entry level about this guitar.
Here are some links for items mentioned in this review. I am not advertising for them, just letting you know where I got my parts from, most of which Martin support recommended to me. Also some other links you may want to check out for information on acoustic guitars and what is used for the best sound. And some is just all around good reading material.
Here are some random photos of my DRS2L as it was being upgraded, some of the work I did myself such as saddle word and bridge pins. The nut was done by a Martin authorized luthier.
This is the new nut installed and the stock nut sitting in front of it laying on the strings.
This is the new nut installed cleaned and polished ready to go. It took about 2 hours.
Just in case you may have wanted to know what it looks like under your nut this is after the stock nut was removed. Removing it was very quick and simple for a trained luthier. It took him about a minute to remove it.
And this is the bone bridge pins with the black dot ebony inlays I got from Maury’s Music after I installed them. As simple as changing strings. If you call them be sure you talk to Angelo or Maury to be sure you are getting the correct parts.
at 1:59 AM
Jeff Loomis redesigned his main Signature 7s for 2014. Increased access and playability, lighter weight, thinner neck, Hipshot hardtail and new tones from the EMG 57/66 set make this one of the most anticipated Schecter 2014 models!
Check 'em out @ http://www.schecterguitars.com
at 6:36 PM
Sun Valley, CA (January 16, 2014) -- Schecter Guitar Research is proud to announce the New Blackjack ATX to be showcased in the spacious upstairs Room 210-D. This series is offered in with a mahogany body (Aged Black Satin Finish) and a swamp ash body (Vampyre Red Satin Finish) in 2 different body shapes: The classic C-Series shape and the brand new Solo-II shape. The Blackjack ATX is offered as 6, 7, and 8 string models all loaded with Seymour Duncan Blackout pick-ups and equipped with glow in the dark side dot inlays. The Blackjack ATX series will also include: Blackjack ATX C-1, Blackjack ATX C-1 FR, Blackjack ATX C-7, Blackjack ATX C-8, and the Blackjack ATX Solo-II.
Check 'em out @http://www.schecterguitars.com/Default.aspx
Check 'em out @http://www.schecterguitars.com/Default.aspx
at 6:31 PM
Sacramento, CA (January 15, 2014) -- To celebrate Fargen Custom Shop's 15th year of crafting some the world’s finest USA built tube guitar amplifiers, they announced the limited edition red/white/blue High Gain Classic 50. Ben Fargen has pulled out all the stops and rolled 15 years of high-gain Custom Shop builds into this 15-piece exclusive run of amplifiers. Classic rock through pure molten metal lava only scratches the tonal surface of what this modern masterpiece can achieve. Classic 3 x 12AX7 preamp gain staging, 12AX7 tube buffered FX loop with true bypass switch, foot switchable dual master volume coupled with a 50 watt classic 2 x 6CA4/EL34 power amp makes for the ultimate powerhouse amp head. The High Gain Classic 50 is available on the Fargen website and at select authorized dealers, in red, white or blue tolex, with Fargen producing five of each color. MSRP $3,499.
Fargen also announced two new additions to its standard retail line. Its first jazz amp is presented in a lightweight grab and go combo that weighs under 25 pounds, and offers pure tube tone. Fargen has developed its first ever tube/ solid state hybrid design. The brand new Fargen Jazz Custom SE combo features a pure high voltage hand-wired tube preamp feeding an ultra-efficient lightweight 50W class D power amp, through two ultra-efficient 8" full range speakers. Now, jazz guitar players, and any player needing great clean headroom tone, can have pure boutique tube amp tones in a super lightweight and compact design. This amp brings fresh new traditional vintage & modern jazz-style tones inspired by the classic 60's blackface all-tube preamp architecture. MSRP $1,599.
The Townhouse 20 is the new "gig ready" edition to the Fargen Amps lineup for Winter 2014. Following on the success of the micro-sized class A Townhouse 5 watt head (released at Summer NAMM 2013), the Townhouse 20 sports a new 2 x 6V6 20-watt power amp in a brand new compact 1 x 12" grab-and-gig compact combo design, while offering hand-built, made in the USA boutique tube amp quality and tone. The two-way Decade Switch features a 50?s setting with vintage tweed-inspired tones, and a 60?s setting inspired by brownface tones. The Townhouse 20 is like two-amps-in-one, at a reasonable price considering its boutique essence. MSRP $1,599.
Finally, Fargen has reissued its J&J Overdrive pedal, originally marketed under the Sonic Edge brand. The new J&J is based on the same circuit as the original, and is now hand crafted in the USA. This marks the second Sonic Edge pedal reissued and branded as Fargen. MSRP $189.
"We're kicking-off our 15th anniversary year in a big way, with an exciting limited-edition high gainer and a cool, warm jazz box - two firsts for us in terms of production amps" said Ben Fargen, founder. "The Townhouse 20 is a nice extension of the 5W Townhouse, for our customers who love Townhouse but are looking for a little more, but still at a reasonable price for a boutique amp", says Ben.
Check 'em out @ http://www.fargenamps.com/
at 6:21 PM
Take a look and see what The Rock House Method will be bringing to the table at NAMM 2014. For those who will be attending, stop by and meet John McCarthy at the Hal Leonard Booth in Hall B Booth 5720.
Check out the products @ GoMakeMusic
Check out the website @ The Rock House Method
at 6:05 PM
Hebron, KY (January 23, 2014) -- B.C. Rich debuts the latest addition to one of their bestselling lines, the Mockingbird Plus FR. The new model will make its first appearance at the 2014 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Trade show this January in Anaheim, California. Inspired by the successful Mockingbird ST, the new Mockingbird Plus FR delivers the features which attracted players at nearly half the price.
Growing demand for a Mockingbird with a Floyd Rose bridge fuels the release of the new model. As one of the most in demand body shapes in the B.C. Rich line, the Mockingbird Plus FR is designated to be a top seller. Production models are being delivered to key dealers in January 2014.
The Mockingbird Plus FR features a mahogany body with a black vapor finish to highlight and detail the figured maple top. Complementing the 25 5/8” maple set-neck is a 24 fret ebony fretboard with a 12” radius, diamond inlays and the traditional B.C. Rich three on three headstock. The new set-neck design features a contour delivering the sonic advantages of a set-neck design with a comfortable neck joint normally only seen on neck-thru designs.
Additional highlights of the new model include the traditional Mockingbird electronics configuration of dual humbuckers with a master volume control, a master tone control and a three way toggle switch for maximum tone versatility. The Floyd Rose bridge, control knobs, strap buttons, locking nut, and die-cast tuners are all finished in a high gloss black to complement the black vapor finish.
Originally released in 1976, the B.C. Rich Mockingbird is ranked as “The Coolest Guitar of All Time”. With its eye catching design, the guitar has a noted list of users that include Slash, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Paolo Gregoletto (Trivium) and Rick Derringer.
MSRP: $640.00 USD
Check 'em out @ http://bcrich.com
at 5:39 PM
Coachella, CA (January 15, 2014) -- Ernie Ball, one of the world's leading manufacturers of guitar strings and musical instrument accessories, is proud to introduce the first significant material innovation for acoustic strings since the release of Phosphor Bronze in 1974. Following the success of the immensely popular Cobalt Slinkys, Ernie Ball continues to provide musicians with the most cutting edge tools to achieve superior tone with the release of Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Strings.
Extensive research over the span of 3 years lead to the development of this optimal blend of copper and aluminum specifically tailored for acoustic guitar strings. Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Strings feature more projection and clarity than traditional bronze strings, while also providing improved corrosion resistance. Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Strings are made with Ernie Ball Maraging Steel hex cores and Aluminum Bronze wrap wire which provide more pronounced lows coupled with crisp brilliant highs.
Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Strings were road tested by some of today's most respected acoustic guitarists from world renowned guitar virtuosos, Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour to multi-platinum and grammy-award winning artist, John Mayer. The response has been in resounding agreement that Aluminum Bronze Strings provide a shockingly clear and robust tone unlike anything else on the market.
Officially launching mid January, the new Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Strings will be available in stores late Spring 2014. With a street price of $7.99 for guitar, the new strings will be available in all of the popular Acoustic gauges. This progressive innovation leads a host of new and exciting products that Ernie Ball is set to launch at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show.
Ernie Ball is proud to introduce the next significant material innovation for electric guitar strings with M-Steel Strings. On the heels of launching Cobalt Slinkys, Ernie Ball has continued to redefine the tonal capabilities and magnetic properties of the electric guitar string. This proprietary new line of strings has been re-engineered from the ground up to further increase output, frequency response, and strength.
M-Steel, short for Maraging Steel, is a superalloy used in high stress applications for the aerospace and defense industries. The wound strings are comprised of a patented Super Cobalt alloy wrapped around a Maraging steel hex core wire, producing a richer and fuller tone with powerful low end response. M-Steel plain strings are comprised of a specially tempered steel for maximum fatigue resistance. A patented winding of steel around the ball end of the plain strings reduces slippage, breakage and stays in tune better than conventional plain strings.
M-Steel Strings were road tested by some of today's most respected musicians, including world-renowned guitarists Slash, Steve Vai, and John Petrucci. Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert said: “Ernie Ball knows their metal... literally. I just put a new set of M-Steel Strings on, Wow! Powerful new tones came streaming out of my guitar.” Upon review, Guitar Player Magazine said “M-Steels Strings are louder and girthier than even the Cobalt Slinkys and more so when compared to nickel-plated strings.”
Officially launching mid January, the new Ernie Ball M-Steel Strings will be available in stores late Spring 2014. With a street price of $12.99, the new strings will be available in five popular Slinky gauges: Super, Regular, Hybrid, Power and Skinny Top Heavy Bottom. This progressive innovation leads a host of new and exciting products that Ernie Ball is set to launch at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show.
Check 'em out @ http://www.ernieball.com/
at 5:27 PM
Los Angeles, CA (January 15, 2014) -- BOSS is pleased to announce the OD-1X Overdrive and DS-1X Distortion, two special edition compact pedals for guitarists with an ear for premium tone. Delivering a refined tonal experience that’s only possible with the legendary expertise of BOSS, the OD-1X and DS-1X will forever change the way players think about overdrive and distortion.
Bringing together decades of innovation in pedal design with the most advanced tone technologies, the OD-1X and DS-1X offer next-generation performance that opens up a modern era of expression for guitarists everywhere. Featuring all-new designs powered by BOSS’ cutting-edge Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP), these inspiring pedals provide superior sound, feel, and response characteristics that are impossible to achieve with traditional analog designs.
The OD-1X and DS-1X both offer a striking appearance to match their premium tone. Each model is equipped with exclusive chrome knobs and a chrome control plate, plus a vintage silver knob for battery compartment access.
Check 'em out @ http://rolandconnect.com
at 11:26 AM