ToneLab Demo

March 27th, 2008 |

The more I play this new ToneLab pedal the more I am impressed. I honestly can’t believe the tones this thing can pull off. I recorded a little clip of me playing the intro of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s version of Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ just to show one of the many incredible tones this pedal can produce, or re-produce.

This recording is my G&L Legacy (a Stratocaster basically) ran into the pedal, then into an old QSC solid state power amp, then into my Fender 2×12 cabinet. The cabinet has one Celestian Greenback and one Celestian Vintage 30. I don’t remember which is which but I miked the one stage left for what that’s worth. I used an SM57 microphone and the recording is totally dry with no EQ.

My decision to play ‘Little Wing’ does not in any way imply that this guitar tone sounds like Stevie Ray or Hendrix. It certainly doesn’t. It’s just a super cool guitar part and it lends itself very nicely to this kind of guitar tone. This sounds exactly like a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb to me. And for you guitar tone freaks out there, notice how the bottom end is sort of bloated the same way those old Fenders are when you really hit them hard. That low end distortion is not coming from my speakers, it’s actually coming from the pedal. I recorded this at a pretty low volume. Vox’s attention to detail is stunning. Check it out.

Download the mp3 here.

Riley’s Diet

March 25th, 2008 |

The picture on the left was taken the Sunday before Easter. After seeing the picture we decided that Riley needed to drop a few pounds before making his big debut at church wearing his new Easter outfit. So we put him on a very strict diet and exercise regimen consisting of only water and raisins with a 90 minute run each day. It really worked. You can see in the picture on the right (taken Easter morning) that he is much more fit. We are such great parents.

Riley JohnsonRiley Johnson

I think it was just the haircut and the smile that makes him look thinner but whatever. I’ll have to try that.

Angel and I got a new set of sheets and a new comforter for our bed because Lilly decided to turn our old comforter into a couple of pieces of chewed fabric surrounded by piles and piles of stuffing. She was so proud. We weren’t.

Here are the new sleeping arrangements.

English Mastiff Puppy

I got a new guitar pedal for my birthday yesterday. As you may or may not know my birthday is September 26th. That means for me to be able to get this pedal I had to do some financial finageling coupled with some serious up-kissing to my wife. Musician’s Friend is offering a 12-month free financing deal right now. So I told Angel that I would go ahead and get the pedal now and then pay the thing off with my birthday money that should total the exact amount needed. It’s sort of like the gear futures market. She acquiesced. I squealed. Everyone was happy — except Angel.

It’s the Vox Tonelab LE. This pedal essentially buys back my Dr. Z, my Matchless, my Marshall, my Boogie, my Twin Reverb, and the Fender Deluxe I borrowed for tracking the Formula Kid record. It sounds incredible. I am completely blown away.

Tonelab LE

So this means I now have fake drums, fake guitar amps, fake pianos, and a fake orchestra. As soon as someone designs some vocal emulation software that will allow me to track my own vocal and then apply Bono’s voice instead of my own I will finally be able to remove myself completely from all of my music. I can’t wait.

Good Friday

March 21st, 2008 |

Thanks for all the emails (one) and all the comments (one) and the numerous personal encounters (one) asking why I haven’t been blogging. There are a bunch of reasons but none that are terribly interesting.

It would seem wrong of me to let Good Friday pass without saying something. We just finished watching ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and my head is killing me from all the crying. There was a lot of crying around these parts tonight. Good crying. Good sorrowful crying.

We weren’t crying because it was such a great movie. I actually think that it was a pretty lousy movie. But it just called to mind the wonder of what Christ has done for us. I saw ‘The Passion of the Christ’ a few years ago before I became a Christian and was moved very little. I saw it as some sort of gross-out flick and wasn’t really stirred in any way by the truth of the story. But since God has changed my heart I can see even a rather poor depiction of the Gospel and be completely crushed under the weight of its message.

I woke up before everyone else this morning and went into the living room with my Bible. I thought that since it was Good Friday I should read one of the most incredible depictions of the Gospel found in Scripture: Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53:12. It amazes me every time I read it. So I read it over and over thanking God for saving me and for showing me his incredible mercy. If you have a Bible you should go read this passage. If you don’t, here’s a link to Isaiah 52 and here’s a link to Isaiah 53. Read this passage and keep in mind that it was written seven hundred years before the birth of Christ.

I’ve never understood why movies have always depicted Jesus as being some uber attractive man. They say he looked like this or like this but (truth be known) if we believe Isaiah’s description, he probably looked a lot more like this, with a beard and moustache of course. That’s not a joke. He was not a good looking man.

The apostle Paul says in Romans 1 that the message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation. It’s so amazing to me that the most desperately wicked event in all of human history was at the same time the most glorious act of mercy. I am eternally grateful.

After the movie we were telling Riley about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and how were waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb. He was very excited. He asked what we would be having for dessert.