Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guitar Pron 6: the Blonde Limited

So, my collecting has slowed down a bit, but I'm still scanning eBay listings for guitars I believe in at great prices. That means I watch quite a few auctions, and when the price becomes too high, drop out. Sometimes if a listing has a "Buy it Now" option, I'll make a lowball offer near the end of the auction -- the worst the seller can do is say no, or ignore my offer. That's what usually happens. But sometimes they say yes.

In this particular case, the seller's asking price was pretty high compared to the selling price of other Limiteds. I made an lowball offer. The seller made a counter-offer, which was still a little high for my taste, so I split the difference and made a counter-counter offer just before the end of the auction. The seller accepted my offer.

I have a couple of Peavey Limited guitars. Every Limited that I've seen has had a flame maple or quilted maple top stained with a dye: Tiger's Eye, Margarita, dark blue, or rasberry red. I came across this one on eBay. I believe it must be a fairly rare bird -- it may have been made for a NAMM show or originated as a custom order. Or, maybe the luthiers in Leakesville just happened to have some wood that they thought would look prettier without a colored stain.

The flame maple top isn't as flashy as some of the PRS "ten tops," but then I consider some of those to be too flashy for my taste. This one is just a subtly gorgeous piece of wood, with a rippling 3-dimensional quality.

It has all the basic attributes of the other Limited models. This is a dual humbucker "HB" model. I'm still keeping an eye out for a "VT" model, with 3 hand-wound single-coil pickups, but those seem to be as rare as hen's teeth.

The "zebra" cream-and-black humbuckers go particularly well with this top.

The back shows off the mahogany body.

There's a little bit of corrosion on a couple of the neck screws. This kind of corrosion is probably caused by someone sweating against it -- the salt corroded the screws the same way it does a car. But it's nothing serious. I had to do a bit of adjustment to the neck position; it was slightly off-kilter, indicating that maybe the guitar took a knock in shipping, even though it was well-packed. The other possibility is that it may have spent too much time in a dry environment, allowing the wood of the neck pocket to shrink slightly, so that it was no longer making firm contact with the neck. In any case, this was not a difficult adjustment -- I just loosened the neck screws a bit and applied a little force to shift it into the right position, then held it there while I re-tightened the neck screws. It does require a certain degree of experience to know how much force you can apply without risking damage to the neck or neck pocket. It shifted back into place nicely and now the instrument is perfectly playable and the tuning is stable again.

The frets need a little bit of light touch-up work, so I'll take it up to Elderly the next time I go. But besides that, it doesn't need much of anything. It has that nice light weight, body contour, and woody, hollow tone that is characteristic of this series. I'll very likely be using this one to record.

If you're wondering what the difference is between "flame" maple -- this guitar's top -- and "qulited" maple, check out my earlier pictures of another Peavey Limited, which has a "quilted" top:

Guitar Pron 1 (a link to another entry in this blog).

My understanding is that "quilted" maple looks more wavy and irregular, like ripples in water, and the pattern may be larger. But don't quote me; I'm not an expert.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mandeville Ward (Demo)

So, I was going to record an acoustic demo, but it is raining hard today, complete with thunder. That's a lot of background noise to be working with when recording an acoustic guitar. So I decided to try something else. Along the way I got the idea to start with some loops played through the Vestax VCI-300. Also, I revised the lyrics still further for length and meter. I don't entirely have the hang of editing with Logic 9 yet. Anyway, it's done. Start-to-finish time, about 3 hours.

One of the samples is from an industrial instrumental created by Braindouche, from her podcast episode entitled Not Dreamy. There are a couple more loops, my vocal, and a guitar part, and that's about it. The vocal isn't very good. I don't have the right kind of voice for this kind of track, but I went for it anyway.

MP3 File

Update: the person who contributed the original lyrics asked to be credited as "Aidan Galea." So there it is -- words by Aidan Galea, music by yours truly with samples from Braindouche!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lyrics in Progress

Someone I know only through Twitter -- who may or may not be a high-school aged person in Melbourne -- posted a link to a lyric. I thought it had a lot of promise, so I offered to try recording it. S/he approved the idea.

First, I needed to make it flow more like a song. The original reminded me of two songs: Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and The Verve Pipe's "Freshmen." I can't quite make sense out of the story, especially I don't even know if the protagonist is male or female, but maybe the ambiguity is actually a virtue.

So, I worked over the scansion a little bit, turned some of the text into a chorus, and dropped a verse that I didn't think would fit. Here's the text as I'm going to try recording it. Unless I hear otherwise, the text is copyrighted by anonymous in Melbourne. My recording will be Creative Commons-licensed. I have no idea what the licensing state of this lyric should be, given that it is a revised version of someone else's work, but for now let's just say that the lyric continues to be copyrighted by anonymous.

Mandeville Ward

Lyrics by Anonymous, revised by Paul R. Potts

You’ve got the whole world fooled
While you hide in your slumber
Our friends are pacing, scared
To the nurses, you're a number

We never really thought that things could go from bad to worst
You promised if they did, you’d try to tell us first
Now you're covered in tubes and you’re covered in blood
You left us all a letter saying that “Enough is enough”
You said “We're 7 billion people, and we’re all just the same,
so why should I matter, if everyone's in pain?”
Won't you tell me?


I remember the day when this whole thing started;
The worst was yet to come, even though we had parted our ways.
Parted our ways...
But here I am...
And here you are...
in Mandeville Ward

I never should have left you -- you were good enough
I tried to tell you you were perfect, but you called my bluff
I meant every single word that I said from the start
But my words aren’t enough to make the blood pump
through your heart

Now your brother's out front and he’s smoking again
He says "I didn’t lose a brother, I also lost a friend"
And your parents are thinking that they are to blame
But no matter what happened, it would have turned out
just the same
At two o' clock this morning, your father pounded on my door
With tears on his cheeks he cried "What's it all been for?"
Won't you tell me?


I remember the day when this whole thing started;
The worst was yet to come, even though we had parted our ways.
Parted our ways...
But here I am...
And here you are...
in Mandeville Ward


The last time I saw you, you told me I was to blame
You shouted, "I still love you, but it can never be the same"
You were like a different person, playing a different part
You said "I can't see you any more," and my whole world
blew apart

But here I am...
And here you are...
in Mandeville Ward