Thursday, July 10, 2014

more sketches





I was thinking that I could explain a little bit to the new readers of this blog what I'm trying to do here… This morning as I was making these sketches (sitting in the sun at the terrace of a cool Viennese café), I realized that the D model could easily be seen as an extravagant batwing-shaped guitar with a fancy headstock, while I was trying to reach something both simple and ergonomic - and still cool… 

Aluminium neck, headstock and hollow central beam are meant for perfect rigidity, hence big sustain (the back of the neck should have wooden inserts like a Kramer to keep a familiar feel), and the wooden wings add uneven mass for sound richness - the windows lighten the weight of the guitar. Upper wing is for arm rest, lower wing shape allows to easily rest on both legs when playing sitting, with a neck in upper position for playing comfort, and wide cutaway for easy access. The reverse headstock gives better access to the tuners with a high neck, and the whole shape of the headstock is wall hanger friendly - also the guitar can lean against a wall. The controls - reduced to  one volume, one tone and switch as the less the better - are under the beam so they don't get in the way while strumming, but still are of easy access. 

I often draw Bigsby trems on radical designs to give a more traditional feel - it should help to make a basic guitarist accept a non-Les Paul / Stratocaster guitar. Wouldn't you love to play that guitar? 
  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Epsilon with early stage transparent black finish




The Epsilon is back on the workbench after a one month interruption. We finally opted for oil finish instead of lacquer, so it won't last very long anymore...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

more sketches





I'm still surprised when I come up with an interesting design after all these years of sketching guitars and posting them on this blog... I don't want to seem pretentious and I know that they are mere variations on ideas I had already - and inspired by others' work - but I think that these new guitars are pretty good - with the right balance of ergonomics and coolness… I understand and feel things much better now!

I want so bad to see some of these guitars existing for good, though I know now that I won't build them myself unless I can learn how to do that properly with a pro luthier - I'm not so naive as I used to be, it takes real and solid skills. The making of the Epsilon is quite late as there's been some problems to solve in the process (that's how you learn), but in a few weeks I should be able to hold it in my hands and play it! It will be a wonderful day, though I know that mostly I'll be checking all that is wrong and cogitating about how to make the next version… 

music of the week: my song of the week is Curtain?! by Timber Timbre - very inspiring with its minimal combination of bits from Portishead, Nick Cave, Angelo Badalamenti… 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Soft Power Ensemble of Vienna live



A new video of my many guitars parametric improvisation band Soft Power Ensemble of Vienna - this time  performing in das Werk in Vienna last week. There is a great alchemy between the members of this band - something that is not easy to achieve with so many guitarists in my experience - that allows us to play demanding music while having fun, and to share it with our audience… 

On top of that we will have a recording session in September in the studio of RadioKulturhaus with the support of the SKE, an Austrian cultural institution. And a new concert in July!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

more sketches





Music of the week: one of my favorite records ever is Guitars, Drums'n'Bass by Derek Bailey and DJ Ninj - some of the most uncompromising radical music I've ever heard. You need to hear that at least once in your life!


Monday, June 16, 2014

more sketches





music of the week: when I'm seeking for inspiration before a concert, I always listen to Black Rock of James Blood Ulmer - a brilliant album by a brilliant jazz/blues/funk/free guitarist who played with many of my favorite jazz musicians: Ornette Coleman, Art Blackey, Rashied Ali, John Zorn, George Adams… 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pedal rig






















This was my pedal rig for the last concert of Soft Power Ensemble of Vienna: from right to left (this is not the order in which they are plugged, it's more complicated!), an auto-wah by Z. Cat (a small company in Latvia that makes quite interesting combined effects pedals), a Sovtek Big Muff, a EHX Freeze, a Boss tremolo, a MXR Carbon Copy, a Hardwire Supernatural Ambient Reverb, my Montreal Assembly Wrong Side of Uranus bizarro-bit crusher +, with a Behringer expression pedal and a true bypass router pedal because it's a little bit noisy, a Noisemaker Effects Freakshow Fuzz that is also just noise in a can, my Inductor Guitars Mellifluous Pussy MP-1 harmonic percolator, a Pro Co Rat, a Danelectro Rocky Road faux-Leslie and a Danelectro Back Talk reverse delay.

I also got myself a Fender Champion 100 amp, as my 25-year old Peterson GS100 is currently out of order and requires a full rejuvenation - and I was afraid it would not be ready on time. Actually the Fender was not my first choice, I needed something cheap, simple and powerful - and I'm a pedal guy so solid state is good for me as I just use the clean channel - and after some research I set my choice on the Hiwatt Maxwatt G100 (it could have been Palmer but they don't have a 100 watts model) - just two channels and basic controls, I don't want more.

But no shops or online-shops in Austria, Germany and France had it in stock, until I found one on rock-gear.de and ordered it. They cashed my money and after two weeks they admitted that they don't and won't have it - and so far they didn't refund me… Not the most trustable people in the world if I may say… Then I just had 3 days left to get an amp and the Fender Champion was the only option - and the local shop where I got it only had the demo model left so I can consider myself lucky to have had it in time for the concert!

Anyway, finally I'm happy with it, even with the effects that I thought I would'nt use, because it sounds good at low level so it can be also my house practice amp, better than my Roland Cube. I think that I will get a tube preamp (from EHX) at some point to hear how it can complement it…

And of course I used it for last Friday's concert and that was a very good moment!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a Les Trem II for my Jaguar Special HH








I added a Duesenberg Les Trem II vibrato to my Jaguar Special HH  (my concert guitar) and I'm very happy with it! Never been a big whammy bar user, but lately I started to feel the need for it, either for improvised music (can't work with 10 new guitarists without picking new tricks here and there) or for some songs I keep composing even though I didn't record or perform any so far… 

A Jaguar usually comes with its trademark vibrato but the Special HH has a stock hardtail, with still enough room behind the bridge to produce chiming sounds… I was afraid that the Les Trem might damage the sound or at least make the guitar easily out of tune but it's not the case, I'm 100% content with it… I still plan to change the bridge for a Turnomatic roller one, now that I'm sure to keep the trem.


Friday, May 23, 2014

more sketches




Music of the week: I listened to plenty of new things lately but I must pack my stuff and go rehearsing for the next SPEV concert so I just pick one band I just discovered on YouTube: Kill it Kid, kind of young Dead Weather… 

I hope that their next tour will bring them to Vienna, because I want to see this kind of stuff on stage, and most of the bands I love don't seem to know the place… Come on, we have the UN office here!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

more sketches




Sorry for the scarce posting of the last weeks, I've been quite busy with music, practicing and composing and organizing thinks for my new band the Soft Power Ensemble of Vienna (that would be my music of the week) - I should be able to announce our next concerts very soon.
Also the Epsilon process showed some difficulties that are now overcome…




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

more sketches







Friday, April 11, 2014

more sketches




Music of the week: I really enjoy Animals - the last video of the Ghost Of A Saber Toothed Tiger, the band formed by Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Nice to see musicians having such uninhibited fun (and I'm talking about the music!) My travel back to psychedelic music is going on!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

more sketches





Thursday, March 27, 2014

more sketches





Tuesday, March 25, 2014

more sketches





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

LeafAudio DIY DroneSynth








Oooh, a plastic box with knobs! 

Well, it is also the DroneSynth I built during the workshop LeafAudio organized in Vienna last Saturday - and it sounds pretty cool! It has 2 channels with 2 oscillators each, and quite a rich sound for such a small DIY gizmo. 

I start to have a lot of electronic stuff to demo, have to do that one day…







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