How To Learn To Sing, Pt. 2 – Your Voice… NOW!!

Prairie dog singer

Stop what you’re doing. Take a moment… to BE in this moment. Right now. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Now. Now imagine your voice… singing. Singing one note… beautifully… out into “now”… and further on, into “forever”. Can you hear it? Do you believe that it’s possible?? Do you recognize that THAT… is you? Then my …

The Digitech GSP1101 – Still A Clear Winner!!

GSP1101 killer clown pic CARTOONED

For over a thousand years (maybe even two thousand!), the practice of bloodletting has been piercing human skin all over the world. What in Les Paul’s name does that have to do with the Digitech GSP1101 Guitar Preamp?? Stay with me… Physicians usually used leeches for bloodletting – just plop them on the skin and …

Recording Studio Wiring – Successful Cabling Tips & Tricks!

Cable Face CARTOONED

When music is first born, it’s often sent floating off into the air, via the instrument of our choice, like stars dancing through the cosmos. When it’s time to record that music however, every single note and noise needs to be corralled down a long & narrow line until it reaches the stage where it …

What Is The Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners?? – Ya Gotta Start Somewhere!

Guitar girl taking in the sky CARTOONED

  My very first car was not a Porsche. Not even close! It was an Oldsmobile “Delta 88”: Light brown, except for the lower side panels, where they’d scraped off a ton of rust, spread it with epoxy and painted it black!!  lol But I didn’t care, ‘cuz sometimes, you’ve just gotta go with something a …

How To Play A Bass Guitar, Pt. 2 – Splash Those Colors!!

Whale-splashing CARTOONED with BASS

  One of my favorite artists is Van Gogh. I have his painting called “Café Terrace at Night” hanging in our kitchen. Van Gogh is known for using vibrant colors in his creations. He would often paint an object using bright colors you would never see on the object in real life. That’s probably a …

Studio Soundproofing – Options That Won’t Break The Bank!

windex that audio with notes CARTOONED

As any good gigging player will tell you, music is about what you don’t hear, and don’t play, as much as it is what you do. As Miles Davis put it: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” When it comes to studio recording, there are two things we really …

UAD Plug Ins – Your 7 Essential Must-Haves For The Holidays!!

Plug ins Christmas!! CARTOONED

Ho-ho-HO! It’s Ho-ho-Holiday SALE time!! At least at Universal Audio Digital, it is! If you’re here, there’s a good chance you already know that an Ocean Way Studio-full of UAD Plug ins are now on sale, through the end of December. Cool, right?! You better believe it! We serious G.A.S.-ers need all the help we …

Reference Tracks For Mixing – The Roads To Take You There!

The road to good mixes!

The last album George Harrison ever produced was released in 2002. It was released the year after his death. His son Dhani, and his good friend and fellow “Traveling Wilburys” member Jeff Lynn, produced the tracks George had almost finished before he passed. It’s probably my favorite album he ever made. The opening song of …

Black Friday Music Equipment – The Best Deals We Could Find!!

black friday sale CARTOONED

Morning everybody!   It’s a beautiful Black Friday and it’s time to roll outta bed and greet the savings!   Oh yea, baby… it’s on!! Lower Prices = MORE GEAR!!! We’ve been scouring through the ads of all the music stores to find the best deals that impress us most as informed, selective musicians.   …

Black Friday Music Deals, 2018 – ‘Audio Cha-CHING Day’, Here We Come!!

Surfin' Black Friday Savings!! CARTOONED

Okay… did you know (according to SPRINZ) that surfers spend 54% of their time paddling, 28% waiting for waves, and only 8% of the time actually SURF!   Yea, me neither. LOL.   Well, in just a few days, WE are going to be surfing – not for the ultimate wave, but for the ultimate …

The Gear-Wise Musician, Part 2 – You’re Their Superhero!!

Super GW CARTOONED

Faster than a speeding heavy metal lick!   More powerful than a 1,000 watt amp!!   Able to leap tall concert speakers in a single bound!!!   IT’S… YOU!!!!!   Or at least, that’s what your music equipment hopes you will be for them.   Protector.   Defender.   Mighty WALL against destructive onslaughts!   …

The 4 Cable Method – Now We’re Cookin’!!

4 cables FEATURED

Okay, who likes to cook???   Anybody?? Any galloping gourmets in the audience today??!   I like to cook when I don’t have to, especially when it’s a HUGE project that takes 4 or 5 HOURS to complete plus an overnight marinating!   One thing I’ve learned from cooking (and from watching my wife’s favorite …

The Drum Mic Shield – How To NOT Let It Bleed!

Pyle Featured Image CARTOONED

I’ve got to confess right up front… there are some audio intricacies I still don’t feel I’ve mastered.   Doesn’t matter how many decades you work with music gear… there’s always something else to learn; somewhere else to grow; some new facet of our industry and our performance methodology that we can conquer.   This week… …

The Apollo Twin – The Tardis Has Nothing On THIS Interface!!

Apollo box & Dr Who CARTOONED

  Above the couch in the living room of my house hangs this picture:         Those of you who have a certain sci-fi bent to your interests might recognize that as a tribute painting to a really entertaining and memorable episode of “Dr. Who” that featured Vincent Van Gogh as a character. …

My PDP Maple Snare – It’s Side-stick, Rimshot Heaven, Yo!!

PDP snare CARTOONED

“Africa” by Toto.   Can you believe how much it’s being played these days??! I mean… even Weezer doing a cover of it THIRTY-SIX YEARS after its initial release??! Wow!   You’ve got to give it up for any song that features drums right at the top of the song. And what a groove! Jeff …

My Ibanez Acoustic Guitar – The Lure Of Exotic Wood!

Ibanez acoustic Infinity Inlay CARTOONED

“Afzelia Xylay.”   “Chakte Viga.”   “Cocobolo.”   “TZALAM!”   Am I shouting to you a Bat’leth challenge in Klingon??!   I am not. (I shamedly say I have not yet earned the right to carry that curved blade of honor through ritual, adjudicated combat in the Klingon Training Academy. Plus… I’m past the Age …

The Wishbass – Boomin’ In A Pseudopod Embrace!

Roxie the Mantis likes Wishbass! CARTOONED

You’ve probably never heard any musician utter this sentence in your life, so prepare for a moment to remember…   You ready??   My Wishbass looks like an amoeba.   See. Told ya. 😉   As you can see by the pic on the left, my particular Wishbass is quite… well, different is one way …

Big Savings On Music Gear NOW! – Let All G.A.S.-ers Cheer!!

cheer for savings 3 CARTOONED

Hey, all you pro audio aficionados!! Welcome back!   Whether you’re jammin’ in the streets, on a stage, in a studio, or just in your bedroom with your headphones on, we’re glad you’re here to chomp on some more sound salad and join us knee-deep in the audio hoopla!   As we announced in THIS …

The Gear-Wise Musician, Part 1 – It’s Child’s Play!

child play

Kids. You gotta love their imaginations.   So many worlds and creatures and exotic situations in their minds… all set free like Noah’s Ark busting open, and a kaleidoscope of life stampeding ‘cross their interior movie screens.   So free in their simple enjoyment and focus on the moment. Very Zen, in a way.   …

Ludwig Drums – The Legacy Lives On!

Ludwig CARTOON kit

In the year 2000 my life, and music, was improved significantly by the introduction of a new friend – Jim Lewis.   You ever meet someone and just instantly hit it off?? That’s how it was with Jim. His infectious smile and quiet, witty way of processing the world made ya wanna hang with him. …

One Year Of G.A.S. – A Toast To YOU, Fellow Sufferers!!

A Toast!! CARTOONED

Where did it come from, that inspiration?   What made the idea coalesce in my fevered core as I sat, musing on my next steps??   Who could have ever foreseen… that G.A.S. would last so doggone long??!   Ahhh, but indeed it has, my friends, and today we celebrate!! We celebrate one year of …

What is the Thalia Capo? – Making You Look Good & Play Better!

thalia capo on neck

When I was first learning guitar in my teenage years, I had two heroes:   Paul Simon     Eddie Van Halen     Both of these men have created seemingly unending genius work, captured as recordings for us to listen to, enjoy, and, often, be in awe of. And both of these men have …

The Rocktron R50C – Wish You Were… Hair!!

The R50C is a Big Hair amp!

So, why do I have a Rocktron R50C in my amp arsenal?? Well, to understand that, you must know this: I lived in L.A. in the mid to late 80s. I had a band, and yes…   … our hair was sometimes larger than life.     It was a glorious heyday for Pop-Metal mania. There were …

My Ovation Mandolin – Gettin’ Jiggy With It!

Ovation Mandolin CARTOONED

The lights dimmed. It was time to play.     I clicked the tuner button off – I was live & ready. I could hear the crowd noise die down in anticipation…   I looked at the drummer. He counted off fast, “Uh ONE, two, three…” and with the flurry of an intro fill we …

My Telecaster Comparison – A Tale Of Two Tele-s!

Jack & the Telecasters

As Donna Summer put it, we “work hard for the money”.   That’s why, when that extreme tidal wave of G.A.S. hits us square in the midcavern, we’ll go looking for the best value in the gear we have a hankerin’ for.   In my Telecaster comparison today, we dispel the woodshed whispers and pull …

My Galveston Bass Guitar – Full-Bodied Pleasure As The Rumbles Roll!

Galveston-inlays CARTOONED

Everyone who’s ever suffered from Gear Acquisition Syndrome usually has a story or two about a “miraculous find” or “total steal of a deal” that they managed to snag somewhere, and how it raised their music to a new level.   Today I get to tell you about such a moment for me, and how a …

The 7 Best Ukuleles of 2018 – Your 4-String Tickets to Paradise!

The ukulele rocks!

  Can you picture it?   Your hammock gently swaying, under tall, green waving palms…   … your toe kicking warm little showers of gleaming white sand with every other swing…   … the sussurus of a beautiful turquoise sea lulling you into ‘surf’s up’ daydreams…   … and the smiling sound of a UKULELE sweeping down the …

The Crate BT50 Bass Amp – Solid WHOMP For The Hard-Edged Player!

Crate Bass amp Close up

  Sometimes fate has a way of smiling on you when you least expect it.   And sometimes… it smiles with GEAR.   My example is the Crate BT50 bass amp. It came to me kind of on accident, from checking out an ad for something else in Craigslist. Now, my Live Room will never …

How To Play Guitar For Beginners, Part 4 – Practicing Like A Legend!!

Blue Guitar Boy CARTOONED

John Coltrane.   Eddie Van Halen.   Charlie Parker.   Andrés Segovia.   Sean Barrett.   Steve Vai.   All famous musicians known for their extensive commitment to practicing. We’re talking hours, people. Hours and hours and hours and HOURS. Every day, at least for a certain period in their lives.   If we’re gonna …

The Telecaster – How A ‘Snow Shovel’ Rocks My World!

Dude with Tele featured image

67 years ago it started.   In a flash of inspiration, it was considered.   With months of innovation, it was designed.   After months of perspiration, the unveiling took place!   At long last, the world was allowed to gaze upon, in all its glory…   … the “snow shovel”!!!   Well, actually, no. …

Working For Music – ‘Til We Can’t Get It Wrong!!

Passion works for music

I was reading some musician’s opinions about DW drums last night on DrummerWorld.com (an excellent resource for real-world drum gear insights!) when a forum contributor said this:   “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”   Wow. What a GREAT quote. After years of gig prep and …

The Hohner B2 bass – You Never Forget Your First!

The Hohner B2

It was 1996.   The Goo Goo Dolls were telling us all about some girl named “Iris“.   Alanis Morissette was incorrectly schooling us on what “Ironic” means.   And Oasis? They were making me sing right out loud and proud whenever their “Champagne Supernova” came on the station. All in all, it was a …

All You Need Is Ears – The Autobiography of Beatles Producer George Martin!!

All You Need Is Ears book

Everyone remembers their first time.   For me, it was a summer’s day in L.A. Reseda, specifically, in the San Fernando Valley.   It was at my apartment, after work. My two roommates were gone, and wouldn’t be home for a few hours. It was the perfect time to lay back and… get a little …

Easy Guitar Songs For Beginners – Rock Star Shortcuts 101!!

Easy guitar songs are great for little girl rockers

I’ve been playing gigs with just me and a couple guitars for decades now. A lot of time and energy was spent carefully choosing and charting songs from various decades in our past, all for the goal of bringing smiles and good memories to people’s faces and minds.   Because of that, I’ve come to …

What Is A Bodhran? – Heartbeat Of The Emerald Isle!

Playing the Bodhran

In 2015, I made an exciting discovery! Have you ever taken up a new musical instrument? Then you’ll know what I mean.   That first discovery expanded my musical world, and eventually led me to another discovery, and the very question I pose to you today: “What is a Bodhran??”   Now that I’ve been …

What Is A Cajon Drum? – Welcome To The LITERAL Beat Box!

The Inca war against Spain begat the cajon

For all you gangstas of the groove out there, today’s post is an insightful reminder – there’s more than one way to skin a drum!   Sometimes all it takes… is a couple PLANKS.   Of all the wooden contraptions assembled throughout the centuries, the Cajon drum has to be one of the simplest, yet …

The Best Hearing Protection For Musicians – Guard It Or Scar It!

Even Animal protects his hearing!

Last week I had a visit from my good friend Chester. He’s a very gifted writer of country songs, and we’ve been recording some of them and slowly working towards his first solo release.   During our conversation he surprised me by saying that, guess what – he’s been deaf in his left ear since childhood! …

The Rode NT1 – Ssshhh! The Mic… Is Listening!!

CARTOONED NT1

Interested in the Rode NT1, eh?   I’m not surprised! It has a really excellent reputation for being an incredibly useful mic in the studio and is touted in the ads by Rode as “one of the world’s quietest studio microphones”.   Is that just hype? Or is it history?? Only a mic shootout will …

Acoustic Guitar Parts – Swap ‘Em Out To Step It Up!

Measuring for new acoustic guitar parts

For my birthday this past Memorial Day weekend, I got a rockin’, G.A.S.-y gift! I had specifically asked for certain acoustic guitar parts, and my family, being the awesome examples of humans that they are, had some nicely wrapped and ready for my open hands as soon as I got up. The present was deceptively …

How To Gain Stage, Pt. 1 – Launching Your Guitar Tone!

gain stage Cartoon 2

(Editor’s Note: Hey, gearheads! Teaj here. Please help me welcome a good friend of mine, fellow G.A.S. sufferer and new blog author to our site: Mr. Sean Barrett. He’ll be sharing his expertise in the pro audio field from time to time, and you’re sure to dig what he’s layin’ down. Take it away, Sean… …

My Meinl Cajon – A Slap Away From Groovin’!

Teaj on the Meinl Cajon

Who remembers the MTV “Unplugged” series??! So many great concerts! So much truly good musicianship! It separated the pros from the posers too. It’s easy to sound good with all the studio tricks in the book, but when you have just a microphone and an acoustic instrument, you either put up or shut up! If …

Bass Guitar Rigs – The Gigging Player’s Dream Configurations!

Bass Amp Rig cartoon

In 1988, I entered Guitar Center in Los Angeles. I had come looking for some guitar gear that I needed for a gig.   As I entered the store, towering massively over me near the entrance was a bass stack. An astonishing stack. A magnificent citadel of sound that I knew I just HAD to play. A …

Ross Garfield – Behold, the Doctor of Drums!!

Ross Garfield, the Drum Doctor!

Today, my friends, you are in for a rare treat! It’s not often that I’m able to bring to your G.A.S.-y table someone with this much experience, talent, passion and MOJO, but somehow I managed it… and YOU are going to rock the benefit!   If you’re a studio drummer and session player in L.A., then… …

Weird Musical Instruments – Unusual But Usable Ways To Float Your Notes!

instruments Lab

There’s one night in L.A. that I’ll never forget. It probably sticks with me not just because of the company and the surroundings, but the possibilities that filled my head from that day forward. It was my first glimpse into what weird musical instruments could add to a song…   My friends Laura & Mini …

What Is A Resonator Guitar? – Steel Spider Bite And Delta Dust, Y’all!

National_Tri-cone resonator guitar

In 1985, Dire Straits came out with a killer album, “Brothers In Arms”. It’s hanging on the wall in my studio, an example of one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. I picked it up immediately as soon as I heard the first single, “Money For Nothing”. What a GREAT guitar tone!! The cover …

The Gibson Bankruptcy – For Whom, The Bell Tolls?!

More money, less bankruptcy!

Did ya hear? Huh, huh? Didja?! Last Tuesday, the beloved guitar company, Gibson, filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They put all their cards on the table in a grand acquiescent fold, and now the chips are falling where they may. And they’re not in Gibson’s favor. Even Guitar Center is in the cross-hairs of potential …

The Ovation Balladeer Guitar – Pick Me! Strum Me! Stretch Me!!

The Ovation Balladeer S771 Guitar

Every once in a while you see something that just makes you stop. You have to take notice. You cannot NOT see it. It’s just that… striking!   Once such moment for me was when I saw for the first time, in utter incredulity, the inimitable Hussein Yoga. No one should be able to do …

The EVH 5150 iii amp- The Tone That Takes You THERE!

5150 iii badge cartooned

Okay… … full disclosure, right here, right up front, before I even talk about the EVH 5150 iii: I’m a huge Eddie Van Halen fan.   Whenever I struck a rock pose in front of a window or mirror with friends, (before I even started learning guitar!) I was usually mimicking Eddie. Okay, maybe sometimes David Lee Roth …

How To Be A Successful Musician – Racers On Your Marks!

Going the distance to be a successful musician

This week… I’m in Florida. Orlando, to be specific. Why? If you guessed “to see the mouse”, well… you’re kinda right. I’ve been a long-distance runner since high school. I love the trial of pushing your limits and finally reaching the goal after giving it your all. It’s how I try to live life. So, …

How to Mix Songs – Resources To Make YOU a Pro!

Learning how to mix a song when tracks are full

Some things are hard to admit. You hide. You avert. You spin. You distract people from it. But the truth… will… OUT! So finally, here I will set the record straight. Let the chips fall where they may. As Sting said: “If this was all correct the last thing I’d expect… The Prosecution rests. It’s …

How to Record at Home – Drums, Pt. 3: Fine Tune Your Tuning!

showing how to record at home by tuning a maple snare

When I look back at the many drum sounds I’ve encountered while performing and studying music, I have to say that the 80s produced the most wide-spread variety of drum sounds and approaches out of all the decades of recording.   There was something in the water, I guess, back then – every engineer and producer …

What to Take on Vacation – A Musician Weighs In!

What to take on vacation

Today’s post comes to you from ‘musician country’ – Nashville, TN! Almost every year I hit this city, taking in its great musical heritage, learning from its storied past and present, and investigating new ideas, contacts and relationships to help my music forward. It helps to have relatives here too (thanks, brother Steven)! This year my …

My ’62 Strat – Not Fade Away…!

Teaj's '62 Strat, cartooned

It shouldn’t have happened. It should never happen. But it does. Tho’ it’s not a pleasant topic to discuss for those of us that appreciate, respect and take great care of our music gear, occasionally the unthinkable happens and we are parted from our dear investments. For me, such a separation occurred in my early …

7 Best Electric Guitar Strings of 2018 – String Theory… Musician-style!

Best Electric Guitar Strings

So, WHAT ARE THE BEST ELECTRIC GUITAR STRINGS??!!   Well, obviously a lot of the answer to that depends on your own personal preference. But there is something to be said for putting strings through rigorous testing to see what they can deliver.   So that’s what I did!   We’ll leave scientific “string theory” to …