Last December and January my band My Last Lie wrote a song called Hate You along with a couple others. We preformed them live on January 25th at the avenue theater. The show went really good and we made some money off the the ticket sales so we decided to get one of our songs recorded. The band took a vote and we decided to get Hate you recorded. We looked up different recording studios in Edmonton and chose Turnkey studios. We spent about 10 hours recording the song and I latter made a little music video for it This is the final product.
A couple weeks ago I built up my old Specialized Big Hit Grom and put it on Pinkbike and Kijiji for sale or trade. A guy wanted to trade his Line 6 Spider iv 150 guitar combo amp and pedal for the bike, but later he found out it was a kid’s down hill bike. My dad had the idea of building up a Norco Atomic frame that we had that was a full size bike so we could still make the trade. The problem was that I didn’t have all the parts that we needed to build the bike. I needed brakes, a derailleur and wheels. I found brakes by looking through all the old parts that we have but I still needed wheels and a derailleur. My dad bought a used derailleur from a guy in Edmonton but there were no good used wheels for cheap in Edmonton. My mom, brother and I were going to Calgary on the weekend to visit friends so my dad made some arrangements and we were able to buy some used wheels from a guy when we were on our way out of Calgary. When we got home I built up the bike and got it ready to trade.
There was one more problem. The amp that the guy wanted to trade was not worth as much as the bike. It would have been a fair trade if it was for the Specialized Grom but the Norco Atomic was worth a bit more. The guy really wanted the bike so he decided to throw in a Seagull electric acoustic guitar.
He didn’t know the exact model of the guitar but he thought it would most likely make it a fair trade. The guy didn’t have much time to look at the bike and go and pick up the amp and pedal to bring to us all at the same. So he got his wife to drop the amp off a day early and he would come look at the bike and drop off the guitar the next day. It all worked out great. The amp is amazing and has more power than I will need for a long time, it has so many effects and the pedal works great along with it. The guitar sounds amazing and is the same as the one Levi got a few months ago. It is in pretty good condition and is worth $500 new so we will be able to sell it quickly and put money towards all of our biking expenses.
In order to make more room in our grage we decided that we needed to our sell old bikes and bike parts that we didn’t use. I had a Norco BMX bike laying around that I didn’t use enough to keep so I decided to sell or trade it. I placed an add on Pinkbike and Kijiji and soon got a response.
A kid wanted to trade his iPod Touch 5th generation for the bike. That would have been a good trade considering we could sell the iPod for more than the bike. After a lot of emailing back and forth we agreed on the trade, but at the last minute the kid said that we would have to pay the difference on the iPod. That obviously wouldn’t work because we were trying to make money not lose any so we said that the trade was off. He still wanted to buy the bike and agreed on a price of $190, $10 less than we were asking for it.
Because he didn’t have a car we went out to meet him. Another reason my dad agreed to drive me out is because he knows how fast kids can change there mind and we didn’t want to lose an opportunity to sell the bike. The kid didn’t want us to know where he lived so he gave us directions to a meeting place but his directions assumed that we were coming from Edmonton on a different highway. We couldn’t find him for the longest time. After a couple of texts and email conversations we finally figured out where the meet was at. We showed him the bike and he liked it. He only had 20 doller bills and we didn’t have any change we ended up getting what we asked for and that worked out great. Even though we got lost (which wasn’t my fault and never usually happens) it was fun driving around the country looking for the meeting place. The extra $10 ended up paying for the extra gas we burned trying to find the place.
I had a old Specialized Big Hit Grom, which is a kid’s down hill bike and I had no use for it. It was just the frame and I had most of the other parts needed to build. My dad and I went and got all the parts needed and I started building up the bike. It didn’t take long to build and nothing major needed to be fixed so I took some pictures of the bike and put it up for sale and trade on Pinkbike.
A few days later a guy wanted to trade his Line 6 guitar amp for the bike and it was worth it so we started talking. He found out that it was a kid’s bike pretty soon and he didn’t want to trade anymore. About a week later we were contacted by another guy but this time he knew it was a kid’s bike and he wanted to buy it from us. We agreed on a price and he came by and bought it from us. It was nice to get more room in the garage and now we have more money for bike parts.
I had a little Yamaha DD50 electric drum set that I didn’t want and I couldn’t get much money if I sold it. I decided to put it up for trade on kijij and soon got a response.
A guy had a Fender style, Stratocaster, it was just a cheap copy worth around $150 but the drum set was worth a little more than $50. My dad, brother and I went to look at the guitar and it was in pretty good shape and the guy liked the drum set so we made the trade. I hope to trade the guitar and get something more useful.
On Friday my band, My Last Lie, played music at a concert at the Avenue Theater in Edmonton. We had six songs that we had been practising and I felt pretty confident in everything. We got to the Avenue Theater around four o’clock and unloaded all of our equipment and later played at seven forty five for about half an hour. Here are some pictures from the event.
I got a new guitar a little while ago and I wanted to change the pickups. See Upgrading To Active Pickups. In this blog I talk about why I decided to use active pickups. In this post I talk about the installation process and what happend. Changing the pickups in my guitar did not go as planned because some wires broke, I had to expand the pickup cavities and I ran into a problem with the configuration of the wires.
The first thing I did was remove the old pickups. I tried to keep everything in order so if I wanted to put them back in it would not be to hard to figure out the wiring.
After I took out the old pickups, I started putting in the new ones. The pickups I got were solder-less which means instead of soldering wires onto connecters the EMG upgrade kit had a control unit in which you plugged cables.
I followed the instructions and THOUGHT I pretty much got everything right. There were a few little wires coming from the selector switch and they plugged into the control unit. Unfortunately, one of the little wires broke because it was short and small. This completely disabled the selector switch and I was not happy about that. I soldered on a new wire and went on to the actual pickups.
The pickups that were in the guitar before fit perfectly into the cavities, but the new ones were a bit bigger. When Jackson painted the guitar there was a little bit of a build up paint on the corners so I had to us a Dremel tool to sand out the corners of the cavities to make the pickups fit. It took a few tries because I didn’t want to remove any more than necessary After a fair amount of sanding they fit, so I finished putting the guitar together.
Once everything was put back together I went to play the guitar. Immediately, I noticed that the selector switch and tone knob were not working. Also, it didn’t have the right amount of tone. I played it for a few minutes, but nothing changed. I looked at the wiring for a bit and nothing seemed out of place. Like I said earlier, this was a solder-less kit. That means that you do not solder connections; you just plug them in and that eliminates problems like having the wrong gauge of wire and other things. The only thing I changed was the wire going from the selector switch to the terminal. It was a heavier gauge wire so I replaced it with a lighter gauge wire closer to the original gauge, but that didn’t change anything. I was really confused. I looked on the EMG site and a few forums and the most common answer was to follow the instructions exactly, so I went back and looked at it for a few minutes and I found out that I had three wires plugged in the wrong order. I fixed the order and when I tested the guitar it sounded perfect.
My guitar sounds great now and I love it, but there is still one problem. When I sanded out the cavities for the pickups I just did the corners. The pickups fit now, but they are slightly angled because there is not enough room. I went to talk to the guys at Axe Music and they said that it would not make any difference in the sound; it is just for looks. Since the pickups being angled does not affect the sound, I will not fix it right away. I will wait till the next time I take off the strings and then I will sand out the cavities.
Some people said that it would take about twenty minutes to install these pickups (YA RIGHT). It took me two days to figure everything out. Even if I knew what I was doing it would have taken me more than twenty minutes. Even though changing the pickups in my guitar did not go as planned because of broken wires, small pickups cavities and wiring configuration I still had fun and learned a lot.
We live in an age of customization. This past summer I built a custom DH bike from scratch. This experience taught me the importance of choosing the right components to make sure that I have the best performance for biking. I can now apply this principle to my musical instruments and get the best performance out of my new guitar. I am planning to switch my passive humbucking pickups for active electromagnetic generator pickups (EMGs) because they sound the best for metal, they have higher output, are more sensitive and they increase the value of the guitar.
Metal music has a very distinctive sound and to get that sound you need a very special pickup. Metal has a lot of distortion, high gain and is very loud. Active pickups (EMGs) provide more distortion and are more compressed than passive pickups. Active pickups are not always as nice sounding on clean tones because they are not as natural sounding as passive pickups. Another drawback with active pickups are that they are battery powered. They run off of a 9 volt battery to power a little preamp inside the pickup and they usually last around a year before they become quieter.
The pickups I am planning on getting are EMG 81 and 85. They are the most common combination. They also make pickups called EMGXs and they are almost the same as the plain ones, but they are just a little less aggressive. Plain EMGs don’t sound as good on clean tones, but are great when there is distortion and a lot of gain. The Xs have a little less power when it comes to distortion, but still sound good without it. Take a look at this example and see if you can hear a difference. EMG 81 vs 18X
Active pickups provide higher output and a higher level of sensitivity. Higher output pickups send a stronger signal to the amp allowing it to have more distortion and still be clear and distinctive. Passive pickups are not as powerful as active pickups because they use magnets as power instead of a battery. They don’t send as much sound to the amp causing them to be less sensitive than active pickups. I like active pickups because they pick up more sounds like hammer-ons, pull-offs and tapping.
You can do all these things with passive pickups, but it will be a little bit more difficult than with active pickups.
The value of a guitar is directly related to the quality of the components. Some guitars can be worth a lot just for being old or just for being a artists signature guitar, but most of the time it is based on where the guitar was made, what it is made of and the components that it has. EMG pickups are fairly expensive, ranging from $100 to $250. So many kinds of pickups are available that you can get the perfect pickup for your style.
The higher output and greater sensitivity of active EMG pickups will help me to be a better metal musician and increase the value of my guitar. I have been looking at doing this for a long time and when I do it will complete my perfect guitar. It might not be the perfect guitar for you, but because we have so many choices we have the ability to customize things and it is up to us to make the right choices and that will affect the way we perform.
Pickups I: Active and Passive. Website accessed 11/20/2012: http://www.fender.com/en-CA/news/index.php/?display_article=436
EMG FAQ Battery questions summery. Website/Pdf accessed 11/20/2012: http://www.emgpickups.com/pdfs/faq/EMG-FAQ-Battery-Questions.pdf
I have been looking at getting a new guitar for a while and I had one picked out. It was a Jackson soloist slsxmg. It had emg pickups, a Floyd Rose bridge, a neck through construction and it felt great to play. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that guitar until the new year. I had a back up plan; it was a Jackson soloist slx. It was almost the same guitar as before, but it didn’t have very good pickups . My plan was to buy that guitar and switch the pickups later. Jackson Guitars had a Black Friday sale where you could get $100 off any guitar that was in stock at any store, so on Friday morning I went to Axe Music and bought it. I have not changed the pickups yet, but hope to soon.
Last weekend a little ski hill in Edmonton opened so Levi and I went for the opening day. There were a lot of people there but it was ok because there was a lot of snow to make up for it. We have gone three times since it opened and it had the most snow on the first day because it has been getting warmer this week. It felt good to get back on the slopes, (if you could call it a slope) and I am getting the feel for snowboarding back. It is a lot of fun and it’s a good warm up for the mountains.