Monthly Archives: May 2016

If you wondered where I was, I was writing…

Over a two weeks ago I finished a rough draft of my forth coming novel Gold River City 100. I started with an outline last September of 2015 and finished the first week of May 2016. The experience was a positive one and the momentum towards the end was exciting as I closed in on writing my set goal of a 100 chapters for this book.

Now the fun and work of writing a novel does have some negative side effects, one being not writing on my blog! That is the conundrum. There is also the problem of reading which can also stop writing and we writers are usually bouncing between the reading and written pages of our lives.

I am telling you this, it is great to finish a rough draft! I know it is a rough draft and it still needs work to put it out in the public, but it is a huge step forward because there is a complete something. Not a part, not an incomplete, a total and entire in form novel. That is what keeps writers going, seeing their works reach stages were others will soon be able to read them and enjoy them. I hope you will, I know I did.

Keep writing!

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Dumbledore vs. Dumble Tone

In one corner………

Alexander Dumble, a reclusive, mysterious personality in the world of musical accessories. His amps are the most expensive in the world, each hand built and each supposedly made for the person that is to play them.

In the other corner……

Aldus Dumbledore, the head master of Hogwarts, the leader of the good wizards, and apparently a good friend to endangered children, is an old man who, well, died. Granted he was about 150 years old.

Alexander Dumble is still living, though the production of his amps stopped, like a wizard with amnesia, sometime in the 90’s. He does try to use his own magic of a sort. In his attempt to keep his electrical engineering a secret from those hungry tone-eaters let us say, he covered later circuit boards in his amps with a goop that hid the values and circuits he chooses. This has not stopped some, in particular Malaysian tone-eaters, from copying his tone to some intangible extent, much to his anger and further reclusiveness.

Why am I going on about this? Why do I care about either of these men and their own brand of magic, you might ask?

Music is a sort of magic. For guitarists there is one word that draws them in more than any other. It is the word that inspires the fuzz pedals, the guitars, the amps, the entire boutique industry of people trying to cash in on people looking for that special element equated as almost magic for guitarist the world over.

That word is TONE.

Before I get to tone, you might also be wondering how I came across these two characters. Aldus Dumbledore is a pop culture figure and written creation of author J.K. Rowling’s, with a strong contribution from actors Michael Gambon and Richard Harris. I have read the first two Harry Potter books and understand the character’s importance and place in the plot.

Alexander Dumble was introduced through the British YouTube show That Pedal Show, hosted by Daniel Steinhardt and Mick Taylor. The show is titled Are you Dumble? And delves into the concepts of tone and rarity surrounding the legendary (but not to myself) amp maker from California. Then in my search for an affordable loop pedal on various sights I ran across the Rowin Dumble pedal and soon found there are many amp pedals out there trying to capture that signature sound the Dumble amps produce. I would like to clarify one thing about Dumble’s amps. To date only about 300 have ever been produced. That is why, in the bigger picture of production and circulation, it is amazing these amps are prized as much as they are. Carlos Santana swears by them.

So why is tone such a big thing for guitarists anyway? Shocking question if you are a guitarist, but basically you want to play what you hear on your favorite albums or artists’ performances. To get it you search high and low to duplicate their equipment in an attempt to replicate their “sound”. The truth is: imitation will only be a step away and never exactly the same as the original. There are other tones out there to choose from besides a Dumble Tone of course. Some good examples being:

Hendrix Tone-fuzz pedals, wah, Strat guitars

Jerry Tone– Jerry Garcia’s envelope sound, OBEL (on board effects loop) guitar, triple humbuckers, clean amps

May Tone– Queen’s guitarist with special pickups, sixpence coin pick, Vox AC30 amps

Gallagher Tone-Noel Gallagher of Oasis with his Marshall or Orange amp, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Archtop guitarists.

Naturally I could go on and on because each artist has their own sound people would want to copy. Imitation breeds copy-cats which feeds a market, which tries to convince people that it is an item that makes a sound and not a person.

So who is more magical? Is it Alexander Dumble or Adlus Dumbledore? Is it you or I?

Go out and make your own magic, and if you do tell me about it. I’m listening.

Eat it like a Man!! Grammar in Japan

I recently visited the now restored Himeji Castle in Hyogo prefecture Japan with my family. I spotted this sign in front of the shops directly across from the castle on the main street, undoubtedly where tens of thousands of tourists pass by every day. Included in that number is a large amount of English-speaking tourist who might have seen this humorous sign talking about eating eggs raw, which is safe here and I eat often enough for it to not be exotic. I have, for the purpose of expediency, underlined the mistakes and will let you enjoy reading it as they were printed on the sign itself. Enjoy!