Best Bedroom Amp Review: Orange Rocker 15 and Henriksen Bud

It’s been awhile since I posted a “Boles Blues” review of guitars, guitar amps and other musical gear. Two things were conspiring against me over that time. One, I injured my left wrist. That’s my “fretting” hand, so playing was difficult. The second conspiracy came in two parts, a couple of years apart: Floods! The first flood that hit my apartment came from three flights above and ruined half of my guitar collection. The second flood, two years later, arrived from the same burst pipe in the same apartment on the third floor, and ruined every single guitar amp I owned. The water damage ruined my musical collection and — because I pay for my own gear — I knew it was going to take awhile to get musically re-established.


Continue reading → Best Bedroom Amp Review: Orange Rocker 15 and Henriksen Bud

Beating the Bones Out of It: The Martin D-42 Acoustic Guitar Review

After enjoying the delight of my Eric Clapton acoustic Martin guitar from the great guys at Wildwood, I quickly rediscovered the magnificence and beauty of Martin Guitars.

Once that Martin fire gets reignited in your belly, you fast begin to wonder anew about other guitars in the Martin line and my love and want for a Martin D-42 — the middle child classic with just enough bling and power nestled nicely between the entry-level D-41 and the full gore of a D-45 — that I made the hard decision to thin my current guitars collection herd in order to pay the way for the heartdream of a Martin D-42.

Of course, the first stop for my D-42 wanderlust was Wildwood — “D-40s” Martins can be hard to find in stock at a good price — and while my friend Troy Benns at Wildwood didn’t currently have any D-42 guitars, he could order one for me direct from Martin with a third down and a six-week waiting period.  The price, of course, was excellent, as always, and impossible to resist.  Troy Benns knows how to seal a deal for a great guitar!

I bit.

Troy ordered.

I bided my time.

In two weeks, not six, I had Wildwood photos of my new Martin D-42 fresh from the factory in my Inbox, and a delightful message from Troy telling me the guitar was currently being professionally set up by Wildwood and everything would be ready to ship by the end of the day!  I was amazed and astonished by Troy Benns’ muscle and quickness with Martin on my behalf, and true to Wildwood form, I had this Martin D-42 in hand overnight!

I really love how the silking above and below the bridge is already happening on what is really an infant guitar that still has that “musty vanilla” scent of virgin guitar lacquer.  The whole house smelled of “New Guitar Day” for a week!

Continue reading → Beating the Bones Out of It: The Martin D-42 Acoustic Guitar Review

Acoustic Guitars Strings Review

When you play guitar, you are always on the hunt for just the right set of strings for your musical expression.  Now that I’m back in an acoustic guitar swing, I have been on the hunt for just the right acoustic guitar strings and I’ll share my limited, but varied, journey with you now.

I learned over the past few weeks you just can’t beat the John Pearse acoustic strings. I use both the 600L and 700M sets and they both have such a wonderful chimey, echoey, glistening, chorus when you play that once you put them on, you’ll never want to take them off your guitar — even to change strings to the same strings!

Somehow, the John Pearse strings start off sounding grand and then only build their greatness as the weeks pass by — a complete reversal of the normal aging strings progression.  There’s some sort of magic going on, and the bright is right for focused experimentation.

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The Eric Clapton Martin Guitar 000-28EC Review

It’s been a long, long, time — over 20 years — since I’ve had a “true acoustic” guitar.  By “True Acoustic” I mean a guitar that was created not be amplified out-of-the-box and one that is made to sound right straight from the vibrating wood into your ear.

To my aesthetic, there is really only one acoustic guitar maker of merit and delight — and that is C.F. Martin & Company.  Since 1833, they’ve been building grand and beautiful works of Art that sound luscious in, and on, the ear.  My first guitar was a Martin HD-28 that I had to sell to make the rent, and I have been heartbroken ever since:

However, as time and tide crushed the standard of living the young artist’s life in NYC, years later I ended up having to sell my beloved Martin HD-28 to make the rent.  It was such a heart-rasping experience giving up that HD-28 that I refused allow the joy of a guitar back into my life for 20 years.

The lesson in selling a beloved to make rent is that there is no faster compression of time into space than the moments of the first of the month arriving twelve times a year.  You will run out of beloveds faster than you can delay the inevitable.  Confess defeat.  Preserve your joy.  Move on in your humiliation.  Your saved beloved will later heal your broken pride.  Unless, of course, you sold it — then you’re just left broken and empty and joyless.

Now, as a man of more modest means, I decided the time was finally right again to dip my toe into the acoustic Martin sea, and I knew I wanted my new guitar to be the Martin Eric Clapton acoustic — the “000-28EC” — to be absolutely specific.

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Beyond the Burning Guitar Review

Melvin Taylor is an excellent Jazz guitarist, and he has a new album — Beyond the Burning Guitar — and while his axe is certainly on fire, there’s a lot more going on in his fingers than just flame and ash.  Melvin punctures the living moment of us by reminding us all that we are innately broken, but connected, and wanting, but alone, and, through his music, we can begin to be healed as a people.  Melvin Taylor shows us the joy of life in song and he also warns us against our deeper and more deceptive temptations.

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The Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Jazz Guitar Review

For six weeks, I have been panting with anticipation for the arrival of my new Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Jazz guitar, and on Friday, that anticipation was made into delight with the early-morning arrival of that beautiful guitar.  The first thing I noticed after opening the box was not the guitar, but rather a small, white, envelope waiting for me on the third fret and held in place by an E string on each side.  I opened the envelope and read a handwritten note from guitar builder Roger Sadowsky who personally signed a kind note encouraging me to: “Enjoy your new guitar.”

My Jimmy Bruno guitar is quite beautiful and extremely well-crafted.  Lifting the guitar out of its case, however, created a moment of Déjà Vu as I felt as if I had seen this guitar before in the guise of my Ibanez Artcore AG75!

The Sadowsky Bruno has a similar laminated sort of body and heft and weight and size and “hand feel” and, for a moment, I was a little freaked out that I was holding the bigger, badder, but more beautiful and better-bred brother of my Artcore!

Was this Sadowsky Bruno 14 times better than what I paid for my AG75?

It was time to find out.

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The Evidence Audio Forte Guitar Cable Review

On November 10, 2009, I wrote an article — The Evidence Audio Cables Review — in Scientific Aesthetic and, to this day, that review is still one of the most read posts on that Boles Blogs Network blog!  There’s a reason for the popularity.  Tony Farinella at Evidence Audio makes outstanding audio and guitar cables.

When I recently reviewed my new Jimmy Bruno guitar — crafted by expert luthier Roger Sadowsky — I lamented the fact that the guitar pretty much required a right-angle guitar cable and that I didn’t have one, even though I have mounds of really keen Evidence Audio cables I’d purchased in the past.

In the comments stream for my guitar review, Roger Sadowsky offered the following thought:

David,

Tony Farinella at Evidence is a great guy. Why not ask him if you could send him some of your cables and have a right angle plug added to one end? Tell him I sent you!

Roger

Shazam!  Roger was right!

As I reflected on my original Evidence audio review in 2009, I remembered Tony wrote a kind note in email and offered to send me his — at that time — “in development” Forte cable for review, with no strings attached, when the cable actually went public.

I looked up his original offer and wrote Tony a note and pointed him to the commentary thread with Roger and, last week, a beautiful right-angle Evidence Audio Forte cable arrived in the mail!

Continue reading → The Evidence Audio Forte Guitar Cable Review