Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Me and my Telecaster

  On last Saturday afternoon I got back from my well deserved holidays all charged up and hit the ground running. Four hours with Sliotar in the Porterhouse and it did feel good to be back. As much as I was looking forward to my holidays, usually after a week I start missing my guitar and miss playing. It's kind of crazy... I start missing my guitars like people, my finger get itchy and I get fidgety. If guitars were a substance, I suppose I would have a problem ;-)

  Since my return, if I wasn't gigging with Sliotar my Telecaster has not left my side. Also I suppose refreshed from my holidays, I have been messing around with a sound a bit. So I thought to write a bit about my trusty friend, my Telecaster.

  My very first electric guitar was a East German Strat copy. It was rough and cheap, but it was mine and I played it until the frets were nearly down to nothing. One thing I do remember about it is that the pickups had these massive magnets under them and the output was very hot for a Strat. Since then, I have gone through dozens of guitars and I am sure I will go through dozens more before my days are done. I know for some players guitar is just a tool, but many of us are as much in search of that perfect tone as just hoping to play. I love sound, and for me sonic qualities of a recording is almost as important as the songs them selves.
On this on going quest I learn something new all the time. It's what keeps me exited. Sometimes just a great tone can inspire you to write songs.

  I had few guitars over the years that I just had to have. But the relationship with guitar and the player takes time to develop. Some guitars felt great in my hand from the first moment I picked them up, but after a while I started missing something in the tone, or playability. In other times I picked up a guitar and it was a struggle from the get go, but over time I learned to love the instrument . There was always the three legendary guitars that most players leaned towards, Les Paul, Startocaster and Telecaster. Now there are tons of more, but these three are the ones every guitar player has at some point. Also these guitars are copied more by other manufacturers than anything else. I have very nice Gibson Les Paul, that I will never part with. It is very nice guitar to play! It sings, sustains, and drives the right amp in to very sweet and full distortion. I've had several Strats over the years, one of them was a Fernandes copy that was excellent! It was one of the only guitars that I kept stock, as it was built great, the action was great, the pickups were great, the electronics were very good quality. This Strat was a proof that going for the big names is not always the best thing to do. But when I left Finland I got rid of most of my gear. Silly me... Anyway, apart from this Fernandes most Strats were no my friends, just the sound and feel didn't sit with me. I had an obsession about Telecasters for a very long time. I'd say it goes back to me being a big Rolling stones fan since I was a kid. I've had few Squire and few Fender ones over the years. My current Tele is a 2008 Fender highway 1, that I got as a trade few years back. I have now idea what the history it was before I got my hands on it. These Highway 1 series guitars had a mat paint finish that tends to wear off pretty easily, and one of its previous owners had put a varnish on it after the paint started wearing off. The pickups are Fender Texas specials at the moment, but I'm sure there will be many pickups in this Tele through out its life with me. But yeah, part from the varnish, it is very much stock for now. It sounds like Tele, and plays like one.

  Telecasters have been part of rock and roll music from almost the beginning. It has been in production since 1950! That's 62 years and still going strong. It has been played by so many famous guitar players in pretty much every sub genre of rock music. And if anything it is more popular today than ever before among the indie rock guitar players. It is a guitar that plays nicely in most hands. But I think its flexibility is still very under estimated. This guitar has twang, it has bottom end, it has warmth and clarity. It can be a smooth jazz machine, or it can scream like a monster! Very often I see players rocking the Tele, but I feel there is so much more you can do with it. This guitar likes to be treated roughly. It is like it has hidden gears, if you dig bit deeper you can get some wild tones out of it. It is definitely not the easiest guitar to play, but I find it makes me play better when I need to work that bit harder with it. If I had to choose one guitar to do it all, my Tele would be it. At the moment I would love to get my hands on another and put a Bigsby tremolo on it, but I think this has something to do with the fact that I have bit of a Gretsch bug at the moment ;-)

  All I can say is big thank you to Leo Fender for designing such a simple, versatile and strong guitar that has shaped rock music.

  It is funny how we build these relationships with instruments, and how they define us as musicians. What is your favorite guitar and what does it mean to you?


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Time to refocus and get back on track!

 I can't believe the weather we are having in Dublin this week! This summer has been... well, it has not been to Dublin! But a nearly a week now with hardly any rain:-) I am actually sitting outside on my balcony without a shirt (what a site!) writing this. Happy days!

  Last Saturday we played our first concert after our line up change. It was Saturday night upstairs in Sweeney's, us and Pimps and Gimps had the pleasure to play support for Patrick Fizgerald. Des Gorevan was on the drums and he did a brilliant job! Only two rehearsals and he delivered a monster of a performance. It felt so good to be playing again and it did feel very natural. Now I am only few days away from my holidays, but once I get back we will definitely get back gigging more again. Once you got the bug, you can't stop;-) Big thanks to Foad musick once again. Oh did I say that the Pimps and Gimps rocked the house as well?

  Now just before I head out on a holidays and get some seriously needed time off from everything, it got me thinking. With all that has been going on with our little band this summer, I managed to get some distance and I suppose new perspective on things. Sometimes that is just what you need and I am hoping my holidays will help on this even bit more. Before the summer, I kind of felt like I was trying to keep things rolling and keep every one happy. But I am starting to listen to my self once again. I suppose I am very lucky in sense that me and Qra have very similar vision of what the band should sound like. Always things change over time and I think that is a good thing, but I really hope I won't get too side tracked on the musical front just to try to please other people:-) I think we're going to re write some of the newer stuff we were rehearsing in the past year, and I still have bag full of songs that we never got to get started on. Oh yeah, and lot's of new ideas, that I'm sure will burst in to songs really soon.

  So here is what I am trying to say. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut with your band, feel like you've done the same thing for years... Just take a small break. Month or two will clear your thoughts and you will start to see more clearly what you want to do. All those nagging noises of your own self doubts, or other people inside your head will tone down and what you really want to do will come to the top. Try it out, much better idea than giving in or quitting! 

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio