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The Travels of a Faux 1954 Fender Esquire – Guest Post

About a month ago, my friend & office mate Jim asked me to resuscitate his 1985 Fender Squire Tele (you can read about the technical details of the work over here). After he got her back, he was inspired to write about this sweet little Squire for my blog. Which is no small thing. He’s a helluva writer. Enjoy!

The Travels of a Faux ’54 Esquire
by Jim Haner

Fender Squire Headstock

There are very few things guitar geeks love more than a story about a “rare find”: the guy who picks up a vintage Gibson ES-250 or Martin D-18 in a moldy case at a flea market; the half-daft widow who lets her husband’s Synchromatic-400 go at a garage sale for 27 bucks.

This is not one of those stories. This one is better.

“Look at that neck!” Rich said when he first popped open the case. “Come to Daddy, baby. Oh, my goodness, are you … purty!”

Almost 25 years ago, in my brother’s home studio in Oxnard, California, I had the same reaction to this ‘85 Squire. There in a rack sat this dishwater-blonde — next to his spanking-new, midnight-black, Fender Custom Telecaster, with red banding and a whammy bar, and more fresh chrome than Buick ever put on a car. Continue reading →

Restoring a 1985 Fender Squire Telecaster

Jim's Squire Tele

Jim’s Squire Tele

My buddy Jim brought me his 1985 Fender Squire Tele, one of his prized guitars. From the moment I put my hands on her, I could tell she was something special. Great feel, very responsive, resonant wood… She was in decent shape overall, but the innards were shot. The body, neck, fingerboard, and pups were fine. But both pots and the switch were cutting out. If you held the switch just right, she’d play for ya, albeit noisily. As long as you had the jack in the right position too. There was clearly promise here, but only after a complete re-wiring job.

The old wiring & worn-out switch & pots

The old wiring & worn-out switch & pots

Because this guitar was based on the 50s model Teles, the wiring was like them, too. Continue reading →

The Coolest Little Update in iPhone iOS 7 for Songwriters & Musicians

Voice-Memos-iOS-7

Even the Voice Memos Icon is new in iOS 7

For us iPhone users, iOS 7 is full of updates. Of course, there’s the new clean interface, the friendly control center, more emphasis on gestures, etc. But I want to bring your attention to the single most important app on my iPhone. It has gotten a major update with iOS 7, and I’m super excited about it. It’s not a third-party app, and it comes with your phone. Are you ready?

I’m talking about Voice Memos.

Yep. That largely ignored, stock app that lets you record stuff. It’s one of the most important apps on my phone. And it has gotten a whole lot better in iOS 7.

I write songs, and I use Voice Memos to record little snippets of song ideas as they come to me. I have dozens of them on there. Short recordings of guitar, melodies, rhythms. Whenever something hits me that I think is worth saving, I whip out my iPhone and my trusty Voice Memos app. It’s right there on my home screen, fast and easy. Heck, the files are all even backed up for me.

Voice Memo App in iOS 7

The re-designed Voice Memos interface. To see older recordings, simply swipe up from the bottom.

Prior to iOS 7, The app was so basic that you only had two options for titling something. It could either be a Voice Memo (essentially untitled) or an Idea. So I currently have a couple of things called “Idea” on there, and the rest are just memos because I was too lazy to re-label them (and it really wasn’t all that easy to do anyway).

But with iOS 7, the app has had a major overhaul. Now we get something that looks more like a recording app should. It has a nice little input graph and everything is on one screen. Very handy. But the best part is that you can title your recording anything you want! So my last recording is Song Descending Am Am/g F#dim. This is so much more handy than trying to rely on dates to find something I recorded in uh..late 2011 or early 2012..I think…

The new Voice Recorder interface is worth a look if you need to capture song ideas. I’ve been dealing with its limitations since my first iPhone, and feel that this release finally fixes all the (albeit minor) annoyances I’ve had with it. And if you aren’t using anything to capture those ideas that hit you in the most inconvenient places & times…why not!? This is the best tip I can give you as a songwriter–capture those ideas as they happen. You’ll probably lose them otherwise, and that’s no good for anyone.

Let me know how you capture your song ideas. Are there better apps out there? I’m also interested in what Android devices have, since I’d like to help those users out but just don’t have the knowledge of those devices.

Keep writing!

The Fate of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence – Special 4th of July Entry

Take a few minutes to read this piece by Thom Hartmann about the price of freedom for these brave men.

Saluting the Signers on the 4th of July by Thom Hartmann

Fifty-six people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Fifty years later to the day, two of the original signers—John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia–both died.

Jefferson died about two hours before Adams although Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson still lives.”

They had been close friends in the early days. They worked to bring about the American revolution. They then became political enemies.

Adams was a staunch conservative—what was called a “Federalist” in the parlance of the time. Jefferson was what was called a “Republican” then. He founded the Democratic-Republican Party which in the 1830’s dropped the word “Republican” from it’s name. Still today it is known as the Democratic Party—the longest lasting, oldest political party in the history of civilization, founded by Thomas Jefferson.

The fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were politicians, doctors, ministers and merchants. Nine of them were farmers. Ben Franklin is harder to define. He was a printer and a renaissance man. Continue reading →

How Profit Motive Ruins Music and Other Things I Love

“When things are done ONLY for money — PURELY for dollars — that thing ends up sucking balls.” — Lee Camp.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. When it comes to music, I like it real, raw, honest, ballsy, soulful, & rough around the edges. Thankfully, some of these folks are still punching thru in this age of the Big Money Hit Machine, which Lee describes as “…a totally produced shitfest. The soundtrack of a dying civilization.”

You might not agree with everything he says, but he sure knows how to drive a point home. Just some perspective for today.

Keep rockin folks. Keep it real.