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Little Things That Count

Article from Music UK, April 1983

It's a great temptation, if you're not happy with the sound you are making, to junk your instrument and go for something better. Very often it is the accessories, the picks and strings, the leads, the sticks and cymbals, which are spoiling your sound and playing speed. A bit of thought and just a few pounds could uprate what may be a very acceptable instrument, by replacing the accessories.

"As a guitarist of some reputation, I play a Gibson, naturally, and I fell into the trap of not using accessories equal to the quality of the instrument itself. I used cheap strings once. But only once.

"The poor intonation was obvious due to the cheap materials they employ and the inconsistent winding during manufacture, so now I only use Gibson strings. They stay in tune because they are consistent throughout, they are bright and bring out the 'highs', they bend and still stay in tune. They outlast the 'cheapies' too!

Do your self a favour if you're a guitarist. "If you haven't got a Gibson, fit Gibson strings to improve your sound. They are available in a full range of materials and gauges so whatever sound you want to make, you'll make it with Gibson strings. If you are a Gibson owner, and that's what every guitarist owes it to him or herself to be, then Gibson strings are made for you.

"The other way to uprate your guitar is to change to a Gibson pickup, of course that all important little box that could make or break your sound. Gibson invented the Humbucker to "buck" the hum surrounding electrical gear can cause, and the original design is still available.

"There's a super Humbucker no was well, which gives more power and sound right across the range from high highs right down to bass.


In fact Gibson make a range of pickups to suit the sound you want; they include the True Blue, another Humbucker, for high power and full expression, the Laid Back, which plays like it's name, the Dirty Fingers, which combines power and a 'dirty' sound without loss of midrange and top end, and the BJB Jazz pickup, which mounts onto the finger rest of a cello guitar and is designed to give that pure rich jazz sound for the serious player.

"Gibson make good, tough picks too, and straps, even a guitar polish, to maintain your instrument. One of their hottest accessories is that TP6 Fine tuning tailpiece, which is designed to allow fine tuning, simply and quickly. It simply replaces the Gibson stop-bar tailpiece, useful on a gig, believe me.

"While I'm talking about guitars, look at the Bowen handle. It's a tremelo arm that replaces the tailpiece of your instrument and you don't need to drill out your guitar to fit it. It gives you increased versatility in your sound and if you decide to switch back to your original style, you simply remove it without any damage to your instrument. It fits most Gibsons and Epiphones plus a lot of other well known makes. It's a small investment that could pay big dividends in your playing.

As with strings for guitarists, drum sticks and heads can improve a drummer's sound and style. Cana-sonic drum heads use a unique construction of a one piece moulded fibre-glass plastic. Result a big, pure sound, with fast response. They don't wear and they resist damage too.


"You can buy them as Cana-Sonic Supreme or Black Dot Sound Centre. A lot of top pros insist on them so they must be good. "Cana-Sonics are available in a full range of sizes so you can get a total Cana-Sonic Sound, right across your kit.

"Pro-Mark drum sticks are another way of improving your technique and speeding up your playing. They are hand made from selected hard woods and are available in a complete range of sizes and weights for rock, jazz and every style of music. There are Billy Cobham, Ed. Shaughnessy and Louie Bellson models in the range and that speaks volumes for me.

"One final goodie for drummers must be Meinl cymbals. They are fairly new to the U.K. but already they've built up a reputation for value for money combined with power and sound. They cost half the amount you would pay for better known brands yet the reviews in the Music press were excellent.

Both Music U.K. and Sounds were very impressed with the Streamer range by Meinl and there are other ranges available from the same manufacturer offering varying options of size, sound and value. Meinls come in all popular sizes and sounds, and they make good high hat matched pairs too.

The competition question this week is what do all musicians use on stage? The answer is microphones and the winner who guessed right wins me to tea. I reckon the microphone name which is recognised as the guv'nor by musicians, is Shure. You must have seen their ads, showing so many famous names using their gear, but in fact Shure don't need to advertise because if you look at the photos on the editorial pages of the rock press, just about everyone is using them, particularly the SM58 which is undeniably the world's No. 1 vocalist's mic. Shure have a complete series, the PE range, PE standing for Professional Entertainer, which you should look at too. Try the PE35 if you are a vocalist looking for a smooth professional sound with a good bass to give your voice a little extra richness. The PE35 handles well, takes all the knocks and suppresses handling noise effectively.

"The PE 45 is great for miking up guitar cabinets, and drums. It has a wide dynamic range and a tight pattern which means it rejects outside, unwanted sounds. It's tough too.

"All these wonderful accessories are distributed in the U.K. by the equally wonderful Rosetti, who are pleased to hear from you at their London Headquarters, (Contact Details), but talk to your local dealer first. He will be a tremendous help and advisor."

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Publisher: Music UK - Folly Publications

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Music UK - Apr 1983

Feature by Dave Lacey

Previous article in this issue:

> Roost SR100 Head & Cab

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> Getting The Best From Your P...

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