Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years ago today

Forty years ago... Lt. Col Michael Collins was privileged to be the sole man in orbit about the Moon. Meanwhile two other blokes got to cavort about on old Luna's surface. I always though he got the raw end of the deal there.

Fortunately for him, some top not piloting and a "hatful of fuel" kept the LEM from landing on a huge boulder that was inconveniently placed where the Eagle was supposed to land.

Thus General Collins is the "forgotten Apollo Astronaut" rather than the guy who came back from the moon while the other guys died. Putting a man on the moon, that's easy. It's the whole "return him safely to Earth" part that's hard.

So I could give you one of my Appolo/Moon songs, but I won't. Instead I give you Hope Eyrie. No one said it better than Leslie.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sign this, and this, and initial and again and...

Just put an offer in on a property in way NorthEast Mesa. Actually it's almost exactly 2 miles straight north of us.

House itself is no bigger than our current place, (technically it's 150 sq ft bigger) but mostly that's because it has bigger closets.

Only real advantage is that it is a one-acre lot, and is therefore horse property.

If we get it, I'm going to have to dig a LOT of post holes to put in fencing...

The Gig Guitar

Having a guitar with onboard electronics is very, very, handy when playing out. It's a heck of a lot easier to simply plug in your guitar with a standard guitar cable than it is to mic a guitar. It also gives the performer some options at his fingertips, such as volume, and usually some minor equalizer controls.

My Larrivee OM-03R has an onboard Fishman Prefix Plus unit. This is a pretty nice guitar, all solid wood, rosewood back and sided, Engelman spruce top. This is the guitar I normally use for concerts, and is the guitar used for 14 of the 16 tracks on Space & Freedom.

I bought it years ago, when the US/Canadian exchange rate was somewhat more favorable. MSRP on a new one is $1857, retail is about $1400. Also, the new ones have a rather ugly pick guard which I rather dislike. Thus I really do not like to travel with this guitar. See post below on "United Breaks Guitars" for reasons why.

The Fishman Prefix is a nice unit, and I was thinking about buying one and having it installed in one of my lesser guitars. I have an old Tacoma Roadking that I bought years ago for around $350, that I figured would be a perfect candidate. Only two problems.

1) The Fishman Prefix sells for between $300-350 (ouch).
2) Replacement Roadkings, especially pre-Fender buyout ones, seem to cost somewhere around $1200 these days.

Oh, and since Fender can't seem to manage their way out of a paper sack, they have discontinued the entire Tacoma line. That takes some pretty bad management. When Fender bought Tacoma in 2004, they were the 3rd largest US guitar manufacturer.

Regardless, that really does not meet the criterion for a guitar that is inexpensive enough that I don't mind risking it with the baggage manglers.

So, what are our options?

While perusing E-bay I found some Olympia guitars. Olympia was Tacoma's import line. Basically Fender had liscensed copies of Tacoma's designes made in southeast Asia. Some were made in Indoneasia, some in China, and one or two other countries.

One can buy an OMC11CE6 (basicly a plywood copy of Tacoma's Chief) for $379 on E-bay. These came with either a Fishman Classic or L.R. Baggs electronics package depending on when and where they were made. That's not too bad really if you think about it. True, plywood does not have the rich sound that you get with real wood. On the other hand, it doesn't crack, and you don't have to worry about low humidity damaging your instrument. And in ARIDzona, that is a real concern. Considering that just the electronics unit is a couple hundred bucks, all in all, i figured it was worth considering.

Then I found one for $295. Better. Local, so I'd have to pay sales tax. *bleah*. Of course, if it's local I can always go by the store and dicker.

Guitar was located at The Bass Place in Tempe. They sell bases. Electric Bases, base guitars, stand up bases, and they even had an electric stand up base. (way cool, trust me). The guitar I was interested in was listed on their web site for $195, or $100 less than their e-bay price.

I can't even buy the electronics for that.

Dave, the guy who runs the place, let me have the instrument for $200 out the door.

Olympia OMC11CE6

Yes. It's blue. Very, very, BLUE.

So, though I never thought I would do so, I now own a Chinese made, laminate guitar. Actually sounds fairly decent, and since it has an L.R. Baggs pickup and preamp, it's absolutely perfect for playing gigs or traveling.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Traveling with Guitars

I hate the airline industry. Now, I've always loved aircraft mind you, and I work on airplanes, which is cool and all, but I've never liked the airline industry.

Remember, it's the Government that keeps the airlines from properly competing.

Found this over on, looks like some poor sucker flied United and the baggage monkeys were less than gentle with his beloved Taylor. While I'm not a big Taylor fan myself, note that these are rather expensive instruments. After a year of fighting the airline he took his beef public. Do me right, I tell a few friends, do me wrong I tell over 2 million as of the last count...

Yup YouTube.

For the record, I prefer to fly Soutwest (they hand-carried my guitar last time), or even better in a small privately owned aircraft.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lock & Load Review

Since I have been on the subject of CDs recently, how about a review?

Leslie Fish has finally released Lock & Load, her album of pro 2nd Amendment songs. It's only been in the works for about 10 years. I managed to pick up a copy at last weekends WesterCon.

First Impressions:
Incredible artwork by non other than the inestimable Oleg Volk.
Good mix of songs. Style ranges from folk, to folk-rock, to an actual barbershop quartet. Nonetheless, Gerry Tyra did a great job of mastering and it all flows together well.

All in all, it's a great album, from the title track Lock & Load to the rather haunting We did it to Ourselves, to the inspiring Flight 93. Leslie plays her 12-string guitar throughout, and has an absolutely amazing number of backing musicians playing electric guitar, flute, harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, mandola, plus a bunch of others I can't think of right now.

Honestly about the only song I don't like is Vigilante. Not due to the content mind you; it's one of my favorite songs. This version is very fastpaced, and not what I'm used to, and I think it does a bit of a disservice to the song. Then again, I've known Leslie for years, so I've heard the song before, and one tends to like what one is used to.

All in all, worth buying.
Get it here

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So you want to buy my Shiny New CD?

In the somewhat near future, I will have my CD listed with cdbaby, this take a little time though, and I have been busy. Several music dealers alreay have it in stock, including Random Factors, Tales from the White Hart, and Southern Fried Filk.

The best way is of course to buy it directly from me. After all, when you purchase direct from the artist the artist gets most of the money.

email mhorning (at) to order.

Retail cost is $16, and shipping is roughly $2, so call it $18 for a single CD.
Wholesale can ship book (media) rate. If you are a reseller (music store, independent bookseller, etc.) and are interested in obtaining stock for resale, please e-mail for wholesale prices.


Sunday, July 5, 2009


Just got back from WesterCon. Thoughts later. I ended up doing 3 panels, a concert, and a CD release party. Kept me pretty busy, so I didn't get to go see that much of the con.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Big Boxes, many boxes

UPS dropped off 12 boxes. *bounce*

I'll get a pick up later.