Friday, August 30, 2013

I wanna play this chord on that guitar!

A couple of years back, I bought this guitar:

It's a Schecter Damien Elite 8 8-String electric guitar. Yup, 8 strings! Eight-string guitars are growing in popularity, particulary in the Metal community, and are used in bands like Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders.

I figured I'd play it like any guitar, but with the benefit of the added lower strings.

For one thing, you have more real estate on the fingerboard on which to improvise. Also, you can add another, lower 5th to your standard barre chords (E-shape) on the 7th string. In addition, you can just play chords not possible on a 6-string guitar.

Many of them have a longer scale length. The main benefit of this is better sound for the lower strings. It's the reason a grand piano's bass strings sound much better than an upright piano - the grand piano has much longer bass strings than the upright.

So I'm pretty happy with this guitar. It's beautiful, well-made, and fun to play, however, the one thing I'm having trouble with is... string spacing.

Now I'm talking about the space between the strings. It's narrower than that of a 6-string guitar, and the problem with that is it is more difficult to play chords, and just feels odd, plus it's pretty easy to get your left hand on the wrong string when you're used to a 6-string.

On many of the websites where you can order a guitar, they have a list of specifications, but string-spacing is generally not listed! This is a problem I hope is remedied soon.

I don't know anywhere where a guitarist can play a number of these things to compare them. These days, you just have to order a guitar, try it out and then decide whether or not to keep it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ring of Fire

Back in the 90s, one of the bands that caught my attention was Catherine Wheel, a British band that was heavy on the effect-laden guitars; they were considered to be one of the better shoegazer bands of that era. I remember going down to Mississippi Nights at Laclede's Landing on Election night to see them.

Unfortunately, I missed most of their show as I had to work that night, and they switched headlining duties with the other bands (which might have been House of Love and Ocean Colour Scene, or something like that).
Still, I caught enough to see that they were at least as great live as they were on their debut Ferment. Unfortunately, being election night, and maybe since these bands weren't super-big, there just wasn't much of a crowd at that show.

After the show the bands and some of us in attendance went to the bar next door, but it was just kind of a weird, slow night, and probably a bit of a sausage-fest (lack of girls, you know)..

Today I was looking at their bio on Wikipedia and noticed that (supposedly) they named themselves after the firework-in-a-wheel known as a Catherine Wheel. Interesting, I thought, since years before, when my brother and I were little more than toddlers, we had a run-in with one of those. I guess my dad had lit the damn thing after nailing it to a tree, and it came loose, and I swear this thing was chasing after us in the backyard!

It must've been quite a sight.