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Topic of this podcast: The music scene is dead, but you can survive and blaze your own trail. Listen in to find out how.
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I went to Guitar Center Tampa to pick up some strings and picks, and while there scanned the guitars for the refreshed 2013 Squier Affinity Stratocaster series (new headstock logos and new colors). They didn't have any, but there was a "2 Color Chocolate Sunburst" Fender Modern Player Jaguar, which comes with Fender's version of the P90, the MP90.
Being that I'm into single-coil pickups, I tried it out.
Typical to guitars are Guitar Center, the strings weren't stretched at all, so I spent a few minutes doing that.
After I was done stretching, I plugged into a little Bugera amp and started noodling around on the MP Jag.
Surprisingly, I really liked the way this guitar played. Yeah, it has a gloss-polyurethane neck coating with tint, but play-wise it was really easy to get used to this thing. It definitely "felt like a Fender".
Also, the body on this particular Jag is insanely comfortable. The shape just molds right to your body because there's not a single sharp edge to be found anywhere. The Jag body is even more smoothed out than a Strat body is (which is already smoothed out to begin with). Very easy to get used to sitting or standing. And the weight of it is just right too.
The "Chocolate" sunburst looks far better in person than on the internet. Every internet photo I've seen of the MP Jag in this color makes the guitar look like it's unfinished (as in "not completed"), but when you see it in person, oh yes, it's totally finished and a very nice looker; it could easily pass as an expensive-looking Fender.
Speaking of price, that's my first of three knocks against this guitar.
The only reason this guitar has a $399 price tag is because there's a Fender logo on the headstock. This is a China-made Fender, remember. If the only thing changed were the headstock logo from Fender to Squier, this guitar would be priced at $275, which in all honesty is what it's really worth. Even if it were priced a little higher at $325, that would also be acceptable. But $399? Nope, too much.
My second knock against this guitar is the "Gibson-like" setup. It's basically set up just like a Les Paul except it doesn't have 4 control knobs. Three-way toggle on the top horn, master volume and treble below the pickups, bridge + tailpiece just like a Gibson (which Fender calls an "Adjusto-Matic"). This guitar would be so much better off with the 3-way on the bottom horn instead of the top, because on top it just feels weird being there. Also, the control knobs just feel all wrong (black "top hat" knobs or textured metal knobs should have been used).
My third knock are the MP90 pickups. What a P90 is supposed to do is "growl" while at the same time have some "honk" to them. I know that sounds weird, but if you've played enough guitars with P90s in them, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The MP90s do growl, but they don't honk at all. Now it could very well be that the little Bugera is what was causing the MP90s not to honk like a P90 is supposed to, but I doubt that. The honk of a P90 (usually heard best when using the middle bridge+neck pickup selection) can usually be easily heard no matter what amp you're using. But on the MP Jag all you've got is growl, which would be fine for some, but not for me because the tone just doesn't have a character I go for.
Final verdict: If the knobs were replaced with the kind with proper texture to them and the pickups replaced with P90s that have some honk as well as growl to them (like this one), this guitar would be a winner. The price is a bit steep for an Asian build, but it's a solid guitar all around that only needs very little to sound as great as it plays.
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Xanga.com originally launched in 1998. Yep, it's that old. And in July 2013 it will probably shut down. Either that or it will "pull a Friendster" where it will be rebranded/retooled into something else and totally lose the flavor or what it originally was...
...and so goes yet another early-internet site.
Xanga is a blogging site, and people do like to write stuff on the internet whether it's short-form like Twitter, semi-short form like Facebook or long-form like Blogger or WordPress. Whatever it is, people do like to express their thoughts online in their 'personal space' in one way or another.
The problem with personal space web sites is that they all ultimately fail due to herd mentality. GeoCities was at one time 'a thing', as in trendy, as in The Thing To Do On The Internet, and then the herd got bored with it and moved on. LiveJournal was 'a thing', and the herd moved on from that. Friendster was also 'a thing', MySpace was 'a thing', etc.
Xanga was also, of course, 'a thing' at one point in time with a monster amount of active users. But that time has since long passed and the herd has moved on.
Right now 'the things' are Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. And every single one of them will at some point fade into obscurity and the herd will move on just like it always does.
The really shitty part about sites that die off (or change enough to where anything left of the original is gone) is that any content you posted there usually goes away forever. Yeah, the site will probably send out a broadcast email that says, "Hey, on [date here] we're shutting down go grab your shit off our site before that happens!", but the thing is that for really old web accounts, the original user probably signed up with an email address he doesn't even use anymore and just forgot to update to the current email address used, so the notification is never received. Then the end date passes, the content gets whacked, and... yeah. Totally screwed.
What a lot of site owners have found out - myself included - is to always host everything yourself whenever possible. I basically host everything but video because video files are too huge and consume too much bandwidth, but as for text, images and audio, yep I have all that here. Sure, I share it out to other sites (like the way I share out Radio Free Menga to iTunes), but the point is that there's always a copy here just in case the places where I share stuff out to goes down.
I used to tell people to get a free blog, but I don't do that anymore. What I tell people to do now is to register a dot-com/net/org/whatever instead, pay the yearly registration fee and pay for web hosting. Hosting for most companies get either be paid by month or by year. Better to pay by year if you've got the cash because it's cheaper that way, and starts at between $75 to $100 for a full year of hosting depending on what you use for a web host.
Yeah, hosting your own domain is a totally computery, totally nerdy thing; it's not easy and not free either. But at least you know what you put there stays there and doesn't vanish like a fart in the wind because the site you were using just up and dies due to herd mentality.
This is, incidentally, why sites like DreamHost (a web host provider, and you can also register your dot-com/net/org/whatever there too for true one-stop-shop domain'ing) have been in business since 1996. The only way I know of for a web host provider to up and die is due to massive fiscal bungling since every account is a paid account. But that's so rare it's not even funny. Registrar/Host providers like DH have way, way, way more staying power compared to any free blog service because they're actually making money on every account. Yeah, you pay, but your stuff stays and won't vanish just because a particular free web service ceases to be trendy for whenever that happens. That alone makes it worth paying for.
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In my experience, there are a few hard truths when it comes to collectible guitars.
Any guitar promoted as a collectible from the start really isn't a collectible. An example of this are any of those high-end Fender Custom Shop "Heavy Relic" guitars such as this one, this one or this one.
Electrics that are sold as being collectible from the moment they first appear on the market are already overpriced from the beginning.
First of all, unless a kid was born with a silver spoon up his ass, there's no chance whatsoever that a kid would receive one of those Fender Custom Shop guitars as his first guitar. Not happening.
Second, custom shop guitars like I mentioned above have zero player's value as they're nothing but furniture.
Third, and most important, there's absolutely nothing magical about those multi-thousand dollar guitars.
"Guitars can be magical?"
Yes. Certain guitars are magical in the respect that they bring back fond memories of days gone by...
...but only the ones that people could actually afford back when they were new.
Ultimately, it is the cheap guitars that end up being magical years later and not the expensive kind.
"The one you remember" is usually the most difficult to find
At the top of this post is an image of a 2012 Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90. I own one of these, bought new for $89.
I did a search for this guitar just just to see if it was still available, and yeah, it is, but not the TV Yellow version. It's not on Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, Amazon or eBay. That guitar in that color is absolutely 100% gone. The yellow version didn't even last 7 months on the market. Very short run.
Maybe Epiphone will re-release the guitar in that specific configuration in that specific color again at some point in the future, but probably not for a while. I may be mistaken and they may release it again next year, but the point is that the 2012 models are now literally extinct.
Now of course you know there were a whole bunch of people who happened to be in Guitar Center when the guitar was there and they bought one, and it was probably a parent who bought one for their kid as their first guitar. That kid will play the guitar for a while, probably beat it up, not take care of it and eventually sell it. Years later, that kid will become an adult and kick themselves for originally selling that guitar and go out on eBay and try to find another one exactly like his first. Same year, same color, same configuration, same everything. At that point, whoever has one can command a high price for it because people are willing to pay big money for rare guitars - especially if it was a guitar the buyer used to own as a kid.
I'm not saying the '12 Epi Les Paul Special P90 is some masterfully-built guitar or anything like that. But I knew from the moment I saw the listing for it that it would sell real quick. And it sold out fast.
You know in 10 years that the kids who play these guitars today and eventually get rid of them will seek them out again when they become adults. Why? Because they're going to be looking for the stuff that recaptures their childhood; that's where the magic is, and that's why the cheap guitars are the true collectibles.
Remember, Fender Strat used to be "the cheap guitar".
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Radio Free Menga: Episode 7 is out now! Play it above or download the MP3 here.
If the above player doesn't work, try this: http://menga.org/rfm7
Radio Free Menga is now on iTunes! Subscribe here: http://menga.org/itunes
Topic of this podcast: Alesis Fusion stuff, more synth stuff, backing up data and why you should do it.
- 32GB flash drive
- Casio CTK-7000
- Ensoniq SQ-1
- Korg M1
- Korg N364
- Korg microSTATION
- Korg Kross 61
- Yamaha MX49
- Yamaha MX-61
- Casio Privia PX-5S
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Small correction: I mentioned in this podcast that Apple doesn't offer an on-site warranty option. That's incorrect because they do, but with a rather interesting condition: "Availability of each [warranty] option depends on country in which service is requested and location of Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple may also request that the customer replace components with readily installable parts." Translated, this means: "Unless there's an Apple certified tech near you, you're screwed", followed by, "Even if you request on-site we'll probably just tell you to replace the parts yourself so we save money"; this effectively makes an Apple on-site warranty option worthless to even bother with, given that set of conditions.
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