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***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

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A few internet-specific things I've been doing recently:

On my YouTube channel I set a bunch of videos to private on purpose. Mostly video game specific ones. I kept the oldie-but-goodies but shelved the rest because in all seriousness, a YouTube channel full of nothing but computer screen shots, video games and the like is frickin' boring. No one wants to see that crap and moreover no one cares.

I uploaded a crapload of Buick-specific stuff to my Flickr photostream. I'm finding that yeah, Flickr really does kick ass. I can see now why people dig it so much. It's just stupidly easy to manage your photos on there especially if you have a ton of them (I have well over 400 just in my account alone).

My Buick site has undergone a minor facelift. It was due because some of the information there was a bit outdated and/or incorrect, so I fixed all that up. By a turn of good fortune I stumbled across the entire 1975 Buick promotional booklet used in dealerships and posted it. Because of this I now want another Buick in my collection, the '75 Skyhawk. I had no idea the car could look that good, but yeah, it does.

***Tons of guitars under $500 right here

DigiTech GSP1101 acquired

gsp1101 This one starts off with a story. Of course y'know that I went to Guitar Center and they had 2 things available for guitar multi-effect rackmount units: Nothing and more nothing. By the way, if you want to hear my initial review of this unit and skip the story of how I got it, scroll down until you see My review.

I head over to Sam Ash in Tampa to see if they had any rackmount units.

First I'll say that it's WAY easier to find your way around Sam Ash compared to Guitar Center. The store is better laid out and it's easy to find stuff.

So anyway I march over to the pro audio section and talk with a guy. I ask him about multi-effect rackmount units. He does have some and they're plugged in and ready-to-try. Unfortunately none were guitar-based. The guy says to go over to the guitar section and ask around.

So I did.

I talk to another guy. He says "Yeah, we have one."


Yep, just one model. A DigiTech. But he can't remember the name of the model (which is not a big deal because they have weird-ass model names anyway). I tell him to see if he can look up the price on the computer.

He tries to look it up. Can't find it. Then he calls over a second guy. He can't find it in the computer either.

The first guy says "Let me go into the warehouse and get one and then we can look it up. Can you wait a few minutes?"

I agreed and waited.

Five minutes later he comes back with a DigiTech GSP1101.

I ask the price expecting it to be at least 900 bucks.

It was $499.

This honestly shocked me because I remember when these things sold for over $1000 not so long ago.

I ask if there's any way I could do a no-interest/no-payment deal with Sam Ash credit.

He says yes; they have a promotion going on right now where I can get no-interest/no-payment for a year(!) and he'll take 100 bucks off the price right there since there's some "midnight madness" sale going on.

400 bucks is the absolute cheapest you could get this for. And I don't have to pay one red cent for a whole frickin' year?

I bought it.

My review

I really don't know if I like this unit or not.

Here's what's happened so far:

When I first plugged it into my mixer board it sounded like absolute crap and couldn't figure out why.

I read the manual and it says you have to program the unit for what type of output you want. A-ha. So I set it to "mixer" mode (which it wasn't).

But it still sounded like crap.

I swapped out a cable figuring that was the problem. Nope. Still sounded bad.

I turned it off and on again and it magically started sounding proper.

Weird? Yes. I guess we'll see if it continues to sound correct.

As far as the way it sounds, it's definitely above-par. The GSP1101 can basically make any sound you want, emulate any cabinet you want and is chock full of goodies. There's your standard choruses, delays and so on, but there's also a really decent envelope filter, wah, parametric EQ and a whole bunch of other stuff. In addition it has a USB port so you can control it via Windows. Very cool. Although I wish the interface program was designed better because there's certain stuff where you still have to manually adjust via the unit itself.

I'm not sure whether I want to keep it. I made sure to ask several times what the return policy is for Sam Ash. It's 30 days as long as I have all the original packaging. Whether I return it or keep it is indeterminate at this point.

Looking for rackmount? Get used to disappointment.

It used to be that rackmount guitar effects were really easy to find. Rocktron had some, Alesis had some, DigiTech (obviously) had some, ZOOM did, etc. This was not difficult to locate.

The guitar effect industry today champions pedals, pedals, more pedals and pedal-boards. Rackmount effects - which are the best by the way - are almost buried to the point where newer guitar players don't even know they exist.

What makes pedals suck?

Pedals suck because you have to play it thru an amp for it to sound any good. What if you live in a place where you can't make noise? What do you do then? You can't plug it direct into a mixer board because it sounds like absolute crap.

So how do you record your riffs? You don't. You have to bring your amp to a controlled environment, hope it sounds good that day and put down a track or two. And it takes so much effort it's almost not worth it. You have to plug in the amp, set up the mics, route those to the mixer board, spend time adjusting the mics for the proper sound, blah blah frickin' blah. SCREW THAT. I want to record and record now.

A rackmount unit is the only way to do it. Otherwise you're forced to do it the old-fashioned way that wastes massive amounts of time.

Why are rackmount units so buried?

I have no idea. The guy at Sam Ash said yeah, more than a few guitar players come in the store looking for them only to find that none are there. The one I bought was one of two they had in stock.

Sam Ash? Guitar Center? Could you stock more of these? You've got buyers waiting...

strings, she, gc

Yesterday I headed to the guitar store to pick up a set of acoustic strings. I got my set successfully but was thoroughly disgusted at the rest of the hardware there. More on that in a moment. I wrote a new song called "Life in D" and put it on my Sabbathized MySpace page. Check it out if you like.

A friend of mine that lives close by IM'ed me. I said I didn't feel like internet-chatting so I asked if it was okay if she called me up. She did; we spoke for a while. Just general this'n'that stuff. She's a sweetie. Very cool girl. It just so happens she's a bit of a history nerd which is pretty darn cool because I'm an Americana nerd. I made note that I feel sort of embarrassed that I haven't been to Busch Gardens since moving to FL even though it's literally less than 2 miles away from me. Yeah. Seriously. So hopefully sometime before the summer is over she'll agree (fingers crossed) to take a trip with me there. I don't even care if the place sucks. I just want to go just to say "Yeah, I went. Been there, done that." 🙂

Okay, here's why the guitar store ticked me off:

The staff was cool as usual, no problems there. What I did have issue with was the selection for what I was looking for. And what is it that I wanted? A rackmount guitar effects signal processor. My Alesis Quadraverb GT is really old and the backlight on the dispay doesn't work anymore, so I was in the market for another. I just wanted something simple.

Now here's the deal. The guitar store has these on their web site and they're relatively cheap.

Want to know how many there were in the store? NONE. These aren't out-of-stock items. I'm saying they literally had zero rackmount units. Oh sure, they had pedals and stompboxes. They had those galore. But true-blue rack effects? Nonexistent.

This ticked me off because a signal effects processor is something you have to hear before you buy it; it's very unwise to buy one "sound unheard" so to speak.

I remember not so long ago that the store used to have these things stocked, plugged in and ready-to-try before buying. Not right now they don't.

I'm seriously considering going to Sam Ash in Tampa. It's just under 10 miles from me right off Dale Mabry highway. One can only hope they actually have some rackmount effect units there that I could actually, y'know.. HEAR.

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