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Grand Poobah

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About Grand Poobah

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  1. Don't restrict yourself to Epiphone. One manufacturer's $400 guitar is built the same as every other manufacturer's $400 guitar, often at the same factory by the same workers. Brand is really irrelevant. Compare your Epiphone of choice to an Ibanez ART100/300/320/420, or any other brand of single cutaway electric. The options may vary from brand to brand but the build quality at any given dollar amount will be virtually identical.
  2. For every pro who says you have to float, there's another who says you have to anchor. In the end, it all comes down to comfort. Do what feels comfortable.
  3. This isn't the sort of song you can fake your way through, so your best bet is to learn to read tab and play the song correctly. Tab is really easy to read; my average beginning student spends about a minute figuring out what the lines and numbers mean, then another five minutes working out finger positions. Next, find an accurate transcription. Internet tabs are dodgy at best and should be avoided at all costs. Power Tab and Guitar Pro transcriptions are usually quite a bit more accurate. The best option would be to buy the Physical Graffiti book; it's out of print, but copies pop up on ebay fairly regularly.
  4. Ibanez Roadstar II Series. Best kept secret in inexpensive used guitars. I picked up an '86 RG440 with money I saved cutting grass one summer and it's been my number one ever since.
  5. Those amps were designed with the player who scoops his mids in mind. When you take away the most distinctive third of your signal, you need a lot more power to cut through the mix, hence 350W. The reason they didn't take off is because they were too expensive for the average metal player and too "solid state-ish" for the average tone snob.
  6. The heavier gauge will put more strain on the neck and could cause it to bow forward. If so, a simple truss rod adjustment should do the trick. If your guitar has a tremolo you will likely need to adjust the spring tension, as well. Wouldn't be a bad idea to check the intonation while you're at it, either. As for string brand, that's a very personal decision. I'd try a bunch of different brands over the next few months and make my mind up from there. Personally, I use GHS Boomers on everything except my Les Paul, which sounds a lot better with Slinkys.
  7. I heard the same thing about the Power Brake, although it seemed weird to me that Marshall would sell a product that it knew to be destructive to its other products. On the other hand, the THD got sterling reviews, so much so that I bought two, one for my 16 ohm cab at home and another for the 8 ohm cab I was using at work. In five years I've retubed once and replaced three fuses. Sounds like normal wear and tear to me, but I would like to know why the fuses blow every so often.
  8. A power attenuator is a must. I use a THD Hot Plate on mine. I taught lessons with it for years and still use it at home for practice and recording. I may not gig anymore but I refuse to compromise on tone.
  9. I have yet to find a master volume amp that sounds and responds like a non-master volume amp. That said, I would start by turning the master volume all the way up and then adjust the gain to suit my tastes. Then, when I'd had enough, I'd sell my amp and buy a Plexi.
  10. Seriously? I've used them for years and never noticed any inconsistency in gauging. I get a string with an imperfection every now and then, but I could say the same of most brands, not just GHS. That reminds me of an amusing story. My former Marshall rep used to work at a music store in Dallas, and whenever Eric Johnson was in town he would stop by to pick up some strings. Instead of buying them by the pack, he bought individual strings, taking each out of its envelope, uncoiling it and feeling it for imperfections. Occasionally he would find a hump or a tarnished spot and would call my rep over with panicked cries of "You see?!?! You see?!?!" My rep would feel the string and say, "You're absolutely right -- but you're gonna go nuts!" So where are they now? Eric Johnson is a world-famous guitar virtuoso, and my rep is enjoying his retirement touring the vineyards of Europe. Neither sounds like a bad deal if you ask me, but it goes to show just how far perfectionism can get you.
  11. I used to think the same thing. I use GHS, so when I bought my Les Paul a couple of years ago the first thing I did was to swap the strings for some Boomer 10's. I liked the gauge better than what had been on there, but the new strings sounded too brilliant and lacked the warmth of the original strings. Next I tried Gibson Vintage Reissue, but that wasn't what I was looking for, either. Then came d'Addario EXL110s, then DR Tite-Fits, but still no match. The last thing I tried was a set of Regular Slinkys. Bingo! Perfect match. Now I buy Slinkys for my LP, and GHS Boomers for everything else. Everything else you've said is spot-on. Good tone starts with the hands. Guitars, strings, pickups, cables, amps and effects all have an influence, but not nearly the influence as the player, himself. And, like you said, strings will mellow after a few days, making it more difficult to hear the differences between the brands. But there are differences, subtle at times, dramatic at others.
  12. Get a pair of Duncan Little '59s. Not sure I'd put that kind of money into a Squier, but you'll have a hard time getting a LP sound out of single coils.
  13. Practically every day. I keep Presence and Coda in the truck, and unless my daughter requests "Jimi Hendwix" that's what I'm listening to.
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