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Snowman

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I do actually. The person who taught me theory is online. His name is Ray Harmony, and he teaches with his wife Kate. I met him twenty years ago in a tattoo shop on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. He was going to Musician’s Institute at the time, after completing the Royal College of London’s music program which is the UK’s equivalent of Juliard. I started taking guitar lessons from him, but I ended up learning theory. He makes it so easy to understand.

His book Hack Music Theory Part 1 is the place to start. It’s a much more refined version of what he taught me in a cramped bedroom in Hollywood a few decades ago. I refer to it all the time when I’m writing songs. He has a ton of videos on his YouTube channel too.

Thanks, I'll check him out!
 

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You can definitely play a lot of rock/pop/country songs with 3 or 4 chords in the I IV V! I know my power chords, major, minor and m7 chords in the open and barre chord positions, and have started (*started*) playing around with triad inversions up the neck - where I really fall short is improvisation. I can wank forever in the minor pentatonic/blues scale over a simple chord pattern, but can't extend it up and down the neck, and have to think too much about playing chord tones over changes, so it becomes an instant trainwreck when I try that.

On the plus side, my sense of timing/rhythm is pretty solid, I can keep good time in my head and/or lock on to a beat and keep it - so I guess I'm a halfway decent rhythm guitarist, but suck as a lead guitarist, haha!
I just looked at my post and I meant C-F-G chords, not A-F-G.....LOL. Do you have an isolated example of the type of improvisation / chord tone over change?
 

Snowman

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I just looked at my post and I meant C-F-G chords, not A-F-G.....LOL. Do you have an isolated example of the type of improvisation / chord tone over change?
I guess I'm thinking more toward jazz type stuff, where the melody isn't going to be a simple I-IV-V. But even in a simple C-F-G progression, using the individual chord tones over the changes rather than just using the C Major Pentatonic or A Minor Pentatonic scale.

I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking it - or maybe my theory knowledge is so limited that I'm seeing it wrong.
 

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If you want a tube amp without breaking the bank, get yourself the Monoprice 1x12 15w tube amp for $250. Yes, it’s off brand, but it sounds fantastic. I have one that I run through a 2x12 cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30’s.
I haven't played that amp, but I've seen nothing but great reviews about it.

I have a pair of the (now discontinued) Monoprice powered studio monitors (and powered sub) in my home studio, and they are fantastic.

Not sure who's making the music gear for Monoprice, but they're doing it right.
 

ToohipGottaGo

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I haven't played that amp, but I've seen nothing but great reviews about it.

I have a pair of the (now discontinued) Monoprice powered studio monitors (and powered sub) in my home studio, and they are fantastic.

Not sure who's making the music gear for Monoprice, but they're doing it right.
Agreed. I've got the 2x12" Celestion V30 cab and it is worth double what I paid for it. I'm still looking at a pair of the studio monitors. Good stuff there.
 

KingsKraken

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I haven't played that amp, but I've seen nothing but great reviews about it.

I have a pair of the (now discontinued) Monoprice powered studio monitors (and powered sub) in my home studio, and they are fantastic.

Not sure who's making the music gear for Monoprice, but they're doing it right.
It’s a great little amp. Not the best on cleans, but it cleans up enough for me with lower output pickups. I can get a nice chimey tone through the Filtertrons in my Gretsch with the gain as low as possible and the volume up. The circuit is based on the Marshall 2204 design, and the distortion is classic Marshall. Throw a Tubescreamer in the front, and it becomes a demon.

For the price, it really can’t be beat.
 

GolfLivesMatter

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I guess I'm thinking more toward jazz type stuff, where the melody isn't going to be a simple I-IV-V. But even in a simple C-F-G progression, using the individual chord tones over the changes rather than just using the C Major Pentatonic or A Minor Pentatonic scale.

I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking it - or maybe my theory knowledge is so limited that I'm seeing it wrong.
[/QUOTE
My guess is a good knowledge chord structures and where they are on the fret board is likely the foundation. I can definitely see how the 3rd's and 7th's seem to be the transition notes after reviewing various signature keys on the piano which is obviously easier to see vs. the fret board.
 

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Played the ukulele in a hawaiian band for 7 years. We stopped playing around 8-9 years ago. Good times
 

JonMA1

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I just purchased a 10 watt Blackstar V3 this week and I absolutely love it so far.

My intention was to get back into recording this winter but was having issues with my interface and finding a suitable PC replacement for GarageBand. I swear I'm getting dumber as I get older, but I just can't figure out some of the demo software. This amp seems to be a decent replacement for the interface as it has a USB connection. The cool thing is that through the downloaded Blackstar software "Arcitect", I can create and then save more presets.
 

KingsKraken

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I just purchased a 10 watt Blackstar V3 this week and I absolutely love it so far.

My intention was to get back into recording this winter but was having issues with my interface and finding a suitable PC replacement for GarageBand. I swear I'm getting dumber as I get older, but I just can't figure out some of the demo software. This amp seems to be a decent replacement for the interface as it has a USB connection. The cool thing is that through the downloaded Blackstar software "Arcitect", I can create and then save more presets.
Have you checked out Reaper? It’s a low cost DAW for Windows that gets a lot of love from its users. It’s free to evaluate for as long as you want too.

 

JonMA1

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Have you checked out Reaper? It’s a low cost DAW for Windows that gets a lot of love from its users. It’s free to evaluate for as long as you want too.

I'll have to give Reaper another try. There was something with my sound configurations preventing it from playing back. I also tried FL Studio 12 and one other but didn't care for those.

I don't mind paying for software relative to what I'm using it for. I just have to get my act together and learn how to use the new amp with the interface and figure out the sound in/out settings on the PC. The software settings were not easy for me to understand. It recorded ok, but I had trouble getting it to play through headphones.
 

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I decided to take a flyer on solid wood acoustic guitar from Harley Benton. For those who don’t know the name, Harley Benton is Thomann Music’s house brand. Thomann is sort of like Germany’s version of Guitar Center. Their guitars are Chinese made on the cheap side, but they’ve gotten a lot of positive buzz about being good value for the money.

I bought a CLC-650SM-CE, grand concert/OM sized acoustic/electric, the most expensive they sell. What attracted me to this model was the low price for a solid African Mahogany (Khaya) top, back, and sides. It’s hard to find a name brand solid wood guitar, that isn’t used, for under $1000.

Price paid including UPS Express shipping from Germany (3 days) - $544.80

E3168A08-1F8C-47DC-A44B-820A011B9E48.jpeg

Pros
Solid wood top, sides, and back
Sounds great
Feels good to play
The comfort bevel is really comfortable
Nice finish
Fishman electronics
Decent fret job. No sharp ends. (though I haven’t checked for level yet)

Oks
Tuners are better than expected, but not as nice as I’d have liked. The gear ratio is decent, but there is a touch more slop than I prefer in my tuners. I’ve already ordered some replacements.

Cons
Blemish on bridge should have made this a B-stock guitar
Tuners were installed misaligned, again should have been B-stock
Action too low causing fret buzzing. I’ll need to raise the saddle and/or nut.
Composite finger board material has a weird feel, nothing like actual ebony. This is most noticeable when bending strings, and not too big of deal otherwise
Pick guard is incredibly thin and cheap looking. I mostly finger pick on acoustic, so I just peeled it off.

Does it compare to a name brand solid wood guitar?
Not even close, but it is solid wood for half the price, and it sounds pretty damn good despite the general lack of QC.

Who should buy it?
Anyone wanting a great sounding, comfortable to play guitar that’s willing to overlook a few minor annoyances, and either do a proper setup themselves, or pay to have one done. It would be a great first guitar, for practicing/recording, or for playing gigs where you don’t want to bring out the high dollar guitars.

Who shouldn’t buy it?
Anyone thinking they’re not getting a cheap, though playable and decent sounding, Chinese made guitar from a factory with poor QC.

Is it worth the price?
Barely, and only then because it’s a solid wood body at half the price of a name brand. If saving money on a solid wood acoustic is the goal, I’d suggest one of the cheaper HB solid wood models. The value for dollar will be higher and it would be easier to overlook the inevitable QC flaws. Or, scour the used market looking for a deal.

Closing Thoughts
Despite the QC flaws, I’m pretty happy with this purchase. The guitar is a joy to play, and sounds really good. I wouldn’t be willing to pay more this for this level of quality, but I don’t feel ripped off either.
 

Snowman

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I decided to take a flyer on solid wood acoustic guitar from Harley Benton. For those who don’t know the name, Harley Benton is Thomann Music’s house brand. Thomann is sort of like Germany’s version of Guitar Center. Their guitars are Chinese made on the cheap side, but they’ve gotten a lot of positive buzz about being good value for the money.

I bought a CLC-650SM-CE, grand concert/OM sized acoustic/electric, the most expensive they sell. What attracted me to this model was the low price for a solid African Mahogany (Khaya) top, back, and sides. It’s hard to find a name brand solid wood guitar, that isn’t used, for under $1000.

Price paid including UPS Express shipping from Germany (3 days) - $544.80

View attachment 9004974

Pros
Solid wood top, sides, and back
Sounds great
Feels good to play
The comfort bevel is really comfortable
Nice finish
Fishman electronics
Decent fret job. No sharp ends. (though I haven’t checked for level yet)

Oks
Tuners are better than expected, but not as nice as I’d have liked. The gear ratio is decent, but there is a touch more slop than I prefer in my tuners. I’ve already ordered some replacements.

Cons
Blemish on bridge should have made this a B-stock guitar
Tuners were installed misaligned, again should have been B-stock
Action too low causing fret buzzing. I’ll need to raise the saddle and/or nut.
Composite finger board material has a weird feel, nothing like actual ebony. This is most noticeable when bending strings, and not too big of deal otherwise
Pick guard is incredibly thin and cheap looking. I mostly finger pick on acoustic, so I just peeled it off.

Does it compare to a name brand solid wood guitar?
Not even close, but it is solid wood for half the price, and it sounds pretty damn good despite the general lack of QC.

Who should buy it?
Anyone wanting a great sounding, comfortable to play guitar that’s willing to overlook a few minor annoyances, and either do a proper setup themselves, or pay to have one done. It would be a great first guitar, for practicing/recording, or for playing gigs where you don’t want to bring out the high dollar guitars.

Who shouldn’t buy it?
Anyone thinking they’re not getting a cheap, though playable and decent sounding, Chinese made guitar from a factory with poor QC.

Is it worth the price?
Barely, and only then because it’s a solid wood body at half the price of a name brand. If saving money on a solid wood acoustic is the goal, I’d suggest one of the cheaper HB solid wood models. The value for dollar will be higher and it would be easier to overlook the inevitable QC flaws. Or, scour the used market looking for a deal.

Closing Thoughts
Despite the QC flaws, I’m pretty happy with this purchase. The guitar is a joy to play, and sounds really good. I wouldn’t be willing to pay more this for this level of quality, but I don’t feel ripped off either.
I've seen a lot of love for the Harley Benton guitars in various places online, and most of them seem to match your experience - decent guitars with a few minor annoyances and intermittent QC issues. But it looks like they're a great price point if somebody wants to scratch the itch for a certain type of guitar without going all in.
 

KingsKraken

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I've seen a lot of love for the Harley Benton guitars in various places online, and most of them seem to match your experience - decent guitars with a few minor annoyances and intermittent QC issues. But it looks like they're a great price point if somebody wants to scratch the itch for a certain type of guitar without going all in.
Yeah, HB is great option for anyone on a budget, or for people who want an affordable tool to get the job done without caring about the name on the headstock.

For me, I’ve been playing more acoustic than electric since buying a Flamenco guitar a few years back. I was looking to replace an old steel string acoustic I’ve had since 1993 (but didn’t play all that often) after I realized how bad it sounded compared to the Flamenco. I wanted a solid wood acoustic that is comfortable to play and sounds good. I don’t care all that much about the QC flaws since it meets my main criteria. (Though the misaligned tuners do bug me a bit because a proper fix is a pain.)
 

EaglevsFalcon

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I just bought a Harley Benton J-Bass copy for $169 and I have to say that Im pretty impressed with what I got at that price. There are no blemishes that I could find, the weight and sustain says that its clearly a solid block of wood, and the luthier I took it to for a setup gave it back the next day because he said it needed nothing but a slight action tweak. Pretty stoked overall
 

ToohipGottaGo

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I've got the HB Celestion V30 loaded 2x12 and can't complain. I needed to do a little rebracing but that was just me being me. I'm thinking about wading into the guitar pool to see what I can get. Most of the things I hear about them are also very good. Like most companies of the that type, I think you are going to have a few QC problems but nothing that can't be fixed. Though I would be a little angry over the tuning peg issue as well.
 

JonMA1

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So I need to be talked off the ledge.

I still have the stimulus money burning a hole in my pocket and I'm looking at Gibsons - specifically a Les Paul Classic. I'm supposed to spend that money on something made in this country, correct?

Mind you, I don't play very well, I have a Carvin that I absolutely love and a late 90's, US-built Guild Starfire IV that is probably as well-made as any Gibson out there.

But while I've owned 2 of their amps, I've never owned a Gibson guitar. To make matters worse, my brother - who has a collection of Gibsons - is constantly trying to talk me into it.
 

Snowman

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So I need to be talked off the ledge.

I still have the stimulus money burning a hole in my pocket and I'm looking at Gibsons - specifically a Les Paul Classic. I'm supposed to spend that money on something made in this country, correct?

Mind you, I don't play very well, I have a Carvin that I absolutely love and a late 90's, US-built Guild Starfire IV that is probably as well-made as any Gibson out there.

But while I've owned 2 of their amps, I've never owned a Gibson guitar. To make matters worse, my brother - who has a collection of Gibsons - is constantly trying to talk me into it.
Asking guitar players to talk you off the ledge of buying a new guitar is like asking golfers to talk you off the ledge of buying a new driver or putter, ain't gonna happen! :LOL:

Guitars are like golf clubs - they're a "want", not a "need". If you want it, have the money and it's not going to put a ding in your budget, go buy that beauty. Nobody ever went to the grave wishing they'd bought one less guitar.

I don't play very well either, and I have way more guitars, amps and pedals than I need. I needed another guitar like I needed another hole in my head, but I bought an EVH Wolfgang after Eddie Van Halen passed away. No regrets - it's become my favorite guitar and reinspired me to play more and make an effort to actually do justice to owning that beautiful guitar.
 

rumstove

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So I need to be talked off the ledge.
Asking guitar players to talk you off the ledge of buying a new guitar is like asking golfers to talk you off the ledge of buying a new driver or putter, ain't gonna happen! :LOL:

Guitars are like golf clubs - they're a "want", not a "need". If you want it, have the money and it's not going to put a ding in your budget, go buy that beauty. Nobody ever went to the grave wishing they'd bought one less guitar.
What Snowman says is correct. Asking guitar players if you should get another guitar is just like asking golfers if you should get more clubs. If you like the LP Classic and it won't hurt your budget then go for it. The LP will give you a nice variety with your Carvin and Guild.
 

ToohipGottaGo

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So I need to be talked off the ledge.

I still have the stimulus money burning a hole in my pocket and I'm looking at Gibsons - specifically a Les Paul Classic. I'm supposed to spend that money on something made in this country, correct?

Mind you, I don't play very well, I have a Carvin that I absolutely love and a late 90's, US-built Guild Starfire IV that is probably as well-made as any Gibson out there.

But while I've owned 2 of their amps, I've never owned a Gibson guitar. To make matters worse, my brother - who has a collection of Gibsons - is constantly trying to talk me into it.
If you're a PRS fan might I suggest a 594 single cut or maybe a Tremonti. Both are updated versions of the classic Les Paul style. The 594 S2 is definitely cheaper than the Tremonti. Have fun with whatever you purchase. :rockon::ok:
 

Snowman

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Well, I pulled the trigger on the Les Paul tonight. While there is nothing rational about it, I figured it'll hold a good percentage of it's value when the kids inherit it.
Congrats and enjoy it! Don't feel bad, there's rarely anything rational about buying another guitar, other than for pure enjoyment. :LOL:
 

Crowder

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Hey guys, new member here. Lifelong musician.

I've got two self-produced albums of original Americana on bandcamp at mikecrowder.bandcamp.com and they're both free if you "name your own price" at $0. I don't need any dough, just happy to have people listening.

My gear list includes a lot of home studio stuff plus a Collings OM1-ESS, a Passernig F mandolin, and several parts-o-casters I put together and had Plek'd at Glaser Instruments in Nashville.

Thanks for having me!
 

rumstove

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...plus a Collings OM1-ESS...
I bet that thing sounds phenomenal. I've played a few Collings guitars but haven't owned one.
 

Crowder

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I bet that thing sounds phenomenal. I've played a few Collings guitars but haven't owned one.
It's definitely my baby. I waited a long time to have one with my preferred specs pop up in my price range. It has a repaired top seam separation which scared off a lot of other people...but not me!
 

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