Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pillows, Balloons and O-Ports

There are a few things in a guitar tech's workbox that might puzzle a casual observer. I have at various times carried around pillow stuffing, which was used to tame an overly responsive Dobro from feeding back.

Other odd items you might see are a few black balloons. Inserted into an ES-335 or similar semi-acoustic and then blown up, they serve to deaden the top and back enough to stop feedback and they also work in acoustic guitars. You might need to wait until Halloween to get black balloons, but they do come in handy.

If you want a more traditional approach to feedback suppression, Planet Waves offers two great products.

The Screeching Halt, which is hands-down my favorite product name, is a sound hole plug and top dampener for acoustic guitars. The slightly tapered edge make it compatible with most sound holes.

The other option is using the amazing O-Port. Designed to project the sound out of your guitar in a fashion similar to the ports on high quality speakers, the O-Port doubles as a top dampener.

I use it in just that manner on Brian Nutter's Sigma 12-string. If you've been to a live Keith Urban show lately and heard "Stupid Boy", that was Brian playing the Sigma with an O-Port, standing in the spotlight at the very edge of the stage, practically in front of the house P.A. speakers....no feedback.

O-Port demo #1

O-Port demo #2

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hangin' With Your Heroes

Planet Waves has a new batch of Classic Rock straps that feature album art work and logos from the Golden Age of Rock. The first album I ever bought with my own money was KISS's "Destroyer". I was 14 or 15 years old and it was a bit of a daring thing to bring that album cover into the classroom at the Catholic school I attended.

Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd also have a couple of logo straps out this year. I had their "Pronounced" album on 8-track!

Glam-Rock bad boys Motley Crue have three straps to offer, featuring art work from such favorites as "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Shout at the Devil" and "Dr. Feelgood".

Pioneering power trio +1 The Who always managed to have iconic visuals. Their Union Jack and Target straps are a throwback to the Mod culture of swinging London in the early '60's.

Check out all of the Planet Waves straps at your local retailer.