Home
Up
What I'm Playing Now

Play

My music is not just a spectator sport...

I learned to appreciate music more fully after I started to play it and write it. I'm neither a good player or writer, but I enjoy playing music more than almost anything else. I started playing guitar in '77 when I moved to New Hampshire and had a mountain of free time. I started writing songs in '79. Since then, playing music has become a serious hobby. I practice in a mini-studio I built in my music room. If you are interested in a deeper dive, I have added a page of what I am playing now.

The scan below shows Ben, Craig and I at the Experience Music Project in Seattle "On Stage", which gives a fairly accurate simulation of how it feels to perform a song in front of a big crowd. You have to do the playing and singing on the right beat yourself, but the amps reproduce the correct notes even if you miss them. Projected in front of you is a roaring concert crowd on a floor to ceiling video screen.

Musical instruments...

I have several guitars now. My favorite ax is a 2001 mahogany Parker Fly Classic with both electric and acoustic pickups. It plays fast, is incredibly light and has a lot of guts at the low end. I also have a 1980 Ovation 12 string Glen Campbell 1118 deep-bowl acoustic which was recently factory upgraded with bridge pickups and OP-40 electronics, a 2004 ruby-red Ovation 6 string Celebrity CC057 shallow-bowl acoustic that came stock with bridge pickups and OP-20 electronics and a 1997 red Fender Standard Strat, which I upgraded with three Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups (OEM on the American Deluxe) and Sperzel locking tuners. I still have my first acoustic from 1977, a 12 string Penco, at the cabin for campfire duty.

   

For amps, I use a Carvin Legacy half-stack, Line 6 AX2 or a Marshall VS65 for the electric guitars and a Carvin AG100D with a 112AG extension cabinet or the stereo system in the music room for the acoustics. The Parker Fly uses both electric and acoustic amps simultaneously, which makes one player sound more like two. I am just beginning to do some digital recording, using the very portable Korg ToneWorks PXR4. The PXR4 also has a decent rhythm and tempo effects bank, substituting for a metronome, drummer or bass player to keep an accurate beat.

A few recommendations to other players: A set of six Sperzel locking tuners, costing around $50, make re-stringing an electric guitar a two minute, painless job. I have found that new strings are the most important differentiating element of good sound (besides talent). I use cheap D'Addario EXL120s or Dean Markley Blue Steel Cryo 2552s for both electric guitars (9 to 42 gauge - extra lights). I'm impressed by the new electronics available for acoustic guitars, especially the Ovations. Not only do they give you much more control over the sound, they also include a tuner right there in the side of the guitar! 

Press play below for "Sweet Child of Mine" from Guns and Roses' 1987 "Appetite for Destruction" CD, Slash's most distinctive guitar work.

Home Up What I'm Playing Now

Mackey Group, Inc. 2002 - 2008