So, you’re buying someone (or yourself) a first guitar?


I’m in a lot of guitar-related Facebook groups. I’m probably in a lot more guitar -related (and general music-related) Facebook groups that ought to be allowed. I see a lot of talk about guitars, and a lot of opinions about guitars. People are very strong and vocal about their opinions. (Did you see the guitar bingo cards?)

One post I see quite often is someone who is buying a guitar for their kid, or even one for themselves. It usually contains no details or insight and boils down to “I am buying my kid a guitar, what should I get?” or “I want to try playing guitar, what is the best one to buy?”

The responses come in swiftly and are predictably all over the place. Guitarists who frequent guitar-related Facebook groups are a wild bunch. It’s hard to get a good feel when advice is all over the place.

I am certainly no guitar expert. Hell, I’m not even that great of a player. Ha ha. I have, however, played a very large variety of guitars over the years. I happen to own a wide variety of guitars and am a bottom-feeder of sorts… All of which I feel plays well into qualifying me to dole out advice on the matter of a starter guitar.

First Guitar & Gift Guitar Purchase Guide

First, you need to ask yourself some questions. We need more to go one than “Which guitar should I buy?”

  • What’s your budget?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • What guitarists (or musicians, bands, artists) do you enjoy?
  • What would you like to sound like?

If this is a GIFT guitar, this becomes tricky if you want it to remain a surprise. You’ve got to do some homework. If a kid is dreaming he wants and Explorer or a Jaguar and you get him a Stratocaster or an SG, there may be some disappointment or it sitting in the corner for a bit.

What do you see yourself or what does the recipient see themselves playing? What kind of noise is yearning to be made? Get an idea of a shape in mind, maybe even a color… or whatever is there sparking that interest.

Learn the difference between single-coils, humbuckers, and P-90’s. See what the people you want to sound like play.

Don’t rush it.

Look at Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, ShopGoodwill.com, ebay, Music Go Round, Reverb, Craigslist, etc. See what floats your boat or calls out. Something will catch your attention. Something will call you. Something will pull you. It might not be the exact guitar you want, but it gives you a place to start looking, at styles or brands.

Check local Facebook sale groups too. I help moderate one for my area and it is a FANTASTIC place to get great deals on gear, ask, & answer questions, etc. It’s also all invite-only so it’s relatively drama free.

I’m largely ignoring acoustics, but that may be what you want. They are so versatile and a great place to start learning.

Go to a music store and pour over the stuff. (I know things are different right now with a global Covid-19 pandemic, but I hope they will eventually return to a much more normal state of existence. Please follow the guidelines in a store or if meeting someone to purchase via an online ad.) Play it all. See what feels good.

Soon you’ll have a Pinterest board for beautiful, weird, ugly, and random guitars you find on the internet.

All the references I can think of for name-dropping for guitar players are ancient. But if you want to play like Slash and you get a John Mayer guitar, it’s not going to be as exciting, right?

Get your budget set. I personally stick to cheap guitars and I love them. You can get some really nice guitars for $300. One group I frequent calls anything $500 & under cheap. I can dig that. You can also get some great guitars for $100 if you’re looking in all the right places.

Used gear is a great place to start. Stuff depreciates rapidly. Stores pay pennies on the dollar for value so they’re able to make a profit, so the best bang-for-your-buck may be some sort of local online sale. Although, Music Go Round seems to have reasonable used prices in person.

Avoid any listings online that say “great for beginners” or “great for a first guitar” or “great for kids.” Loosely translated this means “this guitar is a steaming pile of poop.” Usually it has terrible action, won’t hold a tune or even intonate properly, or has some other hidden issues.

If anyone lists something online for free and says “Make an offer” they are the worst kind of person, so just keep scrolling.

Don’t pay over $50 for a used First Act unless it was one that came with a Volkswagen. They were $50 new at Walmart. Some brands with great budget axes can include Squier, Lotus, Hondo, Dean, Hamer, Schecter, Ibanez, New York Pro, Galveston, G&L, Peavy, Epiphone, Kramer, and so many more outside of the ones everyone seems to know like Fender and Gibson. Don’t pay too much attention to the headstock logo though.

I would also probably be wary of new “starter packs” that come with a tiny amp. Do your research & read reviews on that kind of stuff.

Stick to your budget & play everything that you can that resembles what you’re looking at online. You might like a heavy guitar or a light guitar. You might like a wide neck or a skinny neck. You might like a thin neck or a heavy one.

If you want a cheap new guitar and are not concerned with the logo on the headstock, I cannot recommend Agile or SX and Xaviere enough. I hear nothing but good things and they’re just great axes. I have heard mixed reviews on Hard Luck Kings.

Whatever you buy, I suggest, and a I cannot stress this enough, get a pro setup. Find local music shop… preferably from work of mouth or asking locals online. Find someone that recommends a tech or luthier that does great work. This person will ask you questions. Give honest answers. I suggest getting a lighter gauge pack of strings at first. Tell them you want 9’s. I would say $75 for a pro setup and a few bucks for a new pack of strings will make even the rattiest of guitars into beautiful machines. Figure it into your budget if you need to.

If you’re close to Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs, I may even recommend the guy that has polished some of my proverbial turds and made them into rock n’ roll machines.

Amps? Well, amps are whole different animal. There are headphone amps, practice amps, and combo amps. It’s all in the budget/preference mix. Maybe that will need to be another blog post?

You (or the gift recipient) will fall in love with the guitar if you get the right one. Soon you’ll have GAS.

Don’t hesitate to ask me any specific advice here in the comments or with the contact form.

Feel free to add to my advice, or contradict it in the comments!

An Interview With the Mad Mastermind Behind the Indy Custom FlyCaster


The Indy Custom FlyCaster

My Indy Custom FlyCaster

If you’re a regular reader, you know I recently posted all my guitars.  You would then also know that I like weird guitars.  You may have even seen me in a guitar-related Facebook group defending this beauty of an axe.  What is not to love?  The thing is fantastic.  It is a sight to behold.  It probably shouldn’t even exist, but it does an I needed to have it.

Mine is serial number 059.  I have even connected with a few other owners out there via a Facebook Fan Page.  I had expected to swap out pickups and drop in some rails… but, man this thing sounds beautiful.  The neck feels great.  It hangs well when standing.  It is just a great damn guitar.

I would say it is probably in my trifecta of ire along with the Dewey Decibel FlipOut and the Galveston B.B. Stone.  I have had people at shows come up just to tell me that they hate them!  Ha ha.  It amazes me that a music genre predicated on the idea of just pissing off the previous generation has so many purists who must adhere to some sort of imaginary rules of guitar design. and tired traditions.  It would be a fascinating sociological study to see exactly how that can be.  It’s OK to enjoy the classics and get a little wild sometimes.

Of course, many people get the joke and love them too.

In with posting All My Axes (did you see parts 1 & 2?), I really got to wanting to dive deep into the story behind each of these if I could.  The creator of the FLyCaster, Jimmie Bruhn was easy to find online, and seems like a great guy.  I would even say he found me in an “ugly guitars” group or two.  Check out my questions for him and his fantastic answers below my embedded Instagram Post of the FlyCaster.  The interview was conducted via the highly professional Facebook Messenger.

 

🤘

AiXeLsyD13: Who is Indiana Custom Guitars?

Jimmie Bruhn: There was no Indiana Custom Guitars. Indy Custom was that particular brand. Its actually a much bigger thing… SHS International was the parent company. It was an international music wholesale company that distributed products to music stores. Its where music stores nationwide (and globally) got a lot of their stuff. We designed, imported and sold products. Here are some of the following brands of SHS International (this is not the full list but the highlights)

Morgan Monroe Bluegrass Instruments
Eddy Finn Ukulele Company
Indiana Guitar Company
Indy Custom Guitars
ModTone Guitar Effects
Bean Blossom Instruments
Tune Tech Tuners
SHS Audio
Devlin Guitars
College Guitar Company
Sundown Amplifiers

I worked as a media producer for the company for close to 30 years and my fingerprints were on most everything from every brand. I wore many many different hats and guitar design was a tiny part of it. Fun but it wasn’t the bulk of what I did. That’s a whole other story. Suffice to say, anything you saw from any of those brands, I had a major role in bringing to life.

In addition I’ve played professionally for a long long time. I’m a writer, singer and I play a lot of different instruments. Guitar is one part of it but probably the biggest part as I am a lifelong collector and nerd. The collection is out of hand but I simply can’t help myself. I still have my first guitar. I never get rid of anything! You can hear and see my work on YouTube. Oh…one other thing…if you ever see Indy Custom Relic guitars, that was me. A one man side business I started where I produced over 400 hand relic’ed guitars. In that time I still played all the time, traveled and played all over.

Ⓐ⑬: Do they have a website?

JB: Not any more.

Ⓐ⑬: Do you have a website you’d like me to link to?

JB: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC36We-7C4ghOW5tlsG0G-tQ (Jimmie Bruhn’s Jam TV!) This is a place for my various artistic ideas. A little of this, a little of that…you never know what you’re going to get.

Ⓐ⑬: How did you come to be a guitar designer? Have you designed any other guitars?

JB: I’ve been collecting guitars for over 40 years. It was natural that my need to build and tinker with stuff would spill over into my professional day gig.
Yes, I designed many guitars and would then send my renderings to the factory for prototypes and then on to a bigger run of them. When I say “designed” I in no way want to make it seem that I am some schooled luthier or anything of the sort. I just came up with designs and through trial and error, we would arrive at something unique but I wasn’t in a workshop running a saw!

Ⓐ⑬: How was the Indy Custom label to be different?

JB: By trying to get the best things we all liked about particular models into an affordable recreation that was a Big Bang for the buck. There were some really cool models that came out. I can’t say exactly how many but there were lots of designs over the life of that line.

Ⓐ⑬: I know you were in part inspired by the Zakk Wylde guitars with an SG top & a V bottom… did anything else go into it?

JB: Yes, comedy. It just made me laugh. Another thing that REALLY inspired it were people around the company who were genuinely disgusted by it. That made me want to get them produced even more. Yes, it was stupid, yes it was hideous but I knew it could get a lot of attention for the rest of the line. The powers that be couldn’t see the value in that but here we are all these years later still talking about it. ZERO advertising dollars spent. I wasn’t wrong!

Ⓐ⑬: Was it a hard sell getting in into production? (Convincing everyone else at the company/factory to go with it?)

JB: Some understood. Some did not. The ones that didn’t inspired me to push that much harder. The point was, good or bad…it was getting a major reaction. The only bad press is no press.

Ⓐ⑬: Where was it manufactured?

JB: These were all manufactured in China once final prototypes were approved.

Ⓐ⑬: Were there any issues with manufacturing? (Seems like a big body to be on a manufacturing line.)

JB: There are always issues in manufacturing especially trying to do it from thousands of miles away. Visiting the factories can keep quality control in check but ultimately once production starts things can go wrong. Not always, but that potential is there. Overall, there were no problems in the Flycaster. Even my Chinese contact remarked that the guys on the factory floor thought it was “a weird guitar” which meant even a cultural and language barrier cannot deny that The Flycaster is globally offensive!

Ⓐ⑬: Why “FlyCaster?” Everyone who sees it calls it a TV or a Tele-V. Ha ha. Was that by design?

JB: Because it needed a name, an identity. Plus it had some weird fishing connection so…

Ⓐ⑬: Why 100? Why not 200 or 50? Were they all sold?

JB: The idea was that we would only do limited runs of guitars for the Indy Custom line which we did on other models besides The Flycaster. I think they may have even commissioned a second small batch to fill an order. The dealers that understood the value liked them and they helped bring attention to the other models. Limiting them to 100 kept it fresh and helped if a particular model completely tanked. That way you aren’t stuck with so many. If it’s a hit? Make more! Yes, they were all sold.

Ⓐ⑬: I love mine. I love that it just seems to enrage purists, and it just “outs” so many people as not having any sense of humor or whimsy. Was any if this in your original intent?

JB: This was absolutely the intent from the beginning. I love music, I love comedy and this thing was both. It was just so incredibly stupid that one has to laugh or at least, I did! The ones that were truly offended because they had such a death grip on tradition well, as previously stated, that just fueled my fire!

Ⓐ⑬: Why are so many guitarists stuck in traditional designs and setups, when rock n’ roll at its core is about rebellion?

JB: Because they are either afraid or don’t have the slightest concept of being original. They are too worried what other people think.

Double FlyCasters!

Image Provided by Jimmie Bruhn, from his digital book.

Ⓐ⑬: I know one burst prototype exists. Do you ever play it?

JB: I play it occasionally but I see it every day as its hanging on the wall of my studio.

Ⓐ⑬: Did you ever have any other color schemes in mind? I would love one with an antigua finish!

JB: I wanted it to get to that point but those in control saw otherwise.

Ⓐ⑬: Do you have a guitar collection? What are your non-FlyCaster favorites?

JB: Yes. I have a pretty big collection. It’s fairly insane. I have everything from top shelf vintage stuff to weird a wacky. Lots of stuff I built in the shop, some wonderful mutts and some serious collector stuff too. As I said, I never get rid of anything. I come from a musical family.

Ⓐ⑬: Have you seen any other weird guitars out there & thought “I wish I came up with that!”?

JB: All the time! That’s the great thing for me about the world of guitars, its constantly evolving. There are some absolutely great things being produced and it seems people aren’t so brand conscious as they used to be.

Ⓐ⑬: Anything else you would like to add?

JB: Just a thank you for taking the time to even ask me this stuff. It was an honor!

Ⓐ⑬: Thank you for your time and information!

JB: Of course!

 

🎸

 

This is a pretty great article/review too:  Premier Guitar | 2011 Indy Fly-Caster in TV Yellow

 

Check out Jimmie Bruhn’s Jam TV YouTube Channel here.  Here’s a video, too:

 

Here’s my creepy basement demo:

Here’s a random one that I found by Googling:

 

Guitars & Virtual Window Shopping 🎸


Is there a word for the internet version of window-shopping?  I certainly have enough guitars.  I really dig my oddball collection.  But, I’m always looking.  I made a wishlist before, so I thought I’d update it.  Of course, this list is subject to change by the minute, and like a rodent with shiny objects I can be easily distracted.

 

-🤘🎸🤘-

 

Traveler Guitar TravelcasterTraveler Guitar Travelcaster – It’s no secret that I dig weird guitars.  This is pretty neat.  I love the idea, even if ESP had it first.  Supposedly, the ESP ones were only made & sold in Japan.  The Traveler  Travelcasters look pretty snazzy, and Traveler makes some other really cool stuff.  I bet it really would be useful in a travel capacity, & provide some fun on stage.  I see these ads constantly.

BOHOBohemian Guitars Oil Can Guitar – Who doesn’t want one?  It’s like a cigar box guitar cranked up to 11.  They look like a ton of fun, and they’re not really all that expensive.  These Boho axes are real attention grabbers.  I also see these ads constantly.  The reviews appear to be fanrastic.

Millennium Falcon GuitarA Millennium Falcon Guitar – There have been various builders to create this to varying degrees of success.  I’d love to get my scruffy nerf-herding paws on one.  I even blogged about it before (check the comments).  You know I have an appreciation of weird guitars and of Star Wars, so this is a natural.  Bonus if it includes lights and sounds!

Peavey T-60Peavey T-60 – These Peaveys seem like a sort of underground or unspoken holy grail, especially if you get the amp in a case.  The T-30 and T-15 look cool to, but I dig humbuckers. so 60 may be the way to go.  Hell, a Peavey Mantis would kick some butt too.

Gibson Reverse Flying VGibson Reverse Flying V – I mean, I already have a Dewey Decibel FlipOut, so why not continue the trend?  This one will probably never happen unless I win the lottery.  I like my guitars cheap, and this one is not cheap.  Epiphone, how about a limited run here?  The hate for it online alone drives my want for it.

Archer Flying Cheese WedgeArcher Flying Cheese Wedge – This thing is absolutely ridiculous.  I love it.  If I ever found a cheap one, I would pounce.  I mean, CHEESE.  Who doesn’t like cheese (besides the lactose intolerant)?  I think it has something to do with Wisconsin sportsball.  I just like cheese.  A lot.

Hello Kitty Squier StratocasterHello Kitty Squier Stratocaster – This is another gem sought after by a bunch of weirdos. The quality is the stuff of legend if you can snag it for the right price.  They were cheap for a bit until someone let out the secret they they’re no joke.

Dean ML Acoustic, Kramer Imperial aXAcoustic ExplorerKramer made one, Dean sort of makes one.  They are so ridiculous.  I may settle for a Flying V one. Ha ha.  Even the little ukes may satisfy this yearning.

Esteban Midnight LegacyEsteban Midnight Legacy Electric Guitar – These were going for $75-ish online for a bit, then they jumped up.  Strat pickup configuration on a Les Paul shape?  All black?  “E” shaped headstock?  Sign me up!

Gianni Doubleneck SG/Telecaster HybridGianni SG/Tele-style doubleneck – As with Bigfoot, some people refuse to believe that these even exist.  The cries of “fake” and “photoshopped” abound with this type of axe online.  It is ridiculous.  Really, I don’t have a double-neck.  I need one, right?  I do have a 12 string… so a 6/12 would be boring.  I would love to get one of these and make one neck a baritone or Bass VI scale.  I mean, this is cool too if we’re getting really weird.

Wylde Audio Warhammer, Dean Split Tail, Gibson ZVOne of those goofy Zakk Wylde guitars – Any of the trifecta of insanity will do.  The Gibson ZV, the Dean Split Tail, and the Wylde Audio Warhammer are all sort of the same shape.  I don’t know the story behind the jumps from manufacturers, and I don’t really care.  They are so metal, it hurts.  I play so poorly for metal, it hurts.  So, it’s a natural fit of pain.  Right?  Right?  This may have trumped my old longing for a Transparent Green Lucite BC Rich.

Xaviere 550SCE_BKXaviere RTS_550SCE_BK Dreadnaught – This is all cosmetic.  I just really dig the look.  Plus, I really dig Guitar Fetish.  I might even sell the 12-string to get this.  Maybe?  Anyone heard anything about the quality?  I really like the look and sort of want to jump before they’re gone.  I mean, if I sell the 12-string… that opens up my double-neck options.  Right?

 

-🤘🎸🤘-

 

What’ on your list?  Gimme something awesome in the comments, bonus points for sub-$300-ish.  What haven’t I heard of yet?  What am I forgetting?  What need to I need to meet or gap do I need to fill?  What is your holy grail guitar?  Post some photo or links too!

 

Messing around with some of my guitars 🎸


Guitars Demoed this time around

Guitars Demoed this time around

The other night I broke out some of my toys for some fun.  Some cats demo their stuff online, so I decided to make a video of my jam…

Here are the guitars used:

Here was my setup:

Ran it into a Planet Waves tuner pedal, out to a Y-splitter cable. One end went into an Ernie Ball wah pedal then into a Fender Blues Jr. The other end went straight into an Orange Micro Terror rockin’ a Laney 2×12 cab.

Here are some photos if you’re into that kind of stuff:

I’d be interested to know what you think, if you own a guitar like one of these, or if you have something even wackier to share.  Please, comment up.

Everything Changes but Guitars? I disagree.


I saw this graphic online through Guitar Fail the other day, & again through Guitar Squid:

Stratocaster Evolution / Everything Changes but Guitars (I wish I knew the original source.)

Stratocaster Evolution / Everything Changes but Guitars (I wish I knew the original source.)

At first, it made me laugh and think “humph, yeah…” in agreement.  The more I thought about it though… it’s wrong. How is it wrong?

Well as far as concept cars go, it’s a whole different world from everyday-use practical cars.  Nothing has gone all that far from 4 wheels, 2 headlights, gasoline powered.  (Yes, there are hybrids and flex-fuel all over the market… but arguably people don’t like them unless they look like “normal” cars.)  But, this blog isn’t about cars.  I’m sure you knew I was going to talk guitars, because that’s what I do.

There are a ridiculous amounts of varying styles of guitars & guitar innovations out there.  Some of them may not be “reinventing the wheel” exactly, but there is always some great stuff happening, and there has been since the inception of the stringed instrument.  How do you think we got so many varieties?

Krank Amplification | Evolution Of The Electric Guitar

Krank Amplification | Evolution Of The Electric Guitar

I agree that too many axe-slingers fall into the Stratocaster or Les Paul shape trap.  For years I held a disdain for both shapes… but I come back to them.  Why?  Perhaps they’re good designs.  Perhaps they’re iconic.  Perhaps they sound incredible.  Perhaps they work.  There are many other options out there.  If you find yourself chuckling to and agreeing with this graphic, I challenge you to help me to add to my list of innovative guitars.

Any fans of the Guitarz Blog, Tone Fiend, Guitar WTF?, or gUitarREN should be into this.  (Any cool guitar blogs I’m missing?)

Let’s talk about how the guitar is ever-evolving… Shape, materials, string count, innovation, & general insanity.

Indy Custom - Flycaster (Tele-V) Telecaster Flying V Hybrid

Indy Custom Flycaster (or Tele-V?)

There are lots of shapes out there past the Stratocaster or Les Paul, whether it’s somewhat normal or custom insanity.  There’s the SG, the Telecaster, V’s (Flying, Jackson & more), hollowbodies like the Artcore or Gretsch models, the Explorer, the Ravelle, all the crazy B.C. Rich shapes, the Airline, even the Flycaster.  Are there really not enough guitar design shapes out there to satisfy you?  The Stratocaster doesn’t need to change shape, because there are plenty of other options out there!  I’m barely hitting the tip of the iceberg here.  I didn’t even touch on my B.B. Stone, FlipOut, or Batman axes.  How many distinct guitar shapes can you name in the comments?  (Actual produced shapes, not one-offs!)  Bonus for posting or linking to photos.

There’s also material.  Certainly guitars are mostly made of all types of wood, but there’s also plastic, graphite, Res-O-Glass (fiberglass), the Lucite / plexiglass / acrylic transparent guitars, aluminum necks, and so much more.

Once we get past the plethora of guitar makes, models, & shapes available… there are so many other innovations.  Some are great, some not-so great.  Just off the top of my head I can think of:  Synthesizer & MIDI Guitars, Fretlights, 7/8/12 strings, double neck guitars, the chord buddy, the Coral Sitar, built-in-wireless, the robot guitar, 3D printed guitars, Evertune… but none of them have really busted the mold (yet).  They’re all niche stuff.  This doesn’t even get into the many styles of bridges, tuners, tremolos, locks, and other parts that have been refined… or wiring.  You can get CRAZY with wiring.

World's Largest Playable Guitar being set up at the Carnegie Science Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

World’s Largest Playable Guitar being set up at the Carnegie Science Center – Pittsburgh, PA (Photo Credit: Kara / @ohidontthinkso)

The traveling guitar exhibit is at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh right now.  I can’t wait to check it out.  It’s got the world’s largest playable guitar.  I was lucky enough to get a preview the other day via Twitter.  Tell me that’s not an innovation?  It will no doubt inspire many to pick up the guitar, or dust off the one they already have.  The entire exhibit displays guitars, how they work, their history, & all kinds of fun interaction.

So, next time you think that the guitar has become stagnant, I ask you to go get your hands one one of the many non Strat options above… or even a non-standard Strat option… like a Fat Strat, hot-rodded wiring, or a backwards one.  There are plenty of different, innovative, and goofy guitars out there.  Rock out on something original!

☘ Flogging Molly, fights, fiddles, friends, family, folk, & fools… ☘


Had a great time last night at Stage AE for the Flogging Molly show!  It was a nice evening out, much closer to home than the last Flogging Molly show that we had to drive to Cleveland for, and we didn’t wait too long to buy tickets this time.  (Last time, we waited too long & it sold out!)  After arriving home from work, Bethany & I headed to Dormont Dogs for a nice quick meal.  (I had the Connecticut Ave. dog minus the onions, it was fantastic!)  We then battled and easily defeated the tunnel monster on the way to the north shore.

We got there early, because I’m generally OCD about getting to shows early.  We lined up outside behind the mob of green & black T-shirts peppered with the occasional tartan patterned kilt or someone who didn’t get the memo about wearing green to a Celtic punk rock show.  There were more people than I had expected.  It was windy, but not unbearable.  We were entertained by the 3 or 4 scalpers passing by asking for extra tickets.  One guy had his leg in some sort of brace or cast, and one guy was on a bike.  They mustn’t have scored any, because I didn’t see anyone selling them.

This was sadly the first time I’ve seen a show with the big room opened up.  I need to get to more shows down there.  (The 1st time I was there was to see Dethlehem and they were on the smaller bar stage.)  It’s a fantastic venue.  You have a nice view all around.  The only thing I’d change is having the floor slightly sloped… but then again I’m just short.  After getting a superficial pat-down at the door, we stopped & said hi to Jeff who was working & not setting any fires.  Then we made our way to the bar where I got a Killian’s Irish Red because I can’t really take too much Guinness.  The wife opted for water.  At a Flogging Molly show?  Water?  She must be the more responsible half.

We joined the pack of Yinzers crowding the merch table as we tried to get a look and get up front.  It was easy to see that the dude wasn’t taking orders from any other dudes… so my wife ordered our shirts and a patch once we squeezed our way to the front.  As I was getting a dollar out of my wallet to pop into the tip bucket, it fell into my beer.  So, dude got a soggy dollar & a dry dollar.  Sorry.  Not that sorry though.  You can still spend it.  I picked up a Devil Makes Three CD too.  I saw them online & liked what I heard.  I asked the merch guy which one he suggested.  He showed me the 1st album & the live one.  He seemed to indicate that the live one was a nice cross-section, so I went with that.

To the floor!  It was still relatively easy to make our way to the center & almost front of the floor.  Things were starting to pack in as we got there, it was pretty good timing & placement. We thought.  Bethany thought she smelled a skunk, and we were too far away from the obligatory dreadlock kid for it to be Patchouli & BO, so it was most likely the extremely pungent weed that we were smelling burning much later. (I bet area Taco Bell locations had a surge of customers after the show.) Our friend Laurel made a last-minute decision to come to the show, so she joined us right as the lights went down…

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Brothers of Brazil were up first.  Imagine a young Fred Schneider (or Michale Ian Black) on guitar and Billy Idol (or maybe even Johnny Rotten) on drums.  These dudes were quite interesting.  The guitar-work was amazing, & the drummer was quite the showman & very entertaining.  They had this weird samba punk rock vibe… it was odd.  I’d see them again.  I dunno if I’d buy an album.  It was fantastic that they opened & closed with a theme song.  I believe these dudes will do well for themselves.  I don’t think Bethany & Laurel were as amused as I was.

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Up next was The Devil Makes Three.  The crowd stated getting a little more packed in, and a drunken kid beside me ruined the first 2 songs by slurredly “singing” loudly & off-key directly into my ear, until he decided that the crowd wasn’t as into it as he was, and muttered something about us being lame & pushing forward.  These dudes rocked quietly, but they play really well.  They have great melodies & harmonies… even though they were minus their regular bass player.  I have no idea what to call it. Is it folk? Alt country? Blues? Punk? It’s close-to-but-not bluegrass or rockabilly.  All I know is that I like it.  I’m gonna say if you like punk rock, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or old folk or blues stuff… you ought to check these cats out.  They win the award for coolest guitars too.  Cooper McBean played a mean-looking old archtop with what I think was a P-90 mounted in it.  it looked like it had been left out in a sandstorm after someone dumped some paint-thinner on it.  I wanted it.  He mainly rocked the banjo & a tenor banjo.  The lyrics are great.  Check out this comic set to the lyrics of the song “The Bullet”.  I will see this band next time they’re in town!  Bethany really dug them too, being a country fan and all.  I think Laurel was trying to figure them out.

Well, we enjoyed the part of the set that wasn’t ruined by belligerent drunken meat-heads.  Starting at about the same time as The Devil Makes Three, the crowd directly behind us was swaying & getting rowdy.  Oh well, it’s a concert. We’re in the middle of the floor. That’s what happens. Until these testoster-tools behind us start arguing about something.  I heard something about touching or talking to a sister. I’m not sure. Maybe they were bumping into each other, maybe someone was trying to bump uglies. I was trying to pay attention to the blisteringly talented  band on stage. There was arguing, shoving, and a guy getting in the middle. Somebody’s “bro” got in the middle and then calmed things down.  Security was eying them and pointing flashlights from the ramps on the side, but apparently not responding.  Then everything was “cool” and it remained calm, for a song or two anyway.  All of a sudden I hear “oh my god!” and my wife is on the floor on her ass.  I pulled her up and swung around and yelled something to the effect of “Who the [expletive] knocked my wife on to the [expletive] floor?”  Two dudes larger than me in height and girth (one in a kilt as well as a drunken stupor) looked at me with an expression that can only be descried as “oh shit”.  I turned around to ask Bethany if she was OK.  She nodded.  I swung back around to the now large gap in the crowd surrounding the two sweaty ass-clowns and demanded that they apologize to Bethany. They did, looking like a dog that just took a dump on the living room floor, as security arrived to further scold them and ask me if Bethany was OK. Next time how about responding before a bystander gets knocked over?  I guess she saw one dingleberry trying to choke the other dingleberry as she got knocked down.  I would expect this kind of crap at a metal show, but for folk punk?  Way to uphold drunken Irish fighting stereotypes, McPotatoheads.  I don’t know if I would have punched those guys, or what… but apparently my tone of voice or the look on my face told them not to mess with me.  I thought security was going to drag me into it too as he was asking if Bethany was OK.  Later Laurel laughed as she said she thought I was going to swing & she’d end up jumping on the fat guy & throwing punches too.  Maybe we’re all a little too violent?

Finally, it was time for Flogging Molly!  Despite all of the drunken violence, the smell of burning leaves in the non-smoking venue, the guy in front of me repeatedly backing himself into my junk, getting sweat on me from the shirtless guy, and paying $12 for parking, we were having one hell of a great time!

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

If you’ve never seen Flogging Molly in action, I’m not sure how to describe it.  Seven people come on to the stage and sound like 70.  The crowd really started moving so I pushed Bethany & myself forward & off to the side as we lost Laurel with the first wave.  She found us not too long after that.  Dave King & company ripped through a bunch of hits & some stuff that they don’t regularly do live.  I remember it being a long set & how I liked every selection.  I could have watched them go for many more songs, even after the encore.  I can’t pick a favorite track, I like so many of them.  I really enjoyed “What’s Left of the Flag”, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, “Float”, & “The Son Never Shines (on Closed Doors)”, & of course “7 Deadly Sins”.  The inter-song banter keeps things light with songs that can have such heavy lyrical matter all the while to a happy beat.  You get the feeling that they’re all playing right from the heart.  You have this killer group of musicians that can probably between them master any instrument you might have lying around.  Dennis Casey has his hands full trying to compete with & leave room for all of the other instruments.  I was glad he got a spot for a guitar solo of sorts, in with the Guinness chug.  Every time I see a Celtic punk band, I get the urge to buy a Telecaster.  At any rate, Flogging Molly did not disappoint.  We’ll see them next time they’re in the ‘Burgh, Cleveland, or anywhere else nearby.  I know Bethany loved it, I think Laurel did too.  After the show, we ran into my cousin Patience.  Taste in awesome Irish music must run in the family.

☘☘☘☘☘☘

Guitar stereotypes are always fun:


So, where do my favorite toys fall on this amusing scale from Gearpipe?

GearPipe.com | Trustworthiness of Guitars Scale

GearPipe.com | Trustworthiness of Guitars Scale

I do have to say…  I don’t get why the Prince guitar is for repugnant individuals.  I guess if you’re not Prince, it is a goofy axe to sling.  I am glad that the boring Washburn/Jackson/Ibanez shape is all the way on the left though.  I just can’t get behind them.  I’m not sure why the oh-so-common Les Paul and Stratocaster shapes convey any level of trustworthiness of the player.  Perhaps I’m over-thinking.  This is quite amusing nonetheless.

Seriously though, I can’t find any of these…

Dewey Decibel FlipOut

Dewey Decibel FlipOut

Galveston - B.B. Stone

Galveston - B.B. Stone

Six Flags Batman Guitar

Six Flags Batman Guitar

If you’re quick and lucky, you can win a copy of this poster from Guitar Noize.

The path is clear


GuitarSquid is awesome.  Sometimes, I wonder if I have too many guitars (or if there is such a thing).  Happily, all my answers quickly led to “Buy more guitars.”

GuitarSquid.com | Flow Chart: Do You Have Too Many Guitars?

GuitarSquid.com | Flow Chart: Do You Have Too Many Guitars?

It’s apparently as simple as this, my friends:

Got a wife? → Yes → How many pairs of shoes does she own? → 10+ → Buy more guitars.

I really do need an amp before another guitar though…

You can never have too many guitars

Impossible.