I’d like to follow up on a thread that refers to my cable test I posted Jan. 14th.

First of all thank you for considering my thoughts and opinions. As long as I’ve played guitar, as long as I’ve stuck my nosy nose into gear trying to improve and to compose it, sooner or later I’ve been confronted with rules. For one part rules that came from technicians and were therefore welcome. And for the other part rules that came from theory-jockeys too afraid to actually start testing in real-life. No matter where those rules came from though they all sounded pretty much the same:
“it can’t be because it can’t be” or better yet “it can’t be because its proven that it can’t be”.

The bottom line of my observations is that everything in the process of making music is prone to a breaking-, burning-, scratching- beating-in process. Guitars get better, picks get better, mics get better, fresh out of the box tubes get better, headphones get better, amps get better, speaker cabs get better, cables get better the more they are played and – this goes for all hardware – AS LONG AS THEY ARE TREATED RIGHT. And I just happen to observe these things. I observe and wonder why this is – rather than claiming that I have proof and come up with a rule.

Yes, I mark all my cables to not confuse the direction they are being played in. Yes, I would not leave the house without my trusted 18 foot beater with the two silent plugs that everybody and his grandmother shakes his head at in sorry disbelief. But guess what – mixing one regular and one silent plug seemed to cause phasing and it seemed to be messing with the overall playability. Which in the end may be the key to this whole discussion: PLAYABILITY. Sound is only one half of the game, playability is the other half.

How does a piece of gear behave to my playing, how does it respond? How do the transformers breathe to an impulse, how quick are the speakers, how much compression comes from the cable?

I am practical about it. How does a piece of gear line up in the signal chain? How would one single element changed throw off the balance? How can I avoid phase-problems?
What wine goes with the fish? Frankly, I don’t care about the rules – if it tastes good, hellyeah, fill it up.

Since cables transport analog signals that are specifically exposed to taste I’d recommend giving it some extra attention. After all it is a very fragile suspension bridge between thousands of dollars worth of guitar hardware and thousands of dollars worth of fx, amp and speaker hardware. And a hell of a lot of data trampling across it every single day.

Again – thank you for considering my thoughts and onions.  ;O)

Heck – looking at it – just a mere ‘p’ and a mere ‘i’ and a little bit of attention may have saved my credibility from going down the drains.

Thats how small a difference can really make a big difference.








John, should you ever read this – which you will all too likely never do – John, I adore your playing, I admire your writing, I treasure your blogging!
But pohleeze get the f*** out of the kitchen.

Your biggest fan.

did a couple of hearing sessions yesterday and the day before. Old school cable comparo – my favourite lets shut up and use our ears scenario. The objective was to find out whether all of us, players and nonplayers alike, could tell the difference between various guitar cables just by listening. Amp for lack of alternative was a little Hot Rod Deluxe, guitars were a PRS and a Strat.

Despite the relaxed and friendly atmosphere I felt a little precarious. What if this thing fails? What if they can’t tell a difference? How would I explain my choose your cable wisely mantra?
Though we had a couple of players attending most of the guys (and one girl) were marketing, distribution, sales and production – rationalists as in naaa, no way cables sound any different! But lo and behold – ALL could hear a difference – and a big one for that matter!
Not that one particular cable was the winner in all disciplines. But we were able to clearly distinguish a budget cable from an expensive one and unanimously preferred the sonic qualities of the more advanced models.

Spirits soaring I wanted to see if I could extend this homerun into my “cable-burn-in” theory. Like how the sound of a cable gets better the longer it is played and the more it is played in the same direction. All technical explanations aside I asked: how is the real-life sound affected by continuous use?

Guess what? We DID hear the difference between a good fresh out of the box cable and the same brand, make and model old, battered and broken in. Or burned-in for that matter?
Feedback regarding the old beater was in the neighborhood of “sounds more open, more high-end detail, richer, more stable in the bass”.

You bet I’m still grinnin’

End of december – just finished writing a stack of letters. My yearly ritual – that I fear so much beginning with. Once I’m halfway in it though it becomes revealing, inspiring, it becomes – yes – rewarding. I realize who is around me, who has an impact on my life, whom I owe.
I understand who means something to me and also who well – meant something. This list is alive – people get on it, people get off it. I treasure a moment of thought for everyone that I write to. It is a personal thing. A special moment. I don’t even have music playing in the background.

And only in case of an emergency would I write a christmas-email, a.k.a. x-mas emails. You know – an email is not a bad thing per se. Its just that an email is a communication shortcut. Incredibly handy and I wouldn’t want to live without it. But even in case of an emergency would I refrain from writing unpersonalized generic x-mas bulkmails – hoovering on the edge of spam with all those regressive designs, wiggling Santa Clauses, shit-faced cross-eyed reindeers and animated snow going down over moronic rhymes sans reasons. Poems that any pre-schooler in its right mind would be embarrassed to recite. But hey – its an x-mas email – anything goes.

But read my keys: Not on my Mac.

Do I mean something to you?
Well, write me a f***** card!

Do I not?
Peace to you too!

Merry Christmas!


daim, just wonderin’ what would happen if you saw that pic and your german was down…

okay, all you “what the f*** is wrong with him now” vistors from outer space: this last photo was not – I repeat not – meant to be serious! well, as far as I recall, that is… anyway, it was the 90s, okay? we were searching for a meaning. it was tough, right? just look at me…

Sat with this friend of mine, Eric. He’s a guitar player, just like me. And he’s a business consultant, just like me. He works out of Florida. Just like me? Well, kind of not. Proof is right outside – its snowing and I don’t like it. Gets me thinking about what Napoleon said: “Germany is a country with six months of winter and six months of no summer.” Big ego – but what a bright mind.

Speaking of egos – we were trying to figure out differences between Germany and the US, particularily for the MI/music business.

We did come up with this:
Americans are capitalists –  so are the Germans.
Germans have an ego – so do Americans.

The difference is:
Americans put business first and ego second.
Germans don’t. They got it all twisted.

‘Round here, they would rather kill their business than have their egos chipped. Only to find out that a dead business chips an ego big time.

In times of global warming and economic cooling we’ll see lots of it. 

Think about it.


What’s up artists, colleagues, fellow players? Seems to me that when the tabloids get ahold of our heroes we shy away all too gladly. Oh well, I don’t know – isn’t he like  squeezin’ Jessica, datin’ Jennifer….?
Is it that we welcome all reasons NOT to admire, not to be inspired, not to be blown away? Is it too painful to be? God forbid – jealousy? What makes it so hard for us to just bow to a John Mayer – the  Player
? If you are genuinely serious about guitar, the playing, the sound, the power, the chill –  how could you POSSIBLY NOT go get the “Where  The Light Is – John Mayer live in Los Angeles” DVD? Damn right he’s young. Damn right he’s a  looker and a big mouth. Right so! And I don’t care whom he f***s, what  investment-grade watches he waves into the camera, what cars he drives and what Perez Hilton has to say about him. Okay, I’m weak – I do care, a tiny bit, he’s too funny. But I care a hell of a lot more about his licks and melodies, his guitars, his amps, his tunings, his lyrics. I care about the simple fact that he goes out and plays, that he writes, sings, performs. Guys, come on – quit reading about what he does. Give yourself a break. Listen to what he does. Lets be inspired!

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