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Holiday on Jang ja-do (장자도)

and Seon yu-do 선유도.
jangjado
The young lady and I had a chance to get away for a couple of days so headed for the west coast of the peninsula. Incheon was as far as I’d got to that side. From the US air-force base town of Gunsan, it was an hour and a half passenger-ferry ride to Jang ja.

It was sunny weather on the way there but a bit rocky on the boat. It seems the boat pilots in this country are of a similar ilk to the taxi (and little green bus) drivers, for there was quarter given. One young lad sicked up a bit, Je got dizzy and even I with my iron bowels felt a tad queasy.

Got there we did though, checked into the really nice little min bak  (cross between motel/cabin kind of thing) and then walked around a bit.

It’s really unscrewed up there – very little trash, trashyness, neon, cars or CLR!DE shops. In fact I would go so far as to say it was the nicest place I’ve been to in Korea. Bikes can be rented for 3000 won an hour. Some of the min baks have electric golf carts, and there are a few cars but not many. There’s not a lot to do there as far as organised activities go, but that’s fine by me. It’s probably this, along with the ferry ride that have kept the island from becoming trashed-out and overloaded with obnoxious Seoulites.

I guess it’s all pretty shallow there because there was a big difference between high and low tide. Low tide presented a lot of mud on the beaches. (But no Sneetches on those beaches.) The shallowness makes for relaxed swimming though, compared to the East sea, where it’s more like jumping straight into the Arctic ocean.

It’s a good idea to bring a whole load of food with you. Min baks have a small gas cooker and the place we stayed at had a communal BBQ thing outside aswell. Bring meat and whatever else. We didn’t bring much so ended up going to the restaurants there a fair bit. Some of them are quite nice, and you can get quite a bit of food for the money—but the prices are fairly expensive. After a couple of days you’re going to be craving something other than seafood.

The morning we left it was raining and the ocean was a bit choppy. When the boat pulled in and even the boarding was heiry I thought we’d be in fr a breakfast-refunding kind of jaunt but I guess they’d added water-ballast to the boat because it was smoother than the journey there.

jangja2

, , , , — YS @ 12:25 pm, August 28, 2008

Anybody else out there own a Danelectro Dano Pro?

img_2876

I got this a couple of months ago and I really like it.
The neck pickup has a fantastic sound – really smoking. A lot of the info I’ve read about the 07 reissue of the Pro says the pickups are wound hotter than the models produced a few years ago.
I’ve been banging on guitars off and on for a long time but have just recently taken an active interest in the technical side. I’m new to most of it, but I know my ears. When I switch from the Fender Jaguar to the Dano Pro, with the same settings on the amp, it’s easy to hear that the pickups have more oomph in them. Although it could be the semi-hollowness of the Pro also.

Also, I like the shorter neck. My arms are not short, but playing just feels more comfortable.
Maybe it’s got something to do with the way the neck is bolted on, but it has heaps of sustain. It’s probably got something to do with the way the neck is attached—there’s a lot of screws. In fact, when I have it strapped on and body is sitting against my kidneys in a particular way, I can feel the sound resonate which is pretty cool.

It handles distorted tones better than I thought it would. I thought it would mostly be in the realm of clean and slightly overdriven sounds but it goes well even with the Big Muff.

One of the things that’s not so great is that the tone & vol knobs don’t taper much at all.
This is one project I was thinking of. I haven’t tried my hand at soldering yet, but was thinking about getting a couple of tone/vol of from somewhere like www.singlecoil.com and replacing the stock ones. That wouldn’t be too hard would it? Would it? (I don’t want to fuck up my guitar!)

I was initially thinking that the bridge pickup wasn’t so great. The sound is definitely a lot thinner than the neck, but I’m starting to think that it’s just different. If I attempted to change it, it would probably end up sounding very similar to the neck—and there’s no point in making them sound the same.

But another thing I was thinking of doing was rewiring the middle position of the selector toggle. Right now it has both pickups on. What I’m wondering is if it can be rewired to that the two pickups run together, acting like one spread out humbucker. I read somewhere that kind of thing is possible but I’m wondering how difficult is it—do you have to mess with the insides of the pickups or is it just the wiring in between?

Anyway, I know this kind of guitar isn’t for everyone but I really dig it. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere around on the internet for appreciators of Dano Pros to gather. If I could easily add a discussion board to this website I’d do it. Let’s see if this blog post garners any interest.

[update]

In relation to Pat’s comment, here is a roughly drawn but measurement-correct diagram of where the neck is screwed on at the back.

danomeasurements

, , — YS @ 10:00 am, August 19, 2008

Review: VOX AD50VT 2×12 guitar amplifier

I bought this off dolphinmusic.co.uk about two months ago. It’s taken me a while to really get the feel for the amp and do the review justice.

In a nutshell, I really like this amp. It’s got a great sound, in my opinion, particularly on the lower-gain amp models.

The thing that first struck me as odd about it that there is all these amp models, but no ad50vt ‘native’ sound. It is an amp that has no self-identity. Philosophy aside, the clean amp model sounds great, as do the two VOX; ac15 and especially ac30TB.
Surely part of the reason why you’re choosing to buy a VOX in the first place is you like the VOX sound.
For the most part, the amp models tend to get progressively more gainy as you go clockwise round the models-dial. They are okay too, especially if you don’t have any good effects pedals.
However if you do own your own overdrive, distortion etc. then you’ll probably have more fun mix-n-matching those sounds with the amp models on the first half of the dial.

The built in effects are quite decent, as you’d expect with Roland having a hand in the design. The compressor and the reverb are the stand-outs for me. The paired-up effects are okay, and it is possible to minimise the sound of one while the other stays active.
Again, they won’t match up to high-quality analog effects, but if all you have is your guitar and this amp, then the effects can add a little colour.

The controls take a bit of work to learn. If that sounds like a hassle then there’s always the manual setting where everything (bar the amp model, you still have to choose one) is up to your dialing in.

A feature you’ve no doubt read about is the voltage control on the back. This is really good. I play the amp in my apartment and it can still get that smokin’ pumped-up tube sound. I call it the warp-contol.
I got a chance to turn the warp-control up high while playing in an audiotorium the other day. When the master vol., gain etc are maxed, the amp tone is the same as when the warp-control is on 2 to when it’s at 8, just LOUDER!

This thing looks great. A friend commented that it looks like it’d keep you warm in winter. It’s pretty heavy. I cart it around on a hand-trolley because I don’t have a car. And it’s sturdy – there’s a lot of bumps on those footpaths. Not to mention the fact that mine was shipped halfway around the world before it got to me, and it still worked fine. I was under the impression that amps with tube in them were really finnicky and delicate, but that’s not the case with the ad50vt.

Drawbacks: VOX, if you’re reading this, how about making the VOX nameplate on the front out of metal? The plastic one on there at present looks cheap.
Also how about printing seperate manuals for the different amps in this series? At present the 5watt gets the same manual as the 100watt, which is crazy because there’s a lot of variation in the design and features as you go up through the price range. It makes the learning phase confusing; there’s already a fair few things to have to learn about this amp.

There’s no effects loop input/output on this amp, as some people have noted.

This amp fits well into that area where you need something better than a small solid-state practice amp, and the lofty heights of an expensive ‘gigging for a living’ fully-tubed amp.
You could definitely gig with the ad50vt (I do) but there might be some situations where it wasn’t loud enough.

If I could do it all over I would probably still get this amp, but I’d get it from somewhere else because I think it can be had for less money than what Dolphin are currently charging.

There’s heaps of pictures of this amp around on the net, so instead here’s a picture of Jaws about to crush some kid’s head.  Peace!@

jawsph1

, , , — YS @ 8:31 pm, August 13, 2008

got a new phone!

cyonphone

I got a new phone a few weeks back. This foto was intending to show both the phone and the colour of the trees outside on that bright summer’s day, two days ago. Regrettably neither have really come out. My girlfriend helped me get the phone, but it still took 3hrs with all the processing. And it’s still not in my name because the contract was for 12 months but my visa at present is not valid for 12 months. Also, their computer system wasn’t equipped to handle an anglo-saxon name – too many letters – so the bills couldn’t be drawn directly from the credit account; instead they will send a bill in the post each month which I have to take somewhere to be paid.

I’ve been getting a lot of wrong numbers. I get calls from people who I don’t know and can’t understand. They say Hello? Hello? and I just listen silently. They hang up. At first it bothered me because it would break my concentration with whatever I was doing (Hammy) but I’m starting to enjoy it. I may start heavy-breathing.

I wish the buttons on the phone were a bit bigger.

, , , — YS @ 1:52 pm, August 5, 2008

mem

When Aug 1 rolled around  said to my self, self, I have to make more of an effort to post regularly on the website this month. Then two more days slipped away and here we are. It’s summer, I have no air-con, I am in the middle of a three-week jaunt teaching middle-school sprogs and I have just started the gears turning on another 100+ days of minor hell via two literature (lich-ri-cha) units thru USQ.

I read hamlet and the cliffnotes of hamlet. Cliffnotes sez shakespeare would be horrified that u had to read the cliffnotes to unnerstand it. To that I sais, U should have writ it easier to unnderstand, shakey! Interesting to see how many chestnuts of literature are in there, but also it’s difficult to know how many cliches, like ‘a lender nor a borrower be’ were already cliches before the play. In that respect 400 years ago isn’t actually that long ago.

I watched (most) of the 1948 version of Hammy. The guy who played Hammy reminds me of Rutger Hauer in Bladerunner.

, , — YS @ 11:47 pm, August 3, 2008

Sunny Breaks: home-home of word-compounding.


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