Taming the Beast

*Some of the below may not have actually happened*

Over the last few weekends I’ve been receiving direct messages on twitter which, surprisingly, haven’t been directing me to a link to see what ‘someone has said about me’. Instead these DMs have been asking ‘what am doing’ and do I want to ‘come around for a few hours?’. Fortunately, these DMs have been come from my twitter and real-life buddy @Baron_Orm (or The Baron as he insists everyone, including his own family, call him).

Now why did The Baron want a private liaison with the hero of this blog whilst his wife was pre-occupied? Now I know what you’re thinking but it wasn’t for a kiss or cuddle (and who could blame him if he felt that way as I’m a handsome chap), instead he wanted me to make the Baron’s beans fuzz! Now the bean fuzz isn’t an initiation process into the Cult of the Baron or a special baked beans recipe handed down from one Baron to the next since 1998. No, it’s something much more special than that. The Baron’s Bean Fuzz is a unique, hand built, boutique, one off, professionally finished, glorious sounding fuzz pedal – finished in a bake bean orange colour scheme, hence the name*. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with The Baron’s fuzz pedal, it looks amazing and the sound quality is excellent, all in all it’s an first-rate product – if The Baron has the time to invest in building these peddles then my crystal ball(s) tells me that he’ll be successful!

*Rumour has it that The Baron wanted to house the pedal in a baked bean tin but after crushing 7 tins with his stiletto clad feet he decided he needed more sturdy housing.

 heinzAs a proviso of being summoned to The Baron’s dungeon (his Y-front only dress code music room) he insisted that I bring my guitar. Now my guitar far surpasses my playing ability and I’m convinced that it was carved from Brian May’s hip bone; so I now live in hope that some of his ability will pass along to me, akin to the quickening in Highlander. As far as I can tell The Baron believes the same which meant he wanted to couple his fuzz pedal with my axe of epicness.  I still can’t understand why The Baron insisted on playing my axe naked but he did put on a good show – the lighting and pyrotechnics were especially spectacular but he did overdo it with the smoke machine.

The Baron in his Y - Fronts

The Baron in his Y – Fronts

It was during one of The Baron’s more exuberant hip thrusts that I started to think about how much more enjoyable learning and playing an instrument is with someone else – even if they are naked and thrusting. The Baron is a far superior guitarist than I am but every time we’ve managed to get together, to talk guitar, I’ve always come away having learnt something. Twitter, YouTube and the forums are great learning aids but nothing beats sitting down with a friend and helping each other through something. It’s a little disheartening that we both have busy lives and young families so we can’t dedicate a regular amount of time to the guitar – we also need to practice somewhere that won’t disturb our families. I don’t tend to regret decisions made in the past but I really do wish that I started playing when I was a child / teenager. So if you are a child / teenager stop depositing the contents of your testicles into sports socks, and start to learn an instrument and then build your own guitar peddles like The Baron. Who knows one day you could be as cool as us!

One cool cat

One cool cat

Apples in Tights

A few weeks ago I turned 30. Luckily, I’ve still retained my manly good looks and according to some older friends I’m still years away from getting old man balls*. Life is good, so turning 30 wasn’t a “Falling Down” moment.

*for those of you not in the know, old man balls, as far as I’ve worked out, is when all the elasticity in your skin has gone. This means your balls end up swinging down by your knees like apples in a pair of tights. This sight has ruined many a swimming experience.image

To show her undying love for me my wifey wanted to get me a gift – it’s a birthday tradition. After much deliberation I decided to convince her that a new acoustic guitar would make me a far better player. I don’t think she was convinced with the “better playing” argument but she was convinced with the “it’s my birthday and I would like a new guitar” argument.

Now I’m a bit of PRS fan boy, I love their electric guitars, the style, feel and sound of them is fantastic and that’s just their Korean made SE range. Now luckily for me I have an official PRS retailer just up the road from me, and I’d also been keeping my beady eye on their Angelus acoustics, so armed with an excuse to visit and play some guitars I took the wife and her purse to the shop.

After trying a number of different acoustics it was the PRS Angelus SE Custom that I fell in love with. It looks amazing, the headstock coupled with the cutaway electro-acoustic shape gives the guitar a nice rock look.

image

Now for the sound: I want you to imagine you’re stood outside my bathroom door and I’m inside taking a shower (please stay calm). From the bathroom you hear my bright but balanced voice singing the classic Stan Bush song “The Touch”, it’s a beautiful moment for all concerned. Bright and balanced, like my voice, is exactly how the Angelus SE Custom sounds. I tried the normal Angelus SE and a few other acoustics and to my ear they just didn’t sound as bright.

The Touch and feel of this guitar was another factor that really won my heart, in short it feels like I’m playing my electric. The action is low and the neck is nice and thin, it’s an absolute dream to play. It looks fantastic, it sounds beautiful and feels amazing, in short it’s the perfect 30th birthday present – so thank you wifey.

The best part of getting a guitar for a present is that when my balls are swinging down by my knees and my beautiful face has withered I will know that the soundtrack to my life will have been composed on this guitar.