A New Girl in Town

My big mouth got me into this. This isn’t the first time that has happened. Anyway, about a month ago I told the Aging Rocker that the Gibson SG he lent me was going to need new strings at some point and I’d be happy to get them replaced. I should have seen his response coming because his responses aren’t of a player but of a collector. The guitar has factory strings, which is neither a plus nor minus for its value. Nonetheless, he doesn’t want to change a single thing. Hell, there’s still plastic protecting the pickguard (which sooner or later will discolor the pickguard). So he decided I should switch with a different guitar that had been restrung.

That’s the guitar you see to the right. It’s a early 90s Gibson ES 135, a semi-hollow body electric. The action is low and it’s relatively easy to play. Not as fast as the SG but then again, no one is mistaking me for Alex Lifeson. It has a really lovely clean tone, which a particular richness on the bottom end strings. My wife was really impressed with it. And I have to admit, it’s easy to haul it into another room and play it unplugged. But it is a real pain to get the ES to leave the church or jazz club and get to the roadhouse where the walls are sweating.

I tried my Boss DS-1 pedal and all it did was make it sound like the Church Lady with a little more vibrato. I tried playing with the volume on the guitar itself to make it overdrive the signal but it was only a slight improvement. I was getting discouraged. I took to the Interwebs and I found a video where a couple guitarists played around with an ES 135 and they managed to get a crisp crunch out of it using a pedal called the Electro-Harmonix Soul Food.

I did some research, watched more videos, and talked to a sales rep at Sweetwater. He said that unlike other overdrive pedals, the Soul Food would add some grit to counter the sweetness. If wouldn’t roar and howl like a solid body like the SG but it would at least sound like a rocker. So I ordered one and it came this week.

At first, it seemed too tame. I played with the controls, the amp settings, and the volume on the guitar. And yes, it began to hiss and spit. It’s an alley cat now. No one is going to mistake it for a mountain lion but at least it has some piss and vinegar in its profile. I can live with that.

My tendinitis was flaring up all summer so my playing didn’t advance at all. But it seems to have damped down as the weather got colder. I am still doing the same amount of exercise/therapy as I did this summer and maybe even a little less. So I think the weather change has something to do with it.

We’re in late fall now and the hammer is about to drop. The weekend will start with freezing rain followed by 2-6″ of wet slop. I just got our snowblower back from the shop so I’m ready for that catastrophe and every other one that will follow. And while the snow is falling I’ll be strumming the ES 135, with just a bit of nasty.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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