Eddie Van Halen recently did an interview with Esquire Magazine that has a variety of cool anecdotes. The coolest to me is his explanation on how he used a light dimmer on his amp. The whole interview and explanation is much longer but here’s an excerpt:
I had my 100-volt Marshall. I bought one through the recycling or the newspaper that was from England, and it was set on 220 volts. I didn’t know. So I plugged the thing in, but I’m going, “Fucking thing doesn’t work. I got ripped off.” I just let it sit there. After about an hour, there’s sound coming out, but it’s really quiet, cause it’s running on half voltage. So I go, “Hey, wait a minute. It sounds exactly like it’s supposed to all the way up, but it’s really quiet.” So we had a light dimmer in the house, and I hooked up the two leaves from the amp to the light, so I did it backwards, blew out the fuse box. Then I went down to DOW Radio and asked, “Do you guys have any kind of super duper light dimmer?” They go, “Yeah, it’s all Variac, variable transformer, you know.” And on the dial you could crank it up to 140 volts or down to zero. So I figured, if it’s on 220 and it’s that quiet, if I take the voltage and lower it, I wonder how low I can go and it still work. Well, it enabled me to turn my amp all the way up, save the tubes, save the wear and tear on the tubes, and play at clubs at half the volume. So, my Variac, my variable transformer was my volume knob. Too loud, [makes knob turning sound] I’d lower it down to 50.
Guitar Muse tried out five different guitar pedal tuners so you don’t have to. Ranging from $25-$100, they detail the differences in features, quality, and more.
MusicianWages.com constantly puts out good articles to help the working musician make ends meet. Check out their 30 day step by step guide to launching a guitar teaching business
The Flatpicking Guitar Magazine free lesson for April features tab and audio and will teach you to play the Romanian Folk Song Ardeleana. It’s got a nice bluegrass touch despite the song’s origins.
Acoustic Guitar Magazine has an overview of different microphones to use for miking your acoustic guitar on stage or in the studio.