z Gear Stories episode 13

Gear Stories 13  Drums & My favorite guitarist





Hey there my friends!  It’s Gear Stories time again this month!


As most of you know, once a month, I tell you a couple of stories about some of my favorite audio gear, and hopefully you find it entertaining AND educational!


If you really don’t want to get it, let me know and I’ll take you off the list… but give it a try I first… you might like it!


Before I get into the main thing, I wanted to let all you guitar players out there know that from now until Summer, I am running a special sale on PRS guitars!  Depending on the model, you will get from $50 to $100 off… so call me if you’ve ever thought about getting a Paul Reed Smith guitar!  Now is the time!


And now, on to the stories…



Part 1…  (at the risk of sounding like a Pirate)  THAR BE DRUMS HERE!


Sweetwater started off as a mobile recording studio in the back of a Volkswagen van…  Pretty cool, huh!    We’ve com e along way!


For the first decade or so of selling gear and providing the best customer service in the industry, we sold electronics… keyboards and recording gear, and that was about it.  Eventually a time came along when we started dealing with guitars.  It was a big step, and we wondered if it would ever really catch on.


It did… with a vengeance!  Guitars are now HUGE for us!  I can’t imagine Sweetwater NOT selling guitars!  But still, there was a little musical empty spot here at Sweetwater… DRUMS!


Sure, we handle electronic drums like the Roland V drums and the Alesis, and all manner of drum machines and software… but there was no cylinders of wood with a head stretched across them for us to HIT!


Many of us have been lobbying for Sweetwater to handle acoustic drums for a long time, but there was resistance…  Again, like guitars, it’s a huge step!  It’s a whole new product line, and even more than guitars, it’s got all kinds of extra gears and gizmos that go along with it… heads and kick pedals and all manner of hardware and nuts and bolts and pads and what not…


…and of course. my favorite part… the THRONE!  Why wouldn’t you feel like a king when you’re playing the drums!  You’re sitting on a throne!


Well, finally, the resistance has broken, and I feel Sweetwater is now becoming complete!


We are handling the major brands… Pearl, Yamaha, Tama and DW, and of course, Zildjian cymbals!


We are ( at least at first) basically handling the major stuff… kits basically.  Sweetwater, at this stage, is not going to be the place to call if you really need the little wiggly bit that broke out of the inside of your favorite high hat stand… we’re taking more of a broad stroke approach to get our feet wet.


The idea was that one of our main customer groups are studios, and every studio needs a good drum kit so that when a band of high school kids come in for their first recording experience, and they had to borrow the kit from the junior high band room, you’ll actually have something that they can play on that YOU can stand to listen to!  They’ll be happy and your studio’s reputation will be intact when other people listen to the final recording!


So to celebrate Sweetwater’s baby steps into the world of acoustic percussion I will be offering a fifteen percent discount on all things you can hit with a stick!







And just for fun… even these!




So call me and take out some aggression!  It’s GREAT therapy, and you’ll feel like a KING!


I feel whole!  Oh, wait!  Somebody just asked me if we carry Bagpipes!  … well… not YET!






Part 2, My favorite guitarist, ADRIAN BELEW and his signature model Parker Fly guitar.


If you’ve read Gear Stories before, you’ll know that I usually talk about an item that is very affordable, and then I pick a really high end item that most of us can only dream about… and let me tell you, this is one of those!  But it it SO COOL!


First of all, if you don’t know who Adrian Belew is, he’s most famous as being my favorite guitar player!  But beyond that, he was discovered at a very young age by Frank Zappa, and took over the guitar side man position, with a lot of vocal heavy lifting as well in the Mothers of Invention.  He has done stints with the Talking Heads, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, and played more sessions than you could shake a drum stick at on tons of albums, and if you’ve listened to the radio at all in the last thirty years or so, I’m pretty sure you have heard him numerous times without knowing.


Since the 80’s he’s been providing the heart to balance out Robert Fripp’s esoterica in the band King Crimson, as well as putting the star power into the Cincinnati Bar Band called the Bears, and cranking out GREAT solo albums like crazy!


He is known for being able to make his guitar sound like ANYTHING!   Literally… I’ve heard him make it sound like a chicken clucking and a toilet flushing (along with many more musical, nevertheless unique sounds.)  He is simply a guitar genius!


On the big list of what makes Sweetwater one of the coolest places on earth to work, he came HERE to introduce his new signature model Parker Fly guitar!  Of course, after nervously asking for his autograph on the cover of My copy of “Desire of the Rhino King” I almost got used to seeing him walking around the place for the next couple of days, spending time with all the Sweetwater community.


O.K.  Enough of the hero worship… let me tell you about this guitar!


First of all, it’s a parker Fly… that, in itself says a lot.  They are unmistakable with their odd little shape… certainly, in this world of Strat and Les Paul copies, finding a truly unique guitar shape that is not goofy looking is tough! (But I guess, as Billy Gibbons’ Texas shaped guitar proves,  that’s in the eye of the beholder.)


The other thing Parker guitars are known for are making guitars that are light!  They weigh less than any other electric guitars.  A big part of that is the carbon fiber finish.  It is a finish so strong that it allows them to carve the neck extra thin!   Without that finish, the neck would literally just snap from the pressure, but with the finish, they are amazingly strong, and some weigh as little as two to three pounds!  That’s less than my cat!  If you are spending long hours on stage or in the studio with a guitar strapped around your neck, that weight thing can be a back saver!


It’s got a humbucker pickup, and a peizo pickup, AND a sustainiac pickup, which allows you to basically sustain forever… or at least a whole lot longer than you will ever need one note to play…


It works through a 13 pin guitar synth connector, as opposed to the regular 1/4 inch jack, since Adrian does do a LOT of guitar synth playing… you CAN get regular guitar sounds through it, but you need to have it connected to a guitar synth like the Roland or the Axon




Also, it has built inside, the electronics from the Line6 Variax guitar!  That is a modeling guitar that can create sounds like virtually any guitar out there from that vintage Tele to an acoustic 12 string!




And it plays like a dream!  Smooth as silk, the action feels like it plays itself!


So basically, what you’ve got here is the works!  It’s a guitar that can make any sound that can be made by a guitar and then some!  There’s never been anything like it before.


It is a special order, and the lead time for these is measured in months, but even after the weight, chances are that you’ll be the first in your neighborhood to have one!  And of course, the price is not for the faint of heart…  They list for $11,999.00, but nobody pays list!  Advertised, they go for $9599.97… but of course, I’ll make you a great deal on it!  Just call, and we’ll haggle!


You can see these truly amazing guitars here…  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=adrian+Belew


Dream!  Enjoy!  And I’ll tell you a new couple of gear stories next month!