Thursday, 28 April 2011

Saturday 30th April - Japan Benefit - BS21 6SE

If you've still any energy/money left after tomorrow's celebrations, BBQs, street parties and the like (well, all right, all-day drinking) then please come along on Saturday night to:

The Star Inn
Stone Edge Batch
BS21 6SE

for a Japan Disaster aid fundraiser organised by Mitsubishi. Rock Bottom will be playing, there'll be food and drink and a raffle featuring as prizes items as diverse as a barrel of cider and a car service.

Ample parking, I'm told.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Thank You Twitter People

Thanks to the many Twitter users have taken a look at this blog via @julien's suggestion. I've received loads of really constructive comments on how to improve things - I've taken these on board, as some people are sadly wont to say, and you should see some changes and groovy newness here soon. Once again, many thanks for your help!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Lusting Through The Window

These look fantastic. Something rather different that look like they really might do the job, at least for my tastes.

Mind you, I won't be able to afford one, so I shall just drool through the window. But a nice job, Fender, nonetheless!

Update: current prices, dependent upon model/dealer etc, between £550 and £650 or thereabouts. Fair, but I still can't afford one :/

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Goldfish Don't Bounce

They can boogie a bit, though. I saw them on Sunday at Bristol's excellent Golden Lion (not been there? Shame on you!). AC/DC, G'n'R and such covers and some originals served up with considerable style and energy and even smiles, which is as surprisingly nice as it is rare. A cracking way to end the weekend!

Their website is here - there are links there to various facebook pages if you're into that - so go there, find out when they're playing near you and go see them.

Friday, 1 April 2011

DR Neon Strings

I spotted these a while back and thought an orange set might be rather fun at a charity do this weekend, since they match the charity's colours. Since I bought them they've been getting terrible reviews so I thought I'd chuck in my 2p's worth, writing up as things go along.

Fitting the things/Initial impressions: well they're guitar strings, and despite all the dire warnings on the packet about handling etc they fit just like normal strings. They *feel* like nothing on Earth (well, perhaps very rough, rather stiff cotton), but that's another matter. Bizarrely, they're packaged two-to-a-paper-packet (you know, the standard little packet that every one uses) 6th and 3rd, 5th and 2nd, 4th and 1st. Why?? Even the cheapest sets manage one packet per string. These things cost over £13 a set! This packaging is a bloody nuisance and totally unacceptable at this price.

I'm a little puzzled by the comment on the packing saying that the strings "aren't designed for contact with metal" - something of a design failure for a fretted instrument string, I'd have thought. There are also some fairly pointless comments about preventing the windings coming off the bass strings - unless you attach your strings with blu-tac this isn't likely to be an issue as far as I can see.

Well they're on there now and stretching in. I have to say I'm approaching using the things with some trepidation and will be making sure I take a back up with me. FWIW, John The Bassist has been using a set of the bass Neons for a couple of weeks and they sound OK. In fact, he really likes them. But then he's a bass player. The trepidation is rapidly becoming angst.

In use: The first thing I noticed once I'd started playing was that the claim of 180 minutes survival for the coating was likely to prove optimistic - a lump came off the top E on the first contact with a pick. The next thing I noticed was that these strings feel very, very odd. A little like nylon strings, perhaps, but an awful lot more like rubber bands. Whether or not this is a good thing is entirely a matter of opinion - I can't say it bothered me, but it would take a bit of getting used to if you're used to normal tension strings.

DR Neons - somewhat brighter on the DR website than in real life.

In practice I have to admit that I found the DR Neons to be pretty much as reported in the reviews I'd read: they lack volume, the string-to-string balance is awful and those strings you can actually hear (the top two being all-but inaudible) manage to sound both wooly and thin at the same time. Meanwhile, even under lights/camera flashes the stings don't look too clever - in fact, they have a curious "out of focus" quality which makes them quite uncomfortable to look at. Half way through our set I'd had enough and switched to another guitar strung with Ernie Balls. The difference in sound quality was staggering (and not in favour of the DRs) and the EBs sounded way, way louder (and this on a Strat with 56-style pickups as opposed to the Texas Specials on the one with the DRs on).

Conclusions? Well the DR Neons have a number of unique features, but none of them IMHO are actually good. The packaging is substandard, the finish neither looks particulary good nor lasts well, the playing feel is weird and the things sound awful. And they're staggeringly expensive.

"Just say no" I think sums it up.