Rose is a Taylor acoustic, #59, born on Jan. 7, 2003 and is a model 414. She has golden Gotoh tuners, I believe model #SXB510. My aging eyes aren’t good enough to make out the numbers anymore, but these replaced the originals. This guitar was originally in West Virginia, then sold to a strange person in the hills of Kentucky, who I bought it from for a fair price but had to run a gauntlet to retrieve it from the mobile home in the middle of nowhere to give him the money for it and run. I immediately had it set up professionally by Bill Barney here in Louisville, and install a Pure Mini electronic pickup with volume knob. The knob barely peeks out of the sound hole, needs no batteries, plugs into the bottom strap plug, and sounds incredible. Rich and full and everything you’d expect out of an American made Taylor. Even with a strap embroidered with roses and gold leaves. Nothing ornate, but a true American Beauty. The magic is in the details. The binding is immaculate and the neck is effortless to move around. The gold tuners and rich wood grain are sublime.
Marshall, Peavey, Fender, Orange, Yamaha…wait…what? Yamaha has been in the music business for a long time. They’ve been in a lot of non-vertical businesses for a long time, like motorcycles, golf products, automobile components, network devices and more. They also own the Steinberg and Line 6 brands, which are top shelf. (Plus Bosendorfer and Nexo, which I have no personal experience with.) But Yamaha is no mom and pop shop, for sure.
Acquiring Steinberg gives Yamaha a lot of industry knowledge and credibility, as far as instruments go. The very first guitar I owned was a classical Yamaha guitar which I won in a radio contest when I was 12 or 13 years old. I remember my mother taking me to the radio station to pick it up, and then sign me up for guitar lessons, with an elderly man named Mr. Foley who lived nearby and may have been a great guiarist, but not a great teacher, and the most I remember from his lessons was him sucking on his dentures as he wrote down musical notes on paper across bars he drew, as if I was there to learn about music composition and had the mind of a young Mozart. I frightfully receded from playing guitar for a few years until I could approach it by my own terms.
And Yamaha has continued to develop electronic components, musical instruments, and refining their ability to do so. I recently bought a Yamaha “clock-radio” which sounds better than any stereo I was around growing up. It’s rich and deep and designed well, and I love it. So i wasn’t shy about looking at a Yamaha Amp, especially after reading, watching and learning more about this model.
The Yamaha THR10C amp I have is ideal. It’s fairly new item in the world of music, but everyone who uses it has the same impression I have, which is a reverential “wow.”
It’s an amp you use for playing back to yourself, at 10 amps. It’s not for gigging or large rooms or anything like that. It’s for creating faithful tube amp tones and having a lot at your hands in a small space, but having everything you want and need and no more. You don’t need a bunch of pedals, equipment and costly amps to render the exact sound you want at a volume that is controllable and distinct. 2×3 is two 3″ cones.
Here are some good quips about it:
The THR10C’s focus is classic tube amps. You get five impeccable models: Deluxe, Class A, U.S. Blues, Brit Blues, and Mini, plus modes for your acoustic guitar or bass and even a bypass mode that turns its modeling off. Yamaha not only applied their considerable expertise to creating exceptional models of coveted guitar amps, but they also came up with incredible-sounding effects, lush reverbs, and cool delays to take your playing to an entirely new level. And perhaps the best part is that you can rock out with killer tone at bedroom-friendly volumes.
Yamaha’s THR10C portable combo guitar amplifier delivers amazing classic tube amp tones along with incredibly useful tools for songwriting, recording, and practicing. Choose from five intricately modeled classic tube amp types, or plug in your bass or acoustic guitar directly. You also get a 3-band EQ, four modulation effects, and four reverb/delay styles to shape your sound. Use the THR10C’s stereo speakers for external playback from your iPod or computer. Battery power lets you take your tones anywhere and, thanks to its USB connectivity, you’ll love the way your Yamaha THR10C guitar amplifier fits into your studio.
Yamaha THR10C Portable Combo Guitar Amplifier Features:
*An amazing portable guitar amp that’s ideal for practicing, songwriting, and recording
*Deluxe, Class A, U.S. Blues, Brit Blues, and Mini amp emulation settings
*Acoustic guitar, bass, and bypass modes
*Plug in your bass or acoustic guitar, or bypass the modeling section entirely
*4 modulation effects and 4 independent reverb/delay effects give you a wide range of tones
*Yamaha’s Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM) technology delivers extremely realistic sound and feel
*3-band EQ lets you further tweak your tone to perfection
*Runs on supplied AC adapter or 8 AA batteries for up to 6 hours of continuous playing time
*USB connection provides 2 channels of recording/playback to or from your computer
*Dual 3.15″ speakers provide stereo audio for internal effects and auxiliary/computer audio playback
*Free (downloadable) THR Editor lets you tweak additional parameters of your amp models/effects
*Noise gate and compressor accessed via THR Editor
*Headphone output with adjustable aux input/amplifier output control
*5 user settings buttons let you take your favorite tone with your anywhere for instant recall
*Includes Steinberg’s Cubase AI recording software
I got it with a great carrying case and it can be found for under $300. It looks cool, sounds cool, and is cool. I chose the “C” model over a few others that incorporate different effects and sounds, because it allows me to play clean, and also get the watery, delay, reverb, crying, cathedral effect I like playing Smiths and Marr-esque music through it. It works well with the electrics I have and the acoustics, although I believe I will end up with an amp dedicated more for acoustic music, and know the one I want. We’ll see.
Jessica is a favorite. She is a 2014 120th Anniversary Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus model. Gibson has offered a variety of finishes over the years but this my favorite. Some are subtle, some aren’t. Some pronounce the tiger flame and some gloss over it. Some Les Pauls are solid colors, and the most expensive, like the gold-tops, which many guitarists painted black. The solid colors are ho-hum to me, even with their patina and cracks. And to downplay the beauty the wood can offer is boorish and a tragedy to me, who loves the earthiness and organic qualities that acoustic guitars have. I prefer acoustic guitars in fact and only got back into electric with the acquisition of Jessica.
The brilliance and seriousness of this instrument are what set it apart, to begin with. I keep the pickguard on it because I find myself having a stronger attack with the pick that would blemish the finish, to use poetic words, which is appropriate when describing this masterpiece. Known for eternal sustain, and a thick, fulfilling sound thanks to the humbucking pickups, I can’t imagine the experience of playing an electric guitar being any greater than with Jessica. If that weren’t enough, she has auto tuners which I hadn’t ever even considered before but adds a magical concierge characteristic that eliminates the worry of ever being out of tune, which should be a primary concern for any player. No matter how good you are, you won’t sound good if you’re out of tune. And the electronics that go into play and are precisely perfect are a wonder to me. To tap a button and have the tuning keys wind themselves into tune with a small buzz like that of a Shakespeare fishing reel when a fish strikes are very cool and satisfying. It tunes each string, then flashes in cadence to say “All set- Go!” is awesome and a really nice little situation.
There’s no way I’ll ever let this guitar go. She has great sustain, but I have greater. And if you couldn’t figure it out, her name is derived from the equally untouchable Dickey Betts song of the same name, written about/for his little girl.
Stella Blue is a special edition, 2017 Fender Telecaster that’s been offset to resemble the bodystyle of a Fender Jazzmaster. A “Jazzcaster” as it’s often called. Some people insist it’s just the body of a Fender Jaguar, but it’s not. Those are the voices of ignorance and jealousy, akin to those that would try and convince you a fiberglass replica of a Shelby Cobra is the same as an authentic Shelby Cobra. Not even close. This is special-built guitar and unique to its class with all the features, subtleties, performance, and characteristics that define it and separate it from anything else.
She’s a more intimate instrument than Red Molly and sits differently on your lap. Without sounding too weird or anything. She’s lighter, and faster and is great guitar to play when you want the Jazzmaster sound with the best features of a Telecaster. There aren’t any compromises, because the best of both worlds are present. It’s simply an awesome guitar to play and I’m happy I decided to pick her up. The paint job is deep and reminiscent of that of looking into the fender of a Ferrari. I would imagine it’s the guitar Johnny Marr would choose if he only one choice of guitar. I have no way to verifying that, but there’s more proof to the statement than opposition to it. He’d probably prefer a tremolo bar, but I’m happy to not have or use one because I’m not Johnny Marr and never will be. Here’s to trying, though!
Red Molly is a 2018 Fender Telecaster Professional, made in the USA and painted candy-apple red. A thick white maple neck and white fretboard finish out the details. No tremolo installed, just clean, chrome and gorgeous. It reminds me something of a Hot Rod from the 1960s and a Ferrari from present day. The notes are clean and white and have bright mids and great sustain. She plays herself and it’s a hard guitar to put down. The range of sounds you can get out of her is amazing. From twangy country and western, to shimmering electro-funk to alternative wahs and delays of British alt bands of the 80’s like the Smiths to grungy dirty rock, and delicate finger-playing Segovia would be proud of.