Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Brace for impact , a review of “Worlds Collide” By The Anderson Council

It was my distinct pleasure to catch The Anderson Council at their record pre-release at Pino’s in Highland Park. This is an album that has been in production for a few years, including a long mixing process for a Vinyl and CD release, both having their unique merits. Having purchased both versions the CD can boast having bonus tracks, one of which featuring Mr. Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame.

The vinyl also has the endearing and beautiful feature of being a splatter paint job vinyl, and being that the recording process was very much analog for this record, what better way to make it carry a timeless sound?In contrast to the band’s previous release, “Assorted Colors” which featured a rich sampling of the bands many lineups and the depth of Peter Horvath’s songwriting over the years. With influences from psychedelic rock, power pop, and an undeniable contemporary edge the band’s new material, both from their previous release and the most record, Worlds Collide has an unmistakable quality of having painstaking effort put into the songwriting with a diverse and endlessly entertaining offering of music with some personal favorites in the track list, but something undoubtedly being to your liking on this release.

There is a wonderfully eclectic mix of tunes on this album reflecting the progression and growth of The Anderson Council, and this album is a harbinger of great things for the band, with tight production and fine tuned dynamics with very strong song writing and arranging making each track worth listening to and retaining the charm that The Anderson Council have featured in their writing.

It is worth noting that the CD release is going to be the best bang for your buck as far as number of tracks received in the purchase, the CD release is also the only way to have a digital copy of the album, meaning that the vinyl does not come with a digital download so this is important to consider in your purchasing options.

I would like to include some recommendations off of the album with a few categories to help you as a listener consider these great songs.

Personal favorites;

Lord Cornelius Plum- a mid tempo retro rocker with great dynamics and wonderfully crafted melodic and harmonic content.

Mrs. Kirkby’s refrigerator- Easily one of my favorites off the album, a quick listen, but also easily one of the more ear wormy tunes on the record, with a strong sense of melody, which is the case for the record as a whole, the version sung by Peter Horvath is my favorite of the two, but the CD bonus track with Peter Noone is also a very entertaining listen.

Amazing- A slower ride than the majority of the album, and one of the longer songs off the album as well, but this is a decadent and well thought out arrangement which features depth in the production and craftsmanship in its lyrics, featuring an explosive  chorus  with a timeless sense of harmony in the vocals, feeling modern while also hearkening back to some of The Beach Boys’ harmonic work.

Gentlemen- a bouncy and euphoric track about having a drink with your loved ones remembering loved ones that cant be there with you, but the tone of the music and the joyous energy of it makes it such a great listening experience.

When I fall- A powerful song that plays with space and dynamics in a greatly enjoyable way. The production on this track uses spacial effects to great success to craft a luscious listening experience.

How Much How Long- A bombastic track featuring great drum, guitar and bass work,  one of my favorite of the high energy tunes on this record,  with a very effective arrangement and finely crafted harmonic content this is one of my overall favorite tracks from the album.

Wrong Way Out- one of the more daring tunes on the album with great reward in its daring use of staccato rhythms and while it is a departure from what I am familiar with from the band it is highly effective in showing the boldness of The Anderson Council’s creative choices on this release.

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Before & after: P Bass bridge and tuner mod project

As announced in May I have undertaken the task of modifying my favourite Ronaldo Custom and Fender P Bass.

I experienced very little difficulty in changing the bridge from a vintage style Wilkinson p bass bridge for Mexican made Fender P basses, the Hipshot Kicksass bridge designated as being a retro fit for that bridge type fit perfectly. I am a fan of the way that the new bridge allows to lower the action which was an issue with the Wilkinson bridge because of the larger saddles, the inserts for the Kickass Hipshot bridge made action adjustment much better.

The Tuners caused some issues, the stock licensed by Schaller tuners did not match the route for the hipshot tuners cited as the fit for the MIM fender P bass, but with some work it was able to be completed and not tuning issues have been had with the new hipshot tuners.

Check out the photos and audio examples from this simple but effective transformation.

 

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Out with the somewhat modified, in with the newly and fully modified!

Many years ago I picked up a 1992 Made in Mexico Fender Precision bass.  That same night I put a new pick guard and pickup in that same bass (at the time tortoise style pick guard, and a Seymour Duncan QP1 pickup). Even farther along in the bass’ life I also swapped the strap buttons for the fender longing spring loaded system, and soon after a new Ronaldo Custom Neck. The bass would also get a Wilkinson bridge some years ago which changed the character of the sound greatly. Among other important changes that have occurred in the bass is swapping out the stock electronics and the QP1 for a Geezer Butler EMG set and it remained in such a state retaining the following;

Stock licensed by Shaller tuners, maple neck with rosewood board and matching headstock, Geezer butler pickup, Paisley pickguard, Wilkinson vintage style bridge.

 

This is soon changing…As of May 2019 I am going to be doing a both functional and aesthetic change to commemorate my own musical journey progression.  After having recently invested in new hardware for the bass most notably in a new Hipshot kickass bridge and Hipshot tuners!

This modification will be well documented and before and after footage will be made.

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Swingin’ it with Dandy Wellington

This guy is the real deal when it comes to the authentic Jazz experience. Dandy Wellington takes New York’s jazz scene by storm- arguably, he exponentially grows it. The Retro Revival had a fantastic opportunity to get to know Dandy as an artist and up-and-coming revivalist recently through his majestique Facebook page: Dandy on Facebook.

What I think really does it for us at RRBlog is Dandy’s commitment to his role as a jazz band leader and an authentic image of the 30s and 40s, which was the height of jazz music and its culture. Adorned with formal hats, well-pressed suits and remarkable swingin’ moves in his performances, Dandy’s ability to convey the Jazz Age is second to none. Perhaps in the likeness and image of icons like Cab Calloway, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, and of course, Duke Ellington, Dandy’s style is one that captivates the class in all his audience members.

According to his most undated biography page, Dandy hails from Harlem, one of history’s epicenters of culture, particularly noted for African American music, jazz, and the Harlem Renaissance. What makes Dandy so successful against the grain of an increasingly-streamlined lifetyle is “the classic aesthetic and modern perspective that is Dandy, has, and will continue to be a fixture of NYC and beyond” (http://www.dandywellington.com/about.html).

If you are a fan of Jazz, its modern comtemporaries, or the good old classics like Duke Ellington, Dandy is a sure-to-please performer with the right attitude toward his craft. His events are available via: http://band.dandywellington.com/dandy-live

Posted in Manny's Music Column

Fender Mustang vs. Squier Bronco, short scale bass shootout. 

Recently I picked up a Squier Bronco Bass from The Guitar Boutique in Ridgefield New Jersey. So in a bit of an experiment to see what a modded mid-price Mexican made short scale Bass by Fender sounds like in comparison to a stock Indonesian made Squier Bass. Not a scientific comparison, but simply what extra money into a mid-price instrument versus the stock version of an Eastern made import instrument by the same parent company sound like. 
The current configuration on my Fender Mustang bass is Seymour Duncan PJ quarter pound pickup set, stock tuners, stock bridge, with short scale rotosound flatwound strings.

In comparison the Squier Bronco bass has all stock everything, strings possibly being stock as well. 

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Re Rigged; Ernie Ball Music Man Luke III

 

The short version, it is a near perfect instrument, it embodies everything I look for in a quality musical instrument. Get one if you can, they are well worth it.

As a side note; I tried the St. Vincent EBMM guitar recently, it didn’t resonate with me, but if I had a daughter that wanted a pro level guitar that would do everything well and would be a high-quality performance instrument for her, as well as being contoured in a unique way for female players, this would be that instrument.

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

MJT Telecaster Build; Part 2

 

 

Continuing from last months post, I found quite a few parts that simply worked out to be perfect fits for this guitar, Sound wise the guitar has more of a strat sound because of the pickups I had available. The aged finish on the neck is comfortable and easy to play on, not sticky, and has a certain mojo that a thinner neck finish can facilitate.

some specs;
The neck I ordered was intended to be a copy of my Ronaldo Custom Tele’s original neck (was an ’83 fender tele neck). The 80’s to 90’s C neck profile with a more modern radius (10″ fingerboard radius), Rosewood fretboard,  and Kulson tuners.

The included bone nut was something i needed to take to my guitar tech, but otherwise everything fell perfectly into place.  I really enjoy how worn in the instrument feels, as well as how I can feel the woods vibrate because of the thinner & lack of paint.  Theres a bold character to this guitar that a stock telecaster off the wall simply would not be able to contain.

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

MJT Telecaster Build: Part 1

Rewind to Spring of 2016, at my favorite guitar shop I am shown a MJT T style body. It was previously lake placid blue, but the way that nitrocellulose works is that it checks and ages over time so blue turns green over time, and this body was a wonderful shade of green, granting this guitar the name “Clover”. This was a first and pivotal step in my journey in my happy accidents guitar,  starting with the matching of a rosewood board with a tortoise pick guard and my spare pickups going into this creature. The spare pickups in question are the neck pickup from my ’85 S type guitar, and the bridge pickup from my black telecaster before I swapped the stock single coil pickup for a Seymour Duncan  Lil ’59  which I also highly recommend. This pickup blend is very special for me,  the neck sound is a bit like an on board low pass filter, and the bridge sounds like a Tele bridge, bright but punchy,  together they blend into a beefy but bright sound that’s something I’ve rarely found in other instruments, with a boost in signal as well!! =]

There is a charm and comfort to a worn in paint job on a guitar and my enjoyment of the character in the MJT body brought me to the point of ordering a neck from them, stay tuned  ;).
image

Posted in Manny's Music Column

Manny’s Mod Shoppe; Better bass tone for under $30!

The fender bass is a classic instrument, since its debut in the early 50’s it has been used in nearly every style of bass playing, and every genre of music. Vintage fender basses now cost upwards of $5000 , on the low end of the spectrum, sometimes less, but classic era basses cost the remortgaging of a home.

I myself would love to have capacities to afford such luxuries, but in the absence of such funds I found a great way to upgrade my Mexican made p bass, the Wilkinson 4 saddle bass bridge!

My p bass is an early Mexican made one from 1992, the neck is a more j bass profile, and it has shaller tuners which are solid, and these had a thin layer of finish on the neck which feels very nice. The bridge has always been ok and reliable on it, but it seemed to be a chrome, or nickel plated brass. The Wilkinson bridge has large brass saddles and upon installation and first playing it feels and sounds livelier and louder. These are marketed as a classic style bridge and it is very accurate. I found a massive difference in the resonance of the bass acoustically, and some extra clarity in the notes.

The old bridge had an ok sound, and the bass sounded good before swapping the bridges out, but I much prefer the feel of the bass with the new bridge.  You can find the bridge I ordered here;  http://www.wdmusic.com/wilkinson_bass_bridges.html