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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Absolutely no...

On my way home from work I stopped at a local music store that was having a going out of business sale. I was hoping I could pick up a nice, small guitar amp at closeout prices that I could plug headphones into while playing and thus not wake people up, keep people awake or otherwise bother people with loud, obnoxious frim-framming.

As I walked up to the store, I saw there was a big sign in the window that said, "EVERYTHING MUST GO!!"

"That's a good sign, literally and figuratively," I thought.

I walked in and asked the guy behind the counter what they had left for small practice amps. I told him I wanted something with both clean and distorted channels as well as built in reverb and he showed me what they had left. There were 3 models; one from Peavy, one Fender amp and an Ibanez. All the amps had what I was looking for, plus, the Fender had a bunch of built in effects like flange, delay, chorus, etc.

I asked the guy if he cared what guitar I played and he said I could try whatever I wanted, probably hoping I'd buy one. I didn't want to grab anything too fancy because, in all likely-hood, I would want to buy it, since I'm a total sucker for these little games, and then I'd be all bummed after I realized I could not. I grabbed an Ibanez and started messing around with the amps.

As I started trying out the different amps, a guy who looked to be about high school age with long black hair came over and grabbed a Hamer Flying-V knock-off from the guitar rack and sat down next to me. He plugged in and started to play bits and pieces from every song on Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" record. Then he did a metal-ized "Smoke on the Water", which made me kind of roll my eyes a little.. I was waiting to hear "Stairway to Heaven" or "Back in Black" next...

As the guy was playing "Seek and Destroy", the man from the store was behind the counter listening and making comments, "Sounds good. Someone came in yesterday and was playing that same thing."

The metal-guy moved on to Kirk Hammett's tapping solo that he does at the beginning of "Am I Evil?", another 'Tallica song from "Kill Em All."

"Yup, heard that one yesterday too..."

While the metal-dude was jammin' away, I ignored him as best as I could. He was not really bothering me or anything but I was trying to decide which amp had the best sound, so I was trying to concentrate more on that than his ability to mimic other people's work. For the record, the metal-dude was pretty good. He played all the Metallica covers really well.

Though I was doing the best I could to pay close attention to the sound and features of the 3 amps I was trying to decide between, I could not help but hear the guy next to me run through the Metallica/Megadeth/Deep Purple repotoir. I smiled inwardly as I actually found it kind of amusing that he was basically playing every overplayed song you've ever heard somebody do when they pick up a guitar.

It reminded me of the scene in Wayne's World when Wayne picks up the white Strat from the guitar store window and starts to play "Stariway to Heaven" and the store manager points to a big sign that says, "ABSOLUTELY NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ALLOWED"

I had narrowed my choices to the Fender and the Ibanez. For sentimental reasons, I really wanted to like the Peavy the best, but the Fender and the Ibanez had the better sound to my ears so the Peavy came off the list.

The Fender came with a lot more built in effects than the Ibanez, 80 percent of which I would never use, plus a higher price tag which was almost double the Ibanez.

The one effect that I was interested in was the Reverb and I could not get it set the way I liked on the Fender. No matter how much I tried, it sounded too much like I was in an echo chamber. I like just a little bit of reverb and there was always too much with the Fender.

I wound up buying the Ibanez amp and I kind of surprised myself in doing so, because I never thought I'd pick an Ibanez over a Peavy or a Fender amp, but the little guy sounded great, had the right features and kicked some ass. I thought it sounded the best out of the 3 choices and I got a great deal. I saved 60 bucks on it. Nice.

By now the heavy-metal dude was long gone. As I was paying for the amp, the guy at the counter said, "Well you sounded pretty good" (Probably just being nice, I'm sure).

"Thanks. At least I played all my own stuff and not somebody elses."

That's when the guy kind of smiled and said, "I know, that other person was not following the rules at all."

Seeing I was confused, the store-guy brought me over and showed me a sign next to the guitar rack that read:


Finger Tapping, unless you are Eddie Van-Halen himself.
Smoke on the Water
Stairway to Heaven
Back in Black
Seek and Destroy
Am I Evil?
Enter Sandman
(Actually, just don't play any Metallica at all...)



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