Some might want to put sole blame on the economy for the shape Guitar Center is in but a recent article has plenty of blame to go around to account GC's alleged $1.6billion (yes BILLION!) debt.
From The Tone King:On June 27, 2007 GC was bought out by Bain Capital for $1.9 billion plus assumed debt. With the debt, Bain had written a $2.1 billion dollar check for Guitar Center and all of its subsidiaries.
For those who donít know, Bain Capital is a private equity and venture capital group that was founded in 1984 by current presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Basically, Bain buys companies, restructures them, and then sells them off at a profit. There are some success stories, and some no-so-success stories.
Unfortunately, when it came to Guitar Center, Bain hasnít had much luck. One of the common complaints among GC employees after the restructuring involves their compensation. Itís hard to believe, but Guitar Center used to offer comprehensive pension and benefit plans. Itís the usual story. Outsource IT to India, freeze raises for years, increase management but cutting back on sales personnel by making them part-time, making it difficult to keep the floor covered.
And being hit by a recession right after the buy out didnít help matters any.
It's an interesting read. Check out the whole article at The Tone King.
The original Apogee Duet has been widely hailed as the best sounding audio interface available. Now I'm glad I didn't get one yet because a newer model is available. The new model features better mic preamps, converters, color OLED display, touch pads, soft limiting and more! I wish I could afford one...
My iPhone has saved me at gigs so many times by providing a guitar tuner when I leave mine at home. Now TC Electronic has released their award winning PolyTune tuner as an iPhone App and it's only 99 cents until December 19! For 99 cents, it's totally worth it!
Update:Since I learned about this app on the Line 6 forums, here's my quickie review that I posted there.
I downloaded the PolyTune app and when I buy any new tuner, I line up all of my favorite tuners and see if they all agree. The PolyTune worked really well for an iPhone App. It did the thing where you strum all the strings together and you can see which strings are sharp or flat. Then you can pick an individual string and it reverts to a more traditional needle-style display. It worked very well and my guitar sounded in tune in no time.
The downside is that it didn't quite agree with my other tuners. While it claims an accuracy level of +- .5 cent, it seemed like one of those tuners that's "generous" about tuning and reads "in tune" when it's really just pretty close. On 4 out 6 strings, my Peterson and Korg were reporting the notes were as much as +- 3 to 4 cents off. The Peterson and Korg tuners seemed to agree on most strings but the PolyTune was the odd tuner out. I've tested my Korg and Peterson tuners to some pretty nice reference strobe tuners so I tend to trust them at this point. So I guess what I'm saying is that the PolyTune seems a bit less accurate but still got my guitars pretty much in tune. I wouldn't really trust an iPhone app to tune at a gig unless I leave one of my trusted tuners at home but for 99 cents, I think the PolyTune works well for what it is.
The AMT Electronics SS11A preamp is now on my wish list for guitar gear. It can be used as a direct to computer recording preamp, direct to PA for live applications or just a live to amp for killer clean and crunch sounds! What makes it sound so good? Tubes! The only downside is that it's around $389 which seems like a lot for a pedal until you realize how versatile it can be.
The Plutoneium Chi-Wah-Wah is one of those pedals where you wonder why it hasn't been made before. Just imagine, a killer sounding wah that goes on when you step on it and goes off when you lift your foot, all in a size that can easily sit next to your Boss or other compact pedals. The best part is that it sounds great! At around $189, it's not the cheapest but if you're sick of your old wah taking up too much space or just want the newest wah on the block, give the Plutoneium Chi-Wah-Wah a try!
I've been trying to imitate organ sounds with my guitar for 20 years but I never thought you could get this close! By using the Electro-Harmonix HOG, you can get so close that you could fool most people. Awesome! The only downside is that the HOG is $465. Of course, it can do other effects so it moves to the top of my most wanted list.
Wow, this is a real deal! For only $399, you can own a Bogner designed tube amp with Line 6 amp sims and effects. This is an amp worthy of gigging with for the price of a practice amp. Why so cheap? Line 6 just unveiled their new Spider Valve MKII.
For those of you who are familiar with Propellerhead's Reason, the announcement of their new Record software should have you running out to buy it now. It claims to streamline the recording process and it has some sweet built-in features like Line 6 guitar and bass modeling. I'm going to download the demo and see if I like it better than Sonar.
I've heard so many stories about Jaco Pastorius' legendary Fender bass. The stories were that it was lost forever shortly before his passing. Fans of what might be the best bass player to walk the planet always wondered what happened to the bass and now we know!
From Bass Player:Allow me to offer my personal reflections upfront. When I first laid eyes on the instrument, my initial reaction was that it didnít look like the Bass of Doom, what with the figured-maple top and back. (A photo of Jaco holding the restored bass can be seen on page 240 of Bill Milkowskiís updated Backbeat Books bio Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius.) As for picking up and plucking a piece of history, let me describe it this way: Who among us hasnít wondered if we would sound better playing the instrument of one of our bass heroes? Well, the answer in this case is, Yes! The Bass of Doom is the best-sounding and feeling fretless Iíve ever fingered. Itís very light and very resonant, with the extra-narrow neck of early Jazz Basses.