Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New BOSS GT-10 Demo!

Dr. M takes you "Studio Side" to show you BOSS' flagship multi effects guitar workstation, the GT-10! The GT-10 makes our list of Best Guitar Gear for 2010 in the "Effects" category. Read the review comparing the BOSS GT-10 to the DigiTech RP-90. Look for the BOSS GT-10 to be featured at the 2010 NAMM show! Stay up on the latest Guitar Gear Give-Aways, Videos and Reviews by following Dr. M on Twitter!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rockin' the New Year!

My Singing Machine Studio Karaoke System iSM 1010 has a wireless mic, full color 7 inch screen and iPod docking feature. Tower speakers are amazing for playing my CD's too! This is a serious party maker. Christmas Carols, Hymns, Rock, Bluegrass...the Singing Machine can handle it.
A Very Merry Christmas and a Rockin' New Year to All!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Unboxing a Martin HD-28!

Unboxing my Martin HD-28 with rosewood back and sides. Catch these tips on preventing damage to guitars shipped in freezing temps so you won't have an unhappy experience when opening the box! See more on Eclectic Sound TV in HD!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Eclectic Sound TV in HD!

Coming at you in HIGH DEFINITION, Eclectic Sound TV in HD is getting ready to shoot our 2010 video line up of news, reviews, concerts and tips from the pros! Here is where you get to SEE and HEAR stompboxes, guitars, microphones and amps fired up and put through their paces. Check out what WE have to say before you buy! Here's what's on tap:

C.F. Martin's HD-28

Perhaps the most played and copied model Martin has made to date! We'll compare this solid sitka spruce and rosewood guitar to our other Martin dreadnoughts made of mahogany and cherry. Tone is everything!

Audio-Techinca's AT4047/SV

One of our vocal and instrumental studio workhorses! Incredible clarity, transparency and presence. We'll show you our preamp / mixer setup for a smoother recording experience.

Studio-Side is a special feature of Eclectic Sound TV in HD where we will be showing you new guitar gear and how to modify, plug in, save patches, loop, record and much more. Who says studio time has to be boring? Join us and we'll show you something!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We Have a Winner!

This Contest is CLOSED but get ready for the next by following Dr. M. on Twitter! Congrats to Lynn Julian of MA for winning our Holiday Guitar Gear Give-Away! Lynn wins: The NEW Planet Waves Headstock Tuner, Martin and D'Addario Strings, Martin Guitar Polish & Polishing Cloth!

Check back to enter our next Guitar Gear Give-Away with prizes such as the Mighty Bright Pedalboard Light, Martin and D'Addario guitar strings plus lots more from Eclectic Sound!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jazz Month 2009!

Claudio Roditi wraps up Jazz Month 2009 with his performance of "O Pato",(The Duck), a bossa nova from Brazil. This song was broadcast on Eclectic Sound TV

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things!

We asked readers to tell us about their favorite guitar gear. Well, here are some of mine! Ernie Ball Super Strap Locks on the job. Sully's Soft Leather Guitar Strap and the handy Stage Player II Guitar Stool from Farley's Musical Essentials. Oh yes my Martin D-18 in Sustainable Cherry of course. Be sure to visit Eclectic Sound TV for all of our HD videos on tap. Video Credits: Camera by MAM. Music written & performed by Dr. M. Vintage tee by C.F. Martin & Co. 1833 Shop

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Deals!

Check out the banner above and the special ads in the left hand column for some SUPER Holiday deals on featured musical equipment and video gear!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Audiophile Picks for 2010

Audiophiles, listen up! Audio Technica will rock your world with their closed back, "old school" ATH-A700 Headphones. Escape into peaceful solitude with Audio-Technica's QuietPoint Active Noise Cancelling Headphones which knock out 85% of background noise.

Visit Audio-Technica Online

Video Credits:

Camera by Magda, Music by Paul Pugliese, Produced by Dr. M mariejmiczak.blogspot.com The New Eclectic Sound Experience Dr. M's jewelry, the Peace Pick Necklace by Strum 'n Comfort.

Check out the NEW Eclectic Sound TV Channel on You Tube!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Holiday Guitar Gear Give-Away!

WE HAVE A WINNER! Lynn Julian who wrote "THE TUNER is my favorite piece of gear. Without one...your sound is *only* as good as your ear! My pedal tuner gives me the confidence and peace of mind to perform at my peak. I'd LOVE a Planet Waves Headstock Tuner for my acoustic "baby" too!" :
Lynn Julian, send us your shipping and email address HERE, (it won't be posted as a comment) !
This Give-Away is now CLOSED. Here's what Lynn Julian wins:


AND...2 Sets of Martin SP Acoustic Strings, (Light & Mediums)

PLUS ...1 Set of D'Addario Flat Top Strings



GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED ! One WINNER will receives all the prizes listed in this GIVE-AWAY. U.S. Residents only please. Also Check out:

Best Guitar Gear for 2010-Player's Pack

Best Guitar Gear for 2010-Care & Feeding

Best Guitar Gear for 2010-Guitar Straps

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at Eclectic Sound!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Best Guitar Gear for 2010!

Guitar Straps

Continuing our list of Best Guitar Gear for 2010 with guitar straps! We've checked out and tested the best straps for both acoustic and electric guitars with some very cool ideas for people with shoulder and or neck problems. In order to improve form and playing posture, most guitar instructors tell their students to practice playing standing up. You need a strap to do that! This also prepares you for the time that you will perform on stage. These selected straps all make great gifts for the guitarist in your life and will be cherished for years to come.

Sully's New Leather Guitar Strap

The Sully Strap has been voted the hands-down favorite of our guitar playing readers! Handcrafted one at a time in the U.S.A. and made to last as long as your instrument, (or longer)! 1" wide, #1 harness leather strap Shoulder piece 2" wide by 11.5" long harness leather. Also available with 7/8" wide strap and 1 3/4" wide x 9" long shoulder piece for smaller size guitars.

Infinitely adjustable several inches on both ends to the exact length required by the user. These are really custom guitar straps, cut to your size specifications and can be ordered to accomodate oversized pick up end pins if needed. This is the one that fits my Martin D-16GT with a pick up and is my choice for quality and value. $42.00

Martin High End Leather Strap
Martin's latest! This is truly a high end leather strap. Strap is made from the highest quality soft naked finish garment weight cowhide leather on the topside and underside, with a 1/4" foam and suede split core. The strap is complimented with the CF Martin embroidered logo and double stitched heavy thread detailing.
Buttery soft, it hugs you like a fine Italian leather glove!
Highly recommended for use with lighter, acoustic guitars. Available in Brown 18A0000 or Black 18A0001. $90.00

Planet Waves Deluxe Padded Leather Strap

The Deluxe Series sets the standard for leather straps. This particular strap is made of a very stiff leather and would be perfect for use with heavier or solid body guitars such as a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Stratocaster. However, good leather straps like these tend to break in, becoming softer over time. This two-ply garment leather strap has a padded inner core right where you need it.
The Deluxe Series exudes class and style, fashion and function. All feature an exclusive tapered contour designed to prevent twisting when used with acoustic guitars. The body of the straps is 4" longer than standard straps, giving you more support where you need it most. All are adjustable from 44.5" to 53" long. Price $89.00

I recommend using Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner on all leather guitar straps. Meguiar's cleans, moisturizes and preserves leather with aloe and other anti-aging nutrients. It protects them from UV rays while imparting a beautiful luster to the leather. I've used it to restore faded, dried out leather too.

Planet Waves DARE Strap - Electric Guitar

Planet Waves has teamed up with product designer Troy Dare to bring you the patented Dare Strap. Unlike conventional straps, the Dare Strap allows your to equally distribute the weight of your instrument over both shoulders.Great for heavy instruments and players with back / neck conditions. This is the strap that I use on my Fender Stratocaster which is the heaviest solid body guitar that I own next to my Aria Pro II Fullerton model.

I've coupled this strap with a set of Ernie Ball Super Strap Locks for a amazingly secure connection. These strap locks also make it easy to take the strap off without overstretching the leather end holes. Ernie Ball Super Strap Locks can be used with all of the straps shown in this review except for perhaps the Martin High End Leather Strap due to its thickness.

Be sure to check out our other picks for Best Guitar Gear for 2010 at the following links!

Best Guitar Gear for 2010 - Player's Pack

Best Guitar Gear for 2010 - Care & Feeding

Video Credits:
Camera by Magda
Music by Paul Pugliese
Produced by Dr. M
The New Eclectic Sound Experience

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Best Guitar Gear for 2010!


One of the best things that you can do for your guitar is to keep it clean and properly humidified. This falls under the category of care & feeding. I've sought out and tested the best products for the job and have come up with this list for our Best Guitar Gear for 2010!

Guitar Polish

Keep in mind that if you have a new acoustic guitar, it is best to wait about a year or so for the wood's pores to fully open up before adding any polish. Then after that start with a cleaner followed by a good, non-waxy guitar polish. I've found Virtuoso Premium Cleaner & Polish to be perfect for my Martin guitars especially. The cleaner does an excellent job of removing any heavy compounds while the polish leaves a remarkable shine, making the surface smudge-resistant. I use the Planet Waves Microfiber Polishing Cloth because it is very gentle but does a thorough job of deep cleaning my guitar without scratching or whorls.

String & Fretboard Cleaner

Your strings and fretboard need specific products for their cleaning and care. I use GHS Fast Fret as it makes sliding along the fretboard much easier and prolongs the life and tone of my uncoated strings. Simple to apply, I rub the applicator across my new strings, wipe 'em down and forget about it.

Humidity Monitoring

Keeping tabs on your guitar's humidity within the case has never been easier. I have an Oasis Hygrometer in each of my Martin Guitar cases. It clips easily onto the storage compartment of my hardshell cases. It also tells me the temperature. Ideally you want to keep the humidity between 45-55%. If the humidity falls below 45% in the case, simply place the New & Improved Humidipak Gel Pak system between the strings into the sound hole for about a week. Once the proper moisture level is reached, keep a check on the humidity and use when needed. Check out our top picks by hovering over the photos below!

Best Guitar Gear for 2010's - Care & Feeding Recommendations:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Guitar Gear for 2010!


Looking for a gift for your favorite guitarist? Don't buy a thing until you check out this list of new items from our Best Guitar Gear for 2010. We've put together a Player's Pack of THE BEST essential gear that will be perfect for your favorite guitar hero! Here's our hot trio just to start it up....


Every serious guitar player will flip over the NEW Planet Waves Headstock Tuner! Unlike other headstock tuners it is very compact and even senses the low E string. Not effected by sounds from other guitars in the room because the piezo senses the vibrations from YOUR guitar. Small enough to stay on the headstock while your guitar is being stored in its case. Bright green / red LED shows you when you are in tune even on a darkly lit stage. Very accurate and easy to read. The best tuner I have used to date.


This is the latest capo creation from Planet Waves. Dual action is right!What you will like about this NEW capo is that it is fully adjustable for a snug, no buzz fit for nearly any guitar. The quick release clip action makes changing keys effortless. Better still, this capo does not pull your instrument out of tune as others can. Leaves no scratches or marks on my prized Martins. Made of super lightweight aluminum alloy in chic black. This is the one capo I use now in the studio and in concert. Don't leave home without it!


The thicker, shielded cables of the Custom Pro Series by Planet Waves have become legendary and with good reason. We featured their Circuit Breaker Guitar Cable last year and after several studio sessions and live shows, it has never failed. The Custom Pro Series follows this up with superior insulation and transparency. This is the perfect accessory for many newer acoustic / electric guitars marketed today but also for the dedicated electrics. We've changed over to the Custom Pro Series for our mic and guitar cables because you can really hear the difference. Reliability and quality set these cables apart from the pack. Made my day! These are the cables we are using in the studio for recording and in concert. See more cool guitar accessories online at PLANET WAVES

The Wrap....

Purchasing a guitar for someone else can be tricky. You really never know if the guitar you pick will be comfortable or playable for the person. Chances are they may already have an instrument. These are three key accessories that any guitarist would appreciate, even if they already own other versions of them. Treat them to a serious "upgrade" by purchasing this Best Guitar Gear for 2010's - Player's Pack! They will definitely thank you for it. More guitar gear goodies coming up. Yes, only the best for 2010!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cozy Up!

NEW! This hot arrival from the C.F. Martin & Co. 1833 Shop ROCKS fall! Made of 100% cotton, this full zip, pigment dyed hoodie is perfect for taking the chill off. Has the Martin logo in distressed fashion across the front. Open Mic Bag with Guitar Strap by Overland Equipment. The perfect Christmas gift!
Order online at the 1833 Shop!
Best Guitar Gear for 2010 is coming up next!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In the Studio & On the Road

Dr. M. during the second set of a performance with the Church Street Ramblers at a charity event. Guitar: Martin SWDGT, a D-18GT Sustainable Series. Cotton pleated skirt by Club Monaco, 5th Ave., NYC

Not all microphones are created equal. That is why when I perform, I prefer to bring my own rig and not use the house mics. I also use mic preamps to smooth out peaks and valleys in the signal while adding a bit of compression and reverb. All of these elements make for a polished performance and confidence on stage.

Most venues still use dynamic mics. They may have gone wireless but they are still dynamic and in my opinion muddy as compared to the condensers I use in the studio and on tour. I learned early on to bring the best gear to recapture that "studio sound". Using Audio-Technica's ATM710 condenser mic with my DigiTech Vocalist Live 2 and Vocalist Live 4 immediately brought the professional sound I was looking and listening for to my live performances. There is no reason to be afraid of condensers any more if you use the right ones and place them away from the speakers. Now if your style consists of screaming into the mic well, a condenser might not be for you. However if you wish to pick up subtle nuances in your vocals and instrumentals...get a good condenser!

How you prepare for your concerts will certainly effect the finished product, that is your on stage appearance. Getting your sound stage under control starts in the studio. This is where you begin to try out different microphones to see how they work and respond. You can also try wireless applications in the studio first before taking them on the road. We tried a Fender wireless system which was made for one of their PA systems. It came with a dynamic headset mic which was adequate but nothing to write home about. Even worse, it could only be used with that particular Fender amp. We went back to Audio-Technica and found that they had a condenser wireless system utilising the same ATM710 mic that we were so impressed with as a cabled mic! Now we were on to something as Audio-Technica's Series 3000 Wireless System was very easy to set up and unlike the Fender, did not require a trans pack. A battery within the mic housing provides the phantom power needed. The results were pretty incredible. Sparkling clarity and transparency on vocals and everything else you want to throw at it. Nearly feedback proof, it has an easy to access mute button and UHF offering multiple channels.

Mic preamps are a must for recording in the studio but also have a place on the road. Many come as rack mounts but I prefer to travel light. Moreover foot pedals allow me to make adjustments for my vocals and guitar with out having to turn my back to the audience to do so. While I really enjoy using my BOSS GT-10 guitar multi-effector for recording, it's just overkill for most venues. The DigiTech RP-90 is a good alternative for my electric guitar or I'll pack a smaller harmonizer such as the Vocalist Live 2 (VL2) or the Electro Harmonix Voice Box + Vocoder. These preamps or signal processors help to even out your vocals and give you great harmonies by tracking your guitar chords. In the studio, I use the Vocalist Live 4 with pitch correction and many more tweakable features I want on my recordings. Same thing with the GT-10 which has nearly 400 presets for clean and dirty guitar. I also use the far more sensitive Audio-Technica AT4047/SV condenser with the Vocalist Live 4 and the T.C. Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G with the Audio-Technica AT4050 multi pattern condenser. This sort of effort truly pays off when you play back your newly burned CD's. Likewise a poor quality mic can fail to capture your spontaneous creativity.

So what does my road rig look like? A lot like my recording studio! Depending on the size of the venue, it can be a very simple set up with my instrument, condenser mics, signal processor and drum and bass machine. I use the BOSS Dr. Rhythm boxes both live and on recordings and have been very pleased with their easy operation and results. In fact, I got the Instructional DVD for the BOSS DR880 which shows basic and more advanced programming. Really my road rig mirrors my studio rig with the exception of the digital recording equipment. I've also found that there are high-low alternatives. Take for example, if you can not afford the VL4, consider the VL2 or the Voice Box which will still give you basic harmonies and a great finish on your vocals at about half the price. Sometimes it is wiser to leave your more fragile and expensive studio boxes in the studio. I would include the VL4 in that category. I've taken on the road but always used a padded flight case. Plastic knobs and pedals often do not fare well roadwise. All metal chasis and foot switches tend to hold up much better. Once you practice with quality gear you will want to showcase this level of precision for live performances. So here are My Studio and Road Rig Picks!

See more essential gear from my private studio and road set up in the left hand column with some great deals PLUS FREE shipping to boot! Coming Up Soon..... our Best Guitar Gear for 2010 hit list and our Top Gear for Audiophiles. Check this out before you do any gift shopping!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kanye Interrupts Again!

Kanye is at it again? He hasn't even heard my CD so how does he know Beyonce's is better? Either way, I appear unruffled by his critique. Look for coverage of my upcoming CD project with C.F. Martin Guitars, Audio-Technica Microphones & Planet Waves Custom Pro Mic Cables!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rockin' at Russo's

Dr. M. having a rockin' good time at Russo Music Center!
Martin Sustainable Wood Series D-18 in Cherry. Long Tee by Audio-Technica

Time for New Guitar Strings?

Some days are just made for good times. Most guitarists revel in spending a little time at their favorite music shop among instruments they may dream of owning someday. This past Friday afternoon was sunny and warm. Perfect for a ride out to Russo Music Center located at 1989 Arena Drive in Hamilton, NJ. Better than a candy store for guitarists, this store has beautiful Martins, Gibsons, Fenders and Taylors to name only a few top brands. My mission was to seek out someone knowledgeable about guitar strings especially for my acoustic guitars. I know what new strings or even a change in the type of strings can do for your tone and playability. At a Free Martin Guitar Clinic, Dave Evans put a set of light strings on my D-16GT which has a pickup. That guitar has sung so sweetly ever since! It also plays like a dream and has become my favorite now. PHOTO: Professional Guitarist Barry Peterson stops in to play a Martin Eric Clapton Signature 000-28. Hear our podcast of him playing "Tears in Heaven" on this guitar! Dr. M's Radio Show

If you want to take your acoustic playing to the next level, let me suggest at least trying some new strings. A seasoned guitar tech will be able to tell you which strings to choose based on your picking style, genre of music and of course the size of your guitar. I always thought putting light strings on a Dreadnought was a bad idea. This might be true if you are playing it acoustically. In my case, I only use my D-16GT in the studio for recording and with an amp. Therefore, having heavier strings for more volume was not necessary in this case.

I really began to have my eyes opened to new possibilities when Chris Colletti showed me the advantages and disadvantages of using certain string gauges on my acoustic guitars. After a little discussion, he was able to figure out the perfect fit for my two Martins, the SWDGT which is a D-18GT in cherry and the Little Martin LX1E. Sometimes strings can just go dead from being on too long. Chris made a lot of checks in the alignment of the neck, the bridge and other points to make sure the action was as low as possible without buzzing. Chris also said a Luthier can sometimes work on a saddle to make the action lower, making the guitar effortless to play.
Chris also suggested that I try a set of Elixirs Nanoweb technology strings which are very comfortable to play. They changed my vision of what medium strings could feel like! I don't know about you but I don't care for heavily calloused finger pads. The strings will be a make or break factor in how often I'll pick up the guitar too. Martin SP Lights were a revelation in what a change in string gauge can make in your playing and the guitar's response. I doubt if I'll ever go back to Medium strings on my D-16! Using the lighter strings even helped lower the action naturally on this guitar.

TIP: If you want to maintain volume and bass, you'll most often need to stick with a medium or heavier gauged string. Try splitting the difference with something like the Martin SP Light / Medium strings. Sort of a half and half approach. They seemed more balanced for my Little Martin without any significant loss of tone or volume. I am one happy picker now!
PHOTO ABOVE: Chris Colletti, one of the guitar pros at Russo Music Center doing a set up on my Martin SWDGT.

Want to learn more? Listen to some great guitar playing by professional entertainer, Barry Peterson and Chris Colletti's advice on how to pick the best strings for YOUR guitar.

It's all right here at Dr. M's Radio Show Podcast LIVE from Russo Music Center!

PHOTO: Dr. M and her Little Martin LX1E with new Martin SP Medium/Light Strings. Pigment Dyed Distressed Hoodie by Audio-Technica.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rev Gen 2009 Exceeds Expectations

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot capping off Saturday night's line up at the 2009 Revelation Generation music festival.

Christian rock, contemporary, urban, metal, acoustic and some genres yet undefined were offered at this year's Revelation Generation concert in Frenchtown New Jersey, Sept. 4-5th. With its professional sound & staging effects, it is easy to see how this event is one of the most well attended in the tri-state area. As a family oriented venue providing many types of music to sample, it is Delaware Valley's premier music festival.

According to concert promoter Sean Grom, over 25,000-30,000 people were expected this Labor Day Weekend and the weather plus the music made for a incredible turn out. Offering more than just great music, the Revelation Generation concerts have opportunities to minister and be ministered to. Five stages, games, skateboarding exhibitions, food and merchandise vendors make this a true festival in every sense.
Photo: Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay performing on Friday night. Together for over 16 years they released their tenth album, Long Fall Back to Earth this past April 2009.

Last Concert for Delirious?

Every concert has a story. Rev Gen is celebrating it's 5th anniversary this year. Their quest to provide wholesome musical and cultural entertainment has been met with success evidenced by huge increases in attendance each year. This is at a time when many other concerts are being cancelled because they can't fill the seats. People are looking for value for their purchasing dollar. Spending a day out with your children in farm country is becoming even more appealing as the economy continues to regain its footing.

This year was bitter-sweet as were watching one of the last performances by Delirious as a band. Impeccably dressed, all of the members showcased immense virtuosity while sealing the deal with their performance of My Soul Sings which will likely be their final CD. Better known for such spiritual anthems as the 1994 classic, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever and My Glorious, this is one of their last American dates.
Photo: Members of the British band, Delirious during a radio show interview in the press tent. This is the group's last tour according to Martin Smith (far right), who does lead vocals and guitar.

BarlowGirl & Fireflight-Women Taking Charge

With male bands dominating, it was refreshing to see some all women bands. Barlowgirl are three sisters and integrated groups such as Flyleaf and Fireflight. As many of the concert goers were young women this was encouragement for them to get involved and express themselves musically.

Barlowgirl did a fantastic job of reaching out to the audience both musically and emotionally. Speaking as a sisterhood, they spoke to the audience about choices and opportunities.

The family warmth they share extended to the crowd. Their playing was a little reserved perhaps because of their their family church origins. That's simply their performing mode. All the same the vocals were tight and well done. BarlowGirl has four albums out with another one being released on September 22 nd, 2009. Photo Above: Rebbecca Barlow on her Gibson during BarlowGirl's Saturday afternoon set on the New York stage.

Taking Flight

We also liked Fireflight as the women in that band were not shy to take some of the same risks as the guys do in post grunge. Fireflight played with heart but left the "croaking" to the guys in the band. Very well balanced between high energy and artistic expression. True to form.

Featured on tour with Disciple, Family Force 5 and Decyfer Down, Fireflight has also played Shoutfest. Their album, The Healing of Harms was their major label debut. This 2006 release reached #37 on Billboard Magazine's Top Christian Albums chart.
Photo: Fireflight taking off Saturday afternoon on the Philadelphia Stage.

Relient K, Reliably Rocked

Relient K, so named after one of the band member's cars by the same moniker. Known for their sometimes quirky, oftentimes moving lyrics and high energy stage shows, they are one band you will not forget. Although they are categorized as a pop-punk band, they defy pigeon holing. Their frontman, Matthew Thiessen, showed amazing versatility on the piano and guitar while holding it all down with solid vocal performances. Not afraid to sweat but still looking very fresh, the band gets big kudos for knowing what the audience wants and then bringing it.

Thiessen knows how to interact with the audience while keeping a tight hold on the set list. It was great seeing him switch from a Gibson to a trumpet for what he called one of the band's silly songs. There was nothing silly about their performance which got the audience motivated and involved.

Relient K's upcoming tour includes Australia this month with their new album, Forget and Not Slow Down, set for an October 6 release. To find out more about the band's concerts and CD's visit Relient K online.

Photo: Matthew Thiessen during Relient K's Saturday afternoon performance at Rev Gen. PODCAST ALERT!!! Hear our LIVE Podcast from Relient K's Rev Gen performance at Dr. M's Radio Show.

After their cross-over hit, I Can Only Imagine, MercyMe has sold millions of discs, toured the world and are consistently on the radio station's playlists. Why? Well perhaps part of the package is their warmth. Hailing from Texas, they are not ashamed of their Southern Baptist roots. While on tour last month, the band was involved in a fatal crash when a vehicle turned into the path of their tour bus. No one on the bus was seriously injured but all four passengers traveling in the car were killed. MercyMe has continued their touring despite this tragedy which says something about their convictions to their work in reaching people. Their latest album, All That is Within Me is being promoted amidst non-stop touring. They are also helping the Go Foundation which is a missionary cause. Visit MercyMe to learn more about their work and music. Photo: Bart Millard, lead vocalist. MercyMe's performance of I Can Only Imagine was a moving interlude.

The Revelation Generation festival is perhaps one of the best organized events I've covered to date. Most of the staff are volunteers and I have found them to be genuinely concerned with the safety and welfare of the concert goers. The grounds are clean and the crowds very well behaved with perhaps a little expected rowdiness amongst metal fans at the Philadelphia Stage.

One of the standout performances of the concert was Needtobreathe's Yahweh. What impressed me with the band's tightness and unity in playing. Their music video for this song reminds me of a Beatles theme. They are definitely the band to watch. There are concerts and there are events. This was a happening. Hands down the Revelation Generation Concert of 2009 was the best to date and a must-go for music lovers of all genres.
Photo: Relient K's bass guitarist, John Warne working that Fender during their Saturday afternoon performance.

For more information on the Revelation Generation concert series, visit them online.

All photos under Copyright 2009 Dr. M. All rights reserved.

Related Articles :

Rev Gen's 2008 Concert

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Little Martin Hits the Road!

My Little Martin LX1E is the perfect travel companion. Here it is on the front porch of our cabin in the forest. On the neck is Planet Waves' NS Capo.

If you are getting ready to head off to college or guitar classes this fall, allow me to let you in on a little secret. The Little Martin LX1E is a great 3/4 sized guitar with a solid spruce top and a pickup. We took it along on vacation and its small size really was a plus when it came to packing. In fact, it will fit in a bus or plane's overhead compartment so you won't need to check it. This can save you time and give you peace of mind for the trip.

Rugged Little Guitar

If you are going to be traveling to areas of high humidity or fluctuating temperature extremes, the Little Martin will be right at home. While my other two Martins have solid wood backs and sides, the Little Martin has HPL on all but the soundboard. This high pressure laminate does not react to humidity and temperature changes the way my solid wood guitars do. It stays in tune longer because it is not affected by the wood's swelling or contracting. The well padded gig-bag, (see tent photo here), is also a plus. Very lightweight but quite protective, it sports the official C.F. Martin logo. The outer pouch has two heavy zipper pulls and is large enough to accommodate sheet music or standard sized song books. The bag also has backpack straps and a handle so you can carry it two ways.

Now after having played full sized Martin Dreadnoughts, I would have to say that I am quite spoiled when it comes to tone. The Little Martin is not a full sized guitar obviously but it does have good projection acoustically. I've played it in the company of multiple Martin D-18's, D-28's and D-42's and was not in the least embarrassed. It is after all still a Martin, only smaller. Many other Martin owners even asked if they could play it! If it sounded bad, trust me, they would have had nothing to do with it. In fact when we visited the Martin Museum, we noticed quite a few "parlor" guitars that were not much bigger than the Little Martin. Where it really shines, however is when you plug it into a good clean amp. I play it in the studio over my Tech21 Trademark 60 amp and it is hard to imagine all that full, rich sound is coming from a 3/4 sized guitar! Played through the clean channel of this solid state 60 watt amp, the pickup and preamp help reproduce the rich, woody tones Martins are known for. On the road, I perform and tour with a vintage Crate amp and this guitar can definitely keep up.

On Board Pick Up-The Fishman Mini Q

What I really like is the position of the pickup and 1/4 inch jack on the Little Martin LX1E. The Fishman Mini Q system is an under saddle piezo with the pre-amp battery compartment mounted on the side just under the strap button. Down in the lower bout of the guitar, it is out of the way making it less likely you will hit the dials during a song. I have a Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend on my Martin D-16GT so I am well acquainted with more complex preamps and pickups. The Fishman Mini Q gets the job done with a minimal amount of fuss having only tone and volume controls to adjust. The battery is easy to change as it pops out of the compartment without having to remove the strings. This is such a fantastic value as this guitar can be used for performance as well as travel.

I use SpectraFlex braided guitar cables with a silent plug feature, (see their banners), and get wonderful tone with this guitar. It comes with Medium Martin strings but on a guitar this size, you may be able to get away with Lights. I use the smaller and more compact NS Capo by Planet Waves because it fits more proportionately. The new Planet Waves Headstock Tuner is also best to use on this guitar. Other tuners often do not register the low E and other bass strings at all. The 1/4 jack means that you can also plug it into a tuner like the BOSS TU-2. Choices!

The Wrap

The Little Martin LX1E is a lot of guitar for the money. The list is $499.99 but street is around $350.00. It is the guitar that you won't mind taking out on rainy days or throwing into the back of a sun warmed car. The solid spruce top is a real plus as 90% of the guitar's tone is generated from the soundboard. Well made and sturdy this is the guitar I use in my music ministry. People love to touch your instruments and I believe instruments should touch people. The smaller size also allows me to use it while visiting in hospital rooms when a big body guitar would be awkward. It is perfect for young people and women because its smaller scale makes it easier to fret as well as hold. Made with pride in North America by the world's oldest and most respected luthiers it will be accompanying me to guitar class this September. See the complete Litttle Martin Series at:

C.F. Martin Guitar Online

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This fall we will be offering more FREE Guitar Gear Give-Aways plus our picks of Best Guitar Gear for 2010! Also, hot reviews of equipment from Audio-Technica, T.C. Helicon, Monster Cable, Planet Waves and MUCH, MUCH MORE. Be sure to check back!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Martin Owner's Club Day 2009

Thom Bresh, son of Country Hall of Fame guitarist, Merle Travis, performs at the 4th annual Martin Owner's Club Day in Nazareth, PA. Podcast is on Dr. M's Radio Show: http://doctorm.tumblr.com/

The 4th Annual Martin Owner's Club Day once again offered its members fantastic food, fun, gifts and entertainment. Some of the best guitarists in the world play Martins and to help celebrate this event, Thom Bresh, son of the legendary Country Hall of Famer, Merle Travis, put in amazing performance. Also on stage was blues and rag master, Kenny Sultan from California with his signature Martin. Owner's Club Day is a picnic and fair hosted at the Martin Factory in Nazareth Pennsylvania. Martin guitar owners come from all over the world and it is not uncommon to hear many different languages spoken at this event. The day began with a continental breakfast of scrumptious muffins and pastries, coffee and tea. Then a catered lunch was served by a company who specializes in Ox and Pig Roasts. All the picnic favorites were there including baked beans, macaroni and cheese plus a really delicious pulled pork barbecue. There was an open mic performance where Martin Club members signed up to get on stage. There was a lot of talent on hand!

During the day there were guitar workshops, guided factory tours and trips through the museum which houses guitars owned by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Gene Autry and many, many others. Some, such as the one owned by Roy Rogers have gone on auction at Christies for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kenny Sultan came on stage after the open mic session and lit it up! He explained simple chords and using a one string baseline for his blues style. Everyone enjoyed his playing as was evidenced by the applause and whistles. Next Thom Bresh took the stage and amazed everyone with his "Travis" picking style with some licks he himself invented. Bresh is a true comedian and did really good impressions of other country artists such as the hard to imitate, Willie Nelson. He also did a very smooth version of Nine Pound Hammer that his father, Merle Travis wrote. He explained that the part in the song that goes, "Roll on Buddy", is actually a call to his mule! Bresh has a new DVD out called Breshman which can be accessed at his photo in the banner ad section to your left.

Kenny Sultan, master of Blues and Rag music performing on stage at Martin's Owner's Club Day

This event is a wonderful expression of Martin's enduring commitment to their customers. Each member received a
"swag bag" of Martin goodies such as picks, a polishing cloth, strings, decals and patches. Additionally last year we also received a free subscription to Premier Guitar magazine and special discounts on newly released LX guitars. This year Martin guitar artist, Robert F. Goetzl had a prototype available featuring his artwork on a new LX guitar featuring factory illustrations showing the stages of crafting a Martin Guitar. One of the highlights of the day is Chris Martin's member address after which he graciously autographed guitars and other souveniers.

Martin Factory Tour

During Martin Owner's Club Day, many members take in the guided tours through the Martin factory. The Martin Factory Tours have been rated one of the BEST factory tours in the U.S.A. It is about an hour long and takes you through the various stages of creating a Martin Guitar. You are also able to stop by the Custom Shop during this tour and see some incredible restoration and inlay work being done. Each guitar takes between 2-3 months to make.

The hour long tour is very educational, showing the intricate steps in the construction of their guitars. For example did you know that Martin invented the Dreadnought guitar? It is the most copied acoustic body in the world but Martin created it first. Also X-Bracing which is used as the industry standard to support the guitar's soundboard was also invented by C.F. Martin. After 176 years, I think they know what they are doing! Membership in the Martin Owners Club is a real value. As a member, you receive the Sounding Board which is a full color magazine of all things Martin plus their yearly catalog and price lists. You also get a Martin full color calendar plus free strings and other specially made Owner's Club merchandise. Want to be a part of the "club"? Get details on how to join at: Martin Guitar http://www.martinguitar.com/

Hanging with the Martin Guitars in front of the Visitor's Center!

Congratulations to John M., winner of our C.F. Martin and Planet Waves Guitar Gear Give-Away. John won sets of Martin light and medium SP strings, Martin Banjo Strings and the legendary Planet Waves NS Capo! Next Give-Away will feature the new Planet Waves Headstock Tuner among the other cool prizes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guitar Gear Give-Away!

Congratulations!!! John Montalbano is our Top Winner of C.F. Martin Guitar and Banjo strings PLUS the legendary Planet Waves NS Guitar Capo! Thanks to all who entered...
We all should look for the "freebies" in life these days! C.F. Martin and Planet Waves want you to have a super summer so they are joining with Eclectic Sound for another fantastic guitar gear give-away. You can win everything here except for the $40,000 Martin Guitar! First, let's talk about some of the prizes and how they will benefit your playing.

Planet Waves NS Capo

This is my favorite capo and the only one I use on my Martin guitars. It is so lightweight and compact, I can get it on quickly with nearly one hand. No buzzing and it won't pull your guitar out of tune after using it. A capo is very handy for when let's say the key of G is too high but you don't want to change the chording when you transpose the song to a lower key. Simply place the capo on the fourth fret and play the same G pattern chords only now you will be playing in the key of B. Easy! You'll also find that playing up the neck, the frets are closer together, more so than in 1st position. Capoing can relieve the stress of over stretching your fingers, making playing your guitar much more comfortable.

Using a capo can also add texture to multiple guitars. Many of the earlier folk groups such as the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary were said to have used a capo to set one guitar's tone apart from the others. Chet Atkins even used a capo! Ned Steinberger is the genius behind this capo design, hence the "NS" in its name. Works wonderfully on 6 and 12 string guitars. Lightweight aluminum adds virtually no weight to the guitar's neck when in use. Everyone who borrows mine says, "Wow, this is nice!" So here's your chance to win one for yourself. Visit Planet Waves online for more useful capos and guitar accessories: Planet Waves http://www.planetwaves.com

Martin Acoustic SP Light Guitar Strings-MSP4100's

These are the new strings that I had put on at the Martin Guitar Clinic this spring. These are the LIGHT gauge, (.012-.054) premium phosphor bronze
strings. The SP stands for sustained playability and I have to say they live up to their name. These are the strings I am now recording with on my Martin D-16. The lighter strings are a joy adding to greater bending and slides. Plus they are perfect for when too much volume could induce feedback in my sensitive studio condenser mics. With the pickups installed on my D-16, I can get away with more intricate tone because I needn't "drive" the guitar for it to be heard on the recordings. These strings have ultra-high tensile strength steel cores that resist breaking. In fact, I've never yet broken a Martin string. The acoustic bronze electro finish provides greater string life and looks beautiful against the solid spruce top.

Martin Custom Shop

It's great to know that the same strings that are being put on this $40,000 Martin D-100 are on my humble D-16!

During Martin Owner's Club Day we got to stop in at the custom shop and see all kinds of Martin Guitars receiving special details and pearl inlay. Some are in for repairs or after being rescued from neglect and damage. No matter. They all get a new set of premium Martin strings before leaving the shop to sound their absolute best. Take the Martin Factory & Museum Tour yourself! The Martin Owner Club event is being held this year on Friday, July 31st 2009. Get the details under the events listings, CONCERTS-WORKSHOPS-JAMS.

Martin Acoustic SP Guitar Strings-Medium MSP4200's

One of the things that you can do is experiment with different string gauges. These strings offer the same features as the other SP acoustic strings only in a MEDIUM gauge, (.013-.056). If you are playing with lighter strings and you want more "boom" in your bottom end, you might try using heavier strings. These are the stings that I had put on my Martin D-18 in sustainable cherry. These medium strings allow me to drive this dedicated acoustic to greater volumes as my D-18 doesn't have a pickup. The cherry also does not offer the same "boom" of the mahogany or rosewood models but with the right strings, I'm able to definitely be heard. Having a guitar with a different wood construction will also allow you to stand out in the mix. It is said that the cherry is more balanced with a medium or mid range tone. You want to offer something a little different that what everyone else is playing. I really enjoy my D-18 with these medium strings. I even gave a set to my guitar teacher. His guitar sounded like gold once he got them on! Visit C.F. Martin & Co. online: http://www.martinguitar.com

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!!! GIVE-AWAY ENTRY DETAILS!!! So are you ready to win all of these sweet prizes? Two sets of Martin Acoustic Guitar or Banjo strings and the Planet Waves NS Capo can be yours! Answer this question by clicking the COMMENTS link below: "What was the first song you used a capo with?" That's it! Deadline is 12 midnight, July 31st, 2009. Be sure to leave your email address so that we can contact you if you win. Go for it!