R.I.P. Les Paul
It was with great sadness that I yesterday learned of the death of the legendary Les Paul. One of the electric guitar’s greatest pioneers and innovator of multitrack recording techniques, Les died yesterday due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 94. He will be missed by everyone in the guitar and music world. There’s little point in me elaborating on his life as anyone who knows anything about guitars knows who Les Paul was and what he achieved in his lifetime. A very sad loss.
As you may already know from the press releases and the ‘news’ page on the main website, I’m now playing Siggery Guitars made by my old friend Marty Siggery. Marty played bass on The Magician album back in 1991 and had a magic touch with guitars as far back as I can remember. He became renowned on the guitar circuit during the 80’s and 90’s for his expert set-ups and mods, and has since blossomed into a killer guitar builder… Rather than have me tell you how good his guitars are, just check out the reviews in guitar magazines… ;-)
Marty is currently building me two custom solid body electric guitars. They’re both made out of mahogany with Koa veneered tops (mostly for cosmetic purposes), with an SG syle body shape, set mahogany neck, 24 fret fingerboard and 25″ scale length. The pickups will be Rio Grande’s ’Barbeque Bucker’ in the bridge and ‘Buffalo Bucker’ in the neck. The guitars will have one volume and one coil-tappable tone pot with a three way toggle switch. The input jack will be on the guitar’s edge rather than the face. One will be in transparent black, the other in transparent crimson. As soon as they arrive here, I’ll photograph them and post photos in the blog :-)
The reason why I’ve opted for an SG body style is for nostalgia purposes and it’s practicality. I had a Gibson SG Special when I was about 12 years old and made a big mistake in trading it in for a different guitar a couple of years later… :-/ I like the SG’s comfortable design and easy access to the upper fretboard, I have one at home that I play a lot. Marty’s hand-crafted custom version will be awesome, I can’t wait to play it…!
My UK passport expired late last month, so I had the boring and tedious task of renewing it via the British Embassy in the U.S. Other than the renewal paperwork and basic instructions online through their website, the British Embassy didn’t provide much information, other than when the package was ready I had to send it to them in Washington, D.C. Here in America, U.S. passport photos are 2″ x 2″, a standard size and available just about anywhere. But for a UK passport, the photo has to be 45mm in height and 35mm in width, a format that isn’t common in this country…
So… I went to all the obvious places to try and get a photograph, I actually wasted an entire afternoon going from store to store only to be told the same thing, that they only catered for the U.S. 2″ x 2″ format. As a last resort, we passed by a Walgreens pharmacy and Shawna told me to try inside as they did passport photos there. To my surprise and joy, the guy in the Walgreens photo department knew exactly what I was talking about and showed me their photo software which has a specific ‘UK Passport’ process. He took the photo with a digital camera, and the software did the rest, producing two perfect UK passport photos!
So, for any British ex-pats living in America, when you need to renew your passport, just go straight to Walgreens for the photos! I don’t know why the British Embassy doesn’t have this information on it’s website, it would have saved me many hours of frustration… When my daughter Skye needed 2″ x 2″ photos for her first U.S. passport whilst we were living in England, the American Embassy provided several local photographer’s details on it’s website making the process very simple. Maybe the British Embassy should follow suit…
My 40th Birthday!
It was that time of year again… the 7th of August. I’ve never been too bothered about birthdays, as I’ve always believed that we’re as old as we feel. My birthday this year was spoilt by a heavy cold, all Shawna’s plans were ruined as my mild cold took a turn for the worse on the 7th… We’ll do all the things we’d planned next week, my cold is finally starting to fade…