My Martin OMC-16E guitar has a big strap button to accommodate the 1/4″ jack for its electronics (a Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend pickup)–too big for the holes in most guitar straps. I’d been wanting to buy myself a nice strap for this guitar but the big strap button was holding me up. My wife and I were planning to visit the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA as part of an upcoming vacation. Knowing that they had a gift shop and I might be able to buy a strap there, I decided to hold off until our visit.

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My guitar teacher, Charlie, was kind enough this week to send out a reminder to his students regarding humidifying our guitars during the winter, and he passed along a great link to videos about humidity on the Taylor Guitars website. In the videos, Bob Taylor uses a humidity chamber to dry out a guitar and show the effects. It’s not pretty. Then he demonstrates how a rehumidification program can actually restore the guitar to an acceptable condition. In the video, Bob uses Dampit instrument humidifiers (I’ve been using an Oasis OH-1 humidifierTejon Street Music supplied me with it when I purchased my Martin from them, and it seems to work effectively, too). If these videos don’t motivate you to humidify your guitar, I don’t know what will.

While I was checking out the Taylor website, I found some awesome videos on cleaning and restringing, too. These are great instructional videos that are easily followed and repeated by non-guitar-experts like me. Check out Taylor Guitar’s Video page for a lot of interesting content.

Update (8 May 2009): Wow–this method of stringing really works great! I finally got to the point where it was time to put new strings on my Martin, and I copied the method shown in the video below (‘cept I don’t have a fancy motor winder–yet…). The strings wrapped around the tuning pegs as neat as can be, with just the right number of wraps. Waaaaay better than any of my previous restringing jobs…

Buddy sent me a link to this cool video (below) from Taylor Guitars on how to restring your guitar. Heaven knows I could use some guidance in that area. I’ve restrung my guitars several times but by the time I need to do my next restringing, I’ve forgotten all the things I’d learned the last time I did it.

It’s not that there’s a shortage of resources that tell you how to do it, and to my own credit, I’ve never had a problem with one of my restringing jobs, but it never looks quite as neat as I’d like, either.

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Never one to pass up an opportunity to marry one of my hobbies with another, I thought it might be interesting to try recording my guitar-playing using my computer. The easy way, of course, would have been to simply buy a microphone, plug it into my sound card, and get on with it. Of course, that’s not nearly complicated enough for my tastes. Besides, I was playing (if you can call it that) my electric guitar at the time, and it seemed like an interesting idea to find a way to plug it directly into my sound card.

Unfortunately, the signal level coming out of an electric guitar is generally too low to get good recordings by running it directly into the sound card, so a little preamplification is needed. Another issue is that, well, the output from an electric guitar pickup is pretty boring unless you run it through an amp to add some effects.

Enter the TonePort UX1 by Line 6.

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Apparently, guitar players are a lot like golfers.

First, there’s the whole equipment thing. Golfers need golf clubs, balls, tees, shoes, ball markers, towels–the list of things you can buy for your golfing habit is nearly endless.

Guitar players need guitars, straps, picks, music, humidifiers, tuners, metronomes–the list of things you can buy for your guitar-playing habit is also nearly endless.

Second, guitar players and golfers are both quick to believe that better equipment will make them better players. As a budding guitar player and occasional golfer, I know this to be true. Despite the fact that I golf only once or twice a year, I will admit to buying an oversized driver in hopes that it’d help my game. And, to a degree, it did.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

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