TONEWOOD

 

LPSupreme

Oh my gods, the tones. Just look at them coming out at you.

Here it is, the endless, stupid tonewood debate summarized:

Wood doesn’t affect tone. It’s the pickups and wires and shit.

Yes it does! ‘Cause vibrations and shit.

It’s all in your fingers!

Here’s my Youtube video showing wood does affect tone. Ha, fuck you!

Bullshit, here’s my Youtube video showing wood does not affect tone. So fuck you.

But tone is all in your fingers!

This is what it would take to disprove the tonewood notion.

1. Get a million dollars in funding for some audio science laboratory.

2. Buy a crapload of guitars and amps with this money. This is the control group.

3. Then buy more amps and build specialized guitars which can replicate most guitar configurations. This the experiment group.

4. Spend months recording and sending the guitars’ tones through analyzers and o-scopes.

5. Spend several more months on the control group.

6. Tack on a few more seasons (Seriously, babies will be born and learn to walk during this whole thing) compiling and analyzing all the data.

7. Publish these findings in a paper, and prepare to have it done all over again as part of the peer review process.

If step 1 doesn’t happen, then none of it happens, and it’s not going to happen. The reasons why are easy to understand. Tell ‘em, Rock:

TheRock

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truth is some of us are probably curious and just confused. There’s been so much, um, “debate” on guitar forums that some people confused by the din.

Here’s what it boils down to though: there’s plausibility in the tonewood argument. Those strings do vibrate and resonance, and feedback does occur on a solidbody electric guitar. It’s even greater on a semi-hollow or hollowbody one. So there are many things at play which affect the magnetic fields of the pickups, and make it back to the amplifier. The problem is nobody knows how much of each factor, and since I don’t see anybody willing to make this research grant happen (I’m pretty damn sure there’s a lab who would love to record guitars all day, talk about a cool project), well I guess all your Youtube videos are pretty fucking pointless then.

So whether you are a self-proclaimed doctor, warlock, captain, king, or whatever, the whole thing is based just on your opinion. Your anecdotes, insistence for either side, logical fallacies, ad hominems, and recordings – and good gods, recordings are a whole different ball of wax here – mean nothing. We could all go round and round all day but nobody has the tools, the money, or the will to back it with hard data. Unless you want to pay out of pocket for the lab equipment and guitars needed to do such an experiment, you have got nothing but stories and opinions.

A project like this would be exhaustive, and after the paper was published, people would set out to disprove it. It wouldn’t end there. Science doesn’t prove stuff. It pares away what doesn’t work and clears up misconceptions. Many previous generations have figured a lot of things out. We know which stuff works but it’s clear by the tonewood arguments that we don’t really know why. We mostly think we know, and we insist upon our points as though Paul Reed Smith doing it makes it authoritative. Smith knows way more about building guitars than I ever will. I can’t deny it. Has he done this kind of work though, and does he have the data somewhere showing just why a mahogany electric guitar should sound “darker” than an alder one. What does that even mean, darker? That’s a subjective statement but it’s accepted without question by guitarists.

That’s a huge part of the problem. All of these truisms, frequently believed with little questioning, use buzzwords and slang. Who are you to tell me a Gibson Les Paul sounds dark? I have a Dean Zelinsky StrettaVita. It’s a Les Paul clone. I can get quite a bit of snap and treble from it if I dial my amp and/or pedal settings right. Even then I just used the word “snap.” What did that even mean to you? It means something to me – I use it to describe tight response from the guitar, like snapping a towel or belt. It could’ve meant something totally different to you when you read it. Yet we guitarists do this everyday. We use subjective words and just assume people know what we mean. Then we have the gall to claim whether or not something affects another, but can’t explain just how much or exactly why. Ah, got it, “vibrations.” Okay, how much and by what factor? Can you state it in a formula? If I have x volume by y mass over z density, can I then figure out the resonance Telecaster’s body will have? Exactly, nobody has figured that out. You and I have got nothin’.

In the end the best use of one’s time is becoming better or less terrible at the guitar, rather than arguing things we can’t support.

Posted in guitar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Companion Piece

I wrote this while looking at this artist’s digital painting. Their work can be found here.

“Rite of Spring,” by digb

The smoke-gray clouds shrouded a purple and orange sunset, telling us that it was near showtime. We sat in our favorite section, snug in the armpit between a trunk and a long branch belonged to a Methusalian oak. She had learned this show’s lines by heart and was even there during dress rehearsal. She whispered to us about how the performance never wears on her, and as Zeus chucked his first bolt cloud to cloud, we spied a smile in that old oak’s craggy bark.

Next we faced the horizon, where above us Zephyrus strained his throat hollering, dropping the warm and sticky air down to a sudden chill. The others, ushered in by the fauns and nymphs, situated in knotholes, crannies, crooks, and gnarls. I could see the audience’s eyes flicker like tiny stars when Zeus hurled another bolt and it scattered across those violet puffs, turning the night sky to noon for a half-second.

At last one droplet splashed onto the aged oak, dripped down the leaves and smacked me atop the nose. It was just then I saw Pan stand before us, spread his arms to the heavens and say, “Good evening, folks, and welcome.”

Posted in short story, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Something New & Wicked This Way Comes

“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.

But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.”

Go get this book.

Disney is making a new adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes. The original movie, from 1983, is a cult classic these days for late Gen. X and Millenial adults whom remember seeing it on cable or VHS in the early 1980s.

It’s my favorite Ray Bradbury novel of all the ones I’ve read, and encapsulates everything I strive for in my writing: Midwestern locale, the influence of seasons, dark fantasy elements, and relatable characters most of all.

I don’t know how well this new version will be, since Bradbury is not on screenplay duty due to a case of being dead. Instead Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter‘s author is penning it. I’m uneasy but willing to see what they do. If anything, it’ll flood the internet with new Something Wicked artwork and material, something that’s hard to find today other than scans of old movie posters and DVD case art.

Regardless I’ve been pinging all day and am currently rewatching the original movie, and will reread Bradbury’s novel soon.

Some weird prepper site posted this image for their crackpot musings.

Posted in books | Tagged , , ,

All Your Writing Questions Answered

Since I follow so many writers on Twitter, I see a lot of click-bait and simple questions that require short answers, yet manage to contain 4-7 paragraphs (laced with hyperlinks to that writer’s latest ebook or other blog posts, of course.).

So here it is, the writing questions that keep getting asked on the internet. They’re in one place. If you can’t understand the answers, then you shouldn’t be a writer.

Can I incorporate [genre] elements into [other genre] elements?

Yes.

Do I have to write everyday to get better?

No.

No? But what about the zillion blog posts about writing prompts, exercises, setting schedules, and making goals to write [blank] number of words per day?

Easy blog material. Easy clicks. That’s why they post it.

So how often should I write?

Between everyday and about four times per week.

But…you just said I didn’t have to write everyday!

That’s not a question. But it sounds like you need help. Here’s your advice: stop being fucking lazy. Of course you have to set schedules, make goals, and stick to them. That’s called “being an adult,” and you should stop trying to weasel out of doing it.

Should I build an author platform or brand to sell my books?

You just told me you didn’t know how often you should write. I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.

But to put it simple, I’m a quality over quantity guy. I get annoyed when writers constantly plug timed tweets to their blogs, ebooks, or random quotes. I hate it. I’m sure others do also. They aren’t selling as much as they make you think they’re selling.

Know who doesn’t do that crap? Some of the authors I mentioned above, or people like Kaitlyn Kiernan, Dan Smith, Lee Child, or J.K. Rowling.

Self-publishers especially have it in their heads that if you just game the SEO algorithms enough, and spam out enough bullshit tweets, Instagram pics, or Pinterest pins, you’ll unlock the magic secret to readers.

Problem is most of their followers are…..other writers. People who are too busy plugging their own shit to read yours. Whoops, somebody didn’t think their plan through.

So how do I find readers then?

Understand that if you join a writers’ forum, or do a writers’ chat, you’re talking to writers. That’s talking shop. If you’re in a book club, then act like you’re in a book club. Those are readers.

Ah, so I can offer them my books?

No.

Why not?

Because that’s something an asshole does. Make friends. Talk to people. Goodreads is popular for this, though I admit I hate the shit out of its setup. People swear by it though.

But when can I finally sell these ebooks that don’t exist yet?

Well there’s your problem. You haven’t written any. Get on that and come back later.

Okay so let’s pretend I have a draft for a book. I’ve rewritten and revised it. What’s next?

Get some beta readers. Remember that book club you joined, and those writer chats you’ve been doing? Now is the time to ask for some favors. Understand favor means you will do something for them tomorrow. Beta readers read raw, unpublished material and give feedback. Take it and make your book better.

Great, I’ve improved my manuscript with some solid beta feedback. What now?

Budget. You will need an editor to sculpt this thing into something which can sell. OR you better start practicing query letters and finding an agent if you want to go traditional.

Fine, I’ll self-publish it. Penguin sucks. What next?

Get an editor, have them rip your child apart, and then put it back together again. And yes, they cost money. Like I said, budget.

Ouch. All that red ink hurt. But my book is better. Now what?

More of the same: copy editor, proofreader, and graphic designer. Get ready to look at lots of samples, make many emails and phone calls, and herd all these cats together. All the fun stuff about writing is over until you start another book – by the way, you have another in progress, right?

Oh shit, no! Should I?

Yep.

When does all this pay off and become easy?

When time stops. This is what it means to write. Also expect to lose money on your first book. Just a fair warning.

Now you tell me!

Oh well, at least you’re an actual writer now and not just faking it.

True.

Indeed. Now go to your keyboard and bleed some more.

Now here’s the internet god.

Posted in blogging, writing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

One Word (Reddit Writing Prompt)

Via this writing prompt on Reddit (Source)

“It’s just a few weeks away, have you decided what you’re going to say yet?” Sarah asked Tony. The young man shrugged.

He signed back, “I have but it’s so hard. I only get one chance at this, you know? Then it’s back to the normal way for the rest of my life.”

“Oh I know,” Sarah signed, “But trust me, when the moment came, I knew. And I just said it as loud and clear as I could.”

“What did it feel like?” Tony signed.

Sarah paused. She sat back and inhaled. “I cried. I had never heard my own voice before. It overwhelmed me. It was like a note that passed through me, carried me away and drifted me across the earth. I went around the world forty times in a second, and suddenly, I was back where I started, and I couldn’t say anymore.”

Tony’s mouth gaped. He shook his head and beamed towards Sarah. “Amazing,” he signed to her, “How did your voice sound?”

“Weak at first,” she signed back, “Then I felt my vocal cords tremor in my throat, and my voice grew and grew and grew, and soon I – I sang, Tony! I sang, just like the birds and the old videos, when people used to sing all the time, just for fun! And not like our vocal simulators, either. A real voice. It was so…so powerful…” Sarah stopped and slunk forward. She wiped away one tear. Sarah held up a finger to Tony, then procured her VoxSim, and put it across her throat.

A digital voice then spoke aloud for her, and she ceased sign language. “Sorry,” she said, “This thing’s annoying but it’s too much for me to sign it to you. Anyway, my voice was at full pitch for about a minute, then it grew weaker. I was running out of breath. I felt myself gliding back down to the surface. It was like reaching space but knowing you could never escape gravity’s pull. I felt dreadful for that moment. How I’d waited so long, and then with just a few heartbeats this moment would be over forever.”

Tony held Sarah’s hand and patted her shoulder. She leaned and her head touched his cheek.

“I’m just happy I recorded it,” she said through her VoxSim.

Tony shifted and signed, “Me too. I’m going to watch it after I do my word. But I have one thing to ask you.”

“What’s that?” Sarah asked.

“Would you please be there when I say it?” Tony signed.

She gasped and her VoxSim approximated the sound. “Really? Oh Tony!” Sarah kissed him and they held each other tight.

“Yes, if this is my only time, then I want it to be with you,” he signed between her kisses. They embraced fast and locked that way, never wanting to release. Gradually they did of course, and spent several more moments next to each other. Each kept to their own thoughts for a while.

Sarah was startled when Tony dropped his hand upon her knee. She looked over to him.

“I’ve decided what I’m going to say,” he signed. She anticipated his response.

Tony slid off the bench and sunk down to one knee. He produced a tiny, purple box. Sarah gasped again and clapped her mouth. Tears streamed down her cheeks. The box squeaked as it opened, and inside sat ring with a delicate, white stone.

Pushing the ring forth, Tony grabbed her hand and uttered, “Sarah?”

She dove into him and they fell onto the floor, she nodding and them both crying.

Here’s the cat.

Posted in science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Eyes to See (Reddit Writing Prompt)

My response to a Reddit writing prompt (Source and post)

Dan struggled against his assailants’ grip. They wrestled him to the ground, and another goon kicked him in the gut. He yelped while they wrenched him back up. Dan fought less going forward, dread covering him.

Gradually they arrived at a tiny apartment situated on a ragged building’s second story, about four blocks from where they had started. The journey had contained further pauses and beatings, all while uncaring eyes dodged the doomed man, if the bystanders acknowledged him at all. Dan was submissive and defeated. He awaited his death while they mounted the steps.

One goon unlocked a crackled blue door. The inside was dark. The henchmen flung Dan on the floor, his head bumping the grimy carpet. Dazed he struggled to shift his weight to his left side, which hurt less than his right. From there a crag-lined body entered his view. It shuffled as it navigated to the men. He heard their voices defer to him in respect.

“Pick him up,” it croaked. Whipped upright, Dan caught his first good view of his captor. Glaucoma capped eyes stared at nothing, but sat like pale, blue opals in his carven facade. The old man raised his fingers. They were tipped with steel cones and wires strung out and up his sleeve. Dan thought he could see some sticking out from behind the man’s head.

“Now, restrain him. Tight,” he commanded. The goons spun Dan around opposite the clawed one. Panic spiked inside as he realized the inevitable. He fought but one thug clasped him in a chokehold. Dan wheezed then felt the first prick.

Little by little the spines poked through his flesh and into his spinal cord, as Dan uttered a hoarse cry and struggled, ever weaker, against the attack. Then a sudden anesthetic effect dulled him, and Dan quieted.

“Yes,” the old man hissed, “Now I see. Show me everything, young man. We’ll fish that little secret from you yet.”

Obligatory cat

Posted in horror, writing | Tagged , , , , , ,

Horribly Terribly Wrong Adverbs

A cat. Maine Coon. Has nothing to do with this article. But you’ll love it anyway, won’t you? That’s right, love this fucking cat.

Here’s what my time on Twitter conversing with writers has taught me, in a nutshell:

Adverbs - Don’t you fucking dare use them, writer boy. Click over to Thesaurus.com and query that sumbitch to find yourself some proper power verbs.

I get that throwing adverbs around like ninja stars is obnoxious, but let’s calm the hell down, okay? Adverbs are useful, like a flat-head screwdriver. I rarely (adverb alert!) need one, but when I do, nothing else works. Just try unscrewing a flat-groove screw with a quarter and let me know how it works.

And besides, I use adverbs like a katana. Deft and deadly. Slice.

Posted in blogging, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Better Your Blog Now

Shamelessly reposted from the Telegraph.

1. Post cats. (Look up.)

2. Post really obvious advice in a condescending manner.

“Oh my god, you don’t know Google analyzes for keywords? What’s wrong with you? Lace your article with keywords so trackers will get you more clicks, dummy!”

3. Click-bait. You can never have enough. Did I mention cats yet?

Juliette

Juliette

4. Emotional triggers. Nothing gets clicks like trumped-up controversy.

Is the politician you hate the worst person ever who killed a cat with a machete? We’re just asking questions!

5. Talk shit about blogspammers, while you spam with five different Twitter accounts.

@JDGannonWriter Have you seen my new blog yet? bit.my.ass

@GannonWritesJD Check out these 5 important blog hints! scrw.off.dork

@WritingGannonGuy 5 Tips for Better Blogging this.is.stpd

@JDGBlogSpams Even more ways for cheap clicks clk.you.dck

@GannonFakeName RT @@JDGannonWriter Have you seen my new blog yet? bit.my.ass

Posted in blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Wattpad Story

I combed through my previous writing prompts and cleaned them up into this story.

http://www.wattpad.com/story/12319878-neither-world

 

 

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Writing Prompt: Celebrating Pain

Credit el-grimlock, DeviantArt.com

This is a prompt from a fellow writers’ group member. He asked if it was ever appropriate to celebrate hardship or pain.

Boris Ustinov bore a proud chin which jutted forth from his upper jaw. His lips were thin and turned slightly inward. He looked as though he were sculpted from white granite. Even his craggy wrinkles seemed more like fissures in stone than weathered flesh. He crossed huge paws across a shellac coated driftwood cane, his veins and liver spots bearing age but not weakness. His legs though, they showed time’s scars. Drawn in and spindly, his brown slacks hung like curtains over them while bulging, black shoes stuck out from the bottom. He rested in a solar powered wheelchair, a self-guided machine that took the hardened vet to and fro. In his lap though revealed something else: a folded flag of the Upper Hemispheric Confederation, and on his left lapel was the insignia of a Chief Warrant Officer.

“I was assigned to the 77th Aerial Combat Brigade,” Ustinov started, “And it was in ’49 when we were deployed to Chile to intercept the horde.” The old soldier spoke of the invasion. Humanity long fantasized by alien threats from beyond, but they never considered ones from below. In 2049 the strangers came from within the Antarctic continent. Boris Ustinov, a career military man, was sent with the expeditionary force to defend the southern Chile zone from beings which had swarmed and slaughtered its way through Argentina.

A glassiness comes over his eyes as he continues. “We first saw them - I use that term loosely, more like they saw us and we heard them coming – as they crossed Lago San Martin. The forest was so thick and it was dark, but they would just knock over these thousand year old trees like they were nothing. Just nothing. They’d chew through them. It was later we figured out they’d form their limbs into saws and rip up anything that got in their way. Anyway that night we lost about thirty-three men to them. They’d absorb anything we’d throw at them – bullets were pointless. We switched to mortars and were trying to blow these damn things up in this thick, dark forest. And then they’d dive into the water, right into the lake. We couldn’t see a damn thing. NVG couldn’t see them. Tried aerial recon, nothing. They’d throw stuff at the drones. Hit a few of those too. But when you heard those trees cracking and being torn apart, you knew.”

“It was seeing them come out of the water though. God, it was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen in my life. The water was pitch black so it was like the entire lake was one, slimy blob. Then one would get close and you’d see the eyes looking right at you, just a thousand eyes of all sizes searching every which way. When one would surface, it could look like anything. It could be a mass of limbs and spikes, or a mess of tentacles, and sometimes they would look like us. They’d take our form and fight us hand to hand, just to toy with us. How could anyone fight such a thing?” Ustinov said as his huge hands unfolded and went to the side, his face incredulous.

The Battle of Lago San Martin later went down as the first of many bloody defeats for the combined, human forces against the subterranean horde. The first year of the war saw all humankind pushed to the brink. Retired CWO Ustinov though survived the whole thing, and returned to lead his men on the front lines several more times. When his legs were crushed and drained by the enemy, he was given a battle suit with advanced servo mechanisms, and returned to duty. He even served until retirement. Ustinov saw thousands die with his own eyes. His best friends, brother, and his even sister were killed during Human-Shoggoth War.

So why then does Boris’ face glow as he relaxes in his chair, and looks out the window to take in the midday sun? Why does his expression turn from grim to joyous after he tells of that horrible defeat at San Martin?

“Because even faced with certain doom, death blinked,” he answered, “They slaughtered us like lambs. But we fought back. We figured out how to beat them. And we didn’t have to torch half the planet to do it.”

Ustinov picks up a book from his end table. He holds it forward and displays the title, Zunge des Drachen

“It was their language,” he said, beaming. “We’d had it all along. They had makers. Designers, engineers, whatever you call it. Their language was passed down to us long, long ago and it managed to survive, although in little pieces, to this day. We put it together and we found out how to communicate with those giant tar balls. And now they work with us. We learn from each other. We all live together. There’s no more destruction, no more violence. The world is at peace.”

The old soldier set the book down, leaned back and crossed his arms in his lap over the UHC flag.

“You know, it took me a long time to get used to your kind,” he said, “After all the terrible things you did. But when we learned you just needed to be taught right, and you just wanted a fair chance like us, I started to come around.”

While he relaxed a tall, lithe and inky black figure strode into the room. It stroked Boris’ head and asked if he felt well. He responded he was just fine, but a bit sleepy. Then it caressed the war hero, pressed the switch embedded in his temple, and he fell fast asleep to the figure’s gentle cooing.

“There, there, pet. Tekeli-li, tekeli-li,” the Shoggoth woman gently sung in a humanlike melody.

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