(second block, fourth letter of the prisoners' quadratic tap code...)

...am here to tap through the walls.

Tue Aug, 08 2006


Martin remarks on my remarks on the French Revolution:

"As to stretching 'Cold War' back to 1917 and then stretching it again back to 1789, I think that’s O.K., but what is really needed is a term that fits the entire period back to 1789 and to then make the Cold War one of its subcategories. There’s also need for a term to cover, as another subcategory, the period from the 'end' of the Cold War to the present. Beck would probably like 'The War on Individuals' as the all-encompassing term, and I might prefer 'The Postmodern Liquidation of the West' as the term for the period from the end of the Cold War to the present, but they’re both too descriptive and without the right kind of sound to them. Like 'Cold War,' a good term describing a historical period has to have a sound roughly equivalent to when an extremely strong man tosses a manhole cover aside, onto a concrete-paved street. So that when you hear it, your attention will be force-focused."
That last line of Martin's is just about what I'm all about in this, and there are any number of good reasons for it, despite the difficulties in adjusting the prevailing lexicon. For example: "The Cold War", in referring to an ideological battle going back to 1789, is a matter of plain fact. The percentage of the intervening two hundred seventeen years spent at actual armed battle between individualism and collectivism is a minute percentage of the same effort spent in the forty-four years after it entered popular use. Those two centuries of intellectual combat for the minds of people all over the world have been every bit as important as the comparatively parochial superpower contest for less than a half-century that the term commonly (yes: commonly) connotes. They involved human lives in untold numbers approachable only by the general catastrophe of nuclear war, the very absence of which being what kept the thing "Cold". Well, I say that those two centuries were a lot more "cold", and the general issue here -- the broadest possible abstraction -- is precisely what demands the "force-focus" that Martin is talking about.


Various guitars I see floating by, mostly Gibson and mostly eBay.

Early Norlin ES-335 -- 1970, in Walnut ("ES-335TDW"). This is a period-piece look and feel, and arguably the sound as well but that's to cut things very finely. A "classic" 335 would be the original of 1958 in the Sunburst or Natural finish, or the Cherry Red of 1959; the Walnut of 1970 (second year of that finish offering) is not really a "classic" 335. In the history of the Gibson aesthetic, this is analogous to, say, vertically-striped polyester bell-bottoms or Bahama Blue shag carpeting. None of this is to say that they're not cool guitars, and this is a nice one. Excellent photographs.

Chrome hardware, featuring the trapeze tailpiece (like my L-47 and I've always liked it) and ABR-1 bridge with period-typical nylon saddles. Bound rosewood fretboard, with small block markers, and then the crown inlay at the machine head. These would be the T-top Humbuckers. Vintage Nazis would moan that the upper bouts are pointy (the body templates were wearing-out in the factory) and the fourteen-degree machine head with the volute signals a sometimes not-fun era of the line, but these things really do rock or moan or whatever you want a 335-type semi-hollow to do. ...which, of course, is because it really is a 335.

In the months since I've let AxeBites languish all to bleedin' hell, Gibson's Robot Guitar technology has sifted out to other models than the original Les Paul application. I don't know how it's going: I still haven't even seen one of these self-tuners. I don't see piles of them burning on the sides of the highway, nor reverent hangings in display cases over bars, so who knows? This 2008 Robot SG is ready to rock in the Metallic Red. Nickel hardware; it's the stoptail wired for data to send to the tuners, with dual Humbuckers. It's a bound rosewood fretboard, but I really like the single-bound machine head with the crown inlay. That's a real cool old-school look, right there, to set off that crazy-ass color. {nod}