DÁddarío EXP45 

August 18, 2017

I just put a set of Daddario EXP45’s on my Culpepper Flamenco Blanca and like the feel and tone.  They seem to sound just a bit brighter (tonally) than the EJ45’s.  The basses also set up very quickly.

For the differences in tension and diamater of the strings in the EJ45 series see below. 

BiX Grace Designs 

August 4, 2017

For my mini Pedalboard I have chosen the Grace Designs BiX instrument preamplifier.  I have a KoKKo Space Hall Reverb, I will add a Line 6 G 30 and looper later.  I will generally be using this mini bord for wedding cero and cocktail hr gigs with the Bose Compact.  Below is how I have it set up with my Culpepper Blanca with a LR Baggs Dual Source pickup system:

Cordoba GK Studio Limited Ziricote back and sides

August 3, 2017

-Update 8/17/17-   I just returned from Andy Culpepper’s shop up in Ithica NY he did a few set up adjustments to the GKSL and replaced the saddle so my action is at 2.6mm on bass and 2.5mm on treble.  The guitar feels good and is easy to play.  I also replaced the Savarez 500CJ strings with Daddario EJ45TT which I seem to like more.    The top picture is the before and second is the picture from Andy’s set up with Daddario EJ45TT strings.  I have done two gigs with the guitar and am very impressed. 

I recently returned a Yamaha SLG200NW Silent guitar due to tone issues live amplified. I needed a guitar for outdoor beach weddings, outdoor gigs in the sun and high humidity so I chose the Cordoba GK Studio Limited to replace the Yamaha. It has built in pick & mic the Fishman Presys Blend. Solid Spruce top and Lamented Ziricote back and side with a high gloss polyurethane finish. That will protect the guitar from the weather and sweet.

The GK Studio Limited offers a new spin on Cordoba’s ultimate gigging instrument. Based on the success of its sister models, the GK Studio Limited features a solid European spruce top and striking ziricote back and sides. Accented with olive green and gray highlights, ziricote provides a rich, smooth sound that fills a room. This nylon string guitar comes equipped with a soft cutaway and Fishman Presys Blend pickup. The GK Studio Limited is a flamenco guitar made for the stage, constructed with a slightly thinner body depth, neck, and nut width than a traditional Spanish guitar. The neck is designed to have little or no relief, offering low action for ease of comfort and quick playability.
For flamenco players, this model offers a bassier and more robust tone in contrast to the bright, snappy sound of ‘blanca’ flamenco guitars, but any guitarist looking for a new tone to add to the repertoire will feel right at home with the GK Studio Limited. With its comfortable body shape and unique tonewood combination, this model is the perfect choice for exploring the nuances in sound that can only be captured with nylon strings. Like every Cordoba guitar, this model also has a two-way truss rod built into the neck. Other premium features include a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, high gloss finish, clear flamenco-style tap plate, and Savarez Cristal Corum strings. The GK Studio Limited includes Cordoba’s deluxe gig bag.

Thalia Capo 200 Black Chrome Macassar

July 27, 2017

*Update*  For my needs this was not the Capo solution.  The clasp that is used to lock and unlock the Capo seemed always flop around a little bit and made just a little bit of noise enough work for using a microphone or have a sensitive pick up that vibration would be picked up. The other thing in my opinion was the Capo is a little bit heavy and you can feel it on the guitar neck especially if you’re playing a flamingo or classical guitar.  I have to say the customer service at Thalia is fantastic.   I am returning the two Capos.

I recently received my Thalia Capo in Black Chrome and Macassar wood trim. The capo feels solid and I have been using the teflon pads in standard tension for the classical guitar. I will write more after using it for a few weeks.

DAddario Pedal Tuner

July 27, 2017

DAddario Pedal Tuner. Looks good fits on my pedalboard and has a quick and bright led display.

Yamaha SLG200NW Review (Sent It Back)

July 27, 2017

I was recently told that the Yamaha SLG200NW has shipped and is in the USA. I have been waiting over a year for the release of the new model. I was told CITES confiscated the shipment. They are now in the USA this particular model has the wider nut 2-1/16" and for me that's very important. It also has Yamaha's SRT powered system that blends the UST pickup with a Mic sound, eq bass & treble, tuner, built in effects, MP3 jack, headphone output jack. The neck is an ebony fingerboard. The body is made from mahogany. Below are a few pictures. I will write more once I have played it for a bit and giged with it. This will be my outdoor wedding guitar.

Update #1 8/2/17 I have been playing it non stop since it arrived. I have waited over a year for this and for my needs it meets and exceeds my expectations. The neck 52mm is very comfortable. Once you get used to the size and playability I think you actually focus on you hand movement and this guitar polishes up your movements. I did need to polish the frets and put new strings on (DÁddarío EJ45). The mic modeling sounds great but when on more than 50% it needs some bass cut around 85-145Hz. I used the Grace Design ALiX to accomplish this. I plan on using the Grace Design Bix and use it to tame bass frequency. I have used the guitar with the Bose Compact, Bose L1S, Behringer B210 speakers, direct into Pro Tools on hear ttps://soundcloud.com/v2or/yamaha-silient-guitar-slg200nw The guitar tunes easy, the Preamp is very easy to use just bass and treble, tuner works great, effects are very nice I use reverb two which is a hall setting. The gig bag is nice and the guitar bracket for the top assembles very easy. I am very happy with the purchase and will be using the guitar for wedding, cocktail hr and outdoor gigs.

Update #2 8/3/17 Well I'm sad to say that while I like the concept of the silent guitar especially for practice I was not able to justify keeping it due to it sound quality live and direct into a sound board, mixer or DI like Grace Design AliX or BiX. I would not be able to trust the sound in a gig live where I would be paid to play. My clients & fans deserve sound that replicates the nylon string Spanish Guitar. It has been sent back.

DÁddario EJ45 Strings 

June 16, 2017

For the string of choice on my 2017 Andy Culpepper #83 Flamenco Blanca Spruce Top and Alaskan Cypres Sides they are none other than the DÁddario EJ45 Strings.   I have tried a few brands and tensions from 79.00lbs – 95.00lbs from DAddario, Labella, Hanabach, Galli, Luthier, Guitar Solo in San Francisco and I came back to the tone and feel of the EJ45 set. 

DÁddario Planet Waves NS Micro Headstock Tuner

June 16, 2017

I needed a small discrete tuner for solo gigs and outdoor events when not using power. This little DÁddario Tuner is what I decided to use. Nice small footprint and I don’t think it will marr up the finish like the TC Electronics Tuner did.  

You can check out the Tuner from Sweetwater for 14.49 at: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NSMicroClip Discription from Sweetwater web page “The Planet Waves NS Micro Headstock Tuner is a feature-packed device that’s so small, your audience will never see it. The NS Micro features a reversible screen, a multicolor display, and a visual metronome in a housing that blends in with the aesthetics of your axe. A super-sensitive piezo transducer and backlit display give you easy and accurate tuning on loud stages, as well as in dim or brightly lit environments. It’s so accurate, convenient, and unobtrusive, you’ll want a Planet Waves NS Micro for every instrument you own!” 

I have been using theses now for a few years with no problem.  

I had tried the Peterson HD Strobe Headstock Tuner. “I had high hopes for this tuner however this tuner has a very narrow grip and it mars the finish on fine French polished flamenco and classical guitars. The tuner put dents in the finish even though it says hear on Sweetwaters web page, and on Pertersons web page that it’s easy on the finish. I had to take my guitar to a luthier to get the marks removed. I would recomed the Daddario NS Micro tuner as it’s much easier on the finish and produces good results. I am disappointed with my correspondence with Sweetwater as well. 

2017 Andy Culpepper 1951 Marcelo Barbero ex Sabicas build 5 Fan Brace kind of 7.

May 30, 2017

Some folks have asked about my recent  AC Blanca/Spruce build.  It’s similar in build and design to a 1951 Marcelo Barbero ex Sabicas guitar.  It’s a five fan brace with two smaller outer braces.  See below

The neck is 2mm wider at the nut thand the standard 52mm this build is at 54mm and a 658mm scale lenght.  I wanted to try tuners instead of flamenco pegs.

For guitar strings I have tried various sets from Daddario, LaBella, Guitar Solo, Luthier, Hanabach, Salverez and I’ve come to prefer Daddario EJ45. 

I also asked Andy to make a sound port on the guitar so I can hear a bit more when playing without monitors or amplification.

I also am using a Daddario small NS micro Tuner

For a pickup amplification system I chose the L.R. Baggs Dual Source (Element & Mic)


When I’m playing out I use the Grace Design AliX to a Bose L1 system. 

Switchcraft 318BT AudioStix

April 19, 2017

Just received my new Switchcraft BT from Sweetwater.  I plugged it into my Bose T1 ToneMatch, powered up phantom power, and paired the 318BT with my iPhone and started streaming music from iTunes and OneTrack no problem.  There’s a little noise when silent as if we’re trying to pair.  Makes a sound like wind onna mic capsule.  I’m going Gig with it for a few days and write more.  Thanks Sweetwater and Switchcraft.