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John Bartus

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About John Bartus

  • Birthday 12/01/1961

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  • Biography
    Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter for more than three decades, continues to raise the bar with both his groundbreaking solo acoustic show, and his killer band, Storm Watch.

    John’s songs cover a wide spectrum of topics – there are love songs, love-gone-wrong songs, and story songs about characters like the fun-loving Joe from “Vegas Town,” the Drifter from “Hit the Road Again,” the smuggler who ran out of luck from “Kiss Your Life Goodbye,” the dancer from “The Way It’s Meant to Be,” and the follower of visions from “Velvet Elvis.”

    There are songs about dealing with life (“Victim of Gravity”) and death (“Goodbye”). There is the tribute to the Apollo I, Challenger, and Columbia astronauts as well as John’s father, a Saturn IB launch team engineer (“Dawn’s Early Light”). And there are the Trop Rock songs – “Palm Trees in Paradise,” “Captain of His Own Destiny,” “The Islands of Marathon” – that show the influence of living in a tropical island town for 30 years.

    Rag Magazine wrote in an album review, “John Bartus could well be a force to be recorded with, in the very near future. The song, ‘Velvet Elvis,’ is reminiscent of the soft sarcastic style of Warren Zevon: a man, eating donuts in the Black Lung Cafe, receives a vision from ‘The King’ through a velvet Elvis hanging on a wall, and is inspired to go to Graceland to steal one for his own, even though it means jail time. The remainder of the CD is done in the story song style of Joshua Kadison with the Florida themes of Jimmy Buffett. A pure storyteller in a minstrel’s soul, Bartus’ voice is crisp and clear, and the music is easy to enjoy.”

    John’s most recent CD releases are the Keys Disease 10th Anniversary Remaster, and Live From the Florida Keys Vol. 2. A new studio CD, Time & Tide, will be released in 2014, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of John’s first shows in the Florida Keys.

    John performs more than 200 shows a year throughout the Florida Keys. He calls these shows, many of them regular recurring dates, his Perpetual Island Tour. His solo acoustic shows are never-planned-in-advance journeys into creative live looping, and the shows with his band Storm Watch venture toward John’s rock side, equal parts Gilmour, Knopfler, and Young.

    You might have to subject yourself to a tropical island getaway in order to see John Bartus live – after three years on the road in the early 1980s, he figured out to stay in one place and let the listeners come to him. You’ll also have to put up with fishing, diving, beaching, fun in the sun, the world’s best seafood, and a tropical cocktail now and then… but the music is worth it!

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  • Location
    Marathon, Florida Keys

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  • Occupation
    35-year pro musician & producer

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  1. I've been using the Aura since the first Aura Blender back in the mid-2000s. I'm currently using the Aura Spectrum DI, and for USTs, there's nothing better. Be prepared to do some work finding the perfect image for your guitar, however; luckily, Fishman has hundreds of images available for free download via their Gallery software app. When you find the perfect match, it's acoustic guitar heaven for live shows. I use mine for smaller gigs with both a Fish Stick and a Bose L1 system, and it works great through large PAs and loud wedges for festivals with the feedback circuit and phase switch. I do use those soundhole stoppers, and they help out a lot. The BodyRez pedal sounds real good in the demo video; I have to wonder what it sounds like on different guitars at the same gig. I use both 6- and 12-string guitars at gigs, and I have a different Aura image for each. Plus, the Aura is a full-fledged DI with EQ, compression, and an XLR line out for interfacing with large PAs. If TC has figured out how to make BodyRez a one-size-fits-all approach that makes all UST guitars sound great, that would be really cool. And I wouldn't put it past TC...
  2. I do a medley of "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "Jingle Bell Rock" on the 12-string -- and I introduce them as coming from a time early in rock and roll when songs sounded remarkably alike! But my fave 12-string Christmas song remains "Happy Xmas (War is Over)." ALWAYS goes over well. Other cool Yule songs that always get a response include "God Rest Ye Merry/We Three Kings" (I was medley-izing those before the Barenaked Ladies -- but their version is oh so cool), "Grandma/Reindeer," and "Mr. Grinch." Two I will include eventually are Joni Mitchell's "River," and Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas." If I ever get super-ambitious, it'll be Jethro Tull's "Solstice Bells." Someday... Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that good stuff!
  3. The suicide of a gifted genius always gives one pause, and Robin Williams' suicide was no different. Sorry for the long absence, but things are rather hectic in my world (a good thing). Here is a recent newspaper column I wrote about Robin... and Brad. Robin Williams Trying to make sense out of something so… senseless. We lost one of the most gifted comedians and actors ever when Robin Williams committed suicide this past week. It always comes as such a shock when we read about the senseless end to what we all see as such an inspirational life. How can a person, beloved by so many, with talents given to so few, and surely with all the money any person could need or want, just up and decide to check out like he did? Tributes from virtually everyone have filled the media. Of course, all the old stories of Robin’s bouts with substance abuse and his stint in rehab also came out. But Williams was quite open and frank about those times in his life. Last year, in an interview to promote his TV show The Crazy Ones, he spoke about why people go over the edge into addiction: “Ninety-nine percent of the people who go through that are trying to deal with some pain. They will say that when they did the drug, they suddenly felt okay. Then, ‘I’m not so good. I need to get back [to the drug] and be all right again.’ It builds into that cycle.” But the root cause of the pain also needs care, attention, and treatment. Williams’ suicide has opened a forum for discussion of clinical depression and bipolar disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 38,000 Americans die by suicide each year – more than those who die by homicide. And we don’t know how many other people are living on the edge, how many of our friends, neighbors, and family who have thought that death would be a better alternative than struggling another day. I was hit hard in the same way when Brad Delp killed himself in 2007. For those who don’t know, Delp was the lead singer of the group Boston. He was gifted with one of the finest voices in rock, and his vocals propelled Tom Scholz’ compositions and arrangements to the top of the charts and a place in rock history. At the time of his suicide, Delp was preparing for a summer tour with Boston. He was engaged, and he and his fiancée were to be married during the tour with his friends and bandmates as part of the celebration. He was another of those people who had what most just dream of – a musician and singer with an incredible gift and who got to share that gift on a big stage playing with musicians of the highest caliber, a truly nice guy who seemed to have a great life. That life ended when he lit two charcoal grills in his closed-up bathroom and curled up on the floor for his final nap. His last words were left in a suicide note paper-clipped to the neck of his t-shirt: “Mr. Brad Delp. J'ai une âme solitaire.” I am a lonely soul. I had always liked Boston’s music since the first album was released with all those classic songs in 1976 (the same year I took up playing guitar). I remember hearing “More Than a Feeling” for the first time and being amazed at everything about the record – especially those effortless vocals and layered harmonies (Delp overdubbed every vocal part on that and several other Boston albums). And I finally got to see Boston at Mizner Park in the summer of 2004, with Delp sounding fantastic and still able to hit all those high notes nearly 30 years after that first album was released. I pondered the question back then that if someone as musically gifted as Brad Delp saw no other way out, then what the hell do I have to offer and why am I still here? And with Robin Williams’ suicide, those feelings bubbled right back to the surface. How could someone so gifted, someone who has inspired and touched so many lives, end his life so prematurely? And yet we still find reason to continue our daily struggle. Appearances are so deceiving at times, with those who seem to have it all missing something so important to their very existence. Author Anne Lamott posted this on Facebook: “Our brother Robin fell into [the abyss] yesterday. We are all staring at the abyss today.” May we all continue to fight the good fight, and get the help we need when we need it.
  4. GDub, thanks for the Logic Remote suggestion! I responded to Phil before I read your response! (DOH!) Does Logic Remote work well for a mixdown surface? And yes, I have a treated space. Thanks!
  5. Phil, the Mac I have is an iMac w/ FW800 -- no Thunderbolt. 21.5", Core 2 Duo, 3.06 GHz. I started looking at Logic Remote for iPad, and it seems to turn the iPad into a pretty cool remote control surface. I wonder if anyone here has experience with that... The search for the audio interface continues. I will be waiting to read your reviews, and thanks for the responses!
  6. Phil, Thanks for the response. I've already figured I'm going to have to get two different units (unless I want to spend $5K on that nifty new SSL gadget). Audio: 4-8 preamps, ADAT in, ability to control multiple monitor pairs, decent headphone amp(s), etc. I've been looking hard at the Apogee Quartet (made for Mac, high quality everything) and the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 & Liquid 56 (or maybe one of the Scarlett USB models). I've heard glowing things about the Apogee, and mixed reviews of the Focusrite stuff (as they relate to Mac/Logic). Control: sure looks like the Mackie Control is the surface of choice, especially when it comes to Logic. Anyway, I appreciate the response, and look forward to everyone's opinions.
  7. I recently had my old audio interface/control surface (Alesis MasterControl) die. needless to say, it's time for new gear. Do any of you have recommendations as to the gear that works best with Logic on the Mac? I've heard horror stories about virtually all the USB/FW interfaces out there, and I'm looking for some good real world hands-on advice. Thank you in advance for your replies!
  8. I have been away from the forums for a while, and this is what I see when I get back. So sorry to hear this. RIP, Terry.
  9. This is very sad news... I haven't been here for a while, and dammit, I come back to find this. RIP, Terry.
  10. Originally Posted by glepko will do man! - looking to get down for a breather late fall/early winter after crazy season Perfect time, as it's our off-season and things are quieter here as well!
  11. Originally Posted by glepko and john bartus - i was diggin your list, then saw 'dream weaver' and really started taking a look. that's a good song book man. i'll put you on the list of acts to catch (along with NN) when i make it to florida again. Thanks! If you get down to the Keys, look me up... I'm in Marathon, halfway between Key Largo and Key West.
  12. As promised, Part 2! Baby I Love Your Way - Peter Frampton Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites Friend of the Devil - Grateful Dead Drift Away - Dobie Gray City of New Orleans - Arlo Guthrie Sara Smile - Hall & Oates Every Time You Go Away - Hall & Oates It Never Rains in Southern California - Albert Hammond Angel Eyes - Jeff Healey Band Sunset Grille - Don Henley Boys of Summer - Don Henley End of the Innocence - Don Henley Last Worthless Evening - Don Henley Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill Long Cool Woman in Black Dress - Hollies Let Her Cry - Hootie & the Blowfish I Only Wanna Be With You - Hootie & the Blowfish The Way It Is - Bruce Hornsby White Wedding - Billy Idol Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull Piano Man - Billy Joel Scenes From An Italian Restaurant - Billy Joel Captain Jack - Billy Joel Honesty - Billy Joel Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) - Billy Joel Only The Good Die Young - Billy Joel Say Goodbye to Hollywood - Billy Joel A Matter of Trust - Billy Joel Summer - Highland Falls You May Be Right - Billy Joel Chevy Van - Sammy Johns No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones Beautiful in My Eyes - Joshua Kadison Dust in the Wind - Kansas Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas Stand By Me - Ben E. King Beth - Kiss Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot If Children Had Wings - Gordon Lightfoot Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot The Citcle is Small - Gordon Lightfoot Spanish Moss - Gordon Lightfoot Cool Change - Little River Band Lady - Little River Band Brandy - Looking Glass Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd Redemption Songs - Bob Marley Heard it in a Love Song - Marshall Tucker Band We Just Disagree - Dave Mason Why Georgia Why - John Mayer American Pie - Don McLean Vincent - Don McLean Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - Meat Loaf Cherry Bomb - John Mellencamp Jack & Diane - John Mellencamp Hurts So Good - John Mellencamp Your Life Is Now - John Mellencamp Overkill - Men At Work Down Under - Men At Work The Joker - Steve Miller Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues The Voice - Moody Blues Have I Told You Lately - Van Morrison Moondance - Van Morrison Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison Into the Mystic - Van Morrison Wildfire - Michael Murphey Garden Party - Rick Nelson Mr. Bojangles - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Oh! Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison Still the One - Orleans Eye in the Sky - Alan Parsons Project Time - Alan Parsons Project You Don't Know How It Feels - Tom Petty Mary Jane's Last Dance - Tom Petty Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty Breakdown - Tom Petty American Girl - Tom Petty Free Fallin' - Tom Petty The Last DJ - Tom Petty It's Good to Be King - Tom Petty Learning to Fly - Tom Petty Yer So Bad - Tom Petty You Wreck Me - Tom Petty Wildflowers - Tom Petty Have Love Will Travel - Tom Petty Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd Breathe / Time - Pink Floyd Hey You - Pink Floyd Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Another Brick (Part II) - Pink Floyd Learning to Fly - Pink Floyd Crazy Love - Poco Message In A Bottle - Police/Sting Fields of Gold - Police/Sting Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley Back on the Chain Gang - Pretenders Purple Rain - Prince Angel From Montgomery - John Prine Whiter Shade of Pale - Procul Harum You're My Best Friend - Queen Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty Right Down The Line - Gerry Rafferty Whatever's Written In Your Heart - Gerry Rafferty Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding Losing My Religion - R.E.M. The One I Love - R.E.M. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - Righteous Brothers Easy - Lionel Ritchie/Commodores Hello - Lionel Ritchie/Commodores The Poor Side of Town - Johnny Rivers Tracks of My Tears - Smokey Robinson Wild Horses - Rolling Stones Dead Flowers - Rolling Stones Satisfaction - Rolling Stones Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones Start Me Up - Rolling Stones Miss You - Rolling Stones Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones Angie - Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Women - Rolling Stones The Last Time - Rolling Stones Mixed Emotions - Rolling Stones Smooth - Santana Evil Ways - Santana Black Magic Woman - Santana Love Look What You've Done To Me - Boz Scaggs Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft Turn the Page - Bob Seger Night Moves - Bob Seger We've Got Tonight - Bob Seger Against the Wind - Bob Seger Main Street - Bob Seger Runaway - Del Shannon The Boxer - Simon (& Garfunkel) Sounds of Silence - Simon (& Garfunkel) Homeward Bound - Simon (& Garfunkel) Mrs. Robinson - Simon (& Garfunkel) Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon (& Garfunkel) Me & Julio - Simon (& Garfunkel) Kodachrome - Simon (& Garfunkel) Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover - Simon (& Garfunkel) Slip Sliding Away - Simon (& Garfunkel) Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen The River - Bruce Springsteen Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen I'm on Fire - Bruce Springsteen Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen As Time Goes By - Standard Georgia On My Mind - Standard House of the Rising Sun - Standard Kansas City - Standard San Antonio Rose - Standard Slow Boat to China - Standard Fly Me To The Moon - Standard Stars Fell on Alabama - Standard Summertime - Standard Wind Beneath My Wings - Standard Doctor Wu - Steely Dan Reelin' In The Years - Steely Dan Third World Man - Steely Dan Born to be Wild - Steppewnwolf Wild World - Cat Stevens Peace Train - Cat Stevens Where Do The Children Play - Cat Stevens Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens Time Passages - Al Stewart Year of the Cat - Al Stewart Maggie May - Rod Stewart I Was Only Joking - Rod Stewart You're In My Heart - Rod Stewart Give a Little Bit - Supertramp Nearly ALL Popular JT - James Taylor My Girl - Temptations The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens Africa - Toto End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys Handle With Care - Traveling Wilburys Happy Together - Turtles With or Without You - U2 La Bamba - Richie Valens Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh Life's Been Good - Joe Walsh Behind Blue Eyes - The Who Always On My Mind - Willie & Waylon Luckenbach Texas - Willie & Waylon On The Road Again - Willie & Waylon Dream Weaver - Gary Wright Harvest Moon - Neil Young Heart of Gold - Neil Young Like a Hurricane - Neil Young Comes A Time - Neil Young My My Hey Hey - Neil Young Needle and the Damage Done - Neil Young Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young Get Together - Youngbloods Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon Poor Pitiful Me - Warren Zevon Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top (Whew!)
  13. I should apologize in advance for posting something this long. So, with apologies, my somewhat complete list of covers on acoustic guitar and piano (and some band numbers) part 1... Melissa - Allman Brothers Midnight Rider - Allman Brothers How Much I Feel - Ambrosia Horse With No Name - America Ventura Highway - America I Need You - America Sandman - America Tin Man - America Lonely People - America Sister Golden Hair - America Daisy Jane - America Seminole Wind - John Anderson What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong Love Shack - B-52s The Weight - The Band Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band ORIGINAL SONGS FROM MY CDs - John Bartus Kokomo - Beach Boys Let It Be - Beatles + Solo The Long and Winding Road - Beatles + Solo Here Comes the Sun - Beatles + Solo Nowhere Man - Beatles + Solo Norwegian Wood - Beatles + Solo Oh Darlin' - Beatles + Solo Yesterday - Beatles + Solo Get Back - Beatles + Solo Back in the USSR - Beatles + Solo Yellow Submarine - Beatles + Solo Something - Beatles + Solo A Hard Day's Night - Beatles + Solo Can't Buy Me Love - Beatles + Solo A Day In The Life - Beatles + Solo Ob-La-Di - Ob-La-Da You've Got To Hide Your - Beatles + Solo Fool On The Hill - Beatles + Solo Rocky Raccoon - Beatles + Solo Sgt. Pepper/Help From My Friends - Beatles + Solo I Am The Walrus - Beatles + Solo Hey Jude - Beatles + Solo We Can Work It Out - Beatles + Solo Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End - Beatles + Solo While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Beatles + Solo I Saw Her Standing There - Beatles + Solo Twist And Shout - Beatles + Solo In My Life - Beatles + Solo Imagine - Beatles + Solo Starting Over - Beatles + Solo Woman - Beatles + Solo Watching the Wheels - Beatles + Solo Band on the Run - Beatles + Solo Day-O - Harry Belafonte On Broadway - George Benson This Masquerade - George Benson Johnnie B. Goode - Chuck Berry At This Moment - Billy & The Beaters Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi Amanda - Boston A Man I'll Never Be - Boston Space Oddity - David Bowie The Letter - Box Tops Everything I Own - Bread Guitar Man - Bread I'd Like To Make It With You - Bread If - Bread Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks The Dance - Garth Brooks Shameless - Garth Brooks Running on Empty - Jackson Browne In the Shape of a Heart - Jackson Browne Rosie - Jackson Browne The Load-Out / Stay - Jackson Browne Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett Pirate Looks at 40 - Jimmy Buffett Changes in Latitudes - Jimmy Buffett Volcano - Jimmy Buffett Son of a Sailor - Jimmy Buffett Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett Havana Daydreamin' - Jimmy Buffett Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash Taxi - Harry Chapin Cat's In The Cradle - Harry Chapin Better Place to Be - Harry Chapin Saturday In The Park - Chicago Colour My World - Chicago 25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago Beginnings - Chicago Change The World - Eric Clapton Layla - Eric Clapton Promises - Eric Clapton Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton Crazy - Patsy Cline You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins One Tin Soldier - Coven Bad Moon Rising - Creedence/Fogerty Have You Ever Seen The Rain - Creedence/Fogerty Green River - Creedence/Fogerty Proud Mary - Creedence/Fogerty Who'll Stop The Rain - Creedence/Fogerty Centerfield - Creedence/Fogerty Old Man Down the Road - Creedence/Fogerty Rock and Roll Girls - Creedence/Fogerty Southern Cross - CSNY Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - CSNY Helplessly Hoping - CSNY Just A Song Before I Go - CSNY Ohio - CSNY Wasted on the Way - CSNY Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce Operator - Jim Croce I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song - Jim Croce Bad Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce You Don't Mess Around With Jim - Jim Croce Long Haired Country Boy - Charlie Daniels I Go Crazy - Paul Davis Rocky Mtn. High - John Denver Country Roads - John Denver Annie's Song - John Denver Leaving On A Jet Plane - John Denver Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond I Am - I Said Love On The Rocks - Neil Diamond Cracklin' Rosie - Neil Diamond So Far Away - Dire Straits Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits Money for Nothing - Dire Straits Walk of Life - Dire Straits Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino Listen to the Music - Doobie Brothers Black Water - Doobie Brothers China Grove - Doobie Brothers Touch Me - Doors Light My Fire - Doors Riders on the Storm - Doors Roadhouse Blues - Doors Life in a Northern Town - Dream Academy Under the Boardwalk - Drifters Up On The Roof - Drifters All Along the Watchtower - Bob Dylan Don't Think Twice - Bob Dylan Hurricane - Bob Dylan I Shall Be Released - Bob Dylan It Ain't Me Babe - Bob Dylan Just Like a Woman - Bob Dylan Knocking on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan Positively 4th Street - Bob Dylan Se
  14. Here's how I do it -- I have the Tyler Variax 69 Strat-style, and it's an amazing guitar. I use the old footswitch-able direct box/power supply from my old Variaxes and run the 1/4" out to my Vox ToneLab LE and to my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp; the XLR out goes to the PA mixer. The trick is setting up your custom banks with the acoustic and electric sounds you want to use and switch between during a given song. My custom bank is this: 1) Martin D-28 2) Martin 12-string 3) Rickenbacker electric 12-string (rear pickup) 4) Strat (mid+bridge PU) 5) Les Paul (bridge PU). This setup works great on covering songs like "Hotel California," "Comfortably Numb," "Aqualung," or (gasp!) "Stairway to Heaven." Then, all you need to do is be coordinated enough to flip the PU selector switch to the correct position at the same time you step on the footswitch routing the guitar to either the PA or amp, while making sure your pedalboard is on the correct setting for your electric sounds. Quite simple, actually! Can't wait to read more!
  15. Something else to consider: http://www.jldguitar.net/ My Breedloves came with this installed from the factory, and it really does have an incredible effect on the overall tone of the guitar. The stuff they claim on their website is really true.
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