Monday, 6 September 2010

This is a long one one one one ne ne ne e e e e e e

In a slight departure from my previous posts, I'd like to talk about a couple of things that interest me. Echo machines, an echo machine that's on eBay right now and eBay in general.

I've always been keen on echo machines and I've owned quite a few different makes over the years.

One of the great things about tape echo, apart from the sound quality, is being able to manipulate the tape for on-the-fly effects like grabbing hold of the tape guide, finger pressure to slow down the repeats or when it's recording (when you let go it speeds up). Great for dub effects and "experimental" music styles. The Echoplex goes one step further and incorporates a moving head which opens up a whole bag of possibilities. This video on Youtube shows it in action and you don't even need to plug a guitar in (that can't be right).

Anyone interested in the possibilities of the Echoplex only has to listen to John Martyn (Solid Air is a good place to start). It's hard to believe what he was doing in the 70s and it still sounds fresh today.

The down side of tapes is they wear out and start to get noisy pretty quick but even that can be a source of sound texture. The down side of those old machines themselves is the motors can be pretty noisy and earthing (grounding US) standards weren't so stringent in those days so it's not a bad idea to get an electrician to go over it as simply earthing it can cause a hum loop.

I was intrigued by this VERY-OLD-GUITAR-RECORDER on eBay as it was obviously not a recorder but a tape delay. Unfortunately the pictures were so bad and the description so scant that it seemed a dead end. Guitarz to the rescue. Gavin suggested it might be an Echoplex but it's not how I remembered my own one from years ago. Google to the rescue. A few minutes of Googling and the track was getting warmer. It was some kind of Echoplex but I couldn't find anything that looked similar. Photoshop to the rescue. A little enhancement with curves (Image > Adjustments > Curves) and a lot more detail was revealed. This has been modified and flight-cased (professionally?) to give a much longer loop and extra playback heads. Now I'm really intrigued but Google hasn't been able to throw any more light on it. Is this a standard mod (a kit?) because it seems pretty well done?

Can any of our readers shed some light?

As we are uncommonly fond of eBay and while we're on the subject, here are some of my eTips.

1. Put a few GOOD pictures of your offering. Especially important if you're not sure what that gizmo is yourself. There are a lot of generous eBayers out there who will offer information on your obscure or mis-titled treasure.

2. Describe it. Does it work? That's a good one, always works for me. If it's a guitar, the single most important and problematic to fix is the neck. Is it straight? and what's the action like? I am a lot less likely to trust something where they say "I'll let the pictures do the talking" and I'm especially suspicious of guitars which are "set up for slide".

3. Delivery. I know it's a fag taking stuff to the Post Office but if you live in Lower Uppington-in-the-Marshes, the chances of finding a buyer who can collect from you but only Wednesday mornings is greatly reduced. And, once you've dragged yourself all the way down to Post Office, there really isn't any difference sending it to another country. That will increase your selling chances greatly.

4. Do your homework and find out what's a reasonable price. One of the techniques that real auctioneers use to get a little competition going is starting off on an attractive price. If it's too high you reduce the chances of even getting started. There was Vox Organ Guitar sold recently after being listed three times. It went for a lot more than her BIN price in the first listing and there was a flurry of activity in the closing moments. The only thing she did was add a little more info and start off on a lower price. I know coz I was bidding for it and I gave her that extra info (see 1 above).

5. As much as you want to get the highest price for your treasure, what you paid for it has no relationship to what you can expect to get for it. There is a six month old guitar on eBay right now with a BIN price that's higher than the price (including delivery and guarantee) from both Thomann and Amazon.
Any more eBay tips? - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

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