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Mark Lucas Guitarist- Composer- Arranger: Blog

THE FULL RANGE OF TONE

Posted on April 3, 2017 with 0 comments
The first 'boutique' pedal I bought was a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 Mosfet OD; actually, it was a gift, in November of 2007. I still have it and use it, as it is a supremely versatile and reliable pedal. I have used a few others(it would be imprudent to name them), but have always returned to the FD2. The second Fulltone was bought in 2013, the OCD. Somewhat different in tonality than the FD2, it has a lot more headroom, and is more 'British' sounding. It took a while for me to learn how to use this one, but it's as equally compelling as the FD2. The latest one to make it onto my pedalboard is the SECRET FREQ. Again, a very versatile sonic footprint, yet different from the aforementioned FD2 and OCD. The range of overdrive textures is staggering; from a very useable clean boost to a flat out high gain overdrive, and everything in between. Along with a variable midrange sweep that does not affect the bass and treble. 
Fulltone is one of the few products that never fail. Mike Fuller is a [...]
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THE MORE THINGS CHANGE........

Posted on March 11, 2017 with 0 comments
Ce plus que ca change, ce plus que ca meme chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same. An old French saying.
What I'm referring to in this inquiry is guitar equipment, as a metaphor. When I first started playing gigs professionally, I had one guitar, one cable, and one amp. Then as time went on, to fill the needs of the different types of music I was playing, I got a chorus pedal; then a flanger; then an overdrive and/or distortion box. Then along came Mesa Boogie, which did away with the overdrive pedals. Around 1992, I started to use a volume pedal. I've used one since then. It is truly an indispensable part of my guitar/amp connection. For a while, I used Fender and Vox amps, adding an overdrive pedal to the chain, as the amps themselves are great 'platforms' to build a sound on, but not really great for amp overdrive unless they're really cranked up. I've tried a lot of different boxes; Fulltone, Xotic, J Rockett, etc. And the pedalboard became more 'involved' shall [...]
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RETURNING

Posted on January 10, 2017 with 0 comments
I find myself returning to recordings I listened to years ago. One example is In Passing, by Mick Goodrick; an ECM release from 1979, with Eddie Gomez, John Surman, and Jack DeJohnette. A musical colleague introduced this to me in 1984, a few months before I moved to Boston. The clarity of their playing as an ensemble is astounding. Air, space, the unbelievable quality of ECM, and the looseness of the compositions still inspire me. Mick is the rare Guitarist who is a true original. No one sounds like him, but according to him, no one sounds like anybody else. I had the privilege of studying with him for a short time. And his knowledge still resonates for me. I bought his book, The Advancing Guitarist, in 1988, from the International Reading Room; it was an independent bookstore in Harvard Square. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important books I've studied from.

ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN CUTLASS

Posted on October 18, 2016 with 0 comments
The EBMM Cutlass represents a refinement of the 'S' type guitar, almost to a point of a re-think. To me, this is one of the top 2 60's genre strat guitars I've played; the other being a real 1965 Fender Strat. 
The pickups are Music Man single coils, with a 'silent circuit' that removes 90% of the 60 cycle hum. While I don't think they are overwound, they are the most 'full and present' pickups I've played through in a production guitar. There is also an active buffer on the output jack that allows for full treble response, regardless of pickup volume. The bridge is an original Music Man design that works flawlessly, in combination with locking tuning gears. I'm a big fan of stainless steel frets; the Cutlass has them, perfectly leveled and crowned.
Ernie Ball is one of the last family owned companies in the US. Their quality and usability comes through in everything they produce.
I think the Cutlass has the potential to re-imagine what a 60's type S guitar is capable of.

THE GIBSON SG

Posted on March 3, 2015 with 0 comments
The first SG I owned was an SG Special in 1985, when I lived in Boston. I was attracted to it's midrange tonality, although I didn't really know why, at least , in the way I understand it now. The second one was a black SG Special, that I ran through a Marshall Silver Jubilee 2x12 combo. This particular combination was tonal nirvana for me. I could get everything I needed from this; blues, a great classic rock sound, and believe it or not, a respectable modern jazz fusion sound. Unfortunately, the Marshall literally ate tubes, and the SG suffered at the hands of a rather unscrupulous repairman.  I didn't play another one until 2007, when I bought an SG Classic with P90 pickups. A really great guitar with a big fat 50's neck. Again, another sloppy repair job resulted in me getting rid of it. I now own what I consider to be the quintessential SG; a cherry red V.O.S. form the Gibson Custom Shop. The V.O.S. guitars are significantly different than a production model Gibson. They are made [...]
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