I think it’s interesting how small shifts can make for some real changes.  I picked up a Simon & Patrick Parlor guitar a couple months ago and I’ve been experimenting with a variety of strings. Strings are such a personal thing — only your ears and hands can tell you what set of strings are best for a particular guitar.

I put on a set of D’Addario Silk & Steel (EJ40) strings a few days ago. While the obvious thing is they sound different than phosphor bronze (which I usually use), they also make me play and write differently. So what does “differently” mean?  I don’t actually know, but I did get the start of a new tune out of this string experiment.  And that’s not half bad.

I was so impressed by the LR Baggs Lyric Acoustic Guitar Microphone demos I heard on the LR Baggs site that I made the leap and had one installed in my Seagull Artist Studio CW.  I think I made the exact right decision.  I’ve never been a huge fan of under saddle pickups (or internal mics) — the sonic compromise has always been too great.  Yes, you can get a good tone from under saddle pickups, but it takes work.  Lots of work.  I have a Fishman Spectrum that truly helps get a “better” more realistic sounding (read miked) tone, but I never found it completely satisfying.  And internal mics always seem to be less than ideal too.  You get some “air” in the sound, but you also get a boxy tone along for the deal.

Now the Lyric is an internal mic — LR Baggs calls it a bridge plate microphone.  The Lyric behaves much like an external mic in that your guitar feels and sounds like it’s being miked by a mic sitting a foot off your guitar.  You get all of the good stuff that a mic brings to the game and none of the boxiness that internal mics usually have.  Basically, it sounds fantastic!  Well, it sounded fantastic after I adjusted the Mic Presence Control.  When LR Baggs say the Mic Presence Control is “responsive” they’re not kidding.  I spent a bunch of time recording different parts into Logic and then adjusting the control.  Once I got it set right, the Lyric really did a great job of representing the sound of my guitar.

Of course, feedback can be an issue for acoustic instruments and the Lyric is a mic.  I haven’t had a chance to gig with the Lyric yet, but I did crank my studio monitors (Yamaha HS80Ms) and play directly facing the speakers with no feedback issues.

The Lyric has impressed me.  I’m definitely going to be using it live and I’m sure it’s going to end up on one of my future albums.

Just received two new Blue Chip picks in the mail today… A TD 40 and a TP-1R 40.  Basically, they’re backups for Blue Chips I already have.  Yes, I know, Blue Chip picks are INSANELY expensive ($35 each).  So if you’re a player who likes to fling picks into the audience or you regularly lose picks, Blue Chip picks are not for you (unless you happen to be a rock star with a boatload of disposable income that is!).  I almost never lose picks (still have picks from high school) and I can’t think of the last (or the first) time I flung a pick into an audience, so I can kind of rationalize the price.  Cost aside, Blue Chips are hands down the best I’ve ever used — terrific tone, almost indestructible and they stick to my fingers like no other pick.  Love ’em!