Category Archives: Guitar

Don’t take me for a fool

So my friends, it has been a while. As I mentioned on my vlog, after releasing a new song every week for three years, I was in need of a break and decided to take the month of January off. But now I’m back with a brand new song.

“Don’t take me for a fool” is a song about a subject that has unfortunately become a regular occurrence in our society. It is a song about a family getting evicted from their home, as due to the growing interest rates the payments just had become too much to bare. From a banks perspective, they are collecting what’s owed to them. But on the other side there are people losing their home.

The real life game of monopoly, that is the property market, there are casualties everyday. It is highly regulated when it comes to paying back your loan and there is very little room for compassion. In the song the father of the family though finds it hard to accept and decides to take matters in his own hands.

Trusty old musimaLet me also geek out about guitars here for a bit.  This song was recorded on my trusty old Musima, which some of you know, is in a dire need of a good service… It has few cracks, it has more knocks and dings I’d like to admit, the frets are in bits, the nut and the saddle needs work and most of all, the pickup system on it has never been compatible with the But it still sounds phenomenal! It is the kind of guitar that you can really lean on hard and it delivers. On this track you can hear the good and the bad 😉 Due to the fact that this guitar has a cedar top, I am hoping to reduce its work load very soon and get it properly serviced. I’ll be looking into its replacement guitar, and hopefully I get to share some of the process with your guys as well.

As always, this weeks track is up on my Bandcamp page HERE, where you can download it for free 🙂 I also recorded a live video of the song, which you can check out HERE.

It feels good to be back!

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a Singer-songwriter and a daily vlogger
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Vlog 205 Playing a nearly hundred year old guitar!

In today’s vlog I have something quite special for you guys. In fact, it is so special that I have done two versions of this video, the usual vlog, and then just the concentrated bit with me playing a nearly 100 year old Meinel & Herold parlour guitar! It’s something I have had for quite few years, but as I just don’t have the time or the money to restore it, I might need to let it go. But I could not do that before sharing the sound of it with you guys.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a Singer-songwriter and a daily vlogger
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Vlog 172 Boss DS-1 mod

I remember few years back someone sold me a second hand Boss DS-1 for next to nothing. It was rough and ready… But as it had been in production since 1978, I thought there was more in the box than meets the eye. So I decided to look into some mods for this pedal. After some trial and error I settle on this extremely easy modification that only required cutting the end of two diodes.

Before I go any further, two things. First of all, if you mod your Boss pedal, the impressive five-year warranty is avoid straight away. Also working with electronics is potentially dangerous, if in doubt, ask someone with experience to do this mod for you. I take no responsibility on any damage to you or your equipment, you are doing this at your own risk.

Having said that, this is easy. Open the four screws, gently pull out the circuit board. Find diodes D4 and D5, snip the ends of them. Put the pedal back together and don’t forget the plastic between the circuit board and the back plate, and you should be good to go 🙂

We’ll make another video from the rehearsals, with Brian testing it out.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Vlog 165 Pedal Board build

In the vlog 162 we started to talk about a new pedal board I wanted to build for my acoustic guitar. I today’s Vlog I walk you through what I am planning and give you a flavour of some of the sounds I am thinking of using. The song on the vlog was recorded using the pedal board. Hope you find it interesting and informative 🙂

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Vlog 162 Boss Tera Echo

In today’s vlog I share with you my first impressions of the Boss Tera Echo TE-2. I got one second hand for a very good price, so I could not turn it down. What makes my take on it probably little bit different from most videos out there, is that I use this pedal with acoustic guitar. I am currently working on a new pedalboard and you can consider this video as the first part of the project 🙂 Anyway, let me know what you think of my new pedal.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Vlog 65 D’Addario N6 Alloy first impression

Ok, today’s vlog is very much for the guitar geeks out there. As I told you in the vlog 61, I was given the chance to beta test D’Addario’s new N6 Alloy acoustic guitar strings. Today I put the strings on my trusty old Musima, and in today’s vlog I let you have a listen, even though it is only through my camera microphone. I also talk you through my first impressions about the strings. If you don’t have any interest on guitar strings, or guitar related stuff, I am sorry. I promise tomorrows vlog will be bit different 🙂

Oh by the way, I was not paid to say any of it. I only got the strings to test them out. So the my opinions about the strings in the video are mine and mine alone 😉

Anyway, let me know what you think.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

My trusty old Musima

Musima 1Ok, I have a quite few guitars, and I always swap and trade instrument. I am a guitar nerd, I love them! But there is a one guitar that a lot of people ask about, mainly due to the fact that it is hard to recognise. So I thought I’ll share with you the story here. Back in 2003 I lived through every musicians nightmare. I just got off a five-hour flight, and picked up my guitar from the luggage belt, opened the case as I always do to check that the guitar is ok. I lifted the guitar out of the case, and to my horror, the head stock stayed in the case… The neck had been completely severed around the first fret.

I was just about to start a ten-day tour, playing every night and I had no guitar… Lucky enough the promoter was willing to advance me with enough cash that I could get a replacement. I searched every music shop in town, and after looking at few guitars that were ok and in my price range, I came across this Musima. I genuinely believe it must have been one of the last to leave the factory before it was closed. So here is a little bit of back story on Musima.

Musima 2Museum was founded back in 1952 in the old East Germany, behind the Iron curtain. They became the country main instrument manufacturer and soon enough their instruments were exported abroad in large numbers. My very first electric guitar was a Musima. It was cheap, had a neck that resembled a baseball bat split in half. The electronics were not the best, but the pickups were nice and nasty 😉 It was a stratocaster copy. This guitar got me started in a big way, but also later became my experiment, on which I learned everything there is to know about guitar electronics. So you could say I had fond memories of the company.

But by the time the iron curtain came down, so did the glory days of Musima. Between 1992 and 2003 the company went thru few owners. But during this time they also produced instruments for another well-known and respected guitar company called “Lakewood,” which now are very well-respected brand that make high-end instruments. In 2003 Musima went bankrupt and the company closed its doors after 51 years.

So there I was, in a strange city and the lovely people in a music shop put this guitar in my hand, and I could not put it down. It had amazing open tone, which often is rare in new instruments. It had all solid woods, which was still rare in its price range back in those days. So after about an hour of playing it, we shook hands and a deal was done.

Musima 3This guitar has gone through hell and back with me, and it never let me down. Over the years I bought several more expensive guitars made in the States and in Japan, but those guitars have moved on, while this one stayed with me. I have customised it a bit. I changed the tuners into Planet Waves tuners, I shaved a bit off the braces inside the guitar, changed the pickup system several times and also sanded off the horrible looking golden logo it had in the headstock.

Today, it plays as well as the day I bought it. It has scars, and a lot of them, but it has done the miles with me year after year. Now I am in two minds, as it is a dreadnought size guitar, and the size is giving me a little bit shoulder trouble. Also I am getting worried about flying with it, as if it breaks, I don’t think I can replace it. So even though there is not much wrong with it, it might be retiring to only studio and session work soon enough. But to find a replacement for it is not going to be an easy task.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

D’Addario EXP17 review

Daddarioexp17Bit over a month back the good people at D’Addario sent me a set of their phosphor bronze coated EXP strings to try out. My weekly schedule puts any set of strings to test. So I thought it would be cool to put them to the test. So here’s how it went:

It was Monday morning, I’d say about 8.30am. I was sipping on my coffee and chancing the strings on my Musima, a German made solid wood guitar that is a real work horse. It has a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. It is a dreadnought body size with a chunky neck. It has warm and responsive tone. My usual choice of strings has been D’Addario EJ17. But I heard about D’Addario having their own steel mill, which allowed them to produce stronger and more stable string. This sounded like big promise, but I was willing to give it a go.

My first experience was that the strings felt small bit stiffer than what I was used to. Some of you might not like this, but I actually liked it. The strings had clear and responsive sound. I thought they sounded also louder. Flat picking and strumming they responded very well. Also fingerpicking was a pleasure, the stiffness actually assisted small bit with my accuracy. I spent the morning recording guitar takes, mainly finger picking and it felt great. They recorded very well. One of the tracks I recorded on the day is song of mine called “Silence” which you can check out HERE to hear the strings in action.

Later I played a session (three hours, sitting around a table in a pub, playing traditional Irish music and singing songs, all acoustic) and my fellow musicians feedback was similar to my own experience, clear loud and responsive.

So the strings sounded great and felt good. I’d like to point out that even though you can feel the coating on the strings, it is lot less obvious than in Elixir’s in my experience. After few minutes you actually forgot about it. So the next test was longevity. I proceeded to test the strings only using this guitar for all of my work. During the week I played three sessions, two mornings in studio ( about three hours each. I had two rehearsals, first one three hours the second five hours. I also had my regular shows with Sliotar in the Porterhouse during the weekend. This is three shows, first one two hours second four hours and the last three hours. The strings held up the whole week and still sounded great! At this point I was sold. They were the strongest strings I had tested so far.

Three days and three sessions down the line the G-string (no jokes please, I’ve heard them all…) finally gave in with a quite bang. At this point the strings had done about fourth hours of intensive playing. I changed the broken string but left the rest of the set on just to see how long the would last. To my surprise, three weeks later they finally had become dull enough, that I desired to change them, but none of the other strings had broken. Oh, did I mention I can be bit heavy-handed, strings never last more than a week with me. Also these are extremely stable strings! You put them on, give them a good pull and they are set to go. There was very minimal tuning required with these strings.

So I am impressed. D’Addario EXP17s have become my new string of choice, now I just need to convince my local music shop to stock enough of them 😉

For more info visit www.daddario.com

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Chapter 5 “After the Storm”

My fifth album “After the Storm” is now officially out. I attached here a Spotify player so hit the play and listen while you read this post 🙂

At the end of 2014, when I was certain I was going to be able to finish my 52 song challenge, I started to think how much I had enjoyed the experience, and how great the response from people had been. At that stage it felt somehow just natural to continue releasing song a week in 2015 as well. Instead it being a chore, it had become a part of my life, and instead the songs getting stagnant, they actually started to get better. Funny thing really, to realise that if you do something a lot, you might actually get better at it… Who knew?

So this album is the first 12 songs of 2015. They are songs I am very proud of, they are song I hope will speak to you and you can relate to them, maybe find a little bit of your self in there somewhere.

afterthestorm2compressedNow as to the business side of things 😉 I decided to try something different this time. The fact is I want you to have the album. I did spend time, money and a lot of hard work to get the album done, so obviously I would expect to get return on it. But I do understand that for some people money is tight. So I set up a page with FanDistro, a website that let you share my music, and get a track in return. Or get your friends to share it and you will get the full album for free. Yep you heard me right, for free!

Now if you still want to support me financially, you can still purchase the album from there as well, and actually help not only an independent artist, but a charity as well. From all the sales of my album on the FanDistro site 20% goes to Direct Relief. Direct Relief is a charity that I am a big fan of, as they run a very lean operation and a staggering 99% of the money donated actually ends up in the source. I am always hesitant with charities as many of them are managed badly, and often the running of the organisation can eat a large amount of peoples donations.

To go to my FanDistro page click HERE

The album is also available from iTunes, Amazon and all the usual online stores. And by the way, ratings and reviews on all of these sites make a world of difference to me as well 🙂

And here’s a few nice quotes from the first few reviews we got in already:

“Finnish man in Dublin has three of the best tracks of his career right inside the walls of this here album. After The Storm is a highlight of Kallio’s sensitivities as well as his guitar technical know how.”

– Walter Price, Global Texan Chronicles

“With his new album “After The Storm” he does make it as easy as possible to entice you to really listen: Superbly produced (headphone material!), with a strong baritone voice that can convey many moods and amazing fingerpicking guitar-playing and the odd sparse additional touch of an extra instrument or vocal, you are very welcome to listen to his lyrics. Nothing distracts, unless you get distracted by the outer world. I beg you: Don’t.”

Offbeat Music

Thank you guys for your continued support. You are amazing!

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

After The Storm Rehearsal Video

editingvideoHere’s something I’d like to do more, but my resources are limited. Still I will try my best with what we got 😉 I’d like to document as much of my progress on video as possible. So we decided to set up a video camera (iPhone) in the corner of our rehearsal room week before last. It is rough around the edges, but that is the point as well. I want you to see some of the progress along the way as we rehearse the live set and eventually bring it to live shows. So don’t get too hung-up on the little mistakes here and there, that is what the rehearsal are all about 😉 And at this point we are still working on trying to figure the right sounds. But It does give you an idea of where we might be heading.

I always loved to watch the behind the scenes stuff of other artists, to see the real work that goes in to producing a show, a tour or a record. So it would be almost hypocritical of me not to even try to make something similar for you guys to enjoy. And hopefully down the line I can make something bit longer DIY documentary of the progress as well. I mentioned before the importance of your story, and this is a part of my story. Video can be a great way to share your story. It does not need to be always top quality, and it definitely does not need to be staged. Let people see the real life behind the scenes from time to time.

The song is the tittle track from my fifth album “After The Storm” that will be coming out in March. And I have Brian O’Shea playing with me on the electric banjo 🙂 Let me know what you think of the video and the idea of documenting the progress. Also what you’d like to see included in these short documents.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE