During the general election, I was contacted by an eye-opening number of people about the stigma surrounding mental health. I was absolutely shocked about the abuse and vitriol people received from attempting to discuss their issues with their mental health. In response to this, I put this at the forefront of my campaign. However, I felt there was more I could do. Following this, I decided to write an album based on the music I wrote during the worst year of my life, in an effort to encourage other people to talk about their mental health and fight the stigma.
This album is a guitar-centric story about my year last year, one of highs and lows, laughter and sorrow. It completely changed who I am as a person and put me through at least two periods of mental health problems, where I’d previously had none at all in my life.
This is for all of you who’ve been told to “get over it”, that “it’s just a phase” or been cut off from friends of family. It is a reminder of the fact that you are not alone.
I’d like to personally thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of those who have stuck by me over the last year. Friends, family, everyone. Thank you.
I’ll be recording and mixing this album over the next few months and I aim to have this out on SoundCloud on January 11th 2018. It will be called “Caught in a Storm”. Any revenue I make from this will be donated to the mental health charity Mind.
My EP “Keeping My Sanity” was released early on in May 2017 – you can listen to it HERE.
It’s been a confusing time really, for about a week now I’ve had this Ibanez GRG7221 (it’s a seven string and by the “G” before the “RG” it means it’s part of the GIO series and this is actually one of the cheapest around) and It’s absolutely fantastic, I’ve had no complaints – it’s a very responsive guitar!
One of the greatest bargains of 2013.
Now I’ve got three Kramers and I’ll tell you more about each one:
The Kramer Pacer Classic, it’s based on the 1983 Kramer Pacer Imperial. It has a sort of “Explorer” wiring, so if I turned down the neck volume and still had up the bridge volume I could use the pickup selector as a kill switch. Licenced Floyd Rose – Now I remember when I got this it was recessed slightly so you could do SOME pull-up techniques but I had it flush mounted (more EVH style, that’s all I use the guitar for!) but I remember I had to sort out the wiring a couple of times, the action was quite high from the factory, pickups (Epiphone, go figure) were weak! It now has two Ibanez (Coincidence!?) pickups, v7 & v8, humbuckers – action is nice and low. Overall it is an “okay” priced guitar £249.99, if you’re willing to put in the work to get it to a satisfactory level.
Pacer Classic – left 110st – right
The Kramer 110st, a fine relic from 1988 – part of the 100 series! Came with a Floyd Rose II (not schaller, the terrible cheapo Floyd, it’s been there since ’88) and an EMG 81. It now still has the FR-II and now with one of my all time favourite pickups the Bare Knuckle VH-II. It’s a lot better now but still the lead input is EXTREMELY dodgy. Need to get THAT repaired again! This guitar was made in Korea, and in the 80s that meant one thing… TERRIBLE. (Although it’s better than some would think!) Priced at £186.00 and from a very good eBay seller!
Kramer SM-1, basically it’s the Kramer Stagemaster, a lovely set neck, EMG equipped and Floyd Rose Special, stays in Tune, but what was my problem with this? Screws. Like on my old Steinberger GT-PRO deluxe, the screws were so cheap and awful that they broke, usually I don’t mind but when it’s the Trem claw screws I’m gonna get annoyed. So I had to take THAT into PJ’s Guitar Centre and get THAT repaired and now it’s absolutely perfect so thank you PJ’s! Bought B stock from Thomann for £460 – usually it’s £649… bargain!
Now I love all 4 guitars, but the thing is that after the fact that a cheapo Ibanez has blown my mind, I want more! Oh YES. I am considering to defect to Ibanez due to that simple occurrence. Gibson own the Kramer brand (est the late 90s) and in my experience I have found that Gibson’s quality on their guitars has somewhat slipped, their Les Pauls are starting to have chambered bodies instead of a solid body. Gibson has been frantically making attempts to make some more variation on their standard models, but to no avail. Honestly, nothing has blown my mind. The last time I was impressed by Gibson was when they decided to make a Flying V Tremolo and an Explorer Tremolo.
I’ve never had a more painful experience than trying to set up the Kramer Pacer Classic or SM-1, in the end it has been worth it, they are great – as long as you put in the effort to make it work. UNLIKE my latest Ibanez – which came in perfect condition AND the action was already low! So I was extremely happy.
As soon as I can I will be making a M-Grind III (with Carvin).
I must say that if you expected this point you thought this post was about Van Halen, you’re wrong. Though they are my favourite band of all time, this post isn’t about them.
NOW, I’ve got a new guitar coming! It’s the brand new Ibanez GRG7221 – basically it’s a cheapo Ibanez, it’s got 7 strings (and that’s why I got it!). Usually it’s not evident for non-guitarists (or Guitarists who just play what they’re given) to be able to tell what the difference is between guitars, but this time it’s easier for me to tell these people. It has an extra string! (Thank you Mr Steve Vai for the Ibanez Universe and all the music, naturally).
Anyway, It’s been a pretty average week so far! All I can say is that I’m suffering from my usual shyness, yes even I suffer from an occasional bout of shyness, but I won’t go into that.
Now you know I said that this wouldn’t have anything to do with Van Halen?
Well I lied. Here’s a song that really can put me in a good mood!
I can say without a doubt that the 8th week of 2013 is the greatest week of my life so far. I’ve never felt so good in all my life I just feel so incredibly happy.
Monday and Tuesday I spent time with one of my best friends in the whole world, we sat around chatting and bantering. The weather was also really nice on Tuesday so I went with my friend on a walk around the area. That was nice! On Wednesday I just had a lazy day and helped my Grandparents with their shopping. Thursday was just a great, but lazy, day! Friday I had a great guitar lesson and I cannot thank my Teacher (Mark Poulter) enough for showing me more scales and stuff to assist me in my general playing, Then it was just sit around and wait for 8pm to fly around and so I could go to an old friend’s party. That was fun too!
Overall I must say I’m really pleased with life as it is right now, seeing so many people happy makes me happy. It’s just a beautiful thing life. I can tell you, dear Reader, right now that if I ever feel slightly down – for whatever reason – I shall look back to this week with a big “Grindey Grin” and just use that to make another time EVEN BETTER.
Well in the first time in my entire life, I’ve taken part of the political process. I’ve taken the mick out of it! Why only 5 days ago I was in Eastleigh with one of my friends and we just trolled around just talking to different candidates, the NHAP (National Health Action Party) bloke was quite nice! Shame I don’t live in Eastleigh.
As of recently I was starting to doubt things, was starting to think things in my life were heading to a standstill. But I’m wrong, things are looking up once again and things are happening all the time to keep my optimism at an All Time High and yeah life is pretty good to me! Though one of my old friend groups is on the verge of collapse (I have compared it to watching the Hindenburg fall in slow motion) I can safely say that I at least have my friends from it no matter what. Love those guys!
But yeah right now I’m once again with Tory Joe and yeah we’re just talking about “Life” and catching up on the good times! Though I prefer it when I’m in control of the music. Less sounds of Windows crashing in a remixed format.
So it’s been a few days since my last post – due to Christmas and illness! I’ve had the friendly staff at PJ’s Guitar Centre restring my Acoustic and have some work done on two of the Kramer Guitars! They’re going to look and sound great, my Acoustic sounds better than ever with some new strings and plays amazing with low action.
Such good guys over that store, I advise to check them out they’re absolutely fantastic, know their stuff and really can steer you on the right path if you want to play the guitar. I did some YouTube videos for them a while back.
Christmas was great, some quality time with the family and some great food being consumed! Never felt happier in my life, although that’s usually what Christmas should do for anyone who chooses to celebrate it.
Time to get cracking on with the Bond DVD box set I received!