Guild Bluesbird Bake-Off

Being in the lucky position of having not two, not three, but five Guild Bluesbirds with their build dates spanning from 1974 to 2016, I figured I would set about comparing them.

In order to try and impart a bit of logic to the proceedings, I employed something called a decision matrix. This is a tool I learned from a project manager many years ago and I use it to make decisions for purchases all the time. For example, if I’m going to buy a car, I will evaluate individual aspects of each car (stereo, comfort, power, etc.) with a numeric value. I will then total up each car’s scores and the winner should be the logical choice. I usually add a weight to the scores and then multiply each score by the appropriate weight as well. In other words, if I’m really concerned with the power, I’ll give that a weight of 5 so a raw score of 3 would result in a weighted score of 15. I then compare the raw and weighted scores to see if they agree.

In the case of guitars, a lot of what matters is either subjective (tone), or very personal (neck feel), so bear in mind that these numbers are for my tastes and you may very well score them differently. Still, it’s a fun exercise, so let’s see if the math matches with my gut feelings.   (more…)

2001 Guild X-500T

If you’ve read any of my work then you may know that I can be a tad obsessive. Take, for example, this Guild X-500T. I already owned two Guild X500s (reviewed here) which were great, and I currently own a Guild Starfire III-90, but what I really wanted was an X-500 with a Guildsby and P90s. Oh yeah, and with a 1 11/16″ neck at the nut since that’s one of the other things I obsess about. I also like red in my sunburst guitars. But how would I possible ever find such a beast? Why, through constant trolling through Reverb, eBay, Forums, Craigslist, and such, that’s how!

Is this guitar everything I’ve ever wanted in a full-sized Rockabilly Jazz box? Let’s find out.  (more…)

Batch Photo Resize with Mac OSX Automator

I have a constant need to resize photos, often hundreds or even thousands at a time. Additionally, I require that when resizing, I keep the original file separate from the smaller, resized file. There are many ways to resize files on the Mac, but with the advent of file versioning, most of them convert the existing file which I didn’t want.

My requirements were simple: Resize a directory or selection of photos, all to the same size (1600 pixels on the longest side), placing the resized photos into a subdirectory called, “Web” while leaving the originals untouched. I wanted this specific set of steps because I had previously been using a wonderful Windows program called Thumbnailer that let me do just that. Thumbnailer was the only program that I still needed Windows for, and I desperately wanted to stop using Windows, so I came up with this Automator script which is much simpler to use. Here’s how you can make one just like it. (more…)

1994 Guild X-170

I’m not really much of a jazz player, but there’s something about a nice jazz box guitar that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s the generally high-end appointments, or maybe it’s the lure of an instrument that begs to be mastered. Whatever the reason, over the years I’ve found myself in possession of various Guild jazz guitars all of which have been either X-500s or X-170s. I covered a couple of 1980s X-500s in this article, and for this write-up I’ll be focusing on X-170s, all of which are from 1994 or later. I’ll spend a lot of this post reviewing this beautiful sunburst X-170 from 1994 because, well, just look at it!  (more…)

StrongBags Vortex 2 Luggage Review


I am a frequent flyer with United Platinum 1K status which means I’ve flown over 100,000 miles in the past year alone. I’ve flown almost 400 segments in the last ten years and I have spent over 850 nights in various Marriott hotels. Why the stats? Because I’ve been on a lot of business trips and I’ve owned a single suitcase for the majority of them. That bag is a StrongBags Vortex 2 Flight Crew Luggage Roller that I have had for four years (since 2012) and I’m here to give it a real “I’ve hauled it around the world” review.  (more…)

1980s Guild X-500s

I’m not really much of a Jazz player, but I am a guitar guy and I’m definitely a Guild guitar guy, so when the chance came about to buy a Guild X-500 made in 1984, I jumped at the chance under the premise that it would inspire me to brush up on my jazz chops.

Being a gear hound, the chance for a second X-500 of similar vintage (1986) was too good to pass up so I ended up with two of these big ‘ol Guilds and thought, “Why not write about them?” and here we are.

These guitar were a bit of a challenge for me to write about because their proper use is a bit outside of my comfort zone. They are guitars, however, and me being me, I was not afraid to sit down and run them through their paces in order to write up what I could about the instruments. Let’s dig in and see how they fared.


Cozy Tales: Afterword

If you’ve read this book and think you’d like a Newfoundland dog of your own, I strongly urge you to reconsider.  Every year hundreds of giant breed dogs are put up for adoption or worse, destroyed because someone fell in love with the fluffy little puppy and brought it home, only to be overwhelmed by slobber, food, vet bills, and the sheer size of their full grown dog. If you cannot make a commitment to this – or any – animal to keep it forever, then please don’t get one. Would you give up a son or daughter because they got too big? Certainly not. Anyone who thinks a Newfoundland is any less than a child doesn’t understand the breed.

Breeders ask a lot of questions to see if you are capable of being responsible for a Newfie. They don’t want to see their pups end up in shelters two years from now. The scene where I describe being grilled by the breeder really happened. When we started talking to rescue, they were even more insistent that we be the right kind of people. (more…)

Cozy Tales: Epilogue

This book was written over the course of about three years, starting just before Cozy’s death. It was then re-edited and posted online almost 10 years later. Often, while writing, I would become overwhelmed with grief and sit sobbing in my chair, alone, wishing my Cozy were there to comfort me. I usually write late at night when everyone else is asleep, so my family was blissfully unaware of my suffering. Writing was cathartic as I’d hoped, but it was difficult none-the-less. The easier parts I wrote while sitting in various Starbucks in the area. If you’ve seen a quiet guy sitting in the corner of a New Jersey Starbucks writing on his Macbook Pro wearing a Tilly hat, it might have been me. Actually except for the Tilly hat that describes many of the people in Starbucks. I can only hope that there will soon be a run on Tilly hats so that I might retain my secret identity. The chair in the picture is the table in Starbuck where I wrote. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 62. Empty Wrecked House

For the first time in ten years, there were no dogs in our house, but we could still hear them.

We would hear their collars clinking on their water bowls. Sometimes I would hear them snore at night. Other times I would hear them scratch at the door, only to become overwhelmed with sadness after catching myself walking to the door to let them in.

We continued to hear the dogs, but there were no dogs to be heard. There was no snoring, no woofing, and no other disturbances except those caused by Meghan and Colleen. Even with two wonderful, energetic children, the house seemed somehow devoid of life. Cozy had been the one to fill the house with life. She had been the one to show us that we were capable parents. (more…)

Guild 1981 M-80

After buying, playing, and testing a 1975 M-80 CS, I decided to see about scoring an early ’80s model to see how it differed. I managed to score this tobacco burst beauty for a great price and sat down to play it, eagerly anticipating my first outing with not only a 1980’s Guild, but my first experience with Guild’s XR-7 pickups.

This guitar is unlike most of the Guilds I’ve owned in some ways while still retaining the core elements of what makes Guilds such a great guitars. But first, a bit of an introduction about Guild M-80s is in order.  (more…)