Gregor Hilden.

Gregor is a renowned Blues musician as well as having a YouTube channel called GregsGuitars. On it he showcases guitars, giving you all the different pickup selector switch, volume and tone options. He’s an absolutely brilliant player. His touch and feel is out of this world. Incredible musician.

Here he is playing a 1989 Eric Clapton Signature Edition Fender Stratocaster.

Wishes, Birthday and Otherwise

I have sent a card out today to an old curmudgeon 🙂 whose birthday it is tomorrow. He plays guitar and increasingly more in the finger-style tradition. How the hell he manages to not knock the selector switch out of position on his Strat I shall never know. I keep f***ing doing that and it’s driving me ’round the bend.

I’ve been drawn to the psychology of having just the one instrument and putting all my energy into that. I play a Strat and it’s set up in such a way that as well as the usual 5 positions via the selector switch (neck, neck/middle, middle, middle/bridge, bridge) I also have a push-pull feature on the volume control.

With the volume control pulled out/up, and in what would be the neck position (which I call 1 and which everyone else seems to call 5*), that gives me just the neck and bridge pickups together. It’s not a Tele sound but it’s very usable nonetheless. The 2/4 position (neck/middle) gives me all 3 pickups in series, so 7 different sonic options in all. It’s just a shame then that I can’t play for toffee!!!

*I have never understood calling the neck position on a Strat, position 5. That’s going anti-clockwise and makes no sense to my mind. Same with Les Paul’s. Why are the volume and tone controls horizontal for each pickup when the pickups are vertical by comparison? It just makes no sense. In fact, why not just 1 overall volume and 1 overall tone plus the selector switch?

A good pal of mine, Pete, has been given a guitar to review on his YouTube channel and in return he gets to keep the instrument. He has already gigged it and seems well pleased. I would imagine though that guitars reviewed publicly are set up in advance of shipping. I have noticed looking around YouTube that the channels where the player has bought the instrument from a website rather than being given one to review, the results are more mixed in terms of the state in which it arrives in. It’s still amazing however how much guitar you can get nowadays for very little cash outlay. Vintage (company name) guitars are excellent for the money. This is a guitar I covet. Vintage VSA500. Their (Vintage) ‘S’ Style guitars, I think they come with a 10″ fingerboard radius. I suppose so they don’t get sued by a certain ‘F’ company.

Today, I am learning how to play Harlem River Blues by Justin Townes Earle, someone I had not heard of until listening to music on Jango. Jango is a free music streaming service. When you register on the site, if you like a track you give it a thumbs up and it’s played more often. If you give a track a thumbs down, you never hear it again. I have discovered so much great music through it. I will embed the video to the JTE track I’m learning below plus another to showcase the range of his musical style.

Sadly, he is no longer with us. I wish he was still here. Justin Townes Earle (January 4, 1982 – August 20, 2020) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Rest In Peace x

Thank you for reading.

The good old U S of A

I met someone a couple of days back who lives in Los Angeles. Very nice person to chat with. I’m glad we bumped into each other.

I grew up on American TV shows, American films, American music. The Blues, I mean what more can be said? That genre of music flows through my veins.

I like the attitude of women from The States. The openness in their manner. Very little in the way of affectation.

Then we come to personality. It’s so stuck up here in the UK. People seem to be afraid to even smile in case it might crack their faces. There’s just so much control here. Too much uniformity of thought and conformity of behaviour. I love talking with people from The States, as they are so genuine in how they express themselves. I love their spontaneity. I have often wondered how my life would have worked out had I been born in the United States. As a child I was what is referred to here as a ‘chatterbox’ and it’s an insult, a slur.

Everything is so ‘polite’ here. Stiff upper lip and all that nonsense. I was chatting with an American couple who now live here and they were telling me how music concerts and gigs differ there to here. People whoop, holler and cheer there whereas here it’s a light ripple of applause with those same types looking around them just in case they have gone too far in showing their approval for the music. I think it was Brian Johnson, lead singer from AC/DC, who lives in The States now and he was talking about how people just let their hair down and are themselves in America, even doing mundane things whereas people in the UK don’t know how to do that. I wonder if the weather plays a part?

I don’t think my life would have been easy if I had lived in the United States. I would likely still have been bullied growing up because I was clearly different. I was a bookworm, an introvert and I kept very much to myself. I still do. I would likely have clammed up around the girls at High School and would have ended up working in a bookstore or library however I feel I would have largely been allowed to be myself, personality-wise. It feels freer ‘over there.’ I cannot recall the last time I’ve had a good old chinwag with another Brit. Everyone is so surly here now. It’s silicon valley really. The Live to Work, Work to Live mindset is everywhere sadly.

Alcohol misuse is prevalent here too and that’s understandable as for many it’s the only way they can loosen up socially and really ‘be themselves’ in a social setting. I have a good friend from the United States and when I talk with her, it’s just about the only time I can have a really great in-depth and good humoured conversation with an intelligent human being. There’s a very real sense of a line to be toed with so many people in the UK however not so when I meet someone from The States. Quite a lot of people from there have different views in terms of the spiritual side of life and I love that. There used to be so many different spiritual options here when I was growing up however that’s now largely disappeared in favour of The Big 3 religions and their spin-offs, or not believing in anything at all.

Politically, we get told about our special relationship with those who live ‘across the pond’ which is largely borne out of geopolitical concerns however for me, it’s far more than that. American culture infuses my soul. No other country on Earth has had such a wide-ranging and deep impact as The United States. It’s not just because I grew up on CHiPS, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sesame Street, The Muppets, The A-Team etc Even if I had been brought up on Canadian TV or solely British TV I would still have been drawn to the U.S. The music alone is out of this world. But the most important reason for why I would have ended up discovering the country and its people is really very simple.

I find Americans warm, friendly and their honesty refreshing.


Arborescence was my first encounter with the band Ozric Tentacles.

I can remember everything about the day I purchased it. It was a hot Summer’s day. I was young. 20 years of age. The world still felt new. Hope and innocence, my constant companions.

Around this time, I was frequenting New Age shops and had discovered the work of Alfred Watkins. Ley-lines. I was finding myself drawn to Paganism.

I only ever play this album as the warmer weather approaches. I love everything about it.

The artwork still takes me to another world. In fact, it was the cover which attracted me to it, as I had no idea what the music would be like.

I came home. Put the cassette tape into the stereo and for nearly 50 minutes, I was transported into a world I hadn’t been aware I was searching for, however, I knew I had found something very special indeed.

The rocking opener Astro Cortex gave way to the spiritual loveliness of the title track, through to the world beats and ambience of tracks such as Dance Of The Loomi and There’s A Planet Here. In fact, there was something for every part of me in each track. Ed Wynne’s guitar playing was then and still is, incredible to listen to.

This album takes me on a journey, one which I embarked upon back in 1994 and in 2023, I’m still travelling that inner road.


Tony Joe White (July 23, 1943 – October 24, 2018).

The album “Closer To The Truth” introduced me to the music of TJW a.k.a. the Swamp Fox and I’ve listened to him daily since. Nearly 25 years now.

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