Thursday, November 15, 2007

Review: Oasis Guitar Humidifiers

Here in Santa Fe we live in the high desert. The altitude is about 7,000 feet and the humidity is generally around 20 percent. If you own an acoustic guitar you'll find it a challenge to keep it sufficiently humidified so as to prevent it from cracking. Guitar builders advise keeping your acoustic guitar in an environment of about 45 percent humidity.

The other day I observed that my 1963 Gibson LG1, an old friend, was showing a hairline crack opening up along the seam in the top of the guitar. I had been using a popular soundhole humidifier, but it failed to do the job. This motivated me to search the internet in a quest for an effective guitar humidifier.

My efforts paid off and I found the website for Oasis Guitar Humidifiers. The website features a new kind of guitar humidifier developed by guitarist Dave Hepple. I read the material on his Oasis website and also Googled the products. I found some satisfied owners recommending Oasis humidifiers in some of the guitar discussion groups on the internet. So I placed an order.

I had a question regarding my order so I called and spoke with Dave. I'm glad that I did because I learned something valuable. In addition to the standard and Plus+ (for dry climates) humidifier, he also makes a Re-Hydrator for professional use. It is for restoring badly dehydrated guitars... just the thing for my Gibson. Dave kindly included one in my order along with the Plus+ humidifiers that I purchased.

I first used the Re-Hydrator to restore the moisture in my Gibson. It took about a week and I had to replenish the moisture in the Re-Hydrator several times during that week. The crack disappeared and the top of the guitar now shows that slight arch or "belly" which is the sign of a healthy acoustic guitar. After restoring the guitar I switched to the Oasis Plus+ humidifier and it is doing an excellent job of maintaining the humidity level in the guitar.

I won't attempt to detail the technology of the Oasis guitar humidifiers here because Dave does a splendid job of that on his website. If you read his info and instructions you will have no problems. The humidifiers are safe to use with any guitar and doubly safeguarded against leakage. They utilize a special membrane which allows water vapor to pass through in such a way that the humidifier shrinks as it dries out. A quick glance will tell you when it needs to be refilled.

I highly recommend the Oasis Guitar humidifiers and also recommend the Oasis Hygrometer which is a miniature humidity gauge that fits nicely inside your guitar case. It's easy to read and accurate. If you are interested in learning more about guitar care and humidification I recommend the excellent instructional videos available free on the Taylor Guitar website.

It's a pleasure to find a product that is so well conceived and constructed with such integrity. I've used every guitar humidifier
on the market today and the Oasis Guitar humidifiers are by far the easiest to use and most effective available.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Demeter Tube Direct - A Review

The Demeter Tube Direct is a veritable sonic Swiss Army Knife for musicians. For those of you who aren't acquainted with this mainstay of studio and stage, I'm talking about the original vacuum tube direct box as designed by audio nerd par excellence and lead guitar slinger of The Heaters, James Demeter.

The DTB was originally conceived as a studio direct box. During the design process James came down with a bad case of the flu. He found himself wondering what would happen if he used a 12AX7 vacuum tube in his circuit. Sometimes delirium is the mother of invention. And so a modern pro audio classic was born.

Demeter's brain child has often been imitated but never equaled. Before he manufactured equipment Demeter paid his dues as tube amp guru to the likes of The Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, and many others. He knows how vacuum tubes work. I've been a tube direct user since the early days and I can't help but wonder when I see something running off a low voltage wall wart power supply and claiming to be a vacuum tube preamp. I guess there are folks who will believe anything...

My own love affair with the DTB began one day when I asked James if I could use my preamp with my newly acquired Sunrise Guitar Pickup given to me by our friend James Kaufman. Some folks will find this hard to believe but I'll swear on a motel full of Gideon Bibles that it's true... that's the first time anyone paired a Sunrise Pickup with a Demeter Tube Direct. Now it's become the reference standard for acoustic guitar amplification.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Open Mic Cancelled

After a trial month of open mics at the PD Bean we decided to abandon the project. It's a good idea and could work. It would take more time and effort to promote than I have available. If you're interested in taking over, stop by the PD Bean and talk to Dan about it.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Wish I had the time available to promote the event. It was fun for a short time, but I need to focus my time and energy on my photography business.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Open Mic at the PD Bean

Alan Rogers' Open Mic, Santa Fe's first and best open mic, returns after a long hiatus. We're thinkin' of it as the Alan Rogers Open Mic Comeback Tour.

The event kicks off July 9 at 6:00pm at the PD Bean Coffeehouse at 2411 Cerrillos Rd. in Santa Fe. Sign-ups start at 5:30.

Just like in the good old days Alan Rogers will provide sound for the talent and will fill in as needed with music and atrocious funny jokes.

Folksingers and songwriters are welcome. Because the PD Bean is a cozy venue the open mic will be limited to acoustic instruments (acoustic pickups are OK). Sorry, no drums or Marshall amp stacks.

The event is scheduled for the second and fourth Monday night of each month. Stay tuned to this blog for pictures and reports. The picture below shows your genial host and coffee bean wrangler, Dan. Come down and visit us Monday night.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pat Malone at The Bishop's Lodge

While photographing a wedding last weekend at The Bishop's Lodge, I had a chance to dig Pat Malone's jazz duo playing in the main lobby. Pat and bassist John Blackburnet fielded my request for "Green Dolphin Street" with one of the grooviest arrangements of the venerable jazz standard ever... these guys are cool.

Pat Malone perfoms Thursdays and Saturdays at La Posada, Sundays at La Fonda, and Fridays at The Bishop's Lodge. Call (505) 983-6377 for more info and for more about Pat, visit his website at

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Butch Crouch CD On Sale

Butch's long awaited CD I Got So Close is finally here. You can pick up your autographed copy on Sunday nights at El Farol on Canyon Road. For more info click HERE to visit Butch's page.

It ain't a perfect world folks but you'll feel better about it after you listen to Butch sing about it all with compassion and humor. After all these years and all the things life has thrown his way Butch still has that magic sparkle in his eye and his gravelly whiskey baritone just gets more soulful with every passing season. Go have a couple of beers and listen to Butch. I bet before long you'll be smilling through the tears.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Busy McCarroll at Gig Performance Space

Santa Fe music scene mainstays Busy McCarroll, Kevin Zoernig, Justin Branford and Joel Fadness will appear Saturday, March 24 at Gig performance space at 1808 Second Street in Santa Fe. The show begins at 8pm and seats can be had for a modest $10-$15 donation at the door. It's an intimate venue and there isn't a bad seat anywhere in the house. For more info visit

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chuscales releases new CD

Chuscales is a soft-spoken man with a kind, gentle manner about him... until he picks up his guitar... then his guitar speaks. It sings, shouts, whispers and cries with passion, fury, tenderness, melancholy, mischief, loneliness...

Chuscales' guitar has loved and lost, it has tossed and turned in an empty bed, it has gone hungry without food, and stayed out all night drinking... it has tiptoed barefoot up the stairs at the break of dawn and laid down in it's case without waking a soul.

You can hear Chuscales on Friday and Saturday from 5-7pm in the lobby bar of Santa Fe's legendary La Fonda hotel. Be sure to pick up a copy of his new CD, Guitara Flamenca. You won't be disappointed. Chuscales in concert more than lives up to his reputation as a master of the Spanish and Gypsy guitar.

My only complaint about his CD is that it should be one of ten... instead of the only available recording.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pete Springer & Whatsisname at the Tin Star Saloon

Last night I dropped by the Tin Star to catch Pete Springer with drummer par excellence Andy Pimm. In my last write up of the band I failed to mention that Pete Springer trades off on lead vocal and harmony vocal with his partner... whatisname... er... uh... Don Curry.

Seriously, this band is driven by it's tight vocal harmonies and strong instrumental backing. Curry and Springer do an admirable job of harmonizing on a wide variety of material. Last night I was fortunate to catch them performing a standout version of the the old Randy Newman song You Can Leave Your Hat On.

There is one thing lacking however, and that is a CD that you can purchase and take home to Cleveland. How about a Live at the Tin Star recording? What about it guys?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Butch Crouch at El Farol

Butch Crouch is much more than a singer of folksongs. He is a troubador in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Hoyt Axton, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Butch has lived the songs he sings and he brings them alive on stage where performs them with authority and sensitivity. Butch is a skilled raconteur and you might find yourself so caught up in one of his humorous, rambling tales that you almost forget that he's a damn good guitar player and singer. A man of many talents, he's also an accomplished songwriter who, after a lifetime spent entertaining live audiences, has finally put some of his own songs on a CD which is planned for release this Spring (2007).

You can catch Butch every Sunday night at El Farol at 808 Canyon Road beginning at 8:00pm. El Farol is one of Santa Fe's oldest cantinas and restaurants and is now smoke-free throughout the establishment.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Don Curry & Pete Springer at the Tin Star Saloon

Don Curry on guitar & vocals and Pete Springer on keyboards, with a rotating drummer lineup including Mark Clark, Andy Primm and Pete Williams, cover a wide range of rock music including Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, New Radicals, and many more, as well as some original music. The focus of their music is vocal harmony and eclectic and esoteric cover tunes.

Current dates at the Tin Star Saloon are:
Saturday, January 6
Saturday, January 27
Saturday, February 10
Saturday, February 24
Saturday, March 10
Friday, March 23