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Thread: Shop visit.

  1. #1
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Shop visit.

    When I has my shop, I always enjoyed visits from other techs. Some were very experienced techs, and some were utter novices. But it was fun to talk shop and even talk some trash. A novice was an opportunity to expand their horizon some, and an experienced guy might give me insight into something that was bugging me. Every tech runs into a stumper now and then, and having fresh eyes on it can help.

    I enjoyed seeing projects, people would bring in some amp they were building. They might have questions about it, or they might just want to show off their pride and joy. Pro techs might need a part, might have questions themselves, or might be interested in what I had going on. And sometimes we just said screw it, and went to lunch.

    So this past friday morning, I went over to Mike's shop at a local music store, and spent half a day. he had invited me, so we could look at some problem repairs he had. Now I miss my old shop. I enjoyed sitting in it, surrounded by my life's activities. it is interesting to sit in someone else's shop. They have an organization, different from mine, but organized nonetheless. Familiar elements are present, but laid out totally different. After a brief chat, we got right into it.

    He had an unstable SS amp, we diagnosed fairly quickly, a solid state power amp we discussed but didn't work on really. Then we got out a Classic 30, and took it all apart, tracking down dead heaters. Unfortunately we also discovered an open primary on the PT. We looked at a few other things, and then an OLD Fender Bandmaster with a hum. Someone previous had already replaced all the e-caps - did it very nicely. We looked it over, but ultimately one of the new 12AX7s in it was hummy. A new tube and it sounded great.

    And with that, we retired to a local diner for lunch. And we yakked about the local music scene, as both of us have been in it for decades.

    A great way to spend a day.

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    Old Timer nosaj's Avatar
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    I hope that you continue to do things like this. It really seems to make you very happy. I wish all the best to you and sincerely appreciate all the help and wisdom you have given and continue to give to us all. I think that if there were a real clubhouse for this place we'd have a statue of a sumo guy skiing.
    Serious thanks for all that you and the other senior member give.

    nosaj

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I've noticed that in many service shop/industrial areas near big cities it's common to have "shop rats". Those guys that just hang around and drink the stale coffee who are into the operation enough that they don't hamper the work, but don't get paid either. Shop rat's come in two varieties. Younger enthusiasts and retired enthusiasts that use to have shop rats of their own. It's not a very dignified title, but it's an important role that someone has to fill. I've been a shop rat at a couple of places. It was fun.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    The guys that come into my shop to show off or ask about their own projects, I good naturedly call them "familiars". Like a witches familiars, the cats and things. I mean no disrespect for sure, and it isn;t something I say to anyone's face. But to my wife or a fellow pro tech, "One of my familiars came over today, and...." Some guys were serious into learning some theory, others wanted their thing to work. I had one guy who was so super tentative at first. he'd always bring over some minor repair - a "purchase" so to speak. Then after I replaced the battery snap or whatever it needed, and I charged him some amount, he'd ask if I wouldn;t mind answering a question. Sure. And he was always coming up with odd stuff. Like the innards from a toy ray gun, and he wanted to mount that in a pedal for sound effects on stage. Or those toy microphones that change your voice, he'd want to turn that into an effect pedal. Eventually he came to realize I didn't bite and was happy to help, and he opened up quite a bit, and even showed off some projects that were successful.


    This is a General Motors town, with multiple auto plants, and thousands of GM factory workers fill the area. Pretty much any bar or diner will have gaggle of them telling war stories or griping about how the place is run. So we have plenty of shop rodents.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    I get lots of Lab Rats too.
    Most are harmless and just sit there, play some unplugged guitar or browse through old Guitar Player and similar magazines, or shoot the breeze at random, but a few are unbearable and annoying: want endless detailed one-on-one Electronics lessons, for free of course, or ask me *why* am I doing *this* and not *that* or why do I think such and such part needed replacement or how would I get the sound of [obscure band] in [obscure record] , so I give them tasks instead, such as sorting my random screws kept in marmalade jars, unwind-wipe-rewind filthy grimy speaker and guitar cables, etc.
    The WMD in this case and only applied to the most recalcitrant cases: "glad you are here, I´m *terribly* busy now, meanwhile would you mind sweeping the floor for me? " ... they suddenly remember some important appointment miles away and take off .

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    unwind-wipe-rewind filthy grimy speaker and guitar cables, etc.
    Shop ratting goes the other direction too. A studio owner tried to "turn me on to a gig at a local pro sound company" where he knew the owner. No mixing nor tech work... they wanted me to scrub the filth off their snakes to start with. Sweep the shop & scrub the toilets & empty the ashtrays. At least they offered to pay - minimum wage which was at the time $6/hour - for a part time 3-4-5 hour day. 100 mile round trip. I told 'em to hire the kid they have cut the lawn & shovel the driveway, at least he lived locally. I'll bet he wouldn't settle for minimum wage either.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    The WMD in this case and only applied to the most recalcitrant cases: "glad you are here, I´m *terribly* busy now, meanwhile would you mind sweeping the floor for me? " ... they suddenly remember some important appointment miles away and take off .
    I had to look that one up.

    recalcitrant: Having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.

    There. Now no one else has to look it up or wonder (as if anyone but me would admit).

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

  8. #8
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I knew recalcitrant, but I have no idea what that "authority" stuff is.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    In this case. "stubborn/hard headed" would have been quite close.
    In any case the idea is clear.

    Now as to the PA/Studio menial jobs routine, sadly it´s a time tested method of getting "the chance".

    Best is to have a heck of a crystall ball to be at the right place, at the right time.

    Lacking it , second best is to pick the right place by yourself, and be there 24/7/365 waiting for the Magic Door to open for, what? 30 seconds? and slip in.

    We all know the stories about Movie Directors, Musicians, Record Techs/Producers, Actors, whatever, who were available when the "official" one caughtb the Flu, was too drunk or stoned to do his thing or broke a leg.

    FWIW my 20 y.o. Nephew is studying Record Production and Engineering at some San Diego Institute, supposedly one of the best, and I called a friend who has a couple Grammys or similar under his belt, won some Best Recording Engineer awards, etc. and I asked him for guidance and help; he answered best is what I said above, first finish his studies (or he´ll never finish them at all), and then he´ll try to plug him "somewhere action is" but as mentioned above: doing *anything* , related or not, but always present, waiting for the miracle opening.
    Crazy, huh?

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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