I’ve been a little indecisive lately about using cartridges on my Thorens TD-160 turntable. I’m fond of the Grado brand because I really like the idea that in today’s USA there is a family-owned company making cartridges and headphones by hand in an old Brooklyn workshop using even old machines that were born for watchmaking. But with the Grados I had big problems. Not because of them (no Grado dance, Grado hum or… “deGraded” performance in the innermost part of the records). The fault is entirely mine. I was extremely clumsy in replacing stylii. I ruined three of them. A very precious 8MZ (I’m still in mourning), a Gold1 and a Black2. All while I was in economic conditions that did not allow me to spend money on Hifi.
I can’t believe it…
What happened to me in early 2022 is unbelievable. It’s something I never thought I would achieve, a little forgotten dream that came true almost naturally. I had never considered such a possibility and yet … never say never in life. It’s so true. At my age, for the first time it happened to me to participate in a song with my guitar, a song that was released on all streaming platforms. It’s a tiny thing, a drop in the ocean, but to me it’s a huge accomplishment, completely unexpected and totally unplanned. A number of things happened that led me to this opportunity. I’m very happy that an official track contains a small musical contribution from me. I have gained a great deal of satisfaction….
The Stratocaster, Hendrix and SRV
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 years old and always dreamed of having a Stratocaster. It was the guitar used by my favorite guitar player at the time and I wanted one too. I couldn’t afford it, so eventually my parents bought me a reproduction, which was the best gift I ever received. Some time later I was able to buy a PRS Strat at cost price and then I almost stopped playing. I picked it up again much later and decided to make the dream come true. I sold the PRS and bought a Fender Stratocaster. Even though it’s a Made in Mexico, I think I achieved my goal. It is a vintage reproduction of 56, one of the first models created by Leo Fender, who was named the same as my son and had his birthday on the same day as me.
Playing the electric guitar it is inevitable to get drawn sooner or later to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, especially if you love the Stratocaster; or better, if you love those guitarists you end up dreaming of a Stratocaster.
For me the dream was triggered with an Italian guitarist, then through the usual David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler I pushed me back to Jimi Hendrix and his guitar heir SRV.
My biggest HiFi bargains
Since I started buying and reselling HiFi equipment, I came across a few really good deals. At the beginning the money I spent has been quite a lot, at least for my economical “status” (unoccupied student). But the original core of my first real serious system revealed to be a good investment. Plus, later I happened to find some good stuff just by chance. The amplifier I bought in late 1991 to pilot the loudspeakers I wanted (the TDL Studio 0.5 transmission lines) proved to be a very good investment since I bought it for 1.35 million Lire and sold it in 2019 for 500 euros. although 1 million lire of those days would actually compare to 1000 euros today, mathematically speaking it is almost the same figure (500 euros are around 1 million Lire), therefore the old Italian-made Unison Research Mood kept its value fairly well.
Is playing music a teenager’s thing?
In one season of the hit television series Desperate Housewives, some of the male characters get together to play music by forming a band that becomes their leisure activity. My favorite character happened to be the lead guitarist (and he played a Fender Stratocaster in the series). So I empathized and found it very likable. It’s a shame that the writers had thought of this little act to make the members of the group look like immature children who had not yet left their adolescence behind.
Digital quandaries – or analog ones?
Every now and then I vent on this blog the hifi quandaries that arise after certain reflections. Obviously I choose the exaggerated word quandary to be ironic about the problems that often attack the minds of hifi enthusiasts, known as audiophiles. How can these really be existential problems? Much more should we worry about and turn into a real quandary. So let me be self-ironic and get to the point, because for someone who has a blog titled “I still play vinyl” and shares tips on how to best adjust Thorens turntables, this could be a real revolution, something total that shakes the foundations. On the plus side, questioning oneself and one’s ability to change ideas and contradict oneself is sometimes a good thing…