Tuesday, December 3, 2013


So, there's this Right-Wing Nationalist speaker truck, which drives around town every so often when ever it's owner or owners feel their patriotic pride raging within their loins. Usually this truck drives by my house every so often with enough infrequency to not really garner much of my attention except for raising my curiosity as to who does such a thing on their day off? Do these patriots have jobs? Today however was a special day, because said owner/driver decided to swing by my place 5 times in row, while blaring Naziesque music and ranting something indistinguishable through broken-up Cold War Era speakers from on top of the truck. Somehow this isn't illegal. I would have called the cops if I thought I could express the situation well enough in Japanese. It would have been a struggle as well and hours of my time filling out paperwork. (I once spent about 20 minutes signing papers for a wallet I found and brought into a police station) Amazingly no one else seemed to have called the authorities. Perhaps they thought they were Yakuza linked? I've hear stories of the Yakuza sending these folks out to harass businesses. From what I guessed this must have been the reason for this mans never ending tour of my block.
By the sixth round of this Japanese-Patriotic-Hard-On Truck going down my street, I had to go to work. This time the truck stopped in front of a business two doors down from me. “Middle-aged Hitler Man”, that's what we're going to call the man driving the truck from now on. MAHM for short. He actually looked nothing like Hitler. MAHM, parked his speaker truck in the middle of my street, blocking traffic and yelling expletives towards the business he parked in front of. I had to go that way and seeing how he was blocking my path, I decided to walk with my bike straight towards MAHM. MAHM was too busy braiding the business to notice me until I reached just in front of the truck. Now, usually I blow kisses at these passing vehicles while on my bike, but in this circumstance I thought I would tone it down a bit. I calmly raised my finger to my mouth in a gentle quiet sign directed his way. I wasn't acting hostel in anyway. In fact, I may have had a smile on my face. This made veins rage across MAHM's forehead. I walked just past his drivers-side window (there was no where else to walk). He quickly opened the window and screamed who the hell knows what. He was pissed. I think he almost tried to climb out the window to perhaps fight me. I'm not sure. Really this man wasn't in top physical condition, perhaps from too many hours behind the wheel. Maybe this is where his anger and rage stem from? Who knows. I know aging is a bummer.
MAHM gives up the attacking plan and gets back on the loud speaker. I couldn't make out much of what he said because, my Japanese really isn't where it should be, and hell, the Cold War Era speakers were distorting so badly and was almost jealous I couldn't run my guitar through them. What I did pick up, was I'm a damn “Gaijin” and I should leave Japan. Gaijin means “outsider” or foreigner, but I feel outsider is a better translation, which believe me, I realize this everyday, I don't look like you. In fact for a white male to have this feeling is pretty rare and I see it as only forcing me to learn more compassion everyday. This is the closest I'll every get to feeling like an immigrant or minority in my country. Now, usually most people here are pretty damn cool with me. And curious. Some people even look up to me more than I deserve. So MAHM is a rarity. But, he exists.
As I walked away, I saw some redeeming things. Lots of people where watching at our little interaction. One older gentleman was trying not to laugh. Two ladies at a nearby crosswalk had absolute disgust across their face from MAHM's hateful words. So, it seems his kind may die out someday, because most people probably don't share his views. This made things feel right. But, a little later I started feeling sad for MAHM because his hatred and energy are so misguided and wrong. This man wants me and all “outsiders” out of Japan. To return Japan to it's once gold-age of isolationism. That worked out well the last time didn't it? The truly sad thing is MAHM doesn't even know me. I actually make this country and city far better. I spend money here, I pay taxes, I bring art and music, I usually do nice things for people, and most of all I teach your children a second language. Try to at least. Not to mention the fact that last week U.S. troops based here basically backed-up Japanese policy on disputed islands with China and vowed it's alliance with Japan. Good luck with China and North Korea or even South Korea with out our friendship. Pride in where you come from and who you are is just fine. When it reaches levels to sheer Nationalistic irrationally, it's dangerous. I hope MAHM would take me up on an extended offer to share a beer with me and allow me to play some sick bad-ass riff through his mobile sound rig. I'm waiting. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Last release of stuff from Japan?

 Well, now that this band comes to an end.  Here's some unreleased stuff which never made it to the stage or a recording somehow. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Keep Saying I'm Leaving....I know.

Last show with a band you never heard of.  Thanks so much Japan.  I hope to see Portland in 2014.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Busy, no sleep.  Trying to get back home.  For now, here's this.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Out of Town and Out of Country

So I helped out a friend and had a good time.  I wrote a song with her and covered a Breeders song.  I really had a good time.  I got to play with a good band from the same town The Ponnie and Glyde.  Everything felt right this night. 

Friday, July 19, 2013


So I played a show in a different country.  It was good, but weird as expected.  More on that soon.  Until then, here's the show. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sitting Here Twiddling my Thumbs

Making music here is rough.  Trust me I value being an American more than  ever.  I miss our fucking great music and community.  I have a test next week....  After crawling across every whore house, park and random asshole, I think I will fine some true value in my efforts.  In other news, this is the best thing to happen in the last 8 years...He use to give me and my little bro Alien books.  He's a sweet man.  I couldn't imagine a better place for him.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The DIY Sitarcaster Revisited.

The Background

Rogue Electric Sitar
Gotoh Buzz Bridge
When I first was getting into rock music as a kid, I discovered classic stuff from the 60’s and 70’s.  Bands like the Beatles blew me away because it was the first time I was hearing rock bands use more exotic instruments.  This opened up many doors for me musically.  The Sitar was at the forefront in my mind because of how cool it sounded.  I immediately looked into buying one; however I was disheartened to find that sitars couldn’t be found cheap.  I then found out about old Danelectro electric sitars from the 60’s.  By this point those were still a bit pricey, so I found other alternatives.   A cheap guitar company named Rogue was putting out a reasonably priced sitar, but it was still money for something I could only use sparingly at times and it still wasn’t a real sitar.  I thought there had to be an easier cheaper way to achieve the sound of a sitar without buying a whole new instrument.  This led me to discover a company named Gotoh who makes a “buzz bridge”, which could be installed on most guitars to achieve this sound.  This however meant you needed to take off a guitars original bridge and drill new holes in the guitar to install this bridge.  This would make the change more or less permanent.    I didn’t like the idea of hacking any of my guitars into something that would be hard to undo.  I thought there had to be a way to take the buzz bridge concept and make it easily removable.  From there I was basically looking for anchoring points on my guitars.  Areas I could drill a buzz bridge onto.  All my Les Paul or Tune-o-matic styled guitars lacked the room for me to install anything on them.  Plus again, I would have had to hack the guitars by drilling new holes.  I then looked at my knock off Stratocaster sitting in the corner.   What do you know, there is room behind the bridge pickup and the bridge and TWO SCREWS right by the bridge holding the pickguard in place.   At this point a beginning tracing the area and looking for scraps of wood.  I was off. 


How a Sitar Works

At this point I had already researched and played a few sitars to understand how the instrument gets its distinctive sound.  So, let’s take a look at this more closely.   One of the main reasons the sitar has its distinct timbre with loads of overtones in each note, is because of its bridge (jawari).  The bridge on a sitar has a long sloped or angled wood or bone right before the strings make contact with the bridge.  This creates a buzzing sound, almost like when a guitar has bad fret-buzz from strings being too low.  This is key in a sitars sound and the concept behind the Gotoh buzz bridge and all the other production line electric sitars.  This was what I essentially had to make, an angled buzzing bridge. 

Sympathetic strings on the left side.
Another big part of a sitar’s sound are the sympathetic strings.  These strings aren’t plucked, but are rather droning on their own depending on which pitch is being resonated.  These strings actually lay beneath the plucked and fretted strings on a real sitar, and we see them off to one side of the plucked strings on many electric sitars.  From my experience of playing solid body sitars, these strings don’t vibrate so well, unless the guitar is an acoustic or both sets of strings share a bridge.  So for this project, I opted out on the idea of sympathetic strings.   Plus, adding those strings wouldn’t be very reversible. 


How I Made the Jawari

These are the two anchor screws
So, at this point the goal was to make a buzz bridge or jawari.  I traced the area that I had to work with behind the Stratocaster’s bridge pickup and bridge and I also traced and measured the distance of the two anchoring pickguard screws.  A key to making this functional was to get the wood I was going to carve out, as close to the guitars bridge saddles so the guitar would stay properly intonated.  I got this prototype close to the bridge saddles, but really you want to measure the position of the bridge relative to the anchor screws, and then measure out the shape of each bridge saddle so the new buzz bridge will lay right up next to each saddle as close as possible.  The last measurement was for the height of the wood I needed.  The distance of the guitars strings to its body was measured.   After all these measurements I cut the wood I had to the proper dimensions.  I then sanded down a slope going downward away from where the wood was going to meet the guitar’s bridge.  After the new wood buzz bridge was cut and shaped and then drilled the two anchor holes the in the measured spots, unscrewed the pickguard screws, placed the new buzz bridge in place and re-screwed the pickguard screws back in place.  Now from here I just had to fine –tune the buzzing on each string.  Some strings were a tad too high or low to get the optimal buzzing overtone effect.  So I had to raise or lower each bridge saddle until each string sounded just right.  If you got the correct height of the strings from the body of the guitar measured, then you should be ok and the adjustments to each string saddle probably won’t be too extreme.  In the end I got a pretty convincing electric sitar sound, as you can hear.

Tuning Tips

The only other tips I found to getting a good sitar sound would be string tunings and effects.  Because my Sitarcaster doesn’t have sympathetic drone strings, I found alternate tunings like DADGAD  or other open-tunings work really well because you can drone so many strings in that tuning, often times I play melodies only on the G string and drone the other strings.  I also found that some reverb or delay effects on the Sitarcaster only add to the sitar sound. 

Well hope my story helps some of you DIY musicians out there.   Send me photos of your projects or ideas and questions. 


More guitar tips at: Guitar Articles 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

If you can't find them become one.


Hey folks.  I updated the Art section for the first time in a long time.  Most of the stuff is from collaborations with a good friend of mine, Courtney.  I don't know why I haven't championed  him more on here in the past, so please go check his site out.  CourtneyJensen.com  Brilliant art, writing, comedy, satire, science, and commentaries. 

  • Check out the Art.
That is all..

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I'm obviously spending too much time at home with synthesizers. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More New Music

So me and a few guys made this while we were in purgatory.  100% home recorded.   Not that anyone on this continent has any interest.  Well, I hope it isn't the worst thing you've heard all week. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Too Much Noise.

I find myself tuning out more and more.  Everything these days just seems like a wash.  Too much noise.  The noise I speak of has little to do with sound, but content.  I listen to loud noisy guitar music everyday on my bike everywhere I go.  Somehow all that screeching guitar feedback is more soothing to me than the human voice most times. It’s the over-stimulation that has left me under-stimulated, if that makes sense. 

I'm overwhelmed by useless information, sensationalism, and the disposable culture this world has churned out more and more of.  I find myself checking facebook, and twitter less these days.  The content of 90% of my "friends" is pretty disheartening, uninteresting, or just hostile.   I can only assume the same can be said of some of my content as well.  What was supposed to be a great way for me to keep in contact with friends and family has turned into very little actual interaction, only blind spam like sharing.  The internet card meme thing has worn old, pretty damn quickly too.  Nothing like someone else writing your feelings for you.  Few people seem to be interested in what everyone has to say or what they're actually doing.  We're all now plugged in now to share the mundane that would probably be best left unshared or unliked, or "poked" or whatever. 

This is all ironic too, when I hear so much about our lack of privacy in this age.  Yet, it seems people are perfectly fine sharing so much of their personal lives, and few will give a second thought to uploading any picture onto a social media site.   No one is forcing anyone to do any of this.  Yet there is this huge outrage, I digress, but the point is, more noise. 

How much more noise do we need?  I find my head hurting and my resolve in my fellow humans low at times because of this noise.  This post is more crap added to the pile in the grand scheme of things.  Where do we go from here?  I think it's time for me to step back a bit.  I might even throw my cellphone away, as I rarely have real human interactions these days.  It's rare I even hear a human voice at the other end of my "phone".  Just cold straight text messages or emails.  As much as I tend to loath a lot of humanity, I still need human interactions.  It's what makes me human.

 Or maybe it’s just time for me to start yelling at the neighborhood kids to “get off my lawn”. 

Friday, March 8, 2013