Ask Charlie…
  • The Sound of Silence

    Hello Troubadourians! With proper respects to Paul Simon, this month I’d like to talk about what you don’t play. Most of us obsess over what we do play. The chords, notes, rhythms, every sound we make with our instruments becomes fodder for analysis and critique. As a result, do we judge our music too harshly? […]

  • Story Time, part 2

    Hello Troubadourians! In February I told you a story about “The Cash” and wrote about five Martins, one of which became the property of Mr. Johnny Cash. This is the story of one of those five siblings that became mine. As a refresher, the mythology goes that Johnny Cash was playing a gig at the […]

  • NAMM 2016 Observations

    Hello Troubadourians! Every year during the third week of January, the NAMM Show comes to the Anaheim Convention Center. This is where nearly every company that creates and manufactures musical instruments and supporting products, or that has found a way to monetize their musical product or service, descends upon Southern California to show their wares […]

  • Story Time

    Hello Troubadourians! I want to tell you a story about two guitars I had the privilege to shepherd for a while, one of which I actually owned. Fine guitars are born with a personality that is further shaped by the things they experience during their time being played by humans. Some have a tough life […]

  • It’s Getting Better All the Time

    Hello Troubadourians! January. Time for New Year’s resolutions. Or not. I’m not one for artificial and external “reasons” for making changes. I am of the opinion that actual change happens because a person finds something in their life to be intolerable and change becomes inevitable. If that sounds a little too esoteric and intense for […]

  • Toys in the Attic… and Underfoot II

    Hello Troubadourians! While this column will appear in December, I’m writing it in early November. So what with Thanksgiving coming up soon, before I continue with our discussion of effects pedals, I think it appropriate for me to take some time to give some thanks. First, I want to thank my excellent boss, Liz Abbott, […]

  • Toys in the Attic…and Underfoot

    Hello Troubadourians! How many of you use effects pedals with your instruments? One of the first columns I wrote for the Troubadour was about effects pedals. In fact, the first two columns were on that topic and there have been several more since then. I’m talking about things like compression, distortion, phase, tremolo, delay, and […]

  • Roll Your Own II

    Hello Troubadourians! Back in July I wrote about a project I had undertaken to purchase, modify, and upgrade three guitars. These guitars were to be “special usage” instruments that I wanted to add to my stable of usable guitars. For a while, nothing substantial happened on this project because the custom necks I ordered were […]

  • The Sound and the Fury

    Hello Troubadourians! Even when you know what you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re doing. That was the epiphany I recently experienced while trying to configure the perfect sound system for a very imperfect gig. With my sincerest apologies and acknowledgements to William Faulkner and to any of you readers who saw the title of […]