April 2018

Increase Your Self Awareness

“How to See Yourself Clearly: Skip the Introspection Mode

Too much self examination can kill you

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.” ― John Ruskin

Late one night a blind old man was about to go home after visiting a friend. “Please,” he said to his friend, “may I take your lantern with me?”
“Why carry a lantern?” — asked his friend. “You won’t see any better with it.”
“No, perhaps not.” — said the blind one. “But others will see me better, and not bump into me.”
So his friend gave the blind man a bamboo lantern — it had a big candle inside. Off went the blind man and, before he had gone too far, a traveler bumped into him.
The blind man was furious. “Why don’t you look out?” — he stormed. “Haven’t you seen the lantern?”
“Lantern? Well, the candle is OUT!”— replied the traveler.
Introspection is like a lantern — it might provide light, but it doesn’t guarantee seeing.
The blind man didn’t need any light. However, once he depended on it, he became careless and stopped being aware. The old man literally bumped into a stranger.

Being obsessed with self-improvement can have the same effect. The introspection mode — continually examining your thoughts and feelings — can get you stuck. Rather than becoming more self-aware, you lose touch with yourself (and others).
You might be thinking: “Gustavo, you always write about the importance of self-awareness. I don’t get it.” That’s precisely the point of this post, introspection is something different — rehashing thoughts doesn’t generate insights.
To see your true-self clearly you don’t need light, but to increase self-awareness. That’s the path for personal growth.
Read more

Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 Plus Amp Head

Since the rebirth of its predecessor, the Mesa Boogie Express, the Express Plus has acted as a diamond in the rough. I shouldn’t say it was love at first sight, given the front panel’s 15 knobs, 5-band EQ, and a host of intimidating switches, but nonetheless, I knew the Plus was an immense wiring improvement on the former clean channel and had a series effects loop which were my two greatest concerns.

Headroom was the name of the game as I was searching to find the right amp. The 5:50 Plus did more than just provide headroom, the clean voicing on channel one was glassy and pristine coupled by richness and depth. The Dyna-Watt patent opens up the clean’s potential by accessing 5,25, or 50 watt power. When the gain and master volume is cranked at 5w, a sparkly breakup occurs. Conversely, at 50w, breaking up is about as taboo as a long term relationship. The crunch voicing on channel one allows for great mid-gain edgy sounds comparable to a Wampler Triple-Wreck.

The blues voicing on channel two is a warmer version of clean voicing and has an increased amount of breakup at higher gain. The burn voicing can compete against any of the classic gain monsters on the Mesa line and beyond. This is especially true when cutting the mids on the 5-band EQ.

This amplifier had me at the clean channel. Everything else was just icing on the cake (and there’s a lot of icing). At 38lbs (5:25 at 27lbs), the 5:50 head is incredibly strong and durable. The all-tube spring reverb and equalization are individually programmed for each channel. The 5-band EQ can be modified and programmed through use of sliders or a preset rotary dial that provides a traditional Mesa V-shaped mid cut. It is important to note that the 5:50 model uses 6l6s while the 5:25 model uses EL84s for those with specific preferences. To top it all off, channel switching, EQ, reverb, and solo boost can be wired to a loop controller for enhanced programming during live sessions. In my opinion, the Express Plus was a worthwhile investment for how much it provides.

  • Pros
    Exceptional tone for musicians on a budget
    Outstanding versatility and features
    Strong build and quality materials

  • Cons
    Weight may be an issue. Try the 5:25
    Looks will cost you. An upgrade in colored grills and tolex will boost the Benjamins.

Should You Buy One?
I believe this amp surpasses the expectations that many guitarist are seeking after and it’s a step down in cost from many of the popular boutiques on stages today. Go for it.

– By Gary Schmidt – Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 Plus Amp Review