Mass Street Music News – July 2013!

Mass St Music News July 2013

Thursday, July 18 is the annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale – technically speaking, we’re ‘Uptown’ at 14th & Mass. St. in Lawrence, but rest assured we’ll have lots of deals that day in the store including markdowns on select Gretsch and Fender guitars, Fender amps and more! Stop by, enjoy our air conditioning and check out the savings. One reason we’re marking gear down that day is that the next phase of store renovations will be happening right after, on the weekend of July 20 including brand new carpeting! We will be closed on Monday, July 22 to finish the work, but will be back open on Tuesday the 23rd. Painting and new guitar ‘chandeliers’ will be coming soon after and we’ll finally be cranking up the new electric try out room. We have some big changes in store in addition to the renovations – including more workshops and events in the store and we’re interested in what you’d like to see and learn about – have a request? Drop Anne at line at the store at and let us know.

Music news – there are so many great events in the works… the Lawrence Field Day Fest is happening THIS Thurs, Fri. and Sat., July 11-13 at the Bottleneck and features a truly dizzying array of exceptional local and regional rock bands including Radkey, the powerhouse young trio from St. Joe who just finished up an extensive tour (including the UK!). Looking ahead to August, the Annual Lawrence Busker Fest Fri., Sat. and Sun. Aug. 23-25 will overtake downtown Lawrence with a carnival-esque vibe of music, diverse performers, and acts that amaze. Also that Sunday is the 33rd Annual Kansas Fiddling and Picking Championships on August 25 at Lawrence’s South Park where we’ll be sponsoring the Fingerpicking contest. We’ll be there, so stop by and say hello.

Gear – Be sure to check out our run down of the latest new lines we’ve added at Mass Street Music and remember we’re always buying used gear too, just give us a call or stop by the store at 14th and Mass Street in Lawrence.

Last but not least, we’re proud to announce that we’re now partial underwriters for The Fish Fry, Chuck Haddix’s long standing, excellent blues/soul/R&B radio show which airs every Friday and Saturday 8pm – midnight on Kansas City’s KCUR public radio station at 89.3 fm. Check us out on Facebook & Twitter for more news, savings and great giveaways. Happy summer!


New Gear Just In – Summer 2013

We have taken on several new gear lines in the past month at Mass Street Music, so we thought we’d give you a quick rundown of the latest goods…


Catalinbread Pedals
All hand-built in Portland, Catalinbread has been earning its fair share of kudos for a few years now, and we’re happy to report the hype is well deserved. The pedals not only look great with custom colors and silk-screened graphics, they sound absolutely fantastic. Each pedal starts with a classic sound at its foundation, and then adds simple, intuitive controls and some modern versatility that really propels them into a league of their own. Our first five pedals on the shelf are the Montavillian Echo, CB30 Overdrive, Naga Viper Treble Boost, Manx Loughtan Fuzz, and Octapussy Octave Fuzz. The Dirty Little Secret Overdrive and Royal Albert Hall Foundation Drive are also in our line up and should be back in stock soon.


Catalinbread Naga Viper Treble Boost Effects Pedal

This Naga Viper Treble Boost Effects Pedal works beautifully with low watt amps too.

The Loar Mandolins

These great mandos are perfect for those seeking a well made, reliable mandolin that won’t break the bank. We’ve been carrying the great hand made Eastman mandos for quite a while now, but are pleased to present another option and wider selection in this $450-$700 price range. The Loars are crafted from solid woods and are inspired by classic ’20s and ’30s instruments. The models we’ve selected, like the A style LM300, and the F style LM520, are sleek, without a lot of bling, keeping the price down – but they are long on tone and playability. These have excellent details too with Grover tuners, super comfortable V necks and thin lacquer finishes for really nice tone. They all come with a free set up from our luthiers too. If you don’t see the model you’re looking for, just let us know.


The Loar LM520 F style Mando

The Loar mandos are beautifully built, with a great sound that won’t break the bank.

Recording King Banjos

Eric M recently ordered a passel of killer Recording King Banjos for the store and we’re really pleased with these. Originally a house brand for Montgomery Ward 75 years ago, Recording King has built its modern reputation on well crafted, affordably priced instruments. These feature appointments like Grover tuners, bone nuts and hand-rubbed finishes, but the real deal here is the sound and durability. These sound wonderful and feel great in hand. These are all in the $$450-$700 price range, and as with all new instruments, they come with a free set up from our luthiers too. Eric’s favorite so far? The Madison 6 String Resonator RK-G25 which gives any guitar player the opportunity to rock an Appalachian attitude.


Recording King Madison 6 string banjo

This new Recording King 6 string banjo is one of Eric M’s favorites from this line.

Fender Acoustic Guitars
We’ve carried Fender for a long time, but just received a new batch of Fender acoustics and acoustic-electrics – all priced from $199 – $349 (ok, the 12 String Villager is $420, but it takes extra wood to make that special ‘hockey stick’ headstock…). These all have a reliable build, nice detailing and are made for full on playing. One of our favorites is the CP-100 Parlor. It’s just $199.99 and is so much fun for any age and level of player. Perfect too in the real sense of a parlor guitar – to have around the house or grab as you head out to the cabin or camping. If you’re looking for a reliable go-to acoustic, check out the CD-140S with a solid Spruce top at just $199. If playing out is your goal, the CD-60 gives you onboard controls and reliability at just $209, while the T-Bucket has a little more flair with figured and flamed Maple tops and interesting finish colors (blue and violet in addition to natural and burst!) at just $299-$349. All of these acoustics come with a free set up from our luthiers as well.


Fender CP-100 Parlor Acoustic Guitar

This Fender CP-100 Parlor is one of our favorite guitars – really fun and the perfect size for taking anywhere or just having around the house

Henry Heller Guitar Straps
Josh picked these great straps up while he was cruising through Indiana in June and they are really something – crafted from leather, seat belt material, wood, and more. Super sturdy, cool designs and priced right at $15 – $30.


henry heller guitar straps - array

We love these new Henry Heller straps, from surfboards to cassette tapes, seat belt material and yes, even a 7″/45 record adapter – these are built well and look really sharp!

Leather Aces Guitar Straps

We just received a new batch of these beautifully hand crafted leather mandolin and guitar straps. These are made not far from us, in DeSoto, Kansas and are built to last a lifetime.


Leather Aces Gator guitar strap

This ‘Gator’ guitar strap is just one of several hand crafted guitar and mandolin straps we carry from Kansas based Leather Aces Straps

Coming soon: Skreddy Pedals and the new…are you ready… Xotic SL Drive! This is Xotic’s first distortion pedal, based on classic Marshall Super Lead/Super Bass amps and we absolutely can not wait to get our hands on it! Questions on any of our new gear? Just give us a call at 800-747-9980.



Pickup Test Drive: Grosh Fat 60s & Fralin SP43 in a Squier VM Mustang!


Modified Squier Mustang with Grosh and Fralin pickups

Stop by the store and try out this killer Grosh & Fralin pickup combo.

We were really impressed with the new Squier Vintage Modified Mustang and at only $299 our Repair Shop guys almost immediately thought it would be a great candidate for a Pickup Test Drive mod. Its own Duncan designed MU-102 Mustang pickups are great, but Josh and Matt thought a fatter Strat neck sound would take this Squier to another level. They loaded it up with a Grosh Fat 60s neck pickup  paired with a P90-esque Fralin SP43 Strat bridge pickup.

Squier Vintage Modified Mustang modded with Grosh and Fralin pickups

The Squier VM Mustang is cool as is, but the Grosh and Fralin pairing make this really roar.

The Grosh Fat 60s Strat neck pickup (6.4k) gives this a real vintage tone and adds thickness in the mids for extra push and cut. the Fralin SP43 Strat bridge pickup (10k) is a very P90-esque pickup with about 25% more output than a standard Strat bridge pup. Despite the seeming disparity in output measurements, these work like gangbusters together for several reasons including the ceramic bar magnet of the Fralin, its versatile tonal range, and the thickness of the wires. Together the Grosh and Fralin are incredible.

Installation was pretty typical except Matt had to do one small mod for the SP43 with an extra grounding lead, so the existing wires could be used for the phasing.  It’s our Pickup Test Drive guitar, in the store for you to try out this month. We hope you have a chance to stop by and plug it in for yourself.

Questions about pickups or tonal combos? Just give us a call at 800-747-9980.



Repair Shop Spot: Restoring headstock inlay on a Guild Thunderbird


Mass Street Music luthier Mike Runyon completed an incredible headstock restoration for Lawrence guitarist and drummer Ron Miller (Up the Academy/Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds).


Restored Guild Thunderbird headstock

The finished headstock – it was a journey getting it to this beautiful point though.


Sripped Guild Thunderbird guitar

The Guild (front, on the left) as it came to us

The guitar’s owner, Ron, brought us his vintage, stripped-down Guild Thunderbird (also known as the Gumby guitar for its unique body shape).


stripped Guild Thunderbird headstock

a detail of the headstock before Mike began the restoration.

Someone had already sanded down much of the original headstock, so Mike fitted it with an Ebony overlay before he could proceed further.


Ebony overlay on a Guild Thunderbird headstock

The Ebony overlay in preparation for routing and inlay


Ron provided the G-U-I-L-D lettering, but Mike had to create the thunderbird from gold Mother-of-Pearl. By hand. Carefully. Mike  researched the original image then cut the MOP with a jeweler’s saw. He then (very carefully!) routed the headstock for the new Guild and Thunderbird inlay. After inlaying, he leveled and sealed it.


Guild Thunderbird guitar headstock with overlay and newly routed for inlay restoration

The Ebony overlay newly routed for the inlay


Restored Guild Thunderbird heastock inlay

Inlaid, sealed and done! Mike did a tremendous job on this one.

Ron next took the guitar to our good buddy and Seuf Guitars builder Dave Seuferling, who did an amazing finish job on the guitar. Here’s luthier Josh showing the completed guitar.


Completed work on the Guild Thunderbird guitar

Luthier Josh showing off the newly restored Guild Thunderbird. Great job Mike and Dave!


Mass Street Music Staff Gear Picks – July 2013!

Here’s this month’s roundup of what the Mass Street Music staff has been ogling the most…

John FlynnFulltone Plimsoul Pedal
Great thick overdrive, but still very articulate…perfect when you need a great drive tone at lower volumes too.

Fulltone Plimsoul Effects Pedal

Flynn’s into Fulltone’s great Plimsoul overdrive this month – like he needs another pedal…

Jim Baggett
Sergio Tezanos Madrid Classical
You just don’t see this every day. It’s beautifully built with a wonderful sound.

Sergio Tezanos Madrid Classical Guitar

A rare classical has captured Jim’s attention this month.

Eric Mardis
Paul Cochrane Audio Timmy Pedal
I’ve always been an amp distortion guy, but lately I’ve been having fun with fuzz pedals. The Timmy is a low gain overdrive pedal, not a fuzz – but the magic that happens when you stack a fuzz (Skreddy Lunar Module) into the Timmy is addictive. It’s fantastic by itself (dial in Malcolm Young, J Page, Larry Carlton), but I truly love it in conjunction with the fuzz (Gilmour, all things awesome).  The “cut” EQ dials are super accurate… I’m not sure how I lived without a Timmy for so long.  It adds new colors to my board while playing well with others. A “no brainer”. TIMMY!

Cochrane Timmy Overdrive Pedal

I asked Mardis what his top pick was this month & he just shouted, “TIMMMMAAY!”

Eric Putnam
Dr. Z Antidote Amp
This amp sounds amazing! The vintage/modern switch is very useful – there is plenty of gain in the modern settings, and the vintage mode has plenty of headroom. Dr Z is always coming out with great products and this one is an instant classic.

Dr Z Antidote Amp Head

Eric P’s favorite is the latest from Dr Z – an amazing amp that begs to be play LOUD.

Ted Kritikos
PreSonus FaderPort USB DAW Controller
This little guy is a must have for anyone interested in making music with a computer.  The amount of time it has saved me by providing physical transport buttons is enormous.  Plus, the long-throw fader is motorized, so it jumps around all by itself as you switch from track to track – sure to impress/terrify/fascinate your cat.

Presonus Faderport USB DAW Controller for recording music on your computer

This PreSonus FaderPort is essential for home recording but, according to Ted, it can also double as a cat toy.

Mike Horan
Repair Shop Luthier & Manager –  Leo Posch JM
In the midst of Collings CJ-35 fury, I would like to insert the Posch J-M – yet another slope D in the tradition of the J-35/45. This guitar sports a gorgeous sunburst and a very thin lacquer finish. It’s interesting to hear it against the Collings CJ. While the Collings presents the modern twist on the tradition, the Posch has a deeper, wide open sound associated with older instruments.

Leo Posch JM Acoustic Guitar

Repair Shop Manager Mike H is taken with the beautiful, open sounding Leo Posch JM this month

Matt Harmon
Repair Shop Luthier –  Collings OM1A
This Collings sounds great, just the right amount of player wear on this one. No need to keep it cased up when not playing it and perfect to take places, hang out and play without fear of the first ding or scratch.

Collings OM1A Cutaway acoustic guitar

This used Collings OM1A acoustic caught luthier Matt H’s eye

Alek Nelson
Squier Affinity Tele
I really can not believe how good these new Squier Affinity guitars are! I have heard a lot of people say they wish they had had one of these when they first began playing.

Fender Squier new Affinity Telecaster Lake Placid Blue

Alek’s pick this month is the improved Fender/Squier Affinity Tele – nice improvements (including a smoother neck) on this classic affordable electric


Anne Tangeman1964 Mustang
This Mustang is just too cool. I’m sure there are more pristine ones around, but this one has that ‘somethin’ somethin” that just feels so right.

1964 Fender Mustang Dakota Red

This ’64 Fender Mustang shows a few scars of the years, but Anne thinks it’s the pick of the litter this month.

Casey Green
1982 Les Paul Standard
These Norlin-era Les Pauls are becoming some of my favorite ever. Especially when you can find them in good, mostly un-modded condition like this one. There’s really nothing that sounds quite like a great LP – thick, rich, and heavy. And so easy to play! Plus, this 1982 Les Paul Standard has the rare distinction of being built the year I was born. Someone get it before I do!

1982 Les Paul Standard Black

Casey’s been hankering for this sweet ’82 Les Paul Standard