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Stuart Herbert
Works at DataSift
Attended University of Sheffield
Lived in Pontypridd
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Stuart Herbert

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This is what I brought home from the Road Trip. It's a brand new Gibson Les Paul Custom, 2015 model, in a very fetching silverburst. A quick google on Christmas Day suggested that this might have been the last 2015 silverburst in stock in the UK.

And I got it through pure luck.

Quick recap - on Road Trip day 3 (Christmas Eve), we'd gone to the shop to audition a Gibson Memphis Les Paul ES. After deciding that the Les Paul ES wasn't for me, I took the opportunity to try out a PRS SC245. I did not get on with that guitar at all.

Unbeknown to us, whilst I was struggling with the PRS, the shop staff were going round the store changing all the pricing labels for their Boxing Day sale. When I came out of the demo room sans PRS, they pulled up the list of discounts on the computer, and pointed at a substantial price drop on this Les Paul Custom. Calling it a price drop is an injustice. The price was slashed down to what they used to ask for one of the Les Paul Standard models back in 2013.

A Les Paul Custom for the 2013 price of a Les Paul Standard? Total no-brainer. I wouldn't have even considered trying a Les Paul Custom if it hadn't been for the price drop. I'm very happy with my existing Les Pauls.

I'm glad that I did though. This thing is a monster. The fake-ebony fretboard gives it a more cutting sound than a regular Les Paul, making it superb for lead guitar work. It just needs better pickups (currently being made for me over in Canada) to get the best out of it.

Ideas for names most welcome :) 
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On the drive to Brighton on Tuesday, Kristi started asking me about PRS guitars. We'd spent a wonderful day in May at World Guitars, where she'd been admiring all the stunning flame tops and rich colours that are the hallmark of USA-made PRS guitars.

After the Memphis ES was a bust, I decided to give this SC245 a go. It has the same wood choices as a Les Paul, same controls layout, and the same scale length. My photo in the darkened demo booth doesn't do it justice. This thing is a piece of art in the way that modern Les Pauls just aren't.

But there was no instant bonding with it.

Kristi described the tone as 'hard'. We couldn't dial in a tone that sounded like me. I'd need to bring it home and spend a few months with it to figure it out.

So why didn't it come home? I found the neck incredibly sticky. I just couldn't move my hands freely, and kept missing slide end points. A guitar neck is a very personal thing, and I just wasn't comfortable with this one. 
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Road trip day 3. Off visiting rare and wonderful guitars and gear.

This is the King of Blues, a Chinese pedal that's either based on Analogman's King of Tone, or an outright clone - I'm not entirely sure.

The King of Tone is a legendary pedal, with a waiting list that's said to be over a year long. You can hear it demoed to great effect by watching That Pedal Show on YouTube.

As for the King of Blues? The one I played was a tone-sucking vampire. I switched the pedal off, and the guitar sounded better.

I guess I need to add myself to that waiting list ...
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+Stephen Beynon you might enjoy this place
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Visiting that could get expensive, but I am sure I would enjoy it.
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As boutique hotels go, this one is a hit. And we beat the rain by about 5 mins too :)
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Drakes in Brighton. I'm told that every room is unique. 
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To those commentators in the British Press who claim that food is too cheap ... well, you can buy a computer for only a little more than this milkshake. That's an actual computer - not a toy - that's assembled here in the UK.

Just think for a moment about how many of these computers they have to make every hour to be able to feed themselves & their families. And then tell me that food is too cheap (grrr).
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Stuart Herbert

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The Road Trip is done. We're safely back home to enjoy Christmas together, thinking of our friends both near and far.

We both returned home with interesting and unexpected Christmas presents to ourselves to enjoy. There might be one final set of photos in the morning, where we'll break out a proper camera to capture what was waiting for us :)
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This is the guitar I went to audition today. It's a Gibson Memphis ES Les Paul in a very fetching Lemon Burst finish. What makes this guitar special is that it's a semi-hollow body, giving it different tones to my usual choice of guitar.

I got the idea after watching Naomi play my Les Paul. What would be a good electric guitar that would also suit that traditional folk guitar playing style?

I played two of these yesterday in Brighton, and had struggled to understand the instrument. I was hoping a longer audition today, after sleeping on it, would go better.

The long and short of it is that this design of Les Paul isn't for me - but it might suit Naomi very well. My Les Paul is very dynamic and touch-sensitive. I can control whether it sounds clean or distorted entirely through my fingers.

I couldn't do that with the ES Les Paul.

It's more like playing an acoustic - it gets louder when you attack the note, but remains completely clear. Probably fantastic if you're someone who strums with your fingers.

Food for thought for when we go to California next year. But it didn't come home with me today. 
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This wheel boasts air-conditioned cabins. It's Christmas Eve Eve in the UK. We shouldn't need air conditioning at this time of year.

Just goes to show how messed-up the weather is. 
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Can't have too much wasabi :)
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Not wild about the bath being in the bay window though!
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Spent an interesting half hour with this beauty. It's the Guthrie Govan signature Charvel.

More than any other guitar I've played recently, this thing is a precision instrument designed for the expert hands of a true virtuoso. From the separation of each note to the way the strings go into the bridge rather than sit on top, this is an amazing instrument for someone who plays a lot of lead and melodic rhythm parts.

A wonderful instrument, and sadly completely not me. 
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Have him in circles
443 people
ahmad Zai's profile photo
Lorenzo Alberton's profile photo
Jessica Robinson's profile photo
John Clark's profile photo
Daniel Schlichtholz's profile photo
utsav kachhadiya's profile photo
Joel Kerley's profile photo
hartmut holzgraefe's profile photo
Esther Lund Petersen's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Engineer, Author, Instructor
Employment
  • DataSift
    Senior Platform Engineer, 2011 - present
  • Gradwell
    Head of Engineering, 2008 - 2011
  • Box UK
    Senior Developer, 2003 - 2008
  • Orange
    Systems Manager, 2000 - 2002
  • Self Employed
    Contractor, 1997 - 1999
  • Admiral
    Developer, 1996 - 1997
  • University of Sheffield
    Project Lead, 1994 - 1996
  • Gentoo Linux
    Developer, Web Lead, (briefly) Trustee, 2004 - 2006
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Pontypridd - Sheffield
Story
Introduction
Digital Engineer, Manager, Educator, Author, and T'ai Chi Instructor. Passionate about doing better tomorrow.
Bragging rights
Co-author of the Zend Certification Study Guide for PHP 4
Education
  • University of Sheffield
    Software Engineering, 1991 - 1994
Basic Information
Gender
Male