Sunday, February 26, 2012

Product Review: Planet Waves "O-Port"

This product review is on the company Planet Waves new product, the "O-Port." It is used to enhance the sound of an acoustic guitar and help with feedback when used through a p.a. system or acoustic amp. It is just a piece of plastic the is somewhat bell shaped that goes in the sound hole of your acoustic guitar. It is very easy to install. You just loosen up your guitar strings, bend it in half and install it with the big end of the bell facing the bottom of the guitar. There is a break in the top outside of it (the end that faces up, small end of the bell) that sits where the neck of your guitar goes. There are two sizes for the O-Port, big and small. I used the big one so that I could try it on two different acoustics that I have. I used it on one of the cheapest guitars on the market, an Epiphone DR-100 and I used it on a very expensive one, a Taylor 810. Lets get down to business.

The O-Port claims 4 main things right on the box. 1)fuller sound 2) better clarity 3)more volume and 4) suppressed feedback.

On the Epiphone DR100 i used it on I instantly noticed a huge increase in volume. I used it for 3 days in my lesson room with my students. With every single student i had to play softer. It made it a ton louder for sure. I also noticed it made when I soloed louder too. Every note was pumped up in volume and you could hear every note great! It was almost like it compressed the sound of the notes and made every single note on the guitar , open strings up to the highest register, equal. It made a cheap guitar sound a ton better. It definitely made it sound more high dollar than it really is! Without a dought it made every chord sound fuller too. So far every thing it said it did, it did in spades.

On my Taylor it did the same thing as it did on the Epiphone. One of the biggest complaints I have about my Taylor is when I solo it drops in volume hugely and the notes get lost in the jam. This little device helped for sure. It made the notes I played while soloing stand out and able to keep up with the guitar I was playing with. It did make the guitar sound louder when playing chords. It did a little bit to make it sound fuller when playing rythym. It really couldnt do too much in that respect with the Taylor though. This guitar is one of the best out there for sounding full and rich to begin with. It did its best work on the single notes.

The verdict on this product.........Great!!!!!!! Most players out there dont have a 2-3000 $ acoustic to be playing. It will do wonders for budget guitars and mid grade guitars. Hell, it made a $100 Epihpone sound tons better. These thing s go for around $25 and is worth it. Even on a $3000 Taylor it did some improvement. It also doesnt alter the look of your guitar either. Those other feedback sound hole thing a ma bobs clog up your playing hole and suppress the acoustic guitars natural sound. I didnt play it through a guitar plugged up to test the feedback stopping capabilities. The physics of the O-Port are solid enough to know it will help with it. It is worlds above the other sound hole feed back pluggers. It will help any guitar out there in some way shape or form. For the price its a no brainer. Stop down at Rock Bottom and get one. If you are an acoustic player it is a must have, so get it!!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear Rockstar: Scott LaFlamme of Bang Tango

This edition of "Dear Rockstar" is with Scott LaFlamme from the Hollywood California band Bang Tango. Bang Tango just rolled into Augusta GA to play at Coyotes night club for Jonathon Karow's "Arena Rock Series" concert. I sat down with Scott after the show and asked him some questions about guitar, music and life.

John Berret: Tell me a little about yourself.

Scott LaFlamme: I play guitar in Bang Tango and before I made it I was a mailman for 18 years.I started playing guitar and singing at age 2 1/2. By 5 years old I could play Johnny B. Goode and the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. I am completely self taught. I got my first electric guitar at age 9 and wanted to play lead guitar. At age 11 I discovered Randy Rhodes and it was over. Randy Rhodes is my guy. I got to play the song "Dee" that he wrote for his family at their music school. It was the thrill of a lifetime. As a teenager I would jam with my brothers in my basement everyday all day. My mom could not stand the noise coming from the basement. We would play after school from 4-11 p.m. everyday. As soon as we got home we did our homework and went right to the jammin. I played 8-9 hours a day. When I got my first electric guitar at age 9 my grandmother ha d a famous family quote. She said "No one needs an electric guitar at 9 years old!!!" I got discovered by Joel Leste and was brought by Alex Grossi. I got in the band with no audition. Straight off their word I was hired. Along with playing in the band I have a studio, LMI Studios. My company does recording guitar, bass, piano and vocal instruction as well. You can read more about me on my bio at my website in you want. (here is the link

JB: What has been your biggest thrill as a professional musician?

SL: My "Rockstar Moment" hit me when we were playing with Whitesnake. After tearing it up for over 8,500 people I stepped outside the venue to have a smoke after the show was done. I light my smoke up and look up and about 200 people swarm around me. They wanted to meet and get pictures and autographs.

JB: Did you get to meet every fan?

SL: Yes. I shook every hand, signed everything they wanted, talked to and took pictures with every single one. Myself and Bang Tango, is always for the fans. Without your fans you are nothing. It doesnt matter how many people come up to me. I am talking to every single one.

JB: What is your favorite piece of gear?

SL: I love Les Pauls. I am a Gibson man.I have 23 guitars. I have Les Paul Customs, Studios. I even have a guitar I got from Jerry Cantrell. There is a Charvel thrown in there. Gibson all the way though!!!!

JB: What advice do you have for any up and coming players?

SL:Practice like crazy. Have determination, have the drive and again you got to practice. Start ear training as early as you can. Your ear is the most important thing you have.

JB: Thanks for hangin and talkin and great show!

SL: same here and great show also!

For more on Bang Tango and Scott LaFlamme check out his website at

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Cha' Doin' with Miss Shauna Price

This edition of What Cha' Doin' is with a young lady named Shauna Price. Shauna is 7 years old, almost 8 ;), and has been takin lessons of me a while. She is a super student at school and is involved in all kinds of activities. She is as bright as they come and has a great personality. One of the coolest things about her is how much she loves music. One of her favorite bands is Panic At the Disco! and she loves listening to them with her mom. Her GaGa helps her with her guitar playing and her everyday practicing. Her mom and GaGa are her biggest supporters and fans. This is what Miss Shauna price has been up to, click on the link

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spotlight Licks: Chris Livingston

This Spotlight Lick is brought to you by Rock Bottom Music guitar instructor Chris Livingston. Chris teaches all ages, styles and levels of guitar. He is going to show us how to do some cool pedal steel like bends on the guitar. These things can spice up your solos. They are very popular to be used in riffs too, think Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones. I am not writing out any tab for this because he does a great job showing you in the video. Have some fun with this. I f you or anyone you know is looking for lessons call Chris at 706-589-2112.