TheBuddha Approves #3: How do Guitar Pickups Work?

For reasons, I’m very busy today. I’m not just busy, I’m super-busy.

I did take the time to send out a detailed (and long) email to a wonderful online-friend. I’m half-tempted to turn that email into this article, but it contains a significant amount of personal information that doesn’t really belong to me – and putting it out there in public may be something that isn’t appreciated.

So, it’d take some time to whittle it down to article length and then remove the personal bits. While I’ve described the situation to a number of people, today’s missive was both long and detailed.

It’d also be difficult to edit it to ensure that it didn’t come off entirely creepy or as a braggart. I do think, after some thought, that it could be wedged into an article, though I’m unsure of the type of appeal it’d have or if I’d be subjected to negative responses. As it involves someone other than myself, and they’d be likely to read the responses, I’ve decided to not write that article and subject them to the potential negative feedback.

I do want to distill it and share a piece with you.

I also want you to know that I’ve chosen the following words with care. Some of what I’m about to say can be seen as an endorsement and, indeed, it is. However, this endorsement has not been purchased, but is based on a pattern of behavior, lots of observation, and my own personal experiences.

Yes, it’s true that I spoil the eldest hoodlum. Yes, she gets a great deal of attention. Yes, she gets expensive things.

I don’t need to justify that to anyone and I’m not asking for opinions on the matter. If the circumstances were fully understood and disclosed, it’d help explain it a great deal better. Those stories are hers to tell and she’s well and truly equipped to come on here and write her own damned articles if she wants to tell you about ’em!

In fact, she’s very much invited to write articles for the site – just as you are. I ain’t scared! Y’all can write about all sorts of music related things and I’m happy to facilitate that.

Now that we have that out the way…

She got some lovely gifts and is very happy with her new guitar and all the sundry equipment that came with it.

These gifts were purchased from a company known as ‘Sweetwater.’

These gifts were relatively expensive, because I got her professional equipment that should, with proper care, both serve her well and last her the rest of her life.

I do not know if they’re aware of this site.

I do know that they’re familiar with me. I do know that I’ve had numerous interactions with them in the past. I do have reason to expect they know that we musicians tend to speak out about exceptional service, deals, or things like informative sales and service staff.

The representative knows me by name and I have done business with them in the past. They also knew the reasons for my purchases.

They did not give me a discount on my purchases.

They did not ask for me to mention them on this site.

They did not ask for, or indicate they wanted, an endorsement. They did not ask me to link to them. They did not ask for a favorable review. We did not discuss this site, my opinions of their service and support, or anything of that nature.

What they did do was go out of their way, and at their expense, make her gift reception a better experience. Specifically, they included gifts of their own. They spent their money to include extras that were not ordered and this incurred no additional fees at my end.

These extras were not insignificant. It was not just a t-shirt. It was well beyond and above anything one might expect or demand. It was a personalized touch and something most people aren’t going to expect from a web store. These additions were incurred at their expense, and without any strings attached. (Well, no… They did include strings – but they were for a guitar.)

(One of the secrets to this sort of personalized service is to do things like place your orders by phone, but that’d be another article and for another time.)

It’s because of this, because of this personalized behavior, that I’m comfortable saying that you can add (for whatever it’s worth to you) Sweetwater to the list of companies with whom I’ve had a great series of satisfying interactions.

However, I feel it’s imperative that I at least strive to be open about such things and that I disclose any biases I may have, any gifts that have been received, and any rewards that may prejudice my¬† statements.

I do, after all, do some reviews and have talked a number of you through purchasing a guitar, or related equipment, as well having provided direct links to retailers which some of you have used.

It’s important, I feel, that this be aboveboard and openly disclosed.

Sweetwater did not give these gifts with any conditions, or mentions, of publicity.

It is because of these gifts that I’m mentioning them – but it is not because of them specifically. It is because they’ve continued to do things similar and have shown me a pattern of good service and support.

They did not buy my endorsement. They earned it by doing things like knowing my name, always having an answer, and working hard to keep me satisfied.

Which is a bit amusing, ’cause I usually use a competitor! I’ve used Sweetwater in the past but I’d actually tried to use a competitor and they couldn’t get me the GLP Standard in the color that she wanted. We were able to secure the last available one from Sweetwater and I chose to just place the entire order there – even though their competitor gives me a discount.

So, I’m pretty happy with them and have no problem adding them to a list of retailers that I will acknowledge as having exceeded my expectations.

Which, and weigh it as much or as little as you like, is an official endorsement from me.

There’s also room on the list of approved retailers for more than one company. Hell, it’d be a great world if every single musical instrument retailer was working hard enough for me to endorse them. That seems unlikely.

But, I feel it’s important to disclose my biases and to disclose any gifts that have been given, as opposed to things that I pay for directly. While this didn’t directly come as a gift with the intent that it be mentioned here on the site, it still seems like the ethical thing to do. This will continue to be my policy.

So, when it comes to Sweetwater, they are officially getting my seal of approval. It probably doesn’t translate to them getting a bunch of sales but, nonetheless, TheBuddha Approves!

Anyhow, let’s get on with today’s article!
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TheBuddha Approves #2

Today is a pretty lazy day. I’m wide awake but didn’t actually sleep. As Warren Zevon said, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Though I’ve been lazy, I’ve actually been productive! Unfortunately, that productivity doesn’t result in much of an article for today. And that’s okay!

That’s okay, because I’m prepared! Yup…

Well, sort of prepared.

I’m not just prepared – I have something to show you! I also have a bunch of words – like, a lot of words.

While you’ve been fast asleep, I’ve been hard at work being lazy and decidedly not writing an article – so that I could actually write an article.

Confused? Me too!

Remember back when I asked someone to consider maybe making me a handy-dandy seal of approval? Remember when nobody helped me, so I went out and spent way too long making that image?

Well, there’s no way in hell that I can make that image and not use it. After all, I love stamping stuff! Only a fool would give me an ink pad and stamp.

If you remember, I also couldn’t figure out how to use it. Well, we’re in trouble! I have mastered the text-wrap-around-an-image-like-a-professional-site-thingy!

And, so… You are getting your second (I should call it the first – but I “approved” a few things when I first showed you my nifty image) officially “Approved by TheBuddha” article.

Note: These articles will (probably/mostly) come out when I have limited time. They’ll be things educational and/or entertaining. They’ll be things that I think you may be interested in.

So, let’s get on with the show!
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Behold, I have made an image!

You’re not getting a good article today.

I’ll give you something to read, but it’s not going to be good – or educational. It’s not even going to have anything to do with music – probably.

Do you see that image on the left?

It took me three hours to do that. Including trying to figure out a way to embed the image so that text flowed around it.

Obviously, I failed at that.

Even after figuring out how it was supposed to be done, it wraps exactly one line of text and then jumps to the bottom – meaning you get one single line of text next to the image.

But, that’s actually the end of a long story – and I’m just gonna tell you why you’re not getting a good article today.

First…

I searched and searched for a way to make actual public domain images using an web interface. I then tried to find one that already had a template for a seal of approval – what I really wanted.

There are no seal of approval generators that are any good. The one that I can figure out how to use, waited until I got to the end and told me I had to give them money.

It did let me get as far as saving them – and closing the tab. Being functionally retarded, I closed the tab – and didn’t actually check the saved images. I uploaded it by FTP and decided I’d better check the URL in my browser.

It had saved watermarks on it – lines right through the middle.

I went back and recreated it and it again offered me the chance to give them money and they’d have sold me a bunch of packages of images, including 3D images, that I didn’t actually want. I didn’t pay them.

I wish I had. That would have saved some time.

Eventually, I gave up trying to actually make a graphic. Surely, someone had made what I wanted and stuck it into the public domain.

Not really, no… No, it looks like nobody as quite done that. I was so tempted to just steal an image at this point.

I did eventually find an SVG that’d do – and it was in the public domain! Thank you, open source people – once again! However, it’s a stamp of approval and not a seal of approval. Beggars cant’ be choosers, so I was okay with this – sort of.

Except, I don’t actually know what to do with an SVG file. I know what an SVG is and I have a viewer. I know that I should know how to edit them – but fucked if I know what specific (Linux) apps can do this.

It’s SVG and there’s a tons of editors. Tons…

Not gonna learn that. Nope. We can scratch that right off the list of things I’m willing to invest time in.

I’ll just open it up and export it with my handy dandy SVG viewer app. It’s fucking Linux, I can do that.

They all changed the background black. I have no idea why.

Fuck… There went another forty five minutes as I tried all the viewer apps and debated installing something like InkScape.

Nope… Not installing InkScape – or GIMP. They’re too complicated for me and I’m not going to learn to use them.

I got the bright idea that there’s an online SVG editor. Surely, that has to exist! Off I run to Google…

Yes! They exist!

The first two, after finding them and waiting for them to load and jump through the very different mechanisms to upload my file, I discovered they’d not actually upload my precious SVG file.

By now, I’m getting pretty pissed at this process.

I tried one more. It took me forever to figure out their stupid fucking interface and then the fucking thing wouldn’t export as anything – no matter how many times I needlessly tried it again with slightly different settings.

Finally, I said fuck it – and I sure as shit said fuck it to actually caring that it had things like a transparent background.

I opened that SVG back up in my handy dandy image viewer – and took a screenshot.

I resized that and exported that bitch as a JPG! Fuck image creation.

I was then two and a half hours deep into the process already and I figured that’d actually been good progress – for me. I don’t do image generation. We’ve already figured that out, certainly by way of demonstration!

So, I was particularly pleased with myself – having finally reached the point where I just said fuck it. It was a pretty satisfying fuck it to say, actually.

I then figured I’d embed it in WordPress and wrap text around it.

It couldn’t be that hard, after all!

Lies! It’s horrible!

By the time I figured out the abstract lingo was not actually align to the left – but was actually to align with none… I then realized the fucking thing will only display one line of text as it “wraps” around it.

I could change CSS and fix it – but my CSS skills are just a wee bit worse than my image generation skills! Learning CSS is also something that’s just not likely to happen.

So, I spent like a half hour on that, before deciding I’d just set it as the “featured image” and call it good. To do it properly, they fucking want me to learn to do it in a special “child theme” that appears to be damned specific to WordPress.

I am not gonna figure that out. I’m sure as shit not going to figure out how to do that today. I already spent 2.5 hours.

And that’s why you’re not getting a good article!
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