I studied Electronics Engineering at Curtin University of Technology from 1997 until 2000 as a mature student. I was already about 26 years old then and had already earned a Diploma in Electrical Engineering six years earlier.
Electronics was easy because I had always been interested in it and had a keen sense of it. As far as I can remember I was always tearing up old radios and was pretty intrigued with them. I was always wondering what some of the components were and what they were for and how they worked. Of course, I messed around with the azimuth on the tape head to get the tape to play clearly. So going to school to learn electronics was a great fun because I found my questions answered.
We had a hifi boombox back when I was about 6 years of age. Back then was vinyl records and chrome/metal tapes. They were the hifi deal. My first record was the Beatles "Rubber Soul" and Christopher Cross's debut album. I remember the Beatles were originally recorded onto mono tracks at EMI, but the vinyl played stereo - so the right channel would have drums and vocals and the left channel would have guitars and piano or something.
My uncle was a hippie, and played simple guitar (Charley Pride, Bread, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, CSN, etc. comes to mind) and taught us some simple stuff to play. Music was also another great love. I did well in school and was given monetary awards and I bought my first electric - a 1989 American '57 Fender reissue which I had to hide for fear of letting my father know what I had done with the money. Sounds familiar?
In my teens, I remember reading articles about how so-and-so artiste did their records in some famous studio with the pictures of them sitting on the consoles and I thought it was cool. And I wanted to have some part of it as my job or hobby. Later did I realise that part was called sound engineering.
In between my Diploma and Bachelors, I had already worked as a Network Administrator at a Wireless Communication research centre for 2 years. After my degree, I followed that up for 6 years in the Defense sector as a Network & IT Security Project Engineer with a high security clearance. I did a half year stint as a Patent Engineer in a big Asia Pacific law firm to learn about intellectual property and the patenting process. I oversaw patents prosecution and drafted a few interesting ones. I also did 2 years of teaching Engineering Maths (i.e. Calculus, Differentation, Integration, Algebra, phew!) at a technical college as an Adjunct Lecturer.
I also designed a home studio cum keyboard demo room for a Nord dealer and in the process became a technical partner. We clinched distribution rights for the Muse Receptor and ICON studio products.
I've also built some heavy duty server grade DAWs running on dual Intel Xeon processors for a couple of well known producers/arrangers and designed a couple of guitar amplifiers.
I think I'm making one full circle going back to where I started from. I am just as curious and always trying to improve whatever electronics equipment I own.
Cheers and I sincerely hope to hear from you,
My gear choice
I'm currently so happy with my Kemper amp. I've been using the Line6 Pod series of equipment and gotten so comfortable with having all my effects and amps in a box with an integrated footswitch to boot that I hardly mess around with real amps anymore. This Kemper amp is a long awaited replacement and it is one step up in better and more realistic tones!
The only real amps that I'd probably pull out if I want to get into an amp fight is my Dumble Overdrive Special clone or the '72 Twin Reverb. I built the Dumble clone myself and tweaked it to my satisfaction and I know the amp intimately that I'm not afraid if it breaks down, cos I can always fix it up. If I'm playing stuff (probably jazz) that just need a clean tone with lots of headroom and a touch of reverb, then I'll pull out my '72 Fender Twin Reverb. It's another one of those workhorses that you can rely on. If I'm going into high gain territory, then the modified Marshall JCM900 SL-X would be something I'll use. You see, I had modified the amp to mimic a Soldano SLO-100 circuit !
My regular guitar is a Godin LGXT electric guitar that I've owned since 2005 and I've never found anything so versatile. It gives me electric outputs from a set of very well designed Seymour Duncan Jazz (Neck) and Custom Custom Custom (Bridge) humbucking pickups. It also has piezo acoustic outputs that I regularly use if I want to switch to a nylon string sound when the tune requires. I've learnt to wield quite a few different tones from that one guitar. There is also a set of GR Synth outputs though I haven't yet fullly mastered using my GR55 synth yet ... someday!
I've also got a Godin Multiac SA that I must say really gets me into the classical nylon territory. When I know I'm just doing a full acoustic set, that will be first thing that I'll grab.
Cats that I like
What I listen to defines who I am and the type of mood I'm in. I think that's true for a lot of people. From pop to synth to rock to blues/jazz and to classical, spanning quite a few decades of music across both sides of the Atlantic, and from Asia too, I can say there were many that I listened to and liked and took some interest to and followed their music's progress.
Like everyone else, the Beatles was a monumental influence. Then came songwriters like Christopher Cross and Steely Dan. Then there are guys like Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton and their contribution in contemporary jazz bands like Fourplay. For blues there's Eric Clapton and SRV. Robben Ford is great because of his way he blended jazz, blues and fusion. Of course his work on Jing Chi was so profound, it still strikes me as one of the most influential records, probably like a Cream thing. Then there are the names whom you don't hear uttered but are actually on various hit records like Michael Landau. There's also Dominic Miller for his harmonic taste and songwriting skill on his solo records. For jazz through and through, I like Pat Metheny. There's also an unknown guitarist Carlos Vamos whom I met during my holiday trip in Barcelona, Spain. He taps like Stanley Jordan, but I think with much more harmonic and melodic content. There's also the Argentinian guitarist Luis Salinas who's not very well known outside of his country, but who plays incredible stuff.
And then there are the songwriters, producers, arrangers, bassists, pianists and synthesists that I like that would be a long list if I mentioned them all. But I have to stop some where!