So, I’m a huge guitar nerd. I own and have owned a lot of very, very fancy guitars- it’s basically the only thing I spend my disposable income on. And I’ve been playing for half my life. I like to think I know a thing or two about the instrument!
I’m not normally one to evangelize a particular brand, though- there are tons of amazing options for any kind of guitar at any price range, enough that I could probably do a whole series of reviews if I wanted to. This post is about one specific brand and guitar- Carvin’s DC800 8-string.
I’ve always been wary of Carvins for some reason, even though I had only ever heard good things about them. But when they announced that they would be offering A) 8-string extended-scale instruments and B) black limba (a gorgeous relative of mahogany and my favorite wood ever, cosmetically speaking) as a wood option, my will finally broke. I had to try one out. So I specced out a guitar and put in my order. Black limba neck and body, bird’s eye maple fretboard, natural finish. It came to around $1200 all said and done. 8 weeks later, it arrived at my door.
I’m not given to hyperbole, and it’s been long enough that I’m out of the “honeymoon period” you often get with the a new instrument. And I feel confident saying that this is the best guitar I have ever owned for what I paid. It’s as good, if not better, than $3500 instruments I’ve tried, owned, and recorded with in the past. The build quality is literally immaculate- I can’t find a flaw on it, and I’m a HUGE stickler for that sort of thing. The wood is gorgeous, the fret work is flawless, and nothing on the guitar feels “cheap” or flimsy. Playability is incredible- I’ve never found another 8-string that can handle such low action without undue buzzing on the lowest strings. The neck isn’t as thin as, say, an Ibanez, but it’s very comfortable.
My only complaint is that Carvin’s stock active pickups sound awful. Way too bassy and way too much output, even for a metal player like me. Thankfully, they’re easy to swap out- I chose an EMG 57/66 8-string set, and they sound delightful. Along with the pickups, my total cost came to less than $1600, less than half of what the guitar would cost from any other builder.
SIGNED VERSIONS of QC4 will be available on Wednesday! Anyone who ordered a single copy who wants a signed version whose order hasn’t ALREADY BEEN SHIPPED can contact Topatoco for instructions here http://topatoco.com/help/. If your order has already been shipped I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do. ANYWAY KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED
THIS WEEKEND (March 28th through 30th), we’ll be at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, WA! You can find our booth on the SKYBRIDGE (please consult Skymap above). We’ll have several of our talented and good-looking clients, many of whom are debuting new work!
Space, eh? Pretty exciting. Final frontiers and all that. Jeph Jacques from Questionable Content joins us today. We quickly learn about Space, but the Beyond part is a bit trickier to figure out. I’m going to be honest with you, this is a weird one.
In Comic#2641, last panel, why is there a giant bush inside Coffee of Doom? I work in a coffee shop myself and we just don’t keep stuff like that inside.
It’s for hiding bodies
Hey, I’m planning on cosplaying Claire at some point in the future and I’m just wondering how her hair works. I just can’t seem to figure out how the bangs are supposed to be styled, or if her hair is curlly, wavy, or frizzy. I’m really sorry to bother you, and I thank you for your time.
Dude! :D My wife gave me two Coffee of Doom mugs for my birthday. I’ve wanted these FOR. EVAR. I really love the workmanship — the matte exterior, the red glaze inside — and I’m stoked that we finally had some cash to give back to QC.
Glad you like them! It took us FOREVER to find a mug we were happy with and I couldn’t be more pleased with them.
I recently had to figure out a way to talk about an AI character I created but never actually assigned a gender identity to (and felt weird trying to do so). I’ve actually been influenced a lot in treatment of AI characters by your own, and was wondering what your opinion on nouns and such is for an AI character with no gender identity would be (‘it’ is weird, even if strictly an embodied AI is an object, but ‘they’ is also weird for… reasons….)
Personally I’d just use “they.”
What makes a guitar good for playing metal music on? You said strats would be ultimately frustrating for that, but I’m an acoustic guitar player, so electric guitars all sort of look the same to me. What’s the difference?
It really just comes down to the pickups. Humbuckers are more suited to heavy music than single-coils (although even that comes down to personal preference in the end). Black Sabbath basically set the standard way back in the day because Iommi played a Gibson SG with humbuckers.
Señor Jefe- Any chance we’ll see you at Phoenix Comiccon this year? I know my state is abysmally hot in June and is also full of crazy racists but it really is a great con!
You…didn’t do the best job of selling it. (seriously though I’d love to do it someday but this year I’m booked full already)
When I watched the trailer for Stripped, I saw a Hannelore being colored. Does this mean that you’ll have an interview in it? :D
Yup! I don’t know how much of it will be in the film, but it was really great and I’m super excited to be part of it.
When are the rewards for the kickstarter going to ship?
95% of the physical rewards are being manufactured as we speak, and I’m almost done with the mini comic. So, soon!
Hey Jeph, is Deathmole on Spotify?
Not yet, maybe once the album is “officially” out.
Hey Jeph, saw your cleaned desk picture on Twitter the other day and I was curious what kind of audio you were running? Looks like a pretty nice setup.
Fancy Yamaha powered monitors running through a PreSonus audio interface. I like how it sounds!
err, hello! umm…what did copyrighting QC entail (if you don’t mind)?
If you make something original, you own the copyright by default. It’s basically that simple.
Do you have an “end game” or is this just going to go on for eternity? Just curious. Love your work bro.
They’re all gonna fuck and then the earth will explode
Is Momo strong enough to drag an unconscious Marigold to the bed by herself, or did Dale have to help?
How do you feel about Failure reuniting?
Can Hannelore be asexual, please? A lot of people read her as such, and think that she is, and it’d be pretty cool to have a canon ace character in something as well known as your comic. Maybe you’ve accidentally written an asexual character? I mean, you of course have control over your comics and everything, but… just putting that out there.
I’ve been getting an increasing number of questions like this lately, so here’s my best attempt at an answer.
While I think it’d be great to see more representation of asexual folks in comics, Hannelore isn’t asexual. She’s severely inhibited by her neuroses, but if they weren’t there, I’m pretty sure she’d want to Do It With Boys. And I’d hate to portray her as asexual instead of inhibited, because that would paint a very inaccurate picture of what asexuality is (as far as I understand it, anyway).
Have you ever considered the addition of an asexual character to the comic? I know a lot of writers will shy away from “adding X character” because it’s too easy to write a bad character around that one characteristic. You’ve done so well with diversity, historically, that I just wanted to know if it’s something you’d ever thought about or wanted to do, even if it’s not something you can immediately do now.
I don’t have any ace characters on the drawing board, but who knows. Maybe someday!
Why do webcomics folk so rarely leave the northeast (aside from huge events like SDCC, C2E2, and the like?
Because plane tickets are expensive.
I’m a long-time guitar dabbler and I’ve recently been trying to learn to play metal/metalcore, and the only electric guitar I’ve ever owned is a Squier Strat. I’ve heard for metal I should really have humbuckers, and I picked up a friend’s cheap (I think) Dean and the difference was striking. I want to get another guitar more suited to metal, but I don’t feel like I have the proper experience to judge them. Should I stick with the strat til I improve? Get a cheap metal axe? An expensive one?
If you want to learn metal, playing on a standard strat will be frustrating, which will make you enjoy playing less, which will make you play less. I say take the plunge and get yourself an affordable “metal” axe. ESP/LTD and Schecter are my go-to brands for good, cheap guitars, and make excellent higher-tier instruments if you want to drop some extra cash.
I’d also recommend getting yourself a Line 6 POD. When it comes to practicing and recording on a budget there is literally no single piece of gear you’re better off spending money on.
You hear about the new D’Addario NYXL strings that are coming out soon? I just got a beta set, and I’m liking them a lot so far, just gotta see what they sound like after a week or two.
I’ve always been an Ernie Ball man but I’m willing to try new things!
As someone who earns their income on the internet, what do you think of bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general? Is it something that you would consider ever accepting as payment for your merch or music? Or is that kind of thing left up to topatoco?
I don’t particularly like Bitcoin (unstable, prone to pyramid scheme-esque manipulation) but if something that took its good aspects came along I’d probably support it.
can you give any advice to a recent college dropout that wants to make a webcomic but doesn’t really have the means (nor necessarily the artistic talent) to do so?
Just start drawing! Paper and pens are cheap. You can get a Wacom for like 90 bucks. Scanners are cheap too. Make it fun!
Just got my download of Permanence, and it’s awesome. Are you still planning on re-recording Advances, and what is the timeframe for that?
If all goes according to plan, I’ll actually be laying down the basic tracks for Advances this week! It will be a more prolonged process because my engineer is having a baby literally any day now, but it will get done.
Faye is getting hammered less often one way, more in another *snort*
Last week I received my new Cintiq Companion, Wacom’s first truly portable drawing apparatus. I’ve been making comics on it for a week now, so I think I’ve had enough experience with it to share my impressions with you.
I opted for the Companion and not the Companion Hybrid because I wanted a full-fledged PC in addition to the tablet capabilities. It came with Windows 8 preinstalled, and while I had heard lots of bad things about the OS, it has been a better experience than I was expecting- especially when I updated it to 8.1. The tablet functionality is quite good, actually. I like the onscreen keyboard a lot more than iOS’s.
As for the hardware itself, I am impressed. The Companion feels really solid, and the various buttons and switches etc are responsive and useful. It’s compact enough to easily fit in a computer bag, and came with a nice neoprene case that also holds the stylus case (which itself is really cool). The power cord is plenty long enough and the transformer box is surprisingly compact. All in all it’s way more portable than the smaller Cintiq and perfect for travel or working in coffee shops or whatever.
The most critical thing, of course, is how it does at actually making artwork. The surface is a nice balance between smoothness and toothiness. It feels like it might be a little gripper than my big Cintiq, but I may be imagining that. The stylus is excellent. Due to the smaller screen, there is a noticeable discrepancy between the tip of the stylus and the cursor when you get to the edges of the screen, but proper calibration was easy and went a long way toward correcting this. After a week of use I hardly notice it anymore.
The overall drawing experience is good. It took me a few days to get used to working on such a small screen as I’m used to my 24” monster at home, but it was just a matter of adaptation. Pressure sensitivity is excellent, and the Companion has enough RAM to handle huge Photoshop files without any hitches. I attach a USB keyboard because I use lots of keyboard shortcuts when drawing, but if you use the express keys on the side of your cintiq you could probably work without an external keyboard. Due to the high screen resolution and small display size, user interface buttons are pretty tiny, but not unusably so.
Battery life is truly impressive, in my opinion. I can draw for three hours and only use up half of a charge.
Thus far, my only gripes are with the software, not the tablet itself. Photoshop is buggy as hell on Windows, at least compared to OS X. And Windows 8 is better than I expected, as I said, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “good” operating system. Its kind of a mess, organizationally, and the disconnect between the (pretty cool, IMO) tiles interface and the standard Windows desktop is really, really clunky. The design nerd in me hates the OS, but the practical side of me says “at least it works.”
So what’s the final verdict?
I’m glad I got my Companion. It makes working while I’m away from home an absolute breeze. If you’re a professional artist who travels a lot I think its a great purchase despite the hefty price tag. It won’t be replacing my 24hd as my main work tool, and I think people looking to jump into the Cintiq pool would be better served by purchasing one of the less expensive non-tablet Cintiqs. But on the whole, I’m pleased with the product and expect to do a lot of work on it in the future.
Since you’ve been sober (congrats!), are your characters are drunk less often? Do they follow you in not self-medication using alcohol?
Nah, they’re still pretty much drinking like they used to. Faye seems to be getting hammered less often.
What is your personal opinion of drum circles and/or hippies?
they’re all right
Are you going to stay with the new comic formatting? I don’t think I like it as much, but maybe that’s just because I don’t like change.
Yes, I think it is way better and makes drawing comics more fun.
Since time in the comic progresses so slowly relative to the real world, it sounds like your life has moved quite a bit further along than the characters’ lives have over the last few years—marriage, house, yadda yadda. Has it gotten more difficult to write for them as your own experience has diverged farther away from theirs?
My perspective has certainly changed- a lot of the problems they deal with seem a little silly to a guy in his early 30s. But that makes it easier to write, if anything- I can see past things they can’t.
Jeph- I have depression as well, and though I see a therapist, take medication, and am doing quite well, I still have days that I feel depressed for no reason (I call them “sad days.”) Do you ever have days like these? And if so, how do you work through them?
Yup, I think that’s pretty normal. You just gotta power through and do your best, and sometimes you just have a crappy day and have to take a mulligan.
Is Hannelore asexual?
Not to the best of my knowledge.
Back in the early days of QC was there anything special you did in the way of promotion to bring readers in? Or was it just a word of mouth thing? I know my main priority should be producing quality content, which it is, but do you have any general advice on how to get your name out there?
Most of it was just doing quality work, but I also posted on message boards for other comics I liked, just to get involved in the community. I think a lot of folks first found my comic that way. I never spammed links to it or anything, just had it in my signature. It seemed to work well.