Anthems Launch in Jhb!


On Tuesday the 6th of November, I’ll be at the official Joburg launch for Anthems of a Stranger, playing a set of tunes from the album. The CD will be available there, along with Tees and some other unique giveaways. Come and see what all the fuss is about.

Event: Andy Innes’ debut solo album launch of Anthems of a Stranger

Date: Tuesday 6 November 2012

Time: 19:30

Venue: Tanz Café, Fourways, Johannesburg

Tickets: R30, albums available to buy at the show


Online: to book or call 011 658 0277


The launch of Andy Innes’ debut album, Anthems of a Stranger, takes place at Tanz Café on 6 November with a live performance by Andy and an all-star band. R30 entrance and the album will be available to buy at the show.

Anthems of a Stranger, the debut solo project from multi-talented musician Andy Innes, is a mix of world folk-rock, hard-hitting social commentary and elegant instrumental interludes. Andy is also the musical director, guitarist and backing vocalist for the Johnny Clegg band. His 14-track offering has a multitude of collaborations and combines arrangements of maskandi guitars and mbaqanga with more mainstream rock sounds. Named after a line from the socially reflective track Aliens, the album is a blend of lyrically emotional gems and instrumental magnificence which showcase Andy’s gentle vocal abilities in the first eight songs before affirming his talent and technical guitar abilities in the remaining six tracks.


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Piezo-equipped Guitars (WARNING: guitar nerd tech stuff)



I recently acquired a Purple Hazel PRS P22 to complement my existing arsenal of mag/piezo-equipped stereo guitars. It all started with my Parker Fly Deluxe. Then I got a Mojo, then a PRS Custom 24 that got a Graphtech Ghost system installed the day it arrived. These were followed by a Parker Custom with Graphtech LB63 Floyd Rose piezo bridge and 13-pin midi hexaphonic as well as a late-model Fly Artist and a Bronze Fly. An American Deluxe strat got the treatment too.

Bronze, Custom, Artist

Andy Innes

Deluxe and Bronze Fly

All the guitars are routed stereo on stage: electric mag pickup signals go to the amps (lately this is a Kemper KPA, subject of another blog posting here), piezo signal goes to a DI for the house and routes back to an acoustic amp or in-ear monitors, depending on which stage I find myself on.

Sometimes when switching the P22 with another P22 or another piezo equipped guitar like a Parker, you may hear a pop. This is particularly bad when your guitars are plugged in to the house PA via a DI box. The popping sound is apparently due to rail voltage used to power the active preamp for your piezo guitars.

Funnily enough, the early model pre-refined Parker Fly guitars had this issue solved in the 90’s with their ribbon circuitry. If you plug two of those Parker’s into a stereo switcher like a Lehle, you can switch between the two guitars silently. If, however, you introduce a PRS P22 or a recently built point-2-point wired Parker into the chain,  you will probably hear the pop (read BANG if you are plugged into the PA) when you switch the guitars. Sometimes you can experience this pop when switching between piezo and mags on the guitar itself, depending on the quality and integrity of the switch.

Im not particularly savvy when it comes to electronics, but the explanation several people in the know have given me about this is that the guitar is unloading unwanted electrical charge, causing the pop. This is also called ‘DC offset’. The way to defeat this is with a capacitor and possibly a balanced resistor in the audio chain. The most logical course of action to solve this issue seemed to my tech and I to be the installation in the guitar itself of a capacitor/resistor combo.

I had two of my Parkers wired like this, but it caused problems with the intelligent switching, as the rail voltage was used to switch the late-model Parker pre between mono summed and stereo operation, depending on whether your jack cable plug was TRS or TS. Subsequently I had my tech build me a small box with 2 capacitors in. This seemed to work better, but altered the tone of some of my guitars, thus not 100% desirable.

Finally, I discovered a product by Lehle called the DC Filter. I bought two of these and placed them on the piezo lines of my guitars in the signal chain. Hey presto! That was it – problem solved. Of interest here as well is the fact that I have not detected a significant change in my guitar signal or tone since putting the DC Filters in my rig.

Lehle DC Filter

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We arrived here in Chicago around 1 pm after a ride from Ann Arbor. The venue is located a short walk from the now somewhat popularised Lincoln Park.

I had decided a while back that I was going to pick up a small Pedaltrain here (basically an aluminium board to put my guitar switchers, tuner, DI and wah on), as my current board is made of… wait for it… WOOD! It constituted 70% of the weight of my checked luggage on the way here.

So I made my way three blocks up to Guitar Center – fresh out. Lesson learned – call ahead. The Chicago Music Exchange informed me they have four in stock and they were theoretically 1.5 miles away according to my iPad, so I tootled over there in a cab (after I’d walked five city blocks in that general direction) to collect a Pedaltrain PT Jr.

I have been to Make’n Music before in Chicago, so I’ve seen what a ridiculously large guitar store looks like, but the Chicago Music Exchange was a new level of largeness. Being as I find it difficult to describe in words, I’ve just included pics below of SOME of the floorspace there. Read more

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Ann Arbor, Michigan


I’m currently on tour with the Johnny Clegg band in north America. We’re in Ann Arbor, Michigan today for a day off after about two weeks on the road, then we carry on with the tour tomorrow. The whole thing runs with breaks until mid-August when we do the last show in Poitiers, France.

Tour bus - Ann Arbor

The Bus – Ann Arbor

I have had several questions from people about my live rig and this seems like as good an opportunity as any to write about that. Some of this may get a bit technical, but it wouldn’t be a particularly useful article without that content. Let me just say up front, that I have no commercial relationship with Kemper GmbH  (beyond having paid for their products). Maybe that will change if I write enough nice things about their kit (hehe). I do, however, have a relationship with Parker Guitars and with Lehle. Read more

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