Monday, March 25, 2019

Music, comedy and Mayberry

THE CHEESEBURGERS HAD an absolute blast at Saturday's Adams County Sheriff's Department Special Response Team fundraiser. The two comedians were incredible and a lot of people stuck around to rock the night away with us. It's always a good sign when you get done and have to collapse with a beverage and catch your breath. The Ambiance is one of Quincy's bigger venues and it was packed, probably more than 800 people from what we could tell.

David Browning killed it as the "Mayberry Deputy." His character is based on Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show and he was spot on. He showed up when we were setting up and he couldn't have been nicer and easy to work with. At one point he says, "Ya'll know the song 'Hello Mary Lou?'" He sings it as "Hello Thelma Lou" and we sort of practiced it. "It's in G." Right. Got it. Near the end of his performance I grabbed my guitar and we pulled it off and it tremendous, and the entire place went nuts. Geesh. What fun!

I loved his positive message and down-home humor, and his appreciation for law enforcement.

The headliner was Mike Armstrong, well-known as the Ex-Cop from the Bob & Tom  radio show. Again, a really nice guy, easy to work with and genuinely funny. Tim was a Street Crimes officer for the Louisville Police Department in Kentucky and some of the stories he told us before the show were epic. Again, I appreciated the fact that he kept it clean.

I think the reason we laugh so hard is because there are kernels of truth in every joke and story he tells.

They decided to have a band this year to keep people around, and it worked. They got all fired up and wouldn't let us stop, and those are the best gigs.

We have more fun shows lined up this summer, but it will be hard to top this one!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friends and business

SHERYL AND I have a lot of friends we've done business with, and it's a good thing. We'd like to think they've bought items from us because we are a good music store and they've needed musical equipment.

The other day fellow Pepper Sprayer Adam Yates saw that we had our new Casio keyboards in stock. A man he works with happened to be looking for a keyboard for his grandson, so Adam referred him to Second String Music. The man and his wife came in and spent considerable time considering their options, then bought the top-of-the-line Casio. They were happy, we were happy, and Adam was happy his friend came over and supported a local business.

We value our friendships and we are grateful for their support. You can be in business and do what you need to do in business. Most people understand.

Most Friday afternoons you'll find us here at the store celebrating the end of the week with a small happy hour. We like it when our friends come over to hang out. Our goal at the beginning was to turn the store into sort of a hub for our friends and local musicians.

Again, we are grateful for support from friends. It helps our little world at Fifth and Maine go around!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Recycling woes

IT'S GOING TO be a lot harder to do recycling in Quincy. Quincy Recycle at Sixth and State has announced they will no longer be a free drop-off site for recycle stuff, including plastic, glass, tin and newspaper. There's a new plan in place where you pay a fee for recycling, but knowing people around here, it won't go over well.

It's complicated and I don't have easy answers, so here's to trying to figure it out. I don't blame Quincy Recycling - when the city's new plan starts in May and people have to pay to recycle, they'd get deluged with the free drop-off stuff. And Quincy Recycle is not in an accessible place to begin with - you've dodged the massive semi-trailers and dump trucks roaring in and out of there while you are sardined off to the side dropping off your cans and bottles.

I'm not sure if this includes cardboard, but if it is, Second String Music is in big trouble. We get tons of stuff in cardboard boxes almost every day and if we can't find a place to bring it, we'll throw it away.

Well, maybe we won't throw it away, because the price of trash stickers just went up. And how do you stuff a big cardboard box into a garbage bag? It can be done if you cut it up, but geesh, what a pain. After a big shipment we could fill 20 bags easily. At $1.50 a bag, that's $30. For a small business, it's just another cost and money going down the drain, and it would add up in a hurry.

We will do more homework and see if there are other places to drop off cardboard. If not, I'll find a place. How's that for being a steward and environmentally conscious? Bonfire anyone?

Let's hope somebody steps up and agrees to take recycling, and we can start saving the earth again, one milk jug at a time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March Madness and dog picks

ANGUS IS POSITIVE he will win the Hart Family March Madness competition this year. He's done a lot of homework and chewed a few bones while thinking about it. "It's too bad Corgi University isn't in it this year because they'd win it all," he said. "Nobody else should think about entering because they'll just finish a distant second to me."
Angus is not backing down this year.

He was asked if he had a method to picking winning teams.

"Yes," he woofed.

Well .... what is it?

"You think I'm telling you? Then you'll blab it to everyone or write a dumb blog. Tucker will use it and actually have a chance this year instead of finishing last," Angus said.

So Angus is keeping it to himself. The nice thing about our contest is that it's easy to do, free, and the results are automatically tabulated.

Believe it or not, some of the original Chippewas Fantasy Baseball League guys are reuniting after nearly 30 years to start up another league. I'm gone during the draft so it will be "auto drafted" for me, whatever that means. Basically the computer will pick for me, and since I don't follow baseball and know anything about anybody anymore, this is fine with me.

Amazing how something trivial like fantasy baseball can rear its ugly head and make you hear from people for the first time in years.

So, for all you fantasy pickers out there, best of luck and we hope you do well. As for last second advice .... "Don't listen to a cat while making your picks," Angus says.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Affordable keyboards

ONE OF THE things we needed to improve on at Second String Music was getting affordable keyboards. We've been stocking the amazing Roland keyboards, and we've done very well with them, but they are for more serious players and the price starts at $640. Beginners had no options within the store and that is a market we need to improve.

So we've decided to go with some Casio keyboards for much less money. We start with the miniature SA 76 for $50 and go from there. We have the CTK-2550 ($119), LK-190 ($139), WK-245 ($199) and WK-7600 ($449). Basically the higher the model the more bells and whistles it has, and keys. The LK-190 has a lighted keyboard. The SA-76 is a miniature keyboard with 44 keys.

I've been monkeying around a little bit on them and for the better ones you actually need the manual. It can record stuff and play backing tracks and do your dishes too. They are amazing.

All our keyboards come with 4 free lessons at Vancil Music, 8th & Ohio. They have great teachers there, especially for beginning piano.

So ... if you just want something basic to learn on and go from there, Second String Music is now your place to pick up a new Casio. Sing us a song, you're the piano man! Or woman. Or child. Let's get started at Fifth and Maine!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Fender stuff is here

WE GOT A huge shipment of Fender products Thursday at Second String Music. Now we are stocked with awesome Fender Squire starter guitar packs, three different Rumble bass amps, 15-watt Acoustasonic amps, Mustang amps, a Squire Contemporary bass and three of the new Squire Contemporary electric guitars that are making me drool.

In stock are the Contemporary HH Strat, Telecaster and Jaguar. Yup, the Jaguar, which is a beast. You can't believe the tone you get out of the active pickups and I might spend a minute or 100 strumming it this afternoon. The HH Strat features humbucker pickups and takes you back to the 80s in an instant.

The Jaguar is $399 and the other two guitars and bass are $349 each. Worth. Every. Penny.

Sheryl says we have a bunch of other Fender stuff on the way. You can see it, touch it and play with it at Fifth and Maine, and nowhere else close to Quincy. Tomorrow is the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown so it's a perfect excuse for you to stop by after getting a bit o' green.

We are rocking at Second String Music!