“Mexican Hat Dance” (Traditional cover)

By Jeremy Hammond:

I was just playing around and worked out a fun little arrangement for this traditional song that everyone will recognize.


I couldn’t resist picking this as our Guest Sessions featured video of the week.  It’s a fun little song, and a fun little performance by one of our favorite contributors to the site.

We may know this popularly as the “Mexican Hat Dance,” but it is more formally known as “Jarabe tapatio.”  It was first compiled in Guadalajaran music professor Jesus Gonzalez Rubio as a medley of Mexican folk music.  It has since been honored by many as the national dance of Mexico.

This is your Guest Session electric cover song instrumental video.  We hope you’ll enjoy it and hurry back next week for another great contribution!

Fender Deluxe Player’s Stratocaster – Jim Fusco’s Guitar Collection

By Jim Fusco:

Today, I’d like to discuss my Fender Deluxe Player’s Stratocaster!  I wanted this guitar after playing my brother’s exact same model (just different colors).  I couldn’t believe how nice it was to play his guitar.  The string action was low and it just felt so “fast” to play.  It was like it played itself!  The only thing I didn’t like was the “tinny” sound coming from the single-coil pickups, but we both know how to get the correct sound nowadays- get a great tube amp!  So, I decided I wanted my first Strat- a Deluxe Player’s Strat!

Fender Deluxe Player's Stratocaster

This model has a couple of unique features.  Cosmetically, it features gold hardware that you don’t find on a normal Stratocaster.  It also has Vintage Noiseless pickups, which appear on the much more expensive Eric Clapton model.  The guitar also has a button on the front that activates two new pickup combinations, allowing you to use all three pickups at once.  Unfortunately, though, these other pickup combinations don’t sound that good at all  So, they’re not especially useful.

My blue version of the guitar came with a dark brown burled walnut-looking pickguard.  That looks great on my brother’s honey blonde Strat, but not so great on a dark blue one.  I don’t know what they were thinking with that thing…  Anyway, my wife bought me an awesome cream/white pearl pickguard that made it look amazing!  Problem was that stupid button I mentioned earlier.  I had to drill a hole for it in the new pickguard and mount the housing for it on the back of the guard.  It was such a project- no glue I had would hold it in the right spot!  It took a few days, but I finally found a solution.  Oh, and also notice the upgraded volume and tone knobs that match the gold hardware that my brother Mike got me.  They also go to 11- just like in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap”!

These Deluxe Player’s Stratocasters are made in Mexico.  I know some people think less of these guitars, but I can say first-hand that there is almost no difference at all.  The metal pieces are fabricated in the Corona, CA plant (my brother and I took a tour) and the workers…well, even in the US plant, they’re still of Mexican descent!  So, if you have a Mexican guy making it in Mexico or in California- what’s really the difference?  These people all do great work- the quality and craftsmanship on both the Mexican-made and American-made Strats is impressive.  I just can’t justify the cost of having a guitar made literally a 4-hour drive down the road out of the same materials and probably by people in the same families! 🙂

Fender Deluxe Player's Stratocaster

A couple years ago, my parents got me a great present- a tuner that’s built-in to the guitar! It’s called N-Tune and it requires tapping-in to the current electronics and putting a tuning ring under the volume knob.  The volume knob then turns into a pull-knob that activates the tuner.  It’s so convenient and always fascinates people.

I used the Strat almost exclusively on my 2012 album, “Those Around Us”.  It’s so versatile and sounds great clean or distorted.  Plus, it plays very nicely with my Fender Blues Jr. amp.  It’s also the only single-coil guitar I have (other than the P-90s, but that has its own sound) so now it will fill a very important space of my overall sound.  I think this Stratocaster is one I’ll have for a very, very long time!

My New Amp…For More Than Acoustic Rock!

By Jim Fusco:

Hi folks, Jim here. I just made a big purchase, so I wanted to share it with everyone, especially because it will re-shape the way my guitar sounds.

I’m so excited to get my Fender Blues Junior amplifier!! It’s pretty small in size, no more than a foot and a half or so each way, but man, does it pack a punch. My old amp, a HUGE Fender one, was way too powerful for anything I used it for. I could never turn it up past 2.5 on the dial!

Plus, my old amp was a solid-state amp. With solid state amps, you need to add your own effects. For instance, I always like using an “overdrive effect” to get my distortion sound. I even bought a guitar pedal called the “Tube Screamer” to get the tone I wanted. A solid-state amp just means, you plug in your guitar and the sound comes out of the speakers. Simple. It reproduces whatever you put into it, just louder.

Fender Blues Junior Amp

But, the new amp is called a tube amp. This particular one is ALL TUBES because it has a tube pre-amp and tube driver.

What does that all mean?

Well, I’m new to this, too, but here’s my explanation. Think of the tubes as those old TV tubes people used to use. Actually, this is the SAME EXACT THING! Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you want to go back to that old technology?” Well, there’s many resons:

  1. The tubes take time to “warm up” when you turn the amp on. This tells us that the sound from my guitar is going through the tubes for amplification, and thus “warming up” the sound. With a solid state amp, it goes directly to the speaker. Going through the tubes naturally processes the sound. Think of talking into a hollow tube. It makes your voice more “warm” sounding because it’s bouncing around in there.
  2. The tubes create a natural “compression” effect. This is really great for me because it makes individual notes sound as loud as when I play chords. So, I have better control over the volume of my solos when I’m playing rhythm guitar most of the time and a solo for 30 seconds!
  3. It’s real “overdrive”. All those guitar pedals I own (and it’s quite a few) try to emulate the sound of an overdriven amplifier. “Overdrive” means that you’re pushing too much sound through the tubes and the signal starts breaking up. It goes from “clean” to “dirty” sounding. With a tube amp, I can naturally overdrive my guitar to get the real sound out of it. It’s what makes some guitars cost more and others cost less. Since I have some really nice guitars, I’ll be looking forward to how they “really” sound when overdriven.
  4. It just sounds amazing. I plugged into this thing at the music store and I felt like a rock star. The notes seem to organically “grow” from the speakers, rather than just explode. It makes the chords sound better. It makes my playing sound better because you actually hear things like 7th chords. Plus, it makes things like those crazy back and forth solos possible, too.
  5. It’s a heck of a lot smaller, and therefore more portable. My old amp weighed more than Chris.
  6. It’s still got power. This new amp is only 15 watts of power. Doesn’t sound like much. My old amp is about 150 watts. Too much power! But, 5 watts of tube amp power are equal to 40 watts of solid-state amp power! So, really, we’re talking about an amp that’s got the equivalent of 120 watts here. But, I might just be able to turn this one up a bit and experiment with more sounds without waking the neighbors!

Hopefully this shows you how passionate I am about this purchase, and that I really do my homework when I’m getting something new. I’m so excited to take my guitar sound to the next level and you’ll LOVE it, too!! I’m going to be posting different articles on ALL of my equipment (guitars, etc) and I hope Jeff and Chris will, too. Now I gotta check my front porch when I get home…