Editorial: Did Someone Say Guitar?

Vince Magas - Editor-In-Chief
Posted on: July 15, 2017

Hello and welcome once again, this time to the fifth and final issue of the Iron Warrior for the 2017 Spring Term. Ah can you believe it? We’re in the last stretches of the term, it is crazy how time flies! Once again I have the rest of The Iron Warrior staff to thank for their contributions and help during this issue. As always thanks to all the copy editors, contributors, and advertisers that make this paper what it is. I would also like to give a special thank you to Raessa Ashique, Jessica Keung, and Cameron Soltys who dedicated a good chunk of their time throughout the creation of this issue.

For those of you who are a familiar with The Iron Warrior or perhaps regular readers from term to term, you may know that the last issue of the term has something extra special in it! That’s right, it’s in this  issue that you’ll find the much awaited Tin Soldier! Flip on over to the center of the paper to find it… (it should be somewhere there… hehe). Lots of great fun to be had in this term’s Tin Soldier.

I would like to take some time now to thank all of our readers this past term! I know I speak for most—if not all—of us at The Iron Warrior when I say we are glad when we see people pick up a copy from the racks or when we find students, staff, professors, and guests alike reading the paper. For our regular readers, thanks once again for being with us for another term. For those who just recently joined us, thank you and I hope we’ve made a good first impression!

All this being said, for the last time of the term, I cordially invite and encourage any of our readers to send us an email if they want to write for The Iron Warrior or want to join our (almost-always) merry group. We’ll be back in the fall term (and shortly before that the Orientation Week Issue) Similarly, if you have an opinion, argument, or praise for anything you read on our paper feel free to let us know!  You can find us at E2-2345 (usually during meetings on Tuesday 1730h-1830h) or through our email address at iwarrior@uwaterloo.ca.

Alright so…what did Vince want to talk about in his last ever editorial of the term?! He’s been talking about all these random things the past issues…first uncertainty, next motivation, and then last issue was on wanting to control all sorts of aspects in life! Well I’m throwing in a bit of a curveball here, but I promise it follows a similar theme to my previous editorials!

Since we’re deep in the heart of the term’s dreaded crunch time when projects are due and exams lurk in that sketchy dark alley that we’re forced to walk through, I thought this is the perfect time to talk about all the other things that we would probably rather be doing! At least for me, it’s a massive list of miscellaneous hobbies and pastimes. In this editorial I want to talk about one in particular. To be fair, a lot of this should ideally help with de-stressing and relaxing in-between projects and during study breaks.

Did Someone Say Guitar?

First and foremost in my list of things that I would rather be doing: Music! This is my addiction; of all the things that I sink my co-op paychecks into, music-related items are the roaring flames that consume dollar bill after dollar bill. When I say music I mean anything from…actual CDs or FLAC downloads (yes, I pay for my music. Gone are my torrent-ing or limewire-ing, and Youtube-video-audio-ripping days) all the way to a new hand-wired guitar amp, maybe a new pre-amp for my hifi setup at home, or a new plug-in for my DAW. I hop around every co-op term as to what I spend money on music-wise, but the biggest wallet-hitters tend to be music gear (my last major purchase, a PRS Custom 24, set me back a couple grand…I blame the Canadian Dollar. (It does not help at all that a lot of fancy-schmancy ‘Made In USA’ guitars or amps are marked up beyond belief.) A lot of pieces in my collection either hit me with the CAD to USD conversion or the CAD to GBP conversion. Take guitar amplifiers for example… brands such as Friedman, Mesa Boogie, and higher-end Fenders are all built in the U.S. (they remind you too with their “Made In USA” stickers), and as you can imagine they can sometimes cost an arm and a leg. Hopping over across the pond, you find amps like high-end Marshalls (think Astoria line, or Vintage-Reissue) and hand-wired Vox amps, as well as Victory, and you find yourself paying for shipping and British labour! Not to mention those vacuum tubes can also be expensive to replace when you add it up! Nonetheless they’re still all of the fun to have and to look at hehe….

I was introduced to guitar about 12 years ago, playing on a cheapo off-brand acoustic guitar that was almost impossible to keep properly intonated. Regardless of the initial gear, however, playing guitar just stuck to me and I’ve never let it go. I was hooked to the guitar. I want to say that for the first 6 to 7 years, there was not a day when I didn’t pick-up my guitar.  Fast-forward to high school and the gear acquisition syndrome had hit me like a train. I swear the one thing that inspired me to get part-time jobs was simply so I could get my hands on a new pedal, a new guitar, or a new amp! For me, at least, there’s a lot of fun to be had looking up new gear or learning about what a particular amp does or how it may sound, even more so when you finally get to try it out in a music store! I simply love A/B-ing different pieces of gear. A part of me also just really like discovering new gear to add to a collection! My most recent obsessions over have been amps and various cab speaker configurations.

My Current Go To Setup!

Guitar: PRS Custom 24 in McCarty Sunburst Finish

Amp: Mesa Boogie Mark V:25 with a MiniRecto Slant 1×12 Cab loaded with a Celestion V30

Misc Pedals that I’ve currently brought with me:  Seymour Duncan Vapour Trail, Xotic Effects BB Preamp

Did Someone Say Study Break?

All that spending aside, guitar was also a really great way to unwind. During exam season it was, for the most part, my go-to for study breaks or for de-stressing. The routine was pretty straight forward: I’d make myself a cup of tea or coffee (depending on my mood!), move my guitar next to the desk I was working on, plug-in, do some practice questions or whatever, then pick up my guitar and let it rip during my study breaks! I’m not one of those folks who can sit for eight hours straight and “just study”; it’s been absolutely impossible for me. As such, I put a lot of value into my mini-guitar-session-study-breaks (or at least try to). It’s funny that, speaking strictly about my years here at UW, I feel like during the academic terms the most I improve my playing is actually during the exam periods! That being said, I’ve also been incredibly productive guitar-wise and music-wise during the post-exam season. This is probably due to the fact that I get to spend time at home! When you have the house to yourself on free days, it’s the absolute perfect time to crank the amp (at least in my experience).

Anyways that’s all I have for this last editorial, thanks once again for joining us this term! Feel free to let us know what you guys do in your spare time or maybe what your go to study break / de-stressing activity is! Also, don’t forget to take breaks this exam season!

Wishing everyone all the best one last time as EIC,

Vince Magas