Monthly Archives: June 2019

Carbon Leaf’s Guitarist part 1 of 2 (with Carter Gravatt) Ep052

As the lead guitarist of Carbon Leaf, Carter Gravatt has successfully toured and recorded since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, the Avett Brothers, and many more).  What’s especially fascinating about Carter is that he performs not only on electric and acoustic guitars, but also on an incredible number of other instruments including mandolin, banjo, violin, cello, lap steel, pedal steel, bouzouki, hurdy gurdy, dobro, and probably more! In part 1 of 2 of this interview, Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy talking with Carter about his story, Carbon Leaf, musical influences, and gear.
Carter tells the guys about Carbon Leaf’s efforts to release an album every 8 months and their history with record labels and FM radio.  Joe asks how Carter became such a phenomenal multi-instrumentalist.  The guys talk about practicing and how musicians used to learn music before the days of YouTube and the internet.  Carter talks about the technical difficulties of touring with his many instruments: huge amounts of gear (multiple pedalboards, amplifications systems, the instruments themselves) and maintenance is required to keep everything working properly.  The discussion includes insights into acoustic amplification, guitar amps, getting overdrive from amps vs. pedals, the complications of switching between instruments during shows, and different picks.
Fun facts: In 2002 Carbon Leaf won an American Music Award for their song “The Boxer.”  They featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.”  They recorded music for the 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe.  They have played with/crossed paths with other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.
Find out more about Carter and Carbon Leaf at: and on Facebook at

Trademark Law for Musicians (with Marcella Dominguez) Ep051

Musicians are often confused about what a trademark is or if they really need to register their trademark.  Marcella Dominguez, a trademark lawyer, joins Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray to discuss the benefits and costs of registering a trademark for your band or music business.
As an example, because Metallica trademarked their logo, nobody else can use something that looks or sounds like “Metallica.”  This protects them against impersonators hoping to profit from their success – nobody else can put on a show or event and falsely use the name “Metallica” to bring in an audience, nobody else can perform under the name “Metallica,” potentially playing poorly and damaging the reputation of the band, nobody else can sell “Metallica” merchandise, etc.  Trademarks assert position and show professionalism, they help the consumer to know the difference between the real brand and any competitors or impersonators, and they protect you from anyone trying to infringe on what you’ve built.
Joe asks Marcella for advice regarding his old band, “Albino Rhino,” which struggled to differentiate itself from a Swedish band of the same name.  He had applied for a trademark in the past only to have it denied because it “looked too similar” to the Rhino Records trademark.  Marcella explains how you or a lawyer can draft an argument to appeal the decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  She also talks about how US trademark law works outside of US borders.
Marcella, Aaron, and Joe discuss the potential to trademark one’s name.  Then they talk about copyrighting songs, and how to provide proof and evidence that you are the author of your work.
Any good conversation about music legalities should bring up the recent “Blurred Lines vs. Got to Give it Up (Marvin Gaye)” lawsuit, so it was discussed.
Marcella tells Aaron and Joe how much it costs to hire a lawyer to register your trademark and how much it costs to register your trademark by yourself at  She provides useful advice on things to watch out for if you decide to register your trademark on your own: Make sure your drawing is final and exact, make sure you register under the correct categories (music/entertainment, CD/audio-visual recordings, merchandise, etc.), and check out the trademark information of other registered trademarks in the same realm as yours (i.e. if you are thinking about registering your podcast’s trademark, look up the trademark info for other podcasts’ trademarks to see what categories they are registered under, etc.).
Useful links regarding trademarks:
Find out more about Marcella at:
She also hosts The A.M. Show, a podcast about ambitious and motivated people.

Mastering (with Chris Graham) Ep050

Are you confused about what mastering really is?  Are you tempted to skip this important step in the process of preparing your music for distribution?  Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in the esteemed Chris Graham of Chris Graham Mastering and the Six Figure Home Studio Podcast to talk about the final polish in the process of preparing your music for release.  According to Chris, mastering is “optimizing a music track for goosebumps for the most people on the maximum number of listening devices.”
Chris tells the guys his story of how he became a musician, started producing music, and fell in love with mastering.  When he started his mastering business, he had the idea to put raw vs. mastered samples on his website and provide free mastering samples to new potential clients.
The guys talk about business books including The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.  Then they discuss the podcasting world, how podcasts are making it possible for niche shows to thrive, and how podcasts provide people with the opportunity to better themselves by learning while they drive or perform other life-tasks.  Then they dive into the topic of higher education and whether it pays off.
Aaron and Joe get to ask Chris lots of questions about mastering.  Chris tells them that it involves compression, equalization, limiting, and much more in order to make the tracks sound consistently better, more cohesive (on an album), and often louder on as many different listening devices as possible.  The guys ask Chris about his thoughts on having your tracks mixed and mastered by the same person.  Chris recommends doing a “mastering contest,” in which you go to multiple different mastering engineers and ask for a free mastered song from each.  Then compare the tracks and choose your favorite.
Finally, Chris, Aaron, and Joe talk about the “Loudness Wars.”
You can find Chris at:
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Guitar Gear (with Blake Wyland of The Tone Mob) Ep049

What is your guitar-gear nirvana?  Is it a trip to your local guitar shop, a trip to NAMM, or perusing the internet for video demonstrations?  Maybe for your gear curiosities you should also be looking to podcasts, as there are a few that do a great job of exploring this ever-growing industry.  On episode 49 of Fret Buzz the Podcast, Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in Blake Wyland, the host of the Tone Mob podcast and a co-host of the Chasing Tone podcast (alongside Brian Wampler of Wampler Pedals).
Blake tells Aaron and Joe about his background and how he got into the inner workings of guitars, amps, pedals, etc.
The guys have an interesting discussion about how a new guitarist should get started finding the proper gear to achieve their desired tone(s).  Blake recommends starting with an amp simulator/amp-in-the-box to find the “base” amp sound(s) that you like.  There is a big difference between the sounds of amps made by Fender, Marshall, Vox, etc.  Blake then recommends getting a dirt pedal (overdrive or distortion) followed by a reverb pedal and a delay pedal.
This leads to talk about preferences for using a clean amp and getting your overdrive/distortion from pedals versus driving your amp (turning it up enough for it to naturally compress and overdrive) and using pedals to shape or refine that natural distortion.  This obviously leads the guys into the subject of hearing protection!
Blake talks about the music industry and how pedal builders tend to share a comradery and a mutual geekiness.
Blake tells the guys about his top episodes of the Tone Mob, including interviews with Robert Keeley, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Joel Korte of Chase Bliss Audio, and Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars.
Next, Blake tells Aaron and Joe about his pedalboard (which is always changing).  He talks about his go-to pedals including the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive, the Emma Electronic PisdiYAUWot, the TomKat Green Muffer Fuzz, the Dr. Scientist Atmosphere, and the SolidGoldFX Electroman Delay.
Blake also talks about amps, from the Chris Benson (a local Portland builder) “Vincent” to the Sunn Beta “Lead” to the Fender “Deluxe Reverb” and “Vibrolux.”
The conversation turns to building your own pedals and the large amount of labor (soldering!) it takes to build pedals, which is why they cost so much.  There is talk of Gibson’s bankruptcy, low-end Gibson versus high-end Epiphone guitars, and profiling amps/amp modeling.  The episode ends with a dazzling tour of Blake’s studio, filled with many beautiful guitars and amps, and an obscene number of effects pedals!
Be sure to check out the Fret Buzz The Podcast YouTube channel to see the video.
Check out the Tone Mob at or wherever you get your podcasts.