All posts by Vince

Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. At any given point in time, he’s proud to be a father, husband, son, brother, cousin and friend to the people who mean the world to him. He is the author of the novels: “Escalation”, “Family Rules”, “Karaoke Criminals” and “Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?”, as well as the 2010 poetry collection, “Garbled Glittering Glamours”. His screenplays are “Team Building” and the screen adaptation of Family Rules, “Inventing Kenny”.

From the VT vault: Jackson Surfcaster SC-1

Well, my previous post about my Tokai Super Edition VS-80 has rapidly become one of the most visited posts here

[which says something about my other content, I guess – though it is a VERY cool guitar]

so I thought I’d share another one of my lesser-used guitars, a blonde 1998 Jackson Surfcaster SC1.


I bought her new at the London Music Show  at Earl’s Court, at a show-special price of GBP699; a total impulse buy. I had read a review in Guitarist magazine so felt safe in the buy, but it was the looks that did it for me

[I’ve since come to realize I have a thing for off-set guitars]

just the right mix of modern and classic styling; a little Rickenbacker, a little Telecaster, a little Mustang. The woodgrain peeks through the finish, and the scratchplate is a really, really nice counterpoint.

The guitar is Japan-made, at the Fuji-gen plant, I believe, and really high quality throughout. They were only sold for a couple of years.

Ash body, Maple neck and board, bolt-on; it’s a BRIGHT guitar. And, of course, I’ve modded it!


The bridge humbucker, originally a licensed Seymour Duncan model, was never something I warmed to, I tried a Gibson Burstbucker 2 for a while, but ended up going with a TVJones TV Classic Plus humbucker – a nod to Gretsch – and it’s perfect in this guitar

[and look at that picture, tell me it isn’t just fabulous looking as well?!!]

The neck pickup is stock, a Kent Armstrong SLV-1, it has a really interesting tone, somewhere between a stock telecaster and a strat, but unique all the same. Blended with the TVJones, it sounds just right.

In keeping with the stripped back vibe, the stop tail-piece is wraparound, with fixed intonation

[though it can be angled with two grub screws]

and for a while I had a replacement bridge with adjustable saddles, but it was too bulky, and raised the strings slightly, which threw off the neck relief

[and led to neck shims, etc.]

so I went back to the stock bridge, a focused set-up and it’s intonated beautifully all up and down the neck.

And that neck – it’s VERY slim, almost flat radius, built for shredders for sure; it’s one of the reasons I don’t play the Surfcaster out live so much – it’s such a different profile from my regular guitars, and takes some adjusting.


The sharkfins are obviously Jackson through and through, but on the Surfcaster, they also give a nod towards Rickenbacker, so don’t seem as hair-metal; also helped by the absence of a pointy headstock

[the tuners are upgrades as well – left over from my Les Paul mods – just amping the vintage vibe]


For a while, I had a Roland GK3 guitar synth pickup fitted to the Surfcaster – aesthetically, totally WRONG, but I didn’t want to mount the unit on any of my other guitars – so there are a couple of re-filled mounting holes by the bridge.


This, along with some other wear and tear, means the resale value is shot

[and these are kind of collectible]

but then I’m not planning on selling it, so who cares?!!

It records really well, thanks to the combination of the lipstick and TVJones pickups – it’s actually on several tracks on Grope, though difficult to pick out in the mix

[there are a LOT of guitars on the record]

So that’s it, my Jackson Surfcaster SC1, a unique guitar that doesn’t get out very much – maybe I should make sure it does!


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Yes, but you have to have a pigeon-hole…

I’ve been called many things

[some of them nice, some not so much]

but the term I keep hearing is renaissance man which, according to means:

1. a cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.

2. (sometimes lowercase) a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.

Seeing as how I can’t claim Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo among my contemporaries, I guess I must be number 2

[hehehehe… he said number 2…]

I don’t know that my knowledge or proficiency in any field is profound

[that’d be up to others to judge]

I generally think of myself as still being like I was when I was young: just plain  interested in everything that catches my interest. Which is generally good enough for me, and gets me to this body of artistic and professional work that I love so much.

Then I hear something like I heard last night.

Apparently, I was almost passed over for a solo show because

I need someone acoustic, he just does electric

Wait… What?!!

Did this not happen?

Or this?

It bugged me. It really did. Then I realized, I have the exact same reaction when people say they’re looking for a band but didn’t consider me. Even though this happens:

And this:

I can’t blame people – it can be tough for me to keep track of all the things I get up to.

And, of course, we live in a passive ‘push’ world, where everyone who wants to share anything has to compete against information overload. In this push world, I can build my audience here, and over at Facebook and only reach less than 10% of that audience per post.

And, unlike the world the internet talking heads rhapsodize, very few people share things onward

[those that do are a rare, and generous, gift]

So I have to repeat myself.


And again.

And again.

As someone who gets really twitchy about too much self-promotion, it’s exhausting to keep folk aware of what’s going on; constantly running the self-perceived risk of boring people with repetition.

I’ve been going through that this week with the release of Writers Flow – Music For Writing. The umpteenth post in the umpteenth direction and I feel like someone’s out there just grinding their teeth

Sheesh! Can’t Tuckwood just give it a rest with all his self-promotion?!!

But the truth is, I can’t, because I haven’t even mentioned:

  • Escalation
  • Family Rules
  • Karaoke Criminals
  • Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?
  • Garbled Glittering Glamours
  • Grope
  • Writers Unblocked
  • We Are Story
  • mySetlist
  • myOrgDev
  • View Beyond LLC

and a shit-load of other stuff. If I don’t mention them, no-one else will. If I’m not in your face, telling you about my stuff NO ONE ELSE IS.


Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to do one thing, to sit in one pigeon-hole – wouldn’t it be easier to just have to sell yourself as

the best [fill in the blank] in the world

then I really think about what that would feel like, the constraints, the constriction. I’ll take my exhaustion over that sensation any day.

Though, this morning, I wish there was some easy way to point out all the pigeon-holes I sit in at once.

I wish there was a Zagat’s guide for Vince.

I really do.


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Writers Flow – Music For Writing: released today!

You know that moment: you’re getting ready to write, drifting into your flow, when a song comes up on shuffle and completely distracts you? I hate that. I wanted longer pieces that didn’t demand I listen, and yet moved me further and deeper into my creative self.

The result is Writers Flow – Music For Writing; 3 extended pieces specifically designed to enhance creative flow and mood.

… listening to it while working on reports and cut my report timing by 25% (usually one hour, took me only 45 minutes and I was clearer on my presentation!)” ~M Vera

Samples of each piece are available to stream and full tracks for purchase at Bandcamp; listen here and, when you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, just hit the ‘buy’ link.

Full information on the project is available at; for now,  here are some basics:

Each piece is around 25 minutes long

[which supports the Pomodoro technique – I don’t personally chunk my writing, but you may, so I stuck with it in Writers Flow]

The tempo here is restful, but not soporific – neither musak nor meditation – and the loops and themes are designed to hook without distracting.

That’s right! This music doesn’t want you to pay attention; it’s a backdrop for your writing, so put it on in the background and fall into the page. In fact, you may find yourself distracted by the lack of distraction when first trying it! If so, keep going, you’ll soon find yourself easing into the flow.

I can’t promise that Writers Flow will make your story work, your blog have impact, or your dialogue snap. But I can tell you that Writers Flow – Music For Writing is designed to get you to the place where you can do exactly that.

So, set the volume to a comfortable background level, press play, and GET WRITING!


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About a song: You Say from Sparse

You Say is the 9th track from Sparse

Sparse feels a long time ago now, and I am always surprised when this track comes up on shuffle

[as it did in the car yesterday]

not quite because I forget it’s on the record, but because of my reaction.

I find myself dropping into and almost trance-like state of focus, listening closely to the performance, and reflecting on the lyrics. While this happens with other recordings, and is something I suspect every recording musician experiences, the effect is particularly strong with this one.

Here’s what I think is going on.

Firstly, You Say emerged during 2010, as I reshaped myself, and my family went through the very testing times of Dad’s illness, so its crucible was already emotionally heightened.

Musically, this was the first acoustic song I’d written in YEARS – I’d been using the acoustic to write, of course, but always towards a more developed band-treatment – with this one, though, I knew it would stay simple

[as much because of the lyrics]

In it’s own way, You Say was, I think, Sparse beginning to push at me, letting me know I was ready to make a stripped-down, intimate collection of acoustic songs.

It took me a while to empty out my picking hand on the song, too busy, hitting too many strings – I can hear that in the playing here; live now, it rolls more – and I think it benefits from the space, which leaves room for the lyrics to hit home.

Though Sparse aims to be just that, several tracks do feature quite a bit of extra instrumentation, though it never overwhelms the centrality of the acoustic and voice. On You Say, there are several other instruments.

For the second verse and solo, I added organ

[as I often do]

but underneath that, there is a lovely, throbbing electric guitar

[my Music Man Reflex through a Fulltone DejaVibe into my Budda Verbmaster]

and some very, very subtle electric piano vamping.

The solo is the Reflex direct into the Verbmaster – simple, straight. Gorgeous.

Then the final verse, the throbbing guitar remains with some very high electric piano/glockenspiel counter-point.

It’s very, very simple and, to my ears, beautiful in its melancholia; which is just what I wanted to serve the lyrics.

And so we’re here again: the lyrics.

Many of my conversation songs

[I… You…]

are self-reflections, discussions and arguments I’m having with myself. And that’s certainly true here. The early verses reflect upon how spent I was from my corporate life – so very, very tired – but the listening narrator

[still me, and just as tired]

is fully aware and hearing what’s being said, accepting and ready to move things on

[If that isn’t rooted in id and ego, I don’t know what is!]

Alongside this, though, I was dealing with being thousands of miles away from my family as my Dad went through his illness, and feeling so bad for how distance separates us; lingering guilt for moving away. I think the very last verse is my offer to them, to myself, to everyone; that no matter how far, I’ve been here all the time, just waiting to be there for you.

All this playing with the I… You… roles in the lyric leads me to the chorus and it’s punctuation. When I wrote the song, there were no speech-marks, i.e. it was the visitor complaining that the narrator wasn’t available

[a nod to the distance between my family and I]

but as the years have passed, and I’ve lived in the song, the visitor’s denial/avoidance has become more clear

[it’s where I’d been for a couple of decades, after all]

and the to-and-fro of those chorus speech-marks becomes ever more clear to me.

One final point of trivia – the demo originally finished  on “I’m listening…” and the 5th chord – but the lack of resolution really bugged me. At some point in live rendition, I added the little coda of “then you say…” with the resolution back to the root – it’s an offer, a glimpse of continuation, a suggestion that the I… You… has become We…

Which is everything I ever wanted from this song and its life in the world.


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You say
“Hello my friend it’s been a while
Since we’ve spoken
Lost the time
I’ve drifted far away from home”

You say
“I’ve given up there’s no winning
Had too much
All burned out
My worn out shoes, my jealous eyes”

You say… I’m not listening
You say… “I’m not listening”

You say
“My centre’s lost and I’m a mess
My up’s down
Left is right
My front is back, all inside out”

You say
“What difference comes from being me?
I’m empty
All used up
A dried out husk, a worn out seed”

You say… I’m not listening
You say… “I’m not listening”

You say
“I’ll just go and leave you now
Stayed too long
Burned my welcome
Cut my ties all into rags”

You say
“You’re distracted playing games
Still climbing
To a top
Beyond the clouds that never comes”

You say
“Hearing takes you being here
Not elsewhere
In this moment
Open doors and welcome arms”

I say
“I’ve been here all of the time
Take a seat
Take a step
Here is my hand, I’m listening”

Then you say…

Copyright 2013, Vincent Tuckwood



Song Spinner at – Painkiller Morning

It was my honour and pleasure to be featured in The Day’s Song Spinner series, where I play, and discuss the background, to Painkiller Morning from Grope.

Article: Song Spinner – Tuckwood’s past reveals a new ‘Morning’


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#irespectmusic The New Improved Performance Rights Act: Because You Believed


I’m very honoured to have been saying #IRespectMusic since the start – well done Blake Morgan and everyone else for making the right thing happen.

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

Congressman Jerry Nadler and Marsha Blackburn, John Conyers and Ted Deutch will introduce legislation on Monday that responds to all of you who supported artist pay for radio play.  The thousands and thousands of you who signed the #irespectmusic petition, the hundreds of you who attended #irespectmusic events, the hundreds of you who responded to the Copyright Office’s request for comments on the Music Licensing Study and the “NABtweets” campaign on Grammy night, and who supported the Turtles fight against Pandora and SiriusXM.  All the bands who have hosted #irespectmusic shows around the country, all the fans who wore the “#irespectmusic AND I VOTE!” button at election time.

marsha blackburn

Janita, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Blake Morgan and Tommy Merrill


Tommy Merrill, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Blake Morgan and Janita

deutch 2

 Janita, Rep. Ted Deutch, Blake Morgan and Tommy Merrill

Some of you joined this movement recently, some of you were around for the last…

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Frustrating, frustration, frustrated…

I’ve spent the past decade, and particularly the last couple of years, deepening my understanding of human needs psychology and how that feeds into change both at the personal and communal levels.

My study and practice has led to some interesting outcomes

[in myself an others]

whether it be anchoring states, use of mantra to condition change or simply recognizing the state people go into at points of challenge/crisis.

[thank you Anthony Robbins!]

In amongst all this is the area of transformational vocabulary.

Simply put, we have a relatively small set of words

[and bear in mind I’ve written well over half-a-million of them so far]

that we use to describe and categorize experiences and sensations. We use these words habitually as neural shortcuts and, if we’re not careful, they can nullify new experiences, shape our physiology and even, somatically, change our biochemistry.

As with all learning, the first place to start is with the self.

And I realized that a word I use a lot

[a LOT]

is frustrated.

I am frustrated. I am becoming frustrated. This is frustrating.

A lot of use is in my internal dialogue now, but it’s there – sometimes dressed up as boredom, restlessness, claustrophobia, inattention – but always, always frustrated.

And I keep putting myself in situations

[or act within existing situations]

to become frustrated.

Realizing this is a BIG thing for me – it provides me the clarity to shift my normality, because I know it doesn’t serve me well.

My change begins with finding new words, the beginnings of transformational vocabulary I will apply in my own everyday. I am on the search for two new words:

  1. A word that defuses the gravity of my frustration. It’s a word that I will use to break my pattern, to snap myself out of it, to scratch the record. This word has to describe the state in a comical or oddball way. It is another way  of describing frustration: “Oh, don’t mind me I’m just getting…”
  2. A word that will renew forward momentum whenever I have the sensations which I have labelled as being frustrated. This is an ACTIVE word, the so-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it word.

As I begin to develop this transformational vocabulary, I’ll be reinforcing change through use of mantra, physical practices

[look for me chanting while working out]

and other conditioning techniques.

This is the work I do with my coaching clients, and I am excited to be healing myself in a similar manner.

So, let me ask you a couple of questions

[it’s not a test, I need your help]

Imagine someone who is very frustrated – they are tense, snappy, glowering – and you’re worried about them. You ask them: “how are you doing?” They look at you and say “Don’t mind me, I’m just a little…” and burst out laughing. You see the tension melt away with their giggles. What word(s) did they use?

Now, think of someone who is very, very far from frustrated… How would the describe their attitude to life? What words would they use?


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ps: interesting side note – you should have seen how easy it was for me to write about my ‘frustrated’ language set. It’s very, very deep in my identity, shifting it will be a joy.