Showing posts from September, 2016

Keeping extremely busy

As you can guess, learning every Maiden tune ever recorded has been keeping me quite busy. I'm enjoying the challenge of it as well as some of the new theory I've picked out of their music.

Yes, I said new theory. Not new as in "OMG, nobody has ever seen this before", but new as in I hadn't used certain chord progressions with 8ths and 6ths together in that manner before. I'm certainly enjoying the different approach to things.

Probably the toughest part, though, is the shared solos. Moving one guy from lead to rhythm without missing a beat on the rhythm or the lead is tricky to say the least. Again, I'm up for the challenge, but it's certainly something I haven't tried in the past.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm intrigued by every tune I play and look forward to what I can learn in the next song on the album... and then the next album... and the next... playing with a purpose is good.

Gear Friday: Gretsch Electromatic

It had to happen at some point, right? I had to get a Gretsch. Well, I decided to start with an Electromatic and go from there, but it still says Gretsch.

It's certainly a pretty headstock, but I'm not real crazy about the way the strings are bent out from the center. This adds unnecessary tension to those middle few strings, but perhaps that's the point. That means those are less likely to bend when you're playing "normal". I suppose that could keep it more in tune when playing chords, but I've never heard anyone state that as being the reason. I just know I generally prefer straight paths so I can bend them as I want to with minimal effort.

As for the body, it's pretty. The bigsby took a bit to get used to. No divebombs, but a nice vibrato is no problem.

So what do I like about this one? It's certainly a different tone than most of my others. Between the weaker output from the pickups and the airy sound from the semi-hollow, it's a much dif…

Tribute Bands: Love 'em, hate 'em, or otherwise?

Nothing beats seeing an amazing band. What do you do if they don't tour your area? Well, for many, it's checking out a tribute.

While it can't beat the real thing, or in some cases it does (deceased, etc.), a tribute can be a fun experience all in its own. Many times, these bands get extremely creative with stage props, song selection, audience participation or even making fun of how dorky they feel acting like someone else.

The first tributes I remember seeing were Elvis impersonators. Who doesn't love seeing a pretend Elvis shaking his hips and singing "Ain't nothin' but a hound dog"??? Ok, so many of us. But, for a true Elvis fan, that's one of the greatest things you can imagine, or one of the worst, or somewhere in between. It all depends on a few factors.

How well did they respect the memories you have of the artist / band? A great tribute not only brings back memories, but enhances / creates new ones.How well did they perform the songs? They…

I'm one of the 6...

I've been told this several times recently... I'm one of the six. Worse yet, I'm #1 on that list. I certainly find myself bored at times in bands. I most definitely want to keep progressing and hate taking it easy and just getting along. Lack of improvement from week to week drives me crazy. If I'm not better than I was last week, I'll be working 2x as hard the coming week to get it right. And then, I get let down by those around me quite regularly.

I guess that's why I have so much trouble sticking with a band... I don't see the same level of dedication and it drives me nuts. Anyway... on to the next adventure.

Gear Friday: Carvin BX1500

To finish off my new, lighter bass rig, I needed a new, lighter bass head. Enter the Carvin BX1500.

Weighing in at right around 10 lbs, it is less than 1/3 the weight of my previous head. I dropped the Line 6 Bass Pod Pro into a rack bag with it (interestingly enough, the rack bag weighs more than both of those pieces of equipment combined) so I'd have a tuner and wireless access to changing eq and tone settings using my Guitar Wing.

But, how does the amp itself sound?

I'm assuming that's the only reason you'd be reading this. To be honest, it's loud and clean. It's tough to dial in a growl with this amp (the Line 6 is handy for that now), but it's not really meant to do that. It's raw, clean power. Just how a bass amp should be in my mind.

As for the eq section, I find that it has a lot of static if I don't drop a lot of the highs. It doesn't sound dark if I drop them out, but it sure sounds bright if I leave them in. This changes if I use a p…

Audition results

Last week, I mentioned I had another audition. It went fine, I suppose. I was asked to come back next week and they were all pretty excited to have "low end" in their sound again.

That's the good stuff. Now for the not so good.

I wasn't a fan of anything they were playing. For me to really be happy in a band, I need to first off be a fan. It just wasn't easy to listen to with the songs changing keys from D minor to F minor to Eb minor to C# minor to E minor to C minor all in the same song. Yes, that's everything chromatically from C to F in one song done as key changes. The rhythm guitar and keys changed that much, but the lead seemed to be stuck in the same scale the whole day.

I didn't feel any of it as a result. I admit, I sometimes write stuff that's sketchy theory wise, but it's usually for a reason (adding some tension, transitioning, etc.) and not just because we had played four bars in one key already so it was time to change. Mark taught …

Gear Friday: Percussion Toys

Once again, I fell into a trap. I saw something fun and just had to have it.

While I don't have a specific use, I believe these will be great on some of the songs I'm recording recently. I'm doing one with keys, a bit of guitar, and a cello, so some congas seem like they'll be a great addition to that mix. Full drum set seems like it could be overkill for a pretty simple song.

The more I toy around with them, the more ideas I get. Sometimes, it's good to think outside of the "norm".