Monday, April 30, 2012

SG's and Me

Ethan is trying to convince me that an SG with dots is cooler than one with trapezoidal inlays. He's probably right even if I ignore him.
Fact is, I don't need an SG. I have two awesome electric guitars with which I can make a lot of records. But if one should fall into my hands with P90 pickups I could impress Ethan and Chance Shirley. That's probably worthwhile.

Here's a question. Is it relatively easy to flop the polarity on humbucker pickups?

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So this is me thinking out loud about my signal path.

I do not like anything pedal-wise between my guitar and my amps. And I specifically do not like any buffering. In fact, I like the sound of fifty feet of guitar cable between my guitar and the amp. And then I want to jumper the two amps together to drag down the signal even more.

Peter Cornish would not agree that's a good idea.

And I won't even say that listening back I could tell you that my guitar sounds less good with a nice little buffering thing in the signal path. Indeed my MSR Analog Delay sounds fantastic. I mean except to me, while I'm actually playing the guitar. I'd say that my biggest issue is the way the guitar feels when the signal is buffered. I've done a bunch of experimenting and really for me I just don't like the buffering and I do like the sound of long cables.

There's a lot of Internet complaining about passive volume pedals when you add a tuner to them. Not having to pass your signal through a tuner is another good reason to get those cheap little tuners that clamp onto the headstock. (That, and the fact you can read them without your glasses on in the dark.)

What my issue is that I'm totally incompetent at changing the volume on my guitar to get from a cleaner to a dirtier sound. I mean, I can't do it during a song while playing. And it's hard to get to the clean place on the knob(s) consistently. It's hard to see where the knobs are. And it's difficult to make the changes in the 16th-note that's the pickup to the verse (while you're playing.)

So talking to Ethan I had this idea to use a passive volume pedal with a "minimum volume" modification made to it. Now, because I'm dumb, I figured I'd just take a volume pedal and put a little shim or a bottle cap or something on it to make a physical "stop" at a level which I'd carefully calibrate to be the "verse" level of the guitar. Then with the volume pedal turned up all the way I'd be at the "chorus" position.

Ethan suggested that I actually mod the volume pedal with a couple resistors. I think it might be better to use a pot for that just so that I can more easily find the value I want it to sit at.

I'm not entirely sure I understand guitar wiring. In fact, I don't understand it. I get confused about where the ground wire should go. I dunno what kind of potentiometer to get for this project. It's not like they're terribly expensive.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Upside-Down Guitar Day

This is the best version of Jimi Hendrix doing Sunshine of Your Love that I've seen on the YouTubes:

You know, he gets all that sound from his Strat by seemingly going straight into his amp. Well, a second look shows a wah there on the floor.
I'm kind of digging that old-school drum sound too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Picks and Ups

Today is the last day of the Clayton Custom pick sale. Use code APR12.

You know, Fralin P90 pickups are only $180/pair.

On my Blattocaster I would like to swap out the middle single-coil for a reverse-wound single coil. That guitar has Seymour Duncans on it. I'm not 100% sure of what model they are though.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

These Are the Important Things

You know what I want? I want an SG — either a Gibson or an Epiphone or some sort of knock-off — that's so beat up that it would be fine for me to put my Earvana nut on it.
And, as Chance Shirley pointed out on Twitter, it should maybe have P90 pickups in it.
I want this guitar to cost less than $200.

I'm not 100% sold on the P-90's. I know I want covered pickups.

Swedish Rock

Witchcraft has a whole album of what Redditunes calls "stoner rock". That's under the "Swedish" genre.

So now I'm listening to Swedish stoner rock.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The End of the Generation Gap

One thing I find very curious is the way popular music has seemed to have frozen in style.

I'd put the time the actual freezing happened as being sometime in the early 90's. Now when I'm talking about "frozen" there are a couple different issues to consider.
Apparently the Beatles in the early 1960's were actually questioning how long rock 'n roll was going to last. This, to me, is fascinating. Because Rock as the dominant pop genre hasn't gone away since it came into the foreground.
Musically there's just no difference between any modern pop music, pop music from the 80's, or from the 60's. You'd really have to reach back to when jazz was a big influence on popular music in the 50's to see a genre change.
And this is an unusual thing (at least within the last 150 or so years) because traditionally the music of one generation is unlistenable to the music of the next (or previous).
Now we actually have music which is identical to the previous (and next) generation's pop music. Tonal music with an emphasis on blues scales in 4/4 with an accent on the second and fourth beat is the end game of popular music? Really?
Well, maybe.
For a long while the stress on new-pop-music-makers was to make music louder. Well the loudness race has come to an end. You're not going to have a concert louder than The Who in 1976 or an album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1992. Those tasks are completed.

At this point we even have artists deliberately making records which sound like they could be 20 or 25 years old. I dig this Gotye single. Could it have been on alternative radio in 1990? Sure. And there are perhaps some very brief exceptions to this lack-of-generation-gap in music. But I'll write about them at some other time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Do You Like Obnoxious Things?

No Girls Backstage
I was playing at some club in the 1980's and I remember there was a sign about how no girls were allowed backstage. I remember our female vocalist looking at the sign. Looking at me. Looking back at the sign...
I'm sure we guys just drug our knuckles into the dressing room... I do recall thinking at the time that it was such extraordinary old-school sexism — like really, you don't have any bands with women in them at this club?

BMI has five Myths about songwriting:
Five Myths about Achieving Success as a Songwriter | Songwriter101 - Articles |
Should I get a Tyrannosaurus Mouse hoodie? I'm not so sure I'd ever actually wear a hoodie.
Do you like obnoxious things? "Rules for dating a musician" is pretty obnoxious. Although "Do not ask bandmates for relationship advice" is probably a pretty good rule in general.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ethan Rosenblatt

This is a list of all-time most popular search queries that have resulted in someone coming to this blog.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Direction

I think Tyrannosaurus Mouse should be a cross between Britney Spears' Piece of Me and XX.

Dig the Arp 2600-like sound in Piece of Me. Of course, we're incapable of not going in a direction more like ELP rather than dance music.

Piece Of Me (Main Version)
I do wish the guitar sounds XX uses were a tad more interesting. They sound a bit like they're recorded into "virtual" amps. Digital modelling amps do indeed sound pretty good. I mean generally. The one thing I simply can't get out of a digital amp is a good clean sound. Seems ironic, don't it? But that huge thick Deluxe sound I just can't get from any modelling amps I've tried.

I'm perfectly cognizant of the fact that anything I say about how Tyrannosaurus Mouse is going to sound is completely fantasiacal. It'll sound like whatever it is that we do. After we figure out what that is.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I don't understand ASIO. I don't understand VST. I get that they both make my life easier. I totally get that. I mean, until they crash at least.
One day I'm going to go to a whole lot of trouble to really "get" at least one of these things. I have to figure out hardware monitoring. Right now I seem to be both hardware and software monitoring because I get this delay on anything I record (in the monitors, not in the actual recording.)
Anyway, ASIO. It lowers the latency of recordings. It makes it easier to use software instruments.
I suspect that the relative lack of ease for ASIO making instant sense to everyone is that every software/hardware combination is completely different.
I'm using Samplitude (Sound on Sound review here) with a MOTU UltraLite interface (with an Apogee Mini-Me as the master clock and the analog inputs for the S/Pdif input on the UltraLite -- let me tell you, the Apogee clock on the UltraLite makes a very audible difference).

But I still don't really understand how to route things. And that may be as simple as me not really understanding my sound card (the UltraLite).
But one day. Oh yes one day. I will understand them.