Saturday, April 30, 2016


The Jethro Tull version of Bach's Bouree is one of my musical touchstones. It was the first thing I'd learned on the flute (at least the melody I mean). And as much as television shows like HBO's Vinyl exude raw hatred for Tull, the jazz version of the bouree is absolutely brilliant.

And that brilliance would be completely absent if it weren't for the bass part. Glenn Cornick was an amazing player and the bass solo does one of the things one does not normally expect from a bass solo: it's musical.

A kind of study of theme and variation, using the counterpoint to the melody as the starting place (which, c'mon, that's awesome), the bass part actually goes into freaking chords. Chords, man. Chords. Chords on bass are notoriously muddy.  But Cornick, genius that he was, created a whole subject/answer jazz/rock classical/modern simple/elegant part with this piece.
The simple/elegant part of it makes it surprisingly tricky to play.
The best tab I can find for it is on Songsterr.  Some of the positions, however, seem suspect to me. There are some jumps which seem unnecessary and looking at videos of Cornick playing it, he doesn't seem to be playing it that way.
But it's a good start. And tablature is not a terrible way to read either. There are some time things which confuse me somewhat. But I'm getting over them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fixing Samplitude

So of course I'm last-minute scrambling to get a feature film out the door and... Samplitude crashes on bounce-to-disk
This is my preferred screen layout. Note that when I click on the mixer it sits atop everything but the transport controls and meters. As it should.

This is the solution from tech support:

Please make a reset of the Samplitude programsetting
System Options (Y) >
Option Administration
First load the Samplitude standard Preset from the Preset field.
Tick Audio/MIDI Settings, Visualisation Settings and Window positions
Click on Restore settings and restart program.
Please safe your shotcuts and color options before doing so.
If that doesn't make sense, I made a little video to explain:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

EQ's and guitar making

I made a quick and dirty tutorial on using a parametric EQ in Samplitude. This is the first episode of the second season of Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen.

The economics of guitar making. Takeaways:
  • All mass produced guitars really are of about the same quality: they're all made by the same machines no matter what country they're produced in
  • Cheaper guitars have to go cheaper on components for the manufacturer to have a prayer at netting a profit -- making it vastly more economical for the end-user to simply drop in new pickups and the like on inexpensive instruments
Open Air is a library of open source impulse responses.  Because. Well, yeah.

Monday, April 11, 2016

EB-0 review

So I got an EB-0 bass. Here's my Conversation with Ethan about it. Well, it's what Ethan has to say about it at least.

EB-0, huh? Never been a big fan, but I suppose Jack Bruce's opinion ought to be worth something and he certainly seemed to like them. Or, at least, he did until he got a deal with Warwick....

Mike Watt likes 'em, too, but he modifies them, like, a LOT*, and only likes the ones from around 1963 to 1967. To me, they always balanced funny, the pickup placement made for a muddy tone and the necks were usually too skinny for me. On the other hand, Gibson's been making them, in some variant or other, since 1962 or so which means there's somebody out there who likes them enough to buy them.

*Watt typically removes the original pickup and covers the hole, then routs a new hole and mounts a humbucker right at the midpoint between the bridge and neck (like a P-bass). Sometimes he also adds a preamp, sometimes not. He only uses them live, preferring a long-scale bass for recording. Says he likes gigging the EB basses because of their light weight and short scale - easier on his hands and back now that he's "less young". It makes sense: he plays very long sets, still tours incessantly and is now, I believe, over 60. He's also a very physical player.
Normally, he records with a Moon J-Bass. I'm sure the vintage police would cringe at what he's doing to mid-'60s EB-0s and EB-3s, but he's making his living with these things and has no concern whatsoever about their vintage status. One of his faves during his fIREHOSE days was a '50s P-bass routed for Gibson Thunderbird pickups.


After all is said and done I think I don't even care either way about the DiMarzio pickups. The Epiphone EB-0 is just a very nice instrument out of the box. Update: Short version: I like the Thomastik-Infeld JF324 strings, the Hipshot bridge just doesn't work for me.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Broke Bass

So, I went out on a limb and a bought an Epiphone EB-0 even though I haven't sold my Squire 5-string Jazz bass yet.
I ordered it from Sweetwater but unfortunately it arrived with a gouge in it.

Now, the fact is that I'm likely to put some sort of nick or dent in the guitar within the first 20 hours or so of my owning it. But at least if that happens I'm the one who did it. Not a person at Gibson or Sweetwater or whatever (the packaging didn't look damaged, I suspect it was damaged while being placed in its box.)
So presumably I'm getting a new bass tomorrow via FedEx, along with a shipping label to send the broken one back.
Then I'll make a couple videos -- one with the bass stock, one with a new pickup, new bridge, new strings. I guess that's one video multiple scenes or something.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sound Things Today

Here are the service manuals and such for the AKG HSD271 headphones with boom mic. Mine has no audio in the left ear and I have no idea why.
The Strymon Big Sky seems like a pretty cool reverb pedal but what I really like is the piece of music they recorded for this demo.

Sweetwater has a pretty good summary article on line arrays. If the inverse square law ticks you off, line arrays may be for you.

Moving the Blags

I'm re-consolodating my blogs.  I know, you wanted them separate. But my little mind just doesn't work that way. All my blogging -- ...