Posts by Chris Duncan

    Do you know if anyone has been able to profile Stevies rig?

    An important concept to keep in mind when looking for profiles is the difference between the Kemper and an amp modeler, e.g. Fractal, Line 6, etc.

    I'm from the 70s and had stacks of Fenders and Voxes and Marshalls (oh, my!). Since I"m a classic rock guy, the first thing I did was go to the rig exchange and download a bunch of Marshalls. During that week I almost sent the Kemper back, because the Marshalls sounded absolutely freakin' horrible.

    Eventually, however, I realized my mistake. I had assumed that, "a Marshall is a Marshall," which means I was thinking about amp modeling. However, a profile isn't an amp model, it's a snapshot of one specific tone from someone's amp / cab stack. You can fire up a Marshall and get great tones for funk, jazz, blues, rock and anything else. What's important is what the tone was created for before it was captured. Being an old guy, it hadn't occured to me that modern rock players dial their Marshalls in for metal. It would be a perilous exercise to try playing a Bad Company gig with a metal tone, and metal players would look very silly trying to do new age post apocalyptical lunar metal with a Bad Company tone.

    And that's when it clicked for me. When you're looking for profiles, the first and most important thing is to find profile makers who are conversant in your desired genre and create appropriate tones. Because I'm a classic rock guy, I found Michael Britt's profiles to be suitable for my taste. You might do the same thing looking for SRV tones - find people who are into that and make profiles for that specific use. Because like a Marshall, a Dumble / Fender is not just a Dumble / Fender. It's all about what you're dialing it in for.

    By the way, the following week after buying the Kemper, I sold every amp I had and whistled a little tune as they walked out the door.

    Thx Larry, my old ears have a clear cut after 8KHhz , I have to watch out for these and that's maybe why I love clear & clean trebly tones more & more ;)

    If you've ever listened to the Aerosmith CD "Pump," it's a great example of this. The highs are so intense they could slice bread.

    I've often wondered if it was a mix / mastering engineer who didn't realize his hearing was diminished, or an intentional boost in that frequency range because they figured their audience was a bunch of old guys.

    Hi there everyone. I haven't posted in a while. For a time there i thought i'd brought down the forum lol.

    I've written quite a few things since then but i wrote this wee idea tonight.…8-starlightning

    I've been away for awhile myself. Missed listening to your music, man. This one is as solid as ever.

    But could you please stop crashing the forum? Honestly, I leave you alone for five minutes...

    She thinks I'm nuts and aggravated I might want to play the whole time.

    Trust me, it's not about how many minutes a day you spend playing.

    What guys say:

    "I'll bring a guitar, but I'll just play a few minutes each day."

    What women hear:

    "I know this is supposed to be quality time that we spend together, but that's not really important to me so I'll bring my guitar in case I get bored."

    You can try to use logic and explain it to her until the cows come home, but all that's going to accomplish is you sleeping with the cows.

    BayouTexan, lots of great advice here, the first being it's better to not have an acoustic at all (and just keep saving) than buy one that you don't bond with.

    That said, how they play can vary according to what you want to do with it. You can certainly set up an acoustic with 10s to do string bends and play lead lines. Depending on your right hand, however, that setup may not be optimal if instead you want to go for hard edged, chunky rhythm strumming. I find that an acoustic is much more sensitive to your right hand, and mine has always been very heavy by design.

    When I play acoustic, it's typically on songs that began life on acoustic. And I bang on the guitar like a drunken chimpanzee, lots of 16th triplets, percussive / muting effects, etc. If my guitars were set up with 10s and lower action like an electric, all you'd hear would be the noise of the strings slapping off the frets. So, while I run 10s on electrics, I go 12s on acoustic (I used to use 13s but got tired of hearing the guitars whine about the strain). With this gauge and a higher action than electric, I can do the very percussive style of playing that I often want out of an acoustic. It also gives me the kind of articulation I want when playing single notes.

    Regardless of how expensive the guitar is, they also tend to excel at different things. The Larrivee dreadnought I've had since the 90s has a sparkle on the top end, a bit like an SSL preamp, that I like. However, when you really lean on it as I tend to do, the six notes kind of merge together to give this homogenous sound, almost like there was a compressor on it. My Martin, on the other hand, has a very signature characteristic where each note gets its own personal space, whether it's individual notes or the aforementioned chimpanzee banging. I can beat the crap out of it, but I'm still hearing six very distinct notes. There are times when I want that, and it's something that a Martin or Taylor does better than a Larrivee.

    So, as obvious as it might sound, before you go shopping, stop and think about what you want your acoustic to do for you. In what context, and with what style, will you be playing it? I've had Larrivees, Martins and Guilds (with that wonderful piano bottom end), and I reach for each one based on what I'm trying to get out of it. If I could only have one it would be the Larrivee because it does the best at what I do most often. So figure out what you do most often and what you want out of an acoustic in that context, and shop accordingly.

    Also, as Per mentioned, having a friend to listen helps because how an acoustic sounds out front can be very different than how it sounds behind it as you play. One trick you might try when shopping is to position the guitar in your lap differently. Instead of it being perpendicular to the ground, kick the bottom out as much as you're comfortable playing so that the soundboard tilts up towards the ceiling. This lets you hear more of what the audience will hear, because even if you have a good friend who knows your tastes very well, there's no substitute for your own ears.

    I need to compensate my pick position on the right hand for each note. No easy task but MuddySludge suggested I try to practice that.

    He's right on the money with this. I can understand why it might seem difficult, but you may be much closer than you think.

    While the bottom four strings are tuned the same for bass and guitar, the spacing between strings is wider and the gauge heavier, so it feels different. The technique, however, is the same as it is on guitar, and given the number of years you've been playing, I'm willing to bet that you already do this as it's a common guitar technique. It may be that it's just become second nature to you so you're not even aware that you're doing it. I find that I use this a lot on acoustic because there are no tone knobs, but I also do it without thinking on electric to get different tones and articulations. It's just a normal part of my playing, and it may already be for you as well.

    If it were me, the first thing I'd suggest would be to analyze your guitar playing since that's your primary instrument. Do you make use of this technique on electric, moving the pick closer to or farther away from the bridge to alter your tone? If so, then you have a point of reference for bass. Pay attention to how it feels when playing guitar, and then "think like a guitarist" while playing bass. Then you just have to get used to the differences in spacing and string gauge, but the technique itself might feel more natural to you.

    If it turns out that you haven't been using this on guitar, you might try integrating that into your six string playing first. That will give you a feel for the wheel in a context that's more natural to you, after which it will be easier to translate to bass.

    Another thing that can help you tighten up your bass tone is palm muting. Again, I'm sure you do this instinctively on guitar, to the point where the palm mute is not an on / off thing, but often shades of gray in how much muting you do for a given feel. This will help you on bass, particularly with the woofiness of the low notes. You can get the transient and let the note bloom as much as you like, then dampen it before it expands all the way to woofing out.

    As with the other technique, stopping to analyze what you're actually doing on guitar can be useful. After playing for so many years, much of what we do is muscle memory. When a beginner asks how you get a certain expression, you might even have to stop and think about it for a moment because it's instinctive. If you do this kind of analysis for these techniques, realize exactly what you're doing and how, it'll help translate to bass.

    And just for the record, I have on occasion worked as a bass player, but only when I really needed the money. Because I'm a crappy bass player. That's why I cheat and just play keys with bass samples. :)

    I've been getting more into keyboards these days so I know what you mean about balancing with all the synths. A good song and the balance was very smooth in my environment. I particularly like how you locked the thump of the bass with the kick drum.

    Of all the gazillion things to consider when recording and mixing, I think figuring out how to make your bass portable has got to be one of the most difficult things, even all these decades later.

    One thing that helped me, since I'm not a bassist myself, was finding good sounds. For a long time I used some from my JV-2080, but I'm now finding similar tones in my Kronos, Fantom and Montage keyboards because the sampled sounds are so good. Bearing in mind that I'm a classic rock guy, what I look for is a bass that's got some heft on the bottom but is still a fairly focused sound, e.g. a P bass. I enjoy the sound of a good fretless Fender (I'm a big Humble Pie fan), but having a bit of a transient on the attack helps a lot when you're listening on a phone's speaker or some other smaller device / speakers. The full tone comes through on your studio monitors, but without the transients the bass can completely disappear in those scenarios.

    The challenge for focused bass in my case isn't the phone speakers, it's when someone listens on earbuds. In particular, I have an iPhone and find the Apple ear buds really hype the low end. Probably because contemporary music favors the whoompy bass of rap / hip hop. I'm sure those styles sounds great on earbuds, but I have to walk the line between "full range sounds good on studio monitors" and not go into "OMG, I can't hear anything but the whoompy bass" when I listen on buds. In my case, I use the same bass tones repeatedly and I've learned through experimentation (the modern version of "car mixes") where the line is for the bass to translate.

    And that points to another thing that I've found to be very important. My main studio monitors are 8" two way Mackie HDRs from the 90s. I'm sure that in a side by side comparison with all the great monitors available today the Mackies wouldn't be impressive at all. They're good speakers and have served me well, but the single most important think about the HDRs is that I know them. My ears have become accustomed to what it should sound like in the control room (HDRs + the room acoustics) if it's going to sound good in other environments.

    In your case, I would imagine you're experiencing the same thing. You spend a lot of time in your studio, and I'm sure you test your mixes in other environments and on other devices, so you're getting better and better at knowing how it will translate. Like Per said, if you listen to other artists while in your studio, then try to make your bass sound like theirs, that will help you with translation. That's something a lot of us have done.

    Your craft continues to improve. I look up to you because I've got all this gear and I'm sure I don't spend near as much time in the studio as you do. Because that's the real secret. Endless repitition.

    Hey, Larry.

    Sounds good overall. In the interest of polishing the mix, here are a couple of things I noticed. I'm in my office studio at the moment, which has reference monitors and acoustic treatment. While it's not my main control room, things usually translate well enough to trust.

    The rhythm guitar level is significantly hotter than bass & drums. It's difficult to tell because of the guitar, but the bass might want to come up just a touch to balance with the drums.

    Bass / low frequencies aren't as directional as higher ones, so I don't think it buys you much in terms of panning it. I've always kept mine dead center. It won't get in the way of your vocals as most humans don't sing in that range (although that would be a neat party trick).

    I think rather than turning up the solo, if you bring down the rhythm you might find it sits in the mix okay.

    Hope this helps. Keep rockin, man.

    I think a lot of it comes down to your goals. Some people make art to have the end result. Some make art because the process of creating feels good. I suspect many of us are a combination of the two.

    Personally, I don't write songs because I have any great gift to share with humanity. I do it to express emotions (it's cheaper than therapy). In this context, AI has no value for me because the process of writing and creating is an important part of the experience. If the end result is something that others like, that's bonus.

    I don't gig anymore, let alone depend on music income to pay the bills. If I was creating because the end result was important to me monetarily, maybe AI would be a useful tool to help me crank out a ton of music, throw it against the wall, see what sticks, and then cash the checks.

    It's doubtful I'd go that route, however, because when I was playing for a living the joy of the lifestyle was getting paid for expressing myself musically. I actually quit music as a vocation and got a job with computers when the styles I loved went out of favor and to make a living I found myself playing things I wasn't passionate about just to get work. It was better to gig part time doing what I enjoyed.

    AI can be a good tool for those who want to get the end result and cash checks but have little musical talent. The down side is that it makes it easier than ever before for people with no skill beyond clicking a mouse to put talented musicians out of work. Think advertising, sound libraries, etc.

    Automobiles put people who made buggy whips out of business as well, but the difference is that working a normal job, buggy whips or whatever, has always been massively easier than paying the bills as a musician. It's hard enough to make a living at this as it is without someone flooding the market by clicking a few buttons.

    Tru-oil might work.
    It's a gun stock finish really, but it's been used often on instruments.
    The preparation and application is a bit more involved than just a oil & wax finish, but if done right and with enough patience (the finish needs to really set) and creates a very smooth surface, great for the back of necks.

    But make sure you use it correctly ;)

    I'll look that up, thanks man!

    And yeah, RTFM. Got it. :)

    I've always played guitars with lacquered necks, both electric and acoustic, so it's what I'm used to. However, I recently picked up a used Martin cutaway as a "don't be afraid to drag around to parties" type banger. The neck had what felt like a heavy waxy buildup but was otherwise a good feel. I worked it down with the usual suspects, from moderate grit down to 0000 steel wool and got rid of the waxy area.

    What I discovered was that underneath the paint and varnish (and wax), the wood of the neck itself was a very rough grain. It became clear that further sanding wouldn't make it smoother, it would just reveal more of the roughness, so currently I'm just living with it.

    My hand doesn't get stuck on waxiness now, but it's still suboptimal. How would you guys go about skinning this particular cat?

    Hey, guys.

    It's not like I have a major corporate-sized studio dealing with tons of clients, but I still find keeping track of things the occasional challenge. What tracks remain to be done for which song for what album, who am I waiting on to get what done, what's next, who shows up when, what do I need to make sure doesn't get forgotten, etc. Current frontrunner is a good old fashioned Excel spreadsheet, but that still gets a bit clumsy.

    What do you guys use - Excel, simple text notes, cocktail napkins, or just screw it all, rely on memory, and fly by the seat of your collective pants?