Archive for February, 2011

I Know it was You, Line 6

119

So…I’m pretty vocal about my stance of not liking digital modeling. In fact, I think that with every fake amp you buy, you’re funding the inevitable cyborg takeover. There are few who can resist; but we few stand strong. For honour, for victory, for tone. Yet still, I get email after email and comment after comment saying things like, ‘I just sold all my pedals and bought an M13. What do you think?’ ‘What settings should I use on my POD to get it to sound like the Divided by 13 in the video?’ ‘Can I still comment here if I sold my amp for an Axe-FX?’ And I usually answer kindly. You know, with a good-natured, ‘Hey, whatever helps you to make beautiful music’ or ‘if your ears tell you it sounds good, then it sounds good’ and so forth. But somewhere, deep down in the core of my being, this is what I’m really saying:

And for the record, ‘our mother’ means The Gear Page. For she has borne many a gear junkie. So when you visit her, I want to know a day in advance so I’m not there. And the next time you’re thinking of selling any piece of your guitar gear for a digital modeling replicant, picture Al Pacino’s vengeful eyes staring into the back of your heart. And then go kiss a 6L6 on both cheeks.

You broke my heart.
Karl.

P.S. Hopefully it’s apparent that my tongue is in my cheek for this post. I’ll probably even be playing an M13 within a year. Wait, nope. Al Pacino just told me not to.

Album & Looping with a DD7

59

This is a little weird for me, but I am recording an album, and it is close to being finished. This is not something I ever intended on doing, but have been asked to on multiple occasions. So, run it up the flag pole. (Name that movie.) If nothing else, at least I can show my grandchildren something someday with better tone than on my last recorded project. And that link is up on this site somewhere, and if you missed it, tough. I’m not posting it again! haha As every melody in that band was ripped off from U2, the best part about it is you can hear what Edge would sound like with bad tone and cement hands. But you’ll have to search to find it. ;)

Anyway, I used, of all things, a Boss DD7 for looping on my latest song. Forty seconds of looping time, unlimited overdubs, and maintains the sound quality fairly decently, even after a good amount of dubbing. And, contrary to every demo I watched on youtube, the first layer is your base, and then you can record liberally around it. I was a little worried as every demo shows folks frantically trying to switch it on and off at the exact start and stop points of the original layer; hence, I thought maybe it synced every layer to start at the same time as the base one. Nope. It works much better than that. And has an analog dry path. Oh, and there’s delay in there, too. ;) Honestly, I haven’t touched the delay part.

So here’s the song.

  • Mic’d up the Matchless (not the Peavey Rage that is inexplicably in the shot), tried out looping pre-delays this time, threw on some jazz chords, and thought about sad things.
  • The DD20 is doing the main swell sounds, with the Timeline, Arion SAD-1, and Behringer RV-600 doing some post-swell work.
  • The Arion SPH-1 from the 80′s is in there too, which sounds better than any phaser I’ve ever tried save the Moog, and it’s $25.
  • Sounds at the end are from the Hartman, and if you don’t own a fuzz, you need to. How else are you gonna make it sound like the city is crying? Or, more aptly, that a less talented Hendrix discovered and became fascinated with delay?
  • There is also a real ZVex Super Duper on the board now, so I am no longer a fugitive from Gear Page for playing a clone of it. hehe The Fugitive. Remember that classicness?

Harrison Ford: “I didn’t kill my wife.”
Tommy Lee Jones: “I don’t care.”

Such a great line. It’s even better when you look at it this way:

Han Solo: “I didn’t kill my wife.”
Two Face: “I don’t care.”

  • The Super Duper was not turned on for any part of this song, but I think just knowing it was there gave the rest of my rig moral support. It is pink, which is a bonus.
  • I got an incredible deal on it. See? Good can come from scouring Gear Page every second instead of practicing.

Oh ya, the song:

So, there’s the DD7. I must admit, it did a nice job looping. I still think the Timeline’s looper may sound a little better, but I may need a new Timeline, since as kind as Strymon has been in fixing this thing, it has never really been the same since I smashed it into my car this summer. So, the DD7′s looper for now. The DD20′s looper is fine, but you have to hold down the switch to overdub. Seriously, Boss? So, since you fixed that with the DD7, is it time for a DD20XL release? You know, with the DD7′s looper, more tweakable tape delay, and maybe a third switch for tap built in? I promise, it’ll be a huge seller. But that’s the DD7′s looper, and I’m having fun recording the album if for no other reason than just to do something with music besides buy more things not to play. I would highly suggest it.

Also,

…Okay, there were no funny pictures of The Fugitive, because it’s actually a pretty good movie. So, I am substituting this, with apologies to all of my non-US readers. Don’t know why Hulu does that. But still:

Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro.
Karl.

P.S. In the coming weeks, I will probably be promoting the album because unfortunately, I’ve been learning that you don’t get anywhere if you don’t. So apologies in advance. But I will link it to a different site, and this site will always remain a service to musicians, specifically church musicians, and hopefully just a bit to the church as a whole, as the word was originally intended.

The Anti-Rockstar

50

Forgive me for this post, because this may bore some of you right to sleep. But I have this huge thing for musicians who show up to video shoots without caring how they look. And no, I’m not talking about carefully picking out your most worn looking pair of shoes, tearing the Guess label off your torn jeans so you can say you bought those fitted flare jeans at a thrift store, and finding the perfect ‘I didn’t shave today’ setting on your razor, so that you can get that ‘I don’t care how I look’ look. And for what it’s worth, I shop at Guess (well, the outlet stores, anyway), I love when my shoes get frayed, and I do have a setting on my razor that makes it look like I was too cool to shave this morning. The current musician style is awesome because it started out with folks who didn’t have enough money to care about how they looked. Now we take great care to keep looking like we don’t. And I’m probably one of the worst. But still, it’s incredibly refreshing to see musicians who know they’re going to be filmed, yet didn’t polish up, didn’t polish down, but showed up as if they thought it was a Chili’s:

(This is the guy who did the music for The Fighter, Into the Wild, and some of Heat, and the gal who has sessioned and toured with Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, and Jewel.)

(And just saw these guys in best picture nominee Winter’s Bone, and thought they were fantastic. My disclaimer here is that the example is Marideth Sisco herself, not the guy towards the end who has made his widow’s peak patch into a mohawk. Although he is now my new hero.)

And I wonder if we put too much time into polish. I’m not saying stop caring. If people in your church are trying to worship, and the drummer’s (sorry, drummers) half-eaten donut is sitting on the sub-woofer, that’s gross. And gross is distracting. And if you did go to Chili’s the night before, maybe put on a clean shirt. There is definitely a place for aesthetics and doing our best not to distract. Same as not hitting wrong chords, and not blacking the lights out while people are conversing. But there is also a place to be real. And not ‘try to be real.’ Just, real. Meaning, your stage does not have to have movable led lights shining blue for the slow song with the With or Without You chords and bright white on the downbeat of the first fast song because it worked in Rattle and Hum (although that was pretty awesome, huh! hehe), your guitar does not have to be a Tele, Duesenberg, or Gretsch, you do not need line array and a digital board and whatever else Church Sound magazine told you to get, and basically, if everything you do isn’t a complete copy of Hillsong, you’ll still be okay. And if you think I’m reaching here, just do a quick search of worship centers in contemporary churches across America, Europe, and Australia. Oddly the same.

Now if you like blue lights, four chords, Tele’s, and digital boards, go for it! (Connect four. Wow.) It’s just that sometimes the time and polish put into these things may, on occasion, get a little out of hand. Might be nice to be truly ‘authentic’ for a little while. Because those ‘we’re still under construction’ metal trusses on stage? Those aren’t fooling anyone anymore. Neither do people think it is magic when the pastor prays and then they open their eyes and the band is suddenly on stage. And I’m pretty bad at this myself…I have a default ‘Stevie Wonder move’ (at least that’s what people call it) that I do whether or not I’m feeling the worship, rather than being authentic. And are any of these things inherently bad? Not at all. But just something I was thinking about tonight. I don’t know; just a little less rockstar and a little more Chili’s might do us some good.

Splendid.
Karl.

Pedaltrain, Michael Mann, & ’60′s Guitar Tone

105

So…here’s some stuff. Also, every person who comments in this thread is automatically entered into a drawing for a free Herdim pick that ‘may’ or ‘may not’ have been played by The Edge. (Hey…you don’t know!)

  • Got everyone clapping on the 1 and the 3 again. Never felt more white.
  • Collateral may be the most underrated film of all-time. That’s ‘Collateral’, not ‘Collateral Damage.’
  • Open Range is definitely not the most underrated films of all-time. Mr. Costner has such an unfortunate time of delivering his lines in that movie. However, it is also one of my guilty pleasure movies. Like Tremors.
  • Anyone else hate the Pedaltrain’s?
  • Even pitch itself is tension and vibration causing air to move. Please don’t take that away from your sound.
  • This was brought back to me in full force as I was recording, had headphones on, and was tuning. I turned my head and the headphone cord went taut, caught beneath the guitar. Their was no signal because of the tuning, but the vibration from me hitting the string traveled up to headphone cord and into my neck. I felt the D note. Please try this because it’s awesome.
  • A few days ago, the power cord to my amp went out. I was getting a crackling sound at random times and couldn’t figure it out. It was the stupid $5 power cord. Always check everything! And as guitarists, we have to check…absolutely everything.
  • Who is Marc Antony, besides being the only one pleased with his jokes at the Grammy’s? Can literally just anyone present now? Because I would like to.
  • Also, John Mayer and Keith Urban played together. The world was changed forever.
  • C-Lo (these names are out of control) and Gwyneth Paltrow also played together. The world stayed the same.
  • The puppets may have made it a little bit worse, though…and frightening. I know I slept with the light on that night.
  • I have a Loooper that I have no use for. However, I want to keep it because it looks amazing.
  • John 13:35 is very good. I am not.
  • Having a current musical love affair with the upfront, you’re-in-the-room-with-them, recorded tone and recording techniques of the ’60′s. Compressors are the death of life.
  • ‘Life’, meaning ‘music’, ‘music’ meaning ‘guitar tone’, and ‘guitar tone’ meaning ‘delay.’ I don’t think I should have to explain myself.
  • And yes, Jimmy Page used delay.
  • Also, his fingers, head, heart, and soul. As well as possibly some not-quite-over-the-counter-pharmaceuticals, but since I don’t think he gets the same tone now that he’s a sober and responsible citizen, we’ll give him the benefit of a doubt. ;)
  • I keep getting the feeling that I’m not taking Jesus’ words seriously enough. Written language is far too easy to make mean whatever meaning justifies your most comfortable or most preferred way of life. This is not directed at anyone but myself.
  • Boss pedals just work.
  • But so do Diamond. ;)

Splendid.
Karl.

Give the Gift of Tone

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If you do not currently have a wife or girlfriend this Valentine’s Day, it can only be because you do not own one of these:

Own one of these, and you’ll instantly have a girlfriend. Tone attracts girlfriends.

Also, you can wrap it up and give it to her as a Valentine’s Day gift. Make sure it has a battery in it, and there is a cable connected to the input jack so that the blue led will be shining when she unwraps it. In fact, you may even want to cut a hole in the wrapping so that the blue led casts a romantic hue on both of you as she opens it. Not only will she be overcome by its beauty, but then you can plug it in to your board and play her beautiful tone nothings all evening. This Valentine’s Day, give her the gift she really wants……the gift of a new pedal for your board.

And for those of you girl guitarists out there, if you play the guitar and own one of these pedals? I think you’re probably already having to beat the guys off with a pointy-headstock BC Rich.

Oh, and if you already have a girlfriend or wife or boyfriend or husband and you’re reading this instead of being with them on Valentine’s Day, go do that.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Yes, these original graphics Tim’s really do sound better than the current ones. I have no proof of that, and it really doesn’t make any sense electronically. But you just read it on the internet, so it must be true.

I Feel a Great Disturbance in the Force

91

As if millions of blue led’s suddenly cried out in terror…………and then all was silent.

And you know The Force? That binds the galaxy together? That’s tone.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Tone is also the Matrix.

Shoot Me, Dragon!

39

Because the guy who says that is nicknamed ‘The Bullet’, and my wife calls these stream-of-consciousness posts my ‘bullet posts’. Most roundabout way to intro a post ever. Like when someone asks you what that pedal does, and you explain to them that it separates your guitar signal and then sends one of them into a processing signal which puts it out of phase with the original signal, and then delays it so that you have two sounds and you can put an out-of-tune effect on this sound called ‘modulation’ which can be controlled for how fast it goes in and out of tune……and then they look at you and say, ‘Oh. I just wanted to know if it made that fuzzy sound.’

So here we go! This is going to be thoughtless, and whatever comes out comes out. Swoop me!

  • I have a Peavey Rage sitting next to my pedalboard. I honestly don’t know how these things happen.
  • Dreamed I was Woody Harrelson again.
  • Bought a Startouch ABY. I don’t need an ABY. But it was $20 used at Guitar Center, and they are so pretty.
  • Due to some recent comments here, I did some research and found that the DD7 keeps your dry signal analog and that the Arion SAD-1 can be run at 12 volts. I think I’m learning more from everyone here, than I am actually imparting information in my posts. Probably because a lot of my posts have to do with William Shatner jumping onto bi-planes in Black Swan poses.
  • I’m finding that more than any new pedal, or good tone, right chord structure, or cool anti-solo, people start to worship more when I model it.
  • Now before all you ‘lead worshipers’ get too excited, I’m also finding that when I model it too much and forget to keep playing my guitar, people stop worshiping because the song starts to fall apart and it gets awkward. There is a balance.
  • So…the cheap strat thing was cool for a while. I really miss my Prairiewood. A friend of a friend of a friend was selling one last month. It was all I could do not to buy it. Well, since I had no money, it would have been stealing. That helped in the not buying it.
  • So, Sweetwater totally sends you candy with your shipments. Like, a tootsie roll, a butterscotch, and a mint. ?????
  • There’s a part of me that really hopes the new Timeline doesn’t sound good. Because already, all the old Timeline’s just dropped down from like $800, to below $400. And I will buy them all. I can make room on my pedalboard.
  • On the day the new Timeline does come out, keep your eye out for a post here talking about an internet virus if you click ‘Buy’ on Strymon’s website. It’s part of my secret plan to keep everyone from buying one so that I’ll be able to buy one. But since I’ve now told you about it, it’s foiled. Or is it…
  • This is going to be awkward, but my love for U2 forces me to do it. In our recent trip to Vegas, we could not help but visit where ‘Still Haven’t Found’ was filmed:

I even sang a little while I did that. And no one looked. I’m guessing this happens every day over there. And for those of you who don’t know, Bono always goes back on one leg like that. He does admittedly look cooler than me when he does it. Then I went back and watched the music video again, and realized that they shot most of it across the street from the Golden Nugget. I fail at being a U2 fan. Look at the above picture of me again. It’s funnier now.

I also walked around Fremont Street bringing my arms up and down from my side trying to make the world go from black and white to color. It did not work. For those of you who care (that means me):

Best part of that video is at 3:05, where Edge is literally, at best, just tolerating Bono. hehe So rad. And for those of you who are for some reason still reading, I give you an acoustic guitar, a beard, and a girl who looks like Zooey Deschannel. Overdone, yes. But what an awesome song. And all live. On the street. That means no Pro Tools reverb, no autotune, and no overdubbing:

And they say ‘dreaming out loud.’ Everything comes back to U2.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Also, Dumb and Dumber. Or Andy at Pam’s desk:

The Ocean’s movies are ‘pretty cool’ (Miley Cyrus…SNL), but this, for some reason, is the only picture we took of us standing where Brad Pitt stood. And I don’t know why I’m standing like that. Except that maybe in my mind, this is how Brad Pitt always stands? I’ve probably said too much. It’s moments like these that I am grateful to have a loving wife who will snap said pictures instead of running away.

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