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Dr. Gonzo

Making Music

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55 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

And then a part of me is just saying "go buy another fucking Helix, just don't get it stolen again"

No lol. Its so tempting to replace a stolen component but I'd wait a bit or look for used one (which I doubt is going to yield anything positive). Maybe get the HD POD one which isn't half bad either as it offers most of what the helix offers as well. 

As for the noise, I don't really know how you can solve that problem unless you find a way to soundproof the room.

In response to @Happy Blue's question about guitars/basses theres a small list I want to get before I turn 50 and I am determined to make them happen. I'll just sort out one a year and for some maybe two lol. I'd of course sell some of my guitars to make this happen.

  • Fender Squier 50s Vibe Telecaster - 3 tone sunburst - There is something about this instrument that I truly love. I don't know if its the fact that its an affordable tele that can be gutted and turned into something better with pickups and gear-head changes or just the look but I personally want to own one at some point and I could get it now I just want the time to replace the parts on it and get it done right.

qgw03zupd9snwdhnxela.jpg

  • Fender American Special Stratocaster - I have played one of these and I think out of all the Strats that Fender has ever made this one has some great appeal and I equate that to the frets. Plus it has that great bluesy sound that goes well when patched over.
  • Yamaha NTX1200R - Classical Cutaway - I don't know if anyone on here plays classical guitar but if you have and you're always struggling to make headway on the higher frets across the neck this guitar is the best thing I have ever seen do this. The price isn't so much the concern as the fact that no one on this side of the globe is selling one which is so odd considering Yamaha sell most things they make the world over in Asia but its hard to find someone selling this here. I'd gladly trade my C70, which in its own right is fantastic, for this.
  • Fender 50s Precision Bass - This is a working man's bass and the reason this thing costs as much as it does and is so hard to find is that it rarely stays on shelves long enough. Makes me curse myself for selling my Precision but I have a Jazz that I like much more these days.
  • Finally, to add some wood porn to the list of guitars I'd get an Ibanez FRM100TR just because it looks like nothing else and has injector pickups for clean and dirty sounds. Also has a thicker neck with a fast profile action if you want to play some faster and heavier music.

ibanez-frm100-xl.jpg

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Posted (edited)

@Mel81x I got my dad one of those Classic Vibe Teles a few Christmasses ago. His 70s era knockoff Tele's neck had warped so he couldn't use some frets properly. But the guitar I got him was the same finish and everything as that pic you just posted. It's honestly tough to believe it's a Squier, because I remember when I started playing Squier's were absolute dogshite instruments. I think the only thing I didn't like about it was the finish on the neck is really thick, but my dad spent a few hours sanding it down for that old school unfinished feel that he was used to.

I think he's kept the pickups all the same, they are surprisingly good. And he replaced the tuning pegs with locking tuners after I recommended some.

Great guitar for the amount of money spent. Seems like a lot of the things that were crap when I started playing have improved massively, multieffects, affordable guitars, affordable pedals. It's a bit unfair tbh.

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@Dr. Gonzo I'll try and find the video for Andertons Music where they talk about new Squier's and Elite Strats. I was shocked when I heard it through the DI that they played "obviously colored reproduction" but the Squier sounded infinitely better than the Elite. I think if you're going to splurge that much money on a guitar there are only two routes - Custom Shop or take a plan to Luthier and get one hand-made. Most Squier owners dont buy the guitar for anything else other than the neck and the body. The rest is easily replaceable and can be done without any professional help either, maybe the pots and the pickups need some work but that's also quite doable. Its the same reason I always recommend students to never touch an Ibanez Bass and instead start on a Jazz or Precision Squier because those instruments are so cheap and its almost as good as the more expensive versions.

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1 minute ago, Mel81x said:

@Dr. Gonzo I'll try and find the video for Andertons Music where they talk about new Squier's and Elite Strats. I was shocked when I heard it through the DI that they played "obviously colored reproduction" but the Squier sounded infinitely better than the Elite. I think if you're going to splurge that much money on a guitar there are only two routes - Custom Shop or take a plan to Luthier and get one hand-made. Most Squier owners dont buy the guitar for anything else other than the neck and the body. The rest is easily replaceable and can be done without any professional help either, maybe the pots and the pickups need some work but that's also quite doable. Its the same reason I always recommend students to never touch an Ibanez Bass and instead start on a Jazz or Precision Squier because those instruments are so cheap and its almost as good as the more expensive versions.

My first guitar was a Squier bullet and two of the pickups fell out xD funny to see how far Fender's budget brand has gone

After buying shit used and saving so much money that way, I think that's probably how I'll always get guitars from now on. Even the cheap shite, it makes it that much more of a bargain. The only thing that really limits you is the number of places around that sell particular used gear... but now there's also reverb.com to help a bit with that (although with used stuff, I like to be able to actually try it). Never bought a valve amp used though, even though I've seen plenty of tempting shite out there, not sure what my reasoning is there though.

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Posted (edited)

My current rig consists of...

911yQ0TkrdL._SY450_.jpg

 

 This badboy. 

In fact, mines doesn't even have a headphone jack. 

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1 minute ago, Inverted said:

My current rig consists of...

911yQ0TkrdL._SY450_.jpg

 

 This badboy. 

In fact, mines doesn't even have a headphone jack. 

Does it have that AUX in for playing along with shite?

Nothing wrong with having a super barebones practice amp, especially when you're just starting. When you're just starting you really just want anything that works, so that'll do.

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1 minute ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

My first guitar was a Squier bullet and two of the pickups fell out xD funny to see how far Fender's budget brand has gone

After buying shit used and saving so much money that way, I think that's probably how I'll always get guitars from now on. Even the cheap shite, it makes it that much more of a bargain. The only thing that really limits you is the number of places around that sell particular used gear... but now there's also reverb.com to help a bit with that (although with used stuff, I like to be able to actually try it). Never bought a valve amp used though, even though I've seen plenty of tempting shite out there, not sure what my reasoning is there though.

I know someone who got their daughter a really pretty looking Squier Affinity Strat and we were over drinking and talking so he asks me to try it out and tell him if he made a wise purchase. I had never touched one so I figured yeah give it a shot. You know how you get so used to taking a whammy bar/tremolo and just bending it with your palm at times just because you've gotten used to it on your instrument? Yeah well needless to say I bent the bar as I hit a note and something didnt feel right. Fast forward ten minutes and I look back to see that the bar I bent was now permanently bent. This was almost 10 years ago and I have since played another Affinity that they've put out and it has gotten significantly better.

Note: I did get that little girl a new bar because I felt bad that I bent the bar beyond what it should have done but on the upside she learned that her guitar could make a screeching noise that instantly made her parents pay attention to her. So I guess I some good public service too.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

I know someone who got their daughter a really pretty looking Squier Affinity Strat and we were over drinking and talking so he asks me to try it out and tell him if he made a wise purchase. I had never touched one so I figured yeah give it a shot. You know how you get so used to taking a whammy bar/tremolo and just bending it with your palm at times just because you've gotten used to it on your instrument? Yeah well needless to say I bent the bar as I hit a note and something didnt feel right. Fast forward ten minutes and I look back to see that the bar I bent was now permanently bent. This was almost 10 years ago and I have since played another Affinity that they've put out and it has gotten significantly better.

Note: I did get that little girl a new bar because I felt bad that I bent the bar beyond what it should have done but on the upside she learned that her guitar could make a screeching noise that instantly made her parents pay attention to her. So I guess I some good public service too.

When I got mine, the first thing the kid who was teaching me guitar did was block the trem for me - so I never even touched the arm bar really. Pretty sure I lost it almost as soon as I got the guitar. But I was very annoyed about the pickups just... falling out. I'm not even really sure HOW it fucking happened. But it was an HSS strat model and the second pickup that fell out was my bridge humbucker... and you know the type of music I play. That was the IMPORTANT pickup, it wasn't like the middle single coil - which I never used because I'd always either use the neck or the bridge pickup. It was the one that could go CHUGGA CHUGGA.

I fucking hated that guitar.

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2 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

When I got mine, the first thing the kid who was teaching me guitar did was block the trem for me - so I never even touched the arm bar really. Pretty sure I lost it almost as soon as I got the guitar. But I was very annoyed about the pickups just... falling out. I'm not even really sure HOW it fucking happened. But it was an HSS strat model and the second pickup that fell out was my bridge humbucker... and you know the type of music I play. That was the IMPORTANT pickup, it wasn't like the middle single coil - which I never used because I'd always either use the neck or the bridge pickup. It was the one that could go CHUGGA CHUGGA.

I fucking hated that guitar.

Firstly, I hope you got to use the trem eventually, if not on that guitar and secondly, they really did make some shit instruments back then but I have never heard of anyone's pickups falling out and of all the pickups to fall out the bridge pickup. Even if you aren't into playing heavy rhythm that thing is one of the most important pickups on a guitar for any kind of music. Never ever touched a Squier after that I presume? 

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8 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Does it have that AUX in for playing along with shite?

Nothing wrong with having a super barebones practice amp, especially when you're just starting. When you're just starting you really just want anything that works, so that'll do.

Tbh, once I replaced the knackered lead my brother gave me with just a cheap Fender lead, the tone is surprisingly clean. 

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Inverted said:

My current rig consists of...

911yQ0TkrdL._SY450_.jpg

 

 This badboy. 

In fact, mines doesn't even have a headphone jack. 

Marshall's are the kings of making good amps from personal experience. Size really doesn't matter you can plug a terrible instrument into them, fiddle around for a bit and get great sound. I'd even go so far as to say that if you're entertaining folks at home and just want some sound to cover a smaller room that amp you have is going to do just fine. They also get better with time as they use some weird material for the diaphragm that gets better the more it sets in. Pair that with a Gibson SG and you can make some good noise. 

Btw, since you mentioned Saxophone. How long have you been playing that?

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8 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

Firstly, I hope you got to use the trem eventually, if not on that guitar and secondly, they really did make some shit instruments back then but I have never heard of anyone's pickups falling out and of all the pickups to fall out the bridge pickup. Even if you aren't into playing heavy rhythm that thing is one of the most important pickups on a guitar for any kind of music. Never ever touched a Squier after that I presume? 

Not until I got that one for my dad, and that was only after hearing numerous positive things about it on the internet. And even then I was very skeptical... because what I'd had happen to my guitar was ridiculous. They're screwed into the pickguard, they're wired into the guitar... and they still fucking came out. I have no idea how it even happened. I never used the trem on that guitar though & after that I stuck with hardtail guitars, until fairly recently when I had a Floyd equipped superstrat (that I ended up selling to get my E-II). One day I'll have a superstrat again, with some sort of trem system on it.

 

11 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Tbh, once I replaced the knackered lead my brother gave me with just a cheap Fender lead, the tone is surprisingly clean. 

 

The Marshall MG series are one of the most common practice amps for a reason, especially the smaller ones. There aren't many ways to get a Marshall sound at that price point other than getting that amp, so it's definitely not a bad amp. Especially for the price they go for. There were thousands of worse options when I started - I'm sure that's the same nowadays. And yeah, leads go bad after a while for a bunch of different reasons - but the biggest one is probably when they're not folded up nicely and left tangled or bent when you aren't using them.

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14 hours ago, Mel81x said:

Marshall's are the kings of making good amps from personal experience. Size really doesn't matter you can plug a terrible instrument into them, fiddle around for a bit and get great sound. I'd even go so far as to say that if you're entertaining folks at home and just want some sound to cover a smaller room that amp you have is going to do just fine. They also get better with time as they use some weird material for the diaphragm that gets better the more it sets in. Pair that with a Gibson SG and you can make some good noise. 

Btw, since you mentioned Saxophone. How long have you been playing that?

Since near the end of primary school, so about 13 years. I got my lessons for free through school. 

Im not remotely as good as someone who's played for so long should be, but it's by far the instrument I'm technically the best on. I'm an alright drummer, but I've hardly touched a kit for the last 4 years. 

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I am so fucking shite at drums it's unreal.

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Posted (edited)

I contacted the guitar store where I traded in my Mooer before I bought the Helix to see if they still had it... and they did. And the guy emailing me back was the same guy who was helping me in the store (and the owner's son, which ends up being pretty handy for this story), wanting to know why I wanted it back after I'd just got the Helix. So I told him what happened. He emails back saying he's going to talk to his dad, the owner of the store about it. I get an email back about an hour later saying that I can come in today to pick up my old Mooer back for nothing and also that I'd be given some store credit for the next time I wanted to buy anything from them, and that they were sorry they couldn't give me a new Helix (lol, no shit they couldn't - but nice of them to suggest they would have if they could). Pretty great customer service, well pleased with that.

So I'm gonna pop around on my lunch break and pick that back up. It's not ideal, because what would be ideal is getting my Helix back... but it's nice that they wanted to help me out like that. Apparently there's been a hardware update since I last traded it in, so that's cool. I liked the high gain amp models on it, some of the effects aren't as good as on the Helix - but fuck it, it'll do for just fucking around. Going to have to go through some IRs to figure out which ones I liked.

There's some great free IR cabs out there (if you use that stuff @Mel81x @Happy Blue - I think the 6505 MH has USB/XLR outputs so you could put it straight into your computer/an interface and have your actual amp powering virtual cabinets). This video lists some good ones:

 

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5 hours ago, Inverted said:

Since near the end of primary school, so about 13 years. I got my lessons for free through school. 

Im not remotely as good as someone who's played for so long should be, but it's by far the instrument I'm technically the best on. I'm an alright drummer, but I've hardly touched a kit for the last 4 years. 

I like that. I play drums only as a necessity and I can run do a few rolls here and there but I wouldn't say im anywhere near beyond beginner level. I just can't get my limbs to get in sync.i am terribly good with a Cajon though and I think its because I can just use my hands and play. 

As for wind instruments I tried playing a trumpet once and I couldn't really muster up enough to keep it going. But a saxophone always seems like one of those "too tough" instruments to me because I'd imagine it takes a lot of practice to learn to sustain notes and blow just enough to hit the right pitch as well. Have you played with any bands or done any recordings? I'd love to hear them.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I contacted the guitar store where I traded in my Mooer before I bought the Helix to see if they still had it... and they did. And the guy emailing me back was the same guy who was helping me in the store (and the owner's son, which ends up being pretty handy for this story), wanting to know why I wanted it back after I'd just got the Helix. So I told him what happened. He emails back saying he's going to talk to his dad, the owner of the store about it. I get an email back about an hour later saying that I can come in today to pick up my old Mooer back for nothing and also that I'd be given some store credit for the next time I wanted to buy anything from them, and that they were sorry they couldn't give me a new Helix (lol, no shit they couldn't - but nice of them to suggest they would have if they could). Pretty great customer service, well pleased with that.

So I'm gonna pop around on my lunch break and pick that back up. It's not ideal, because what would be ideal is getting my Helix back... but it's nice that they wanted to help me out like that. Apparently there's been a hardware update since I last traded it in, so that's cool. I liked the high gain amp models on it, some of the effects aren't as good as on the Helix - but fuck it, it'll do for just fucking around. Going to have to go through some IRs to figure out which ones I liked.

 

Woohoo. Firstly, its nice that they did what they did. Most stores would have call it shit out of luck and left you out in the cold but they were nice enough to help you out and I think that goes a long way to building customer relationships as well. I'm sure you'll go back there when the time is right to pick up another Helix LT or maybe ... a Helix.

https://www.gearnews.com/boss-katana-air-wireless-wonder-amp/

Spent some time today going over an amp I want to replace my old Fender and I am kind of sold on the Katana for now but then I saw this and thought to myself that in a smaller room this could be good enough and I never record from the amp out to the audio-interface anyways.

This crazy bastard also did a good review of it.

 

no cables. whats not to love.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

Woohoo. Firstly, its nice that they did what they did. Most stores would have call it shit out of luck and left you out in the cold but they were nice enough to help you out and I think that goes a long way to building customer relationships as well. I'm sure you'll go back there when the time is right to pick up another Helix LT or maybe ... a Helix.

https://www.gearnews.com/boss-katana-air-wireless-wonder-amp/

Spent some time today going over an amp I want to replace my old Fender and I am kind of sold on the Katana for now but then I saw this and thought to myself that in a smaller room this could be good enough and I never record from the amp out to the audio-interface anyways.

This crazy bastard also did a good review of it.

 

no cables. whats not to love.

The Katana Air is really cool. I like that you can edit the settings from your phone, but unfortunately you can't access all the stuff you'd get from plugging it into a computer through the Bluetooth phone app.

Seems like the ultimate practice amp though. Pretty big pricetag for a tiny amp though... but you're paying for that wireless jack.

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22 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

The Katana Air is really cool. I like that you can edit the settings from your phone, but unfortunately you can't access all the stuff you'd get from plugging it into a computer through the Bluetooth phone app.

Seems like the ultimate practice amp though. Pretty big pricetag for a tiny amp though... but you're paying for that wireless jack.

There are some plus points to it however, the biggest plus point is the ability to run backing tracks through it at the same time as having the instrument plugged in via a bluetooth device so yeah its a great practice amp but if you're into doing more with your setup this isn't going to cut it.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

I like that. I play drums only as a necessity and I can run do a few rolls here and there but I wouldn't say im anywhere near beyond beginner level. I just can't get my limbs to get in sync.i am terribly good with a Cajon though and I think its because I can just use my hands and play. 

As for wind instruments I tried playing a trumpet once and I couldn't really muster up enough to keep it going. But a saxophone always seems like one of those "too tough" instruments to me because I'd imagine it takes a lot of practice to learn to sustain notes and blow just enough to hit the right pitch as well. Have you played with any bands or done any recordings? I'd love to hear them.

Yeah I'm quite glad that sax is the instrument I had a lot of proper methodical lessons in. It's in that group of instruments that you can't really just pick up. Like the classical string instruments and brass instruments. 

Anyone who's musical and got a decent grasp of theory can get to a passable level at guitar or piano or drums on their own, but without lessons I'd never have got near saxophone. I got to grips with piano a bit on my own, and now I'm trying to at least know my way around a guitar. 

I think instruments are like languages, every one that you have experience with teaches you something you can use on the next one. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Anyone who's musical and got a decent grasp of theory can get to a passable level at guitar or piano or drums on their own, but without lessons I'd never have got near saxophone. I got to grips with piano a bit on my own, and now I'm trying to at least know my way around a guitar. 

I think instruments are like languages, every one that you have experience with teaches you something you can use on the next one. 

I agree that with instruments its all about learning your way around them and with some instruments like piano (for e.g.) knowing theory really plays a vital role in playing it better and understanding the nuances around how to make chords and progressions or melodic lines work as well. Knowing scales is one thing but also understanding intervals and how they play into music moods and how to use music theory to get a better understanding of instruments so that you can move beyond just wanting to pick something up and play it. 

One of the best instruments I learned over the course of the last two years is the Ukulele. Granted it comes off as a weird and tonally very sharp instrument but after spending years on a guitar and bass moving to that changed so much for me because its strung weirdly (thank you Hawaii) and for some reason they thought that having a high octave string above a very low one was a smarter way to make music. The biggest takeaway from that is learning to use intervals right because playing chords isn't always going to cut it and if you play any actual music from Hawaii you'll notice how different it is from what we hear commercially. 

My next goal is to actually put a lot of what I learned when I was younger (was formally trained) back into what I play in bands these days but considering most bands I play with want to do covers and shows its never really going to be something I do with a collective and more as a personal goal. 

You also mentioned bass so are we talking the classical bass or its more modern counterpart the electric bass. I spent three years from class 6 to 9 learning the classic bass and I'll be honest and say I hated it but these days its actually quite a good instrument to know and has become rather popular in some music circuits as well. 

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Just now, Mel81x said:

I agree that with instruments its all about learning your way around them and with some instruments like piano (for e.g.) knowing theory really plays a vital role in playing it better and understanding the nuances around how to make chords and progressions or melodic lines work as well. Knowing scales is one thing but also understanding intervals and how they play into music moods and how to use music theory to get a better understanding of instruments so that you can move beyond just wanting to pick something up and play it. 

One of the best instruments I learned over the course of the last two years is the Ukulele. Granted it comes off as a weird and tonally very sharp instrument but after spending years on a guitar and bass moving to that changed so much for me because its strung weirdly (thank you Hawaii) and for some reason they thought that having a high octave string above a very low one was a smarter way to make music. The biggest takeaway from that is learning to use intervals right because playing chords isn't always going to cut it and if you play any actual music from Hawaii you'll notice how different it is from what we hear commercially. 

My next goal is to actually put a lot of what I learned when I was younger (was formally trained) back into what I play in bands these days but considering most bands I play with want to do covers and shows its never really going to be something I do with a collective and more as a personal goal. 

Yeah, I think the reason I'm going more slowly with guitar is that I want to understand better what's going on. When I played a little bass a few years ago for some music club stuff at uni, I didn't really know what I was doing, but the plucking and all that came pretty easily and I figured I knew what I was doing. I could play relatively busy stuff so long as I could see a tab and have some time to get it under my fingers. 

But this time round I'd rather build a better foundation and knowledge as opposed to just learning lines, especially since with the guitar there's more scope to play something self-sufficient. I enjoy the freedom of being able to play what comes to my mind, more than just being able to memorise technically difficult stuff and repeat it. That's why I like the piano, because I can mess around with chords and play something on top and just make some music, even if my actual technical ability isn't that advanced.

I remember in high school I ended up playing piano to accompany some people's exams because there was no actual written piano part for them. There was only a chart of the chord progression, and even though there was a lot of people who were actually good at piano, I wound up being the only one who knew how to vamp over the chords. 

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7 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Yeah, I think the reason I'm going more slowly with guitar is that I want to understand better what's going on. When I played a little bass a few years ago for some music club stuff at uni, I didn't really know what I was doing, but the plucking and all that came pretty easily and I figured I knew what I was doing. I could play relatively busy stuff so long as I could see a tab and have some time to get it under my fingers. 

But this time round I'd rather build a better foundation and knowledge as opposed to just learning lines, especially since with the guitar there's more scope to play something self-sufficient. I enjoy the freedom of being able to play what comes to my mind, more than just being able to memorise technically difficult stuff and repeat it. That's why I like the piano, because I can mess around with chords and play something on top and just make some music, even if my actual technical ability isn't that advanced.

I remember in high school I ended up playing piano to accompany some people's exams because there was no actual written piano part for them. There was only a chart of the chord progression, and even though there was a lot of people who were actually good at piano, I wound up being the only one who knew how to vamp over the chords. 

 I think that's the right way to learn for people who have a grasp of music theory. Once you get past the basics around the guitar I'd recommend adding Paul Davids on YouTube for good practice/theory understanding. I shared the video of the CAGED system earlier but some of his practice warmup videos make a lots of sense as well. For bass I'd recommend Scott's Bass Lessons because his tutorial on walking bass is by far the best I have ever seen explained and the progressive style of learning it is coupled with enough theory to make complete sense so you can develop your own style as well.

As for memorizing technically difficult pieces I sometimes like to go the technical route where I want to understand what the musician is doing but then you have to sometimes also remember things if you're playing in a band so going with muscle memory can be helpful in those cases especially with more complex pieces. It's also why I like watching Paul Gilbert videos to see how he goes about playing the rock that he does because the guy is very theory oriented and has used it in some pretty incredible ways. 

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32 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Yeah I'm quite glad that sax is the instrument I had a lot of proper methodical lessons in. It's in that group of instruments that you can't really just pick up. Like the classical string instruments and brass instruments. 

Anyone who's musical and got a decent grasp of theory can get to a passable level at guitar or piano or drums on their own, but without lessons I'd never have got near saxophone. I got to grips with piano a bit on my own, and now I'm trying to at least know my way around a guitar. 

I think instruments are like languages, every one that you have experience with teaches you something you can use on the next one. 

I think of music theory as a language as well. Like a universal language among other musicians - one of the guys I jam is a keyboardist (well he plays other stuff too, but he's really really good at the piano and is a professional keyboardist) and he can tell me what sort of stuff he wants me to play based on that universal language - because the instruments aren't the same (although with stringed instruments, I sort of think of each string as a piano where each fret is a different key and they're all alongside each other), we've got a way of explaining what the fuck is going on in our heads while we play with each other.

13 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Yeah, I think the reason I'm going more slowly with guitar is that I want to understand better what's going on. When I played a little bass a few years ago for some music club stuff at uni, I didn't really know what I was doing, but the plucking and all that came pretty easily and I figured I knew what I was doing. I could play relatively busy stuff so long as I could see a tab and have some time to get it under my fingers. 

But this time round I'd rather build a better foundation and knowledge as opposed to just learning lines, especially since with the guitar there's more scope to play something self-sufficient. I enjoy the freedom of being able to play what comes to my mind, more than just being able to memorise technically difficult stuff and repeat it. That's why I like the piano, because I can mess around with chords and play something on top and just make some music, even if my actual technical ability isn't that advanced.

I remember in high school I ended up playing piano to accompany some people's exams because there was no actual written piano part for them. There was only a chart of the chord progression, and even though there was a lot of people who were actually good at piano, I wound up being the only one who knew how to vamp over the chords. 

And to double quote you... I think that's a good way of "properly" learning the instrument, rather than just learning by the numbers. And like you say, if you want to be able to play what comes to mind it's much easier to do that when you actually know what you want to play and how to play it - rather than needing to look up a tab to feel able to play something. Trying to learn songs by ear helped me tremendously in being able to find my way around the fretboard and be able to play the melodies and/or riffs that I'd make up inside my brain.

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On 09/07/2019 at 18:49, Dr. Gonzo said:

I contacted the guitar store where I traded in my Mooer before I bought the Helix to see if they still had it... and they did. And the guy emailing me back was the same guy who was helping me in the store (and the owner's son, which ends up being pretty handy for this story), wanting to know why I wanted it back after I'd just got the Helix. So I told him what happened. He emails back saying he's going to talk to his dad, the owner of the store about it. I get an email back about an hour later saying that I can come in today to pick up my old Mooer back for nothing and also that I'd be given some store credit for the next time I wanted to buy anything from them, and that they were sorry they couldn't give me a new Helix (lol, no shit they couldn't - but nice of them to suggest they would have if they could). Pretty great customer service, well pleased with that.

So I'm gonna pop around on my lunch break and pick that back up. It's not ideal, because what would be ideal is getting my Helix back... but it's nice that they wanted to help me out like that. Apparently there's been a hardware update since I last traded it in, so that's cool. I liked the high gain amp models on it, some of the effects aren't as good as on the Helix - but fuck it, it'll do for just fucking around. Going to have to go through some IRs to figure out which ones I liked.

There's some great free IR cabs out there (if you use that stuff @Mel81x @Happy Blue - I think the 6505 MH has USB/XLR outputs so you could put it straight into your computer/an interface and have your actual amp powering virtual cabinets). This video lists some good ones:

 

I'm not too up on the this side of things, i'm kind of old school (or just old xD) guitar, lead, amp, plug on, all the guitar nobs at max, begin! :rofl:  ..i do have bias amp program which is cool, i have some ok computer speakers and a focusrite scarlett 2nd gen but thats about as much as ive messed with the digital stuff   ...i really should learn more about it, just finding the time. back in the day we used to record on to cassettes on an 8 track xD

Great news about getting your amp back for free, not many people would do that these days! 

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On 09/07/2019 at 18:55, Mel81x said:

Woohoo. Firstly, its nice that they did what they did. Most stores would have call it shit out of luck and left you out in the cold but they were nice enough to help you out and I think that goes a long way to building customer relationships as well. I'm sure you'll go back there when the time is right to pick up another Helix LT or maybe ... a Helix.

https://www.gearnews.com/boss-katana-air-wireless-wonder-amp/

Spent some time today going over an amp I want to replace my old Fender and I am kind of sold on the Katana for now but then I saw this and thought to myself that in a smaller room this could be good enough and I never record from the amp out to the audio-interface anyways.

This crazy bastard also did a good review of it.

 

no cables. whats not to love.

Was just about to post about the Katana Air as a practice amp, not tried one but it looks great, thinking about getting one

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Happy Blue said:

I'm not too up on the this side of things, i'm kind of old school (or just old xD) guitar, lead, amp, plug on, all the guitar nobs at max, begin! :rofl:  ..i do have bias amp program which is cool, i have some ok computer speakers and a focusrite scarlett 2nd gen but thats about as much as ive messed with the digital stuff   ...i really should learn more about it, just finding the time. back in the day we used to record on to cassettes on an 8 track xD

Great news about getting your amp back for free, not many people would do that these days! 

I think with the Bias stuff you should be able to mess around with IRs. I can also post some free amp sims if you'd like (and a TS808 plugin), so then you could just go straight from your focusrite to a DAW and run the amps/cabs/pedals as plugins in it. It's not too hard to figure out, although it seems pretty intimidating at first (especially figuring out how the fuck to use a particular DAW software lol, took me fucking ages).

I remember recording "demos" onto cassettes via an 8 track, they sounded like shiiiiite xD - recording is so much easier nowadays with a computer.

And yeah, I'm honestly a bit shocked they gave me my Mooer back for free. For as long as I'm living here, these guys have a customer in me for anything guitar related as a result. Even for the little shite that might be a bit cheaper to buy on Amazon, from now on I'm going to support them because it's: 1.) cool to support a local business that has great customer service; 2.) is genuinely one of the best music shops I've ever been to in my life.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I think with the Bias stuff you should be able to mess around with IRs. I can also post some free amp sims if you'd like (and a TS808 plugin), so then you could just go straight from your focusrite to a DAW and run the amps/cabs/pedals as plugins in it. It's not too hard to figure out, although it seems pretty intimidating at first (especially figuring out how the fuck to use a particular DAW software lol, took me fucking ages).

I remember recording "demos" onto cassettes via an 8 track, they sounded like shiiiiite xD - recording is so much easier nowadays with a computer.

I've  got a pedal pack plugin for the bias amp which has the tube screamer in it, my main problems with the digital stuff is sorting the  latency and my laptop jamming xD  ..it is a bit head scratching, probably why i've not messed about with it more, will have to find time to learn it  ..funny enough i was messing about with my TS808 knock off today ( Behringer TO800) as a boost for my Peavey red channel and even at low settings it just kind of smooths the sound out, kills the chunky tone and makes it more screechy ..i will continue to mess with it but think our amp just has too much gain to start with :rofl: i have it on about 7 and finding going any higher kills some of the low thump i love so much  ...but saying that, for old school Morbid Angel songs like Immortal Rites, it sounded not bad with the single string trem picking

 

Yeah! xD then your car would eat the tape on the way home :D  ..kids got it easy these days (if they can work the stuff out lol)

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33 minutes ago, Happy Blue said:

I've  got a pedal pack plugin for the bias amp which has the tube screamer in it, my main problems with the digital stuff is sorting the  latency and my laptop jamming xD  ..it is a bit head scratching, probably why i've not messed about with it more, will have to find time to learn it  ..funny enough i was messing about with my TS808 knock off today ( Behringer TO800) as a boost for my Peavey red channel and even at low settings it just kind of smooths the sound out, kills the chunky tone and makes it more screechy ..i will continue to mess with it but think our amp just has too much gain to start with :rofl: i have it on about 7 and finding going any higher kills some of the low thump i love so much  ...but saying that, for old school Morbid Angel songs like Immortal Rites, it sounded not bad with the single string trem picking

 

Yeah! xD then your car would eat the tape on the way home :D  ..kids got it easy these days (if they can work the stuff out lol)

I never have the gain that high! I keep it at about 3-3.5 most of the time for non-death-metal metal… and for death metal I have it around 4 or 5 tops. Try lowering the gain a bit and boosting the low end, perhaps.

The "traditional" usage for a tubescreamer to tighten up our amp's low end is you bump the volume all the way up, keep the tone around the middle (I'd move it around a liiiiiitle depending on if you want a bit more low end or a bit less) and the gain either all the way down, or close to all the way down (like, if it all the way down was 0 and all the way up was 100, I'd put it at around 10-15).

BUT once I got my guitar with active pickups, I sort of felt the tubescreamer wasn't necessary to tighten my low end (personally). Although I can get a lot heavier chugs with it. Then I started using my Boss AngryDriver pedal as a boost for solos and stopped using the tubescreamer… which I basically always kept on to tighten my rhythms.

And yeah, kids have it easy as fuck these days. When we were kids learning guitar, modelers were fucking shite. Now there's modelers at pretty much every price point that sound pretty fucking good (remember that shit brand "Zoom" and they're multieffects units? Look at some demos of their shite now, it's still not the best... but at the price they're selling their gear, it sounds a hell of a lot better than what we would have gotten back then for the same amount) - so kids can mess about with various amps/effects/cabinets and figure out what sounds they like with a hell of a lot more accuracy than we ever did if we tried to do the same thing with a Line6 Spider or a Line6 Pod. And the reputation Line6 had back in the day was kind of "this is n00b equipment" - nowadays, it's hard to say that when the Helix is as good as it fucking is. And then recording stuff is so much easier to do at a much higher level than we ever could have attempted as kids - the hardest thing about it is probably figuring out how to use the fucking software in the first place. But after that initial learning curve, they've got so much available to them.

Not that I mind, mind you... because I'm also getting to benefit from how technology has advanced in guitar/music too. And I've got more disposable income than those fucking kids (well probably, not including spoiled rich kids), so I probably get to benefit from it more xD

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Happy Blue said:

Was just about to post about the Katana Air as a practice amp, not tried one but it looks great, thinking about getting one

 I was considering it just for the one feature of it being "always on" so you don't have the mess of wires and the fact that it has great reviews when it comes to latency, etc. Then I realized I want more power out of my playing so its not going to cut it for what I want to do and I'll stick with a traditional combo amp. I'd love to get a head/cabinet setup but then I'd have to get rid of some stuff from my work room and I don't really want to go through the hassle of doing that right now. 

As for recording stuff, what kind of software are you using with your Focusrite? There was a discussion in some section on this forum outlining the various pieces of software and hardware you can use to get the best out of recording stuff, I just can't remember where it is. The ideal setup involves a Mac, yeah i know the hate they get but honestly they have the best software/interfacing to make things easy. If you have an iPad there is also some great recording stuff for plugging a Focusrite directly into one. I am going to try that in a month or so and see how that works because if it works good then I think I'll leave the big setup for when I am ready to put something down and just use the iPad to do all the menial fiddling around and figuring stuff out.

 

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