Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ever heard the phrase "pre-fade"?

Wednesday, I brought the baritone. I have it tuned to C#. That's kinda like the B string on a 5-string bass — you have that so you can play D like it's B and have some low notes a few frets higher where it fits in the hand more easily. C# means you get E like it's G. Which is nice.

It also means you have to rethink all your chords and the relationships. Which is good for your musical thinking, for your fretboard knowledge.

But there's a thing. My C# is a Rondo STL50, and it's got cheap tuners, and trying to get it right in tune with the lower notes is hard, and the cheap tuners make it harder. OK, part of it, a big part, is on me, but I think the hardware can take some blame.

Speaking of blame....

I have been having problems with monitors recently. With the in-ear, the monitor levels are in Aux 8, and Aux 8 should be dimed so each in-ear unit can mix an individual mix. But the guitars were turned down, so while I was absolutely pushing it and out loud in the house, I was buried in my head and could barely hear myself. But I know that problem and it is solved.

But on Wednesdays, we've moved rooms, and we now use monitor wedges. Like everybody else in the world, I know. I have been so spoiled by in-ear monitors over the years. It's sick, I have to say. Zappa called modern recording mixes "imaginary rooms", where a fingerpicked classical guitar can be heard over a blasting Les Paul through a Marshall stack, and with the in-ear, you can have your own imaginary room. It's great. Playing to a wedge monitor makes me sad.

I was jammin', getting in touch with the C#, D and D# I never had access to before, and the sound guy started tweaking and suddenly I had nothing. Nothing. Turns out, there's a switch, which controls pre/post fader. You want the monitors to be pre-fade, to split off before the fader, so I can hear myself in the monitor mix even when I'm tuned down in the house mix.

You don't need to be a sound guy. You're a musician and you're doing your job. But these are a few of the things you want to be able to ask about if you're having problems.

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