Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Memory of Duane Allman

New Chord Form

E ---0----0----0---
B ---0----0----0---
G ---11---9----6---
D ---12---10---7---
A ---10---8----5---
E ---12---10---7---
This is a chord show to me tonight as I played. Those are a few places where the movable parts don't sound too bad with the ringing B and E. This is a jangly clean-tone chord, but give it try.

Looking just at the EADG strings, first, notice that we have the root, minor third and dominant seventh. It would be easy to say Emin7, Dmin7, Bmin7, but that doesn't bring in the G string. In the first case, that's an F#. That's an octave up from the root, so that's a 9? Emin9? We'll assume that someone, somewhere, will fill in that fifth. Come to think of it, the open B string gives us the fifth. So, yes, Emin9.

Drop down to the second chord and you see that's a Dmin9, except the B and E become a 4 or 11 and another 9. So Dmin9sus4?

When we get to the B, that's root minor-third dominant-seventh ninth root fourth, so again a Bmin9sus4.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Digs

The main room has the good sound. The main room has the playback setup. It has the Aviom system and piano and the glass cage for the drums. The choir is starting to do songs with the band rather than going along with pre-recorded tracks. So the choir is getting the main room, and Wednesday service is going to ... well, until this week, it was called "the choir room."

I didn't know how good I had it. Seriously.

Instead of a real piano, we have the kind of digital piano that people who want to start learning piano get. We have the drum set we had before we got the drumset before we got the drum set before we got the drum set. And the monitors. This is the first time I played there without earbuds, and the monitors were just nowhere near enough.

About a third of the way through the set, I noticed that I couldn't hear the bassist. This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon thing. I motioned to the sound man to turn up the bass. At least, I meant to. Thumb up, thumb down, that's universal for volume up, volume down, and I tried to do plucking like a bass instead of strumming, but he turned me up, then turned me back down. Then he dragged in a bass amp for him, and finally, for the first time in years(!) we could clearly hear the bass.

To the extent I heard myself, I guess I did well, but I knew we'd have technical issues, and there were.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Notes From The Front

At this point, because I'm not working from a strong theme of hardware geeking like Stratoblogster and I'm more the student than the teacher, this has devolved into a nearly entirely diary blog. I am sorry.

That being said:
  • The leader's out-of-town — out-of-state, even — so we will not have practice this week, again! If we were touring and could just hit the same setlist over and over again, that would be one thing. I hate being so reliable.
  • My eldest had his first concert as a high school student this evening. I love my children and want to encourage them, but honestly, going to the middle school concerts was a chore. But this time, every band, from low to high, was just really good. Kudos!
  • I've found a decent tone on my multipedal. Reasonably close to the Steve Stevens Top Gun tone, as featured above. At least to my ears. I will put together a video soon.
  • Years ago, there was an all-gear magazine called Guitar Shop. In one issue, they wrote about what it would take to convert a standard-scale guitar to a baritone. I can't find my copy, but I have wanted to make a baritone guitar for over a decade. This concept was at the forefront of my mind when I got the Rondo. And now, I have it intonated to be tuned BEADF#B. I think I'd have to move the bridge back further to get below that. Again, I shall have to make a video.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Fiddler

This violinist is Ann Marie Calhoun. She's one of two of Steve Vai's violin players. And while this isn't Vai-like, it's good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Object Of My Affection

I love classic rock keyboard sounds. The Hammond, the Clavinet, The Wurlitzer, the Vox Continental and of course the Fender Rhodes. I was searching the web while waking up, and I found a mention on Diane Birch's blog of a new Rhodes piano. Yes, they've restarted the Rhodes line. I originally thought "Why didn't anyone tell me?" So I'm telling you. Which made me want to do a rough price comparison with the Nord, which, to my ear, has dead-on perfect Rhodes and Hammond sounds. Just so you know, the Rhodes is running $5000 while the Nord is about half that. If I was touring and making money on it, I'd still want the Rhodes, though.

But, while I was searching, I saw this. The Korg SV-1. What struck me was the tube glowing on the control panel. I know people (Patrick) who would love it just for the tube. And it comers in under both the Rhodes and Nord. I know what's far closer to my price range, but that's what dreaming is for, right?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

That Was Fun

Right now, we're at the point where we're learning one song or so per practice and mostly tightening up the old songs. That's a good place to be. For one of the songs, which is B, E and F#sus, I was hitting chord notes on the D G and B strings. The leader, he starts complementing me on my "solo". Solo? I'm hitting chord notes. I'm just playing the chords without being all strummy. But I'm hanging out on a lead tone, not the clean tone I tend to go to, and, well, he thought it was the thing.

I still wish I had a louder clean tone. I'm starting to dial in a not-too-dirty OD setting on my multieffects unit, one that'll give me the more I need without the gain. I like my lead channel, which I call "Freak" because I was trying to get some of the Mattias IA Eklundh high-gain thing with the harmonics popping out. I am beginning to like that. I'm going to have to set it up and get some video of it one of these days.

And when I said freak....

The part I love the most is the noiselessness of it. He's got gain to coax out those tones, but there's no buzz, no sound he doesn't want. As a single-coil guy, that's the one thing I'm jealous of. I think I need a super-strat.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown"

We had a printer failure today. A $2 piece of plastic broke, meaning a cornerstone of our workflow broke down. We moved a replacement in, a different model which goes by a different name. A co-worker started the process of installing the new drivers, but, to a point, send data to a Postscript printer and it'll act like a Postscript printer. So once a) we established that we could print without installing mods, and b) the installer she chose involved installing IIS on a workstation, I stopped her, got out of the admin login, and set her back to work. She looked puzzled, so I gave a response.

"Forget about it, Ann. It's Chinatown."

I really want to know how many people here recognize that line.

It's the last line of Chinatown. Spoiler >> The bad guy wins. He wins at everything. Our hero, Jake, used to work for the DA in Chinatown, where the corruption and crime was so bad, the DA suggested he do as little as possible for his own safety and sanity. Jake is lead away by friends still on the force, who say that line. Any further action toward that goal is futile and potentially dangerous, so it's best to turn your back and go onto the next. << Spoiler Not to imply that Chinatown is any better or any worse than any other neighborhood. I was four when that movie was made, and have nothing to do with any associations made by that film.

There are obscure lines that I know when I say them "It's very unlikely anyone gets this." A few examples:
  • "I would like a cup of meat!"
  • "Let's go get sushi, and not pay!"
  • "Because you're perfect."
  • "A squid eating dough in a polyethlene bag is fast and bulbous. Got me?"
If I say these lines and you get them, that says a lot about our mutual interests. But others, well, it's just inconceivable to me that they're obscure. The above line is one of them.

The director of that movie is Roman Polanski. Google that name and you'll see the case against him. But he did what he did. He admitted what he did. He was tried, sentenced and he skipped out. To me, that's the alpha and the omega of the story. He doesn't want to go to jail, but who does? To my mind, he should be sent back to America and he should go to jail.

But that's my mind. Do I have any belief that this is going to happen? I don't. Years ago, Maureen Down said that Bob Packwood shouldn't be kicked from the Senate for sexual harassment, because he was too valuable a vote for women. This was the last I had any respect for Maureen Dowd. Whoopi Goldberg says this isn't rape rape, and that's the last I have any respect for her. But there are voices that say that his art is ... I don't know. An excuse? A justification? I say that Chinatown is a great film. I say that Rosemary's Baby is one of the foundation films of modern horror. But I say that Ninth Gate is closer to Peacemaker, a good piece of film but not crucial. And Fearless Vampire Killers? Not nearly worth your time.

But by even asking that question, is this amount of art a justification for any human pain, a question that to many in Hollywood, is already answered, we're cheaping life and justifying further violence. We've already created a new "Chinatown".