Saturday, 30 November 2013

ouch,...but yeah...but ouch

The new board needs a few more things but it is functional, so I took it to band was BRILLIANT!! up and running in a minute :D Exactly what it was intended to do.. I was delighted with its functionality.


And I am literally aching in my shoulders from trying to pick it up..I mean trying, there was a lot of dragging and sliding but not a lot of actual picking up... I was at least able to put it on to a small trolly 3 inches high.....yeah....

No need for Gyms, just book a couple of rehearsals and load the car.

After an amazing semi controlled slide to get it down the stairs it has now taken up residence in the living room until such times as I have doubled my muscle mass and can bench press 200kg and stand any chance of getting it back up stairs on my own.


Friday, 29 November 2013

Portable....pedal board or gym

I am going to build up some muscles hauling this around..

My new pedal board is an absolute monster.  Its a custom made box, as I could not find anything big enough on the market to hold the RC-300 and GR-55 side by side..also I can now put my Voice Live2 in the system, which was not really possible due to floor space and cable issues.  But thanks to the equally custom made loop switch I can use it and the VLTouch I've been using.
It all looks a bit overkill but really its just due to the size of the 3 main pedals which are fooking huuuge. ;)

If anyone's interested its actually quite simple...My main guitar tones are produced by the Adrenalinn III , the little blue/black box on the left. Which among other tricks is a drum machine and rhythmic arpegiator, but mainly its an Amp/FX sim unit that lets me do everything from nice clean tones to monster metal screams...It is incidentally also hooked up to another slightly large thing, a MIDI FCB 1010 control board, not pictured above, but here below, but I can use it without.

That is supplemented and occasionally replaced when playing by the GR-55 Guitar synth, big blue thing, bottom right, which is ...a it can do mega loads of instruments and fx, like strings and keyboards, and most importantly bass which I play from time to time in one of my bands when we don' t have a bass player.. also oboes', flutes..its a great machine.

It also can do guitar fx and sounds, and I like to use it in combination with the ADIII for contrast and boost..

One other major thing it can do is set up alternate if I want an Eb acoustic guitar for the intro to Nobody's a button and another and I have the Eb overdriven Gibson Les Paul into a Marshal stack for the power chords...
Press another and I have  a standard tuning 12 string acoustic for Like I do's intro (with a hint of strings and a choir behind it). Afterwards, switching back to a telecaster in drop D for a Rolling Stones number...and I never have to change guitars or retune...its amazing!

These 2 pedals are the main tone on the face of it I don't have as many pedals as most people do..and indeed my other guitar board has 6 pedals in it...and does not come close to ths number of variations and abilities. Its just the physical size of these puppies that make them a pain.

I play my Patrick Eggle Berlin (Margaret)into this system, as it has a midi pickup to control/trigger  the synth..

I have added an older FX pedal to the mix, just  because I could, there was space.. The Digitech FX Factory wah pedal  has been added to the mix, with a foot controller pedal, but mainly for 1 particular sound, it does an awesome Rotary speaker fx, which the ADIII does not quite match. I don't know if I will use this much, but for now I'll see if its worth keeping on the board.
Ok so that's guitars;
Vocally, I need a lot of help with my vocals, so I have on this board 2 main toys. both of which need signals from guitars to generate harmonies, tuning or FX, which is why they are on the board.

The 1st is the TC Helicon Voice synth, which is there mainly to do Vocoder fx, for Daft Punk numbers and other things.... Most of the time its in simple bypass mode, and the mic goes to either the Voice Live 2 EE seen here, (the big blue box top right) or via the loop switch to a Voice Live Touch on my mic stand. I like the VLT for looping and changing harmonies on the fly, but the VL2 is in fact the more powerful bit of kit, I just need to learn use it better, which now its on the deck I can do.

Anyway..the VL units give tone and auto correction as well as echo, delay chorus, etc  and harmony fx.. which are great.

Then we come to the RC-300 looper, which the guitar, synth and vocal signals are all sent to which I can mix a little, which allows me to loop them at will. the output from the RC's main output goes to the PA or Amp, usually PA... The sub output goes to a small transmitter under the plinth which sends the sound simultaneously to my in ear monitors.. That lets me hear what I play, which is surprisingly hard to do in a band when everyone is playing...

Also under the plinth is a wireless receiver which takes a signal from my wireless bug attached to a non midi guitar, (or if the battery is flat I can just plug in..but I hate cables) so I can use my normal guitars as well without the synth. :D I pick which system with a little A/B switch on the top right to maintain a signal to the vocal units.

At the moment the cabling is mish mash and untidy and I have to put a better power system under the plinth to power it all..but that's will be done next week, and all will be ready for the rehearsals for the run up to Birthday and Christmas Gigs...

I have to sell a guitar to pay for all this though... :( but I think it will be more than worth it in the end, tidy cable free floors are a joy to behold.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Off Limits to students

I can't really stop students finding this, after all it is a blog, but really its not going to be that much interest to those I know as students, aside from moaning about work load,  and marking, there's not much work related stuff. Its quite a personal blog I post for a range of different reasons...

I've become more and more concerned about my private blog being available to students who decide to do a bit of a google..moreso since googling my name brings this up as no1 answer...the price of fame.

But I don't really want to close down this blog as it gives me something to look back on and review life events and good and bad times...which we all have...though I find posting them for everyone to read strangely cathartic..
So unless someone actually abuses the info I put on here, I will take it on the chin and keep posoting.

If your looking for some help with coding issues....check the links on the right...

If you want to know why I was grumpy in class....then I might post here ;)

otherwise...get back to work..and research the physics of'll regret it later if  you don't


Monday, 18 November 2013

Margaret is resting and recovering well after her surgery

I did my first ever bit of guitar surgery tonight, mainly to stop myself going mad from Marking..
I permanently fitted my Roland GK-3 Split MIDI pickup to Margaret, my favourite Guitar (Patrick Eggle Berlin).

The previous stick on version was prone to slippage and occasional problems on the 2nd string due to poor adjustment....So I got out the 'gulp' drill and made a couple of scary pilot holes....of course one was ever so slightly off...But I managed to correct it.

So Margaret now has her pick up properly fitted and properly spaced/adjusted and sounding much better.

She still needs a proper set up though, she buzzes a little high up the neck and intonation is a little bit off...Will take her to Dijkmans when I get paid for a bit of love...she's earned it.

Still no vids, too busy marking and getting lectures ready..but I have been messing about with a famous Jacques Brel song everyone knows.. I dunno if I can get the "passion" needed into a torch song but its a  nice song and I think my arrangement is fairly solid apart from 1 key change week hopefully I'll be back to video and recording mode.

Its Zwarte Piet season here in the Netherlands...a bizarre time when the dutch don't quite seem to get why people can be offended by the sight of a white man in matter how I put it, or what I say, it just turns into a brick wall defence of we're not racist...which I never suggested...but the depiction of Zwarte Peit is deeply uncomfortable....for many.

oh well...I'll let the rants on Facebook go for now.....better get to bed... early class tomorrow.


Friday, 15 November 2013

I hate marking and I have guitars to sell.

Still not quite done, but I have gamelab tomorrow so hopefully I can finish it then still a bunch of PR1's and a shed load of AGT5's....oh well.

No guitar playing this week, aside from some normal practice  but a realisation has occurred ...I need to sell some of the guitars... yes folks its time to face up to the fact that my GAS has resulted in far too many guitars, and a collection of bills means its time to sort it out. 

Someone is interested in Sarge, my SG so if he makes me a decent offer I will take it...I will also put a few of the others up for offers.... I don't want to sell, I really don't, I love them all,  but I have settled down to play just 3 or 4 guitars now, and the rest are basically not being used...its time to face up to things....the collection needs thinning. Its fine to have  a few vanity guitars, but I really don't need so many. I will try to thin it down and cash them in over the next year or 2, ebay is too costly but I will try to sell locally.

The massive gas bill, 3800euros has been sorted and reduced to normal but its still adjusted to a 670 euro bill due to excessive use of electricity...I can guess what that is, I tend to leave all my gadgets on all the time, but still a bad practice.. its still a big bill though so time to cash in the assests I have and get into a reasonable cash flow.



Friday, 1 November 2013

I'm a hit

Well here's 2 things I am incredibly proud of today

1st I am now a no.1 recording artist. My version of Tower of Song got to no.1 in the charts blues...cover... fat blokes nearing 50.. section.

I think that's pretty good even if it only needs 5-10 listens to get there...I have a screen shot to prove it and I'm happy as fuck about it.

The other thing I am incredibly proud of is the new music room I set up at work for students (and staff) to play in. It was a fair bit of hassle and I donated some of my own kit to get it going but the result has been amazing. IGAD and IMEM students have been streaming in to try it out and slowly students are forming small groups and jamming intended. It was so cool to watch this grow and the comments back from students have been incredibly uplifting.

Can't wait to hear the 1st performances from them. I'm hoping to arrange a couple of showcase nights each year so they can get up in front of people and perform. Job Done!