Archive for the 'Guitar' Category

May 25 2007

The Sandblaster!

It has been several years in the making but I’m pleased to announce that for all intents and purposes the guitar project is complete. Lots of people asked if I had a name for it and, after pondering for a while, came up with The Sandblaster! This was one of my nick names when I was a kid, and seemed to sound like a guitar (a la Telecaster). I hope to take better pix at some point, but this was the best I could muster right now:

The Sandblaster

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Apr 14 2006

45 Sec Compilation

As a result of my last gig I was invited to participate in a compilation album that’s being produced by a young fellow I met at the gig. I guess that the plan is to produce an LP (those 12″ vinal things…) with up to 40 tracks, each no longer than 45 seconds. To be honest, I love stuff like this. So far, I have produced two tracks.


      The first
is from my performance, the middle bit with my Lap Steel, that runs about 12 minutes or so. Using special software, I reduced the running time to 45 seconds. Thus, the entire performance is represented, but it happens at a much faster rate. The pitch would have stayed the same but I decided to drop the whole thing down one octave, just because it felt better to me.


      The second
is more of a multi-track studio affair. I built the thing up one track at a time, improvising each track as I went. For example, I recorded the first guitar track, then improvised the 2nd and 3rd tracks just listening to the 1st. These three tracks became the 3 note chords. I then recorded the 1st 1/4 note arpeggio, also an improv, and then the 2nd without listening to the first. I improvised the bass part while listening to the chords, then added the 3 vocal tracks, the lap steel, and the bells.

It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for the project, but I do like it. It is simultaniously lilting and wacked… (BTW, I described it to my wife using the same two words and her reply: “Lilting and wacked… Just like you!”)

Enjoy!

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Apr 12 2006

Hide Not Your Heart

This song, called

      Hide Not Your Heart
, was written a few years back when I was recording songs as birthday gifts for my friends. At a local farmer’s market, I found a small stone heart that was carved from some sort of crystal. It looked rather dull and gray until the sun hit it. When it was illuminated directly, it sparkled and shined, refracting the light from within. This became a lyrical metaphor for me, and sparked the song. My singing, especially at the beginning, is a bit ragged. The harmonies are all staggered and informal. This was all planned. The guitar solo is perhaps one of the best I’ve ever recorded, not for its technical skill, but because to me it is filled with feeling. As the solo progresses, the rest of the music fades away. To me, this was also a metaphor for being couragous in letting one’s heart shine… At the end, my vocal is softer, warmer, and more intimate…. Almost a whisper.

To me, this is a very special song. I don’t know if anyone else likes it much, as I understand that aspects of it can be challenging. Still, for me, I felt like I reached a place in the creation of it that was emotional and personally profound.

Having said that, I absolutely welcome and encourage any and all feedback and impressions you care to share, positive or negative.

Here are the lyrics:

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Apr 12 2006

LP 45 Second Project

When I performed at the Dung Mummy Anniversary event last month, I met a young man by the name of Adam Reese. He performed with the Hop Frog Drum Jester Devotional, smacking a mini trap set. A few days ago he contacted me about a project of his own that he wanted me to participate in. Evidently, he’s producing a compilation LP with tracks by a multitude of artists. Each track, however, must be no more than 45 seconds. This is a unique challenge. He explained that he wasn’t really looking for ‘noise’ stuff. He said he’d enjoyed my performance, and was hoping for something reflective of that. Well, leave it to me to take a perfectly good suggestion and corrupt it terribly. I took the audio from the middle portion of my performance, the bit with the Indy Rail lap steel, and time shifted it from nearly 12 minutes to exactly 45 seconds. I also applied a wee bit of dynamic processing, reverb, EQ, and dropped the audio down one octave.

Hear the result

      here
. [NOTE: This is an uncompressed WAV file that’s about 7.5 MB.] Now, I don’t know if this will be my actual submission, but the result was interesting in a ‘tweaky’ sort of way.

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

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Mar 23 2006

Dung Mummy Audio Excerpt

With the kind assistance of a volunteer, I recorded my performance at Dung Mummy on my video camera. The performance, in its entirety, was about 25 minutes. This excerpt, about 11 minutes in length, comes from the middle, when I had switched from my gretsch to my Industrial Guitar Indy Rail.


Click here to hear audio. Note: the file is about 10 MB.

If you’re interested, you can see pix of the guitar effects I use and read about what they do.
Enjoy!

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Mar 23 2006

Dung Mummy Pix

Although I had no idea at the time, Jason Savvy (aka Monkey Wrench) was snapping pix while I was performing. He was kind enough to post them, and share them with the performers.

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Mar 19 2006

New Guitar Cases

I got a custom case made for my new custom guitar, and decided to have a matching one made for my lap steel. The company that made them, Morris & Holmberg Cases in Santa Ana, did a pretty nice job. They used material I provided them, and painted it with a custom color. Sweet!

Custom Cases

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Mar 19 2006

Guitar Effects

The signal chain for my performance was:

The Gretsch BST-1500 and/or the Industrial Guitar Indy Rail > Ernie Ball VP Jr Volume Pedal > HBE UFO (fuzz/octave) > Analog Man Sun Face (NKT275 with Sun Dial mod) (fuzz) > HBE Psilocybe (phaser) > Marshall Vibrotrem > DOD DFX94 Digital Delay/Sampler > Line6 Delay Modeler > Fender Blues Jr. Amplifier.

I also used a cheap digital voice recorder, purchased in Little India, that I played by holding it against the pickup of the lapsteel. You can hear this about 5 minutes in. Later, I also use an Ebow to create long sustained notes. You can hear this toward the end, around 9 minutes or so.

The set of guitar effects I use is designed to provide me with a wide sonic pallet. Each one adds to or changes the sound in a distinctive way. I sometimes use them by themselves, or in combination with other pedals. With the 7 pedals, there are countless variations possible.

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Mar 19 2006

Dung Mummy

I was privledged to be invited to perform at the 3rd anniversary of Dung Mummy, a performance event for experimental music, poetry, and other ecclectic creative energy. The event is hosted and organized by the Hop-Frog Kollectiv, a group of adventurous and creative artists from all over the Southland.

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Feb 09 2006

Create(!) Remix Contest

Create(!), a local instrumental electric free improv christian group, has been pushing the envelope for ages, both in performance and on record. Just when you think they can’t go anywhere, they reinvent themselves in some new and wonderful way. I received an email from them that announced a remix contest. They posted the individual tracks that, together, make Six Dreams Divided from their upcoming album, A Prospect of Freedom. Listen to the album version of

      Six Dreams Divided
.

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