Monday, 10 August 2009

What's happening August 2009

For those who may not have noticed, I put a a video of "Another One Bites the Dust" on youtube.  Another Naudo copy, but like all of my Naudo copies, modified to suit me ;)  It's good to have a few rockier pieces in my set, I've come to notice that all of my stuff is quieter...which suits the nylon sting (it's not really a rockers guitar), but it suprises people when I make it bark, which is good fun.

Speaking of people, I *finally* did a gig last Saturday night.  It was a favour for my cousin, she had helped organise a school function at a winery and knew I liked to play.  Was a crowd of somewhere about 50-70, mostly indoors in a long rectagular room that had concrete floor, concrete walls...the acoustics were not nice.  It wasn't a big room, so I found that people were talking louder and louder to hear each other over each other, and me.  Generally no-one was actively listening, I was background, but I was catching some peoples attention and getting a few claps which was nice.

When I realised the bulk of the people who were actively listening were outside, I relocated out there where it was quieter and the acoustics were great - basically a courtyard with lots of vines growing around the place to absorb reflections.  It was easy to dial in a great sound.  By this time I had a glass of red wine in me and I had already played for an hour so I was well and truely warmed up, I was playing really well.  Since I only have about 75mins worth of stuff I was repeating things, but nobody had heard them earlier so no dramas.  One guy, who also loved pink floyd, was so impressed with some of my floyd renditions he bought me a bottle of red wine!  Excellent!

Now you are probably wondering what my setup is.  Okay, for those following you may recall my passion for battery powered amps, and I had been building version 3.  I finished it about two months back, really pleased.  It is based on car audio gear as the speaker/amplification engine, built into a custom made light weight ribbed 3mm marine ply box that also serves as the seat.  The sound straight from the guitar through the car audio gear was a bit plain, so I first added a reverb pedal, and then later added a 7 band EQ pedal because the way I play tends to have powerful midrange, and the midrange EQ built into the guitar doesn't have bands specific enough to take it out.

So to dial in a sound, firstly I start with flat EQ on the guitar going through a Behringer reverb pedal.  I always use  the "modulate" setting, and wind up the level/tone/delay according to the room size I'm in.  If I am outside then I'll wind up the reverb more, but inside the rooms normally offer a bit of "natural" reverb so I wind it back in.  I don't use much reverb, just enough that you can only _just_ hear it; I think the acoustic sound needs the warmth of reverb but it should not dominate. 

From the reverb pedal I go into the 7 band EQ.  I normally sweep out the midrange and accentuate the highs and a bit of extra bass.  The car amp and speakers are built for bass (think of the doof doof drivers) so it doesn't need much extra bass.  The car amp and speakers actually has a very flat response across the frequency curve which is great.  The enclosure is fairly linear, I think there are some minor resonances, I might need to stuff some more foam into it.

So I can do a basic 3 band EQ tweak on the guitar (normally leave flat) into the reverb, then do a post 7 band EQ tweak, then into the amp.  I've found I can pretty much get a good sound with this setup.

I'll have more to say about the amp and the sound and playing at gigs in the next few months; I'm still looking for a cafe to play during lunch times, haven't had much response so far (talked to two), but I'm not pushing it.  I'm probably about to move office again so I wouldn't want to hook up a regular gig only to find that I no longer work near it!

Suffice to say that yep, I got out there, I was a little nervous at first but I got into it really quick and thoroughly enjoyed it - looking forward to the next ;)