Saturday 10 February 2024

What's happening Feburary 2024

Musically busy times!

  • Over the Christmas break, I attempted to record the whole song "Wish You Were Here". Which I did! Except the singing! I featured myself on my new 12 string Gretsch and myself on my Maton 6 string acoustic, myself on the double bass, and because I'm a weak drummer I sequenced the drums...myself. It all sounds great! But after several attempts at trying to sing the song, even with pitch correction, I just wasn't satisfied.

    Luckily my youngest daughter, who can sing, felt sorry for me and has started giving me some lessons. She worked out my range is from C2 to C4 (middle C) which is a shame because the song starts on middle C. Yes, I did trying singing it an octave down, I didn't like it.

    But after a good warm up, and working up from notes in my range, I could hit the D4 and E4 the song requires, with almost no hint of straining, so I am going to tackle it again. I've already made a how-I-made-this video, everything is ready to go, I just need the singing! I have planned a harmony, which would be nice if was a high harmony, so I can either sing it an octave down instead or enlist my daughter to do it. I wanted it to be a video of "I made this by myself", maybe to inspire others who were thinking about doing something similar, but also it would be nice to have my daughter sing on there with me. Or she sings the whole thing!

  • Since I was revisiting "Wish You Were Here" I found some fantastic resolves with beautiful colours for my fingerstyle version, so I have been updating that arrangement. Some stuff I can't believe I had never noticed before. I've always meant my arrangements to be works in progress, as my skills develop, as my ear develops, so to add additional complexity and texture to an arrangement is how to keep the passion alive.

  • Speaking of tabs, I have finalised notifying all my Patreon Supporters that I would not longer be putting tabs on Patreon, instead everything is moving to PaidTabs. This fixes 3 issues I had with providing tabs on Patreon:
    1. It's not really legal, there is no royalty payment to copyright holders. While I could dress it up as "supporting me but hey here are some tabs for free"...yeah nah.
    2. The more tabs I put there the less value each one was. In the early days you could subscribe for $3, take the 10 tabs there, unsubscribe, okay! But the final tab I gave out to my supporters took the total to 35. So less than 10c per tab. Of course it is better to sell them individually. I don't want to be "one of those people" who is ruining it for struggling musicians trying to carve out a living while I'm living a great life with my day job and music is my hobby.
    3. I was starting to feel a burden to create tabs for my Patreon supporters. That I needed to hurry up and realease another tab "it's been 3 months already!" I like working on other musical projects in between arranging new songs for fingerstyle guitar. I don't want to create an expectation that I'm going to create an arrangement every 2 months on the dot. That's how you burn out.

  • ...so I'm updating my tabs again and releasing them on PaidTabs. I've got more then 10 on there now, people are buying them so that's nice. It takes me at least an hour to update a tab depending on what state it is in - I want them to be execptional - so I just need to keep working through my catalogue...only around 70 to go...

  • At work the marketing team attempted to put an in house rock band together for a campaign promotion. They reached out to a bunch of people including me, I guess with a few thousand people in an organisation there would be quite a number of musos...and there was...and most of them were unavailable for the launch date. I mentioned that "If you are going to have a rock band you need a lead singer" and that if you can't pull anything together then I can play some rockier fingerstyle on the day, that's easy for me.

    They were unable to secure any of the singers.

    One of the guys who works in my team is a drummer, so I dragged him over the other weekend and got him to play along with some of my fingerstyle. I have played with drummers many times in the past and it's always good...except for my ability to keep tempo. But with a few years of playing in my local church band I reckon I have improved. We managed to bash out around 10 songs in just over an hour that we thought we could do, it's only an hour's gig. He was happy enough to play on my little electric drum kit, so I'll be able to pack up my PA, mixing desk, drumkit and guitar and a bunch of cables and ship it to work.

    It shall be fun :-)

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Double Bass Bridge

First, let's have some background to this photo.

Over the Christmas holidays I recorded a full song with me playing all the parts, for fun, because I can, because the DAW Reaper simplifies the process. I recorded the bass part on my double bass. I bought a double bass second hand many years ago when my eldest daughter was learning electric bass and really wanted to learn double bass. She doesn't play it anymore, there has been talk about selling it - they kinda take up a lot of room - but I love the sound of it and any excuse to play it will do.

Over the years the bridge has warped. I had bought a new bridge and figured I would carve a new one like I carved the cello bridge...but it would take me probably a day of effort to do. And there was nothing wrong with the existing one, just warped, which was putting the intonation out. Ha, not that my ability to fret on a fretless bass hinges on perfect intonation!

So I decided to try un-warping the bridge.

I removed it and put it in a dish of water. Of course wood floats, so I put the first water proof thing I found in the pantry on it to weigh it down. Wood is an amazing thing, by the end of the day it was fully soaked and had pretty much reverted back to the original un-warped state! Like it knew what shape it should be, and soaking freed it to return to normal.

During the soak the water took on a bit of a yellow colour, possibly leached out of the wood, possibly because whoever had last used the jar of golden syrup had let a bit trickle down the side and I didn't notice and it dissolved in.

So back to the photo. My youngest daughter looks at a dish of yellowy water on the kitchen bench, recognises the double bass bridge in it, and then sees a jar of golden syrup on top. Thinks about it for a moment. "Hey dad, what's going on here, is this how you get a sweet tone from the bass?"

Bah dum dum.

After I removed it from the water I clamped it to dry just in case it decided to go back to warped, and you can see from the photo I slipped a bit of folded paper underneath to give it a tiny bit of pre-load anti-re-warping; thinking if I pre-skew the direction of force it might be a bit more stable. One week later, fully dried, back on the bass, success!