Thursday, 8 September 2016

Powertab to MuseScore

I've finally decided to move out of the 2000's and into modern day - I'm switching from Powertab to MuseScore. Why? It creates really nice scores to play from. I'm still transitioning so I might still do the grunt tab work in Powertab and then import it into MuseScore to finish it off. The tab entry process for MuseScore, which I have tested previously, is a bit different than Powertab, so it's going to take some getting used to.

What has finally won me over is how beautiful - and useful - the score sheet is. Here's an example, the current piece I am arranging, click on it to show detail. How good is that!
Now proper musicians will rightly balk at this, but here are my random thoughts about this presentation of the score:
  1. Clef notation is great because it gives you note duration. Tab does not normally give you note duration, but this "full tab" presentation does!
  2. Clef notation doesn't give you left hand fingering positions (unless specifically marked), Tab, by its very nature, does. Fingerstyle tends to wander all over the fretboard to get the fingerting resolves needed, so knowing that you need to play a C on the third string rather than the second string is important.
  3. Clef notation is hard to read when the notes go too far above and below the clef. Tab doesn't have that problem.
So in this score I reckon I have the best of all worlds - string, fret, music tails to show note duration as well as duration spacing - and it's all presented in an easy to read fashion, with plenty of score per page!

Let me know what you think!
JAW

Thursday, 11 August 2016

What's happening August 2016

Recently I was working away again, and took up my main guitar.  Managed to get a lot of playing in, nothing new, just practise on the old stuff.  This turned out to be fortuitous; when I came back Glenn at Cafe Chicchi got in contact with me and I've been playing out there around every two weeks.  It's great to be out there playing and chatting to patrons again.  If you are ever in the Mount Claremont area, check on their webpage if I'm playing on the weekend, and stop by.  https://www.facebook.com/DeliChicchi/ Make sure you say hello!

I still have "The Chain" to record, I need to get the motivation to get on with it.  When you aren't recording, it gets easier to keep not recording.  If you know what I mean.  Great song, I've done a pretty good job with it if I do say so myself, I'm looking to get it out to you.

I also need to finish making my little guitar USBs.  Did I mention it to you?  I get asked from time to time "where's your CD?" Well, CDs are pretty olde school, I decided I could do better than that, so I bought a batch of USB sticks in the shape of a little classical guitar.  They were around $5 each, 8GB flash, they are a very cool shape although it would have been better if they were hard plastic rather than flexible plastic, but no matter.  I plan on filling them with all my MP3s, sheet music, videos, lessons, and anything else I've ever created.  Most of it is available here, but not the raw videos, so you are getting something you can't normally get.

I was thinking $20 each, and the offer that if you ever see me again, I will swap it with the latest revision.  Each time I make new stuff I will update it.  And I will sign/initial each one.  And you get to talk to me when buying it! :-)

JAW


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Why Can't This Be Blog?

Not much activity recently but two songs are ready to record - Shine and The Chain.  Pretty happy with both; I'm going to get my wife or daughter to do the recording rather than just tripod up a fixed camera position.  So:
  • Record video from varying changing angles, doing a few play throughs,
  • Record an audio track through condenser microphone in a separate session,
  • Punch out errors in audio track for a nice'n'clean('n'fake) "studio" recording,
  • Chop and paste video bits from my favourite angles to match the studio recording.
So it's more of a "music video" for the song than a recording of me playing the song.  If you know what I mean.  I did it previously for Get Back and I reckon that is one of my more memorable videos of recent times.  Next time I will go hand held camera rather than various fixed position angles, seems to have been a popular style of videography for a while.

Meanwhile, true to form, I stumbled across another song "I just had to do".  Van Halen, "Why Can't This Be Love", classic 1986 right when I was into popular music.  During the late 90's I made my engineering team listen to this song non-stop for about 2 hours during a pretty intense phase of a project, partly because I still loved the song, partly because when I pressed stop they would realise that intense work is better then intense work + non stop Van Halen, and partly because of the bestest stupidest line in a song ever: "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time."

First song after Lee Roth left, by Sammy Hagar.  I've still got the bridge to finalise but the rest is mostly done, just gotta get it playing cleaner.  Here is me Hagar'ing it:


Enjoy!
JAW

Friday, 4 March 2016

Shine with three point lighting

Heh, I had to giggle at that title.

I recorded a video tutorial on a song I'm working on, Collective Soul "Shine". I can play it well enough to do a tutorial. I also recorded it using my new three point lighting system that I purchased from ebay late last year for around $AUD150 (2015). I had been looking for an excuse to use it. All my videos for too long have had bad lighting. Well no more!

Definitely an improvement, but more learning required. Firstly, don't position the light so that it reflects off the guitar into the camera. Try not to have such a blotchy red face. Don't illuminate the solar panel on top of my head too much. Oh well, can't help much of that. Makeup? Nah, that's going too far.

Here's a photo of my set up. In a room currently full of junk, I was using a backdrop but it wasn't flat enough and was catching shadows so I stuck with the wall. Things to note:

  • Rear upper light
  • Key light (brighter) on my left as I sat
  • Fill light on my right (dimmer).
  • Camera in front of me and a mirror behind it (camera doesn't have a forward LCD).
  • Zoom H1 mic on small grey tripod. 
  • Dog wondering what I was doing.



Now as for the video, I've kept it shorter than my usual waffle and just got on with it. Enjoy some gen-u-ine Aussie accent. Look it's a great song, give it a crack. Why have I hit the grunge? Dunno, but it is the second grunge song I've done recently.

Here's the video, tab in ASCII follows. I will post the pdf when I get the song recorded for real. Enjoy!


|-0h2-2-2-2-2-2-0-|---------------|-0h2-2-2-2-2-2-5-|--------0-0-2-2--|
|-3-------3-------|--3-3---3--3-3-|-3-------3-------|--3-3-3-3-3-3-3--|
|-2-------2-------|------2-2--2-2-|-2-------2-------|----2-2-2-2-2-2--|
|-0-----------0-0-|---------------|-0-----------0-0-|-----------------|
|-----------------|---------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|---------------|-----------------|-----------------|

|-0-----------|-----------0---2---|-0-----------|-------------------|
|------3------|-------3-----------|------3------|-------------------|
|------0------|-------------------|-------------|-------------------|
|------2------|-------------------|-------------|-------------------|
|-3----3p0h=3-|-(3)p0-3p0-3p0-3p0-|-------------|-------5---5---5---|
|-------------|-------------------|-5----5p0h=5-|-(5)p0h5p0h5p0h5p0-|

|----------------|-------------------|----------------|----------------|
|----------------|--------------1s3--|----------------|----------------|
|----------------|-------------------|----------------|----------------|
|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-(3)-0-3-0-5-------|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-0-0-3-0-5--6---|
|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-(3)-0-3-0-5-------|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-0-0-3-0-5--6---|
|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-(3)-0-3-0-5-------|-0--0-0-3-0-0-3-|-0-0-3-0-5--6---|

|-3----3-3-0---|-----------------|-2--2--2----2-|-2-2-2-2-5-5-5-5-|
|-1----1-----2s|==3---3--3-3-3-3-|-3--3--3----3-|-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-|
|-0----0-----0-|-(0)-----0-------|-------2----2-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|
|-2------------|---------0-------|--------------|-----------------|
|-3----------4s|==5--------------|--------------|-----------------|
|------------4s|==5----------5-5-|-0--------0---|---------0-------|

|-5--------5-5-5-|-5--------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-2---2---5-5-5-|
|---3--3---------|---3--3---------|---3-3-3---3-3-3-|-----3---3-3-3-3-|
|----------------|----------0-0-0-|-----2-------2---|-----2---2-2-2-2-|
|----------------|----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3------3-------|----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|----------------|-5------5-------|-0-------0-------|-0---------------|

|-3--3----3-3-3-|---------------|-5-0------------|-5-0------------|
|-1--1----1-1-1-|-3--3----3-3-3-|------3---3-3-3-|------3---3-3-3-|
|-0--0----0-0-0-|-0--0----0-0-0-|------2---2-2-2-|------2---2-2-2-|
|---------------|-0--0----0-0-0-|----------------|----------------|
|-3-----3-------|---------------|----------------|----------------|
|---------------|-5-----5-------|-0------0-------|-0------0-------|

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

What's happening February 2016

I have been doing hand and wrist stretching for around a month now, and apart for pushing the stretches too far on one occasion it has been great.  My pinky pain has gone away and I have found that the fingering that was previously causing me issues is not causing such a problem anymore.  I'm recommending that we all do hand and wrist stretches.  Don't push too far, and don't stretch when your hands are cold and stiff.  There are plenty of good videos on YouTube about it, my personal favourites are pushing your hands back at the wrist, and stretching your fingers apart.

I'm working on three arrangements again, it always ends up being three, I don't know why. "The Chain" is basicaly done, ready to be recorded.  I saw Kel Valleau do "Smells like Teen Spirit" on YouTube a while back, as always he did a great job.  Was enough to inspire me to have a crack.  I remember that song back in the day, one of the guys I worked with at the time loved singing it.

What inspired me about "Smells like Teen Spirit" was that it is only a few phrases to learn but they looked quite challenging. I've also basically finished with it and am ready to record a video. I reckon I'll write a post about it sometime soon, it's worthy of a story.

While practising it, my wife remembered another grunge song from the era which we both liked, Collective Soul "Shine" which sparked an interest in me.  I didn't notice any existing fingerstyle arrangements of it so I had a quick crack based on some tabs I found.  As with any fingerstyle arrangement adding the melody line is the trick.  And as I've found before, pushing all the music back down to open chords helps, and this particular song suits Drop D tuning.  I still really enjoy Drop D tuning.

And grunge, ha ha, what a style of music :-)

Meanwhile, I am gigging again, at a cafe in Mt Claremont in my home town of Western Australia.  Great to be back out there,  Since I've been away for so long I have found my performance anxiety levels are back to high, and my tunes were rusty.  I played a demo a week back and played a proper session over the weekend.

Perfect crowd for me, correct age group. I love it when I ask if anyone has a band request, and I happen to have a song from that band in my setlist! I kept playing even when there wasn't so many people and they weren't as engaged. I played songs I was very rusty with, which made it a good practise session too.

I ended up playing more or less non stop for about 2 and half hours.  Longer than I should have, but I wasn't experiencing pain or discomfort so why not.  Towards the end I was starting to drop notes and my hands were getting too sweaty so I knew it was time to stop.  I always carry a clean cotton rag to wipe the sweat off my hands and fretboard from time to time while playing, which is a good tip I came across a while back.  Even wiping the strings after playing, the amount of sweat and oil I had added during the session really deadened them.  Later in the week the bass strings were still very dead, so I took them off and gave them a clean, and restrung them backwards.  Another good tip I came across - reversing them gets the fret wear on the other end, exposes a bit more unplayed string and brightens them up.

At the end of my set the cafe owner pressed some folding currency into my hand, I look forward to the next!

JAW