Sweet! What’s the silver faced keyboard/synth with the big knobs?
that is my microKorg-XL with vocoder–the other is the supernova II
What are your primary music instruments you use?
this is the new set up here I moved the desktop computer to the table where the monitors are and switched the monitors left and right. so that gave me floor space–
I think I have reached an all time high (or all time low) with my broadcasting my video music mixes — hehe. I have the OBS program feeding my twitch tv - https://www.twitch.tv/xik6
like all the time — with my set of music songs as the the random playlist and tonite — I have started the Open Broadcaster Software OBS again giving me two instances and I am also broadcasting it out to youtube live https://www.youtube.com/user/h92o— my net connect is like a commercial level so my uploaded the broadcasts both of them — is good and my RAM is 24 gig so the doubling up is possible I have never tried this till tonite
Woo - that looks kinda intense to this geetarist!
However… I do recognise some of it…
You have the same blood-pressure monitor as me…
so yeah the bp monitor I am on the right meds now and it is not out of control — but it is a common enough thing-- what is everyone playing??
Hehe… yeah I meant to do some pictures but work got in the way! Here’s a snap off Zoom between meetings to be going on with… My recording studio, “The Broom Cupboard”, now doubles as my office . I thought that was going to mess things up for me, work/life balance etc. But actually no, it’s worked very well for me. And even better, I’m now working from home forever in this job!
So here are some of my guitars, with some idiot sat in front of them, “working”
That, Mr. Russe, is a wall of beauty and joy behind you. The only thing missing is a Tele.
I have been wondering about the Red Special as an acquisition. How long have you had it? Also, I love the expression “Some of my guitars.” We want to see The Army Of GTRs!
I started playing around the time The Joshua Tree came out.
The last time I traded an instrument in for another one was around the time Nevermind was released.
Since then…well…I don’t buy an instrument unless it gives me a song idea within a minute or so of playing it and I fall in love with it. And how could I trade away something I love, right?
So, going on 35 years of playing, I have a lot of love to give .
Woah! Cool axes. I’m planning a photo session for “the girls” over the next few days… there’ll be teles in that (in fact, one of my main recording guitars over the last year or so is a tele)
The BM Red Special, Mrs R got it for me for Christmas a few years back. For a Queen fan (which is obviously why one gets one - or I did anyway), it’s VERY difficult to play anything other than Queen on it
However, it is a superb recording instrument - it’s got a such a wide range of sounds. It’s used as the only electric on The Dressing-up Box. It sat with rusting strings on that hanger for a while after that. Then I cleaned it up and restrung it last year and it’s the one that got me started recording again on Me Too.
Anyways, we’re off out for … not sure what … but it’s the start of a week off for us so we’re just gonna go for a walk and see what happens!
I’ll be doing the photos over the next few days (I might start with the keyboards and better views of the broom cupboard).
Here’s what’s behind me in the broom cupboard:
It’s a Korg D1 stage piano and a Roland VK-8M organ module.
I’ve had the organ module for years now. Any organ you can hear on my recordings is played with this.
The Korg replaced an old Yamaha student piano a couple of years ago. Any pianos on recordings before 2019 are the Yamaha. Any pianos after that are the Korg.
The Korg is controlling the Roland via MIDI, but I record both as audio only at the moment.
I usually record keyboards mono, I get better stereo mixes for what I want. The main exception would be if the the organ has a big Leslie speaker effect and I want to feature that somehow (it’s the main or only instrument playing).
I used to record stereo (guitar parts from modellors too), and then pan them across some of the stereo. Eg. a piano going left would be panned L100% and R15%, an organ going right would be L15% and R100%. But it was a load of effort for no real advantage I could hear. In fact, when I got brave enough to restrict the lovely stereo coming out of the keyboard down to mono, I found the mixes suddenly started getting a lot wider and clearer.
Some more guitars.
This is the “back living room” the other day:
I’ll do some others focussing on particular guitars later maybe.
(eg, there are two teles in this shot, but you’d never know!)
So, the collection is phenomenal, quite a delicious number of Gibsons I note.
Do you have a “writing guitar”, in other words, one that seems to bring you most of your song ideas? By way of comparison, a lot of the songs I have written in the last (dang) 15 - 20 years came to me on my SG. It has been my main instrument for a very long time. However, the strat copy, which has a somewhat special tuning, has been the source for a couple of what I consider to be my very best songs.
Then in 2016 I got that Gretsch 12-string, and all of my 2017 RPM record was written on it.
The baritone (the black and gold Rivolta) I just got in March. It was a Christmas present, but arrived very late. That thing has proven to be insanely prolific. I have enough material for a few records from it, though once I get into the studio, we’ll see what works and what doesn’t.
Anyway, that’s why I ask: do you have a “writing guitar”?
The “writing guitar” is pretty much the “current acoustic” - in other words, now, the acoustic with the least old strings on!
For the last year or two it’s been that Martin in the living room group shot, but there are others (I’ll get some pics together of those soon - I’ve got some others I’m about to post).
I do write on electric sometimes. But usually that’s just a sound or a riff or something that comes out when I’m noodling … the song itself will probably get written with the Martin, sat on the sofa with an A4 pad and pen, often with a capo - I do tend to write with a capo on the guitar to chuck me into a “non-guitarist” key.
I also write with a different instrument sometimes, piano mainly, but I have done it with bass (or at least I might start off like that, the ole acoustic & A4 pad method usually takes over).
Recently, I’ve started experimenting with writing by just singing over a drum groove. No concrete results yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be fruitful and result in writing lyrics/melodies I wouldn’t usually manage. I expect any song that starts that way will still get finished with the acoustic.
OK, the Stratocasters.
Although I seem to have a lot of Gibsons now, I was always a strat-man from approximately 1980 - 2014 or so.
This pic was taken a few months back, the day the gold one arrived.
From left to right:
This is one of the original Fender Road Worn 60s (2009?). It was my Number One from the day I bought it (until a Les Paul crept up on me in 2014).
I fell in love with it the moment I touched it. I had a real problem with the “fake wear”, though. I had to get over that to buy it. I hardly notice it now.
It’s had a few changes. I had a set of Bare Knuckles Pickups “Irish Tours”, originally bought for Edith (far right). This is the guitar those pickups were waiting for. The pickup covers, switch tip, and knobs are from my old 82/83 “JV” Squier by Fender Strat that I did hundreds of gigs with in the 80s.
This is one of the new Fender Road Worns, I got it last year. It’s got a Pau Ferro fret board, which I wasn’t too sure about but I’m completely sold on now… Mrs R thinks it’s very pretty with that pattern on it, and it sounds/feels like a cross between rosewood and maple board.
This guitar feels somewhat different to Doris, less welcoming and “meaty”. But, for recording, this one is superb “as is”. I used it to play every part on Silver Pillow.
It’s not called “No Name”, just doesn’t have one.
Like Doris, this is one of the original Road Worns, but a 50s model. It’s got a slim V neck profile which isn’t quite to my taste but it sounds fabulous. I’ve put Bare Knuckles “Apaches” in it (again, they were bought for Edith!). I use it for Eric or Ritchie Blackmore impersonations.
Everyone has got an idea of what a “strat” sounds like… this one produces one of those sounds.
This is a “Crafted In Japan” 60s model. I’d been playing Line6 Variax guitars a lot in my home studio set-up. It became obvious I really wanted a nice strat again. My wife offered to buy me one, so we went and tried 30 or 40 of them(!)… This was the one.
I didn’t really like the pickups (Texas Specials), though. They seemed a bit “thick sounding” for me. After a certain amount of experimentation we’ve ended up with Bare Knuckles “Sultans” in this one. It now sounds, actually, more like Hank Marvin than it did when it had the “Apaches” in it.
Edith is a very “smooth” sounding strat - most Japanese Fenders seem to sound smooth/warm to me. I think that’s actually the reason I chose this one on the day, the US/Mexican models all sounded a bit spikey to me… I’ve since learnt to value the brighter top-end more than I did that day, so this isn’t the first strat I reach for most of the time.
However, it is the one that has featured on most recordings. The last one was Edith Finally Gets It. She was used to write the song, I hadn’t played her for a while, hence the opening line … through the right amp, she does Robin Trower’s 70s guitar sound and I was having a 70s Robin Trower jam and I just sang that line over it. Sadly, most of her parts got replaced with a P90s Gibson, though.
I’ve left the bridge floating on Edith - all the others are “decked” with 5 springs.
There are two missing from the above shot.
One, my old JV Squier, is in the loft somewhere.
And then there’s this recent addition. It’s really difficult to photograph, because it’s so shiny, looks gorgeous in the flesh though:
Fender brought out their “Noventa” range this year. I’d got into P90 pickups over the last few years, the strat is my favourite body shape, so… er… oops, bought it.
The jury is still out on this one. It’s a gorgeous guitar, I play it a lot, but I’m still trying to find its voice. I think the Fender “Noventa” pickups (P90s ) are a bit too hot for my liking. I’ve got a spare set from a Gibson SG, I’ll be trying those at the next restring.
And talking of “oops, bought it” …
This is the most recent addition to the family (she’ll be showing up in a “Les Paul” picture some time, but I quite like this one and how the the top caught the light):
This one has no name yet, not all of them do. Got it a few weeks ago. This was a few hours after it had arrived. It had just been restrung with my preferred string gauge.
It has Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups in, which I MUCH prefer to 57 Classics, but I still think I want to put my favourite Bare Knuckle humbuckers in (“Stormy Mondays”). I have a “spare” set in an Explorer at the moment.
with the drumming and singing over it - there are the simple electric piano keyboards that have the drum machine built into them – whenever I sit in front of these I can start the drum in a style and the keyboard voice to a setting and just play— Once I was confined to my bed in a rehab center to heal my ankle break for 3 months my friend brought my cheap keyboard with the drum machine — greatest way to pass time sitting in my hospital rehab bed… long hours alone and nothing to do just put the radio on and jam with that too… — this was over 20 years ago–
the guitars are great — playing gigs in the 80’s is cool I lost all my video audio from before about 92-93 so the video-music art made in the computer labs in the 80’s at college are gone… no way to recover them — images and audio works-
Yeah, I have a Yamaha like that. It’s in the loft now because I have limited space and I’d stopped using it (and, of course, the minute I put it up there, I wanted the Slow Strings it can do!). Early on I was using the drum styles as a metronome but when I started the home recording game I dug out an old drum machine (a Kawai, I used to love that, not least because it had all the preset patterns written out as drum notation in the manual!).
I replaced that with an Alesis SR 16 which is fabulous, but I never really used it in anger because I got my standalone Boss BR1600 recording machine shortly after, which has it’s own drum machine inside it. Now I’ve retired that and moved to a DAW, I got EZDrummer 2 and that does the same job but more easily and with better sounds.
I did take to using the Alesis downstairs, plug it into the stereo and jam along with a guitar. But even that got replaced by finding free backing tracks all over youtube. Now, if I’m just jamming in the living room and want a bit of rhythm, I use EZDrummer standalone like that without the DAW
One thing I had never ever considered, though, was just SINGING over a drum machine, without a guitar or whatever. I usually write by singing over an accompaniment I’m playing - kind of doesn’t matter whether there’s rhythmn or not (depending on the song/genre). I believe a formally trained person would say I think “harmonically” when writing stuff, rather than rhythmically or melodically. I’ve trained myself to look for better melodies, but I’ve never conquered the rhythmical, groove, thing until…
…a couple of months back I was watching loads of Taylor Swift “songwriting” and “in the studio” videos… (I got into her music about a year ago - I’d thought she was just a “plastic pop-star” up until then, since then I’m utterly in awe of her and what she does, and then I found loads of videos of her working on stuff on her own or with Jack Antonoff). On one video she was writing part of a song over just a drum groove, and it was “KERRRCHINGGG!!!” - that’s how you do it!! It just unlocked the rhythmical melody thing for me… I knew it was there and that I used it as a singer, but I didn’t have CONTROL over it like you can if you take the chords away.
There are experiments going on at the moment. I also realised, just last night, that I do much ad lib singing when I’m cooking the evening meal (I cook most of the time because I work at home and she doesn’t get home until 7-8pm) … it’s crossed my mind that a drum machine and speakers in the kitchen could be useful!
It’s really interesting to me what you’re saying about your lost stuff from the 80s. That’s a shame.
It got me thinking. I just about have access to most of what got recorded back then - but I was never into visual stuff so it’s all old cassettes (most digitised by my then sound engineer, he did this a few years back). The thing is though, I don’t seem to be that worried about this stuff, whether I can get to it or not. When he sent the CDs, I listened to them once - took me right back - and then I forgot all about them again.
When you said your stuff is lost, I felt sad. But I also found myself wondering why I’m not worried about mine… When it was a cassette of a gig we did last week, or a current demo we recorded in a studio, it was always “Ooo! OOO!! OOOO! listen to my stuff!”. But now, I’m not that interested in hearing it. I was going to put it all together and post it on alonetone other an account for that band (I’ve done it a few years ago for a later band called Stick, we did a 6 track demo CD in 1999 or so) … but I found he’d bogged up on track markers and wotnot - I got bored and it’s been on hold for a couple of years now… I do have the software to fix it now, so I might go down that path, but I’m not that fussed.
I think it’s because I’ve always regarded what I do as two things:
- a performer (vocals and/or guitar), and each performance is “new” and a moment that needs to be repeated fresh each time
- a songwriter, and each song is a completed thing, usually music and lyrics, that needs a performance (and therefore some sort of record of what needs performing).
My record of the 80s (and before), the one I actually value, is all the “songs” written on sheets of paper. Here’s a bunch laid out sometime last year when I was figuring out what to record next and post here (these piles only go back to the mid 90s, and contain only the ones I actually wanted to record when the pic was taken - some have already been done over the last x years - and we figure that list out by me periodically getting a guitar out and singing them to my wife in a 3-4 hour living room gig!):
The pile nearest the camera is 1994, the next is 1995 (I Give In, recorded last year, is on the top of the pile), the 3rd one along was actually written shortly before the picture was taken and was favourite for “the next one to do” at that time … It’s still on the list, I stopped recording and wrote some more after that.
What I’m trying to say is that I suppose the stuff I create is mostly in my head, and the main record for me is a sheet of paper with lyrics, and maybe chords, written on it. Any recordings that exist are just snapshots of how I thought it could be arranged and performed at a given time.
One of the songs in that 1994 pile is called “Lament”. I remember exactly how it was written, why, and how, and on what guitar. I also remember why there’s a line in there called “trimmed to the roots by the practical gardener”. But there’s a middle 8 that a) I couldn’t remember how it went, even though there are chords written down, b) some of the words were complete tosh… I also thought the title was crap… Mrs R went “but you MUST do it” when I played what I could remember. She was expecting the acoustic thing she’d just heard, with maybe the middle bit sorted out. But I knew there was something else in my head, and always was. Anyway, I did what she said, and I recorded “The Practical Gardener” last year (the middle section is half the original middle 8’s lyrics using the chords written down, but without what I know was some sort of Jethro Tull -like “jig” vibe to it). I’m really really proud of this recording, but I know it’s just a snapshot and it could be done better, and, well… it’s done its job and I don’t mind if it disappears and I have to play it again to make it live and breath again… if that’s what I wanted.
Talking of “lost”, actually, I nearly threw all these songs away in 2001 or so when I was suicidal and finally cottoned on that it was my “enslavement” to music that had helped put me there and was definitely keeping me there. Someone talked me out of putting the couple of guitars I had then and the carrier bags full of songs on a heap in the garden and burning them. They made me put them in the loft instead. I spent a very happy couple of years being an artist instead of a musician. It was my soon-to-be wife who’d met an artist and then found guitars in the attic who talked me into doing music again (look at the living room she now has to suffer!)
Funnily enough, although I appreciate that people hearing these songs now go “I’m so glad you didn’t burn them”, I know I still wouldn’t have regretted it even now. I am, and always have been, in a position of “who cares? I can write some more”. I don’t record riffs like some people do. I just tinkle along, and if a song starts I get interested. Otherwise, I’m happy to let riffs, chord sequences, etc go. I can always write more. Lyrics or titles, slightly different, they get written in notebooks or on the backs of envelopes or shopping lists. If the ones on envelopes or whatever scrap don’t get used in a week or so, they get binned/recycled like any other rubbish (not by my wife, though, she’s a writer, and knows that scraps of paper with scribbling on have hidden meaning).
Writing this out… I’ve realised that you possibly regard the lost audio in the same way as I do my stuff, snapshots, and in fact you don’t feel as sad about it as I did when I first read it! Same as me, you wouldn’t mind hearing stuff from back then, but once you’d heard it again, ok fine, I’m doing other stuff now.
This has been a whole bunch of waffle - and I nearly deleted it… But I’m always really interested in how other creative minds work… and indeed how mine works!! (I still don’t know!)… and I decided to start listening to “strung together with superstrings” just now. At first, I did not get it, or anything from it, at all… (I’m a two verses and choruses sort of guy, or endless blues noodling on a guitar while sat on the sofa!) … but I left it playing while I typed… then something happened and I felt “Whoa!” … so I went back to that window, checked it out and discovered the final edit of the whole performance. So I listened again from the start, and I realised the “whoa” moment had given me an “in” (it’s actually 3:04 to 3:30 or so that kicked it off for me). It’s just finished as I type now. Emotionally, there’s been some amazing moments while listening or letting it drift over me. OK, found my way over to your youtube… I’ll be interested to see the visuals that go with it.
OK, got to get some food or something!