Saturday, November 30, 2013

This is a Crack

I ran Demon's cracks by the all knowing members of TB [that was a joke]. Good news is that the cracks by the neck are just finish related [and a sign of a good finish job] but someone suggested I look deeper into the damage in the image below; I'm glad I did.

Beyond the fucked up screw holes [one is beyond repair, and three more are cracked] the wood you see coming through the black paint is a crack. What I thought was cosmetic damage is actually structural. Then there's the matter of the totally disconnected tone pot... 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Is this a Crack?

There's another one on the other side of the neck that's not as big.  Demon has other scars and believe me, but as long as he's structurally sound I'll keep him. I'd like to keep him for at lease ten years, but these cracks sure look ominous.   

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Igor's Action

Playing around on Demon all week has given me new eyes for Igor, mainly I realized the fact that Igor's action is ridiculously high. I went searching on my night stand of bass pieces and dug out all my allen wrenches.

I remember adjusting his action once before [just by adjusting the bridge] and I could of swore it was the shiny tiny allen wrench; but alas, I tried it and it seemed a hair too big. [This is were the situation gets perplexing.] I have four allen wrenches, two larger one that adjust truss rods, and the "shiny tiny" one and "an uber itty bitty" one [which I honestly don't know what it fits] none of them will suddenly work, and I know I've done this successfully before.

With the Allen wrenches worthless, I decided to loosen Igor's strings and twist the action lower by hand. 
[This actually worked.] 

See the little feet under what looks like hammer heads? That's what I twisted down by hand. 

Look I'm a Demigod!

The strings they put on Demon are of a very light gauge [says the bassist]. Where four of Lula's strings are wrapped only three of Demon's are. The three that aren't wrapped are just the tiny core of the string, and I have no problem fretting them.

I've come to realize that if you put too much pressure on a string you can distort the sound. So I need to learn to light up and [or] get some larger gauge strings.
[Pardon the title, I've just been wanting to use the word demigod for awhile.]    

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Have Strong Hands

I went back to the A# chord that I talked about earlier:  I've found two ways to play this decently. Option one is to [flat out]cheat and use my thumb on play the end string you play. Using this it actually sounds really good, but I've had people point out that it's impossible to change chords swiftly in while using your thumb.

The other option is to play a bar chord [or barre, I've seen it spelled both ways]. To pull off a bar chord you lay your finger along fret, so that it covers most or all of the strings. This acts kinda like a capo [I'm told] and is a somewhat advance chord to pull off.
A capo.

Starting out on bass has given me the finger strength needed to actually pull this off decently. [I just have to work around my short fingers around them.] With my pointer finger occupied, the rest of the chord is surprisingly easy to manage. The lone difficulty is that if a string under your finger joint it will end up muted. [My hands may not be tiny, but my fingers are far from long.]    

These are Hard

Chords are hard. A chunk of it is from maneuvering your fingers into the right configuration on the fretboard, but a whole other part is getting the chord to ring out clearly. You can tell if unintentionally mute a string, or if your finger slips to the wrong fret [so that it rings out horribly] but getting it all to ring out clearly seems nearly impossible.

I can understand now why [when isolated] bassists who started out as guitarists tend to sound messy. I wonder if I should lighten up on my standards.      

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Guitar Wrist

I came to notice when playing Lula, my fretting hand's wrist position was horrendous. I was hoping that it was just because Lula has a thick neck, but Demon has Ibanez's thin neck, but I still have deplorable wrist position. [I did see a review that said because Ibanez does there neck so thin they have to compensate by having a wider fretboard.] 

I think part of it is that my hand is stressed out while trying to figure out [and pull off] a chord. [You really can't use the bassist's mindset of 'relax' while playing.] So far the only solution I've found is go slow and correct my wrist only after I get the chord right.     

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What's in a Name?

I had The guitar shipped to my [least] favorite music store, mainly because I didn't realize I could test out his [the guitar's] electronics at home. Given my horrid experiences with Western Shore music stores in the past, I walked in with my teeth gritted, and my guard up.

Shockingly, I didn't need it. I had it un-boxed in the store and when I asked to check out the pick ups and they asked what I'd be plugging into; they didn't flinch, or comment when I said I'd be running it [I refer to my instruments as objects in front of people] through a bass amp.

I held my guitar by it's neck as I carried him over to the amp section of the store, and I couldn't help but notice that his strings felt older than dirt. When the employee tried to tune it, but was clearly a lost cause. After all but cussing out the store that sent it, he handed it over to the guitar tech, and put new strings on it! [I still can't believe they let me walk out without paying for them!]

With new strings I checked the neck for dead spots. While I was doing this the employee who tried to tune the guitar earlier came back and started chatting with my mom. Come to find out this was they same employee who gave me crap nearly two years ago for buying Igor [read playing Southpaw]. He came to explain how it sucks playing left handed because there are so few left handed guitars to choose from. As a dude who makes him commissions off sales, I can understand where he's coming from; but as a player, it's still not cool.

[Long story short, buy a bass from GC and get treated like crap. Buy a Guitar from GC and get treated like a customer.]       

I Christen Him

I shall call him Demon!  Reason #1, His color and finish remind me of my favorite demon and [spoiler alert] shooting star Calcifer of Howl's Moving Castle.
Reason #2, Look at these marks: 
It has clearly been to Hell, or through it, or something akin to it.

Reason #3, My snark tuners likes him. Remember that tuner I've all but declared dead? If [and only if] the Tuner's clamp smacks one of Demon's strings on the way down [but it doesn't stay under the clamp] the tuner will work perfectly, but only Demon, and only if I don't move the tuner.

[You know how I said I envision Igor as an old man who yells at me in an Eastern European accent? I see all my necked instruments like that. New Guy is a awkward middle schooler, Lula is my two Great-Grandmother,  and Demon is a stoned teenager.]
   [Yup, I've run out of stuff to say, but I feel like I should say something because I have all these photos.]

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Web Friend is awesome! [I hope you don't mind that  I linked you straight to the chord maker/finder thing.] 
This baby can give you pretty much any chord [I have no idea if that's true] or you can but the dots anywhere on the fretboard and have the program tell you if you've made a chord or not. But beware that when you put the setting on 'left' [meaning handed] it just flips it over as you were just playing a right handed guitar left handed [which I'm learning is kinda the norm].  

More Gifts Coming

I hit up Best Buy for a school project [no really] and long story short is that I'll have a few more CDs to review come the gift giving season.

I don't have them sitting in front of me right now [for obvious reasons] but I'm getting a Korn Album, a Black Sabbath CD and a Megadeath Album. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hello Miss. Luck

Lady Luck has decided to smile on me recently, I can use my bass amp with my guitar! My stomach was in knots because I had my new guitar sent to the local GC [which treated me like crap in the pass] but I don't have a guitar amp so what could I do?

You're probably asking why I'm didn't just think to use my bass amp? [Little known fact that should be a widely known fact, you can't play a bass through a guitar amp, seriously it might blow.] So I just assumed that it was just vice versa with a guitar and a bass amp, but it appears not! behold a video:
  [And if you were wondering what happens the other way around] 

I'm Getting Headphones

I ran into the local Tuesday Morning [like T.J. Max or Marshal's, alot of random stuff at discount prices] looking for a cover that would fit my new laptop. Lo, and behold the laptop covers were in the electronic section, not far from the ear buds and head phones.

I hate ear buds [and I always have] they consistently give me a headache and I always found that I've had to turn them up too loud in order to enjoy them. But I've never had a set of headphones, so I started looking at the plugs, while I rattled off a list of reasons to get a pair in my head [They could work with my amp, I've been flying a fair bit; and I'm always jealous of the people who bring their own headphones, they could work for school; since I'm current dragging that single ear bud I posted about ect]. But alas, all the the head phone only had the standard 3.5mm jack. [My amp needs the other size, don't ask me what it is, but it's the other bigger size.]

My mom noticed that I was looking at headphones and quickly drags me to the clearance section [where I ironically find a laptop case]. Sitting in clearance is $50 head phones with converter jacks! I'm abit leery of the price but my mom keeps insisting that they are a great brand [Koss] and she wants them to be a Christmas present. I couldn't argue with that, so I'm getting headphone for Christmas [and my mom even asked if I needed them now]!      

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's that time of year again!

It is that time of year that my fingers get cold. I've posted about this a few times before so I'll spare you the details. I have found [a quick ass] solution, I rarely turn on the heat in my bedroom [aka the music room] so in the winter I use this mattress heating pad. This heating pad is really neat where is even has extra heating coils for the foot of the bed.
The pad has a 12 hour shut off, so I just crank it about 12 hours before I have to get up in the morning. [No, really, this is related to bass, wait for it.] On week nights I always play before bed, so I've learned to spend a few minutes with my fingers on the heating coils to warm up my hands. Its sometimes [always] drives me up the wall how long it takes for my hands to warm up, but for as worried as I am about proper wrist position, and getting ear plugs, I should not be complaining.  

I See a Trend Here

I have my guitar. I want to talk about my guitar, and how I got my guitar, but I think I''ll talk about something else now:
I got Igor 1/3/12, I got New Guy fifteen months later, and now seven months after that I have an electric guitar. I must have seasonal GAS or something. I think it's connected to Winter Blues, since I do rely on playing instruments for emotional support.

[I really need to make sure this doesn't happen next year.] 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Ears Work!

I never thought this day would come, but I did it. I found the same note without totally cheating! I was playing random note [noodling] when I just changed string without much thought. I found that two frets [one above the other] that sounded good next to the note I just played. I played all three notes over a few times and settled on the two notes I thought sounded best.

They were both F#! I didn't count it off or anything! [well I did at the end but that doesn't count.]   

It's Mocking Me

This guitar is on for $69. I haven't the room for it, and I'm pretty sure I've posted about the dangers of playing upside-down, but it sure is pretty.

  • And has the fretboard I want.
  • Actually it's pretty much Igor in guitar form.
  • And you can see the grain in the wood!
  • And it's yellow! 
  • Shit, with tax and shipping it's under $100.
[Someone please buy this before I do! Too late.]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Whammy Bars

There's a stick on guitars, they make noises called dive bombs and the like. I've heard it be called a Whammy, Vibrato, or Tremolo Bar. The video I checked out earlier was kinda useless explaining how it works, but this guy I have a college class with [I'm starting to find a guitarist in every class] said it was just like vibrato [where you wiggle a string with your finger] but it does it to all the strings at once.

It works by shaking the bridge, which explains why several people reported some guitars going out of tune when they used the Whammy Bar alot.   

Different Mindsets

Guitars and bass guitars may sound like they're from the same family, but let me tell you, the mindsets are totally different. I decided to find out how a whammy bar works [I'll post about that later] and came across an interesting video:

First off I have to sit through "How to get Good Feedback" [this kinda made my head implode]. In week two of bassist 101, you should learn that feedback is akin to fret buzz and it is therefor bad. [I mean I'm sure some punk/metal bassists use it, but it makes it difficult to 'play the silence'.] I'm learning that guitarists [tend to] want to fill up as much space as possible sound wise, maybe they think it covers up mistakes?  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unexpected Pro

I got a new laptop! This one has a web cam and microphone so I can do this!
[Woo Hoo!]

[This title is misleading...]

Call me Alice

I have fallen down the rabbit hole of electric guitars [and my, what a bazaar rabbit hole it is]. The good news is that there seems to be a shit load of resources for guitarists, the bad news is that I have no idea where to start.

Judging by [what seems to be] the major influx of non-bassist musicians joining TB, it's the web's awesome-est resource [no bias here]. I going to have to spend a long time digging.       

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So Many Option

I looked up the A# chord that's been running around my head, there are alot of options. I found this one that seemed easy to remember, so I tried it out on Lula: [pardon the fact it's written in my log.]

The x means you don't mean the string and the dots mean you do. I just copied down what I found on the internet so I have no idea which string is which [farther confused by the fact I'm dyslexic and I'm playing Lula upside down].

What I did discovered is that what guitarists do is physically wicked hard. See those three dots in a row I underlined? I can't figure out how to play them together. Your fretting hand [and thus your fingers] are sitting vertical while these are all on a horizontal line. I can't get my finger where they need to be, so there is no fret buzz. Each finger pad ends up alittle higher then the finger before it, and I can't get a clean sound.

There's also the question of how to play five notes together when you only have four fingers. I thought guitarists only moved their fretting hand when they changed chords, but I guess this proves me wrong.  

I picked up a pick [again]

This time I tried picking on Lula, and I found I kinda don't mind using a little plastic pick with her. The kinda refers to how I have to hold the pick in order to be happy. [I'm using the same picks that inspire this post.] Normally your fingers hold the wide part of the pick, while the string makes contract with narrower corner of the triangle.

I've found that if I pick with one of the wider corners hitting the string, it makes a more solid sound which I can totally stand.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stamp Review

I broke out the stamp I got so that I could get Lula's strings and the Steepenwolf CD with free shipping. It's a stamp of a four fret portion of your six string guitar [or as I cleverly discovered, turn it on its side and you have a bass stamp].

It's abit on the small side, but you really should have a problem seeing it. [Says a 20-year-old] My biggest complaint is that you have to watch pressing the stamp evenly so that all of the lines show up. You also shouldn't plan on trying to make a whole fret board by repeating this stamp in a row, you just can't get them to line up easily, as you will notice below: [But fear not! They make a stamp for your whole fret board!]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A New Step Forward

I have another song running around my head [another solid blues tune, if this ends up being my one trick, I am 100% okay with that]. I found the root note on Igor [A#] but I found it super hard to focus because no matter what Lula sounded like an acoustic guitar, which was too far from the sound I wanted in my head.

As it stands now I have no potion but to power through and figure out some different A# chords.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuners Wars has started selling different types of tuners. Previously they only offered one kind of clip on, a planet wave brand [even though I've learned to not trust a brand, even if they make one stellar product--I'm looking at you Rotosound] but now they have quite a few options.

My snark is being to crappy that even the TB members agree, the told me to try repositioning the clip, being careful of other noises in the room, and to try and squeeze the head and steam of the tuner together. The last one took the tuner from totally dead to kinda working [as in it would read the bass, but nothing above the 5th fret] but it was impossible to use when you're pinching the tuner with one hand, and it still won't read open strings.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lula's Fret Markers

Have I said Lula came from the Toys R US? Probably her shortest coming is that fact that her fret markers are in the wrong spot. Moving up the neck from her body you notice that her first fret marker is on the 12th fret [and it's only one marker] and they alternate every two or three frets.

This annoys me to no end so I tried to properly mark them with a gel pen [staples of 90s childhoods for females] It just ended up scratching the fret board. Maybe the ink was all dried up, but I tried. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bronco 40 Tuner Note

The tuner will not work unless you have a working 9-volt battery in your active bass [battery is on necessary for passive bass].

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Musical Debates

I got one of the best compliments, after the show at the post show Denny's trip. One of my friends is a One Direction fan [I know they have one of those cute fandom names, but I'm too lazy to look it up] and apparently they had dropped a single earlier that day; as a result she was begging someone with a smartphone to play the new song.

This lead to some mocking from others in the group and I felt [punch drunkenly] compelled to point out that they might become The Beatles one day. My statement got under the skin of one member of the group who replied with an irate "What?!"

I pointed out how so many rockstars got their start as British Invasion boy bands [The Beatles, Then Animals, The Rolling Stone, The Who...] He brashly pointed his finger at me and started "You are--" but then thought about what I said, changed his demeanor and said "You have a good taste in music, but I disagree with you."

[And that world wide internet is the best compliment I have ever received.]    

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How Many Guitarists Does it Take?

Beyond being a really chill band, there was something about The Maine's stage present that didn't sit right with me. It should be a no brainer by now that I pay attention to the bassist in bands, but I also take note of where my ear and eye are drawn to. With The Maine my ears didn't notice, and my eyes couldn't keep up with the bassist.

I mean it makes some sense, [somewhat] all of the other band members were anchored to a mic stand, so the bassist was making up for it, by running around the stage. It might of come off better if he was actually bouncing around the stage in time with the song, but in reality they were just pulling off a backwards The Who performance. [Which is the opposite of my personal taste.]
Did I mention that three guitars on stage at all time? [And no I don't count the bass as a guitar in this sense.] It just looked bazaar to me, and didn't sound good to me either. I was grateful when my friends wanted to leave, just when they invited a band member from the opening bad on stage, with guitar in hand. [And no other band members made any move to hand off their guitars to a waiting roadie.]   

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Old

Half way though the show it hit me, I love music; I love it enough to try and care for my hands so I can play as long as possible, so I might as fuck take care of my ears so I can hear it all.

I need to get ear plugs.
Maybe it's because I've had several people comment on how mature I am recently, but this realization hit me with a feeling of melancholy. I can still hear that teenage part of myself saying "earplugs are for dorks" but I know my mature self is saying the right thing. I even had to make a post about it on for a pep talk. [They said listen to my mature self, rather shockingly.] I figured that I can get them in a flesh tone [I'm talking custom earplugs here, I refuse to half ass this] and with my hair down, no one will notice them in besides me. My amazing mother has already okay this to be my big Christmas gift this year, so all that's standing in the way is my immature self.    

Thursday, November 7, 2013

With Knowledge Comes Gult

Have I brought up the opener band Lydia enough? If you can't tell, I was very impressed. This was my first real show in over a year I have been to. [By real I mean with opening bands.] In that year I got the majority of my music fix from Youtube, and spending way too much time on

I spend alot of time in the "Band Management" [no, I'm not in a band] sub-forum, I'm just easily entertained by the drama. One thing I have learned is that touring bands don't make shit. They tour for the exposure, and if the band didn't have a big enough nest egg, merch sales dictates whether or not the band eats. The tickets for that show was only $20, so this was definitely one of those tours. I thought about it during the show in passing, but I totally forgot it when I was debating getting a Lydia CD for only $5. [I didn't bite] the result was loads of guilt that still follows me.
Sure I could buy it online for more money, but most of that money would go to the record company instead of the band's pocket.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"He's Cute!"

I went to Anberlin with a couple girl friends, as I result I watched them eye a gaggle of guys, and pick out the cutest to 'marry' [this is all said in unquestionable jest]. I don't understand the fun of this at all, but I suppose it evens out the gender imbalance so I let it be.
Not what they mean
I've never played along before, but after being impressed by The Lydia's drummer skill I had something to say on the ride home. Come to find out my friends are totally willing to let me steal their imagionary husbands when I want to do some rhythm section pratace.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Who Made the Line Up?

I like music, live music, even though I don't get to shows much. This recent show and some of my favorite artists announcements have lead me to ask: Who [The Hell] is making these line ups?!?!
When I was growing up [all of ten years ago] the energy level of the band went up as the night got later. Now a days Skillet [read Christian metal] is opening for Nickelback [...yeah...they haven't come out with a solid rock song in what, five years?]. Anberlin was pretty much the same deal, the headliner was The Maine who from my five minutes of Youtube searching, played nothing but slower love songs. Every single person who knew Anberlin thought they were playing last, but they didn't I some people [including me] left early.     

Monday, November 4, 2013

Songs from High School

I've found that  looking back on what songs I liked growing up, I can point out two clear themes. A heavy or fun bassline, or the lyrics spoke to me as an angst filled teenager. There are three songs I will always remember for lyrically being my rock: Suddenly by the late [great] Superchick, and The Resistance and A Day Late both by Anberlin.

I've been wanting to see Anberlin for years but have never had the opportunity, until now. I was alittle worried because I didn't know their new stuff, and I found myself singing along to a song off their least favorite album [song was The Resistance, album was New Surrender]. When they broke into the exact song three songs in, I concert sang [other wise known as screaming] as loud as I could. That moment made this one of the top 8 concerts of my life [I've been to conversationally three hundred shows]. A hand full of songs later they played A Day Late.

[So let me get this straight
say now you loved me all along
what made you hesitate?
to tell me with words how you really feel?]

If one song could sum up my love life in high school, it would be this one. Five years down the road I laugh at my teenage self, but yelling those lyrics at the top of my lungs had to be one of the most joyous and therapeutic moments of my life. [Wow going to uni is getting to me.]                 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Uncle [Part II]

Tangled up in knowing the songs, is having the stamina to perform it acutely. Beyond the well known stick toss [that's well known right?] the other way to be flashy is to be quick. The drummer's sticks should either still or a blink and you miss it blur [if the drummer is moving to position his sticks over the next drum that's fine]. Something about this quick drumming is always eye grabbing.

Maybe it's because it's been ages since I've seen a band [and that last band was Rush] but I was really impressed with all the drummers I saw at the Anberlin show. [But The Maine's drummer might of just had me with his hair, it's gained another foot since this photo.]           

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Uncle [Part I]

When I was four years-old when I got a child size drum set. My uncle is [or was, his drum set has been collecting dust for close to ten years now] a drummer. And judging by vast number of middle age locals who talk about seeing my uncle in shows, he was pretty good. Inspired by Neil Peart, my uncle took my family from it's long standing history from music lovers to musicians.

My uncle's days of performing was over by the time I was born, but I remember watching him drum along to the radio every time we were in the car together [he was who I got the drum set from]. From him I learned what makes a good drummer.

I've found several saying on the internet stating that the drummer is the backbone of a band, and it's true. If any other band never sucks, it may take a minute to realize it, and even then you can sometimes just blame it on a bad mix from the sound guy. For drummer, you either know how to play to play the song or you don't. There's no masking a crappy drummer, I've been utterly blown away how unrecognizable my favorite band's songs were when the original drummer left. To tell this all you need is a set of ears, or a body that can pick up vibrations.

[This is getting insanely long, and I'm nowhere near where I want to end it, also did you know when I Googled Neil Peart it told me his height? How weird is that? I've never seen that when I've Googled anyone else.] 

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Made Pictures!

Play down, following the white path.
I don't know the differences between Riffs and Grooves. I know they're both short collections of notes that flow in some form, but I don't know the difference [or if there is one]. Regardless I've been playing one [or both] of them. I've just been noodling around, but I've made pictures of what I did!

As you can see I didn't pay attention to what [frets/notes] I was playing, but was more interested in the feeling of the [thing, see above] and how the notes were related to each other via their location on the fret board. [Hindsight is telling me that was a dumb idea.]
Same deal as the other picture.

The first one seems sharp, or had more of a cutting feeling to it. The second combination had a softer feeling to it.  I think the latter had a softer sound because on the G string I was [probably] playing around with the same note, only natural and sharp, instead of jumping a full step as I did with the first.