What's Happening Everyone?

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rparker
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What's Happening Everyone?

Post by rparker » July 11th, 2013, 4:51 pm

It's been a while since I've posted. Looks like it's been a while since anyone's posted. I thought I'd drop in, so to speak, and say howdy and see how everyone is and what you've been up to. I hope y'all still playing guitar.

It's been a very strange year again on the weather front. My head situation is about the same. Trying yet another direction soon. In between the bad weather, I've been a studio rat. I've done a couple originals that were much better than my first. I've also done a few covers. Just trying to stay busy and make music.

My studio hasn't changed much. Updated software and a new computer got all put together in a timely fashion as my old music machine died. it gave me plenty of warning, so I can't complain.

Let's see. Guitars are all well. I did keep that Epiphone ES-339 despite it's weird little twist. Epi-gibby was hiding behind the "they all have a little bend" and that's where it stands. Oh, and the electrical issue I was having with it is still there, but I made another change to the gear pile and no longer need it to go through USB.

I added a USA Standard Tele to nearly match the USA Standard Strat. I got the equivalent set of pick-ups and same burst color scheme. big difference is the neck is maple instead of rosewood (or whatever the Strat is.)

As far as playing goes, I've done quite a bit of complete song playing and recording. I've been trying to expand on what I can do each time around. My leads are getting a bit smoother, timing has made a huge jump and there's a lot less of the campfire style playing. I actually kind of miss it. Maybe I'll do a few simple guitar-vocal songs.

So that's me. How's everyone been doing? What's your latest? What have you been playing?
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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notes_norton
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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by notes_norton » July 12th, 2013, 7:58 am

It seems like this board has been slow ever since they changed the look of the board - don't know why that would affect it, but from my point of view, I think it has. It seems the advertisers abandoned it too ;)

I'm in the South Florida summer doldrums, where the winter residents and tourists are gone and that means the locals don't have any money, and that means it's the slow gigging season for me. But I spend the time writing aftermarket style disks and fake disks for Band-in-a-Box. I've done the styles for a pop/dance style disk, a country style disk, and I'm working on a Latin American style disk. I have a European style disk in mind, with styles like Musette, Schlager, Vienna Waltz, PasoDoble, Jota and other requests I've gathered through the years. I will be a challenge, I've collected material and MIDI files and doing a lot of listening to things I don't normally hear - fun!

When the styles get all written, I'll start creating the installation files, web pages and send out announcements.

I enjoy the style writing, because it makes me think out of my normal comfort zone, and that just tends to make my comfort zone larger, and makes me become a better musician for it.

I don't know if you were here when Parker replaced my DF guitar. It was a couple of years out of warranty, and it cracked again in the same place as the one they fixed (also out of warranty, also at no charge). They decided the wood must be defective and replaced it with a brand new one. They even paid for the return shipping. That's excellent customer service.

I ordered another DF with a different pickup configuration (Duncan P-Rails with triple shot rings) and that's supposed to arrive in early August.

Other than that, not much new with me. Still happy and healthy. What more can I ask for? (perhaps fame and fortune <grin>)

Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by Alan Green » July 12th, 2013, 10:20 am

Still teaching 108 guitar students each week. Still playing for the local Guitar Orchestra and a Big Band.

I've played more weddings this year, and I have one more to come in August. I got an afternoon out playing at the Hertford Festival in England last summer, which I'm confident of getting asked to play again; and I'm playing at the Alnwick International Music Festival in August with the Essex Guitar Orchestra. Next week's busy, I'm doing "Our House" at a local School, and playing the Fishmarket Restaurant in Benfleet, with a proper concert to follow at St Thomas's in Brentwood the week after.

No new gear, though.
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Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by jwmartin » July 13th, 2013, 10:59 am

Still playing, mostly bass. The band is still going strong. We had a lull between April and June due to some of us travelling and we didn't beat the bushes to book any gigs. We started hitting up some of our places and we have 3 gigs over the next 3 weeks. I'm getting ready to pack up for one tonight. Haven't been on the computer much after deciding in December to get in better shape. I've lost 48 pounds since then and taken up running, an activity I never thought I could enjoy. Losing the weight has helped improve my singing. I've also been taking vocal lessons for a couple of months. It has made a world of difference.

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rparker
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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by rparker » July 14th, 2013, 6:13 am

I'm having the oddest behavior with my default settings. I'm supposed to get an email when someone posts, but I'm not. I'll have to figure out how to fix that.

@Notes: That is good customer service. Hard to come by these days....unless you pay for it. Then it's still a battle. Good enough to order another with a different configuration.
I was just thinking about BiaB and RB some recently. I'm not sure why I just sort of stopped. It was a fantastic way to get a lot of basic or starting bits done to get MIDI exports for MIDI sequencing inside of Pro Tools. It just sort of left my work flow. I'm going to start in RB for my next song, I think. I did that one song back last Autumn using this method and it worked out well. :/

@Alan: That sounds like a pretty impressive work-load. Congrats on all of that.

@Jeff: Congrats on the 48 pounds! That's really something to be proud of. I think. I had a similar goal, but gotten no-where. Long story. Good on the gigs thing, too.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by Gotdablues » July 14th, 2013, 9:23 am

I'm doing the Bass thing also, almost 2 years and the 6string stays mostly in it's case.
Doing the garage band thing, there's 3 of us and for lack of any other singers, well I'm giving it a go :oooo
But like anything, the more you work at yer singing the better ya get! Or at least a little more confident

Pat

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by notes_norton » July 14th, 2013, 11:36 am

Agree with that, Roy.

When it cracked after it was out of warranty, I was sad. I e-mailed Parker and they said, send it in and we'll fix it. OK - very happy again.

Then it cracked in the same place, it's well over a year past the end of the warranty period, and I write to Parker and ask how I can fix it. They respond with the offer to replace the guitar - for no price. I was amazed.

I love everything about the DF. Ebony fretboard, hardened stainless steel frets, incredible tuning stability, great physical balance and contour, neck scale and radius, and the Duncan mag pups along with the piezo under the bridge.

The only thing I could ever want with the DF is a P90 sound. With the P-Rails I should have that. With the triple shot rings I have 4 configurations
  • P-90
  • Rail
  • Series Humbucker
  • Parallel Humbucker
. Add the Piezo under the bride that can be played alone or blended with any of the mag pups, and I think I'll have the Swiss Army Knife of Guitars. I've heard clips on-line and 'talked' with people who have them, and the reviews are very good.

But it's like a kid waiting for Christmas ;) I was hoping it would come by my birthday in July, but I don't want them to rush the build either.

I use Band-in-a-Box as a sketch pad for writing sequences. Like all auto-accompaniment devices, the output is pretty generic (and has to be) so I export into a sequencer (Real Band will do, I have an old Master Tracks Pro sequencer that works with my brain much faster) and tweak from there. How I make my backing tracks and use them on stage is explained here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html

It's also good for what I call 'mule work' - harmonizing horn/string parts. I can enter the top note, and let BiaB follow the same rules I learned in the Berklee Correspondence course - it saves a lot of time. It's also good for the not-so-important comp parts of a song (if there is an appropriate style). I bought it way back when I used the Atari computer, started writing styles for it since I thought there was a lot that PG didn't cover, gave my styles to other musicians, at the suggestion of a friend, I took an ad out in Electronic Musician mag, and ended up with a second business.

I'm working on a Latin American style disk now, and it's teaching me a lot about the finer points of Musica Latina and also about how to get around the built-in limitations of the BiaB program itself. Never a dull moment.

It's always rewarding to listen to the auto-generation of a song using one of my styles and think to myself, "Wow! I did that!"

Years ago when the summertime got here and the gigs slowed down, I had to take gigs on cruise ships or go 'up north' to work. Not that either one is bad, but there is a lot of band gear to haul around. Especially for a duo that does dance music gigs. Can't leave it in the car overnight, so in and out of motels it goes (gotta get a room 'down and out' facing the parking lot on the first floor) or loading it on a ship which is sometimes intensive. Nothing earth shattering but it's nice to be sitting here in my office, windows open, listening to the rain hit the trees that I planted myself, working on music, and creating something. I like summers in Florida.

OK, sorry for rambling.

Glad to see you back on the board Roy.

Notes
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Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by cnev » July 15th, 2013, 4:52 am

Roy long time no see. What's up? I have to agree with Notes it's been pretty dead but I think it was in decline well before the change to the webpage we have slowly been losing the regulars that used to post. The board definitely needs an infusion of posts soon or it's gonna dry up.

As for me the same ol same ol. Playing with a slightly reformed band. New bass player and singer. We had our first show a week ago and we have one this Friday.

A little heavier music than what we were playing but we kept some songs, doing some GNR, Fuel, Audioslave, Judas Priest, Godsmack, Velvet Revolver, Toadies etc. Not really dancing music more like biker music which will be fine for this week since we are playing a biker bar.

Other than that not much. My job got outsourced to India...that's been fun. I still have a couple weeks left to train my replacements then I am out on the street. If anyone is looking for an SAP consultant for QM or GTS let me know..
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by rparker » July 15th, 2013, 5:51 pm

So, one thing that has happened to me since getting head deep into my "studio" home hobby thing last year. I have gotten very slack at string changes. Aside from my new Tele, I have not changed a set in months. Many are over 6 months old.

@Gotdablues: I still find it surprising that seemingly nobody wants to sing. My impression of that was total opposite 10 years ago.

@Notes: I can imagine summer in Fla being more peaceful. It'd be a booger to budget a year round existence out of 6 months of income. :/

So they're replacing the guitar a year after the warranty? That's astonishing. On the other one, I've been wondering about those P-Rails for a couple of years now. I almost bit the bullet a year or so ago to make an ultimate axe sort of thing using maybe a Gretsch hollow body like an electromatic and then a set of P-Rails and the rest of the wiring mods needed. BUT, I got into recording pretty heavily...which also improved my guitar playing. One big circle.

Cnev, I saw that in another post about the outsourcing. I hope their private arts fall off in mysteriously unsettling ways. Not the workers, just the decision makers. I'm normally not political, but dang. Good on the other band thing. Glad something is working out on that front.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by cnev » July 16th, 2013, 6:35 am

Yea it's our management that is clueless. It's all about the $$ it has nothing to do with competency. Most of these guys have never worked at a company before all they did was take some SAP classes and viola they are qualified.

But it's impossible to compete with someone living in India I couldn't live on that.

It looks good on paper now with the savings but little by little they will start charging for "extras" and soon it will cost more than having inhouse people, but I'll be long gone when that happens.

As for the music and the band it's good but not perfect. The new singer who initially sounded great leaves something to be desired. He's not bad but relies on to many vocal effects to hide his limited range and at times it's over the top. We do have a sound guy who is a pro and he will keep him in check for the show hopefully.
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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by notes_norton » July 16th, 2013, 8:35 am

The vocalist is usually the most difficult position to fill in the band. That's why I learned to sing. I'll never be a great singer, I don't have the pipes for that, but I'm a decent singer - and I stay within my limitations.

My current wife/partner Leilani is an outstanding singer. I met her after my divorce, she was singing in another band, and we became each others groupies. Then both our bands broke up within weeks of each other. So I said, "Let's make beautiful music together" with the best Maurice Chevalier accent I could do.

------

I have a downsizing story that is similar to yours, and hopefully will give you some hope.

After a disappointment with a record company, I tried to get out of the music business. Since I took radio frequency broadband electronics in college, I landed a job as a systems technician for a cable TV company (CATV). (still playing music on the weekends).

A field engineer for the biggest manufacturer of CATV electronics came down to do a job at our CATV company and liked my work so he recruited me as a field engineer (glorified technician with a good title). The gig was great, Monday and Friday were flying days (all over the country) and I worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I could leave late Monday and take the red-eye home on Thursday night instead of flying on Friday. This left weekends open for gigging.

This was when CATV was going from a rural phenomenon to the cities, (Home Box Office and Showtime were brand new, 32 channels were unheard of and MTV wasn't even born yet). But in a few years they built New York, Miami, Chicago, Denver, and other big and small cities and the sales went down and the need for field engineers did too. They laid off up to 15 years, moved manufacturing to Mexico, and there was no hope of me with a few years ever getting called. All the other CATV companies were downsizing as well.

I initially got out of music and took the CATV jobs for security. Well, so much for security - I may as well play music.

So while on unemployment I split my time between looking for a new CATV job (nobody was hiring) and working on getting back into music full time. They never called, I got back into music, and have never looked back.

The first year or so was rough, but as the new band got a reputation, things got better.

Sure I would have made more money if I could have stayed in electronics. I had a company car, fat paycheck, and an engineer title. I didn't like the job as much as being a musician, but I could do it and it wasn't bad. But in the long run, the company did me the best favor by laying me off. I'm much happier as a musician.

As I am getting older, I realize just how short life is. Although the religious leaders promise us an afterlife or reincarnation, this has never been proven. So while I hope that is true, I have to understand that it might not be. So just in case this is it, I want to live this life having as much fun as I can. And in case the priests are right, I'm going to live my life so that if there is a happy hunting ground hereafter, I'll go to the good place.

Gotta cover all the angles ;)

And I really, really, really, really enjoy playing music. It doesn't seem like a job.

A philosopher once said, "If you make your living doing what you would do for free, you will never work a day in your life." And other than the 2 "day gigs" I had (phone man and CATV engineer), I've never worked a day in my life.

So hopefully the music will work for you, and like me, you will consider your termination the best thing that ever happened to you. This is what I wish for you.

Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

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rparker
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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by rparker » July 16th, 2013, 9:27 am

notes_norton wrote: .........
I use Band-in-a-Box as a sketch pad for writing sequences. Like all auto-accompaniment devices, the output is pretty generic (and has to be) so I export into a sequencer (Real Band will do, I have an old Master Tracks Pro sequencer that works with my brain much faster) and tweak from there. How I make my backing tracks and use them on stage is explained here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html
.......
I was reminded about how I used to start some songs early on using RB and BiaB. Mostly RB. I get along with it much better than I do Biab. I used to use it to create entire backing tracks, but then evolved to using it to create just drums and bass and eventually just MIDI for drums. I need to get a recent upgrade. Last Decembers, IIRC. The bass MIDI export from a Real Tracks track became much more usable somehow. I've forgotten exactly how, but some new bit of functionality.

That's pretty much where I left off. Exporting MIDI based on the "finished" outcome of a Real Band session. I'd import the MIDI files into a Pro Tools session and use them to drive Virtual Instruments. Initially, of course, there was little to gain. The big gain for me was to generate all the tracks in Pro Tools and adjust all the levels down to the smallest of details. Pretty easy to add all the fills and make changes in the MIDI, of course. I'm sure most of what I did was possible in RB, but it just worked for me better in PT.

For cover songs, I started off with a Guitar Pro file and export MIDI for the tracks I want. Usually bass and drums. Once in a while a pad instrument or something. Lots of bad GP files out there, so sometimes it's easier to start from scratch.

Anyhow, I had forgotten the ease of using RB to get a starting arrangement done for both new or cover songs. I think I'll fire it up when I start the next one.

I've got a song in limbo right now that I used one of your Styles to get the backbone done in. I've never finished it for some reason. It's always 2nd or 3rd on my list. Odd.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by Gotdablues » July 16th, 2013, 5:41 pm

If my neighbor has lost his job, how long will it be before I lose mine? Outsourcing is bad news. Sorry about the job dude

Most every singer who has answered our ads have wanted to know when our first Gig is, and well we're a garage band sorry. So it's on me...I have learned a couple things though;

Memorize the lyrics!! Reading off a page doesn't work for me. It needs to be automatic and in good sync with my intsrument.

I may be in key when I'm sitting home alone plucking the bass, but when the drummer starts hammering, and the Guitar's a wailing, I begin hollaring and screaming and mess up :? So maybe it's just a matter of getting sound levels right in that respect.

Learning vibrato is a good thing, not only does it sound cool, but it helps me "tune" into the note when I'm off(which is quite often), but it seems to work :)

Pat

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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by cnev » July 17th, 2013, 3:59 am

Pat it's hard to keep everyone interested in a garage band at least it was for me. When I started playing with other people a few years ago thats what we were a garage band and i was perfectly happy doing only that as long as we were actully learning new songs and were dedicated to play at least once per week. We had the same issue with singers, not many decent singers just want to sing in someone's garage so like you we all just did some.

I'm not much of a singer/player but I was able to do a couple songs and the other guys did the rest.
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Re: What's Happening Everyone?

Post by notes_norton » July 17th, 2013, 1:19 pm

In the bands I've been in, the focus has always been "get gigs".

If I auditioned for a band that looked like they were happy in the garage, I would respectfully decline the position. If they were in the garage but focused on getting gigs, then I'd consider everything else.

The surest way to keep a band together is to gig. After all, what good is the music if there is no audience?

At least that's the way I feel about it.

Notes
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Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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