What do you mean there's no undo?!?

I had a disaster. I have been getting along nicely with my GT-10.  I even made my own preset. I loved that preset. It was becoming my sound. My precious.

The other night, I had a few. I decided I needed another preset and that I would derive this new preset from my precious.  So I poke at the buttons to copy the preset. Without so much as an are you sure, I copied the shitty preset I wanted to overwrite on top of my precious. Now I have two shitty presets and my precious is gone. Crack the manual, look in the index for Undo.  Futility in action.

Of course, because I'm a typical lazy-ass, I never actually used the supplied patch librarian software.  So it's gone. Gone. Gone. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

So today's lesson in the rock and roll school of hard knocks is make sure you have a backup. That may take different forms for different kinds of gear but when you need to get back something you created months ago you'll be thankful.

[Edit: minor typos]


Ceilings Count Too

Just a quick update on my acoustic treatment project.  In a previous episode, I had built 5 panels.  Until this weekend, I had only hung 4 of them.  I postponed hanging the last one because I had to do something with the ceiling light fixture that was almost directly over my listening position.

This weekend, I went to the Home Despot and picked up a few knick-knacks to finish the project.  These were a hanging lamp, some wood-screw eyelets, some hooks and drywall anchors.

First, I took out the existing ceiling light fixture, and replaced it with the hanging lamp (which incidentally was chosen because it was cheap at $30 not because I have any delusions about my interior design skillz).  I deliberately did not cut the length of the cord down, instead ran it over to a hook I anchored in the ceiling a few feet to the left.  Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, I did this work with the power off.

With the light out of the way, I set myself to the problem of hanging the panel from the ceiling.  I had been mulling on the problem for a while but still only had a fuzzy idea about how this was going to work.  First, I drilled some pilot holes into the panel boards close to the corners and screwed in 4 eyelets.

Now, I had no confidence that I'd be able to put four hooks into the ceiling in exactly the right spot for these four eyelets.  It is one thing to be exacting with something on a workbench, it's quite another to be exacting while standing on a chair, driving anchors into drywall over your head while trying not to knock anything over (see I wasn't going to dismantle the studio again for this).  Anyway, I put four drywall anchors into the ceiling at around the right spots and put the hooks into the anchors.

Next, I took some wire (of the sort you find on the back of picture frames) and, consulting the interubez for knot tying lessons,  I made four pieces with loops on either end (about 10cm long).  One end loop on the eyelet, the other end to be hooked onto the ceiling hooks.

Can I hear the difference?  That would be a resounding yes.  Countless times have I read the words, "tighter sound" and wondered that actually meant.  Now I know.  Tighter is exactly the right adjective.



Gear acquisition syndrome. Seems to be a problem many people have but it is particularly pernicious among musicians. Magazines and other blogs telling us of new toys that feed the fantasy of musical magic. Different people lust after different things. Some lust after the perfect vintage guitar or amp, some lust after modules for their synths, others collect stomp boxes, and others (like me) collect software.

Of course, when you get a new toy, there is a kind of responsibility to learn how to best use it. Sometimes this is relatively easy (a new guitar will not pose a huge challenge) and other times it's a huge investment (as in moving from Garageband to Logic). In the latter cases, the siren song of GAS will start to call before you develop mastery over the new toy. Soon the new toy becomes an old-new toy, and eventually just an old toy.

I have been lusting after a new effect from Electro-Harmonix called Freeze (to say nothing of their other super sexy stompboxes). This lust has been growing for a few weeks now. Until this weekend. I was waiting for my computer to churn on something or other and I started pushing buttons on my GT-10 (Boss). I'll spare you the details but the GT-10 has whole bunch of effects (maybe 42ish) and one of them is called "Sound Hold". Played a bit with it and damn if it didn't do what (I think) Freeze does. Shit's been under my nose the whole time! The only thing to do is break open the manual (OMG where the fuck is the manual?!?) to figure out how to map one of the pedals to the hold function... Fast forward a few minutes and I have something close to what I had imagined.

Damn thing has been in my studio for more than a year.

So while you're all drooling over the press releases from NAMM, consider taking the ideas and possibilities presented by new gear and ask yourself if you can make something similar with the tools you already have. You just might surprise yourself and save a few bucks at the same time.

But really, who am I kidding.  I'll end up buying a Freeze soon enough.


I have become one of them

As I sit in a local Starbucks, shortly after sunset on New Year's Eve, waiting for my progeny to finish their progeny stuff it seems as good a time as any to write one of those reflective, retrosoective entries that fill the tubez at this time of year. Fuck that.

I will, however, talk about one really cool thing from the past year...

2010 is the year I went pro.

Actually that's not the cool thing. The cool thing is Ramen Music. Ramen is the brain child and dream of Sudara Williams and its aim is to deliver a curated feed of good music to subscribers all while giving most of the money to the artists involved.

One of the ways in which Sudara differs from me is that he actually gets stuff done. I know it hasn't always been easy for him but he's building something cool and deserves a lot of credit.

So as a New Year's gift to you, I offer my links to the first two issues:

Issue #1
Issue #2

Happy New Year!

The sharp eyed will notice that one of my tracks appears in the inaugural issue. Thus my "pro" remark.