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cooltouch

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  1. After foolishly selling an Ibanez 2455NT several years ago -- a big, blond jazz guitar built in 1977 -- a couple years ago I bought another Ibanez. I researched what was available in my price range. I looked at Epiphones and Godins and Gretches and Ibanezes. And I finally decided that the Ibanez AG85 fit the bill. Basically an AG95 with chrome instead of gold hardware and with ACH pickups that are supposedly one step down in quality from the Custom 58s found on the AG95. I ended up buying a minty AG85 from Guitar Center at an unbelievably low price. Tell you what, these supposedly less desirable pickups lack nothing in the tone department as far as I'm concerned. Like the AG95, the AG85 is built from bubinga, a highly figured red-hued wood from Africa. I was surprised -- I could actually hear the wood. It gives the guitar a very nice character that I've never experienced before in a hollow body. And as much as I'm loathe to admit it, the AG85 sounds better than my old 2455NT did. And that old thing was a nice sounding instrument. So I'm very pleased with this guitar and I can recommend it. I shopped around a bit before settling on the one I ended up with. The AG85 has been discontinued for a while, but the newer ones (2013 and later) had a silkscreened logo on the headstock, which I didn't want. The one I bought has an inlaid logo -- a circle with lightning bolt. Here's a pic of my old Ibanez 2455NT: Ibanez 2455NT by Michael McBroom, on Flickr And one of my AG85: Ibanez Artcore AG85 by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  2. If it were my SG, I'd replace that bridge with a real Tune-O-Matic and be done with it.
  3. Well, of course the outcome is audio, but this ignores for the most part the process. It is an oversimplification by referring to it as "digital."
  4. This thread appears to have gotten quiet, but I thought I'd go ahead and add a tune I've been working on. Here it is at SoundCloud: This tune is an instrumental and was created in Band in a Box using its MIDI instruments. Then I imported the MIDI file into Cakewalk's Sonar Platinum, where I used Cakewalk's TTS-1 synth for most of the voices, and the Sforzando VSTi for the melody instrument. Once I had the mix pretty much set the way I wanted it, I exported the sounds to a .wav file, which is what you're listening to in the link above. Actually, it's more or less complete. There's really only one aspect about it that I'm thinking I might be able to improve on, and that's the EQ on the melody instrument, a nylon string guitar. It sounds a bit too bright to me, but I'd like to know what others think. As for the rest of the mix, I'm open to suggestions. I think it's worth noting that I found a website a while back that gave a quick method for improving ones mix, and it wasn't one I'd been using. Before taking this guy's advice I had been setting all my instruments dead center in the mix. So they ended up all piled on top of each other, and it sounded like it. This guy said that the instruments needed to be separated from each other, so that's what I started to do. In the case of this tune, the bass and drums are located approximately in the center -- the drums are located dead center and the bass a few ticks to the right. The solo guitar is located a few ticks to the left, and the rest of the instruments are located much further from the center. The piano is hard right, the rhythm guitar is hard left, and the vocal Oohs are about 45 degrees to the left. I used a BlueTubes BT Equalizer Model GEQ-12 on the melody guitar and boosted the highs, because the default sound of the classical in Sforzando is very muffled. It really needed some work to bring it out, but I think I might have taken it a bit too far. For the final mixdown to audio, I added BlueTube's BrickWall BW2s-XP, which is a simple, but effective compressor/limiter, set to its "CD Mastering" setting. I like that setting. It gives my tracks a lot of punch and an added volume boost without pegging the meters. OK, I guess that's about all I can think of. If you like that tune, I have about 66 others up at SoundCloud that you can listen to, if you should feel so inclined. Just go here for the complete list of them: https://soundcloud.com/michaelmcbroom/albums
  5. I just ran across this recently resurrected thread. Heh, I'm sure there are many talented accordion players out there, but I'll admit, I'll never be one. I was more or less forced to learn accordion as a child because my parents liked Lawrence Welk. It was a dreadful time in my life because I wanted to learn guitar. I dimly recall my mother making some sort of weak promise to me that if I took accordion lessons for some unspecified period of time, then I could get a guitar. So I relented and suffered through an accordion purgatory. It eventually ended and I was given my first guitar for Christmas when I was 11 yo. It was a cheap Kay and unplayable. Fortunately -- but then I suppose it depends on how you look at it -- my mom bought me a cheap electric and an amp that following summer -- and it's been downhill ever since. But it's been a helluva ride. I haven't seen one in years but I still like the bumper sticker that reads "Use an Accordion, Go to Jail" (a take-off on "Use a Gun, Go to Jail") Now, having written all that, I can enjoy watching an accomplished accordionist. But then I can enjoy watching any skilled musician.
  6. I don't care for DAW either because it doesn't accurately describe the way I use my system. I produce electronic music, using MIDI in the beginning that I then nuance, often heavily, with VSTi's. Only occasionally will I lay down an actual audio track. So I think something that emphasizes the way I operate my system would be appropriate -- at least for the way I do things. DMM = Digital Music Machine ADMM = Analog and Digital Music Machine EMM = Electronic Music Machine. AMICS = Audio and MIDI Interface to Computer Software AMMS = Audio and MIDI Musical System No clever acronyms so far -- but anything's better than the almost Homer Simpson-like DAW! (slaps forehead)
  7. Sure, you have to lift your fingers up high enough above the fingerboard where you have enough velocity to strike the string so it'll make a loud enough sound, but you still want to minimize the height, and concentrate on velocity instead. If your finger is coming down on the string from two inches above it, you're wasting tons of speed that you'd otherwise have. I just grabbed a classical that is my typical go-for guitar and watched my fingers do a trill. I'm lifting the trilling finger about 1/2" above the string, which for me is about where I need to be with that guitar to generate a hammer so that it will produce an acceptable level of volume. The pull-off is just a straight downward pull, so the finger ends up making sort of a flat-spotted circle to produce a trill.
  8. Regarding minimizing movement to play fast, and speaking specifically of drummers, think about when they play very fast rolls on their snare, for example. The sticks are barely moving at all and the hand movements are equally small. This technique of minimizing movement is probably the most important one to master in order to develop speed -- I've found this personally to be true.
  9. Why do I get rid of guitars? Geez, what a great question. I wish I had a better answer. I've been playing for a loooong time. I don't even want to think about what some of the guitars I sold, or traded in, way back then, are worth now. They weren't worth all that much when I sold them, but now they're like gold. And you'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but nope. About seven or eight years ago, I got it in my head that I was never gonna use a cool old jazz guitar I had, so I sold it. Got decent money for it too. But now it's worth two or three times what I sold it for. Heh, I ended up buying a replacement for it a couple years ago. Live and learn -- you'd think, wouldn't you? But I'm not all that sure about that. These days, I'm doing better, for the most part, at hanging onto guitars I've bought. And I've finally decided that any guitar I own or buy in the future I will not sell -- unless I buy it or build it specifically to be sold. No, I've decided that I'll let my heirs worry about my collection after I'm gone. Hopefully they'll have enough sense at least to get market value for my instruments when/if they sell them.
  10. Relaxation is important. You don't want your fretting had -- or arm -- to be tense. And it doesn't have to be tense to have your fingers moving quickly. Here are a few things regarding the mechanics of speed. First, the speed by which your fingers move away from the string is just as important as the speed by which your fingers move toward a string. So, by practicing slowly, this is a technique that can be learned. Second, it is important to keep your fingers as close to the string as possible. The farther away the finger is from the string, the farther it has to travel. Often, you can find that the finger will move the correct distance away from the string just by relaxing it. This is another technique that needs to be practiced slowly at first. I think you'll find if you follow this technique, you'll find your hand is also less tense. Third, using a metronome helps a LOT when working on speed. The very gradual buildup that a metronome provides lets you increase speed at such small increments that, before you realize it, you're playing at a pretty fast clip. Use of a metronome is also a great technique for practicing scales and arpeggios as well. Fourth, this is a technique I often use with trills -- I use more than one finger. Let's say I'm holding down a note with my first finger and then trilling a note one fret higher. I'll often use my second and third fingers alternately to trill that note. If the trilled note is two frets higher, I'll alternate between my third and fourth fingers. This technique may take some practice to get good at, but to me it's worth it.
  11. Seems like a good idea. I'm sure that Meguiar's is mild enough where it's not gonna hurt anything -- but I'd mask off everything but the frets first anyway. I've owned a Dremel for over 30 years, but I've never thought to use it to polish frets. I used to polish mine the old fashioned way -- by playing the snot out of the guitar, letting the strings do the polishing work. But in my dotage I've grown less patient. So I just use some 0000 steel wool and just scrub the heck out of the frets. It works well. Cheaper than a Dremel too. Tell you what, though, I'm tempted to give the Dremel method a try. I've got a couple new guitars that could use some fret polishing.
  12. Hey Freeman, it's been a while since I've checked in here, but here goes with a late reply. I really like the feel of this Warmoth neck. It has a slim profile, which I prefer. I didn't have any problems adjusting the action, but the neck did require adjustment. Four different times I had to tighten the trussrod because of the neck bending from all the tension. It seems to be holding, finally, after the fourth adjustment. And now that it is stable, the action is set where I like it. I've gotten the intonation very close, using an electronic tuner. The Tele body is most likely a Squier, but I've been quite happy with the pickups. It has that characteristic Tele sound, and it holds up quite well when amplified, whether clean or overdriven. Just recently, I strung the guitar up with D'Addario's EXL158 Baritone Light Gauge strings. These strings are way better than the Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkys that I installed before. I love the sound of this guitar, even with its stock Squier pickups.
  13. Yes, having those additional bass strings can be disorienting. Especially with a guitar like a classical 10-string, where all 10 strings are fretted. Initially your hand wants to center itself on the fretboard -- when trying to play an open chord, like an E major for example. I can recall it taking me a couple of weeks of playing my first 10-string before I felt comfortable with it. Here's a pic of one of the 10-strings I built: JME in case by Michael McBroom, on Flickr
  14. Interesting -- a 12-string harp guitar? I've seen and heard some really cool tunes played on a harp guitar. I've never much had the urge to own one however.
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