Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at
Back in 2009, I described my frustration with the Tune-o-matic bridge on my Epiphone Riviera P93. The retainer wire that holds the saddle screws in place is just a terrible design. A good choice to address this issue is the Nashville style tune-o-matic which has individual saddle retainer clips, while also increasing saddle-adjustment range for intonation. Another good possibility is a roller bridge, like the Wilkinson B33. I figured the roller may pair well with the Bigsby, possibly improving the Bigsby vibrato’s general tuning instability.
In this video, I show how to swap in the Wilkinson bridge, and then do a series of comparisons to see if there’s any difference in the overall tone, sustain, and tuning stability with the two bridges.
I recorded many many takes of the strum-tests comparing tone and sustain, and my results were always pretty inconsistent. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to produce the exact same string excitation for each strum. So, I think the variances in sustain and tone are largely insignificant- though it does appear that, across all my tests, the roller may have slightly longer sustain times. I imagine that if I replace the Epiphone bridge posts with the beefier Wilkinson posts there may be a greater sustain improvement, but I’ll leave that for another day.
The tuner I use during the tuning stability section is the excellent Planet Waves Tru-Strobe (PW-CT-11) tuner.
Saturday, May 12th, 2012 at
My pedalboard for the recent Summer Music Project gig was a a bit of a compromise. I couldn’t fit the JamMan Delay on the pedal board so it was hanging off to one side, and I had no space for my fuzz and chorus.
I’ve been planning to build a new larger PedalTrain-inspired pedalboard, and make some new correct-length cables.
Meanwhile, some of this pedal order is dependent on the short cables I had on hand. I would prefer to wire the tuner before the volume pedal, and the compressor before the wah, but that will have to wait for the redo.
The pedal chain I settled on for the gig was:
I received the VOX Ice 9 just before the gig, so I haven’t fully explored its voicing yet, but it sounds really nice. It has an overall darker sound that my Speed Racer, so I’m initially using it as a very mellow overdrive/boost, and using my Speed Racer for more bright aggressive drive. I wasn’t doing any live looping with the JamMan Delay- I was just using the delays, and loving that tap tempo switch.
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Thursday, May 10th, 2012 at
Rhymes with Guitar World!
Our singer, Laura Whitmore, has been writing a blog at Guitar World for about a year now. Lately she’s been writing about her transition from playing acoustic guitar to playing electric in our band, The Summer Music Project.
Yesterday, Laura wrote an article for Guitar World about her experience playing and singing at our recent gig.
Funny that, for this brief moment, our little band is on the front page of Guitar World!
She included a video of us playing her song “Don’t Take it Easy”. The audio is really bad, as we were using the built-in camera mic, from the back of the hall about 50 feet away. Unfortunately, my Tascam DR-40 digital recorder was sitting in standby for the whole show- gotta press record TWICE damnit! I of course wish I could hear my guitar better, but the important thing in this video is that we can hear Laura reasonably well.
Here’s that video:
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at
Well, April just came and went, didn’t it?
It’s been a super busy month at work, and what free time I had was filled with preparing for a gig with my band, The Summer Music Project.
The set list ranged from some classic rock, right up to the present:
- Shine On – Peter Frampton
- Get Back – Beatles
- Penny On The Train Track – Ben Kweller
- Taste of Danger – Jonatha Brooke
- Stop – Joe Henry
- Wonderwall – Oasis
- Animal – Neon Trees
- Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
- Perfect Situation – Weezer
- I’m Sorry – Charles Besocke (original)
- Don’t Take It Easy – Laura Whitmore (original)
- The Only Exception – Paramore
- Help Me (She’s Out of Her Mind) – Stereophonics
- Level – Raconteurs
- Revelry – Kings of Leon
- Chocolate – Snow Patrol
- Loving Cup – Rolling Stones
- Had Me A Real Good Time – The Faces
I’m playing lead guitar on all of these, and some definitely push the limits of my abilities- so it’s been a great challenge. Also, and rather more nerve-wrackingly, I sing on most of the songs- mostly harmony with our lead singer Laura Whitmore, but I also had to sing lead parts on a couple songs. I’ve never been thrilled with the timbre and range of my voice, so I spent a lot of time working on the songs. As with anything, it’s definitely true that the more you practice, the better you get, but I have a looooong way to go. I’ll be writing more about voice training in another post.
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Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at
It seems not that long ago, I was celebrating 100,000 views. Now, I don’t regularly check and obsess over my YouTube channel view-count. But this week, while trying to catch up on my replies to an ever-increasing backlog on my YouTube inbox, I noticed that my view count was in the high nines. Well, this morning, this is what I saw:
This is truly a mind-bender.
I recorded a quick video to say thanks to everyone, and to solicit some feedback for my future projects. I also talk a bit at the end about Jerry Seinfeld’s motivational technique for tricking yourself into getting things done. Don’t Break The Chain!
Friday, March 16th, 2012 at
In my tone capacitor video, I demonstrated the typical use of the capacitor as a low-pass filter in a guitar tone control. On a home stereo, this would be called a treble control, as it is used to roll off the high-end treble frequencies.
But what if you also want a bass control- a high-pass filter to roll off the low bass frequencies?
In the circuit diagram shown here, from the G&L S-500 guitar, you’ll find both a treble and bass control. They call it their PTB system (which presumably stands for passive treble bass, but I’m just guessing here).
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at
After several emails back and forth with the YouTube Copyright and DMCA compliance team, their primary message was:
Please note that YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes
Thanks very much. I got that. I repeatedly asked “What’s my recourse if the copyright claimant has mistakenly confirmed their claim to my content?” They simply wouldn’t answer my question. “YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes” is all I could get.
Finally, they sent over an email address of a specific person at Spinnin Records. I wrote yet another email to this guy, trying to be polite despite my frustration after all the emails and messages I had already sent. And this morning I was rewarded with a quick mildly apologetic reply that they had released their claim on my video. Thank you!
However, seriously, WTF?! I can understand that false positives are inevitable with an automated content-ID matching system. However, the official process of disputing the claim on YouTube is obviously deeply flawed if the claimant can simply press a button and now “All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims”.
This took me a week to get resolved, during which time Spinnin Records was earning income from my work. Both the content-ID matching system, and the official YouTube process for disputing the claim all completely failed.
At the end of each of my videos, I have a copyright notice like the one at the right.
Does this actually provide any protection to the content that I create? Or am I kidding myself?
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at
Astonishingly, the status on my copyright claim dispute now says:
All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: Spinnin’ Records Content Type: Visual content
Really?! Somebody at Spinnin’ Records took the time to watch my video and confirmed that they own some part of my 10 minute production? That’s preposterous. More like “Cha-ching, another sucker whose video we can hijack for our monetary gain!” What motivation do they have to make it right, when YouTube offers no recourse to the creator (me), and all power goes to the copyright claimant (them) who can just sit back, relax, and make money from other people’s efforts.
I’ve emailed Spinnin Records, and sent a message through YouTube to user “SpinningRec”. No response. Meanwhile, my video now has an advertisement and link to buy some Guy’s song “Quantum”. So they’re receiving ad and click income from my work.
On the one hand, we’re not talking about millions of $$$ here. On the other, it simply feels unbelievably unfair, and that I am being wronged here. It’s hard not to feel a bit like David vs Goliath.
I found this website run by a law student with an interest in copyright law. Clearly I’m not alone in this. I particularly like his paper Why YouTube’s Content ID dispute process does not work the way YouTube says it does.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at
Last night, I received this rather nefarious “content ID match” email from the youtube content-matching bots:
Your video, Simple JFET Preamp for an iDevice guitar Interface, part 2, may have content that is owned or licensed by Spinnin’ Records.
No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.
- The YouTube Team
If I’m reading that right, they’re saying that if I don’t do anything, the guys at Spinnin’ Records can hijack and monetize my video, and start making money from my work. Niiiiice!
I’m generally very careful in my videos to avoid copyright issues. My intro/outro music is all composed and performed by me. And the guitar riffs I play are usually just improvisations or noodling, or perhaps inspired by another song (as with the riff inspired by Faces’ Had Me A Real Good Time at the beginning of my K-Tone Travel Guitar review).
Very occasionally, I’ll play a short riff by another artist, but this should be covered under fair use. For example, I played a bit of Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So in my treble bleed video, and a riff from Oasis’ Champagne Supernova in my AC15 cabinets video.
As I was initiating the dispute process,
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Friday, February 10th, 2012 at
Writing last week’s article Here Comes The Solo really got me thinking about that old Fame remix and the Beatnik Editor again.
In a fit of uncontrollable nostalgia, I went through some old files, and found a likely candidate amidst a pile of other detritus: fame.rmf.
Now, all I needed was something to play it in. The Beatnik Player Plugin, circa 2001, looks like it’ll work great in Netscape Communicator from the same epoch, but unlikely to work in Chrome 2012 (!!!)
So, I managed to scrounge up a barely-working copy of the Beatnik Editor, loaded it up, and was surprised to see that the file played and I could solo the various tracks. It’s very low quality- the entire RMF is only 325Kb- but it’s all about the magnificent vibe! I recorded a bit of the fun:
Click here to listen.