Earlier this year, a good friend of mine let me borrow his Keeley modded TS9 Tube Screamer. Now, if you know me then you know that I LOVE PEDALS! It doesn't matter what it is, I want to try 'em ALL! Now, I have a TS9 and I've used it on my pedal board for a long time now, but I was really excited for the opportunity to give this mod'ed pedal a serious test. So for the past few months, I've had this Keeley in my pedal board. So what's the difference between these two pedals, you may ask? Well, I figured I had waited long enough to do a side-by-side comparison between my stock TS9 and the Keeley Screamer...enjoy.
I just got back from an evening session at an area studio. I had never been there before and it was totally SWEET! A great live room, super solid mic collection, and an awesome rack and board! What else could you want?! Here are some shots of my setup tonight taken from my crappy phone-camera. Enjoy!
Guitar: Toni, my Fender Jazzmaster
Effects: (Tuner)-->Keeley TS9-->Xotic AC Booster-->Line6 DL4-->out
Amp: Epiphone Valve Junior-->Marshall 1x12 with Celestion Heritage 75W
Big ups to all the studio crafters out there MAKIN' IT HAPPEN!
So while Britches and I have been working on their Demo/EP, random antics have expectedly ensued (does that still make them random?). On this particular day Andrew and Marty decided to get "creative" during the notion of a spur-of-the-moment photo shoot.
So with drums tracked, Britches and I moved forward with phase 1 of guitar tracking. We decided to move the tracking location to Andrew and Marty's house where Britches practices. So we threw a couple amps into a downstairs bedroom and threw some mic's in front of 'em...ya know, no big deal. For this particular session we used Marty's amazing '52 re-issue Fender Tele through his awesome late-90's Fender Blues Deville 4x10 and my AC30. For mic's we decided to just stick with the old stand-bys, the SM57 and the Sennheiser e609. Stay tuned for more with those dudes!
This past weekend local noise rock band, Britches were at the SPACE cutting some drums. Andrew, the drummer, was able to knock out his tracks in pretty quick succession...a rather impressive feat if I do say so myself. Check out these photos, and this short vid of the session.
some quick specs:
Kick - Sennheiser e835
Snare - SM57
Hi-Tom - SM57
Floor Tom - Beta58
Overhead - Rode NT1A
All the mic's (except the tom mic's) went into a recording snake whose corresponding XLR patches went into channels 1,2,and 4 of an M Audio Fast Track Ultra which fed into Ableton. The two tom mic's went into a mixer where I EQ'd them independently, set gain and volume levels and then sent them via a mono main out into Channel 3 of the Fast Track Ultra. The Fast Track was also serving as the phantom power supply for the Rode NT1A.
But enough with the boring tech stuff, here's a little clip of the session...
Britches will be recording for their upcoming EP over the next several weeks. Stay tuned here for more info or check them out at myspace.
Until next time,
music in video by The Tender Tribe (myspace.com/thetendertribe)
St. Louis duo, Villains for Hire, are in the process of recording an album and they needed some spacey, junky sounding drums for one of their tracks. So they enlisted the help of the SPACE and the now infamous (thanks to You Tube) silver sparkle Ludwig kit to get just the right sound!
Check out this video of the session.
Some quick specs:
-SM57 on the snare
-SM57 on the floor tom
-Sennheiser e835 on the kick (mic'ed close to the rim)
-MXL 603 condenser over the kit, pointed toward the ceiling.
-Shure beta87 AND MXL 990 placed about 15 feet infront of the kit in the next room, placed at kick drum level.
-Rode NT1A first placed up the stairs on the landing (about 30 feet from the kit) then moved to an adjacent hallway (still about 30 feet away from the kit). This was for varying ambience.
Thanks to Sam and Jimmy for letting me be a small part of this awesome project. I can't wait to hear what else you guys have in store for the world!
That's right, it's a disaster area right now. A new local band is practicing in the SPACE right now and they have been using all sorts of stuff to do their bidding. One of them is running two amps in stereo while the other has got the RC50 loop station and he's running pre-recorded tracks from that into the PA! It's just two dudes, but they have managed to use as much gear as four. Needless to say, it's getting pretty loco.
I met up with an old college buddy of mine, Vasu, who I haven't seen in years. Well Vasu is really gettin' things done right now in the Bahamas working his way through medical school. While he was in town he was kind enough to stop by The Space with a couple of jewels from his gear collection (oh, did I forget to mention that Vasu is a guitar player?) Well the Doctor was in indeed! Needless to say I have rarely been in the presence of such fine gear!
First off, The Savage Blitz 50. A 50 Watt (duh) class AB head which is modeled after the original Marshall JTM45 "Bluesbreaker", the one that Eric Clapton played with when he was with John Mayall & Bluesbreakers. Anyway, enough about the pedigree, this amp SINGS! Vasu had the amp "jumped" so both the normal and bright volumes were compounding to create one mean tone. If you get the chance to check one of these out, I highly recommend it. And look at that thing! It's HUGE!
Next up Vasu brought along his Fender Custom Shop Strat. This thing was gorgeous! A beautiful butterscotch "thin skin" nitro finish with the single-ply pickgaurd. The main claim to fame of this Strat is the humbucker in the bridge with a "coil tap"! One minute you're shredding with the Humbucker, then with just the roll of a knob, you're G.E. Smith gettin' pickin' with a nice Tele sound. Ash body, V-shape neck, relic'd out...what else could you ask for?
Finally Vasu showed me his very unique Equator Instruments hollow-body. This thing is a true hollow body with a very boxy tone. But when I played around with the tone knob, I was really surprised at the different tones and colors I was able to get. And those two humbuckers can really scream!
So Vasu had to depart back to paradise and I had to say goodbye to the lovely toys, but I'm sure they'll make another appearance in The Space before too long. In the interim, Vasu was kind enough to let me borrow his Keeley mod'ed TS9 and Blues Driver...so that should be fun!
They are probably the most common, most used mics for mic'ing guitar amps. So I decided I would pit them against eachother. Even though both these mics are extremely common-place both in the studio and on the stage, they do have very unique and distinct sound characteristics. And being the detail-oriented, mediocre guitar player that I am, I decided that I would let you all hear some of the differences between these two mics.
Here's the setup...
Clean Tone: 1994 MIJ Strat with rosewood neck-->Boss TU-2-->Fender Twin Reverb 1965 RI
Hey bros and dudettes, I know it's been a while since I've posted anything (whatever happened to that New Year's resolution anyway?). Well whatever my sorry excuse for my blogging inactivity may be, I do at least try to make the occasional music concert show every now and again. About a week ago I had the delight to see Murfreesboro band "The Lake" open for local rippers Target Market's final show. The Lake was superb and Target Market really put an amazing cap on the evening. A truly awesome band that many many people will be sad to see go. And in my truly geeky fashion I managed to snap a couple photos of yet another epic display of Fender loyalty (which always brings a tear to my eye) but I'm still super manly. In fact I'm gonna go lift weights after a post this entry. Then I'm going to go cry...I mean beat someone up. Yeah, punch somebody right in the appendix. What do you think of that? Yeah, you're scared and yet oh so intrigued at the same time. So to Target Market, you guys were amazing. And to those of you who don't know who I'm talking about, go listen to/buy their stuff.
Until next time, whenever that may be...
okay okay, the geeky details...
At first glance, here's what I think we're lookin' at:
The weather has finally been half-way decent the past couple of weeks. And man, I couldn't have needed it sooner! This winter was really startin' to drag on. And when that stupid Groundhog saw his shadow...man that was just like the worst! So I guess this is my long-winded explanation for why I haven't posted anything in a while. What can I say, I've simply been frolicking constantly in the semi-tepid, slightly enjoyable weather. Yeah...that should take me off the hook. Well here's something for you to enjoy for the time being...oh, and send me some frickin' emails will ya?
This is Sam. I've appeared in a few video posts on SPACE JUNK in the last couple months and now I'm really excited to be a contributer blog-wise. Joel actually sent me the invite some time ago, but I've put it off for various reasons, most of which were either procrastination or stage fright (well maybe not stage fright...maybe just plain old laziness!) Anyway, I think I have something to offer to this discussion and I hope that we'll see even more artists and creators up very soon!
Before I get into what I'd like to present to you today, let me tell you a little about myself. I'm one of those music fiends that has always been involved in sounds and melodies since I could make noise. It's something that was in me always vying for my attention. I was already writing and performing when my dad first explained to me what a 4-track recorder was. Up until then, me and a friend had been bouncing takes between two tape decks and a mixer! The idea that you could have 4 tracks with independent control over volume, eq and effects rocked my teenaged brain! I saved up money for a long time and bought a Tascam 424MKII (I'll have to blog about that machine sometime. I still have it.) Having a recording unit in my bedroom almost instantly changed the way I created music.
After a few years and couple cassette tape releases later, I realized that I was at a crossroads - I could put my creative energy in learning how to engineer and record or I could perfect my writing and performing. It made sense at the time to choose the latter. I still fooled around with recording at times, mostly out of necessity, but it was on the back burner.
Recently, I've come full circle. The direction of my music has led me back into the studio and not very gently either. The main difference now, is that I'm not interested in going it alone anymore. My close friend and co-writer, Jimmy Britton, has enlisted to produce and co-engineer the bulk of the record. We tracked drums in December performed by Dave Czerny and engineered by John John Katsafanas. I've pulled in Ross Christopher for violin and a little cello. The collaborations won't stop there. I'm actually working on getting Joel in there as well as a few other friends. As the recording sessions progress, I'll be posting highlights and experiments here on SPACE JUNK. I am definitely approaching this like a mad scientist with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.
Check out the first micro movie below of our insanity at what I affectionately call reckless abandon studio. Some key points are tracking a glockenspiel and Jimmy producing a cello and violin session over iChat! The bit at the end is some true geekery involving a VOX AC-15, Les Paul Studio, Little Big Muff π, BOSS RE-20 Space Echo and a Digitech Whammy. Enjoy, and please comment and repost this entry.
Amazing Kansas City band LIFEINJERSEY was in St. Louis this past week as part of their I-70 tour. I was fortunate enough to have these guys stay at my place after their rad-as-hell show at the Firebird. The evening was filled with fun and ghost stories as well as some amazing YouTube videos. The next day, before they headed for Columbia, we met up for lunch where Dave made quite the appropriate lunch selection and Carson and John mobbed up on their respective lunches. Adam preferred to sit with some Whole Foods strangers and we snacked the day away! It was great having them here and if you haven't heard these dudes, you are missing out BIG TIME!
My really good friend recently acquired a Blackheart "Little Giant" amp and has been kind enough to let me test it out, and really put it through its paces. So I figured I would share my experience with all of you...
The Blackheart BH5-112:
This little amp is made by some small company that apparently deals/distributes through Crate. As a result you have a somewhat "boutique" lo-watt amp that has mass distribution through all sorts of surpising retailers, from Guitar Center to probably Best Buy. Also, the amp comes equipped with the contract-binding "Crate" logo, cleverly tucked just under the tolex on the amp's control panel. While I admit the "Crate" badge is a significant bummer for me, it's pretty easily overlooked on this cool little amp. Okay, I get it, enough about my personal amp politics...here's the spec's:
-5W, Class A power (switchable to 3W) by 1xEL84 and 1x12AX7 -1x12" speaker (Eminence, specially designed) -EQ controls - Bass, Middle, Treble - (very unique for these lo-watt amps) -Volume control -4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker outputs (a super cool feature) -on-off switch -lightweight -I think that's about it -oh yeah, semi-open back (screened)
As you can see, there's really not a whole lot to this amp. However, this little amp has a lot of really nice tube tone...
So with only 5 watts, I figured this amp would have a substantial amount of "breakup" (aka overdrive). And with the 3W setting, I was certain that this breakup would be even more intense, so of course I was jumping at the chance to fire this thing up! I decided to use humbuckers, so I tested it out with my Epiphone G-400 and started out in the 3W setting. I set the volume at about 9 o'clock (or about 25%) with the EQ set from flat with a little more bass and probably 70% treble. Here the amp had a really nice clean tone. There was subtle, subtle breakup, but nothing that you would notice without your ear right up to the speaker. I noticed a little harshness in the hi's and it intrigued me. So I rolled the hi's up more and added a touch of volume, and sure enough, I was getting a nice chimey AC30-type sound...pretty sweet. After playing around with that sound for a little while, I reset the EQ to where I had it before and then cranked the volume (about 90%). Here, I got a really nice crunch, especially with the humbuckers. This overdrive was a lot like "Glycerine" (you know, that Bush song). So some pretty cool tones so far. I reset all of the controls back to my default and then flipped the switch over to 5W. Immediately I noticed an increased in presence from the hum of the amp. At the lower volume I got a nice, more dominant clean...not like a Twin, but more like a dirtier Fender; maybe a blues jr. When I cranked it up on the 5W setting, I got a nice open, brighter crunch than the 3W setting. The crunch was actually pretty "emo" sounding; nice bite, plenty of thicker overdrive. While this overdrive was not tight distortion, it was tighter than the overdrive on the 3W setting. Pretty surprising crunch from such a small amp! I was pretty impressed with this "Little Giant"; it seems to really capture hot tube tone in a more concentrated environment. This amp is a perfect practice amp, but I think it would really shine in the studio!
With that said, there are of course some draw backs, like with any amp. First of all, this amp doesn't push air. So you're not going to get that all-encompassing, rush that you get when you play a higher-watt tube amp. So remember just because this is a tube amp, don't expect the really thumpy low's and uber-stinging hi's out of this amp. I will say though, this amp is surprisingly loud! I was really impressed, especially for it's size. However, in a band setting, I didn't think it would be able to keep up with bass and drums, but I was wrong! This amp, when cranked, can match volume with almost any practice situation! Pretty impressive for such a small little guy! But even though it is "loud", don't think it's going to keep up with your buddy's Deluxe, because you will be on 8, he'll be on 3 and you will be looking around the room for a mic and a PA system. The only other downside I can think of is the lack of feedback. I just figured that if I had the amp cranked fully, I would get a decent amount of feedback. I did manage to get a little harmonic feedback with my headstock against the amp, but not as much as I had expected. My buddy said he got quite a lot of feedback out of it though, so it may have just been my position to the amp, or different pickups or something, I don't know. But that's it, no big complaints. This is really a great amp!
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT AMP (ESPECIALLY FOR THE SIZE AND PRICE - $350) AND A GREAT GREAT TOOL FOR GETTING GREAT TUBE TONE! GREAT, VERSATILITY WITH NICE, BALANCED EQ AND DECENT RANGE OF TUBE TONES WITH GREAT TUBE CRUNCH.
Last night I helped track some guitars for a new band. These guitars were definitely on the distorted side. And in order to capture the whole heavy tone, we decided to use two mic's and record a stereo track. Here's some photos of the setup.
Fender Strat-->Big Muff (USA)-->Twin Reverb
Mic'd with an SM57 and Sennheiser 609
although each mic is on a different speaker, the mics are in the same spot in relation to the repsective speaker cone.
Hopefully some sound bites of this setup to come soon.
PS And yes, I did get the title for this post from this song.
I randomly found a super sweet used "Made in Japan" Fender Strat at a local guitar store and I couldn't help myself. For those who don't know about MIJ strats, this is just another strat to you, which is fine; I don't need your admiration (what am I saying? - of course I do!). But for those of you who do know, I don't have to tell you that this is a bit of a collector's item in and of itself.
So to give you a little more info on this guitar, I dated this guitar's serial number at around 1994, which was actually a little newer than I thought it might be, but still in decent shoegaze era, I suppose. It's a sixties style Strat, so it's a little narrower and streamlined than other Strat models. As hopefully the photos show, the maple on the headstock has a really cool aged look and the rosewood neck is nearly flawless. The previous owner had also done himself (and me!) a friggin' service by putting a set of Gotoh vintage tuners on it! Looks beautiful! The tremolo also has the maximum capacity of 5 springs in it, which means that it stays in tune really well and even with the trem bar on it, it still aint going anywhere. So take a look and drop me a line, let me know what you think of my latest acquisition. Thanks for checkin' it out.
Here's another installment with Sam and another one of his pedals. This time it's the Guyatone SV2. The "SV" stands for "Slow Volume" and the "2"? I think that stands "too long" as in this text message:
"SPC JNK taks 2 lng 2 post new stuf."
Yeah, I know, I know. But I hope you enjoy this little video.
some quick specs:
The Guyatone SV2
Sam's Les Paul
AC30 mic'd with an SM57
Hey, when you don't want to spend the money for a volume pedal, this thing could possibly help you out.
Also, now that you kinda have an idea about what this thing does, go back and watch the video we did on the Digitech Whammy, and you can clearly hear the SV2 in Sam's loops at the end!
I'm BACK! And we're talking about microphones! I don't know why, but I love microphones. Oh wait, I know why...I love gear! And mic's fall under the category of "gear" so by the rule of Modus Ponens I love microphones.
Alright, enough with logic, I've recently been doing a lot of research on mic's lately and a buddy of mine just bought a Rode NT2000 on eBay. And of course I had to follow up on that development. I will say that while such a delicate piece of recording equipment would normally fall prey to the infamous "misrepresentation" or "bait and switch" that eBay can be known for, I gotta say my buddy lucked out this time! We tried it out tonight against my Rode NT1A and this NT2000 is really nice! It's also huge! Here are some photos. And who knows, maybe there might be some audio clips to follow in the near future!
Last weekend's (re)UNITE FOR HAITI was a wonderful night and a great success! We had a wonderful turn out and all the bands ROCKED THE HOUSE! And, best of all, with everyone's help we were able to raise $1,553 for The Red Cross.
Thank you to all of you for coming out and showing your support. THANK YOU we couldn't have done it without you!
I told you to stay tuned for more with Sam. Well here it is, Sam and his Digitech Whammy. Now, despite having heard this thing on many recordings (you know like all those White Stripes albums you tell your hipster friends you don't listen to anymore...and by "you" I mean "me") I had yet to actually see one in person, up close. Kind of like the inside of my ear; I know what it is, I kinda know what it looks like, but I've never seen it with my own eyes. So as it turns out, this iconic pedal has a lot more to it than I thought! And who better to show this thing off than Sam, the master of pedals and gadgetry. I mean let's face it, the most complicated pedal that I know how to work is a Boss chromatic tuner...I mean really what is that moving light with those letters and stuff? I still can't make it actually do anything, I guess it's just supposed to turn my signal on and off. But I digress, wait what was I talking about? Oh yeah...yeah The White Stripes did have some cool music videos.
some quick specs:
The Whammy (duh)
Sam's Les Paul (studio, I think)
AC30 mic'd with an SM57
oh, and a little sneak preview of the SV2 "slow volume"...video on that coming soon!