Sunday, May 4, 2008

I've Gone LIVE !

I had been recording with Tracktion 3 for the past few months. It was the first DAW I had played with and it was really easy to put together some decent tracks. I decided to up the capabilities using Ableton Live 7.

It was a bit ackward at first but I'm starting to get the hang of it. What I like is how you can really tweak your clips and tracks to do exactly what you want.
I've recorded two tracks to pract lately:
Whole Lot of Rosie (AC/DC) and Shout At The Devil (Motley Crue)

Keep on rockin'.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I gots me a tele!

So I had never really liked the looks of the Telecaster, but my buddy bought a cheap Squier Telecaster for fun a few months ago and I tried it and really liked it. It just felt "bluesy" and so light. I got to liking the looks more and more in the past months.I was looking at my local online classifieds at work mid afternoon when I saw this Fender Standard (Mexican) Telecaster that looked sweet. The description said the guy was looking for the best offer over $300. The ad had been there for 2 weeks so just for fun I emailed him ... I can drop off $250 cash after work if you still have it. I wasn't expecting a reply back but he emailed me back telling me he'd accept and wanted to know how we could meet. I emailed back to call me on my cell, which he did like 5 minutes later. So he comes to meet me in the parking lot at the Bank where I work and we make the exchange ... all about within an hour of emailing him. Check it:

Monday, April 21, 2008


After some deliberation ... I've decided to get this ...

More explanations later ...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Studio

I had been looking for a cheap second LCD monitor for my little studio and stumbled upon a $180 20" monitor at Business Depot. I set it up pretty quickly. The main purpose is to have my main Interface (either Tracktion 3.0 or Ableton Liv 7.0) in one window and other software I rund at the same time in another window: Beatcraft (drums), Gear Box (edit the tones on my POD X3), and Guitar Pro (tab software to learn music). I've a nice little set up now. Check it out:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

POD X3 Gets a Computer Interface!

Finally! It's here!!!

I bought a POD X3 back in January of this year. I only found after I had received it that the computer interface (Gearbox) wasn't available to the public yet, despite releasing the X3 in October of '07. I loved editing my previous POD, the POD XT Live, with the Line 6 Edit software. After visiting the site daily to get updates on the status of the release, I saw Friday they finally released it and I'm so relieved! I was growing tired of editing my tones with the knobs on the unit itself. Here are some screen shots showing the guitar amp selections and some guitar settings. What a joy to have drop-down menus again!:

Another thing I missed immensely was the public site that holds tones that other players upload to the server. I'm currently working on Whole Lot of Rosie by AC/DC and I found the perfect Angus Young tone in no time. I didn't even have to tweak it! I'm going to have to do a quick read through of the manual but I really like what I see so far.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Taxman Cometh ...

I got my income tax return this week, so I picked up the acoustic/electric Guitar I had set aside at my guitar shop. It's an Ovation CK047 FKOA. The top is made of koa wood. It's looks real rich and darkish. I friggin' love it!!! It cost $580, which was real decent.

I tried a bunch of acoustics and this one totally stood out for me, sound wise. The look of it is super hot too. What I like is I can really noodle on it like an electric guitar, since the neck is pretty slim and the action is a lot lower than the crap acoustic I borrowed from my mom ... shhhhhh . You can hear legatos really clear on it. The onboard tuner is the sh1t too; real smooth to operate.

I recorded with it a bit through my POD X3 but I'll have to twiddle with it to get a clean amp + I can't be sitting in front of my computer and studio monitors like I do with my electrics, since the sound from the speakers goes in the guitar, through the pick up, feedback. Anyhoo ... check it out:

Monday, March 24, 2008

I got my son a Gibson!!!

My son (Samuel, 4 years old) got a Gibson guitar for Easter!

I bought him a Gibson Power Tour electric guitar. We went checking out the ladies in the mall while my wife and daughter did the groceries. We ended up going to Toy R Us. He comes running to me " Dad dad dad! A guitar like you!". I told him maybe the Easter Bunny could bring him one. On Sunday morning the Easter bunny brought him one!
They go for about $70, which I never would have paid. I didn't even look at what it did on the box. I thought it was one of those toy guitars that plays tunes and does sound effects. I just found it too cool to resist at the sale price of $19.99. I have a white Les Paul. This is the SG model; close enough.
When we got it I realized that you can actually play guitar with it. You have 12 frets. Open is A, First fret A#, etc. You can play cool stuff like Iron Man and Breaking the Law. My son just likes to shred on it. On him, it looks like a full sized guitar on an adult. It has Heavy Metal, Punk, Indie and Rock settings.
Maybe I'll try to post a video later of him shredding it out!
Check out Youtube for some videos of people playing with it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mixing man

Holy smokes, time flies! I just realized I didn't blog anything during the month of February!

What's new? Well, I got a cool little mixer on Ebay ... the Behringer BCF2000 :

It works great with Tracktion 3. It has motorized faders, so when I open my project in Tracktion, it immediately sets the faders to where I had left them the last time I mixed. I can also mute and pan tracks with it.

I only use it at the end of the project to really fine tune my mixes. I try to keep the mixing process at the very end so I don't end up fiddling around for hours instead of recording and working on the track.

It has 8 faders, but I read somewhere where some guy bought two so he could mix 16 tracks. That would be sweet, but for the time being, I rarely use more than 8 tracks ... 2 drums, 2 guitar, 2 bass and 2 solo guitars.

I've been keeping busy playing guitar pretty much every day. I recorded 7 tracks in February and one today. I store them at

Back to playing. Cheers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Learning ALL the notes on the fretboard!!!

I read a great article about learning the notes on the fretboard tonight. Basically you go through all the notes from A go G# (A / A# / B / C / C# / D , etc), by starting one night with the A and find all the A's on the fretboard and play them for a while until you got it down. The next day you take A# and find all of them (next to the A obviously), and you quiz yourself by going to various A's and A#'s. Next day the B, then quiz yourself for A, A#, B, etc. In two weeks you should be good to go.

Let's see if it works, and see if I can stick to it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Theory?!? I don't need no stinkin' theory!

Haha. NOT. I've been trying to get into music theory so I can learn more about the reasoning behind scales, chords, keys, modes, sheet music, etc.

I bought this really helpful book two weeks ago: The Everything Music Theory Book by Mark Schonbrun . It takes a simple approach to explaining music theory.

I have also started to learn scales, which will help with finger coordination. I had been practicing the pentatonic scales because a lot of folks say it's a good starting point. I've since been learning more about blues scales, major scales, and minor scales. Another advantage is that I'm starting to learn the notes on the fretboard. Now I know that if you play a C on the low E string, if you move down 2 strings and two frets forward you'll have a C also, but one octave higher.
I never noticed how the guitar was tuned before:
E ( F, G )
A ( B, C )
D ( E, F )
G ( A )
B ( C, D)
Wild and wacky stuff. I'm even starting to learn notes on sheet music.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Pimp My Axe: Part III

I finally settled on some pickups for my project guitar. I decided to go with the pair of Zakk Wylde EMG active pickups (EMG 81 and EMG 85):

First Step was to make adjustements to the body of the guitar because the hole from the input jack to the other wiring was too small so I had to drill a bigger hole to pass the 9volt battery connector. I also had to drill, saw, sand the body for the neck pickup becase the hole was too small. Lots of saw dust when I was done with that:

Then it was time to start soldering the different parts of the volume and tone pots. I had never soldered before so I had to practice a bit. It turned out pretty good. Not the prettiest joints but it worked. The wiring instructions from EMG were pretty good. It provides for different scenarios. I chose to wire my strat copy like a Les Paul, since my existing Gibson Les Paul came with Active EMG pickups.

I also had to drill a hole in the body to pass the 9volt connector to the back cavity of the guitar. I ordered a battery box to install later. The second photo shows the back of the guitar without the cover. The battery box will be screwed into the back cover once I cut a hole for the battery box.

This is what it looks like so far. I had to make a temporary humbucker ring for the bridge pickup until my new double humbucker pickguard comes in. I had to do this because I cut out the bridge pickup hole too big. I also had to cut a larger hole in the neck pickup slot because it previously held a single coil pickup.

I placed an order today for a new pickguard, screws, a battery box, knobs, 2 humbucker rings, and a new tremolo arm.
It was a pretty fun part of the project to undertake. I got to learn about guitar electronics and learn about the inner workings of guitars while researching it. I was completely shocked when I plugged her in and it actually worked. I would not hesitate to install new pickups on a guitar. The second time around would be much quicker.
Previous Pimp My Axe Posts:

Pimp My Axe 1 (Nov 17, 2007)

Pimp My Axe 2 (Dec 8, 2007)