About GuitArchitecture

GuitArchitect and Sonic Hooligan: Having received his undergraduate degree in composition from the Berklee College of Music and a graduate degree in guitar performance from CalArts, Scott Collins is a guitarist who performs a wide range of improvised western and non-western music on fretted and fretless instruments, he is a featured baglama (Turkish lute) performer on the Sony Playstation, God of War 2 video game and a soloist on the track “Come Alive” from the RedLynx Trials Evolution game. In addition to numerous live performances, he has toured in both the U.S. and Germany, performed in the world premier of composer Glenn Branca’s “Hallucination City”, the U.S. premier of Composer Tim Brady’s, “Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks” and co-composed and performed the thematically improvised score for the About Productions stage adaptation of Norman Klein’s “Bleeding Through” with Vinny Golia. Scott is committed to an art of real time composition he calls GuitArchitecture. When not performing improvised loop based solo guitar performances, he can also be found collaborating with several projects including Duodenum, an improvising duo with Carmina Escobar that specializes in silent film accompaniment, OniBaba (with Daren Burns, Vinny Golia, George McMullin, Craig Bunch and visualist Kio Griffith), Rough Hewn Trio (with Warr Guitarist Chris Lavender and Craig Bunch) and Dumb and Drummer a guitar-drum duo with an ever changing line-up… Other highlights include performances with John French (“Drumbo” of Captain Beefheart), Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, Mia Mikela (Solu), (Butoh dancer) Don McLeod, Butch Morris, Sahba Motallebi, Ulrich Krieger, Susie Allen, Mike Reagan, Melissa Kaplan (Universal Hall Pass), Jeff Kaiser, The Bentmen, One of Us, Annette Farrington, Tubtime, Sleep Chamber and many more. He has performed and co-lead workshops on improvisation as part of the Imagniary Borders/Imaginarias Fronteras project at the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexicali, Mexico and performed/lead a workshop on “Structured Improvisation in Film Accompaniment” as part of the Cha’ak’ab Paaxil Festival at the Edificio de Artes Visuales – Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico. An active guitar teacher and performance coach, Scott is the author of Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns for Improvisation and The GuitArchitect’s Guide: series which includes: The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes: Melodic Patterns The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes: Harmonic Combinatorics The GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration and The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales and is currently working on additional books in the GuitArchitecture series to be released over 2012-2013. Scott is endorsed by FnH Guitars. He uses D’Addario strings, Planet Waves accessories, Scuffham Amps and Line 6 gear. In addition to his posts on GuitArchitecture, he had a quick lick lesson in the 2010 Holiday issue of Guitar Player Magazine, and has also had articles posted on Guitar Salon International, Live4Guitar and has a regular interview series on Guitar-Muse.com.

New Guit-A-Grip Post Music – Business Podcast and KoriSoron Shows

New Guit-A-Grip Post and Podcast

Kate Bush

Some music business material went up on the Guit-A-Grip site.  Did you know that 35 years after her last performance, that Kate Bush’s recent return to the stage was SO successful that it drove EIGHT of her albums into the top 40 charts?  You can read about that (and how you might be able to use that information here).

Developing Your Business Plan

(From the Guit-A-Grip site)

“This summer I had the opportunity to get involved with the BuckMoon Arts Festival which was held at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, NY.  One of the ideas I had was to create workshops for artists in the area who were looking for ways to monetize their income.  The workshop idea was replaced with a panel discussion with the purpose of utilizing some of the artists and professionals we had access to.  This made for some great discussions and interactions throughout the day.

This podcast is from the “Developing Your Business Plan” panel with panelists Mike DiminYvonne Lieblein and Mark Swain.  The event description was “The business of art – Setting up your business, creating a business plan and building your team.” but it went into a lot of different areas.  If you’re interested in developing your art as a business, you might be interested to listen to hear how these people are already doing it!”

More Things KoriSoron Soft Launch

KoriSoron (my duo acoustic international instrumental project with Farzad Golpayegani) has a twitter feed, and a ReverbNation page and a YouTube page.

Upcoming shows:

We DO have more shows coming up as a direct result of this one:

  • Friday, September 12th 2014 – Moon and River Cafe, 115 S. Ferry St. Schenectady, NY – KoriSoron plays 2 sets of international instrumental music at 8PM and 9PM.  While most of our music is composed there’s a lot of improvisation in the set as well so
  • Thursday, September 18th 2014 – Proctor’s GE Theatre, Schenectady, NY Festival Cinema Invisible‘s kick off event for their 2014-2015 Invisible Film series is going to be fantastic night!  A $10 ticket gets you into a screening of a rarely seen film from Iran, “Common Plight”, a Q & A with the film’s producer Mahmood Karimi-Kakak Persian style tea and delicious sweets from Schenectady’s own Persian Bite restaurant, and a performance from KoriSoron!  Full information about the event is here.  Tickets can be purchased online here.
  • Thursday, September 25th 2014 – Bombers Burrito Bar, 2 King Street Troy, NY as part of the CUR518 local music showcase series.  We play with Groovestick and Dylan Storm and the whole night runs from 8-11!
  • Saturday, November 1st 2014 – Fundraiser for Amsterdam Public Library in Amsterdam, NY. Three sets of music!!!!  No information on the library website yet but the library link is here.

And more shows coming up in October and November while we prep for a new recording.

Mas Music:

Also more details as they become available, but Farzad and I are going to be composing and performing the score for a new theatrical work called Child Soldier this fall at Sienna College called.  More details as that emerges.

As always thanks for reading!

-SC

KoriSoron Follow Up – Video – New Shows – And A Useful Audio Hack For Piezo Guitars

The KoriSoron Soft Launch

The soft launch went well and to answer the Craigslist Question raised in the previous post, yes we brought people and made money in tips (more than we would have made for the same number of people playing a club with three other people on the bill.

Farzad Golpayegani (the other guitarist in Korisoron) has been editing video and posting them (a thankless job the table he had the camera on had people talking the entire time so finding segments without conversation was difficult but he did manage to pull these together.

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Upcoming shows:

We DO have more shows coming up as a direct result of this one:

  • Friday, September 12 Moon and River Cafe – 8pm-10pm
  • Thursday, September 25th – Proctor’s GE Theatre (as part of Festival Cinema Invisible‘s kick off event) 7pm-10pm full information can be found here!

And more shows coming up in October and November while we prep for a new recording.

The Audio Hack

We have an extra ZT Lunchbox Acoustic coming to us but we weren’t able to coordinate with ZT in time for the Moon and River gig so rather than having one great sound – we ended up going direct to the PA. While that isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world, it was a drag to hear that piezo through a PA tone.  (BTW – We are SO excited about the ZT Acoustic amps because they sound simply AMAZING).  There was no Pie in that piezo….

While Farzad was editing the video he texted me and asked if I could check out the audio from the Zoom H2n recorder I had on site.  I had run a line off the Fender Passport PA into the recorder’s 1/8″ input.  The sound was what you expected by now but then I remembered something…

Didn’t I have a Yamaha AG Stomp, that’s specifically designed to handle piezo guitar signals?

A trip to GC to pick up a $50 Behringer mixer w. an FX send on clearance got me this:

AG Stomp

Here’s what’s going on here:

As I already transferred the WAV file to my laptop, I used Fission to break it the large file up into individual tracks and then ran the signal out the headphone jack of my Apogee Duet (to give the signal a little better sound) and into the Behringer mixer. The Behringer didn’t allow me to run the FX send off of the RCA inputs, so I used a stereo 1/4″ to 2 1/8″ cables to get the signal to the 5/6 channels of the mixer.  Since sends are typically mono on units in this price range and the return is stereo, I set up the gain staging of the unit and ran a single cable from the FX Send to the AG Stomp input then ran the stereo send back to the Mixer.

Funny thing though…..

I couldn’t get the return blend to sound right in the mixer, so I just ended up going direct from the headphone out of the AS Stomp back into the H2N.

I’m guessing that here in our story is where the questions will start.

Couldn’t you (I) have just done that in software?

Interestingly enough, I tried using the Positive Grid Jam Up Acoustic Sim with a Line 6 Sonic Port and it didn’t hold a candle to the AG Stomp.

and yes, I probably could have used a plug in like MonoMaker and just run a signal out of the laptop into the AG stomp – but honestly this was just a much easier solution for me.

How did it turn out?

Funny story…

Apparently I had the wrong setting on the Hn2 which recorded the line in AND anything coming through the PA on the mic. This means it was affecting a wierd mix of the direct signal AND a recorded room tone that was recorded BEHIND US sitting on the piano!

The short answer is it sounds better than the unaffected file bout would have sounded WAY WAY better if I read the manual and had the H2n on the right setting.  As I type this, the audio is still rendering, so I’ll have to post excerpts soon.

You may be thinking at this point,

Oh that might be useful for me later on.

Here’s the thing though….

This process started at 10am.  It’s 12 hours later and I’m still working on it.  Mind you, I DID get a few other things done in that time, but it took a number fo false starts to get it together.  Had I thought of it, I could have run it through the FX send of the PA and saved myself A LOT of editing and rendering time later.

So the lesson I’m really facing here is, do it right the first time because sometimes the cure is just as bad as the ailment!  The good news is that the idea is an interesting one, and I may use this approach for additional guitar processing for recording in the future.

More photos, clips and other miscellany to come!

In the meantime, our website and FB page are in a soft launch – but we’re putting content up pretty regularly now so you should see more things there each day from here on out.

http://facebook/korisoron

http://korisoron.com

As always thanks for reading!

-SC

Due Versus Do

 

Sign-colored

Korisonon

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m playing in a new acoustic duo called KoriSoron with an incredibly talented guitarist and artist form Iran named Farzad Golpeyagani. If you happen to be in the Capital District of New York, we’re having a soft launch of the project tomorrow evening with 2 sets in Schenectady, NY on Saturday, August 23rd.

Flyer - August 23 Moon and River Cafe001

I’m the Michael Chicklis stunt double on the left.

 

We’ll have a fully realized site on KoriSoron.com and https://www.facebook.com/korisoron in the weeks ahead.   For now – here’s an event page with some information.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1538544056367629/

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But what do the people on Craigslist think?

 

As an interesting aside, someone posted a rather pointed question on the Albany Musicians Craigslist page about a venue owned by the same owner of the one that we’re doing the soft launch at.

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ArthursMarket; worth booking (Stockade Schenectady)

Have an offer to perform at Arthurs Market, the owner also runs Moon &River Cafe up the street.

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Anybody ever played at either? If so, how were tips? The owner does not pay so tips are the only compensation.

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Both places sort of worry me. Seem dingy, cluttered, unkept. Sort of like some hippy den instead of a real concert place. No phone, dim lights, no credit cards. Real dumps. But tips might be good anyway. Have you played there? Any advise?”

This was followed by a tirade of people weighing in on the necessity of musicians getting paid whenever they play a venue as a definition of professional.  Most of the following “re:” posts seemed to think it was a bar of some type (they’re both cafes with an emphasis on vegetarian food) and talked about how bars shouldn’t have bands if they don’t pay them directly.

I’ll come back to the professional aspect that was brought up but let me first answer this question with a question.

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Have you paid your dues?

Do you have a local or regional audience?

Will you bring people to a club because they are there to see you?

And the answer to this question is no.

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Paying Dues

I can say that, because if you have a local audience then you know how many people will show up at a gig in general and there should be little to no mystery in what you’d make in tips.  If you’re asking that question, it’s because you’re depending on the club to provide the audience or the other acts on the bill to provide an audience.

Most bands play for years without making a living wage.  That’s because building an audience takes nurturing and time.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

“But what about the unknown bands that play for thousands of people on bills with big bands?”

Did you know that many large bands that play outdoor sheds (i.e. large outdoor arenas) actually charge opening bands to play for them?  It’s because they don’t need an opening act.  The fans are coming there to see them and the opening act is just poaching their audience.

Do I agree with the ethics of charging an opening band and having them rely on whatever merch or tour support they have to keep them on the road?  No I don’t agree with it.  I think it’s disgusting.  But it’s also a power dynamic.  If you haven’t paid your dues by being on the circuit and having a draw then you need to pay your membership dues to the people who are allowing you to enter their club house and try to capitalize on their work.

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My Local / Regional Plan

When Farzad and I first talked about this.  I laid out my plan for this project with him and it’s a plan that might work for you if you’re looking to make a go of it in a regional market.  We plan on following through with everything, so as an experiment in accountability even you might find this interesting.  I’ll also tell you the secret about why this plan won’t work most people.

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1.  Play Open Mics (and/or play in front of people).

When you start a new venture (particularly when you’ve relocated) you can’t just pick up where you left off unless you’re a name recognized act on a major label (even then it’s still a step back.   For all of Audioslave’s hype – they never got to the level of success of either Soundgarden’s or Rage Against The Machine’s success and they still had to do all of the promotion that is associated with any new act on a major label.).  You have to build a local audience and start all over again.  That’s the bad news.

The good news is that once you’ve already put the work in, it takes much less time to build a following and get your platform built.  The fact that I’ve released eight books and that Farzad has six full lengths under his name and that we both have video game credits opens doors for us.  On a professional level, when people see our bios, they’re more likely to check out what we’re doing or take a meeting with us.

All that does on a fan level though is potentially get people through the door.  At the end of the day both the music and the performance need to be strong enough to get people to stay and, ideally, to come back again.

So why play open mics?

  • Because testing your material in front of a live audience is worth more than months in a rehearsal space.  It’s just a completely different thing and you find out IMMEDIATELY what works and what doesn’t and how well you really know something.
  • Because the stakes are low at an open mic.  It’s a good place to experiment and try things and if they blow up it’s not a big deal.  This is a much better place to potentially fail at something than in front of a large crowd of people who paid to see you.
  • Because a lot of times – you end up with fans.  Particularly for the music I play, a lot of times other musicians are the first to pick up on some of the challenges with performing that material.  Some of them will come to the gigs that I play and possibly bring people.

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“But open mics don’t pay!  Professionals get paid for what they do!”

Did you know that Robin Williams would frequently show up at comedy clubs well after midnight unannounced and get on the stage to test out new material?  Did he get paid for that?  Is he a hobbyist for doing so?

Professionals do things pretty regularly without getting paid but they do it for a pay off down the road.  Think of the contractor that comes to your house to give you a free estimate on work that’s going to be done.  That estimate is only free as there’s a payoff on the back end if it goes through.  The band that plays the local TV station morning show at 7am?  They might be paid later on if they own the copyright on the song they’re performing – but they don’t get paid for the show.  They do it because it exposes them to a larger audience.  There’s a payoff on the back end.

When people talk about bars paying bands – they’re talking about a decades old performance model that has no basis in the current economy – unless you already have an audience that is specifically there to see you (i.e. you have a real draw).

So let’s take the same person who asked the question an apply it to the rock band bar model.

Your band wants to play bar X.  You send materials to the booking agent and start a lengthy dance for a night to play.  Eventually you get on a bill with 3 other local bands (HA!  I played a CBGB’s gig once where there were 12 other bands on the bill!).  You each bring 10 people paying a $5 cover.  You get a dollar a head for each person who comes in.  So assuming they don’t make you pay for the sound or light guy, someone in the band waits until 2am when the venue closes to collect the $10.

Divided by, let’s say it’s a duo for simple math.  That’s $5 a person.  Let’s hope you didn’t buy a beer or you lost money!  Good thing you waited 5 extra hours for that pay out!

Now let’s say you play a small venue where there’s no cover and it’s pass the hat (or you play a house concert – where it can be an expensive ticket for the same thing).  Let’s say there’s 10 people there to see you but it’s pass the hat and you make $40.  No pay out.  No waiting.  You collect the money and go.

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The exception to the rule.

If you’re playing a dinner club gig where you’re the entertainment for the evening and playing human jukebox for the night you should be making more money.  You’re also playing longer and you’re doing a gig that I wouldn’t be comfortable doing, “I know you’re a jazz group but would you play ‘Piano Man’?  I love that song….”  As a side note, with alarming regularity I see people taking those gigs where they’re playing for 2-3 hours for no money and possibly getting  a meal during a break.  That is insane.  And that gig – or a gig where you’re a cover band in a bar and playing for 4 hours….that’s a completely valid criticism.  I’m talking about groups that play original music and do so in 30 – 45 minute sets.

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2.  Play traditional and non-traditional venues.

One of the gigs were playing is a library.  I’ve done entire regional tours at libraries where I sold merch and added names to my e-mail list.  You capitalize on existing opportunities and create new ones where possible.

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3.  Develop marketing materials.

Promo shots.  Websites.  Social Media.  Performance videos.  Audio recordings.

Two words here: GET VISIBLE!  People can only support what they know about.

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4.  Network.

I’ve written a lot about this.  You need to develop legitimate friendships and relationships with other artists, musicians, movers and shakers in whatever community you’re in.  You do this by going to shows, and playing out locally.  You can do this online by reaching out to FB groups, forums, meet-up groups, etc., but without a local support network anything you do on a larger scale will fall apart.  This is what happens when you play some shows in Europe (to large audiences) and then come back and play to 2 people in a bar in Brooklyn that are there to see another band.

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5.  Record material.

With all that rehearsing and playing out playing out you should have some tunes very much under your belt.  Personally I’ve been saying the LP was dead since we did the Visible Inc. Ep’s back in 2000 or so – so the goal here is multiple short releases over the year so that you have something to promote.

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5.  Build everything bigger and better.

So the basic steps here are:

  • Build an audience
  • develop your product
  • develop your support network
  • build off of the foundation you built and make everything better than it was.  Constant improvement.  Better performances.  Better songs.  Better venues.  Better connection to fans.  Possibly adding more player to the project to increase the sound produced.

This goes back to the pay issue.

Yes – I’ll do a soft launch for no pay.

Yes – I’m a professional guitarist.

Yes – this is a good idea because I’m executing a plan that ultimately benefits me.

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Here’s the secret I’ve learned

It’s a big one.  It’s why outlining something like this won’t matter for most people.

Most people aren’t willing to do the work.

They’re not willing to put the time in and invest in themselves for the pay off later.

They’re too caught up in their own egos and thinking about what’s owed to them rather than what they work for.

What’s due to them rather than what they do.

So they sit at home not playing because they model that worked for them 20 years ago is not making them any money and they can’t get out of their comfort zone to start over, and complain about how the scene sucks, and people suck, and the venues suck….

An open mic is beneath some of these people.  They want the money now.  They want the audience now but they don’t want to put the work in to build one.  That takes a long time and a lot of playing.

You gotta put in the work.

I had to re-teach myself to play three separate times.  From scratch.  It sucked.  The last time almost killed me.

It built character.  It taught me how to keep my eye on the prize over the long haul.

So when I sit there and say, “All we have to do is play to the best of our ability over and over again, build an audience and expand our visibility.”  That’s an easy plan to conceptualize and a hard plan to actualize because it requires endurance.

Endurance and Vision are symbiotic for long term execution.  Without both of them you don’t have anything.

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So why do a soft launch at that venue?

Because people listen there.

The thing that really struck me about the open mics there is that people seemed to really listen to what musicians were saying with their music.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve played bars and the bartender balked at the idea of turning the sound off on the TV so we could play.  I get it.  The people sitting at that bar are the ones tipping him.  They certainly didn’t come to see any of the bands I play in.

If people are listening, it’s the first step to making a fan.  If they’re not listening (or if they stop listening), it’s really hard to get their attention again.

So the possibility of getting people who come to that show to come to another show is high,  Perhaps those people will bring other people with them.

Years ago – I got some great advice from someone who basically said, “Don’t bet on the lottery.  Bet on yourself instead.”

The work you do today sows the seeds for tomorrow.  Pay your dues through what you do, not what you’ve done.

I hope this helps and, as always, thanks for reading.

-SC

New Music, New Shows, Gear News and Guit-A-Grip Posts

Hi Everyone,

This is just a brief update of new gear, news and music with some things that may be of interest to you.

New Project

I’m playing in a new project that’s currently an acoustic duo with an incredibly talented guitarist and artist form Iran named Farzad Golpeyagani who recently relocated to the capital district.   He has an extensive discography and portfolio of projects and you can see his website here.

For those of you starting new projects or developing new things, there may be several aspects of this that might be of interest to you.

  • I met Farzad at the Festival Cinema Invisible Film Fest back in June of this year.  People that I met at that event have since opened a series of friendships which has lead to other doors, opportunities and gigs for me.   What’s interesting about this to me is that I almost didn’t end up making it to the festival and if I didn’t have full passes for the festival – I might have missed it entirely.  So (for me) it’s yet another reminder that opportunities are made more than they are found.
  • While there are several reasons for playing as an acoustic duo (rather than starting an electric band) the primary reason is flexibility.  Years ago, I played in a live hip hop band, which I loved, but trying to schedule regular rehearsals and gigs with 6 people was a perpetual mess.  Our thinking behind starting as an acoustic duo is we can make a soft launch of the project, develop material and cultivate an audience in the short term and then expand the lineup out over time.  This will eventually give us the flexibility to be able to perform small shows as a duo or larger shows as a larger ensemble.

For now, this is our acoustic guitar duo project with heavy note density – expect tunes from and/or inspired by the musics of Iran, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Northern India, Japan and other parts of the world all rolled up into some kind of Kati roll / Sushi roll / Gumbo / Goulash. 

We’re working on a name and a logo (I’ve penciled in a name of KoriSoron for the time being).  Farzad and I have been been testing out some material with soft launches at open mics in the area that have gone over very well and now we have some actual shows coming up.

  • “The birthday show” – Saturday, August 23rd – The Moon and River Cafe in Schenectady 8pm – 10pm.  Several short sets to herald in some new material which also happens to mark my birthday on the following day.   As my gift to anyone there, the show has no cover, but supporting the venue with food or beverage purchases is encouraged.
  • Thursday, September 18th – Kickoff screening for Festival Cinema Invisible‘s monthly film series at Proctor’s Theatre. FCI will be showing an Iranian Film, “Common Plight”, serving tea from the fantastic Persian Bite on Jay Street in Schenectady and have a performance by the two of us.
  • Saturday, November 1st – Amsterdam Library Fundraiser. 6pm-9pm.  No information yet but you can check back with the Amsterdam Public Library website for details.

We should have a name, website, Audio/Video and other information soon….

New Gear

For this acoustic based project, I’ve gone back to the shed for getting the tunes together and back to basics for getting the sound I want.  This required some new tools and (for anyone interested) I’ve settled on a few items for live use.

Amps – Amps might seem like a strange place to start, but given that this is an acoustic-electric project, it’s the lynchpin that holds things together.  I’ve tried a bunch of amps and none of them touch the ZT Lunchbox Acoustic.

Lunchbox_Acoustic

I’ll have a full review up in the weeks ahead but for quality of sound, features, portability and price point, nothing else even comes close.  It’s the only acoustic amp I’ll use live now.  Farzad will be using a lunchbox acoustic for our project and he’s using the regular Lunchbox  for his live electric guitar performances as well.

Guitars – I think of all the time I spent trying to get my other acoustics to work in a live setting and now laugh that I didn’t just look at guitars that are designed for electro-acoustic applications and for my money the best in the field for that is Yamaha. I’m using an APX500 II and and APX700 12-string and they both work great for live use and I’m using Yamaha acoustic electric guitars exclusively moving forward.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Years ago (as in about 6 or so), FnH guitar’s John Harper took in my custom double neck fretted/fretless that he and I designed in for some work.  The problem was that as the guitar was designed to replicate a Mosrite – the necks were too narrow for standard bridges.  So the solution was either to custom build replacement bridges or to make new necks.

New necks were made and the guitar (now forever dubbed “The Harper Albatross”) was delivered last Thursday.  Some features of this beast include:

  • The Albatross weights about 14 lbs and is about 20″ wide.  It’s HUGE!
  • It has one fretted and one fretless neck (both with a 25 1/2″ scale).
  • Both necks have bone nuts and locking Sperzel tuners. (The tuners are a major contributor to the overall weight so those may be going soon).
  • The fretless has a Fernandes Sustainer circuit and pickups in it.
  • The fretted has a gold foil in the neck position and a Lace Alumitone DeathBucker in the bridge position.
  • The fretless has a stop bridge the fretted has a floating Wilkinson bridge
  • Mouradian in Boston custom-made the gig bag for this guitar by modifying a keyboard bag design to fit it.  I love my Mono bags as well but my Mouradian bags are second to none for design, comfort and durability.  Here’s the guitar with the bag.

2014-08-10 09.13.00

Here’s another photo with more of a close up of the controls.

2014-08-10 09.13.27Look for some new material featuring this and the Yamaha guitars this Fall!

New Guit-A-Grip Posts

It’s been a while since I’ve announced any of these here so there may be some topics below that may be of interest to you.

  • In this post, I dissect the “$1.7 million” figure that was quoted for a former student of mine whose band signed to a major label.
  • In this post, I’ve posted an excerpt from one of my e-books that talks about the necessity for strong opinions in the arts.
  • In this post, I talk about the disadvantages of burning bridges to your career.
  • And in this post, I talk about how opportunities are sometimes wasted before they ever come to fruition.

In the weeks ahead, I’ll have the full audio for the panel discussions for artists from the Buckmoon Arts Festival and there’s a lot of GREAT insight and information for those of you who are trying to build your carer or get you business project off the ground.

In the meantime, that’s it for now!  As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

 
 

More Things Rig

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since I had a gear post, but I thought I’d put up a quick update that some of you might find interesting.

And besides – what guitar player doesn’t like gear (or reading about gear?)

That Muse Of Guitar

The Guitar-Muse posts are on a bit of a hiatus for the moment, but I did a short series for them about the evolution of my live rig and getting it down to something manageable for travel.  You can read those posts below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

I never got to do part 5 or 6, but for people that are interested here’s some of the things I make sound with now (and it may be something you can apply to your own live rigs):

Electric – The Exonerated

As part of the Buck Moon Arts Festival, I volunteered to do live accompaniment for a staged reading of the play, The Exonerated.  The play called for a Slingblade/Daniel Lanois sparse type of accompaniment.  As the drummer I wanted to work with wasn’t available, I brought my full rig and laptop.

Live Rig

Can improvise, arrange and mix multiple audio signals for a live show. Can not shoot a picture in focus.

What you’ll find here:

  • FnH Guitar (not pictured) being played with picks, slide and ebow running into
  • Nady TD-1 (with 12AU7) going into a
  • POD 500X HD
  • (there’s an additional expression pedal as well) running the effects send into a
  • Torpedo C.A.B. and running that out to a
  • QSC K-8 speaker.

The laptop is running Logic Audio/Absynth and a few other apps and I’m triggering sounds and loops with the Korg Nano Key.  The audio leaves my headphone jack and goes into the 1/8″ input of the POD.

Perhaps you noticed the white Zip Ties….I tried using just the Velcro on the PedalTrain and when I opened the bag, all the pedals were pulled off the board and on the bottom of the bag.  I went to the hardware store and got the longest ZIP ties I could to hold everything down and all was right with the world.  A dedicated power supply for everything would be nice, but as that would require having the power input completely re-wired on the TD-1, that’s on a back burner for now.

I really dig the Scuffham amps S-Gear, so if I could have gotten the Scuffham amps and SooperLooper plug in in AU Lab to play nice with the Line 6 USB shortboard I might have just brought the Apogee Duet, laptop and shortboard.

But my laptop isn’t getting any younger and a new laptop is out of the budget right now so rig B right now is my iPhone, Sonic Port, Positive Grid, Audio Bus and Loopy HD.  I dig the loop features a lot and if the AirTurn BT-105-PB4 works the way I think it will I might be able to make it one of my default live rigs.

Having said that, the POD rig does a LOT of things really well and while I like the Positive grid guitar tones, in its current incarnation it can’t touch the POD for non-guitaristic tones (i.e. the weird stuff – i.e. the good stuff).  Using a RADIAL splitter and a SONUUS i2M to allow the guitar to be a MIDI controller is also something I’ve experimented with before and will come back to.  Again – it depends on the consistency of the laptop.

I also have a ZT junior amp, which I really dig and I’ve done a couple of background music gigs that just required showing up with a small amp.  For a straight jazz, country or for just a warm clean tone in small settings it’s my go-to.

Acoustic Tone

The last set up on my Tam Hiep made it borderline unplayable due to a sympathetic vibration on the low E string.  File that under substantial repairs/bummer.

In the meantime, since I don’t want to gig with my Jeff Chappel guitar – I’ve gone back to Yamaha APX’s for live use.  I have an APX700 12 string that I’m using for more Dastgah/Maqam type things with a B-F#-B-F#-B-F# tuning.  Right now I have it set up for octave tuning but will likely use the same adaptations I used on the Rogue (i.e. making it a 10 string with unison strings on the D and G strings.

I’m keeping an eye out for another APX700ii, 700 or 500ii.  The Yamaha and the BT-105 are the last anticipated gear purchases for quite a while but we’ll see what happens.

In terms of amps and effects.  It depends on the situation but the Yamaha AG-Stomp does everything I could ask it to do in a live setting and a ZT Acoustic lunchbox is arriving via UPS today and I anticipate that that will solve any live need I could possibly have.

That’s it for now!

 

Deciphering Apple’s Eddie Cue’s “Music Is Dying Quote”

BuckMoon Arts Festival

As a reminder to anyone who happens to be in the upstate NY area, I’ll be performing live accompaniment for a staged reading of The Exonerated as part of the BuckMoon Arts Festival on July 12-13, and leading a series of panel discussions with working artists and industry experts on how artists can monetize their art.  You can read about both of those here.

In doing some research for the panel discussions I was listening to the CD Baby podcasts this week and I caught up on two interesting, and somewhat related stories to the panel.

1.  Apple’s Eddie Cue announced that Apple bought Beats because “Music Is Dying”

2.  Indie artist Shannon Curtis came on to promote her new book, “No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender: How I Made $25K On A 2-Month House Concert Tour (And How You Can Too)”

Is Music Dying?

I’ve never seen anyone at Apple make any kind of negative statement about the music industry, which is why iTunes Eddie Cue’s quote is somewhat telling:

“Music is dying,” said Cue. “It hasn’t been growing. You see it in the number of artists. This past year in iTunes, it’s the smallest number of new releases we’ve had in years.”

As quoted from  http://readwrite.com/2014/05/28/apple-beats-eddy-cue-jimmy-iovine#awesm=~oHLbiOYNIxpYCB

My guess is that he’s talking about the smallest number of major label releases, as there is no shortage of independent music being released.  and that might be true. A recent Variety article entitled, Music Sales Continue to Plummet for Albums and Digital Downloads, brought up the following statistics comparing sales for the first 1/2 year of 2014 with sales from 2013.

  • Total album sales (any format) dropped nearly 15%.
  • Sales of individual digital tracks were down by 13%
  • Streaming was up 42% (but streaming revenues for music are almost nothing)
  • Vinyl sales were up 40%, with Jack White’s Lazaretto selling over 48,000 units.
  • The year’s best seller is the Frozen soundtrack which has sold over 2.6 million units.

As the article’s author, Christopher Morris put it:

“To put the steepness of the decline in perspective: Just 18 months ago, Adele’s Grammy-winning “21” – the bestselling album of 2011 and 2012 — finished the latter year with sales in excess of 10 million. It is conceivable that such a phenomenon will not be seen in the industry again.”

In contrast, check out the story about Indie Artist Shannon Curtis who went from playing clubs to making $25,000 on a 2-month tour of house concerts.

So, is music dying?

Well….music itself isn’t dying (that quote is just silly) but music making is being altered in a way that professional musicians are not able to make a living at it with traditional means. The traditional major label model has moved from a terminal status to life support and musicians are having to find ways to try to make money with more revenue streams than ever, that pay less money than ever, with more people competing in the market forever.

Shannon Curtis was able to bring in some money doing house concert shows to audiences who wanted to see her in a non-traditional venue (but I’m guessing she’ll make more money from her e-book from musicians looking for a new angle than she ever did from her concert tour!)  But the real problem most new artists face is that culturally we’ve created a Vine audience with a short attention span.  One that demands immediate gratification and doesn’t want to have to wait to experience something.

Having said that, people still want to connect with things on a deeper level, and the artists that can weather the storm and actually touch people – consistently in an honest emotional way, are the ones who will be building a career and those artists are going to face even bigger challenges over the next 10 years.  Perhaps that struggle will make some great art.

Back to the panel prep!  As always, thanks for reading!

My Interview With Daniel Donato On Guitar-Muse and Positive Grid JamUp Update

Hello everyone,

Two quick Things

Guitar-Muse

Just a quick note to let you know that my interview with Nashville Guitarist Daniel Donato is up on Guitar-Muse.  At the ripe old age of 19, he’s accomplished a lot more than seasoned players twice his age and has a new DVD out on Hal Leonard.  He also offers some great tips on Practicing, the value of Post It Notes when pushing one’s limit’s when performing, and how to go from being in the audience to being on stage.  Also, some great tone tips as well.  You can check that interview out here.

I’ve got an interview with Joe Romagnola at Grooveyard Records, a guitar-centric label in Upstate NY coming up soon as well. There are some more interviews in the pipelineand some gear things as well.

Positive Grid Jam Up Release

Positive grid released a massive new update for Jamup.  If you own any type of supported IOS device, you need this.  It’s a free upgrade for current owners but if you’re new to the game here’s an overview.

The good

  • The price is now $19.95 – but you get BIAS bundled with it for free.
  • There’s a drop box feature for tonesharing
  • The New acoustic bundle ($9.99) is awesome!
  • There’s an acoustic simulator that sounds really good.  It’s a decent acoustic tone on it’s ow and I think it would sit well in a mix but the real excitement for me is that it’s one of the best Jazz guitar tones I’ve ever heard!  If you were playing Gypsy Jazz or wanted to incorporate more of the warm acoustic tone into your playing.  What’s also amazing about this is that JamUp has been asking players on FB if they would have any interest in being able to choose pickups or wood materials for bodies – which could mean that they are getting closer to releasing something akin to a software version of the Variax (which honestly Line 6 would have made infinitely more money from than every Variax sale that they’ve ever made).
  • The acoustic processing is also very good.  There’s a new EQ, amp and reverb to go with it.  I could show up at an open mike with a sonic port and my iPhone and do a set no problem.
  • There’s a new Vintage effects pack (also $9.99) with some cool choices.  I’m still not down with the decay on the notes in some of the gain settings (and the gate) but the effects are cool.
  • There’s also a new amp pack (again a $9.99 add on).  It’s cool.  I don’t know that it’s anything radically different than other amps that are there (or that you could build in BIAS) but they sound good – particularly the clean amp.

The bummer

  • Still no dual signal path.  That’s a minor quibble.  But it would make it awesome.

Also, the BT-4 Bluetooth Midi Switcher is really cool but I think sending audio through it is a waste of time.  I’d rather see the energy spent on being able to daisy chain boards so you could run multiple boards and say use one for the looper and one to switch patches.  The addition of the expression pedal is a great feature though.  Even with that said, the BT-4 looks like a great product and I’m psyched to check it out.

Okay!  That’s it for now.  As always, thanks for reading!

-SC