With its simple double “a” vocal, the Latin or Italian word for “water” underlines this element’s fundamental meaning. An archaic word.
That’s what Steve’s contribution did to my unfinished track from the last post: it was reconnected with a fundamental meaning.
Although there has been nothing going on on this blog for quite a long time, many things happened behind the scenes. Many recordings were made, but I feel I have to elaborate them more than I usually do for blog posts. Meaning I would need a huge amount of time for each track.
Maybe they are to become songs that need a proper production; an album, maybe. It would be premature to extend on this…
But then there was this additional idea: I invited two English guitar players whom I both know via internet to finish some of my recordings; they as well were invited to send me a track I could complete. It should be done in an easy way by simply sending mp3s, and it should be published on the blog.
Steve and Stephen both readily agreed; which cannot be taken for granted – it can be rather challenging to receive a piece you have to add some instrumental part to!
We also agreed that each of us could ask for another track if there were problems. And no hurry!
When I received two keyboard tracks from Steve, I was quite surprised for I knew him as a guitar player – but he seems to be a real multi-instrumentalist. These tracks made it easy for me to solo on, and I enjoyed the whole process very much. I even added some percussion I played myself, and particularly a “latin” track by Steve gave me the chance to indulge in my Santana roots. That was pure fun, and I would like to thank him for that.
The track I sent him in turn was a little bit monotonous, but I thought it would provide a certain mood which makes it easy to find a voice on top. But how Steve managed to surprise me once more! He did not simply add a new layer to it – he superimposed images from a completely different level on my track. Different sounds, different chords, different moods. What you hear in this post is only my original track, leaving space for you to speculate what he might have added. In just a few days I will put up the new version…
guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul, Vox AC 30 (vibrato channel), Tube Reverb
After eight years of continuous guitar lessons a young student of mine surprised me with a good-bye-present of a kind I had never thought to receive:
He had built an effects unit for me! It’s a Fuzz he called “Vanilla Fuzz” because of the yellowish casing – but he has not been aware of a band called Vanilla Fudge which is one of my favorites and fits the topic of this blog perfectly. For this present he must have spent countless hours of building, soldering and even painting; and finally he gave it away just for me…
When I tried it the same day I received it (I couldn’t wait much longer) I found it was nice, but something was missing with the higher notes. After some consideration I resolved to try it with bass – and that was a revelation: it felt like this unit had been built as a bass fuzz device, and as such it is filling a gap in my stomp boxes pool.
As a “thank you” I post a music with fuzz bass on it. And mandolin and conga plus a bicycle bell. Sounds strange? Sure it is!
instruments & gear: Tobias 4-string bass, Vox AC 50, Epiphone Mandobird, MXR Phase 90, Tube Reverb
guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom (while putting on new strings…), Vox AC 15 Heritage, Tube Reverb
illustration by my son
When putting the music for this post together, an old children’s game came to my mind. It is called “Himmel und Hölle” (heaven and hell) in German, but it is widespread and known under different names in many countries. A squarish multicolored piece of paper gets folded into several compartments that can be opened with your fingers, showing either the “heaven” or the “hell” part. Children also use the game to “predict the future” by writing numerals on each compartment that apply to a code on another piece of paper.
guitar & gear: Ibanez Lawsuit SG, Fender Tweed Champ for the basic track, Vox AC 50 for the solos, Tube Reverb
Finally I made it! It’s so easy to promise new recordings, and then sometimes it’s kind of impossible to record for weeks. But in the end…
The E-major chord in the beginning is out of tune, once again. But as soon as soloing begins, no wrong notes are discernible. I think I have accepted a guitar player’s fate: our instrument is not tempered, and whenever a C Major sounds fine, E Major will be horrible…
In many songs (mainly old ones) I found it very charming to hear a guitar that’s slightly out of tune. But it happens anyway… Two minutes into a recording your having tuned the guitar before is already worth nothing. And I think to a certain degree it’s o.k., since I like the human factor, the inexact and the non-tempered. What makes Miles Davis’ trumpet sound so great? Among others, that his notes are non-tempered! I like the same quality about the early John McLaughlin. And I understand when Neil Young praises his Bigsby detuning his guitar after every application. (Don’t overdo that! Normally, I would have cut off the initial part of the track… And, yes, I know there is a Buzz Feiten tuning system and other solutions out there).
First you listen to the SG with both pickups activated. There is much treble. At around 0:36 you can hear me switch the toggle to the neck pickup – a sound very appropriate for Blues. I try to play around with several styles, getting a bit funky, and presenting some power chords.
I think the Amber pickups are great. They sound incredibly direct and clear. Even though I experience some difficulty with the neck and the overall performance, the SG has assumed a new status in my little studio, mainly due to these pickups.
guitar & gear: Ibanez SG, Tweed Champ, 2×12 cabinet with greenbacks, Tube Trem as a booster
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Vox AC 15 Heritage, BSM Spectrum fuzzbooster
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Vox AC 15 Heritage, BSM Spectrum fuzzbooster, Tube Reverb
guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, Vox AC 50, Cry Baby Classic Wah, Tube Reverb