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Old&NtheWay

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  1. quote: Originally posted by toc: We have two solid guitar players at our session. I would love to give them major-league salaries and all the concubines they can carry in a wheelbarrow to keep them coming back. Now THERE'S an idea. Hey, hon, what do you think about a wheelbarrow of concubines??? Here's to hoping I get to live long enough to make the next session.......
  2. Although I don't have much experience with Celtic sessions, as a long time rock/jazz/blues guitarist, nothing drives me crazier than sessions/jams with no one in charge. There's only so many times you can play a blues in F or "Bo Diddley" before it gets real tired. I know I'm in the right place when someone hands me either a list of tunes before the session or music at the session. At the very least, I won't be wasting my time listening to everyone try to figure out what everyone else knows. As far as good rhythm playing goes, I learned a long time ago that what separates the haves from the have nots on any instrument is not how much you can play, but how much you can make what you can play count. Give me 6 chords and rock solid time over fancy fingerpicking any day of the week. Of course, being a solid rhythm player is the most certain path to obscurity. Well, at least until you stop playing.
  3. quote: Originally posted by Lanier: Old and in the Way, Yes, I'm with the N-SSA and so is Polecat by the way. I've been coming to Winchester for the Nationals twice a year since 1975 and always enjoy it. Ya'll come see us and bring your fiddles! Lanier Funny story (to me anyways) about how I learned of the NSSA. I come from Detroit and used to work for Ford in Dearborn. I moved all the way down here to this little hole-in-the-wall never figuring that anyone back home would know where this is. A couple months after I moved here, I was in the bookstore when some guy starts coming toward me. Turns out it was one of the engineers that I had worked with back in Dearborn and his wife. They apparently come here every year for N-SSA also. I was completely floored His name is Jim Bader by the way, maybe you know him. Well, maybe we can see all of y'all next time you're up. Thanks, Pete
  4. quote: Originally posted by Lanier: Crystal, I thought of Winchester when I read your post. That's a nice place for a walk in October, hope to come across you playing there. Lanier From your profile, I'm guessing you come up for either the NSSA shooting thing here (although I thought that was earlier than October) or the Cedar Creek battle reenactment. Am I right? If so, maybe we can keep an eye out for you.
  5. I don't know if it will help, but after 28 years as a musician, I find that there are times when it works and times when it doesn't and there aren't many things you can do to control it. On a bad night you may be tired, preoccupied, or maybe the group just isn't clicking. Music is, at it's best, collaborative and there's something mystical about the connections between musicians. On a good night, you'll be focused, pumped, and the rest of the band will be hitting on all cylinders like a rail dragster at 300 miles an hour. The only thing I can recommend is that the good nights will keep you coming back and working through the bad nights. Keep plugging.
  6. quote: Originally posted by Azeotrope: Old&InTheWay who posts here, is also from your fair city. Wow, quite perceptive. What Crystal forgot to mention is that she and her teacher also want her husband (me) to join them on guitar. I've been trying to convince her to do something like this since she started playing, but who listens to me??????
  7. This is a pretty stupid argument, really, since, technically, no one worth hearing plays anything "straight". Rhythmic flucuations are happening all the time. They may not be recognizable to the ear, but they are real and quantifiable (maybe milliseconds of delay). This is what gives the music "feel". Even a rock-solid drummer playing to a click track will fudge time. Each bar, for instance, will have the snare hits dead on beats 2 and 4 but the kick drum will be lagging. This gives the music that ability to sound in time yet still be extremely expressive. If this were not so, I could put all of you violinists out of work by using a synthesizer rigged to give just temperment and a sequencer quantized to give perfect time to generate the ultimate performance of any piece (at least within the drastic limitations of the printed score). The sucessful meshing of 40 or so individuals each playing a little bit off in different directions is what gives an orchestra its grandeur, not simply the amount of space they take up on the platform. I think it's silly to degrade a musician because he/she "can't play the rhythm on the score". Beyond a certain intermediate level of player, the ability to play in straight time is a given. What they do with thier interpretations is the spice of life. You can not like what they do with the rhythm (too much, too little) but it's a never ending discussion, like trying to decide who's the best baseball player of all time.
  8. I too am a graduate out of my field, but this is not the point. I've got a BS with a major in English Literature and minors in Math and Physics. This meant that as a minimum, when I got out of school I could read, write, do 'rithmetic, comprehend technology, and be fairly reasonable and analytical. Went into technical writing which led to automotive engineering, picked up an MBA on the way and can do consulting, etc. If I had gotten a performance degree, I could've played music reasonably well but it doesn't translate well into anything else. Besides, many of the best players I've known don't graduate from high school. It's one area where degrees don't mean much if you've got chops. And you get chops more from playing gigs and working as a musician than you do from studying for a degree. So, like one friend who got a performance degree in trombone, you spend 4 years studying while someone else spends 4 years gigging and you're actually further behind when you get done.
  9. About 15-20 years ago, I studied with the best session guitarist in Detroit, worked in local recording studios, and got to hang around some great session players (some got national exposure- 2 of the guys on Bonnie Raitt's big breakthrough album) and I'd have to say, DavidK has it nailed. The guys I knew were all rhythm section players (bass, drums, guitar, keys). They made union scale- $50/hr. for a 3 hour minimum. The 5 or 6 guys who actually made a living off it were good enough to do maybe 3-4 sessions a day (cold; all reading). Combined with other gigs, one guy told me his best year he made $60,000. The one exception was a keyboard player who demanded-and got- $150/hr. I'd have to add that as a string player, it will be even tougher. It's way too easy to get the keyboard player on a jingle session (who's probably the writer and arranger) to just add string pads than to bother with more people and expense. I remember working only one session in my career that used real strings.
  10. Not a drum machine but a Roland PMA-5 (you can probably pull a similar trick with any drum machine). Simply program the number of bars in that you'll need, put the machine into "record" mode so it's generating a click whenever you start it, mute the instrument output, set the desired tempo, and use the machine's internal click. I've got a couple songs programmed into the box in different time signatures (no chords or melody) for just such an occasion. Works like a charm.
  11. quote: Originally posted by Gary: Oldie, yeah, I suspect my mike is at fault here. It's a stand alone mike but a Radio Shack cheapie. My trouble with MusicMatch is that it seems to record at weak levels requiring full blast playback and lots of background hiss. Again, I haven't done this on computer and I'm not that familiar with the intricaies of various programs, but for what it's worth.... It sounds like the mic has low sensitivity and a low signal-to-noise ratio. The frequency response probably isn't that good either so you'll probably be really frustrated with the tone quality even if you get the levels up. An additional problem that many novices have is trying to mic the violin for recording the same way you'd mic it for a concert. When recording, the mic has to be about 3-6 inches from the top plate of the instrument (probably aimed at an f hole or somewhere thereabouts), not 2-3 feet out in front of you. This will require a boom stand or a gooseneck so you can get the mic placed and aimed. This will get the levels up, but then you'll have to contend with the opposite problem, controlling fluctuating levels that can get too hot for the input. That would be where a good compressor/limiter would come in. It would keep the levels even and prevent clipping and distortion due to dynamic variation. If I recall, a standard pro-grade SM-58 (Shure) could be had for around $125 about 15 years ago. My wife was a singer and has a real good AudioTechnica that cost around $300 at about the same time. I don't think, however, that many computers are set up to accomodate a standard, professional, low-Z, XLR type mic and you may have to invest in additional hardware to make the conversion. My personal suggestion before you spend money is to get a pickup for your violin or get an electric violin. Open mics are real tough to use well if you're equipped for it. My wife picked up a Yamaha silent violin for about $500 and you can just plug it in to the computer and record. It's even got a reverb. The only downside is that my wife says the Yamaha is too forgiving and easy to play and makes her sound better than she is. All my guitars have pickups for recording. I never try to use mics since they're just a royal pain in the kiester. And I've had a lot of experience. Hope this helps.
  12. I've never done computer recording before but I've worked as a recording engineer. Just remember, the quality of the recording will only be as good as the quality of the weakest link in the signal chain. Do you have a good quality mic? The little piece of crap that comes with the computer probably is worthless. You might want to look at some decent processing equipment like a mic preamp, reverb, or compressor. Also, there is an art to placing the mic for the best sound. Just like running your Hafler amps through a telephone speaker will waste a perfectly good amp, the cause of poor quality may not be in the program at all.
  13. This was one of the great jokes when I was in college. Many of my friends went off to pursue a "MUSIC" degree. The smart one's eventually opted for the education track instead of the performance track so they could at least sub in the local high school, however some continued thier delusions right through to a high paying job teaching driver's ed classes. I was working around professional session musicians at the time, and many of them never finished high school. The point would be that the only real way to get a musical performance education was to perform music, early and often. There were some really good players with good educations from premiere schools, and I'm sure the degree is more a requirement of classical music, but for the most part, a performance degree was only good for starting a fire.
  14. You probably mean a Seagull. In recent years they've become a fairly respectable budget-type brand. I've never owned one, but I've played a couple. I've never seen or heard of any major problems with them.
  15. quote: Originally posted by DavidK: Ann, I will answer the question, Sight Reading Skills are a 100x more important than memory skills, no doubt. I would agree totally with one caveat. For people outside of classical music, walking into a jam session or some other kind of get together without the knowledge of certain basic repetoire can be embarassing. From what I understand, in an Irish session it is considered the hieght of bad form to attempt to play along unless you know the tune. Asking some people for the sheet music can get you laughed right out of the place. In a practical sense, having some volume of memory can really help you out of some tough places and is worth developing. However, I wouldn't trade my reading ability for it.
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