Author Topic: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)  (Read 1452 times)

Knightfall

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Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« on: February 11, 2017, 11:38:24 PM »
By popular demand here is a thread for discussing how you play your instrument and giving/receiving advice on such matters.  I've broadened it to instrument stuff in general, both style and equipment because why not.


I play bass.  The only natural way to do that is with your fingers and anyone who tells you differently is a reptilian insurgent and not to be trusted.

I personally use my index and middle fingers and my thumb.  Only recently started using my thumb, but it helps with precision and just generally makes your playing from one string to the next a lot smoother since you can get two without having to change positions, and most bassists rest their thumb on the next lower string from what they're playing anyway so it just makes sense.  Picked up the idea from learning to play arpeggios finger style on my acoustic guitar, in which you assign a finger to each string.

I play a Yamaha TRBX174.  Affordable, reliable workhorse for the proletariat.  Currently have nickel wound strings on it but I've been looking into trying some other types.  Also going to order a Schecter Omen 5-string soon.  I have a shitty 15 watt fender amp for raw black metal stuff, though I've had my eye on a 10 watt pevey to replace it with for some time now (I have a thing for low quality amps, just roll with it).  And for when I want my instrument to sound good I have a Sunn O))) Coliseum 300 head with a Yamaha 4x10 (though I'll need to replace the cab soon because it's pretty worn out, hoping to find a good deal on a matching Sunn).

Just have a standard distortion pedal right now and I'm looking into getting something better so any pedal recommendations are quite welcome.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2017, 11:44:04 PM by Knightfall »

Kay

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2017, 04:26:27 PM »
Thanks for taking the initiative. It's really nice having to talk to someone who's familiar with the instruments here. It's weird because I'm supposed to have a plenty of people around me that I can ask about stuff in the local scene and yet it's actually kind of hard to bring myself to do so. Anyway I have a standard Jackson in my hands right now and I almost gave up using fingers because I thought I was supposed to use all the fingers to play and when I did I was never on time. I don't know. If you're an advanced musician you could.

How big is your 15 watt fender amp? I have a shitty little yamaha mini amp that's pretty much the size of a cool box. I could never use that for shows but it gives more than enough dbs with distortion. Pedals? HM2 all the way dude.




Knightfall

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 05:35:45 PM »
Yeah, how many fingers you use and which ones are really up to your preferences.  There are guides to help you with different styles, but they all have different benefits.  I know standard is index and middle.  It's the easiest, especially when you're working on timing because you can just count one-two-one-two as you pluck with each.  I had tried adding my ring finger to the mix a while back and it helped me play faster, but it messed with my timing and mobility and ultimately didn't improve my playing much.  Thumb still takes some getting used to, but it feels a lot more natural along with index and middle, so you're not dividing your focus as much as you are using three or four fingers, and it has the benefit of allowing you to use multiple strings without moving your hand, which is great for me because my fingers aren't as long as most guitarists/bassists.

When I saw Taphos Nomos, their bassist was playing a five string and alternating between two, three, and four fingers throughout each song depending on how fast he was playing.  Might have been a bit excessive, but holy shit it was cool to see.

My fender is tiny as well.  It was part of the package my beginner bass came with and it suffers the same problem as that bass did in that it has little tone range.  Fortunately my Yamaha makes up for a lot of that and I load it up with distortion for recording with that band anyway and we're not certain if it will play live yet.  The 10-watt Pevey was looking at was just something I fucked around with while we were at a music store and it surprisingly had a really good tone for black metal.

I've heard a lot of good things about the HM-2.  Joel has one and it sounds wonderful when it's working, his is old and temperamental.  May check around for one.  I've also been considering a Rat 2 and plan to get an EQ pedal to use with my lo-fi setup since those little practice amps rarely have enough control of their own.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 05:39:07 PM by Knightfall »

Cappa

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 09:51:51 PM »
Nice thread title. I will be contributing here, just give me time to work out some quick exercises and such.

Kay

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2017, 08:28:32 AM »
Awesome. If we're looking at the same material as we go on it would probably help.

I'd probably pick one song that's easy to handle and I really like so I can stay focused, initially dividing a song into different parts, practicing them in portions. I'm curious to know what you guys are trying to play so I can maybe follow along the path. I tried to play one easy osdm song without shredding but since my hands are extremely small it took a bit of a stretch, thinking though I should be able to cover that with minimizing the time it takes to change finger positions.

This conversation reminds me of when I saw Portal the first time, it felt like I was watching some supernatural phenomena. Ridiculously gorgeous fingerpicking and catching up was almost impossible.

Knightfall

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 04:05:44 AM »
The only song that I did not write the bass for that I know how to play start to finish is Scream of the Butterfly, which is handy for a range of fundamentals.  I also know a few parts of Marduk's The Black Tormentor of Satan which I learned to work on speed.  I couldn't find bass tabs for the latter anywhere though and had to figure it out from a combination of the guitar tabs and watching a youtube cover.  It was painful watching him strike that beautiful instrument with one of those nylon abominations but I had to take what I could get.

Right now my main focus in what I'm writing/playing is atmospheric black metal (we got the sample tape from the printer yesterday btw, get hype).  Also working on something a bit deathier, to be announced.  Since I don't know many pre-existing songs I might not be much help on choosing covers to learn from.  Honestly the most beneficial thing to my learning process has been writing and actually hearing it played out to see what was done right and what needs improvement and how it fits into the piece.  Covers are a good way to get acquainted with your tools, but they only take you so far.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 04:38:09 AM by Knightfall »

Rhaskos

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 05:16:15 AM »
i guess there should be a separate thread for composition and theory. the 25 plastic keys with less width than my ring finger on my midi controller kinda free me from thinking about performance and its nuances (that is to say outside of the context of composing an organic sounding piece) although i will surely take up the violin one day.
i didn't learn anything in school which i now of course regret. learning music from scratch as an adult possibly requires more passion and discipline than i can muster.

also send us your demo

Cappa

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2017, 05:52:58 AM »
I have 2 methods to composing: either I sit with my guitar while I think about concepts and ideas and see what I can make happen, or I go ahead and use composition software (either guitar pro or sibelius, both of which are easy to pirate). When I'm using composition software, I'm not so concerned with what is and isn't possible to pull off, but rather I'm trying as hard as I can to completely replicate what I'm coming up with in my head. Figuring out how to pull it off comes secondary and is a non issue in my opinion; I feel that most of the awesome song parts that set a new standard of technical limitations over the years (even way back when with classical composition) came from a lot of pushing to just make it happen, or making the necessary sacrifices in the learning process.

Cappa

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 06:22:50 AM »
Guitarists, here's my set up:

Edwards AL 120
-With ESP, I would never ever EVER buy an LTD. Every LTD I've picked up plays like shit with molasses-like action. Here's the real hierarchy:
LTD<ESP stock<ESP custom USA<Edwards<ESP custom Japan

So, what's Edwards? Well, it's a goofy little sub company of ESP Japan that handles making signature series guitars and basses, but the parts it uses are B stock from ESP custom. There's usually a picky, minute visual defect that doesn't meet the custom shop's standards, or the parts are over manufactured. In the case of my guitar, it has a visual imperfection where the saw slipped shaping the bottom of the headstock. I paid less than 1/3 of the price for the same build quality as an ESP custom from Japan. Enough said.


Furman Power Conditioner
-Buy a lower end one. If you want a higher end one, go with another company, because many companies eclipse their high end performance at a lower price.

ENGL 530 Preamp
-This thing just fucking kicks ass. It's a 2 channel preamp with a clean and an overdrive channel, but it can mimic 4 channels. Each channel has a dipswitch that boosts the gain on it. Essentially, you're getting clean, dirty, lead, and overdrive channels out of a 2 channel amp, but the limitation is that you have to pick 2 to switch on the fly from a foot switch. The overdrive channel has a second dip switch to alter the contour of the channel itself, so add 2 more sounds for a total of 6 possible sounds you can produce. You can use a 1/4" jack to plug headphones into it, as it has its own (weak) power amp. You can use the same feature to plug into a small practice amp output for practicing, so by buying this, you can forego a power amp for a little while if you aren't in a band and don't have a live setup. For live output to a power amp, you can send the signal in 2 different channels to a stereo power amp, or you can use the FX loop out for mono output. You can use any 2 button foot pedal (I use one from a shitty Marshall DFX combo). There are 2 places to plug in the foot switch: the first jack makes one button a mute switch and the second button assigns to the contour dip switch, so you've got a preamp defeat with a rhythm sound and lead sound for metal performance. The second jack has one button switch between the clean and lead channel, and the second button... I can't even remember right now. The overall gain of the gain channel is enough to rival an ENGL powerball, and is more than enough to play slam, brutal death, deathgrind, etc. For a preamp that only takes up one rack space, its ~$500 price is WELL worth it.

EV 7100 Power Amp
-This guy isn't made anymore. It's a 2 channel stereo power amp that uses convection cooling, so it doesn't have a cooling fan or the noise that goes along with it. You can bridge both channels into a mono output that is loud enough to not need to be mic'd on stage at a mid size venue. You do need to get a banana male to 1/4" female adapter to plug a shielded 1/4" from your rig to your cab.

Vader 4x12
-These aren't made anymore, either. I have the straight cab version. It's on caster wheels because I have a shit back, but the low end is more than enough without having to put it directly on the ground. It's loaded with Eminence Red Coat speakers. I wouldn't recommend paying the price to get one of these nowadays. I would instead recommend Orange cabs, or buy a cheapo Marshall or Peavey amp and RIP THOSE MOTHERFUCKING CELESTION SPEAKERS OUT and replace them with Eminence speakers... unless you like to spend lots of money on an amp head and have it sound the same as a Line 6 Spider. Just my $0.02


The only modifications I'm thinking about in the entire setup are a decent reverb pedal or a 31 band mono eq to be able to do subtractive equalization through my own signal.

If you have any questions about anything, shoot.

Knightfall

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 04:50:15 AM »
i guess there should be a separate thread for composition and theory. the 25 plastic keys with less width than my ring finger on my midi controller kinda free me from thinking about performance and its nuances (that is to say outside of the context of composing an organic sounding piece) although i will surely take up the violin one day.
i didn't learn anything in school which i now of course regret. learning music from scratch as an adult possibly requires more passion and discipline than i can muster.

also send us your demo

I had a similar problem in that I've been playing an instrument since I was 8, but had fuck all for self discipline up until my early 20s so I was essentially just starting minus the basics we learned back in band class.  Learning on my own was tricky, but also really rewarding when you figure something out on your own.  I guess being a near-autism level introvert and only child was good for something.

When it is released I will spam all of you with it.

I have 2 methods to composing: either I sit with my guitar while I think about concepts and ideas and see what I can make happen, or I go ahead and use composition software (either guitar pro or sibelius, both of which are easy to pirate). When I'm using composition software, I'm not so concerned with what is and isn't possible to pull off, but rather I'm trying as hard as I can to completely replicate what I'm coming up with in my head. Figuring out how to pull it off comes secondary and is a non issue in my opinion; I feel that most of the awesome song parts that set a new standard of technical limitations over the years (even way back when with classical composition) came from a lot of pushing to just make it happen, or making the necessary sacrifices in the learning process.

Same on all points.  I usually practice for at least an hour every day and sometimes I'll come up with something new, or I'll get an idea and run it through guitar pro to see if it works.  Guitar pro is an invaluable tool, unkvlt as it may be.  Having a bandmate with a lot of experience writing has also been very helpful because he gives me plenty of material to build on.  I also never consider difficulty when writing.  I know I can figure it out and if a piece is difficult it just means I'll have that much more experience when I do.  I don't go out of my way to make something difficult to play, mind you, but if it fits what I'm working on best I will just play until I get it.  My biggest issue composing by myself from scratch (which I haven't done a lot of yet, since the two of us write unusually well together) is that I'll get a lot of ideas at once, cram them together, and end up with a mess and then I have to dig out the good stuff.  It's a weird process but it's done me well so far.  I think.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 05:02:47 AM by Knightfall »

Rhaskos

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 05:42:41 AM »
Is guitar pro a daw or just for writing? I'm not familiar with it.

I don't suppose we have any Cubase experts up in here.

Knightfall

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 02:38:33 AM »
Guitar pro is actually pretty extensive.  It lets you write in staff or tabs and has a huge set of instruments and tools, as well as a playback.  Most of the sounds it uses to play what you write are atrocious, especially the bass, but it's a good way to get a feel for what you're making before you take the time to learn it as well as saving your work for practice and easy editing.

GP's drum tracks are actually not bad and make an excellent poor man's drum machine if you mix and master them correctly.

Rhaskos

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 06:30:51 AM »
sounds like you should look into a proper daw and virtual instruments. i have hundreds of GBs to mess about with. if i was limited to the instruments i owned i would not bother with it at all unless i wanted to pursue a career in the industry.

off the top of my head Strezov Sampling has some great stuff.
also worth mentioning are 8Dio, cinesamples, best service and spitfire. i'm not remembering other good ones. grab these things from rutracker because they are unbelievably expensive. if you want to use their material in commercial releases you can do so if you own the licences though.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 06:43:37 AM by Rhaskos »

Knightfall

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 08:30:56 PM »
Well you don't, or shouldn't, use GP as an actual source of instrument sounds.  It's for composing.  The playbacks are just for practice.

Except the drums.  With the right amount of sorcery you won't even realize they're fake if they're written well.

Rhaskos

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Re: Playing with yourself (instrument thread)
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 09:34:56 PM »
Well you don't, or shouldn't, use GP as an actual source of instrument sounds.

that's the feeling i got. anyway check this out


oh i don't know if i've mentioned this before but i actually have a bass guitar at my old place up north that i keep forgetting about. i'll grab it this weekend.
another connection i haven't made is that my 2 best friends are a grindcore guitarist and a -core drummer so i guess my basement is going to be converted.