Jul. 2nd, 2016 04:20 pm
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Just about to gig at a party outside Winchester. Get in is 5pm. Sound check is as soon afterwards as poss. I should be back at the hotel by 1am and then sleep. In the morning I have to rush back home for my daughter's third birthday.
And my ears are giving me problems. :(
Never mind. Just more rubbish to deal with, I suppose.


Nov. 27th, 2015 05:51 pm
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Last night I went out with chaps from a band I was in at the turn of the millennium.

I'd met Paddy, the drummer, on the tube a few months ago, and we exchanged phone numbers. So I met him and Phil, the pianist/singer, in a pub in Battersea.

We all have partners and children now. Nannies and school fees are things with which we are all familiar.

But more importantly, everyone was itching to make music.


Anyway, I'm still waiting on my Line 6 Helix. GuitarGuitar in Epsom have had my deposit since October. I rang them today and they prevaricated. Not impressed really.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
And I have to rehearse tonight with the wedding band I'm listening to this:

I do love to listen to great genius. This is what humans can do when they really try...well, maybe superhumans. 
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
I was backing a singer/songwriter called Cressy Johnstone (who is my son's godmother) as her guitarist, and we toured in support of Joan Armatrading. Now Joan was just returning to playing live after a short hiatus. Before the first gig I asked her about the opening chords to this song, and she said "All guitarists always ask me that" and moved on to a different subject. So I watched her from the wings...and every night of the tour she used different inversions of the chords, to make it more difficult to read her hands.

You have to love a lass like that. I still smile when I think about it. This performance is probably miming for TOTP or something...but Ms Armatrading can really play...really play...

Probably because I'm getting old, something reminded me of this today, so I posted it on here.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
…When you actually do the practise.

Of course, I'm not a smackhead like ol' Joe was (and Charlie Parker, and Miles, and 'Trane, et al) but I will never be as good as Joe without putting in the hours. But it is also about the lucidity of Joe's playing and thinking that really comes through here, and that needs more than work and application.

He was a great genius of the guitar.


May. 21st, 2012 01:55 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Radio 3's Building a Library (part of Saturday morning's CD Review programme) has always been one of those which both inform and entertain. Last Saturday's was no exception: Tess Knighton surveyed recordings of works by Carlo Gesualdo and made recommendations.

Now I'm reasonably well-informed about what is generally called, in our modern age, early music. But despite having read Huxley's writings on psychedelic drugs (wherein Gesualdo is mentioned) and been aware of many, if not most important music composing folk from Lassus and Palestrina onward, I had never taken the trouble to search out Gesualdo's music, mainly because of his notoriety: as I find it difficult to admire murderers, no matter how talented.

But here's the rub. According to Tess Knighton and this site, Gesualdo did not have a socially acceptable option but to murder his wife and her lover. I quote from the website:

In Gesualdo’s day Naples was a Spanish viceroyalty and the aristocracy of the time adhered to Spanish customs. These customs dictated that should your wife be having an affair, both her and her lover should be killed to preserve your family’s honour. Therefore, there is nothing exceptional in the murders, which would have been expected by society.

In which case, I can now depise the whole particular society to which he belonged, and not just the man: though I can still despise the man's actions in murdering anyone, let alone his wife's younger child. But maybe this new information, and BBC Radio 3, gave me the impetus to listen to Gesualdo's music, so famously championed by many, including Stravinsky.

It's worth listening to. Not, as with Bach, for the sublime and godlike overarching genius of his work, but for a smaller genius of a different kind. But genius nevertheless.

Still, genius or not, that's a good few aeons in purgatory for you, Carlo, my lad.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

I've just read about a guitar teacher claiming to have played guitar on Toby Bourke/George Michael's "Waltz Away Dreaming".

This is news to me as I'm not teaching anymore, and haven't for more than ten years.

As is, I'll see Toby sometime over the summer, and I suppose I'll ask him about it.

People, hey. Just goes to show.


Jun. 27th, 2011 01:37 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Last week was, for me, the end of an era.

I took my Marshall Halfstack and my 'Blackface' Twin home from Tin Pan Alley Studios.

Steve has been bought out of his tiny remaining share of TPA Studios and is now looking for a long-term engineering position somewhere in his locale. For more than a decade he was Mr TPA, or at least, Mr TPA Studios. He took his eye off the ball and the business went under as his marriage broke down, but who in such a position wouldn't? Some lesser person than him who didn't care as much about his marriage, probably. Oh well. Still there was a time when he owned a bit of the collective Rock 'n' Roll history of London, and a place where The Stones, The Kinks, Jimi, The Who, and countless others recorded or rehearsed.

Anyway I also brought home my old-fashioned pedalboard, which appears to be malfunctioning. If I go back to playing in any serious way I suppose I shall have to replace it.

Rehearsal tomorrow night. I shall have to reacquaint myself with the instrument.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
After lunch I went to John Dickinson's open day. I left young Henry with SWMBO and wended my way to Crystal Palace to see some of John's new amplifiers.

Blimey. Very impressive. He had a couple of highly polished combos which even Madame would allow in our front room: they're that pretty. They are also pretty pricey, coming in at around £4K. They do sound extraordinarily good though.

I doubt that I could justify buying another Dickinson amp so soon after the last one, so Madame shall not find herself with a new piece of drawing room furniture.
I also tried his point-to-point hand-wired tube pre-amp/overdrive pedal. Amazing, but again at £500 they ought to be. I'm considering buying one despite the fact that I'm hardly playing much at all. Depends if SWMBO will frown overmuch at such frivolous expenditure when we have other obvious expenses which rather take precendence.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

An old chum got a two-page spread, complete with photo, in the latest issue of 'Total Guitar'.

Page 46 sees Barrie Cadogan get 'bigged up' as is proper. Kudos to him.

It's nice when you see the chaps do well. I on the other hand haven't picked up a guitar in two months. Oh well.

johnny9fingers: (Default)

Somewhere or other I still have, lurking in my memories and on various scraps of paper, most of a Missa Brevis I set some twenty years ago. Fifths, thirds, fourths, sixths: by your limits may ye be known. Actually, I cheated and based it upon ninths and minor thirds/augmented fifths. But my hubris aside, listen to this and weep ye lovers of beauty.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Gigging tonight at Great Fosters, Egham: which means I have to miss my ante-natal class with SWMBO.

Lunch with Poor Mad Felix first, however.

Happy Paddy's day to one and all. My pint of the black stuff awaits.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

Felix went to court yesterday.

The CPS barrister had evidently not had time to read the psychiatrist's report (which had only been delivered to him the day before) having been overwhelmed by his case load. Felix's barrister actually managed to apprise the CPS's chap of the essentials of the case, before the court session began.

Ergo, when it came to court, the charge was read out, Felix pleaded (not guilty, obviously), and the prosecution offered no evidence, and Felix was discharged without a blot on his escutcheon.

It was a bit of a waste of everyone's time and a deal of public money, and, I guess, it really didn't need to go as far as it did.

I'd managed to drop SWMBO at King's College Hospital at 9.00 and got to the Crown Court at 10.00: booted, suited, and ready to testify if required. Thankfully it wasn't required.

Steph just about managed the journey to the Royal Marsden without assistance, and doesn't have to return until September.

The parent's-in-law picked up the keys from a neighbour and busied themselves painting the nursery.

All in all, a set of wins for everyone.

Later last evening Marcus Malone sent me an email with an attachment of the song 'Would it Matter', which I wrote some twenty years ago, and which he has just recorded. It sounds pretty good, actually, though he called it 'Could it Matter'. What's a consonant between old chums, hey? Fortune favour him.

Go well and do good things.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
You know what?
It's really time we started putting our pensioners into prison for possession of pot.


F***ing hell, you'd have thought that policemen had better things to do with their time. Unless someone is trying to claim that Mr Nelson was some sort of 'dealer' this must have been a self-reflectory criminal action: if you like, a victimless crime. Never mind, Mr Nelson is 77 years old: what will a few months in the slammer be to a man like him?

Bah. Just how did we all get into this stupid impasse?
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Yesterday I got a message from a musical chum, Marcus Malone, with whom I wrote an album some fifteen years ago, which was never released. The band broke up in the recording studio before finishing the album. Marcus wants to re-record a song I'd written. Unusually it was the only song on that album that I'd written entirely alone: most were collaborations between myself and Marcus with varying inputs from the other guys in the band.
He's a great singer and guitarist, and I hope he does well with 'Would it Matter?', though I can't for the life of me see it making any money in the music biz as it is now. But when he originally asked me to record as a solo artist it after the band had broken up I demurred for reason of it being a somewhat personal song. Time changes things, and what was once a personal expression no longer seems quite as close to ones heart, or revelatory in some confessional fashion.
Nevertheless, Marcus is a good chap, and may fortune favour him.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So I've been 'getting stuck into' the Pod X3 Live.

The features, configurability, and versatility of the unit are phenomenal, and it is just about possible to get a reasonable sound with much programming and using the X3's 'Dual Tone' feature which puts your original guitar signal through two separate amplifier models and indeed two completely separate signal paths, before linking them both to a single output.

In comparison to my old Digitech GNX3 the amp models sound more accurate, but in some strange way (at least to this subjective analyser) less usable: because although slightly more accurate, they still aren't the real thing and they don't flatter my playing in the way the GNX3 modelling does.

The 'Dual Tone' feature is pretty cool, though the architecture of the output routing means that the blend of tones when outputted into a single amp makes it sound not entirely coherent, inasmuch as one can certainly detect both components of the tone produced. The Gear Box editing on the computer is very cool too.

Sometimes it seems that I can also detect anomalous digital audio artefacts buried in the sounds.

The X3 Live does show up the limitations of my old GNX3, but as of now, neither satisfies. I may just have to go the whole hog and buy the Axe Fx Ultra and dump both the others on ebay. We shall see.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Well, the Line6 Pod X3 live landed yesterday....and you know what: I can't get it to sound quite as I want it to yet. The programming isn't quite as intuitive as the GNX3 and reminds me of the old Yamaha DX7 synth in its architecture. This isn't a problem as I can vaguely remember getting around DX7 programming all those years ago: but it does presage a period of getting to know how all the parameters interact. This will mean I shall not take it out on gigs until I've got it programmed to my satisfaction, and also until I'm completely familiar with it in terms of system architecture etc. There are a few online resources that I have subscribed to: it pays to forage on the knowledge of those who have gone before.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Today I went to Jon Dickinson's workshop in Crystal Palace to get my No3 Strat that he was fettling, my fixed 'Blues Deluxe' and a custom built Dickinson 45Wt 2x12 combo made in the chassis of an old Selmer type vertically stacked 2x12. The Celestion 12's have been reconed, and the amp itself is hand-wired with no PCB's (printed circuit boards). I might get around to taking photographs, but I've never sorted web-hosting for that sort of thing....so maybe not.

It has 2 inputs (1 guitar, 1 line), 2 switches, 1 green light to show it's working and ONE volume knob.

No bass, mid, or treble; no presence; no master volume; no anything else. It sounds amazing straight through: big, brash, and with real 'weight' and a certain amount of 'thud'. Putting the Digitech GNX3 into the line input and the amp is just awesome....and how often have any of you known me to use that word? The Marshall emulations sound like a good Marshall (and almost as good as mine); the various Fender models sound extraordinarily close to the real thing. This could also be because I've tweaked the programs over the years to suit my ears and understanding of the actual sounds being emulated.

The Line6 Pod X3 live arrives tomorrow. If it is any better than the GNX3 I may have found my perfect rig: and not just for the function band. Of course I won't sell my Marshall half-stack or my 'Blackface Twin', but even so it is phenomenal that a combination of digital modelling and old-fashioned valves and point-to-point wiring can fool these ears: I must be getting old and decrepit. Either that or finally we can has nice things at a reasonably affordable price (for a given value of 'affordable' obviously).

Dickinson Amps cost a heap of money for the main aluminium-bodied range: which I didn't audition as I only really approve of shiny in the bedroom. A few big names use 'em and rightly so. Apparently some chap called Matt Bellamy who is in some pop group or other swears by them: and I can now agree that the amps Jon Dickinson makes sound really very good indeed. Now to road-test the beast for reliability: I shall report back as and when.

It looks like we may have a dep for the function band. [livejournal.com profile] felephant was kind enough to offer, but he's in St Andrews, which is quite a step from Wimbledon, where the gig is.


johnny9fingers: (Default)

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