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Friday, March 4, 2016

Guns N' Roses "Welcome To The Jungle" Isolated Drums And Vocals

Steven Adler and Axel RoseIt looks like Guns N' Roses will be back touring again in some form and you can bet that one of the songs they play is "Welcome To The Jungle" from the band's first album. Here's an interesting version where you just hear the vocals and Steven Adler's drums. During the various interludes, solos and bridge you'll also hear some guitars, but it's mostly Izzy Stradlin's parts instead of Slash.

Here's what to listen for.

1. The snare drum has a fairly long slightly delayed reverb. It's pretty dark so it blends into the rest of the mix and just acts like a glue for the part.

2. The vocal has a shorter, wider gated reverb (sounds like a Lexicon 480) with a longer predelay and more upper midrange. It's also filtered differently so there's not much bottom on it. Again, this is designed to blend into the track more to give it a sheen rather than stick out.

3. There's a lot more cowbell in this song than I remember.

4. Listen to the rhythm guitar parts at 1:40 and 2:40. There are two different complimentary parts that are split left and right that you normally don't hear clearly in the final mix.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

More Restructuring From Avid

Pro Tools Off-Shore Tech SupportIt looks like Avid is at it again, announcing more corporate restructuring, according to Broadcast Tech. The company announced to investors earlier this week that it would be either closing or downsizing "redundant" offices in a move that's expected to save around $68 million.

For instance, rumor has it that all tech support would be moved from the U.S. to a newly opened office in Manila. The company also recently opened offices in Poland and Taiwan as well.

Avid also announced that it secured a "five year $105 million senior secured credit facility" that replaces it's $35 million revolving line of credit.

About the best thing you can say about all this is that it looks like Avid will survive for a few more years, so our Pro Tools subscriptions will be safe.

None of this is designed to play well with its customers however, who grow more disgruntled by the day. And each day all of Pro Tools many competitors look better and better.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Two Schools Of Thought On Guitar Effects Order

Guitar Pedal Order #1
Guitar Pedal Order #1
As part of finding the best tone, guitar players are constantly juggling the order of their effects pedals to find the best combination of low noise and great sound. It's a never ending search, but there are some guidelines that come from come from pedalboard experts like Bob Bradshaw.

Here's an excerpt from my Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook (written with the great Rich Tozzoli) that looks at the two basic schools of thought on pedal order.

"There are two things that will directly affect how your effects interface with your amp; the effects order and gain staging. Effects order means the order that each pedal appears in the the signal chain between the guitar and amplifier. There are several schools of thought on effects order, and they each have a different result.

School Of Thought #1
This effects chain is the order generally recommended by most of the pedal gurus. There are several rules that make up this order:

• Any distortion pedal must come first right after the guitar. The exception is if you’re using a compressor pedal, which will be first in the chain. Do not put a volume pedal first, as this can alter the way a compressor or distortion pedal sounds.

• Any modulation or tone devices like wahs should come next. This enables you to keep the sustain coming from your distortion or overdrive devices and alter an already harmonically rich signal.

• Delays come almost last in the chain, since you want to be delaying your already effected signal.

• A volume pedal comes either last in the chain, or directly in front of any delay.

• In situations where a pedal is providing a lot of clean gain, that will come last in the chain so as not to overload any of the other pedals.

So a typical effects order might go something like compressor --> distortion --> wah --> chorus --> delay --> volume pedal (see the graphic on the left). While this might not be the quietest order, it does sound really good because any distortion, overdrive, or sustain is being affected by the effects that come behind it.

School Of Thought #2
If we’re talking about recording, we may want the least amount of noise going into the amp. With that in mind, there are two rules:

• The noisiest pedal goes last in the chain before the amp.

• The one with the most gain goes last before the amp.

The reason for both of the above is simple; if the noisiest pedal is first in the chain, that noise will be affected and amplified further by every other pedal in the chain that you switch on. Same with the pedal with the most gain; if it’s at the beginning of the chain, it could possibly overload any other effect that comes after it, since most pedals only want to see a typical guitar signal and nothing greater (see the graphic below). Also, any noise caused by increasing the gain on a pedal will be amplified downstream by any other pedal switched on.

Guitar Pedal Order #2
Guitar Pedal Order #2
Generally, you’ll try to keep the basic order as in School of Thought #1 in order to be sure that any distortion or sustain is affected by the effects placed later in the chain. That being said, this order won’t sound the same as order #1, especially if a distortion pedal is placed last in the chain (which isn’t recommended) because of its gain, so it might not be for everyone."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chad Smith Interviews Grumpy Ginger Baker

Ginger BakerWow, talk about an old grump. In this video, Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith tries to interview Cream legendary drummer Ginger Baker. If not for Jay Bulger (the film maker who did Ginger's film Beware of Mister Baker) trying to translate, the interview would be even more uncomfortable than it is.

I found that the only way I could watch this all the way through was to put it on double speed, but eventually he does get to some interesting stories.

FYI, Ginger was just diagnosed with a "serious heart problem" and had to cut his tour short. It may mean the end of his playing days.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Longtime Clapton Drummer Jaime Oldaker On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Jaime Oldaker imageThis week's guest on the podcast tells some of the best music stories that I've heard in a long, long time.

It's Jaime Oldaker, who among many other credits, was the drummer on 11 Eric Clapton albums, longtime drummer for Bob Seger, and played with the likes of the Bee Gees, Leon Russell, Vince Gill, Peter Frampton and many more.

The story about being a human drum machine for Barry Gibb is worth the listen alone, not to mention the story behind Clapton's big hit "I Shot The Sheriff."

In the intro I'll take a look at the latest sale of MySpace, and give an interesting comparison between the Apple of today vs the RCA company of the early/mid-last century.

Remember that you can find the podcast at, or either on iTunes, Stitcher and now on Mixcloud and Google Play.

New Music Gear Monday: AeroDrums Air Drumming Instrument

AeroDrumsWe've all played air drums at one time or another, but what if those motions in the air actually did play something? Now you can with AeroDrums.

AeroDrums is a MIDI controller that uses a pair of special sticks and foot attachments that allow you to trigger sampled drums from either your own library or from a supplied library with Gretsch and Pearl samples. The only difference is that you're hitting air instead of pads.

It's all based on motion capture technology. A bright light illuminates reflective markers on your sticks and feet and a high speed camera tracks the motion of these markers and determines when sounds should be triggered in response to their movement. On your computer screen there's a diagram of where the drums and cymbals are so that you hit the right spots, but drummers seem to acclimate quickly to it to where they don't need to look after a short time (see the second video below).

It also has a high degree of accuracy so the drummer can play ghost notes or heavily accented notes since it measures the speed of your sticks/feet. As a result, there's a full range of MIDI note velocities and continuous controller data is utilized. In the case of the included samples, 16 levels of openness are provided for the hi-hat with up to 58 different samples for each degree of openness and for each hand. Unlike electronic drums, Aerodrums is able to tell which hand you're hitting with and will trigger different samples for each hand.

Aerodrums has been tested with Reaper 4, Garageband 10, Ableton Live 9, Logic Pro X and Digital Performer 8 so far, but the company doesn't anticipate compatibility issues with other DAWs on the market.

The package comes with sticks, two feet controllers, a high-speed camera, and paper sunglasses (since the measurement light might be too bright for some users). The software and library, which work on both Mac and PC, is then downloaded. It's just $199 directly from their website.

Check out the videos below.


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