Sunday, November 27, 2011

DigiTech Bass Synth Wah

This was my most recent pedal purchase.  I wanted some kind of envelope filter to play around with, and the DigiTech Bass Synth Wah was highly recommended as an inexpensive and decent sounding envelope filter effect.  Even though it is a stomp box type pedal, I would say it borders on being a multi-effect pedal with a synth tone focus.

I got the pedal used off of eBay and found a PDF of the manual here.  The Type knob on the right lets you select from one of seven different synth effects: envelope filter, sub envelope, synth 1, synth 2, filter 1, filter 2 and sub-octave.  Then the Sense, Control and Range knobs set the parameters of each effect, but may control different things depending which effect is currently active.  The manual has a handy table laying out what is what.

It has a ton of voices, some awesome, some grating and some just plain bizarre.  It is a lot of fun to just play around with.  I really like this video by Gear Up because he goes through all the different Type settings and then just twiddles with the knobs so you can get a sense of how it changes the sounds.  Having messed around with the pedal for hours, I can attest to the fact that every sound in the video is generated only by the Bass Synth Wah. No other effects need apply.

I would say the same thing about the DigiTech Bass Synth Wah that I said about my flanger, simultaneously one of my favorite and yet least useful effects.  Probably the reason why I waited to get it until now.  As I've mentioned before, I play a lot of straight up metal, so some of the more overt functions of this pedal aren't of much use to me.  However, when you dial back some of the weirder effects into more subtle territory, I think it has a lot of potential for adding interest and utility to the old pedal board. Not to mention hours of fun just doodling around with the sounds it can make.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mastodon & Company Rock The Trocadero

The Troc!

Red Fang!

Dillinger Escape Plan!


Good show last night.  Someday I guess I should learn how to take good pictures in the dark with my camera.  These are the best ones I got.  Red Fang and Mastodon were great, but Dillinger Escape Plan still doesn't do anything for me.  Sorry guys, I tried.  One thing I'm learning is that the Trocadero is the most unnecessarily loud venue in Philadelphia.  I've been to shows at the Tower, TLA and Electric Factory and none of them leave me with ringing ears like the Troc.  (I forgot my earplugs, which didn't help.)  I don't know if it is the fact that the venue is just so small, or their PAs are old or inappropriate, or their sound guy is deaf from working at the Troc.  So here is my open letter to the Trocadero:

Dear Trocadero,
Turn your shit down.  It can still be titanically loud and balanced at the same time.  Less bass, less kick drum, so you can actually hear vocals and guitar.  I'm no sound man, but I would be happy to show you how the sound board works.  It does work, doesn't it?
Bass Bottom Feeder
P.S. And what is up with making people check their chain wallets at the door?  Is that some new Philadelphia city tax on metal shows?  Lame.  Philadelphia, you owe me $3.

Besides all that, it was still a good time.  Mastodon just got up there and played for and hour and a half.  No talking, no BS, just a solid block of woolly mammoth.  I got a blurry-ass picture of Mastodon's set list that somebody got after the show.  I'll send it to CSI and see if they can decipher it with their computer deblurrification software.  Rock!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Concert Night!

Well, this past week I spent most of my spare time working on a new song that you can check out here if you are so inclined.  Then I had to work yesterday and missed the Saturday morning music video [insert sad face here].  But, tonight!  Tonight is Red Fang, Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon at the Trocadero!  Muy, muy bueno!  I know exactly zero about Dillinger Escape Plan, but Red Fang and Mastodon are two that are way up on my list of awesome bands.  I'll try really hard to shoot some videos or take some pics, even though I hate it.  Next week I have some down time in the run up to Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll actually produce something.  Rock!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bootsy Collins Does The EHX Workout

I just spent 11 minutes watching a Bootsy Collins infomercial for Electro-Harmonix pedals, and you should too.  There is some awesome sounding stuff in there, and listening to Bootsy play (and talk) is always a blast.  Funk!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video - The Crystal Method

Well the Skrillex video ended up being very topical what with the child abuse / sex scandal at Penn State here in the US.  If only ethereal nether-beings helped children destroy their molesters in the real world.  At any rate, that video sent me on a techno-binge since last week, and made me realize I need to pick up some fresh blood in that genre.  In the meantime, here is a funny video for a song that has been used in about a dozen fight scenes. Unfortunately it is radio edited, but still enjoyable.  Time to go make waffles!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video - Skrillex

I just ran across Skrillex through Rolling Stone and the New Beavis and Butthead.  This might be my new favorite music video of all time.  I've always had an interest in techno, and I think Skillex really hits the nail on the head with this one.  Great dirty, heavy sound to go with a great video.  Rock!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Care & Feeding of a Bass Guitar Neck

When I got my new ESP in the mail, I was a little underwhelmed with the condition of the neck.  The frets had a thin veneer of corrosion and the fingerboard just looked sad and dry.  But the body looked great and I thought maybe there was something I could do to bring the neck back to life.  To the internet!  So I found these two videos that addressed exactly what I was looking to accomplish.  One was for bass and the other was acoustic guitar, but rosewood is rosewood and frets are frets, right?

I was getting ready to change the setup of my ESP B-304.  Strings were off, so I thought I'd give the neck a whirl.  This guy recommended the 0000 steel wool, which you can get at the hardware store for a few bucks.  Good info, but I kept looking for more tips.

How can you not love a guy named MacGargal?  It's like MacGuyver + Gargamel.  And while he's working on an acoustic guitar, I think it all translates pretty directly to bass.  He cast another vote for the 0000 steel wool, so that's what I ended up using.  He also made two other important points:

1. Steel wool leaves little wooly metal fragments that love to stick to magnetic pickups, whether they are inside an acoustic guitar on on the surface of an electric bass.  Cover them up.

2. Go with the grain of the neck.  I initially went up and down between the fret like in the first video, and it leaves tiny little scratches.  If you really have mungy frets, you may have to do it, but I think going with the grain of the neck is the better way.

He also talked about neck treatment, recommending boiled linseed oil.  I used it, and it worked great.  Just a thin layer you wipe on and then wipe off really brought the wood back to life.  Make sure you get boiled linseed oil.  Raw linseed oil takes about 600 times longer to dry.  I know this from my experience with oil painting, and I'm fairly certain that's why he mentions using the boiled variety.

Like a genius I didn't take a before picture of the neck, but I'll put up an after shot when I finally do a post about my experience so far with the B-304.  Thanks, Elixir, for the awesome videos.