The Guitars I use and how they will benefit different styles.

Originally Posted 15/2/14

This list will explain each guitar model I use and how each one will specify differently in each track, explaining their specs and effectiveness to a style I may choose to influence a track in the final product.

The first electric guitar I have possessed is an Ibanez RG1451 Prestige model made in Japan. It has a bolt on neck construction, meaning that the neck and body of the guitar are as separate as can be, with 4 bolts holding them together. A benefit of the bolt on neck is that it brings a more twangy sound to it, complemented by the passive single coil pickups, giving that jazz tone it was made for. I use this guitar to play more acoustic and electric oriented songs between the tunings of E Standard and Drop B. What make this guitar different from the others are its passive pickups, meaning they are not battery powered like the other guitars and have a more smoother, linguistic tone. This guitar also has the option to split the coils inside on the neck (top two) and bridge (bottom two) pickups with its 5-way pickup selector switch. This allows a more Fender style sound like their iconic Stratocaster or Telecaster guitars. This guitar stays in tune most efficiently without the help of any strings locking systems. This is my only guitar to feature a tight end bridge that holds the strings in a constant state of tension thus holding better tuning, very beneficial for chords. I personally adore the simplicity of this guitars tone, it will definitely be used to track the chords of any song within the specified tunings, delivering the clarity I want in most likely a jazz/funk/indie-rock inspired piece. 

The second electric guitar I own is an ESP MKII with a Floyd Rose Tremelo Bridge, meaning that there is a manual arm attached to the bridge, altering the tuning and distorting the original sound of chords and notes. This guitar has 2 battery powered active pickups with a 3-way selector that brings a fuzzy, rich tone to clean chords for styles like jazz, funk and strong lead solos and chords for overdriven tone. Likewise, this guitar was also made in Japan, with the highest quality amongst all my guitars, having a neck-through structure which is widely seen as the most efficient way of constructing a guitar for smooth playing and no sparing of tonality and clarity. I will use this guitar most likely tuned to E Standard to Eb Standard and to track the solos and leads through the neck pickup (top one). 

My third electric guitar is an LTD EC-1000 Model which was manufactured in Korea but is claimed to be one of the best in the LTD guitar range. I use this guitar mostly for heavy tunings such as Drop A# all the way down to Drop G, but I mostly use Drop A and Drop G# through a thicker gauge of strings to keep the tone tight at such a low tuning. This will undoubtedly be used in a track where I’ll chose to make a more modern heavy song in either Drop A or G#. This guitar has a set-neck construction, meaning that neck has been glued onto the body, this gives a more rounded tone to resonate between the body and neck, as opposed to the bolt on Ibanez guitar that would present more twang. With the same active pickups as the ESP, I can make a tone that sounds more full, specifically through palm mutes in the low tunings. A common feature marketed on this guitar is the fact that it is made for heavy music.

For my acoustic guitar I am using a Takamine EF341SC which is Jon Bon Jovi’s signature acoustic as well. This is crafted well with a small in-built compartment on the side to activate the battery to plug into DI’s or amps and also manipulate the volume, bass, mid and treble directly. I will be using this in at least 2 tracks to directly plug into whatever sound audio box I find and also through my amp to the box for added effects into whichever DAW I end up using. With my experience this guitar does great doing open chords and and open tunings like drop D, being beneficial to my intended purpose for the guitar in tracking. 

Lastly I am using a Phoenix “P” styled bass guitar, borrowed of fellow Stage 2 MiS classmate Jordan Gibbs. This bass will be tuned to each tuning I use throughout each track. The bass also has a tone selector that differentiates between a thinner tone that can suit funk well and a rounded tone that sounds muffled. I will be tracking this through my line 6 amp to help manipulate the settings of each style I chose in the bass guitar’s tone such as the twang setting with a slight phaser effect for example.

Equipment List - Initial Equipment/Gear - Opinions on Items

Originally Posted 10/2/14

Whilst creating the ideas for this MiS, I’ll be demonstrating my current equipment list from the start of this course and how each piece of equipment will benefit the styles I’ll pursue through a basic debrief of each item and how they are most popularly used and how they are used by me.  

For my Music Individual Study I knew that with recording at minimum a 4 track original CD, I would require enough variation in equipment and gear to suit my styles/abilities most efficiently and effectively. This is a list of all the equipment I run with some detail and history from each item as well as how I run it all on my rig.

Firstly I use Dunlop jazz 3.0mm picks for practically all my guitar playing, they’re very small picks that are quite thick and contoured for smooth, fast, controlled and aggressive picking. They are very durable, these picks don’t wear down easily at all and are manufactured by Lexan, a well-known general electrics plastics trademark. I prefer the purple, thicker picks and transitioned to them from the 1.0mm red Dunlop jazz picks

Furthermore I use multiple guitar pedals to get maximum tone from my guitar and amps full potential but keep it suppressed from intensified feedback.

The first pedal I had bought and run through my amp is a Maxon OD808 overdrive pedal. This pedal utilises and makes the tubes within an amp accelerate the tone of any amps’ overdrive. Although since I use an electric amp that is not reliant on valve tubes, it may not fulfil it’s entire purpose but makes a world’s difference regardless. The pedal squeezes the lower strings input action together giving a more energetic and richer tone.

This specific pedal is widely used amongst modern metal bands (e.g. Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive, Northlane) and majority, if not, all of its sub-genres. This pedal makes for a fine jazz/blues overdrive as well and ideally is worth a lot towards my variations in style for my solo tracking genre plans.

The second pedal I had bought and use is a

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor which completely mutes all unnecessary feedback from higher gain settings. I find this useful  through the guitars that I play using high gain, specifically guitars with active, battery powered pickups that increase a more live and active tone.

I only use the reduction setting of the pedal as I never have to actually mute my guitar when playing, I just have to reduce the sometimes immense feedback that comes from playing in lower tunings and moving across the fretboard fast OR slow at a higher gain. 

This pedal would normally drain some liveliness of any amp depending on the threshold and decay settings. I have my threshold set to max and my decay set to minimum to get rid of all unwanted and unneeded feedback from the amp most efficiently. These settings are used amongst a large majority of bands that use tube screamers to compensate for the slight drain as well in their setups, e.g. a Maxon OD808 Overdrive pedal.

For channel switching I use the Line 6 FBV MKII foot pedal/channel switcher. It is the recommended asset to any of the higher end line 6 amps and goes superbly with my Line 6 Spider IV 120 Watt amp.The board connects to the amp via Ethernet cable with an Ethernet cable port on both the back of the pedal board and amp. The pedal controls the volume and it executes the violin simulation I put out through my guitar using a delay setting programmed to one of the footswitches for easiest access. My footswitch presets consist of a delayed clean, a clean twang with delay, a hi-gain overdrive channel and an overdrive channel with delay. Both cleans channels have a higher reverb level while the delayed overdrive channel sits between the hi-gain overdriven channel and clean channels with reverb. By pushing the pedal past maximum volume it activates the wah effect and shows as a red light next to the tweak display, parallel to the green light representing volume. By holding down any of the footswitch channels already selected for a few seconds, a chromatic tuner activates at the top of the board, this definitely helps for a more accurate tuner as opposed to the smaller screen on the amp.

The amp that I use at home and plan to record my guitar tracking for the MiS is a Line 6 Spider IV 120 Watt as previously stated. This amp isn’t a valve tube amp and is just an interface of numerous presets and versatile settings through two stereo speakers of up to 120 watts. Line 6 are known for the production of many electronic amp systems for guitar and this specific series of amp range has downloadable presets of the internet, some being signature presets approved by varying artists like: Lacuna Coil, Killswitch Engage and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This amp also has presets of universally famous songs from the decades starting at the 1950s to the present day as new presets are constantly being made. There are lastly presets that imitate the tunes of classic songs like “Honkey Tonk” and “Let it be” by The Beatles. Most beneficially to my MiS end product, this amp has a direct line output at the back that I can utilise for recording directly into an interface with all the potential of the presets being used at a high audio quality that can be edited furthermore.

It is with this arsenal of current gear that I have the ability to create a final product that consists of many styles of my preference, specified effects will be noted and documented in the future.

Introduction to MiS

Originally posted 3/2/14

Throughout this course I will be researching, evaluating, mixing, writing and creating 4 tracks that will be featured on a CD as my final product. Throughout this year I will learn furthermore on specified styles of music to broaden my knowledge and skills not just as a guitarist, but a songwriter. I will be utilising a digital audio workshop (DAW), which will be a learning process in itself towards knowing how to mix and export multiple soundtracks into music correctly and sufficiently. To evidence my progression in becoming a more experienced and avid songwriter and mixer, I will be documenting all the information and communication that contributes to my reflections and evaluations over time. 

The format of this MiS will be a hard copy folio with the final product being a 4-track CD

Moving onto a blog

Hey people,

This is my first blog post for my Musical Individual Study for my Stage 2 Music course. To keep up to date and fill in the criteria to those viewing, I will be uploading my documentation, ideas, and everything else relevant I’ve done up to this moment to keep the wheels spinning. 

I had made the recommended and wise decision to transitioning my entire MiS onto a blog. This way I can have it all in one place and it makes it much easier to concentrate and stay on track for the recording of my acquired information.