Friday, September 19, 2008

Attention Bass Players: Flat Wound Strings

Dear Bass Players,

in recent years you have come to inhabit an entirely different world that once saw you as the guy who hangs out with musicians. (replaced by computers?) You have also seen and heard yourself playing guitar for a time and then just gone 'back to the bass'. This in itself is very much more important than how it is said. It really is not a relegation to a lesser art - it is a mission.

Guitarists are two a penny. I ate four of them last week and got a terrible stomach ache. There's a lesson to us all. Stop using cliches. And we really don't need that much of that kind of meat.

Glibness forthcoming...many of you...go on admit it...have been playing an er...some sort of bass...I'm not talking to the guys who have the money for the custom built Whatchamahooja neckless, stringless, wearable bass - I'm talking to the guys that just play bass - in a band or otherwise. A Mexican Fender, an Ibanez Gibson knock off, an unheard of before plank of wood with the worst action ever. Help is on the way! Well not really, but my encouragement and recommendation could make the bass much better for you.

Well you got it in the header anyway, but if you want proper bass sounds and a really
flexible sound - flat wound strings.
I do not know the history of bass strings but my inclination is to think that round wound were very much the rock thing, in the 60-70s rock ruled and flat wound diminished gradually.

Whatever. They are the dog's bollocks.

My friend and former band mate Brian let me have his 80s Suzuki Fender P Bass knock off and I had the same strings on it for years and years...and years. And it let me do what I wanted it to do with some effort and digital (both fingers and 1/0 adaptation) - I have recorded a lot with it. I love the feel of this bass and in the past through pure ignorance did not know what was missing:

Put the flat wound strings on it and it is a NEW BASS.

Regardless of sound (and this Suzuki has really crap pick ups) - it is all about the feel. Get a blister from these strings, believe me you will still want to play more from the feel of the strings. Very sensual. You are really playing bass, not a bass guitar.

Put on some flat wound strings and your bass will really FEEL like bass, not diminished guitar.

I love bass
flat wound strings are boss.

Drop D: what is up with that shit?

I consider myself a capable guitarist - capable of playing what I want to play to good effect in the works that I have produced and the performances to which I have subjected audiences. For me guitar tuning is: fat string first EADGBE. That's how I learned and it works for me. Self taught, obstinate, persistent. Yet I can't help noticing more and more (over the space of recent years) references to 'alternate tunings' and how the process of retuning your axe (man) can reveal new and great (and freakin' awesome) possibilities. Being a vaguely sentient guitarist, I filed all this away in my grey mush and generally just went about my guitar playing the old fashioned way, which suited me fine during this time.

Well! have I got news for myself! And anyone reading. If certain guitarists want to tune their guitars xyzabc that is fine with me but my experience with drop D today was horrible. I mean, like, talk about gnarly (in a bad way) - bad in a bad way - nu uh. No Drop D for me mutha fuckas.

Just play the fucking thing...

And, seriously, if you want to take music beyond what has been done before; away with melody, always march on with dischord and new harmonies the brain has yet to comprehend...well then fuck off.

I like a bit of melody. Don't mess with what people like.
Though admittedly, a lot of people like the original music computer Mozart and I find his stuff impossible to listen to. Give me Haydn. Or anything else. The delicate filagrees of a Lemmy bass solo might work at this moment.
Any dub recording too.

"So, Gustave, why don'tcha tune down your bass viol so it sounds like a dive bomber?"
"Sir, Maestro, I'm already kicking out as much bass shit as I can. But what you are referring to is anomolous in our time - they might discover us... "
"Yes, a lapse on my part. Ah...VU. The noise. Alas alack the retarded EQ. All I have is this twittering matrix of Mantiovani replays played by an army of robots who can barely wipe their noses never mind understand the feeling I want to bring to the music. But I'm such a twerp and a twit, I can barely sit still long enough to...who's she?...."

So, this all goes to illustrate something: Good writing is rare and this blog will defiantly do nothing to correct that - but while conservative in my guitar tuning views, I am otherwise very much in favour of new things being done in music, with music, for music, forever. But the caveat is that it needs to sound good - not to me necessarily - but whatever it is needs to have a receptive audience - not created by a marketing company.

Rambling again and unashamed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Free Tracks at

...a couple of somewhat recent free downloads available at the real website:

Insane Invader Dub
This can only be described as an outtake of a track that has developed significantly since this glitch ridden abortive mix - yet there is something to it. Very much a 60's English sci-fi or horror vibe, which is fine by me. It sounds like the mix is being invaded by some sort of audio guzzling space bacteria...or something.

and this, which is entirely comprised of sound effects from 80s arcade games. For educational purposes only...this will not be released elsewhere...
Unit Test Failed Dub
A good laugh was had by all...

Thursday, September 11, 2008