It’s been 5 months. I can’t say I used all the time wisely but I have spent a load of time in the ‘shed. One would think I would be a better player now and being one, I believe I am…with this caveat. I do believe that I am a better sprinter but maybe not a better 10K runner or marathon guy. By that I mean that I have, IMHO (as the texters like to say), developed some acumen and skills in building bass lines and in expanding my knowledge of the bass and music theory but can I play 3 or 4 sets at a gig or jam for hours at a maybe future held festival, I’m not betting on my chops until I get to play some ongoing sessions with real human musicians
I can probably play for an hour or two and sound pretty good but I really haven’t worked on my endurance chops at all. My practice sessions are typically 30 to 45 minutes, after that I get bored with no melody. Playing through chord changes on a metronome for hours is not all that fun or inspiring. I have worn out a couple of tracks on Strum Machine. I added a couple of my tunes to it and have particularly worn those out. Linda has threatened to break the quarantine and kick me out of the house if I play Limehouse Blues one more time.
What I like about Strum Machine is that I can shut of the guitar and bass midi tracks and just play with the mandolin. Good stuff and good practice. Actually, I do the same thing with my ancient Dr. Beat metronome by setting it to just play the off-beat but as I said, one can only do this for a while before going bat spit crazy.
Linda on the other hand has worked really hard on her mandolin playing and it shows. Her voice is as good as ever.
If you have been keeping up with me with my 5:00 news update on Facebook every day, you know I’ve set up a recording studio in my woodshed. Just to be clear, my woodshed /studio is located in my dining room / living room. I didn’t want anyone to think that we broke the SIP rules by adding on to our house.
Anyway, my studio experience at home began with me using GarageBand on my iPad through an iOS interface with one input channel. I started recording my bass to figure out the process as I am not a sound engineer nor have I played one on TV.
After lots of trial and error, I was finally able to get a decent cut of my Limehouse Blues bass line. What I ran into were some limitations in GarageBand for iOS. Moving right along here, trying to make a long story shorter, to get past the GarageBand roadblocks, I bought a MacBook Pro to replace the ancient boat anchor computer we had and had Logic Pro X installed by Apple. Again, in case you’re into the whole brevity thing, Logic Pro is GarageBand’s mutated prodigy with more tools and toys. The MacBook Pro and Logic Pro X are the foundation of my studio / living room setup.
To spice up one of my standby cliches, I took you on that bird walk so I could segue you to this. I’ve been recording Linda with her mandolin, using two dynamic mics, one each her voice and her mandolin. I have a good two channel Focusrite Scarlett MacOS interface. We recorded Baby Blue Eyes and Can’t You Hear Me Calling. I added a bass track later to both. The output is sounding fairly good. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing.
What am I going to do with these recordings? I don’t know. Maybe we keep going until we get twenty or so songs in the can and then release our 40th anniversary box set or… just send some mp3’s to our friends. In the meantime, I’m having some fun. I think Linda is too. We’ll probably keep it up until the vaccine comes at least.
Today is my 5:00 ALIVE on Thursdays live stream. A solid 15 minutes of me entertaining myself and any others who are brave enough to show up.
Catch in October.