Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Never Forget: Sprawl

Found this again.


So these are the songs proposed thus far for ska. Not all of them are ska tunes.

Streetlight Manifesto - Dear Sergio

Catch 22 - Point the Blame

Live version with ok view of bass player

Streetlight Manifesto - Supernothing

Superman- Goldfinger

I'm not sure if this is ska or not, but it is close enough for me.
Rubblebucket-Came Out of a Lady

Not ska at all...
Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song) - Otis Redding

Here's the version I was given:

The next two reminder me of the Zimbabwe sampler cd I have. I like them...but they certainly aren't ska.
Zing Zong - Kanda Bongo Man

Marcory Gazoil - Zitnany Neil

I've submitted the following:

I think I'll be able to figure out and play this one.
Hope I Never Lose My Wallet - Mighty Mighty Bosstones

I'm regretting suggesting this a bit. Wish I'd picked something easier. Maybe Infantile Beggar.
Sugar Smax - Sprawl

Upcoming Shows and Other Things

Posted in order to clear my head:
  • Aug 11: SSW at Great Taste
  • Aug 27: first ska rehearsal
  • Aug 31: CJ at Mickey's
  • Sept 15: FW at Nautigal
  • Sept 20: SSE at High Noon
  • Sept 22: TD at Frequency
  • Sept 23: TD at Mirimar in Milwaukee
  • Oct 27 (I think): CJ at Mickey's (as Love and Rockets)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guitar Pro

I had heard about Guitar Pro a while back, but I thought it was a subscription-based service that I "didn't really need". But I was thinking about it in terms of specific songs that I wanted to learn (read: Pixies). I wasn't thinking of it as...hey I could really expose myself to lots of music (read: bass lines).

But if it is really only $60 I am totally buying that. Of course...that assumes that I have space on my laptop for the software. Ah the perils of quickly obsolete technology.

UPDATE: Ok...I am beginning to see the issue. It isn't clear to me if you get the tabs when you buy Guitar Pro...or if you pay for the tabs separately for an extra fee via MySongBook (for $1-$3 each). That's probably what stopped me cold last time.  Anyway...worth looking into more for sure.

MORE UPDATE: Ah...looks like you can buy pro tab...or use "free" tab created by other users.  Here's the "free" shared file lowdown.

STILL MORE UPDATE: Ok...so that was a full circle clusterfuck. Turns out that the user generated tabs from Guitar Pro are already available online for free...maybe. Case in point here. When you are on the Ultimate Guitar site it lists tabs pulled from the internet and it will say file type. One of those file types is "Guitar Pro Tab" That said...it looks like you only get a partial demo version and have to pay a monthly fee to get the full access. So I'm still confused. I think probably that buying the Guitar Pro software doesn't get you much that you couldn't get in other ways...but it isn't clear yet. Certainly probably worth shopping around for best access and best price.

Bass Lessons: Week Two

I had intended to come prepared to my second lesson. But I didn't.

We talked about increasing speed in light of impending ska. She showed me how I should keep all four fingers down on the fingerboard with light pressure. So in other words...if you are fingering with your pinkie...the rest should be down too...not up in the air. I didn't even realize I did this...but I totally do. We also talked about thumb position...but it doesn't seem that crucial so's long as you have it in the center of the neck and not with your palm collapsed on the side.

I always finger 1, 2, 3, 4 on frets 1, 2, 3, 4...but she's shown me a few times now that sometimes you really want to finger the 4th finger on the 3rd fret...to avoid fatigue and increase speed. I had seen this in some other instructional videos too. Up higher on the neck you can go 1 finger for 1 fret...but lower it makes sense to collapse. At least sometimes.

Reminded...need to run scales with a metronome. Just alot. All the time. Even chromatic scales. Whatever. Just put your fucking fingers on the fucking fingerboard already you dumbass. Also...do mindless right hand exercises all the time to increase speed and consistency. And we talked about how it is harder or easier to "pluck" strings depending on where you place your right hand...and that affects speed too.

And then she pulled out Guitar Pro and Transcribe (similar program is Transposer) two software packages that I totally want now. She talked about learning parts that I admire (which I kind of already knew was a good idea, but I've perhaps not fully pursued). She printed Rhiannon and Come Together for me...and mentioned Daytripper. I guess I've been thinking using tab is cheating...but it didn't seem to bother her. She showed me how she looks songs up on Guitar Pro...and if they aren't on there will use Transcribe to figure the part out herself. Or she'll watch YouTube to see what is happening. Conclusion...all is fair in love and war. Why do I create these bizarre rules for myself about what is legitimate and what is cheating?

We'll have to take a break until September 6th due to conflicts. "No big deal cause I'm not really working on anything in particular" said me of the break. With a furrowed brow "But if nothing is pushing you to work on it you just won't" says she. Yup. True dat.

More time with the bass. That's it.

Rhiannon, by the way, is remarkably easy and repetative. A little exhausting, but not that hard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bass Nut Replacement

One of the basses at GRC had a broken nut. I noticed it back at LRC and it has annoyed me ever since because it is a decent bass otherwise. Finally, yesterday I went to Guitar Center and bought a generic P bass replacement nut for 12 bucks...and in about five minutes made the exchange. I had to sand the nut just a hair to get the width down to fit...but otherwise the old one popped out and the new one popped in with no problem. I didn't even bother putting any wood glue on the the thing. The bass plays pretty good. The action seems great with no adjustment to the nut height.

This marks my second nut replacement (I've also done one saddle/bridge replacement on an acoustic).

I'd like to get a little bit better at string changing and at adjusting string height and intonation. Thinking I should get CT to show me the best way to wrap a guitar string and then change a couple dozen at GRC to get myself in shape.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Ska

I was asked to take a look at Street Light Manifesto. I like them.

I dug out my Mighty, Mighty Bosstones

and my Sprawl too.

So...yeah...it seems pretty clear that the basslines move a bunch...but it is all simple scales or triads. I'll have to build some speed, but I was planning to work on that anyway. I probably can get away with root notes played with complimentary rhythms until I get the speed up on the scales. One thing that works in my favor...the parts are very repetative. Like you get this little bass scale lick that's kinda fast...but it repeats over and over and over again in the song. So get it once and you've got it.

I think that, if this works out and who knows if it will, this could be a really great experience for me. It lands in my lap right at the time when I'm thinking about scales and building speed and learning about relative intervals and writing bass lines. It'll end up seeming easy in a few years...but right now it is the perfect thing at the perfect time.

Monday, July 16, 2012


So a drummer that I greatly respect asked me to play bass in a ska band with her today. It was such a casual inquiry that I almost didn't catch it. Who knows if it will pan out.

I love Sprawl and the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones...so I think ska is awesome. I know that ska can be alot more serious than those bastardized versions, though...and that the bass playing is pretty specific. I don't think that she's leaning too hard core though.

Looking for advice...I go to the forums:

"There are many different versions of what ska consists of, but most ska contains four vital elements: a walking bass line, offbeat rhythms (usually guitar and/or keyboard), 4/4 time signature (percussion) and a lead melody played by horns."

"depends what kind of ska you wanna play but...
find out what the barre chords your guitarist is playing, and fool around with the arpeggio for that scale/chord. for instance if he's playing B major, try fooling around with something with these notes:


you could even play a scale in a walking bassline. for instance, the bassline for "gyasi went home" by bedouin soundclash (not really a ska song, more calypso) is pretty much just the bassist playing an A major scale over and over. you could also play the root note and then improvise on the chord or scale.

some good bands to check out for inspiration:
catch 22
streetlight manifesto
reel big fish
planet smashers
bedouin soundclash
the johnstones
the specials

some songs:
time bomb - rancid
one step beyond - the specials
action - the johnstones
anything by streetlight manifesto
line em up www.myspace.com/onemoreroundmusic"

"I have found some common things in a lot of ska bass lines include:
•outlining the chord - using the arpeggios (like blackbassist described)
•playing two 1/8th on each tone
•Slamming down HARD on the root then going to the arpeggio for the meat of the phrase - when moving from on phrase to the next, use a scalar walk up/down
I love playing ska lines! They are energetic without being exhausting - that gots balls! They make people sweat! Obviously - check out some Sublime...also, "Tears of a Clown" (The English Beat, I believe) is another nice ska groover..."

Some instructive videos:

This one is pretty helpful. Basically you want to do triads over the chords. Double the root. So you've got "R R 3 5" played with 8th notes.

Also...I just saw this on a bass forum and I think it is pretty funny:
"Seems to me the evolution of a bass player goes:
root --> root/five --> avoid root and root/five, too limiting --> realize the value of the root and fifths --> less is more except when more fits right.... roots are fine"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Things to Come




Sure, why not.

Effects Pedals

Not having a fully developed identity as a player yet...and not having a great ear for sound quality...means that I don't mess much with effects. KiD plays a pretty clean, straight signal bass...so I haven't needed to mess much with it. I have takent the baby step to notice and react to the fact that she played a different kind of bass at different points in the Pixies' career and that this changed the tone. I might not have noticed this on my own admittedly, but I read it online.

Aria Pro II Cardinal Series – The Pixies' first bass belonged to Kelley,and is heard on Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa and seen on the Town & Country live video. It later reappeared in the Kelley Deal 6000.

1962 Fender Precision Reissue– Acquired for use on Doolittle on Gil Norton's insistence. It appears in the video for "Here Comes Your Man". On the Bossanova album, the Precision was used on "Dig for Fire" for its "lazier, growlier sound" that was "not as boingy-boingy-sproingy".

Music Man Stingray – Added in time for Bossanova "because it was active and had a different sound" and became her main live bass "because it was a little less country-sounding than the Fender". The instrument was afterwards played by Josephine Wiggs in The Breeders and Luis Lerma in The Amps.

Steinberger headless (but full-bodied, two-cutaway) bass – Bought during the recording of Trompe Le Monde because the other basses were out of tune on the higher frets. Deal described it as having a "weird, organ-y sound".

The upshot for me as a practical matter is that there are a few songs that I either play with a pick or turn the tone knob "brighter" on. Well...now that I think about it...I really only do this for one song...Bird Dream. I turn the knob all the way bright (I normally play all the way the opposite). I play with a pick on Debaser, Blown Away, and Is She Weird...not for tone reasons per se, but because there are parts of those songs where I play alone and the boys couldn't clearly make out the notes (and thus the tempo) because they were too muddy. So I play with a pick to make them more articulated and louder. But as we are getting into the last of the Trompe le Monde and Bossonova songs I AM more aware of the different, brighter, tone. And I will probably adjust the tone.

My only other experience with effects or tone was for the Flaming Lips tribute. I bought a bass distortion pedal for that (that, even though it is the actual pedal that Michael Ivins uses live, I only ended up using on one song for an over the top punch in wall of ridiculous sound)fuzz pedal for that and borrowed a Peach Fuzz pedal (which is awesome, but pricey). I also briefly experimented with a multi-effects pedal on one song...but we ended up having the keyboard player use that pedal instead for that song.

I don't much fiddle with the knobs on my amp. I'm not sure what I'd even be trying to accomplish. I also have a modern and a vintage channel on my amp...but I don't much know the difference. I know that I like a fatter, less treble, bass sound. That's all I know.

I feel like I ought to try and understand more about effects and the quality of sound. Not so much because I care, but because it is part of the language. It would be nice, when RS and CT are debating this or that tone, if I had any idea what they were talking about.

So I've been obsessed with R Ring lately. And they use some serious effects...and in weird ways I gather. I took some pictures of their pedals the other night.

Here's KeD's guitar pedals. It is a little hard to make out what they are. Left to right it looks like...Boss tuner, Boss Digital Delay DD7, Ibanez/Tube Works Tube King Overdrive TK999 (maybe an older one), and Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb.  It helps to look at these pics on Flickr blown up and flipped right side up.

Here's KeD's vocal pedals. She kneels on the floor and adjusts these throughout the songs that she uses them on (personal side note here...the setlist is in this photo!). Left to right below is Boss Digital Reverb Delay RV-3, Boss Distortion DS-1, and...and...the label is covered...but it sure looks like a second Boss Digital Reverb Delay RV-3. I'm not sure if she runs these through her amp or through the PA. There's a direct box sitting there. I'm pretty sure that the acoustic guitars were run through the amps, so there's good odds that that direct box is for the mic that runs through the pedals. I don't remember her switching mics though. She would unplug her guitars/keys and run them through the same cable. But I don't remember that with the vocal mic. Hmm.

Last but not least here's MM's board from two angles. Top left to right: Boss Delay DM-2 (red), Boss Tuner, Radial Tonebone JX2 Pro Switchbone AB/Y Pedal. Bottom left to right: Boss Equalizer GE-7, Death by Audio Fuzzwar

I really have no idea how these particular combinations result in the sounds they produced on stage. But at least I know what they were using.

On Musicial Identity and the Fall Back Position

I went to a show this week with a drummer who's playing I respect a great deal. She's one of those people who has played all of her life in all kinds of situations. Things seem easy for her and she goes beyond the basics.

I really watched her at this show though, and I was surprised by what I noticed. She has a definite style. In other words...she has a fall back position.

I definitely have a fall back position...the things that I play when I'm going on pure instinct and not trying to copy anything in particular. My pattern. It's the kind of thing that I try to break out of as much as possible.

So her fall back position was to open the hi hat on "3"...and to play "+4" on the bass drum...or maybe it was "a 4" on the bass drum. The first song that she did this I was really impressed. I thought...I can't do that...she's so good. And then I noticed she did it on another song...and another...and another. And suddenly I realized...that's not skill...that's just a fall back pattern that differs from my own.

Don't get me wrong, I still think she's a great drummer. But I'm less impressed and less intimidated now for having noticed this quirk.

What this also tells me is that, while it is good to break out of set patterns...it is those fall back positions that give us our identities as musicians. They define who we are...our natural tendancies. And in a strange way it is kind of nice that I have a tendancy...because it means that I am finding a voice as a drummer.

And there's probably people for whom my fall back position seems hard...simply because theirs is different from mine.

Bass Lessons: Week One

I had my first lesson with H last night. Mostly she showed me lots of stuff. It was alot to take in, but not too much. At the end of the lesson she tried to write down what we'd done (which may mean that she picked up that I wanted this from my inquiry email).
  • I should learn the 2-3 octave "box" patterns for major and minor scales. Just gotta do that. Other scales probably aren't so very important at this point.
  • I should be thinking about intervals and relative placement on the fretboard...so like knowing if I'm on the root...where else does the root live...and where do the 3rd, 5th, and octave live. Like the scale boxes, this is just memorization and repetition. the other intervals are important too...but maybe less so at first. And they will come with knowing these main ones. She also highlighted the importance of the 9th, which I've never thought much about before, but it does sound nice.
  • We talked alot about the role of various scale intervals for major and minor scales in playing against guitar chords. She encouraged me to think in terms of bass lines against chords...rather than about scales and theory per se. And this is already how I think, so that was good.
  • She talked about passing notes and moving from one chord to another and how to think about a progression.
  • Despite the above, she encouraged me not to get lost in the theory, though.  To more just play and try things and not be afraid to mess up and to just learn what sounds good. To do this she suggested recording guitar chords and playing along and trying to write various parts. Just noodle and figure it out.
  • She said that it is always nerve wracking to write parts on the fly even if you know what you're doing. So there's nothing wrong with being prepared.
  • She reminded me that strategic accents can really change up a part
  • What you play will often come from listening to the rest of the band. More on this below.
  • I got a little confirmation on correct technique. With the left hand think of a claw...and with little pressure on the thumb. Don't let the fingers flatten. Use a soft touch. She recommended running scales with a metronome at various tempos and said that if you do this enough good technique just comes because you can't play fast without good technique. It was a similar exercise to the one I've seen before and already knew was a good idea. She also said "but maybe you don't care about playing fast" which was a nice point. I do think these exercises are easy and worthwhile though.
Going forward I'm going to try to have a lesson every other Thursday and see how it goes. She thought that we could either have me bring in songs that I'm working on parts for...or she could play guitar and I could try to write songs along to it. There were a couple of other ideas that I can't remember now. I asked if she had a certain approach to teaching and she said it was really individual. Usually people want to learn a certain song, or how to read music, etc. So it is well defined. What I'm asking is to develop my own style and voice...and that's a harder thing to address.  "You can't tell me who I am." I said and she nodded. But I think she'll be a good guide. She's open and non-threatening and didn't have any set expectations. A few times when she took a scale too fast I didn't have to say much and she was right there slowing it down and doing it over again. She could tell when I was confused and needed reinforcement.

On the drive home it struck me that I'm really interested in R Ring right now and that they play music without a bass. So writing parts for their songs would be a perfect exercise. So I think I'll use that as a jumping off place...along with refining the parts for Halle and Sarah's songs.  Those are the two things I think I'll bring in to lessons. At home...mostly I just need to play the damn scales every day and learn the pattern and start thinking more about relative intervals. It'll come if I just do the work. 

This morning I sat down before work and figured out a bass part to Hundred Dollar Heat pretty easily. Mike plays a bass line of sorts on the guitar, so it was cheating a bit because I was more following along with him rather than writing my own part, but it was still a good exercise. It also showed me that I pull alot from the other players...like the strumming style...in the case of Hundred Dollar Heat it is wide open and syncopated at the start in the verses and then becomes more driving and 8th note based and dense in the chorus. I followed along with that instinctually. I guess I always think of this as cheating...like when my bass drum line follows Twan's bass guitar line or J's vocal...but maybe it isn't so much cheating as just serving the song.

I think that I get really caught up in whether or not I'm complicated or technical enough...on whether I'm going to be "found out" as a total hack. But maybe fitting in doesn't make you a hack...it makes you a sensitive musician.  And there's the whole thing about...the million dollar riff doesn't come along every day. Not every song can be the catchy song from hell. And they don't all have to be. I don't know. I have alot of basic practice work to do...but way more than that I have alot of mental work to do. I need to stop telling myself these stories about how well I play or what I ought to be doing and just...play. As much as possible. 

I don't know who I am as a bass player yet. How could I? It's too soon. So I should stop putting myself in boxes and tearing myself down. I'm like a teenager in my bass life. I've got this whole long life ahead of me and who knows who I'm gonna become. I should give myself the space to have an adolescence without so much pressure to grow up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

David's Grip

Okay...has David ALWAYS played traditional grip and I'm just noticing it now?

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Ok, if this is true it explains a bunch...because he always has the hella whip thing going on the snare and I always wonder how that is possible to whip that much. But maybe it is just that he doesn't use matched grip. It bothers me that I've never noticed this before.

Other weird thing about this video...Joe has a mic.

Observe...1988...matched grip.

Okay. I feel better now. What is it about old farts that makes them think that they have to switch to traditional grip? It's like age-induced jazz disease.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Theory of Repetition

I have this theory about myself...though it is probably true of most humans in general. If I listen to a song enough times I will like it.  There are songs or groups that you like the first time out. And there are songs or groups that you'll never like no matter what. But for everything in between...listen enough and you'll like it. It's why people hear a song at wedding that they hated in high school and go "I love this song." It is because it is familiar.

I've been following RR over the last year or so not because I loved the music...but because I admired the artists as people. But today...just now...listening to a live recording session after a week of hearing the songs several times in a row...I began to like their music. Going to a show tonight and it'll all be familiar and appropriately beloved.

This probably somehow reduces the value of music...that if you listen enough you like. But I guess I'm just happy to be happy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Strangest Weekend of My Life

So I have two blogs currently...in addition to twitter and facebook...which end up being kind of blogs. I try to keep the blogs anonymous as possible and to not advertise them around. The writing is really just meant for me, my long-distance partner, and the odd person that I've never met on the internet to stumble upon and maybe enjoy. I try to keep the blogs topic-focused and not veer off into too much navel gazing. They are really tools of record-keeping for me to mark progress and track resources. I try not to link between the two blogs...or link to them at all.

I recognize that all of this pretend caution is for naught and that some day something on the internet will destroy me. It has happened before and it will happen again. And again.

So it is in passing here that I'll note that on Saturday I spent much of the day with KeD and her current bandmate (one hell of a guy) and that she slept on my couch. I have gone into nausiating detail about this on the other blog and will leave it there. And probably regret having written it someday. I kind of already do. But it feels like it happened in a dream and I'm still trying to process it into concrete. I don't mean a dream like "it was a dream come true"...I mean like I feel like I took some kind of LSD or something and this all happened in that kind of haze. Like watching a movie of yourself. Lack of sleep, lots of driving, and pet health emergencies over the last several days have probably contributed to the effect.

Item of pertinent interest to this blog...she liked the color of my Billy Sheehan knock off bass.

The big take home...I am a little boring but perhaps not too scary of a person. And people are people. And I ought to keep focusing on doing all this music stuff and not worry too much about how well I'm doing or what it all means or where I'm headed. Just keep trying and hopefully having a good time. And try to be nice to people...to everyone...not just the people who seem important at the moment. Everyone ends up being important in the end and you won't know who until it's too late. And remember that, even though it doesn't always SEEM this way, everything is always better done without alcohol. At least anything that matters. And the secret is...everything matters.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bass Lessons: Week 0, Preamble

It begins again.

I keep trying to take music lessons or classes over and over and not being able to stick it out over and over. This has been been true the length of my musical experience except in those times when I was forced to take lessons by parents.

I'm not sure if I have an inability to stick with structured activities or if I don't like being helped by others or what. But it is chronic.

I met a gal at GRC who seemed personable enough, and so I'm going to take a few bass lessons from her and see how it goes.

I'm not entirely sure what I want out of lessons.

I think that I learn best when I have things written out in tab + hear a recording and/or see a video/person playing it. I feel like I'm kind of a slow learner. I tend to take things away to a dark corner and mull and fiddle and eventually get it...but in lessons (mostly with respect to drums since I've not taken many bass lessons) I've often had a sort of performance anxiety. The teacher will say...do this...and then I have to figure it out right there on the spot, which freaks me out...and then whatever we did usually isn't written down or recorded so I can't refer to it later and practice. So I get discouraged.
What I'd like going forward is to feel like I can hold my own in your average kind of rock band. Like I could answer a Craigslist ad for a bass player and not be laughed out of the room. Nothing fancy, but maybe a bit more than the root note based stuff I've always fallen back on. I'd like to be able to write simple but effective parts for original songs...and be able to work out more songs by ear and not need the tab hints so much.

I've recently just begun to teach myself a bit about playing "in the box" and I sit down and jam with friends who write originals once in a while. I feel like that's helping and I'd like to build on that ability to write complimentary bass parts. I think that I understand scales and the theory behind them...but I don't have that stuff memorized or well applied to the fingerboard. And all of that theory feels overwhelming.

So we'll see how it goes.

I feel like my potential on the bass is greater than my potential on drums. It comes more easily to me and is more fun for that reason. It's also a lower profile job than drums and I like that.

Cymbals...the final frontier

So the kit is coming together nicely. I'm happy with the drums, snare, pedal, throne, and hardware. But the cymbals still need tweaking.

I love my Zildjian New Beat hi hats. Those are keepers. I also love my 12" Wuhan splash.  And the Sabian AA crash (17"?) is also great.

I'm not totally happy with my ride selection and I'd like a different 16" crash. The Paiste 16" Colorsound, while a great cymbal, doesn't really sound right in the kit anymore. I cracked my CB 16" crash that I'd been using as a kind of China. As for rides, I've got a 302 Paiste which is kind of crap and Sabian AA El Sabor.  The El Sabor also doesn't sound quite right.

I think that I've decided that I like Sabian cymbals...preferrably the AA series. You don't see them around much though...usually you see AAX or HHX or HH.  So I'm keeping my eye out for an AA 16" crash and an AA ride used. No rush.

The Snare

So when I bought the Sonor I noticed a bunch of sympathetic snare wire vibrations due to the massive and awesome bass drum. I read somewhere that you could minimize this by getting snare wires with the center wires removed. These were harder to find than I thought, but I got a Puresound 16 wire snare with the middle taken out for a reasonable price online. I installed it and found to my dismay that, while it did cut down on sympathetic vibrations, that it essentially was impossible to get a clean "snare off" sound. The things virbrated like crazy in the worst possible way when the snares were off. I think this might be because essentially you are tightening the wires from the center...and that's where there's no wires. So the sides kinda hang loose all the time. I'm sure that a good drum tech could fix the problem, but I couldn't...so I took them off and put the old wires back on. I also put on a new reversed dot controlled sound and the snare sounds and feels great.

Related, this snare...my maple Pacific (by DW) has a chronic detuning problem. I've since read that this is really common with snares. Literally the lugs will fall out onto the ground after just one session of playing (I'm worried about forgetting this and losing some screws someday). I bought some tuning locks a while back to help with this, but think that I was using them wrong. So I put the entire set on the bottom lugs and we'll see how it goes. I went to Guitar Center to buy a second set for the top and they didn't have them any more. They also didn't have any snare straps (string, but not straps) or bass drum pedal straps (I wanted a spare). I went over there to be nice and buy local and all that crap (though it isn't really buying local) and they didn't even have what I needed. Same thing happened at Office Depot. All of this makes me want to always just shop online. Which I know isn't very progressive, but what am I supposed to do?

The maple Pacific snare does look great with the maple Sonor kit and I think it sounds good too. It's a slightly different color, but totally complimentary.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Floor Tom Leg Memory Locks.

I've been looking for floor tom leg memory locks with no luck. My Sonor has 12 mm floor tom legs (the black Pulse kit has more like 9mm legs). I had never thought of memory locks for floor tom legs, but it came up while I was looking for a replacement memory lock for the 3/4 inch tom mounts for the Sonor (the replacement parts from Gilbralter KIND of work, by the way, except the tab doesn't fit in the hole). I remember borrowing someone's kit once and they had used duct tape to create tom leg memory locks. This worked great for them...but horribly for me because I couldn't adjust the height (and he was tall). Adjustable floor tom leg memory locks would create the best of both worlds...easy set up OR adjustment. Anyway, floor tom leg memory locks seem to exist, but don't seem to be easy to find, especially not as replacement parts.

On some forum I read that a guy used hose clamps. I wondered if this would lock terrible and might scratch the legs or the tom. But I was looking at hose clamps for another home repair project and so I picked up three of the smallest clamps that they had at the store. They just fit on my finger.
 I wrapped each tom leg in old rubber bicycle tube (to avoid scratching the chrome, if there is any) and put the clamps on.
They work great and there's nothing that seems in danger of scratching the tom finish. It doesn't even look that bad. The below pic is upside down. The locks are such that the legs can easily be removed entirely for storage or transport.