Archive for the ‘new song’ Category

I wrote this song a few years back, and had the hardest time trying to record it. Unfortunately, the stock drum tracks in GarageBand just don’t cover the blues very well, so I finally found some decent audio drum loops that I could use. Ostensibly, this is a song about everlasting love, and how in marriage or even lifelong relationships, despite their occasional downs, if you truly love someone, you’ll return to them.

With this song, I wanted to capture a smoky lounge with a jazz quartet kind of groove. And BTW, the guitar in this was recorded using IK Multimedia Amplitube Fender. Damn! That ’57 Champ sounds great! Anyway, here’s the song:

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If you’re a visitor here, it’s more than likely that you suffer from an affliction commonly referred to as GAS or Gear Acquisition Syndrome, which is a uncontrollable urge to buy gear to affect your tone. Be honest, you know you have it. 🙂

This morning, in search of some new material to write about, I came across a new pedal from Elite Tone called the Smooth Boost. You can read the announcement here. What excited me about the pedal was that it’s a handmade pedal for $99! Damn! That got the GAS flowing. After I calmed down a bit, I sang to myself, “I feel some GAS a-comin’…” and that sparked off me humming Johnny Cash’s song “Folsom Prison Blues” playing in my head. Then I started laughing, and writing down some alternate lyrics to the song. After I was done I recorded the following tune:

This one was a lot of fun! I wanted to share it because I’m sure you can relate to the lyrics. By the way, here are the full set of lyrics:

The GAS Blues

I feel some gas a-comin’
It’s comin’ ’round the bend
I haven’t been GAS-less
Since I don’t know when…
I’d said that I am finished
My rig’s as full as it can be
But this new gear’s got me GAS-in’
The GAS keeps hauntin’ me…

When I was just a young man
I had just one guitar
Ole Betsy made me happy
She took me oh so far…
But then I went electric
and needed so much gear
to get that perfect tone now
that’s pleasin’ to my ears…

My wifey always asks me
Just how much do you need?
I look at her and tell her
just one more, don’t you see?
There’s nothing that’ll cure me
from this expensive disease
It’s a curse I’ll always carry
my GAS is never pleased…

I don’t know what to tell you
if you suffer from the same
affliction that I have now
My friends think I’m insane…
No one understands it
Look! There’s another axe!
And it just keeps on comin’
This thing we all know as GAS!

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Fender 60th Diamond Anniversary Stratocaster

I’m normally very methodical in my approach to writing music. But sometimes, I just get carried away with playing that I’ll just create a riff, and jam over it again and again until my fingertips are numb. Writing my latest instrumental was exactly that experience. I came up with a riff, added some bass and a basic drum kit loop to it, and spent the next several hours trying to cop my best SRV. 🙂 Believe me, no one can play like that dude! He was special.

But the point of this is that after hours and hours of playing, I really got inspired to not just let it be a jam track, especially after I came up with a phrase that felt like it could define the theme of a song. So over the next few days I tweaked with the song, and this is the final result. Note that I had a version of this up as of a couple of days ago, but I remixed it, added an echo part for the last section, and removed a bunch of layered on effects from the first cut. I ended up with a much more raw sound, which was really what I was after. Here it is:

All the guitar parts were played with “Pearl” my 60th Diamond Anniversary Strat. After playing ‘buckers for awhile, I forgot how fun it was to play my Strat! My amp, of course, was my ever versatile tone machine, my Aracom Amps VRX22. For effects, I used a Hardwire RV-7 Reverb, a Creation Audio Labs Mk.4.23 booster, and a Voodoo Lab MicroVibe.

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I was noodling around the other day, and came up with a riff. The riff turned into a jam track, then the jam track turned into a full song. I’m still working on the song, but thought I’d post it for folks to give it a listen. Here it is:

Here’s what I used:

  • Rhythm Part: Clean Strat in Neck/Middle position. My Aracom VRX22 in the Clean channel, with the Master cranked and volume at halfway. Used a Red Bear Trading Tuff-Tone pick to get that percussive sound out of the chords.
  • Part 1 Solo: Strat in Neck Position into my MicroVibe and the same amp settings. Also, used the Tuff-Tone pick to get a more percussive attack to the notes.
  • Part 2 Solo: Strat in Bridge Position into MicroVibe. Amp was set on Channel 2 with the Master dimed and volume at 6 for some nice, but not over-the-top breakup. I love that 6V6 breakup! Here I used my V-Picks Psycho to smoothen out the attack and give the bright bridge pickup a bit of extra oomph.
  • Part 3 Solo: Strat in Neck position, nixed the Vibe, into the clean channel with Master and Volume fully dimed. Used the Psycho here as well, but used a percussive attack.

In order to get those kind of high power settings from the amp, I used a soon-to-be-released Aracom attenuator that’s like NOTHING I’ve played through before! This thing is completely transparent because it maintains reactance between the amp and speaker; something that a lot of attenuators have a problem with (please don’t get me started on the UA, which I think is the biggest bunch of hype I’ve ever run across as far as attenuators go).

Another word about the VRX22. When the Master is fully open, and the power tubes are getting lots of juice, this amp just oozes all sorts of tone. And as the rectifier circuit kicks in, this amp feels as if it has built in reverb! As you can tell, I love this amp! Check it out at: http://www.aracom-amps.com.

I know that you might think I’m a bit nutso for using different picks; obviously in a live situation I’d probably only use one. But the in the studio where I can do pretty much anything I want, using different picks to affect my tone is totally cool. Check out Tuff-Tone picks at http://www.redbeartrading.com and the Psycho pick at http://www.v-picks.com. I swear by these two brands, and while I don’t work for either of these companies, like the Aracom Amps, they’ll always be part of my “rig.”

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depression This is one of the toughest songs I ever wrote; not from a technical standpoint, but from an emotional one. It’s really an emotional purging. I’m glad I got through it!

Anyway, give it a listen and let me know what you think! Thanks!

Gear Used:

Guitars: Prestige Heritage Elite and Strat

Amps: Aracom VRX22 and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

The VRX22/Heritage combo is just insane! You gotta check this gear out!

Aracom Amps : http://www.aracom-amps.com
Prestige Guitars: http://www.prestigeguitars.com

The only effect I used was my lovely Hardwire RV-7 reverb on my VRX22 (this is by far one of the best reverbs I’ve ever used). I also used the spring reverb in the Hot Rod.

And lest I forget, I used my trusty V-Picks “The Snake” pick for the lead. What an incredible tone it produces.

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Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac once said (paraphrasing), “Ask any songwriter how music comes to them, and they’ll probably say, ‘I don’t know.'” This tune came to me several years ago during one of the darkest and bleakest points in my life. The market collapsed and I was out of a job, and couldn’t find one; I had been bitten by a poisonous spider that left me bedridden for months; my relationship with my wife was tepid at best. Then on top of that, I had a bad case of sleep apnea that hadn’t been diagnosed at that point. The net effect was that I was suicidal; or short of that, wishing my life would end.

In a particularly bleak moment, where I was contemplating ending my life, this tune came into my head, accompanied by a mental slideshow of images from my entire life: Growing up, my own family. It was if someone out there was using the tune and the images to show me what really mattered in life. Since I first heard the song in my head, it has never left. It pops up now and then, though the pictures have changed as I have changed and my kids are getting older. It’s both a reminder of how bad it was for me, but also a reminder of how good my life has been and still is.

Putting this song down – and mind you, it’s pre-pre-production right now – was very difficult because of the emotions that came with it. But I thought I’d finally lay it down to share it. Someone suggested adding words, but I think the only thing I’ll add is a clean guitar solo on top. By the way, the background sounds you hear on this version are from my three-year-old playing floor hockey in my garage/studio. 🙂 Without further ado, here’s the song:

Equipment Used:
Electric Piano
Prestige Guitars Heritage Elite (sounds acoustic on this song!)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (left)
Aracom VRX22 (right)

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