A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Posts tagged “drums

Wifey’s extreme metal thesis and drum blog are here!

This isn’t totally bass-related, but it might be intriguing for some of you who are interested in extreme metal and in drumming (even separately).


My wife finished her 2nd masters degree this year. Apart from her MLS, she now has a masters in anthropology. Her thesis topic was centered on women’s participation in New York’s extreme metal scene – from musicians and fans to others in the industry like photographers, writers, women who run magazines and websites, women who host radio shows and more. We attended shows (quite a few were around the baby’s schedule), she met and interviewed women in the scene, conducted an online survey with dozens of respondents, and met and presented with incredible metal music scholars – a discipline that I didn’t even know existed until she started doing her thing. Many of them have written books and papers in academic journals and some have released video documentaries as well. Its a thriving and fascinating international community.

Anyway – for those interested, her thesis is finally available for public consumption via CUNY Academic Works. Here’s a link to the PDF (you can click the “download” button on CUNY’s site or read it online):

Here’s a link to her blog where she announced the release of the thesis as well:



A visit to Sam Ash


Its like we were made for each other…

So, back in March, I snapped the tuning peg for the A-string on my old Ibanez 4-string (see the bottom of this post). I ordered a replacement part, which took almost a month to come in from overseas, and it didn’t quite fit. I’ve had it on the back-burner to get it repaired for a while now, and yesterday I set out to get it done… in a week.

The wifeness & I ran up to White Plains and after trying these amazing Japanese crepes, we hit Sam Ash, where I announced my bass’ need for a medic and filled out paperwork to have it admitted. Unfortunately, the doctor wasn’t in and won’t be there today either, so I had it assigned to a room where it will wait with other unfortunates until the end of the week when the doctor returns and can give it an examination. I should get a call in about 5 days with a price quote and a diagnosis. I’m sure it will center around two conditions: the broken tuning peg and malfunctioning electronics. There was also talk of an optional procedure: a set-up. The double-meaning of the word has my heard aflutter.

Ultimately, we have to see if the work will exceed the cost of the bass. Its my original, which I got back around 1996 or so, and which lay unloved at my parents’ house for around 15 years before I gave it another shot and started this blog in lieu of writing heartfelt poetry. How far will we go for our first loves?


We set up the drum kit

So, we cleared out a corner in the living room, right across from the piano, and set up the drum kit. It fits nicely, but its plenty loud. After a few days of pounding on it, I’m going to have to figure out if a 4-year old can grasp the concept of dynamics and hitting the drums more softly. I tried playing a few notes on the piano while Bopps was on the drums (I’m no pianist – I just picked 2 low notes and hoped for the best, kind of like djent!). They were completely drowned out.

Also – apparently, drum heads can be tuned. Who knew?!! I watched some videos about that, and I’m going to experiment with it a bit, to see if my novice ears can do anything with what I’ve just learned. In all likeliness, I’ll end up asking a drummer friend to help with it though.

Also… drum upgrades are exactly like GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome, for those blessed with a strong immunity). We’ve had it set up for 3 hours and we’re already thinking about double kick-drum pedals, mute pads, tuners, chorizo empanadas, more drums, a mat for under it, and different cymbals. And Pearl ships the kit with this giant poster with all of these other models! And there are “deals” for Roadshow upgrades…

Ok. I’m gonna go practice. I ran ex. 47 in the HLBM for about 25 mins early this AM. My hands are getting used to the octave pattern – even the one for the open E. Onward and upward!

We got a drum set

So we drove up north a bit for our friend’s daughter’s 4th birthday. She’s 3 months younger than Bopps. Before we left, we received a delivery. Its a Christmas present for wifey & the Bopps:


Also, when we got to the birthday party, we found that they also got a drum kit recently! Its a kid’s set. Bopps – and a bunch of other kids – had a blast with it.


I need to make space in the living room, and then we’ll set up the kit, across from the piano. Its a Pearl Roadshow – the 5-piece rock set. I liked it better than the jazz and fusion sets, which came with slightly smaller hardware. At some point, I want to add double-kick pedals to it, but for now, we’ll see how this goes over with clients during conference calls.

I shopped around and couldn’t find a better price for the kit than $499. Sam Ash, Guitar Center, Amazon, and other online sites all had the same price. Then I did something. I hopped onto eBay and found it there – from Sam Ash. I placed a bid $100 lower than what they were asking for. A few days later, they came back with an offer $70 below the regular price, so I went with it. Its my first time doing an online haggle, but I was happy with the result. That’s just something to keep in mind for those of you who haven’t tried bidding before. I wasn’t expecting anything to come through, but not only did I get the set for $70 off, it arrived in 3 days instead of  a week. 😉

Artiphon Instrument 1

Last night when I was reading, I came across this really interesting new electronic instrument called the Artiphon Instrument 1. Its an instrument/interface that has a fretboard kind of like a keyboard and flap/levers that simulate strings. Its able to create a huge array of sounds, from guitars, basses, ukuleles, violins and cellos to pianos (with 6 octaves), drum sets and even more.

The device got going on Kickstarter and has apparently started shipping recently. The goal was to raise $75k, but they were able to bring in $1.3M. It looks like it retails for $400 and has an interface that works with iPhones and maybe Mac computers. I don’t know if an Android or PC interface exists yet. I watched a few videos of it, and it looks really impressive. A jazz guitarist in the main video even commented that he’s able to simultaneously play 2 notes on the same string in guitar mode – something that’s physically impossible with real strings. That could be really fun for players of chordal instruments.

Introducing the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1

Here are links to the Kickstarter page, the main Artiphon page and their Youtube page. I can see this taking off in some circles, especially among electronic musicians who also play real instruments.

GigPig drum kit/percussion box

GigPig Double-Tom-blackSo, wifey saw her department head the other day when she picked up her thesis with his suggested edits. Because she had some free time, they shot the breeze, and during the talk our plan to get drums for Bopps came up, and he told her that he wanted to do the same for his son, who’s now 13.

Because of space constraints, he was looking at something I’ve never seen before – its called a GigPig. Its like a crate with a drum kit growing out of it. I haven’t shared it with my drummer friends yet, but I’ll do so this weekend. It looks cool to me, but the sound is supposed to be a little different from a full kit as well.

The main page has a bunch of videos. If you’re interested in drums, percussion or just instruments in general, take a gander.

Wikiloops & JamKazam

jamplay & wikiloops.jpg

I was in bed, browsing the TalkBass forums, which I haven’t visited in more than 6 months, when I came across a thread from a person about my age who’s been practicing alone on his bass but hasn’t played with any other musicians. On the 2nd page of his thread, in which he asked for advice on finding others to jam with, two people mentioned online solutions that I just looked at and am frankly blown away by.

The first is called Wikiloops (which has apparently been in my bookmarks since April, go figure), and the 2nd is called JamKazam. They’re both online communities that share backing tracks, which are actually multi-tracked, so individual instruments can be muted, as desired. They also enable live collaboration and sharing. Videos from both follow. There’s amazing potential here.

Wikiloops is free and basically allows people to upload MP3’s of themselves playing instruments. These playthroughs can be added to other people’s sessions and used to build remixes which are organized in several ways including by instrument and genre.

JamKazam has a similar service as well as live online jam sessions and is in beta development for a physical interface which can be used to connect instruments to a router with low latency – this basically means they’re building a box that you can plug into and will let you play at blazing speed, so there’s little or no loading/buffering/processing or whatever it is that other platforms might suffer from.