Having a clutch of nice guitars and shiny gear with enticing LEDs flashing on it is all very well an



  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Trouble is, my boys are all really annoyed at me now because of all the stuff I got rid of. My oldest would probably kill for the guitar synth I had ...
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    Oo guitar synth. What did you have?
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    It was a Roland with the GK pickupvthat you had to mount on the guitar. I bought a Mex Strat specifically for it. It was fun, and I think I'd use it with the band, but after spending all that money I needed some back!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    wow, always wanted one of those. I'm afraid of the rabbit hole it will open up and the countless hours/days/years that I won't see daylight or family. "Oh, I just need to sync the MIDI kettle to switch off when I play an F# and change the patch on my keyboard whenever the clock strikes 3." Or something. It would happen, I know. I wouldn't be happy until every piece of gear was synced perfectly. All those hours when I could be practising!
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    edited April 2017

    I managed to get into MIDI guitar for only £80 with a You Rock plastic guitar for computer games that just happens to have a MIDI out port.

    Every now and then I come across the Roland GK system, Line6 Variax or Freshman TriplePlay but the prices put me off.

    The photo shows me ready to play in church on Good Friday, backing a sax player.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    That's an interesting option. Does it actually have strings, or are they touch sensors on the frets?
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    edited April 2017


    The You Rock guitar doesn't have strings. The fretboard has raised areas where the strings and frets would be and there are 6 short strings from where the bridge would be to the neck pickup on a real guitar.

    You can play it like a normal guitar, ie. place your finger(s) on the fretboard and then strum the string(s), or you can have the TAP switch set so that when your fretting hand touches a string it plays, as in tapping and hammer-ons.

    On the minus side, It isn't a real guitar, doesn't feel like one, nor does it respond like one. You cannot palm mute, nor bend strings. Capos, slides and ebows do not work.

    On the plus side, MIDI opens up the world of keyboard sounds to a guitarist and as the note sensors are precise it shows up less than clean playing and it has forced me to play more accurately. Also, because it does not have to convert audio into MIDI, there are no latency or conversion errors.

    For the price and experience it is great but is hardly comparable with the other systems like Screaming Dave's GK that lets you be a normal guitar player.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    Thanks for the pics and the lengthy description, Lester. That does sound like fun. I'll have to keep an eye out on eBay for one. At the right price it could be an interesting studio tool.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    The cost and complexity of Midi plus yet more leads has kept me away from the idea, the new EHX pedals like the MEL9, KEY9, B9 etc. are about £200 a poke and les you play your own guitar while sounding like some classic keyboards. OK you have to modify your technique apparently but I'm very tempted now - even though the band have keys already a new toy is always fun.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    The guitar synth I had was pretty simple once it was installed, and it was fun, but if I'm honest I'd rather let the keyboard player do his thing.

    I did like the piano patches, though. The way I play guitar they sounded like a very drunk piano player falling off a cliff with his piano
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Hi, Guys! How are you all? Sorry I've been a bit quiet. You will all, no doubt, be totally indifferent to hear I'm still alive!

    Thought it'd be good to carry on my witless comentary on my life as a musical nonentity.

    Since I last posted my band, The Rookies, have split up. I blame musical differences, the drummer, the lady singer ..... well, everyone apart from me, to be honest!

    It's actually a very hard and emotional thing to break up a band. We'd been playing together for over a decade, and the other band members do become like family, albeit some of them like that weird cousin who causes your heart to sink every time you realise he's at a family gathering.

    Suffice to say, just like I'd imagine a marriage ends, I'd been unhappy for a while before finally making my move and then it was a tiny spark which blew things up out of all proportion and I walked.

    Me and the drummer didn't get on, for reasons entwined with our personal lives, but not really to do actually with us, which I found upsetting and frustrating, and I was pissed off with the direction the band was taking. We'd diluted our offering from a mix of rock, blues and soul that trod a thin line between having some credibility but being danceable to a hotch potch of songs we did just because we could and we thought they'd go down well. We lost our creed and with that all sense of deirection and identity. I was also unhappy that the lady singer never suggested a single song she'd like to do, but moaned about every song she did do (some she'd inherited because they were already in the set when she joined, and some the rest of us had nominated) and because she only ever showed up to a gig in time to plug in her mic for soundcheck and then she'd leave immediately after, never helpin to tear-down and load out.

    Now, interestinly, things didn't pan out how I expected them to ....

    Next morning I messaged our WhatsApp group, apologised for losing my sh!t with the drummer, but spelling out that I really was out. Then I quit the WhatsApp group, which must've been quite amusing in a way, because it will have displayed a message to everyone else which said "Dave left the group" which was appropriate!

    Then I messaged the drummer and apologised personally to him, he replied in a conciliatory tone, but I left it at that. Everyone else texted me, expressed sympathy, and I decided to let the dust settle.

    Now, I expected they'd find another guitarist, maybe another male singer, and carry on. I got a message from the keyboard player asking if I was certain it was over, and saying it was a shame we couldn't have a civilised chat over a beer. I explained that I'd tried to instigate that and gave him some of the background (which I won't go into here) and told him no way would I ever work with the drummer again, and he said a funny thing which was, "OK. Quite understand. Just thought I'd make sure before I push the button." I thought he meant push the button on getting another guitarist in, but the next thing I see is a message on the band's FB page announcing that we were disbanding for "personal reasons". So it now seems that by "push the button," he meant quit himself, which will definitely have torpedoed the band under the waterline and right in the powder magazine.

    The flash point was over gigs. I run a marquee hire business, which is massively busy over the Summer and dead in winter, so I've always maintained that I couldn't do gigs in high Summer. I'd foolishly agree to do a gig in July, because at the time of booking that weekend looked quiet, but I began to regret it as the work started ramping up that weekend, and I can't afford to turn work away just for a gig. Then the evil drummer wanted us to do a gig at a local pub the weekend after, and I refused. I tried to call him to explain on a one-to-one basis how hard gigging was for me in Summer, not least because I store all of the PA gear at our storage unit, and used one of the company vans to transport it, which in turn caused logistical issues for the business. But he wouldn't pick up. He decided instead to get a bit sh!tty with me about it at the next rehearsal and, stupidly, I bit.

    Ironically, lockdown came and all the gigs would have been cancelled anyway!

    So, I was a bandless vagabond for a while, but I had plans. Oh yes, I had plans, alright!

    The band had lost their creed, but I knew how we could get it back. I knew what sort of band I needed to form. I started talking to the keyboard player, initially just to chat about how we were getting on in lockdown, but eventually about my plans for a band, and he was immediately up for it.

    Next I needed to pick off the bass player. We messaged, we chatted, we met up for beer, and he was of the same opinion as me about how things had gone, and he was in.

    So .... a drummer. I knew a drummer vaguely, but he was already in a band. I messaged him, and he was tentatively up for it, but I knew I'd have to sell it to him. My plan is to take old soul and blues songs and give them the "Faces treatment". Think Rod Stewart's solo version of Sam Cooke's "Twistin' The Night Away," or The Black Crowes' version of "Hard to Handle," the old Wilson Pickett song. That's what I'm thinking. It's rock, it has cred, but you can dance to it. It's an awful thin line to tread, but it's eminently do-able!

    Then I saw the drummer in the pub. His old band had split up. There IS a God and he loves rocked-up soul and blues!

    So, how do I avoid the pitfalls of before?

    well, for one the new drummer isn't married so I can't sleep with his wife.

    (This is a JOKE!!! it is NOT what happened!)

    No, it was the bassist's wife, and he doesn't know about it yet!


    Well, we need to stick to our creed. We need to not put songs in the set just because we all like it. If it doesn't sit right with everything else, it doesn't go in the set. Plus we need to talk, openly, about what we do and don't want to do, and what gigs we can and can't do, including gigs we don't actually want to do. It's not a crime to not want to do a gig. For example, I don't want to gig on New Year's Eve. Ever. There's not enough money in it. I love going out and dancing with my lovely lady to music made by some other poor bastards forced to work on NYE!

    Watch this space ...
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Thats a nice chapter Dave, I can probably say been there, done that to almost all of that. It can feel disorientating when you leave a long term band commitment, but as you are finding, new oportunities come up all the time and Covid 19 will pass to allow gigging again soon enough.
    Oh and I stopped doing NYE just before the millenium until this last one. A village had arranged a black tie 3 course dinner with dancing. We got to eat a lovely meal with our partners and then did 3 sets which were very appreciated and well paid. If I could guarantee that civilisation I'd do them every year.

    Keep us posted and don't be a stranger.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    I can relate to much of that, having decided to leave bands that either changed direction or were going nowhere.

    I will keep watching this space for further developments.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    What great story telling. I hope your book deal come through, Dave!

    I don’t know how you do it. Perhaps I’m just not very patient, but I couldn’t put up with all those personality issues. I have enough of that at Work! That’s why I do solo stuff. I’m the only idiot to blame:) and my drummer is a machine so he can’t drink my beer/oggle my wife/ argue about the storage unit!

    Looking forward to further instalments. Rock on!
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Thanks for the nice welcome back, guys!

    The latest chapter is that I decided to sell my black biker jacket. Decided I was too old for it.


    Cancelled that at the last minute. You're never too old for a black leather jacket!
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    edited January 2021
    So, lockdown goes on and there’s nothing I can do to further the new band. I’ve decided I need to put together some arrangements for the new band, so some sort of multi-track recording is needed. My laptop is pants, and the business can’t afford to buy me a new one right now, so a stand alone multitracker seems in order. I’m looking at either a Zoom R8 or a Zoom R24 (depending in how my Ebay sales go!) as they both have a built-in drum sequencer. But, if anyone knows any better .....
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    edited January 2021
    So, stand by for tales of my ham-fisted attemps at recording. Luckily, my oldest son is quite an accomplished producer so hopefully he can help a bit.

    I have had multi-trackers before.

    Years and years ago, before digitals had even been discovered, I had an old Tascam four-track cassette Portastudio (TM) of the most basic kind. Each of the four tracks had its own level and pan control, and I think that was it. We made some OK recordings on it, but of course, too many bounce-downs degraded quality and robbed you of the opportunity of any further adjustments. So in those days it was a case of recording drums on two mics into tracks 1 and 2, then bass in track 3 and bounce them all onto track 4. A couple of rhythm guitar tracks or rhythm guitar and keyboards into 1 and 2 and bounce into 3, then lead guitar and vocals into 1 and 2 and that was your lot. Robert was your Mum’s brother, Fanny was your Dad’s sister and the canine domesticated animal bore the appellation, “Spot”.

    Years later I bought an Tascam 8 track digital studio with a lot more bells and whitles us a rack full if studio FX. It was faulty though. The recorded sound used to degrade or something over time. Many was the time I’d labour feverishly on a track into the small hours, go to bed really pleased with what I’d done, then I’d wake up, play it back and it sounded shite!
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Hey, Dave, I too had a Tascam 4-track cassette Portastudio back in the day. I lost it and the cassettes when I moved.

    I have gone down the route of mixing audio on my computer so cannot really advise on multitrack recorders. I would offer to help mixing tracks but it sounds like you have a capable son.

    During lockdown I am getting more time to put a studio together - the room rather than the gear - and record and mix my wife singing and playing piano for online church services, doing basic videos for them with lyrics.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    I still have some of the cassettes from mine, but nothing to play them on!
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Here is some creative thinking: if you have a stereo cassette player then play and record one side to get tracks 1 and 2. Flip the cassette and record tracks 3 and 4, except that they will play and record in reverse. Audacity has a reverse function which you could use on tracks 3 and 4.

    I don't have a cassette player but I could have a go at trying to reverse and match up 4 tracks, if you want to recover what you have on the cassettes. Depending on the wow and flutter, it may turn out that tracks 1 and 2 don't get recorded at precisely the same speed as tracks 3 and 4, that was one of the idiosyncrasies of cassettes. Until you (or we) try, you may never know.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Annoyingly, my son got given an old Yamaha four track by the school a few years back and I never took the opportunity to do that before we dumped it because he never used it.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Another portastudio user back in the day. Got some great vibe/sounds with it. Still have it and all the tapes but not used for years.
    I recently bought a behringer XR18 live mixer which also has the ability to be a digital multitrack input to the PC. So Today I got the new laptop and soon I will download garageband or similar and start pratting around with recording again. Fun time await...
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Enjoy. I haven’t had a lot of chance to play with the Zoom yet
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    So, now the vile spectre of Covid seems to be retreating, it’s time to get the new band going. Jake’s Last Fandango will have their inaugural meeting in the pub (or rather outside the pub) to drink beer, talk music and generally start building band camaraderie.

    But, already we have an issue. The bassist is moving to Norfolk. What??!!? NORFOLK??!!! To miss-quote Robert Bolt’s “A Man For All Seasons”, ... it profits a man little, though he sell his soul for the World, but for NORFOLK??!!

    Ah, well, each to their own, but now we’ll have to find a new bass player before he’s even played a bum note.

    Watch this space ....
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    Hi Guys,

    First of all, sorry for the long radio silence again.

    Things have moved on with Jake’s Last Fandango. But, where to start? We have tales of another imploding drummer, gigs …….. Read on, dear friends, read on ….

    So, the old bassist moved to Norfolk. Bye bye, have fun, and all that.

    How to find a new bass player, then? I put the message out to a couple of music teachers who I know teach adults as well, and one of them comes up trumps (my son’s guitar teacher, funnily enough). He recommends a guy called Duncan. He’s been teaching him bass for about two years, reckons he’s pretty good and is into the right kind of stuff. He likes soul, two-tone stuff, a bit of reggae….. I reckon he’ll be a decent fit so I call him up.


    Seems like a decent guy, and we see eye-to-eye about the direction. He’s a bit nervous because he’s never played live and he only has a practice amp, but I tell him not to worry. We all have to start down the live route some time, and we can DI his bass into the PA.

    We get together round my house to just have a bit of a jam through some song ideas I’ve sent him, and it goes well. We get together with Bernie, the new drummer, and Ed and it starts to come together.

    Then another disaster strikes. Bernie’s son gets ill. He now doesn’t have time to be in two bands (he’s in another band made from the remnants of his old band) so he’s out and we are drummerless again!

    Well, it worked last time, so I put the word out to the local music teachers and, lo, there is a God of stuttering soul-rock bands and enter Vince.

    I meet Vince in the pub, the natural home turf of all drummers. We drink, we chat, he’s in. Simples!

    Duncan can use the hall in the village he lives in and books that for a get together, so how will Vince turn out? Will he be a talentless nerk? Will he be impossible to work with?

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