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Everything posted by AMOlson

  1. The only reason I broke down and bought the extremely cheap 7 string I found at a pawn shop (it was in really bad shape, but cleaned up nicely) was someone got really clever and transcribed Paganini's 24 Caprices for electric 7 string. Since he incorporated things like two handed tapping it's not suitable for acoustic guitar at all. And did I mention the guitar was cheap and sounds sweet? But the real thing is that if you're playing violin music on guitar, that bottom string really comes in handy, just like if you're playing cello music on bass, having a five string is almost required. It's because both violins and cellos are tuned in fifths, not fourths like guitars, so their lowest possible note is slightly below that of their fretted cousins. Note, this doesn't have anything to do with strumming and chords. No help on that topic here at all, sorry. I still can't tell an E major from any totally random collection of notes. Bass and classical/jazz player here. Andy Olson
  2. Another trick to try, if you have the money to spare, is get a bass and horse around with it for a while. I wanted to play bass, started with it and now fool around some with baritone and the occasional regular guitar, but it gives you something to work up with. Especially since if you play bass, it gives you a mechanical advantage in going to guitar, namely guitars are much smaller and have little delicate strings. I can reach 7-8 frets on a guitar and bend a tone and a half if I want to. There's no way I could physically do anything like that after only a year and a half only playing guitar. And who knows, you might get the short straw setting up a band and be stuck playing bass. ;) Just kidding. Bass is a very different instrument, musically, but it is much easier to get into playing cool songs on bass, as long as you're not a huge fan of Rush or Dream Theater. Both of those groups are ... well, Geddy Lee is why I play bass.
  3. It's Rush ... 'nuff said. Ok, second comment. Just out of curiosity, I pulled my guitar down and yup, I can hit that. You see I'm a bass player, and have been doing it long enough now I've actually stretched the tendons in my left hand so I can reach goofy stuff like that. Yeah, and I play baritone as well. Talk about evil reaches, even on a good day. So yes, it's possible, but unless you really, really work at it, not going to happen for a lot of guitar players. However, don't ask me to play real chords. I'm still struggling with double stops. ;)
  4. I used a Y splitter for quite a while until I got an amp with a line out. There should be no way it could damage the computer or the cable, and yes, I am a pro at electronics. Only down side is you can get a 60 Hz ground hum depending on what is plugged into what ground (or if you're on a laptop, having no ground on the computer). It is generally not so bad you'll go crazy from it. Just annoying.
  5. Rush (Hold Your Fire) Dragonforce Sonata Arctica Delain Nightwish Dream Theater They were all incredible, and Dream Theater live was definitely worth it. Far more engaging than their recordings despite the fact the sound quality was badly damaged by the venue.
  6. Ok, IANAD, but I do have some experience with sports medicine and this is what has worked for me. I have trigger finger, issues with carpal tunnel ... I admit it. I'm getting old. However, there are three (4?) broad types of pain. 1) Muscle stress. This is your muscles whining "I don't wanna do this anymore. Its too HARD!". The type of pain you get from handwriting too much. It is possible to push this to the point where you do damage, but it really takes some effort. Yeah, it's gonna hurt, just like running, riding horses, any type of physical exertion, and there's not a lot to do about this other than work through it and eventually a) you'll relax and not over stress the muscles, causing them to cramp and 2) the muscles will get stronger and less likely to cramp. Also, with guitar and especially bass, the tendons and ligaments in your left hand will stretch a LOT, meaning your muscles don't have to work as hard to get your fingers apart. This helps too. 2) Skin damage. This is caused by the pressure of little strings on a little area. It's annoying and you really are better off quitting before the blister stage, but what can you do. Eventually it goes away. I have scary heavy callouses on the fingertips of my left hand from playing heavy strings on an extra long scale bass. I play every day to make sure I NEVER have to deal with getting those callouses again. Now we get into the nasty ones 3) Tendon/Ligament strain. A very sharp pain, often near a joint (not in it) that feels like someone shoved a needle into the connection between muscle and bone or bone and bone. Typically these are point failures, not always catastrophic, but they're a sign to STOP whatever it is you're doing immediately. Sometimes this pain will come on after you play as well. It is often related to trigger finger, which is why I don't use my pinkies. I have horrible trigger finger in both of them, and it freaking hurts to over use them. I need them to type, so I don't use them to play unless I absolutely have to. Django Reinhardt managed with 2 fingers, I can make do with 3. 4) Nerve pain. This is the horrible shooting pain, often inside a joint and often will track up or down the limb. This is another, "Don't do this anymore and figure out how to not cause this pain." This one is even more critical, since nerves don't heal. I actually do better with my wrists bent a little, but I'm always very careful to not put stress on the joints while they're bent back. It's why I always use a strap and brace the guitar against the strap, not my thumb or hand. I almost play against my body, actually, using it to provide the counterforce. Don't know if it will work out in the long term, looks a little odd sometimes, but it means I can play pain free. Now I do get the occasional 1 if I'm playing a lot of something repetitive, but I now have enough experience to even change fingering if I have to. No biggie, and unless you keep those muscles locked for an extended period of time, no harm really. Number 2, well, thank goodness that stage is over. Unless I get sucked into playing my baritone for 3-4+ hours, I'm good. (It has happened. I got distracted.) Numbers 3 and 4, well, those I pay attention to and avoid like the plague. They pop up and I find a way around them. Hope that helps some. Like I said, I Am Not A Doctor, but ... muscles and skin heal, that's how they strengthen, actually. Tendons often scar badly and nerves don't heal at all.
  7. I'm very glad I started with the 104, mostly because it's probably the most flexible low end bass out there. The extra inch does make the strings tighter, not much, but you can feel it. Especially if you go to a 34" 5 string. That 135 low B is insanely floppy on a 34". I regularly do D drop C on my 104 with a 115 'E' string and it's wonderful. No, it's not the most comfortable bass to start with, BUT the initial stress of the extra long scale and tighter strings, I think, is worth it if you want to eventually play 5 or metal. And yes, it was that particular neck on the Ibanez. The frets had started to come loose and had never been polished on the edges. I have rather had to make my own style, not being able to really use my pinkies, so it was awful and not in a way I could get used to. Unlike the tight strings on the 104. And I've seen the Stealth down to about $300 used. I think it's around $400 new, which for the sound is really sweet. Now it doesn't growl and very much has that pure Schecter bell tone sound, but I like it. If it were neck through, I'd actually thing about getting the five string version for my traveling and bedroom bass. I still may. It has a wonderful tone, especially for a bolt on. The only Schecter I didn't like was I think the J replica because it didn't have XL frets. Sounded like a Schecter, but the action was awful for me. For a beginner, I'd really say a 4. Mostly because it's a pain in the rump dealing with alternate tunings on a 5. "Do I drop the E? Do I bring up the B? Do I figure out how to transpose?" Meh. Stick with the basics for the first 100-150 hours at least. Of course I say this, my 'second bass' was a fretless 5 string Schecter. ;) Meh. A good 4 will take you a long way toward knowing what you really want in a bass, which is the point of your first bass. It's not your 'forever bass', it's a way to get playing and learn what you like.
  8. Heh. I had an Ibanez and very quickly swapped it out. My preference is for either Schecter or the f-104 series from ESP LTD. Those are actually what I recommend. Here in the states you can find them for under $150 with a little looking. They're 35" scale so if you want to down tune they don't get mushy. Just a nice basic bass you can really push and get into it. My f-104 is fantastic for a $140 bass. My Ibanez literally cut into the side of my hand. The Squire I had was ok, but no character and I felt, rolled over and died if you really got into it. I tried an American made Fender ... meh. It was ok, but not for that price. Tried a Schecter Stealth and it was really sweet. Loved that one. Have a few Schecters, bass, baritone and regular guitar. Love all three. Best thing I can tell you though is 1) take a look at what the musicians you really like play and 2) go play a lot of instruments. But, if you buy used and have some patience, you can often get an instrument to play through until you really know what you like and then sell it on for close to if not what you bought it for. Just don't buy new and know what prices are like for the instrument you're looking to buy.
  9. Actually, I use my warm up time to lock in songs I have memorized (mostly random folk and classical) or go through scales. It's the time I use to practice things that have become boring, working on lyricism and phrasing and then, if I've gotten that far, I start moving them around the neck, into different keys. It's the ears and theory time, really. That long slow process of learning scales by ear so the brain doesn't have to think about where a certain sound is on the fret board. Figure the ears don't need warm up, so they can get working as soon as I plug in.
  10. Heh. I'm back. Picked up another trick, as it were ... if you can stand older (easy) stuff, play it. Lots and lots. It may seem simple, but if you can play simple pieces perfectly, it actually helps playing harder things. Duh. Guess all those music teachers I had as a kid were right. Whoulda' thunk it. Reminds me of a comment Perlman made about practicing. (parphrased) "Four hours of correct practice is worth more than any amount of practicing your mistakes."
  11. Heh. Have to laugh. My fave instrument is a baritone Schecter. Love that girl. But she really IS an example of neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. Isn't even really a 'good' short scale, since the strings are so close. However, a baritone is not something I'd ever recommend someone start out with. For an early instrument, I'd stick with something good but basic. My fave of the basses is actually the ESP LTD F-104. It looks a little funky, but it's a 35" 4 string and generally runs under $150 used. (Even has an active equalizer, so you can plug it straight into a set of headphones, no amp.) Right now I have one permanently down-tuned and it sounds fantastic, even next to my pro basses. Just a little light in spots.
  12. Forget who said it, but ... "Have you ever seen a left handed piano?" With the hassles of finding left handed instruments, I'd say stick with right handed as long as you aren't so strongly dominant you can't play right ... or as Freebird says, you have an injury. Both of my pinkies are pretty much out of use on guitar/bass, so I just figured out how to do without. See Django Reinhardt.
  13. What kind of metal? It's probably the broadest genre insofar as types of guitars. Although what I usually recommend to people is to buy something very simple and well made (so it's as easy to play as possible) then when you are good enough to need any additional bells and whistles, you'll know what you want. (Can do this well under $200 for the guitar, maybe $50 for the amp, used.) But if you insist on getting something high end to start with, I'd say go with a guitar made by the same manufacturer as whoever you want to sound like the most. If it's A7X, that's Schecter. If you like Slayer and more thrash metal, then ESP/LTD. But generally speaking, a lot of the sound of various groups, does come from their instruments, particularly certain brands. So, tl:dr version. Buy the brand of the group(s) you really like. Start with the 'bottom end' and after a year or three, you'll know well enough what you want.
  14. This is really a loaded question. There are countless ways to define 'great'. Sure, Hendrix and Prince were both fantastic at emoting with an instrument. But pure speed, no. That I'd have to give to Herman Li, with runners up Synyster Gates, John Petrucci and Eddie Van Halen. Musicianshilp, including writing music (modern)? Sullivan, Pert, Tuomas, Elfman. Instrumental wizardry? Perlman, Reinhardt, Van Halen, Rudess, Pert, Pastorius. Founding musical dynasties? Chuck Berry, Led Zepplin, Muddy Waters, Rush. Writing music? J.S. Bach (ok, there I can't think of any single person who has had more influence on Western music) And so on and so forth. Best is so variable depending on what any individual values in music. Unfortunately, what one person values most, is often ignored or even denigrated by others. I think of my top half dozen bands, NONE of them have ever won a Grammy or come close to leading any Rolling Stones anything. They're just not going to win popularity contests against RIAA sponsored favorites. *shrug* Means I get to see them in smaller venues. I win.
  15. Just to mix stuff up ... Lead Vocals - Lzzy Hale from Halestorm Guitar - Synyster Gates from A7X Guitar - John Patrucci (dual lead - they're both amazing and I'd love to hear them play together) Bass - Geddy Lee Keyboards - Jordan Rudess Drums - Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan as he would have been today, with the additional experience Lyrics - Danny Elfman and The Rev, primarily
  16. The Bach Inventions available as CDLC are awesome. Also, anything by Stray Cats. Almost all Elvis, 50's (original or style), Brian Seltzer, Django Reinhardt was all originally for UB (upright bass), pretty much anything up to the Beatles, because McCartney used a 30", they really aren't practical and sound strange on regular EB (electric bass) or UB. I use a baritone for most 60's and early 70's stuff..) Very generally, almost all jazz not specifically for EB, and anything before the 1960's. Think old ... like classical up until the takeover of the EB. Congrats on the lady. I'm thinking of possibly getting an electric upright bass if I ever get rich, but that happening ... don't see it. Also, check out some of the stuff from John Patitucci. Some people prefer Jaco, but I like Patitucci's teaching style better, because he also has the UB/classical background.
  17. Heh. Coming from a background in music as a kid ... 9 months is barely enough time to get past Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I'm serious. Playing any instrument is not a video game. It's not 40 or 80 or even 200 hours. It's literally thousands of hours of practice. It's not months and often enough its at least a decade or more before an adult, in particular, can hope to gain any kind of proficiency. Even with talent, the best do it for years (many starting at <5-6 years old) before they ever stand on a stage, and even then the vast majority don't do more than play the occasional bar or cover gig. Go listen to some top musicians talking about what it takes to learn to play. Synyster Gates has at least one really good interview out there and he's an incredible musician under the guyliner and ink. Myself, I get up half an hour to an hour early, every single morning, just to play every day. Even if it's just grabbing a bass off the wall and running through the few songs I have memorized. Ya know, you might want to try bass. It's not easier to master, but it is a lot less frustrating to start out with. Particularly as an adult with limited time and experience. Bass also seems to work better with RS in a lot of ways, I think because there are very few chords. I'm a huge fan of extremely technical, complex music. A7X, Symphony X, Rush, Dream Theater. Can't play any of it on guitar and can only wave at A7X and Rush on bass. (Don't even ask about Symphony X or Dream Theater). But instead I'm having fun goofing off with folk and old 50s and 60s stuff right now. The advantage of that huge learning curve ... even if the only thing you practice for months is intonation, it still helps and is useful. But a lot of the very technical players will say, paraphrasing, "It takes time, patience and huge amounts of repetitive, correct practice." Not blasting through songs you can barely play, but slowing things down and doing the same thing over and over and over again until you don't need to think about it. The speed will come ... if you don't push it. But 9 months, eh, grashoppah, yer jus startin. PS: Probably the best exercise you can do when you hit the wall ... ear training. Find a recording of some really simple song, learn the sound by singing it ... then figure out how to play it.
  18. I think one thing a lot of people are missing in this discussion is what type of music are you trying to play and what instrument? Now I play pretty much every style but bass almost exclusively. That said, I've found some primary styles where RR with slowdown works better and others with DD. 1) Classical/Metal solos. Slowing it down. They're very strongly based on sequences of individual notes and I've found the best ways to get these down is slogging. (Rush is also in here.) Classical especially lends itself to the RR/Slow method. It's so dependent on the entire scale, picking out pieces just doesn't seem to work well. 2) Rockabilly/50's/Blues. I don't like slowing this down. So much of it is highly syncopated it seems to work better with DD. Particularly walking bass if the DD is done well. You pick up each part and work on the timing. 3) Punk/Thrash Metal. I just play the snot out of these until it comes together. It's pure speed and the only thing I've found here is time and callouses on the fingers. I never think much about DD or RR with these, (Not included: 60s-70s Pop/Slow Rock/80s Hair/Country which are all pretty easy and I play them to really lock in my fingering techniques and keep refining my ear. If they get too easy, I drag out my fretless. They rapidly become uneasy again. Oh, on the other end, Dream Theater/Symphony X/Synyster Gates ... just too bloody hard at this point. The ONLY approach I've found is slowing them down to really, really, really slow speeds AND cranking the difficulty way down at the same time.) The only real thing I've found to be completely true is something Perlman said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Practice only does you any good if you practice correctly. If you play a part incorrectly 25 times, you learn to play it incorrectly, which is a waste of practice time." BOTH slowing it down and DD are methods to play something correctly, be it by slowing it down or only playing some of the CORRECT notes. Whatever lets YOU do it right, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have without DD because to me getting the bars up there is a fun game. Because there is no way I could ever keep up with Geddy Lee at 100% on almost all of the Rush canon, but I love their music and it gives me a chance to play 'Bass Hero'. Then I get serious and back to slogging on the Bach Inventions to work on my scales. Get tired of those, pull out the C/W and just play along for a session. Meh, that's boring ... heh, Iron Maiden! Too monotonous, time for a little A7X. If I'm totally off my rocker, I pull out something 'impossible' and spend a session in RR chewing on a Gates solo. And so I play pretty much every single day and each day. That's a win for me ... don't know about you.
  19. 20+ with 2 'naturals' (first time through 100%) and a close one (second time hit 100%). Now this is bass, not guitar, but definitely getting better over time. Most of them are easier songs, lots of Pink Floyd and some like AC/DC where the bass lines are pretty straight forward, but I have a ton of 95% plus across the board. Still don't have any 100% on my fretless, but it'll get there. Just need more practice and listening instead of focusing on the note tracker. That, I think, is the biggest weakness of RS. It can be a crutch where you're playing the notes instead of the music.
  20. Thank you albatross213. I actually have a 5 string (fretless) and it sounded great on Flash Light. Not that *I* did, but the sound was amazing. I'd seen the information about the A220, but never figured out what was going on. Although I'm thinking I'll use my 'drop tuning' 4 for the others. Using a fretless for death metal is weird, sorta like Captain Crunch and Guiness for breakfast.
  21. Tried recalibration, tweaking the eq settings, deliberately miscalibrating (for the heck of it) and still no dice. I can get it to register down to about +30ish and then anything lower registers as +999. I'd originally thought it was because of the active output of the basses I use, but I get the same issue with the Audio Out on my amp, a little Warwick combo. I've tried going straight from the bass to the computer ... no luck there either. Only other thing I might try is turning up the combo amp, but that would mean some time when I have few neighbors and my wife isn't asleep upstairs. I'm thinking Progenies of the Great Apocalypse at high volume while either is trying to sleep would not endear me to either neighbors or spouse.
  22. I have the same issue ... any time I try to tune all the way down to B it won't go. Dimmu Borgir is the primary offender for me. I've tried it on both of my 4 string basses and my 5 string. Still no luck. This is on a PC. String diameters are 110, 115; and 135. All active pickups and I've tried it straight from the basses as well as through an amp to deal with impedance issues. My guess is that Rocksmith just does NOT like that 31 and change frequency and gets confused. Of course if it can't find it in tuning, it's probably not going to find it playing, so I keep going back and hoping, but no luck.
  23. I have severe trigger finger issues with both pinkies and I gave up. I can use my left one, sorta, but like Byecal said, Django Reinhardt. However, I am a bass player and do some lead/classical/jazz guitar. Flat out, I am lousy at chords. Rhythm guitar? Yeah, whatever, just not happening here. My primary style is 3 fingers over 5 frets, both on bass and guitar. (And all of my basses are 35" scale, even my 4 string basses.) With enough practice it's turning out very smooth, because I use it consistently. And that consistency, more than the actual technique, seems to be doing the trick going from basic beginner, to advanced beginner. Boy I wish I'd started 30+ years ago.
  24. Hmmm, that's an odd one. I think it has to do with how much pressure you apply when sliding. Now being a bass player, there are times when I deliberately use that sound on my roundwound strings as a kind of accent, but I do know with practice I can control when it happens. But, like with fret buzz and fingerboard rattle, it's a matter of practice and hitting everything exactly right, every time. And that comes down to practice ... practice ... practice.
  25. Heh, wish I could remember the musician who said this, but paraphrasing, he said, "What is the point of a left handed guitar? They don't make left handed pianos." I think the real issue is most left handed people have a far greater difference in dexterity between their dominant and non-dominant hands. And that isn't going to be fixed which way someone plays.
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