Gears of War #5: Kicking Ass and Chewing Bubblegum…

First off, sorry for being away for about three weeks, but apart from being very busy I was also down with the flu and still am coughing out my lungs on occasion. Also, I’ve been very busy entertaining myself with this bad boy:

 

gt-100_top_gal

Can I just say this is awesome!? I have always been a fan of Roland and Boss products but this thing takes the cake! My sounds are much more powerful, not to mention fuller. Quite amazed about this machine, I knew it was great from all the Youtube footage I watched about it, but having it in real life has made me a much happier man! There a few things though that get to me…

– I cannot use the old patches from my Boss GT-10, even though previous models like the GT-6 and GT-8 could have their patches transferred to the GT-10. Roland explained that the patches didn’t translate well to hard- and software of the machine. I understand that technology doesn’t always work out with older versions of it, but right now I’m still disappointed due to the fact I had several awesome sounds in there I cannot use anymore ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
– As much as I love the pre-amps, the distortions and the fact that due to the awesome firmware 2.0 update I have the Multi-overtone and the Tera Echo at my disposal, the fact that building your own effects chain with the GT-100 is next to impossible is a shame. Because this is an awesome machine! It definitely sounds the part and the interface has been cleaned up much in comparison to its predecessor. But not being able to alter the effects chain because the machine holds on to it like a child clutching its teddybear tight because it doesn’t want Teddy to go into the washing machine is a shame, because that’s how the machine looks when not giving me this option.
– Only one CTL switch in comparison to the two that the GT-10 sported. This is severely cramping my style. The alternative is that I add a Boss FS-6 to it, allowing two extra CTL switches to control my device with, but these are only battery powered.

That all said, however: I’m keeping this baby. Despite the aforementioned points of agony, it is a massive improvement over what I previously used. The GT-10 helped me out immensely, but the GT-100 is going to kick even more ass.

So, my current plan is to replace my Marshall amp with a Roland GA-212. Not because I’m a massive fan of solid-state amplifiers, but because this baby has two effects loops. This in turn allows me to use the GT-100 and the GP-10 I’ve talked about recently, without the two interfering with each other when I’m performing. Second, it can be used in stereo setup, which for me was a big plus. And thirdly, it doesn’t sound bad at all, quite the contrary ๐Ÿ™‚
Also, due to the fact that I don’t really want to use two FS-6’s on my pedalboard, I’m looking into several stompboxes that I can add on top of any setting my multi effects will use at that particular time. It will enable far more options although this means a lot more tap dancing if I don’t program everything right.

So, I’m off again to try and cough less and rehearse for the upcoming Sylvium rehearsal before heading off on a much needed holiday. I’ll see you all next week monday again!

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Gears of War #4: unintentional rhymes and frustration lullabies…

gt-100 gp-10 finished
While writing the teasers for Shifting Mirrors and making sure the art work was done, I’ve been busy writing new lyrics and vocal lines for the upcoming Sylvium album that we’re going to record this coming september. I’ll be talking more about that elsewhere, so watch this space for updates on that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, I’ve been working out a new live rig out of necessity. As much as I love my GT-10, it’s dying a bit on me and I’m forced to look for an upgrade. So far, the plan that’s etched into my brain is getting my GT-10 replaced with a GT-100 while adding extra switches so I can quickly call up more effects on top of existing settings, while wanting to add a GP-10 to the rig as well. Being able to have synth sounds along my electric guitar effects is going to be mad. I’ll also throw in an extra delay that I have lying around to stack on top of existing ones and a chromatic tuner to effectively silence my rig whenever I need to.

There is a problem however: both the GP-10 and the GT-100 are multi-effects units and thus will most likely clash with one another, which either results in both devices simultaneously wanting to give sound to me or one dominating the other. So right now I’m in the process of looking how to hook these up with my amplifier along with one or two stompboxes to add specific effects, as well as awaiting an email from Roland to see if they know how to fix this. It took up most of my day trying to contact Roland whose website seems to be quite well at deflecting ( read: causing errors) incoming messages from users who want to know specific product related things.

This should’ve been fixed ages though though by retiring the GT-10, as its effectsloop is busted away. I’ve been running it through the front of my amplifier which isn’t ideal to be honest. I should just invest in a stackload of Boss pedals, Strymon effects and several other obscure brands I’ve been introduced with by friends and internet and get those all to run through a Gigrig system. However, I’d need a lot more money then. Anyone fancy sponsoring me? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

In all seriousness though, if this thing should work out, it would mean I could add amazing sounds to my rig and still have a manageable and thoroughly enjoyable pedalboard. And in the end, it should be just that: manageable and enjoyable. Apart from that all, I’m looking into having a separate vocal effects unit I can use to spice up my vocals a bit, but that’s something for another time!

Gears of War part trois…

while shifting up a gear for the recordings of ‘Shifting Mirrors’ Ive ย found several pieces of gear either need updating, replacement or simple adjustments. Right now, I’ve found I’m rethinking string gauges again for my guitars.

I’m not the strongest guitar player in the world. Not only am I not so good at guitar shredding ( never really felt the need for it) but also my fingers aren’t keeping up with guitar playing. So right now, I’m rethinking what string gauges I want to use on my guitars. Given that both my electric guitars are tuned to Drop-D, I use .011-0.52 on both of them to great effect. I can riff and still bend a note. But bending notes is proving an issue when solo’ing, so I’m thinking of going for light top/heavy bottom. Probably 0.10-.052, but I’ll be checking this out thoroughly.

Other than that, I’m working out how to obtain one of my dream guitars, which is nothing less than this baby right here:

Steinberger GT Pro deluxe

Most quirky guitar I have ever seen and yet, I want it. It’s got the configuration I use most, I can block the tremolo by a simple switch and convert it to a fixed bridge guitar, detune it to drop D if required and back easily and look amazing! Let’s be honest, a left handed guitarist sporting one of these babies is a thing to behold! ๐Ÿ˜€ Getting the strings in the gauges that I use is going to be a bit of a b*tch, but I don’t care. Now all I need to do is find a lefty! There are also other little plans afoot for other pieces of gear, but that’ll work out itself in time.

Quick unrelated sidenote: Watch this space, as I will post more about ‘Shifting Mirrors’ in the coming months. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gears of War, continued

A while ago I made a post on some of the equipment I would be using for live shows with Sylvium ( and also with Nur Amata and Ghost, when we’ve got some shows lined up). However, things went awry again as usual. Murphy, seriously dude, we have to stop meeting like this!

The Schecter proved a bad buy, as it was suffering from fretbuzz quite badly. I took it to my local guitar luthier who noted that fixing that guitar would almost amount to the total I paid for the guitar when I bought it. Bit of a shame, but the company where I bought it ( Thomann.de) were quite understandable about the issue and noted I could easily return it to their store for a full refund. So in all, a shame I couldn’t use the guitar in a live situation, but at least I’m happy to see that Thomann keeps up great service. So I went back to the drawing board to work out another cunning plan.

And here it is!

Harley Benton L-1000 Progressive

It’s a guitar I never thought I would’ve bought, but once I got it ( after a friend recommended it to me) I was happily surprised by the level of quality for the price! It’s a Harley Benton L1000-progressive. Coil tapping is impossible on this one, due to the fact it has active pickups, but for now it’ll do as a riffing guitar and occasional solo’s. It played absolutely lovely during the previous Sylvium rehearsal so I’m very happy with it!ย I’ve also purchased a second hand 6 string acoustic I can use for live gigs, but I’ve been unable to get any pictures of it yet, so I’ll get you those next time I make another gear-anorak post!

Right now, I’m fighting my occasional bouts of GAS ( Gear-Acquisition-Syndrome) and just making lists of the stuff that I need for performing live and/or recording with my bands. A while ago I got this amazing Marshall MA50H with cabinet, which has proven to be a reliable amp during both gigs we did ( the second one I will write about very soon!). However, when confronted with the Bugera 333XL Infinium head and cabinet, I was blown away. It’s a bit thicker and fatter in tone than my MA50H, and delivers a whopping 120 watts instead of the 50 watts I now have at my disposal. So, I may trade said Marshall for the Bugera after having tried it myself. For now, though, the Marshall will stay where it’s at.

Effectswise, I’ve noticed that with Sylvium the sound is just perfect at the moment, although I still occasionally tinker with the effects if I ( or a bandmember) notices that the sound is too loud, too quiet, not doing it’s job etc. The Boss GT-10 has been out of the box a lot the past few weeks and it’s proving to be a proper match ( soundwise, that is) with Ben’s Line6 POD HD. I did notice recently that the effectsloop on the GT-10 is broken sadly enough, so ย eventually I am going to have to replace that little bugger, most likely with a GT-100 as I like the Boss units too much.
For Nur Amata, however, I’ve noticed I am wanting to return to using separate effects pedals instead of my GT-10, as Patrick ( Nur Amata’s guitarist) recently upgraded his pedalboard with some new shiny gimmicks and has been having a lot of fun with them. Setting up a build for a separate pedalboard has proven extremely expensive as I know exactly what pedals I am after, but with time I can get those and just build something that is unique in terms of sound design. Having different sounds per band isn’t a bad idea after all ๐Ÿ™‚ With regards to Ghost, though, I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I’m sure I can work that out as well in time ๐Ÿ˜›

That’s the gear-anorak post for this time again, for now you all be well and rock on!

Gears of War

MA50H

I wanted to post this about a week ago, but real lifeยฉ got royally in the way and mucked up all my plans. That is, until now.

I’ve been gearing up for the Sylvium CD presentation of ‘The Gift Of Anxiety’ which will be held on the 13th of September in Alphen a/d Rijn, but even here it’s a constant battle against Murphy and his indescribable hatred for musicians. Normally, with the internet and most music stores having a decent stock of proper equipment, this seems irrelevant, except for my issue: my left handedness.

I’m what you could call an extreme lefty, meaning I do 90% of all manual labor with my left hand predominantly. When playing soccer, I’d stop the ball with my right foot and always kick with the left foot. With music, this translated itself to me having to rebuild the drumkit every night when I’d play for the school band ( and put it back to a right-handed kit the minute my time was done for the evening) or playing keyboardscross-handed ( although with time I learned how to avoid this). With guitars and basses, this requires me to only play left-handed models.

Seeing as I have specific demands on what my instruments should be able to do ( or not), it’s been an absolutely nightmare to find the equipment I wanted to use for my music and other projects. Truth be told, I’m still having difficulty with getting a set of particular guitars left-handed, but at least the main problems have been solved when this week I picked up my touring amp and a second guitar for different tuning. Below will be a description of what I’m using with Sylvium live ( as well as other projects, though that depends on my sound needs), so if you’re not a gear anorak, you can skip that part.

Schecter SGR C-1LAG arkane

For the upcoming Sylvium gig(s), my rig will consist of my Marshall MA50H amp, with the sounds coming from my Boss GT-10 effects unit. For guitars, I’ll be using my LAG Arkane and a Schecter SGR C-1. My previous amps were all transistor amps and thus, lacked warmth and a bit of depth as well. With my MA50H purchase, I’ve got the sound I want plus enough power to play a sizeable gig.

Guitar-wise, the LAG will be tuned to E standard and will be used on at least two of the six tracks. It’s got a lot of power where I need it ( and is my preferred guitar for solo’s due to the fast neck) but I can do amazing clean sounds on it as well. The Schecter will be tuned to Drop D and used on the remaining four tracks ( although during one song, I might switch back to the LAG halfwFor the upcoming Sylvium gig(s), my rig will consist of my Marshall MA50H ampay through to get those clean sounds I’m after). The guitar is slightly different due to having only two pickups and no tremolo, but it’s a powerful guitar and allows for quick retuning should the need arise.
I’m still due to program the rest of my sounds into my GT-10, along with an Ibanez DE-7 Delay pedal ( a golden oldie, not the current sh*te they retail nowadays) and maybe a chorus pedal, so I can easily switch back to clean sounds, but I’ll work that out this coming week before we have our second and final rehearsal before the show on friday.

After the gig is done, it’s back to Nur Amata for me and write/record some cool tunes we have. So here’s hoping Murphy stays the hell away! ๐Ÿ™‚