Back to the Basics

Posted in Creativity, Inspiration, Music on Juli 31st, 2011 by EO-Manager

Do you remember when all of a sudden it became THE thing to record songs unplugged? I was quite surprised then how wide this acoustic trend spread. Apart from people like Eric Clapton (who were sort of naturally expected to do it) we had all kinds of musicians and genres appearing on stage with mostly acoustic guitars, basses and a piano (and drums are an acoustic instrument per se, aren’t they): from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Aerosmith and from Kiss to Allmann Brothers – erverybody was going nuts about acoustic music. (And, by the way, thanks to MTV who did a marvelous series with MTV unplugged!).

And you know what? Right they were. Amongst all our technical frenzy, gimmicks and VSTIs we tend to forget sometimes that music is based on the human ability to play and perform on instruments  – not just computers. I re-discovered that very clearly a couple of days ago, when I bought a new acoustic guitar. I would not say the acoustic guitar section of the shop I went to was empty – but compared to the amount of people hacking on drummachines,  keyboards (that triggered rhythms and basically effects) and other electronic devices it was.

I didn’t complain, because that gave me the opportunity to check a couple of guitars in peace and relative silence in a testroom (always having a second opinion by my old friend and guitar mastermind Kai)– but it was obvious that mostly younger people were attracted and smittened to all these wonderful technical inventions that give you the impression to be a “real” musician by just pressing a couple of buttons. Don’t get me wrong here: I am not saying it is inferior, it was just noticeable. Same empty situation, by the way, in the piano and e-piano section.

Are these kids missing something? If you ask me: yes, they do. Because there is one thing that is unique to acoustic instruments: you can play them anywhere and anytime. During my late school and university years I hardly went anywhere without my acoustic guitar. I played in pubs and on parties, at bonfires and youthhostels and through busking I managed to finance a six weeks holiday throughout Europe with a friend. Hey, you try this with your computer and stuff…

A couple of days after I’d bought the guitar I met a friend to do some recordings. And guess what? After showing him my new addiction we decided spontaneously to have an acoustic jam session with two guitars and hammered down songs we both liked for nearly two hours. Just two guitars and voices. It was fantastic! How much fun we had playing these old songs without twiddling knobs and searching for sounds.  And isn’t this the sort of “magic” every musician loves?

Will I use more acoustic sounds in the next couple of songs? You bet!

As always you are very welcome to comment.

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Guitar Amps – SW vs HW

Posted in Music, Opinion, Recording on Januar 21st, 2011 by EO-Manager

Ahhh, what a subject. I know there are wars going on about it and probably Kai should write this article and not me, but it just stroke me to do it, so there you are. Plus I am not a guitarist, so I won’t make it religious.

It all started some years ago, when the first virtual amp was presented by Line6. And what a success it was! Not only did the little bean very well, no, it was implemeted in various bigger amps and made its way around the world. No more carrying tons of equipment, same sound everywhere … I can still hear them going on about it. And indeed, the idea was groundbreaking and the sound as close as you could get to the original. Soon others adopted the concept and had their own virtual model amps in place. And consequently, they ended up as VSTi in our computers. NI did an excellent job with their Guitar Rig, also IK Multimedia with Amplitube, East West and all the others. And we heard them again and again and again … and again in all kinds of recordings. Admittedly we used Amplitube, NI’s Guitar Rig and Line6, too, up to a couple of weeks ago. That was when Kai started brushing up his guitars  from scratch (and this meant event renewing the bindings!) to virtually all new and shining guitars – and whilst he was at it – he also took his old Marshall and gave it some polish, too.

Since then he is a re-believer of the real thing. No matter how good the virtual amps are, he wouldn’t use them anymore, he swears. Ok, I must admit that Kai has always been the perfectionist of the two of us and I have to say, that he has done an excellent job indeed with the guitars. They just sound like … well you can hear it yourself further down.

And, indeed, the first thing that stroke me when listening to this song, was the excellent guitar sound he had. The sound was produced with his old guitars, his old Marshall Amp and a power soak  (to protect the innocent).

The more I listened to it – the more I liked it. and yes, there is a difference. So it is very likely we we go back to the „old days“ ank kick the virtual gt modeller for Marshall. What a surprise!

We would LOVE to hear your opinion on that! Anyway, here’s the song:

Unsolid Ground

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