The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

MySpace Music = One Big Reset

Just a quick note on the now-week-old rebirth of music on MySpace. It appears that all of the previous music settings (from profile music to downloads inclusive) were reset, so anybody who hasn't taken the time to check their page yet may notice that it's all back to the default settings now. If you had your profile tricked out with a lot of songs or download-able music from your band, you'll need to go back and set it up again.

The new setup probably necessitated the default settings, but a little advance warning would have been nice. It may also affect the podcast for a bit, as we relied on MySpace as a significant source of downloaded tracks. Hopefully, we'll see a resolution soon. Or at least a few more active participants changing their MySpace pages back to the way they were.


My Wallet Is Cowering In Fear

The TalkBass Indianapolis Get-Together gave me a chance to get my hands on some higher-end gear (and meet the stellar bassists that owned said gear). My forearm is still a little tense from giving an NS Design EUB a run-through, and I loved getting to play an Elrick 5 and a Yancey hollowbody 4. The urge to purchase said gear now occupies more than a few thoughts, but I'm holding fast for now. My little Ampeg fliptop got some appreciative comments as well - I just had it in the car because I was coming back from a gig (and I don't even use it on gigs frequently) and really hadn't planned on bringing it.

Kudos also for hosting on a Sunday when the Steelers weren't playing.

Also, take this for what you will - Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea is heading back to music school. Will the band's new material be in sonata form? Will we hear an expanded appreciation for the tonalities of Olivier Messiaen? Will he finally tell Anthony Kiedis he's way out of tune, man? We can only wait and wonder.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio presents a benefit for Indy Reads Saturday night with Eisenhower Field Day, Hey Hey Melodica, and DJ Sarah Vain.

Sam's Saloon presents a dark and rocking night of music with Black Cat Rebellion, Davey Casket & the Ghouls and Johnny Murder & The 25 to Life. Saturday brings the more earthy sounds of Matt Keating, Heavy Hometown, and Ben Justus & the Trespassers.

Deano's Vino has New Augusta Bluegrass tonight and the Last Drop Juggers tomorrow as part of their Octoberfest celebration. And tonight is Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater with the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra.

And even with all of that, there's a big gaping whole to fill here - this Saturday literally blows normal Fountain Square weekends out of the water. There's Masterpiece In A Day (no music competition this year, but there will be extras wandering about), The Fountain Square Art Festival (with yet more musicians on the lineup), the Wheeler Building Open House (more musicians? Mais oui!), and the aforemention Octoberfest at Deano's with another one on Shelby's rooftop. That's plenty to do - no excuses. And be sure to tip any musicians you see playing - the economy is fair to nobody these days.


MySpace Music Quick Hits

Some quick thoughts about the new MySpace Music rollout:

  • Decent selection, I suppose.  I was able to find the folks I initially looked for, and all of the music currently on MySpace shows up.  While this doesn't include indie artists as part of the store, it at least puts them in the same place as the major label folks.
  • How exactly to buy the music on MySpace music remains a little dodgy - there's no section specifically for sales, so you have to just look and see what's available (if anything) for each artist.
  • Exchanging an interest in MySpace for major label songs seems to ensure that only major label interests will be catered to, so I don't look for the indie freeze-out on the MySpace Music Store to end any time soon.
  • The public profile playlists (viewable on your personal page) may be limited to ten songs, but you can add up to 100 on other playlists.  While this doesn't help with portable music players (unless you're on a permanent network connection), it does make a wide range of personalized music available for those willing to tolerate ads.  I'll be interested to see if anybody will compromise and use this instead of pirating tracks.
  • Audio fidelity is still an issue, but I suppose that's to be expected with streaming tracks.
  • This service is going to be a lifesaver when it comes to learning tracks - full streaming tracks available upon request make my life a lot easier.

New podcast is up, too - just not on MySpace Music.  Download it here or listen at the site or WFYI.


Yes, I Have That

There are about six or seven guitar picks in my gig bag, and I rarely use any of them. Almost all of them are usable, except for the big metal pick I keep to freak guitar players out when they ask for a pick. And yes, that's the reason I keep them in the bag. Guitarists are always asking for them.

I started carrying them because one guitarist in particular never had a pick. Ever. Music companies, television and radio stations, and a host of other folks give these things out like candy. Cheap Trick fans probably leave every concert with enough to cover large portions of their walls. And yet there was never one in his case or in his pocket. I got tired of delayed rehearsals, I started carrying picks, and there we go.

I'm considering adding drum sticks to the bag now - at least two drummers have showed up without them at recent rehearsals. These forgetful moments did prompt some interesting research, though. In case of dire emergency, use cable ties to mimic drum brushes. They're not the same, but they'll do in a pinch.

Might as well add those to the bag, too. I need a bigger bag.


Shortening The Road

Google's new Android system means Amazon's mp3 store has a direct link to new phones. The iPhone already has that link to iTunes. It's not just physical media that's becoming obsolete - now you don't even need a personal computer if the craving gets to be too much.

Theoretically speaking, of course. For God's sakes, please back up your media purchases on a home computer. One lost phone and you're out for the whole thing.

I'd still love to see the DRM go away on iTunes (Amazon can do it, you can too) and the fidelity of the files to increase (can't fit the whole collection, but it still sounds better), but this sure beats an SD card.


Almost, But Not Quite

This TechCrunch article is quite right on its initial assessment of slotMusic.

  • Physical media is on its way out as a distribution system for music
  • The economics of this just don't make sense
  • There are better alternatives already on the market

It's just the part at the end where it derails horribly.

The future of music is free streaming and (also free, eventually) downloads, not physical media.

There's also a link to a previous TechCrunch article that has the entire Internet doing the small musician a favor by forcing their material to be free and flinging it about wildly. I responded to that article here, so feel free to peruse that.

There's no doubt that publicity and marketing on a theoretically open and level field gives smaller artists huge advantages they never had before. But all of that publicity and marketing doesn't help the artist if they're unable to sell their products (and no, not all artists can or should rely on merchandising and live performances to make a living - for some it's impractical, for others impossible). At least subscription models or the "music like water" model proposed in The Future of Music compensate musicians for their work, unwieldy as it may be. Simply demanding music for free and saying you'll help them with their merch and shows in the future means a lot of broken promises and artists who can't continue their careers.

TechCrunch seems fond of pointing out that economics demand zero cost for electronic copies of music, but they ignore that artists that can't support themselves equals less music on the market for them to get for free. Suffocating the source of your product isn't a good way to promote production.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

It's a full weekend at Radio Radio this weekend:

  • Tonight - International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I have absolutely no idea what to do with this information. But it's for charity, so have at it.
  • Saturday - Three Bad Jacks, Rumble Club, and Deacon Sean. Fans of rockabilly and The Clash need to be here.
  • Sunday - KRISTEENYOUNG and The Working Hours - if it's good enough for Morrissey, it's good enough for you.

Sam's Saloon has the Ten Foot Band, and The Half Step Sisters tonight.

Big Car Gallery has an installation at Oranje this weekend - the location is actually at 24th and Illinois, but the origins qualify for this post.

Deano's Vino has Wilson & Company tonight and the Ten Foot Band tomorrow. This, my friends, is how you conduct a Fountain Square tour.


MIDI Guitar Hero?

No, not Pat Metheney, silly.

Engadget is reporting that the PS3 version of the new Guitar Hero franchise installment can import MIDI tracks for use as songs in the actual game (boo for no Xbox 360 functionality). Although I'm guessing the MIDI synths in the game won't match up to the pro sounds from the other songs, it does provide independent artists a chance to get their music on the game, if only through external downloaded content (and with no vocals - take note, future Joe Satrianis of the world!).

Also, the new IMN podcast is up - download here or listen at the site (or on WFYI HD2 Thursdays at 4pm).


DIY Bass Porn

Kreebo's HammerFoBG Marshall Kreeb recently finished this devastating project as a DIY project - he'd been playing a nice Stingray but evidently wanted something that could cleave stone in twain with his band Devils of Belgrade.  Hence, the bass you see here.  For those who are interested in the pertinent stats, here they are:=

Body: Dinky J Bass Style, Swamp Ash, Black Nitrocellulose Lacquer Finish
Neck: Graphite - Made by Moses Graphite, Hipshot Tuners
Pickups, Electricals, & Misc.: 2 Bartolini Musicman style Humbuckers (one is a classic modeled off of the original stingray pickup, the other is based off the modern design in the current basses), Leo Quan Badass II Bridge, Aguilar OBPII Active Preamp (18V).

Knob Configuration Is: Volume, Blend, Treble, Mid(push-pull frequency select), Bass

The part that intrigues me is the graphite neck. Kreeb says drilling the Moses Graphite neck was the scariest part of the project:

You have to drill pilot holes for the tuner mounting screws, string tree, and neck bolts. The neck bolts come with brass inserts from Moses that you set into the pilot holes, then the neck attaches to the body with 4 bolts - standard Fender bolt pattern.

From there, it was a lot of soldering, wet sanding, sealing and buffing. Looks fantastic, and I am both terrified and intrigued by his description of the sound combined with his Eden rig:

It sounds like the great hammer of Thor striking down upon the weak of heart

I can see why this had to be a DIY project - such a sound does not usually roll off of the factory floor.