The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek
26Feb/151

iPad and iPhone For Musicians For Dummies – The Book Is Here!

Ryan holding the newest book - iPad and iPhone For Musicians For Dummies!

So proud to announce my new book iPad and iPhone For Musicians For Dummies is available now at Amazon, Google, and finer book retailers near you. Hard copy? It's right there in the picture! Digital version? You bet! Should you obtain a copy? Of course!

Seriously, though, I couldn't be more pleased with the way this whole project turned out, and that I managed to tackle the vast majority of apps that I wanted to. Some apps that I'm enthused about either came out or received major updates between the time I finished the book and when it published, so I'll include some app reviews and updates in this blog as time goes on. In the meantime, though, musicians looking to include their iOS device in their musical activities should jump on this book as soon as possible.

Because really, this device made my gigging and musical life so much easier. In a single device, I can carry my instantly reconfigurable pedalboard and sheet music source, plus any number of synths and drum machines and loopers I want to carry around. It's almost like a new brain, and I get to fascinate/annoy my fellow musicians at the same time with all the new noise. Everybody wins!

2Dec/140

My New Book!

Cover for iPad and iPhone For Musicians For Dummies

Yes, I just turned in the first draft of my new book (also featuring the contributions of author and all-around electronic music guru Mike Levine) iPad and iPhone For Musicians For Dummies to the good folks at Wiley Publishing.

Like most For Dummies books, the title pretty much tells it all - this books shows musicians how to integrate their iPhone or iPad into their music-making process (beyond taking a bunch of on-gig selfies - why am I seeing so many of these recently?). Using your iOS device as a virtual synthesizer, guitar rig, recording studio, far-out freaky noise-making machine - it's all in there.

And the best part was playing with these toys as I was writing it. So many apps making so many beautiful noises!

So now I'm waiting for the author review process, where we go back over all the copy Mike and I contributed and make sure it actually makes sense, then send it off for the magic printing/e-book process. Look for the final publishing date early next year (pre-order for the holiday season, maybe?).

I'll talk more about the book as it gets closer to the publishing date. Quite frankly, I'm a little done with extended writing for a bit (the book tops out just over 400 pages).

In the most pressing update, though, I once again discovered the #sitarfunkfail hashtag, thanks to some Twitter policy changes. That, my friends, is a modern miracle.

10Jun/140

Connecting Your Headphones

Apple buying Beats and looking into new headphone connections shouldn't be a big deal. Apple bought Beats for the music streaming and personnel as much as the headphones (which are NOT GOOD AT ALL PLEASE LOOK INTO KLIPSCH OR AKG OR SENNHEISER OR SOMETHING ELSE), and the 3.5mm connection was never an audiophile choice for headphones. The jack works because it's small, portable, and easily implemented. Why not look into new technologies or connections (using something besides Beats headphones, of course)? And remember, of course, that connection types don't necessarily help audio quality (remember when the Playstation was the audiophile choice because of . . . RCA connectors?!). Let the new technology happen, and remember that source material, good headphones, and the signal chain mean just as much as the connector.

13Feb/142

My New Bass Ramp!

 

The New Bass Ramp!

The New Bass Ramp!

Benjamin Strange did a great job of describing the crafting and installation process on his site, so I'll focus here on why I actually did it. My practice (and there's NEVER enough practice, but I'm doing what I can) focused recently on right-hand technique, including picking techniques from Matthew Garrison, Steve DiGorgio, and Alex Webster). And I'd been intrigued by bass ramps from seeing a bunch of high-end basses and trying out what Kokomo phenom Eric Hyman had on his Pedulla. So I decided to take the plunge on my Fender Jazz bass.

Mind you, this instrument has already seen the installation of a MIDI pickup, a Hipshot D-Tuner, and some Nordstrand split-coil Jazz-style pickups. So it's already seen some modifications, but the wood and neck on this thing are amazing. I'm just tweaking it a little.

Benjamin does stellar work, and the craftsmanship that went into this is top-notch. The only thing left to do is play, and it plays spectacularly. I've only spent a few hours with it so far, but it already feels natural, and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. The picking techniques come to me easier (still needs some polish on my end, but that's a given), and it doesn't get in the way of other plucking or slapping closer to the neck. This modification just brings another option to an already wonderful instrument. Looking forward to much more playing on this. Thanks, Benjamin!

4Feb/140

New Earplugs

So basically, I'm an idiot.

I've used earplugs from EarEverything for a long time, and they've always served me well. Unless, of course, you lose them 'cause you take them everywhere you go and they fall out of your pocket and you don't realize it. And you've moved out of state and no longer reside near L. Dawn Flinn and her wonderful services. Luckily, a business trip brought me back to Indy and Dawn was able to arrange a sitting for new molds (in a convention center food court of all places). The process was simple, and the new plugs were in my mailbox a few short weeks later.

And with some better feature than the last model:

  • New fiber cord and clip to keep the plugs on your shirt
  • Better cord mounting to keep the plugs attached
  • Better mounting for the dB filters

The 15 dB filters work great for rehearsal and shows, and the fit is perfect. And I'm carrying it around in a bigger, more noticeable pouch so I can remember it better.

'Cause, again, I'm an idiot.

11Jun/130

iOS Gets Better Audio Support Behind The Scenes

This announcement wasn't a big deal at yesterday's Apple event, but the support for registered audio streams shared amongst apps in iOS 7 is a huge deal. While it doesn't look like Audiobus or Jack needs to abandon ship any time soon, the possibilities for multitasking and sharing audio between apps seem promising. More plug-ins, more possibilities . . . and probably the need to buy newer  hardware (the new iOS doesn't support all features for anything but the latest Apple hardware). And, of course, my Alesis IODock doesn't support the newest connectors. Feh.

Nevertheless, I think this is the point where the hardware is fast enough and the multitasking availability means that tablets and phones start replacing laptops onstage at a faster pace. Less boot time, cheaper, and the touch interface beats out the need for hauling the laptop around. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

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15May/130

New Google Play

I use Google Play occasionally - it syncs well from no matter where I get my music (Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Bandcamp, etc.), and I can stream it from my work computer without effort. That said, I'm not sure I'll pay the 9.99/month they're asking for their new streaming/radio service (h/t to Lifehacker). It sounds like it has a decent radio and discovery service, but honestly - I've got a TON of music uploaded to Google Play already, and I still find myself happening across albums I bought and promptly forgot or haven't spent enough time with. Music just isn't water to me yet, I guess. The redesign itself looks good, and the service stopped randomly creating playlists off of random tracks, which is a bonus. So thanks for that - but I'm not subscribing.

26Mar/130

JACK Comes to iOS

Currently missing the boat on Audiobus 'cause my iOS devices are too old (time for new stuff, I know - gimme a minute), but here comes news that popular open source audio/MIDI linker JACK is on iOS now.

And it handles MIDI and audio and more here, too.

And it's free.

And it works on my old devices.

Oh, this is good news. Can't wait to see what apps become compliant so very, very soon. The SDK implementation process looks super easy. And that's a good thing. Thanks for saving my old devices!

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10Jan/130

Amazon Giving You Free MP3 Storage For Previous Purchased CDs

Oh, hi New Year. How ya doin'? More on bass later - I've assembled a decent looping rig and am working on stuff now. Like I said, more later

TechCrunch announced Amazon's AutoRip service today, basically giving you a central storage area for all the songs you ever purchased in any form from Amazon. That means you can now store your music collection in one of three central areas - Apple servers (for a fee with Match), Google (free for their purchases, to a limit for everything else), and Amazon (basically stuff you bought from them).

Meaning that media matters little anymore. Doesn't matter how you bought it, these three will make it convenient for you to get.

Why? Because they want you to buy from them in the future. They want their place to be instinctual for you to visit and to purchase from.

Seems nice, but we've seen people pull right back for this kind of media before (right, Amazon?). So I still plan on syncing my server to Google Play for mobile use that still leaves copies for my own personal satisfaction at home.

I'm more intrigued by seeing exactly what I've purchased from Amazon. And a little creeped that they remember better than I do.

3Aug/120

Terrible News About Sibelius Software

The news that Sibelius software was in trouble following some moves by Avid was troubling enough. The fact that the founders weren't allowed to buy it back even after shuttering the offices and apparently stopping focused development is even worse. This software represents the pinnacle of notation software right now, and to see it treated like this appalls me. Hopefully something can be worked out soon, but I'm afraid we won't be able to access updates to this resource for very long.