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

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).


Finally Stocked Up

It should be a hard and fast rule for every player.  Always keep an extra set of strings in your gig bag or case, no matter what.  No matter how expensive bass strings can be (up to $75 in most cases for bass guitars, much higher for uprights), you should always keep a set at the ready, and maybe more at home just in case.  I went ahead and splurged on some extra sets - partly because there's a new bass in the stable, and partly because I have to change the strings on the Jazz bass more often to keep things functional on the MIDI side.  With the new Reason program, I want to program some new sounds into the Playboy Psychonauts set, and that means making sure the notes translate well through the MIDI pickup.  The brightness of the new set is the biggest difference-maker in that department, and I just like the sound of them.  Conversely, I've kept the same set on the fretless for a couple years or so because I like the duller, thumpy sound they make.  Strings are a huge part of the sound, and even at $75 they're a lot cheaper, even in the long run, than the $8000 amp I just saw reviewed in Bass Player this month.

Also, I got just around to watching the "special event" of "Battlestar Galactica: Razor" last night after a few days' delay.  It was decent, but I wonder if new episodes in March are still on the horizon given the writers' strike.  I'm probably obligated by my AFM membership to support the writers in this case, but I'd come down on that side anyway. Just because the studios don't (allegedly) make money on Internet content yet doesn't mean the creative types shouldn't be reimbursed for their efforts in making that profit to happen.  Here's to a swift and lucrative resolution.

Finally, anybody know where I can find a Cylon bass guitar?


Bass, Steelers, and the Weekend

BassGeekYes, that's a snapshot of my Second Life avatar playing bass while flying over a Japanese garden. So what? There's so much bass in my first life that I needed to create a second one just to handle it all.

I was searching for a bass with a Pittsburgh Steelers paint job as the correct prelude to this Sunday's Pittsburgh/New England game, but there just wasn't one available on the Internet. And I don't have the money or inclination to produce one myself or have it done. I've got no qualms drilling into a perfectly good new bass to install a MIDI pickup or have a little wood carved out for a new active pickup. There may even be a replacement graphite neck on the Stingray soon - I've always liked the sound, but I'm having issues with the neck moving, and the truss rod has nearly been tweaked to its limit. But a new paint job just doesn't sound that appealing. The others are matters of function, not form.

Oh, well. Enjoy the weekend, and try to avoid contacting me around 4pm this Sunday. I'll probably be yelling a lot.


The Age of Reason

I'm still getting used to some new software - the new edition of Reason is now loaded on my laptop, and I'm try to play around with the new features a little bit. Reason 4 tells you who I am!On first blush, the new Thor sythesizer is pretty spiffy - I was able to tweak some interesting sounds out of it, even though there's a dangerous amount of knobs and controls on it. Since the primary use I have for Reason is live performance, the soft synth capability is key to me. I can appreciate the new tweaks for lanes and vector-based envelopes, but I'm not sure how much I'll use that on stage. Same for the ReGroove function, although I could see the arpeggiator making its way into some of the live patches.

Oh, sure, there's the possibility of using it for actual recorded tracks, but I've learned something about myself - as a songwriter, I seem to make good ringtones. Thirty or forty sketches, about thirty to forty seconds long, and that's what I've got. The scoring project was a step in the right direction, I think, but even then I used more loops than I was really happy with. There's some more music work coming down for me to handle, and I'm going to try and stretch a little bit on that. It specifically involves a lack of loops, so there goes that crutch right there.

I think I'm just used to creating bass lines for the songs I play on. Once I'm past that, it gets a lot harder. Not so much that I want to actually play guitar or anything, but I do want to see what else I could put together on top of the rhythm section.