Archive for the ‘Musicianship’ Category

700 (ish) hours

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

I was all absorbed in working on a cover I’m doing of Kingdom and so I didn’t actually catch 700 even, but here’s 700.4
hour meter showing 700.4 hours

The search for good vocals

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

So, I went to see Journey live last night. Now, of course Journey is known for their series of amazing vocalists, but I did find myself studying the way their latest (Pineda) used his voice. Today when I was practicing I was noticably more conscious of my control of tone – and I also was doing some exercises this morning to try and flip in and out of falsetto more reliably and also to experiment with what tone control is available with falsetto. I definitely have gained (possibly due to the voice lessons, exercises, or just singing every day) some range over the years – I can’t quite do the “Don’t stop believing” high part yet but I no longer have any trouble at all with the “Ma’am I am tonight!” in “Walking in Memphis”, which I used to have a lot of trouble with.

I still am not happy with my pitch control. I need to spend some more time working on it. Journey was amazing, by the way.

I sent in my further-edited content from the album to mastering – I had gotten the first draft of the mastering content back and my already-marginal toms in Believing Is Seeing had become unbelievably muddy, so I did a bunch of cutting, pasting, effects and EQ changing, etc. These toms have been the bane of my existence ever since I started mixing that song – they sound different on every system. Initially, the problem I was having was they would sound great in headphones, good on studio nearfield monitors, and truly crappy in a car or on a laptop. Then I think I might have gone overboard with the reverb. The new convolution reverb plugin I’m using has instead of a dry/wet knob, separate dry and wet gain knobs. This is actually a much more flexible setup for a inline plugin – it lets you emulate the results of using a send to a seperate channel on the board with much less work and I think all reverb and delay plugin developers should consider doing it. Anyway, providing a hotter dry path helped a lot with the muddiness. I also discovered slight timing errors in places where I’d doubled roto tom and rack tom, which I fixed. I cleaned up a ton of little timing errors on high grade ore (originally I just wanted to fix one place where it was obvious I had cranked the gain on “ore” but at the point at which I was having to pay to redo mastering I figured I might as well spend a few hours sanding everything I didn’t like.

It would be really neat if some track on the album were to hit. It doesn’t seem particularly likely – although I do definitely get points for spanning a number of genres. But it woudl be neat. And I am going to try to market it several different ways.. although I also want to get back to tracking.

600 hours

Friday, March 25th, 2022

hour meter showing 600 hours

I continue to chip away. I’ll have to have some kind of celebration at 1000.

music 2

Friday, November 26th, 2021

So, a question that the previous post posits is, why do I care what other people think? Well, I guess some of it is sort of a reality-checking – I think I’ve gotten much better, but if other people don’t then maybe I’m just getting better at meetig my own particular needs and desires. There is also of course the hope, as I’ve mentioned, that I could “quit my day job” – I have another probably valid method to pull that off, which is the kittens. (I’ll probably start blogging more about them in the near future as I start doing experiments with 3.0 – the kittens are a genetic algorithm driven robotrader being set up to work stocks and cryptocurrencies)

Anyway, I don’t actually know if I’m getting better or if it is just my perceptions of my work are getting better.


Thursday, November 25th, 2021

So, in the midst of a conversation with a friend, I was re-pondering something I have given considerable thought to. If someone showed up and offered me a magic-wand-gain-enormous-musical-skill-without-working-for-it, I would refuse it. My fear would be that the only way I see to end up with musical skills that match and are resonant with my nervous system is to earn them one step at a time, one hour at a time. I already very occasionally have moments when it feels like the music I’m playing isn’t “me”, and then I have to take a step back, slow down, and figure out what isn’t quite right about it. I want to be a technical virtuoso, but since I’m not interested in doing it by reading music – I want to be playing, improvisationally, even when I’m playing the music of others – I want to be interpreting it through my own particular groove. I only see one reasonable path through to this – one hour at a time.

While I’d really like to get paid to write and perform music, my intention is to continue all the way through to my 10,000 hours even if I do not, and to continue exploring the music space even if I do not.

One thing that does sometimes bother me is that I don’t get a lot of recognition from people in my life that I’m getting better, even though I have put at least a thousand hours on since COVID began. There’s a few people who have acknowledged my increasing skill.. Andy, Loren, Bunne.. but none of the people I play with regularly have. I do know that I still have a long way to go.. it’s getting harder and harder to tell whether I’ve come further than I still have to go or not.

500 hours

Monday, October 18th, 2021


Sunday, March 21st, 2021

So, I do think we’ve gotten to the point where the kit I’ve got available is better than I am – I’m of course working my paws off trying to catch up. Anyway, if anyone was curious, here’s some of the setup:

More later.

400 hours

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

And slowly we accumulate the 10,000 😉

300 hours

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So, this marks 300 hours since I installed a hour meter on my mixer (June 27th, I believe)

200 hours

Friday, October 16th, 2020

So, today makes 200 hours since Jul 27, when I installed a hour meter on the power bus for the mixer. I’m trying to get my 10,000 hours – my estimate is this makes 8700. 😉 I’ve also been doing a lot of exercises intended to increase my proficiency.



At the moment I’m doing on guitar:

*) major and minor scales, up and down in triads (1-2-3,2-3-4,3-4-5, and so on, then back down)

*) major and minor triads (1-3-5) up and down

*) various melodies – lately I’ve been doing carol of the bells, but I try to do a different one every week

*) all five root position chords, and C and E position bar chords


On piano:

*) major scales in every key, at least 8x

*) improvising on the major 12 bar blues in every key


Then, of course, I try to do a hour of various covers every day.