Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Mon, 10 Dec 2007

Eureka

I just figured out why my bookreview plug-in was failing when I clicked on a book. It was expecting the egrep command to be a different place to where it lives on this server. I edited the code and it works now. I'm still working out what details to include in my reviews and how to layout the pages, but I've added my latest couple of reads.

[21:58] | [/Site News] | Comments | G

Bask to Bassics

Please excuse the pun. Although I've been playing the guitar on and off for many years I've been thinking about trying the bass for a while. I suspect that I will never be a great guitarist, but I think I might have the makings of a reasonable bass player. There's also the hope of finding more outlets to play as there is probably an excess of guitarists out there. My good friend Lance has been kind enough to lend me a bass that his son started playing, but abandoned. It's a bargain basement job, but enough to start with. I've hardly played bass before, so I have to get used to the differences from a guitar. Firstly it's heavy. Then there's the big left hand stretches required around the low end. My hands are fairly big, but this feels like playing a giant's guitar. There's also the dilema of how to play it. I don't have any suitable heavy-duty pelctrums, so I'm using thumb and fingers. I've already developed a "blister on my thumb". (Thanks to Ian for pointing out the reference). I don't have a proper amplifier, but my old Peavey may do for practice as long as I don't blow the speaker. Played acoustically it can be hard to hear the notes properly.

I'm trying to figure out various well known bass lines. Single line stuff should be fairly easy to follow, but the bass can sometimes be buried in the mix. I've been listening anew to some music to try and hear what the bass player is up to. I'm on the look out for any on-line educational material. I have some old Guitarist magazines that may have some tutorials. I'll have to get around to learning to read bass clef properly as I don't like to rely on tab.

I still have hopes to do some home recording. I've not found a way to get sound input working on my Ubuntu system since it broke, but I would have to get something better at some point anyway. There are dozens of sound cards and interfaces available, but Linux support is patchy. My requirements as I see it would be for something with build-in microphone pre-amps to reduce the amount of stuff I need, although I realise that may involve compromises. I'm not sure I need multiple inputs for now, but it may be possible to expand, e.g. by using several USB interfaces. The Edirol UA-4FA is appealing for £100, but it seems that not all features are supported. An alternative approach occured to me whilst reading about the Zoom H2 portable sound recorder. Apparently it can operate as a USB sound device, but would also be handy for recording away from the PC. There seems to be a sight sterling tax as it costs more here that the US$200 transatlantic price would suggest, but that seems to be a common phenomenon with musical equipment as well as in other markets. You still get a lot for your quid. It seems everything electronic is getting incredibly cheap these days, but you can still pay silly money if you feel the need. Even conventional instruments are available for ridiculously low prices thanks to the low paid chinese workers. I feel sorry for anyone in Europe trying to compete, but there's never been a better time for musicians on a budget.

[21:35] | [/Music] | Comments | G

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