Category Archives: Random

Lately…

I just realized that it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post. That is is a good example of what not to do to attract new readers. Anyway, this post is going to be pretty random with a lot of non sequiturs as I play catch up.

Anyway, not much has been going on. It seems like the only time that I write anything lately is when I get something new, or when I’m obsessing over getting some new piece of gear. I can honestly say that I am pretty content right now. Of course, there are always things that I wouldn’t mind checking out or adding to my board, but I don’t really “need” anything. For example, I really want to try out the Electro Harmonix Micro POG. I think I could get some really cool pitch-shifted OK Computer type sounds with that thing, but it’s not really a necessity or anything. I also want to check out a tap tremolo [the Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter looks like a great deal - has anyone tried one?], but again, it’s not really necessary.

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I’m thinking about selling a couple of my DIY pedals. I have a Rangemaster clone and a COT50/Bluesbreaker 2-in-1 combo. They are all nice effects, but I don’t use them. The Rangemaster sounds amazing in front of a cranked amp, but I never crank the gain on my amps. I picked up a couple of transistors (OC44 and OC71) from Small Bear to try with it, and they both sound much better than the leaky OC44 that I had in there before. It’s quieter than before, but it still makes noise at higher gain settings. It’s just the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.

The COT50/BB combo is cool as well, but it doesn’t really sit well in my setup. I’m going for a very clear, uncompressed kind of sound, and both of these effects add a lot of mids and compression to the signal. I did the King of Tone mods to the Bluesbreaker, which lowers the overall gain and reduces the mid hump. It sounds better than the stock values, and it’s actually really cool for adding a little chime and sparkle, but it still sounds a little too much like a pedal (if that makes sense). If you’re interested in either of these, let me know. I’m open for interesting trades or whatever.

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I really like the ┬ánew guitar. However, as the honeymoon draws to a close, I am discovering some little issues. My main complaint is that the neck pickup is pretty muddy on it’s own. It’s almost unusable. I’m thinking about replacing the neck pickup, but I don’t want to mess up the tone that I get from the in-between position. The neck/bridge combo is a great sound – twangy, but not too thin. I might check into a Lollar neck pickup (maybe a HB-sized P90).

The other issue with both pickups is that they squeal with high gain. They’re unpotted, which gives you vintage-sounding tone, but they tend to be a little microphonic (not sure if that’s the right word). Basically, I’m using the G&L for the jangly, cleanish stuff, and I’m using the Les Paul for the chunkier stuff. I’m telling you, my Les Paul has got some ridiculous sustain that the tele just can’t even come close to matching. I now see that it was pretty foolish to think that there would be much overlap between the two guitars just because they both use a neck humbucker.

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I have been working on some ideas for instrumental tunes for Jenny’s photo site. I think I’m overreaching a little bit. I go into composer mode and try to add in all these little harmonic things and textures and layers and stuff, when all I really need to do is lay down a rhythm track and play some melodic stuff on top. I’m having trouble simplifying things for some reason. I hope to have time to work on music this summer.

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I finally got a backup external hard drive for my MacBook. It’s nice to know that if something catastrophic happens that I won’t lose all my tedious little data.

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Well, that’s all I can think of. I’ll try to come up with something pertinent shortly.

composition, etc.

I was a theory/composition major in college, which means that I spent a lot of time holed up in my room studying scores and/or writing music. This post is going to focus on the latter.

I have written quite a few works for chamber groups of varying instrumentation. Some of them were piano solos, guitar ensembles, woodwind quintets, string quartets, a duo for flute & clarinet (which got published and put on a festival list), a brass quintet and some others. I started working on a piece for guitar with orchestra when I was close to graduation, but it kind of ran out of steam when I didn’t have a deadline.

Some of these compositions are better than others. Some of them are pretty embarrassing, but some of them are pretty dang cool, in my opinion. I occasionally find myself going back to a recording of my senior composition recital and thinking to myself “wow, I actually wrote that.”

Anyway, I’ve written songs and stuff since graduation, but I haven’t really written anything that I would consider to be serious “art music” or whatever. It’s been almost 8 years since I graduated and I haven’t really done anything with my specific education. Sure, I’m using the fact that I have a music degree to justify my teaching job, but it’s not like I really need to know how to spell a German augmented 6th chord on a daily basis. I have never told any of my students to emphasize the Neapolitan chord in a piece of music. So what did I get that degree for?

I planned to go on to graduate school and become Dr. Hintze, but you make choices in life. Some people get doctorates and some people get married and get jobs. A few people do both, but that wasn’t me. I don’t regret anything, of course. If I had done anything differently, then I would be missing out on more than I care to think about. If Jenny and I had waited a week, a day, an hour longer to start having a baby, then the specific DNA recipe that God put together to create Jackson wouldn’t have been completed and we would have some other kid instead. I know that we would have never known the difference, but it’s strange to think about.

Anyway, that was kind of a weird tangent. I started this post to mention that I started writing something today, but it veered off course a bit.

The new piece is a guitar trio. I’m writing it with students in mind, so I’m trying to give it some specific limitations so that it won’t be too difficult. I’m trying not to write anything too complicated rhythmically, no fast position shifts, etc, but that’s proving to be somewhat difficult to do and still be remotely interesting to listen to. I think that it’s going to be pretty challenging, and it will probably take a few efforts.

I want to get back into the rhythm that I fell into in college where I was always working. I spend too much time doing nothing – screwing around on internet forums or watching stupid TV. I need to get into the habit of making myself a better person.

This post is already much longer than I intended, so I’ll just wrap it up here. This discussion will probably continue.

Weird Dream

I had a strange, awesome dream the other night. I know, I know – hearing about other people’s dreams is never fun, so I’ll keep it short.

Ok, in the dream I was on a mission trip with my dad in some jungle – probably in South America or something. Anyway, we’re just doing the missionary thing when all of a sudden we’re fighting these giant spiders with homemade flamethrowers. It was crazy awesome. It was like something out of Aliens.

I emailed my brother and dad about it and my brother said, “Man, in dreams, Dad is like Harrison Ford!” Dad replied back and said “not just in dreams.”