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Messages - petekelly

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Great to see such a response to a really interesting set of questions - there's life left in the forum yet :)

I've recently invested in some basic gear so that I can try my hand at making ambient music. Let me blunt: You all make it look (sound) so easy.

How do you do it?

Hi Chris,

In a sense, it is easy to make ambient music these days, freeware stuff is good enough. Regarding the inspiration / motivation to create ambient, I can only really speak for myself.

As to your points:

1) I'm of the '95% work / 5% inspiration' mindset - only by working may you stumble across / develop some inspired ideas and work.

2) I rarely use synths, but if I do, I almost always process them heavily.

3) See above.

4) Yes, there are some things I almost always use. For me, the most significant is the DAW I use (which currently is FL Studio) But saying that, I use new stuff on new projects to try to inject fresh ideas into things.

5) Yes, ideas are more valuable than pricey gear. Gear needs to be really explored to see it's potential. There are too many huge programs / sample sets etc. out there, which would take an age to peruse, in themselves.

Hope this may be of some use. All the best with it !

Listening to the demo - very accomplished, all round !

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mixing isn't what you think.
« on: July 20, 2018, 11:41:06 AM »
Ta for posting this Julio, an interesting read.

Just a couple of points, I agree with a lot of what he's saying with reference to production as opposed to mixing. To me, mixing is more the 'craft' and production is more of the 'art'. I do agree with him regarding taking risks, mind.
Also, considering he starts off referring to brevity, it's quite a lengthy manner in which he makes his point :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« on: July 10, 2018, 08:52:21 AM »
Thats wonderful Pete....the guitar looks very sweet with the natural wood.  Damn nice un-fretting job! The fretboard has a bright luster to it, did you refinish it?

Thanks for the video....that ebow really shimmers.  Well played. Sounds amazing. Very cello like in the lows.

Funny, I found a website yesterday about fretless electric guitars, I really hand not heard of an electric fretless guitar before.  I will look for it again and post a link.

Pete, how well does the ebow interact with bass strings compared to guitar.

Cheers Julio !

I bought a dedicated fret pulling tool, which took the frets our pretty cleanly, then five coats (or so) of super glue, then a radiused sanding block to sand down the super glue flat (going through a few grit grades of wet and dry). Lastly, a rub down with a polishing compound. It's not perfect (I think the neck may be slightly warped), but it's pretty good. I've been buying quite a few guitars recently and have realised that proper tools really do make things easier - nut files / levelling files etc. It's quite a bit of work, but i enjoy changing pickups etc. and getting the guitars to be as playable as I can. I would imagine reconditioning / upkeeping vintage synths is a bigger task !

On the playing side, yes an ebow does have a cello-like tone in the lower registers, - particularly with a wide vibrato. I find it's a great combination with fretless guitar. On a fretless bass, I find it difficult to get any string other than the G string to 'ring out' with the ebow. Regarding non-ebow playing, fretless guitar doesn't sustain like a regular guitar and playing with spot on intonation gets tricky (particularly higher up the fingerboard) All round, I find it's a challenge to play, but interesting nonetheless, particularly as a 'pseudo-slide' guitar without all the nasty slides noises :)

Will check out those links too.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« on: July 09, 2018, 07:55:46 AM »
I've been busy converting a couple of my guitars to fretless.

Here's my Samick / Greg Bennett (now converted to a fretless), guitar. It had a photo effect 'flame maple' top, which I took off. It has just the bare mahogany body showing now, this was a lot of work - I don't think I'd do something similar again ! It has just the one pickup and a tone control as I am planning on using it primarily with the Ebow.

Here's a video of me playing an Ebow improv. over a drone on the guitar.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: July 03, 2018, 05:33:54 AM »
The World Cup  :)

I hardly switch the telly on these days, otherwise.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« on: July 01, 2018, 12:08:20 PM »
Looks good Pete and if it plays decently than your a lefty playing a righty bass, what a challenge.  Do you have to reverse the strings on the ESP.  If the Tanglewood does work out than perhaps trade in your ESP LTD for a lefty ESP, these days left hand basses are quite common or so it seems.

Cheers Julio,
I keep the strings right handed. Yes, it's a bit of a challenge !

Just curious, what's it like playing fretless bass with an ebow versus a guitar?

It's much harder in my view, I may post a video of this. 

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« on: June 29, 2018, 05:53:39 AM »
I bought a Tanglewood fretted bass (Warwick copy) some time ago. It was a pretty horrid thing that needed a lot of work to get it to play half decently, including needing six - yes six !, neck shims to have a relatively low action. I decided to de-fret it and make it fretless, in order to get some possible use from it.

The de-fretting went well, taking out minimal chips from the fingerboard, then lots of sanding and filling the fret slots with super glue, which dried a bit oddly and made it look a bit peculiar. however, it did the job and it now plays and sounds really quite good now - even though it still looks pretty 'orrid.

My ESP LTD fretless is still very nice, but it's a struggle for me to play it as it's right handed and I'm a lefty.

I'm planning on having fretless on one of my upcoming projects, which will be primarily ambient 'electro-guitar' :) I'm well behind schedule with that, but it will see the light of day later this year.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: C: Drive crash
« on: June 29, 2018, 05:36:52 AM »

Cheers, not quite as simple as I thought. I have to say, it's the mechanical element to the HD that concerns me more than anything.


SSD can be recovered, depending on the problem.
Same with memory sticks.
What you have probably heard is that a SSD has a set number of read/write cycles before it dies.
That is in fact true. But it is one hell of a lot of read/writes. 20 years or much more in normal use.
Which is why you do not de-fragment Solid State Drives ... you gain little in efficiency, but lose a lot of cycles.

But a SSD still has controller chips and other electronics that can act up, or go bad. And important index information that can get messed up, as with a hard disk. The hard disk rescue places will also work on solid state drives.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: C: Drive crash
« on: June 28, 2018, 12:37:28 PM »
Good news !
Just wondering if a dead SSD could be recovered ? From what I've read, if they die, then that's pretty much everything gone (?) Whereas your HD (even if it didn't boot), could still be recovered.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hello! a new girl in here:P
« on: June 14, 2018, 09:31:20 AM »

I like dancing too - but only in the privacy of my studio.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: C: Drive crash
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:30:23 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that, Anthony. I hope something works out.

Just out of curiosity: What do most musicians do to manage downloads, plugins, and licenses? Are most of them easily transferable across machines? Or do some of them breakdown across OS updates and create a huge pain?

Yeah, sample libraries are the most time consuming. Whenver I re-install windows or get a new PC, I install some 'core' programs (FL Studio / various NI stuff / Valhalla verbs etc.) and it's usually not too bad. The thing that really takes time is tweaking the system to get rid of the bloatware /crap 'features' that comes with (in my case) windows 10 !

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: C: Drive crash
« on: June 12, 2018, 01:57:39 AM »
Yes, that sounds pretty grim.

I backup every week and have had no issues with using SSDs.  As Seren said, is there any way to try to recover your lost data ?

I know there are even discussions about Mono being the best and only true representation of music.

Sounds like yet another analog is best thing. Analog mono synths are the original essence of electronic music.  ;D

I was referring to monaural, as opposed to monophonic :)

Mono indeed ! - don't we have two ears.

Everything and Nothing / Re: How many satellites orbiting Earth?
« on: May 27, 2018, 04:38:10 AM »
This is fascinating stuff Jana, I read somewhere that the incidences of solar activity are very much on the increase - in which case satellites (man made) may be very vulnerable. Food for thought...

Everything and Nothing / Re: A world full oblivion
« on: March 16, 2018, 06:54:57 AM »
I love trees and am fortunate to be able to be in woods pretty much every day when I'm out walking the hound. The natural world seems to me to be the 'real' world, as opposed to that increasingly crazy world that we hear about  in the news etc.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« on: March 16, 2018, 06:52:09 AM »
Looks to be a very nice fretless, Julio !

Everything and Nothing / Re: A world full oblivion
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:50:59 AM »
Yes Jana, we live in increasingly God-less times (and I'm not referring to any concept of orthodox religion, there), the pursuit of Mammon is engulfing us.

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