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Messages - petekelly

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At least Bakis contributes to other discussions here, unlike a lot of the 'here's my new project...' folk who post here  :-\

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: December 09, 2018, 01:48:37 PM »
Nothing to do with ambient guitar but something I need to share....

Had a rather humbling experience at my guitar lesson today. After about two months of attempting to play various classic rock tunes like "Sweet Home Alabama" and other tunes in A major, D & E  I told my teacher that I can't keep this up....this music is classic but its not what Im into.  I need to learn to read music. learn scales, the fretboard, etc.  My teacher is also my local Luthier who as done fine work on my bass guitars. So he opened a book he had on the music stand in front of us and turned to page one....have to say he sort of changed his demeanor from cool rock cat to strict cane in hand teacher.  ???  We plucked through very basic stuff and turned several pages forward to check something else only to see the notes printed out for a tune called Jingle Bells....tis the season.  Ok. no big deal but it is because I was struggling to sight read page one, so jingles F'ing bells was way more advanced. >:( ;D

What Im trying to illustrate is that Im a guitar novice with a well trained ear and years of experience as a musician, just not in guitar so this is just a bit of a disclaimer as I will post things here that inspire me for what I will in the near future be able to fully realize.and enjoy.


Try not to be discouraged, things take time. I recently bought an unlined fretless bass and did it up / put EMG pickups and an active pre-amp in and I still have lots to learn to get a half decent sound out of it. Some things do take years to grasp.


Oh and regarding sight reading, I'd say these days (depending on what you want to try to play) it's not crucial for ambient music. Theory, yes (/ possibly) if you want to know more about harmony.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: December 04, 2018, 11:49:07 AM »
Nice gear, Jana.

Do the model starships add extra 'galactic' vibes ? :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: December 01, 2018, 12:07:07 PM »

Pete I have an Epiphone "Elitist" ES 335.....dont much like the word elitist on my guitar but this designates it as made in Japan.  The Pickups are Gibson P90. Always love the sound that those who played this type of guitar made in many genres.  Had a Les Paul and a Strat in my hands recents and they felt rather small.  This guitar seems to support my right arm nicely the way an big acoustic can.

It sounds wonderful with heavy gage strings...I had 13-56 gage strings on it for a little bit but trying to do bar chords nearly sent me to the hospital ;) ;D. Im using 11's now.  I did go lighter but the tone was sacrificed.  Hopeful I will develop a strong fretting hand.

That's a nice lookin' guitar. Never tried to play a gauge as heavy as that !
I'm playing a lot of fretless bass now and 'regular' guitars seems very easy after that.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: November 28, 2018, 03:39:05 AM »
Cheers, Julio !

Out of interest, what guitar are you using for your ambient explorations ?

For a clean sound, I've found single coil pickups can be particularly effective, especially with a trem bar (light 'vibrato' on chords / volume pedal swell combination) The out of phase stratocaster type sounds can be very appropriate.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:07:32 AM »

Yes, lots of youtube ambient guitar......this one I visit quite often.  Good mix of performance and gear.....

Yes, that guy was the one I was referring to regarding showing people how to 'do ambient guitar' :) His stuff sounds nice, but a tad samey, to my ears.

I can see the value of these ubiquitous looping things from a performance element, but it just seems that it hasn't really moved on from ye olde frippertronics.

Regarding delays, I hear a fair bit of fret noise / fingering noises etc accentuated by the long delays, personally, I try to avoid this, but it makes sense from the 'glitch aesthetic' side of things. Also, from a production point of view, I've found you can get a lot of peaky resonances regarding processed guitar.

I'm a long time e-bow user, which is a fantastic thing, but it has it's foibles. I've just bought one of these rascals, which is very interesting in it's own right. It's a Fernandes Ravelle sustainer:

Overall (to me), a volume pedal is primary as well as the delay / reverb combination (valhalla ones, in my book) On that note, I think the 'shimmer' sound has been used a lot, these days ! A more interesting sound can be achieved with a trem arm.

On a related note, I've bought lots of guitars recently (too many !) for my ongoing guitar project and it has shown me that throwing money at a project doesn't always work out !

Julio, I mostly do the processing on the computer. I do have a Zoom G5n (which is great) for overdrive and volume pedal duties though.

Not sure if I've posted this here before, it's just a bit of live noodling I did over a drone texture:


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: November 25, 2018, 07:19:48 AM »
No problems, Julio  :)

In fact things seem to be much the same apart from 'ambient guitar' being more of a recognised sub-genre thing now.

Delays / reverb / loops seem to be still the staple part of things, the 'sound' has become quite common now. There are youtube vids on how to 'do' ambient guitar nowadays, too.

I shall add more later after a bit of a ponder...


Hi Pete.
Yep, that is why I just moved the thread from the more personal Forum Members section to the Other Ambient section.
It is simply promotion. Nothing personal about it.


Yeah cheers.
Indeed there looks to be nothing in the way of a 'personal' contribution.

Ever considered contributing to the forum ?

I'm sure there are interesting things to say other than just promotional stuff.

'Rowan' a short work-in-progress generative track using Reaktor Blocks:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Waves End of year Sale
« on: November 02, 2018, 01:17:56 PM »
The sale seems to be ongoing.

Over the past few months I've bought a lot of their stuff. The demos are good in that you can pretty much try anything (once you have the Waves central thing installed) fully functional for a week. I've tried lots of things that I didn't feel the need for and a lot that I did !

This is a particularly good deal, in that it includes the C6 mutiband compressor and the L3 maximising stuff (and some other useful stuff)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Fall 2018
« on: October 27, 2018, 11:04:13 AM »
I love the Autumn, especially after the very hot summer here in the UK (North East) Today we had sleet and snow !
Here's the two Rowan trees in the garden:

I have used FL Studio for years now, so I may have some useful experience with it.

You can just treat the playlist simply as an 'arrangement' place, bringing in audio clips with no reference to tempo, just build a track in that way. Audio can be moved around 'manually' (alt/drag) without any snapping to tempo.
There's a lot in FL that is 'under the hood' so to speak, a great deal of interesting things can be done with automation.

I've been looking at generative things too and had the most success with Reaktor / Reaktor Blocks (within FL)

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.

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