Author Topic: Ambient Guitar.  (Read 21241 times)

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2018, 06:01:36 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.

 
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Castleview

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2018, 06:15:29 PM »
There are so many good reverb pedals out there. I love my Mr. Black Supermoon pedal.

petekelly

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #22 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.

EDIT:

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.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 06:31:53 AM by petekelly »

stargazer

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2018, 06:39:23 AM »
Julio, you just started and all training is hard work and patience.

Some thoughts on note-reading. Notes are painted music, painted waves.
Just take a sheet of musical notes and try to follow the waves and musical symbols.
Notes are simply to store musical notation (like midi).

Yet, it is hard to translate the note-reading to an instrument, especially guitar and cello.
I was at our local music school ("day of the open door") and tried to play cello. Wow, not easy.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2018, 07:49:27 AM »
I appreciate the words Pete and Jana!

I can noodle for hours discovering chords and patterns and it is much more enjoyable and I have a sense of real progress compared to taking lessons but I want to fully comprehend this instrument and train my hands.  I won't do it by myself, the hard academic stuff.  I recall a friend telling me when I was learning yoga off dvd's...she said it was not the best way because you need a teacher to be able to correct and touch you to show the true position of a pose, something a dvd or the internet cannot do.  She was right, so Im applying this to guitar and by being taught to sight read I will hopefully come to know the instrument intimately.

Thanks to both of you for your encouragement.
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Seren

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
I have listen to Strands before but without reference to it being created on guitar. The soundscape , music is actually impossible for me to associate it with an instrument and I mean this in a good way.  It is amazing what you did to the guitar to create this palette of sounds.  Please if you feel to let us know the process especially as your don't use a computer where heavy manipulation of sounds with plugins etc seem more accessible for sculpting sonic creations.

Sorry it's taken a while to reply - partly life, partly I needed to listen to the Strands tracks to see what I can remember.......

I think I start from the place of 'what is a sound?' - I know the guitar can do so many things including chords etc - but I was in a band where we had no drums, so we tied up the strings to dampen the notes and used it percussively - most people never recognised the difference when listening to a tape, I suppose they were not expecting or listening for it...Like many acoustic guitarists who use the body of their guitar to provide the rhythm to the melody they are picking.

The usual part of the strings that are generally played are only part of the guitar that can be used ambiently - thinking about this whilst considering about what to write has given me a couple of new ideas I'd like to try out....
   With the strings themselves I don't know how to play chords or tunes. Often I tune it to the sound I want - which may be a major chord, or I may tune some of them to almost the same note and others to an octave or two below.
   I think one of the nicest sounds in ambient guitar is the glissando, as played by Daevid Allen etc in Gong, though I'm sure many others have done this as well. A good long screwdriver which you can caress the strings with and move the screwdriver up and down along the strings. Or you can screwdriver up by the pickups and use a guitar slide on the neck.
   With the screwdriver you can gently change the angle you are 'bowing' and this can change the notes of each string different amounts. I find starting off with a dischord, drifting through a near chord and arriving at a full chord is very nice.


Once I have sound what do I want to do with it?
I love textures and atmospheres rather than notes in themselves (though I recognise and admire how a good musician can play notes to achieve both texture and atmosphere).
   I have a Roland VS 2480 and a Korg D16 recording studios - each with its own collection of different effects, plus a TCM3000 and TC Fireworx.
   Sometimes the effects are very simple - just extended reverb on its own to give a floaty sort of sound, especially if the strings are bowed (e or string bow).
   The Fireworx is able to put together a matrix of effects - so I can put a number in line or have a couple in parallel - sliding around and through each other.
   I will route my sound, if it is a simple set up through the Korg, M3000 and Fireworx to record directly onto the VS 2480.
   Sometimes I route it through all of them, usually last being TCM3000 or Fireworx as they have the best quality, onto a minidisc player, then play that back through another set of effects onto the VS2480 (I can bounce back and forth between 2 minidisc players really mangling or subtly changing the sound each time - Sony MDS JB730 & Tascam MD350).
   Strands 3 starts with a sound that rises and morphs into the start of the rhythm. This is all achieved by the pitch shift on the sony minidisc player I have - great for shifting sounds by 4 octaves or more and everything in between. I have used this to shift similar notes and sounds in and out of each other.
   I used the TCM3000 for the delay on Strands 3 - either very near or at 100% repeat - which allowed the sound to form a beat that slowly lost its clarity - over which I would add other sounds from the guitar to shift the beat and pattern. I would play it quietly and get louder on each beat so that it appeared to come into the mix from the background.
   Sometimes I use a very tight band pass EQ to get a specific sound - perhaps not the actual note, but that rasp of the string just above that hints at it.
   The Korg also has a very easy copy and paste facility (so it I do use the computer in that sense) with which I can create drones and rhythmic sounds rather than beats and tempo.

I have to be honest and say that for most of the sounds I do not remember exactly what I did, which makes it very difficult to repeat the exact sounds. I don't mind this - I would find making copious notes as I record and play around distracting and disheartening.
   I do try to archive many of the different parts that make up a track or album and there is a couple of sounds on Strands V I really like and am hoping to explore more fully at a later date.
   Thinking all this through has also got my creativity going, something I've been trying to get in gear for a little while - but sometimes I have to take things in, whether food, nature, friends, fun etc rather than constantly sitting in the studio....

I hope this is interesting and am happy to discuss further.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 02:09:29 PM by Seren »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2018, 05:57:46 PM »
Seren....Wow, thank you for this deep look at your creative production process.  There is much to absorb but its special that you went into such detail.

As I'm entrenched in the computer Daw, its inspiring to read your work flow of classic old school studio with console, external Fx and "virtual" tape machine.   
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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chris23

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2018, 08:30:29 PM »
Super interesting, Seren!

Seren

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2018, 12:43:05 AM »
my main interconnect is toslink / optical digital, a little old fashioned now but better than frequent a/d and d/a conversions.

Castleview

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2018, 07:48:28 PM »
Thanks for the insight, Seren. I was especially inspired by your post as someone who still can't play guitar conventionally either.

Seren

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2018, 01:45:35 AM »
I've never had a music lesson in my life on any instrument - though I have played drums in a south American folk music band, a samba band and a taiko group.

Occasionally I get to watch something someone does and think wow - play two keys an octave apart and then mirror the movements to the next keys (I think it was only on the white keys). I'm sure it has a technical name but such a simple idea.

I did find a set of keyboard notes that fitted together really nicely for me and a music teacher advised me it was an actual key, but it took her some time to work out which one.


Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2018, 07:20:54 PM »
Oh I remember a small room with lets say 12, 10 year olds learning violin.  Myself one of them.  Scared for life....still haunted by that sound. ;)

Had a few drum lessons as a young teen but quickly was done with that and got on with the drumming .....if I was to perform live, it would be behind the drum kit.  It is the instrument where grace and fluidity exist for me.  Keyboards are decent, Guitar and Bass.....?

The guitar is not a pleasant thing to play as far as forcing ones fretting hand into positions simply not meant to be....yet I love the honesty of the struggle. 

For me guitar is not natural, so I have to learning the basics....silly pieces of music that serve nothing other than learning the instrument...no genre, just monotonous repartition of rudimentary essentials....Love it.  Learning an instrument, the fundamentals of the thing do not prescribe a way of approach.  It is without style and about the nature of the instrument more than what the possible music it was intended to create.

 

 

 
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Remco Helbers

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2018, 04:15:08 AM »
For my ambientmusic I've always avoided lessons/theory; it's more a stream of consience kinda thing. But I did study Indian Classical Music for 15 years, and I'm sure a lot of that trickled down to my ambient stuff. I've tried to combine the two with disasterous results, in particular working together with other muscians (who were not very willing to step out their comfortzone of the raga). I also noticed that when I picked up my veena my hands aways tends to fall into a raga, simply because I was so drilled into that music.

So when I play ambientmusic it's more about getting Into The Zone, so to speak, rather then following rules or theory.

petekelly

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2018, 06:05:40 AM »
For my ambientmusic I've always avoided lessons/theory; it's more a stream of consience kinda thing. But I did study Indian Classical Music for 15 years, and I'm sure a lot of that trickled down to my ambient stuff. I've tried to combine the two with disasterous results, in particular working together with other muscians (who were not very willing to step out their comfortzone of the raga). I also noticed that when I picked up my veena my hands aways tends to fall into a raga, simply because I was so drilled into that music.

So when I play ambientmusic it's more about getting Into The Zone, so to speak, rather then following rules or theory.

Greetings,

Interesting observations there. I'm self taught myself, which I think is no bad thing for ambient stuff, where ideas / sound design are as least as important as technique / theory.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2018, 05:38:00 PM »
I have been thinking about sustain guitar or better put.....infinite guitar as created by Michael Brook's



I actually bought this album at a concert in London circa 198? where Brook played along with Budd, Lanois and Roger Eno....Ive told this story before.  It was special.  Brooks played his Infinite guitar. The guitar is not that obvious as the cello does blend and tends to overshadow the infinite guitar but it is there. Oh and Enos pressts on a DX7 used for pads and bass.....just saying ;) 

I read recently that Michael Brook was waiting delivery of an eBow.....had no idea they have been around that long....it never arrived so he got out his soldering iron and went to work.  Only 3 Infinite guitars exist, his own, Daniel Lanois and the Edge.  Today they may not mean so much as back then as infinite sustain so to speak can be had from reverb tails and trails, compressors like Pigtronix's Philosophers Tone and Pete's Fernades guitar as well as one more pickup system call Sustanics or something like that.

For me this sounds more interesting the volume swells or I should say seems closer to the way a synth behaves.  As of now Im not too thrilled with long shimmering reverbs, sort of dissolves the signal.  I feel this about all reverbs for guitar anyway, synths are difference to my ears and take well to this sort of processing.

Also I did have a EHX Super Ego Freeze pedal that for some crazy reason I thought would be cool with bass....not so, way to much audible processing in an unnatural way.  It may be different on guitar.  Don't have it anymore.

With that in mind I came across this.....its different and yet quite obvious. It can stack up to 5 layers and loops, sort of.



« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 06:02:21 PM by Julio Di Benedetto »
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Remco Helbers

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2018, 03:46:55 AM »
@ Julio: I would suggest to look into the Digitech Freqout… It's more like a sustainer/sustainiac/Infinite guitar in a box. A freeze-type pedal only holds the last note whereas the aforementioned devices are a lot more flexible. I have a Sustainiac built into my guitar.

I love Michael Brook btw! Escpecially Hybrid and Cobalt Blue.


« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 03:52:33 AM by Remco Helbers »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2018, 07:59:15 AM »
Hi Remo,

That is a very interesting pedal, could well do the jobl.....most demos are done with shredders in mind so its a little challenging to determine ambient tones....fairly inexpensive pedal.

How do you find the Sustainiac pickup?  Schecter put it in some of there guitars I noticed.
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Castleview

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2018, 08:25:52 AM »
You guys might also be interested in this pedal:


Remco Helbers

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2018, 09:51:34 AM »
How do you find the Sustainiac pickup?  Schecter put it in some of there guitars I noticed.

About 25 years ago I played Chapman Stick and I wanted a sustainiac pickup on my instrument. I got hold of Allan Hoovers telephonenumber and gave him a call. He made a one off pickup/electronics set (since the Stick doesn;t have a body to put the electronics in he built me a seperate box). Later I put the whole lot in a guitar. I really can;t recommend Sustainiac enough; (also the fact that Fernandez more or less ripped them off with their sustainer-units makes me chose the Sustainiac).


http://sustainiac.com/

The Digitech Freqout should be seen as an Ebow/Sustaniac in a box; it does't hold notes like a Freezeptype pedal, but since you mentioned Michael Brook it seems more appropriate.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 09:55:10 AM by Remco Helbers »

petekelly

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Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2018, 01:20:58 PM »
@ Julio: I would suggest to look into the Digitech Freqout… It's more like a sustainer/sustainiac/Infinite guitar in a box. A freeze-type pedal only holds the last note whereas the aforementioned devices are a lot more flexible. I have a Sustainiac built into my guitar.

Cheers Remco, I never knew such a pedal existed !

Another word on the infinite sustain things, in themselves they can be initially exciting, but after a while - how long do you really want to hold a note for ?

I can see their appeal to rock  / metal players looking to emulate feedback. Also, with this great power (sustain-wise) comes great responsibility - how good is your vibrato to use on really long notes ? I've had to take this into account with the ebow. Without wishing to sound pompous, I have good vibrato technique (years of trying to play like Mick Ronson !) and I find it hard to deal with at times, of course that's what tremelos are for :)