Sunday, 13 August 2017

Here Comes Santa Claus

This popped into my head, although I couldn't remember what it was. My wife recognised it though, and filled in the blank for me.

It's quite a straightforward tune, but playing the melody with the standard chords requires some huge stretches, so I had to work out what inversions of the chords would let me play up the neck a bit, where the melody notes are. So I'm travelling from a D major shape on the 5th fret to a D minor shape on the third fret, to a standard G7 and C major. Then again, but substituting the D minor shape on the 3rd fret to an A shape. I don't find these changes easy, and you can hear the lack of fluency in the tricky bits.


I just saw a picture of a load of guitars stood up in a row. It reminded me of domino toppling. Also works on motorbikes. I wonder if there is a world record for guitar toppling?

Guitars generally have 6 strings. The standard way of tuning them is  (from bass to treble) E A D G B E. They can also be tunes to other tunings, so that if you strum the open strings, you get, say an A Major chord.

When a guitar falls over, it will play whatever it's tuned to.

So if you get lots of guitars, and line them up in the right order, it might just sound quite interesting.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Collaborators will be shot.

Ello there.

I've been doing quite a bit musically since I last posted, but came up with nothing worth posting. As a method, I've been recording stuff, on an increasingly busy and multi windowed wave studio. Stuff that I really like gets listened to extensively, and enjoyed.

You know, you can probably wank yourself off better than anyone else. You just know what works.

So this is music by and for me. I make this stuff, then loop it, and spend hours listening to it. Not really listening. Just becomes my audible wallpaper, and I focus in and out of it. If it really gets me, I save it. The recording PC gets put into standby instead of switch off, so I end up with a load of recordings that I have neither lost or saved. These accumulate. Sometimes I'll take a trawl through them. Sometimes I'll turn the PC off, or there wil be a power cut or something, and all these things that I couldn't bring myself to delete, but couldn't be bothered saving vanish. Apathy as method of quality control...

Someone mentioned Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso" to me a couple of weeks ago. The first time I heard that song wasn't Richman. It was a bunch of German campers in a campsite between Haarlem and Zandvoort, in a big tent with an acoustic guitar. I liked it very much, and after being reminded of it, I thought I'd have a go at it.

It's absolutely taking candy from a baby easy. Basically one chord (Eminor) with what ever runs and scales will fit on top of that. Or not. John Cale's plinky plonk dischordant piano was a big part of the sound.

So here's a three layered tune. Drums, bass/rhythm, lead/rhythym. I;m really pleased with how fluently my hands were moving over the fretboard, and how well I've timed it, plus theres a bit of nuance there. They're not just straight scales.

There's a bit of tubular bells there too.

Still no singing though. I might get some vocals down at some point, but I'm a better guitarist than I am a singer.

And it's all me, except the drumbeats, which are usually downloaded. I can sequence midi drums but they sound shit, so I look on youtube for real drummers drumming.

All the stuff here is on a creative commons license. Please feel free to upload and use it. If you want to add vocals or keyboard or whatever to what I've done, please feel free to do so. Let me know what you do, and give me a llink, and I'll post it here.

I also have in mind a video. I know what I want to do. I don't know how to do it. But if there's anyone reading this that knows how to overlay seperate video/audio tracks onto a single video and is interested in making something with me, please do get in touch.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


I thought of trying to do Kate Bush's song, Cloudbusting. It's basically a four chord loop, but one of the chords is one I've barely used, and knowing how to play it makes me just a little bit better. This particular chord fits well with the B and F#m that comprise the rest of the loop. What follows is not recognisably Cloudbusting, although I might try to make it become it.

What I've done:

1. Recorded a spiky, staccato run through of the chords using electric guitar with no effects added.

2. Added some spacy noodlings loosely using the hook/riff from the song.

3. Added a lead layer. Twice. The first one is quite laid back. The second is much busier.

Friday, 2 June 2017

And Your Bird Can Sing

I've been working on The Beatles' song, And Your Bird Can Sing.

"And Your Bird Can Sing" is a song by the Beatles, released on their 1966 album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday and Today in the United States. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Paul McCartney stated that he helped on the lyrics and attributed the song "80–20" to Lennon. The working title was "You Don't Get Me". Lennon was later dismissive of the track, as he was of many of his compositions at the time, referring to it as "another of my throwaways ... fancy paper around an empty box".

So says Wikipedia.

So, here's what I've done.

1. Downloaded some youtube drumbeats.

2. Played rhythym guitar over the drumbeats and recorded the result.

3. Played mixed rhythym and lead guitar onto that recording. Recorded that as a seperate wave file.

4. Played harmonic lead and more rhythym guitar on top of that.

Tried a straight rock beat first, then a shuffle beat.

Here's what I haven't done.

1. Got the microphone sorted.

2. Learned to be comfortable with my own voice.

It's not a bad voice. I can generally hit the right notes, but I still don't feel comfortable hearing it.

Anyway, here are the two versions (sans vocals) that I've done.