Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I’ve had a lot of musical instruments over the years. I’ve had two electric six string guitars one of which was a Gibson SG Special, a Baldwin Bass, a Yamaha 12 string, a Big Box Guild, Arita Classical nylon string, an Ovation steel string guitar, and a no name acoustic that I did experiments. I also had a banjo, an mandolin, a cornet and two Kalimbas (African thumb pianos aka Mbira). I restored an upright bass, but that was too big to make the move across the country with me so I gave it away. I also have a piano that I can hook up to a computer; at least I could back in the day when computers had more interfaces. The piano can be used without a computer as well, but I don’t know how to play any key board instruments.

I always enjoyed having instruments, even if I had no idea of what to do with them. With limited talent I did find it more enjoyable to record a track and manipulate it. Back when I had an eight track reel to reel and a mixing board I found it easy to produce hours worth of music with minimal instrumental effort. One would have thought that I’d have gotten myself a mini Moog when the price went below $200 and being sold in Radio Shack. Had I done that I could have ruled the world, but at that time I was passing out of my musical phase of life.

All my recording equipment and most of the instruments have found other homes. The tapes have been lost or disposed of. It was all a lot of fun and a fond memory. I bring this up because I’m tempted to get some multi-track recording computer soft ware. Can anyone out there using it suggest their favorites?


Blogger Zoe said...

You and Betty Please sound like kindred spirits. We have 3 electric guitars, 3 acoustic guitars, and electric bass guitar, a cello, bongos, a eulalie...I'm sure I'm forgetting something. She'd have more if she could. She really wants a banjo for some reason. Oh and a drum set.

She doesn't know how to play all of them, but she likes to have them to hack around on.

6:19 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I don't know a thing about making music or the software designed to do so. But Amazon.com seems to have a place where you can discuss the pro's and con's of the different systems. You might browse around there and see if you can glean any info. I have a cheap First Act electric that our son abandoned when he moved out and a 3/4 size Santa Rosa acoustic that my mother in law bought at a yard sale for five dollars. I cannot "play" either one of them, but I do noodle around some when the spirit strikes me. One evening I was listening to Leo Kottke's "Vaseline Machine Gun" with my headphones on and I had a large shot glass stuck on one finger for a slide and I was 'playing along' while I listened. Apparently I was making quite a racket. I looked up and my daughter was peering around the corner into my cubbyhole and asking "What the hell are you doing?" It was kind of embarrassing. Now I do that with the door closed after everyone is asleep.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Tango said...

T-Jay, my son, recommends Pro-Tools or Cool Edit Pro for recording. He uses FL Studio 8 and Reason 4 for beat making.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Patrick McGee said...

You will find many of your answers and options on http://www.musiciansfriend.com and truly, with what's available to you, you can sit at your dining table and produce a fairly decent track just by yourself.

For my recording I use a Fostex MR-8 HD/CD Digital Mulittracker and then offload to computer using WavePad Sound Editor and then convert to MP3 using Switch Sound File Converter and as usual there are other variants that may be more convenient but, this will get you pretty well covered if you want a good basic setup.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Electric Guitar said...

There's the inexpensive Tacsam Portastudio 414 (it's a 4 track recorder with 8 input mixer). And also there's the more complex TASCAM's DP-02 is the 8-track digital recorder. Performance-wise, i've read good reviews..The price of these two are worlds apart, you can check out ebay...

7:06 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I can't carry a tune in a bucket but you reminded me of something when you said you left something behind because it was too big to move. One of our friends left a stuffed elephant and a giraffe behind in a building in San Antonio because they were too large to move.

7:32 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Zoe, so she collects instruments and you collect pets? Good relationship. BTW, does BP blog?

Darev, I bet that Critter will be hearing a lot of that when she visits this summer.

Tango, Patrick and Electric, thanks for the directions you pointed me in, I have some studying to do.

Paula, now that's a story worth telling. The previous owner of my house left two bed bases with drawers (big boxes that you put a matters on) because they were too big to move down the narrow stairs to the first floor. I took out a window and threw them out.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

No, BP doesn't blog. She's too private a person to blog.

Oh, and I'll ask BP and my friend Phollower about recording software.

5:58 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Thanks, Zoe. I have to "Hains" it to you.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some of those old Radio Shack MG-1 Concetmate moogs are still around (ebay) and they are a blast but it is a good idea to scare up a manual (reproduction usually) to get you started.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd bet this one on ebay is just fine, they seller just doesn't know how to find the sweet spots w/o the manual. I've had two of them and if you don't know your way around one of these things it's like WTF? One more thing IF you get one and decide to clean the sliders with contact cleaner, take the top off and remove the foam pieces prior to spraying cleaners so they don't dissolve and make a big sticky mess. Replacement foam is available and recomended as that old stuff is prolly shot anyway. There are web sites that go over all this of course.

5:44 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Interesting how they've held their value. They were selling for $200 back in the 80s and it seemed to keep up with inflation. Cool thing about ebay, if you want something bad enough you can usually find it there.

5:24 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

i've always loved the violin. the piano was the instrument of the day when i was little, and i still have a soft spot for it in my heart. lately, though, i've been hankering to learn guitar, and on my next trip home, i'm going to hijack my dad's old acousitc and bring it back to montreal with me.

you had a kalimba? oh, guy, how i heart you.

12:08 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Dalia, I still have two of them.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try "AUDACITY" - a free open source
program that runs on any platform - most of the RD nerds are in Seattle - I've never used more than 15 tracks for radio commercials, but it runs great on an XP (modern) laptop - older ones too ... radioman

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... I have a really good friend who is an amazing musician and I really want to help him get a few things recorded. I'm doing it as a surprise for when he visits next month.. Does anyone know how I can go about finding an affordable was to lay down a few tracks? I live in Warrenton and am desperate for some help! My e-mail is groovyone13@hotmail.com. Thanks for your time.

11:04 PM  

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