Thursday, January 15, 2009

Contemporary Classical Guitar Demo MP3's

Instead of recording a completely new demo CD, I've decided to use five of my favorite recordings of the past three years. This will drastically shorten the time it takes me to hit the ground running here in San Antonio. So, with out further ado, here they are:

1] Classical Gas - Mason Williams

2] Desert Song - Eric Johnson

3] Eu So Quero Um Xodo - Dominguinhos

4] Tears in the Rain - Joe Satriani

5] Stairway to Heaven - Jimmy Page

Clicking on the blue playTagger icon will play the mp3 through your browser in this window, while clicking on the title will open up a new window with Quicktime or whatever media player you have set as a default.

I'm using the most popular pieces from my set in the tried and true fast, slow, fast, slow, epic ordering, which ought to be most effective, and I'm using Contemporary Classical Guitar - a term my manager, Peg, came up with to describe what I do - for the EP CD's title, instead of Heavy Nylon, since I think it will market better this way.

For printing up the CD's - since I want it to look pro - I got a Microboards GX AutoPrinter on the way from Sweetwater. My rep, Bill, just called me today out of the blue - he's psychic that way - and I told him what I needed, and BAM, as Emeril would say. I was thinking of a CD label printer, but this will be much better. It's a special order item, natch, so it will be a couple of weeks before I get it, but as I was looking at the Wedding Planners section of the SA Yellow Book, I noticed quite a few have emails and web contacts listed, so I'll do the first round of minor places that way. Not as effective as in person, so I'm not expecting a high percentage of response, but at least I'll be doing something.


Putting together the MIDI Guitar rig around the Axon AX 100 Mk II gave me the oportunity to redo my recording rig as well. Since the previous recording gear was in a 6U SKB rack and the MIDI rig required 6U, I just ordered a new 8U SKB rack and that let me put my Digi 002 Rack in with the rest of the stuff, while the older 6U SKB now houses the MIDI rig:

From top to bottom:

1] Lexicon Signature 284 All Tube Class "A" Stereo Recording Amplifier

This is the best direct recording device for guitar ever made. It has +4 db balanced recording outputs, and the class A-run pair of EL84 tubes give a warm and sparkly sound. Since I use the Lexicon MPX-G2's preamp and want a super-clean sound, I bypass the 284's preamp - which goes into distortion WAY too soon for me - by just running the output of the G2 into the effects returns of the Sig. Perfectamente!

2] Behringer BTR-2000 Racktuner

The only rack mount tuner that goes down to the A= 432 philosophical pitch I tune to, and it's also a rack light, an A/B box, and a metronome! I'm sure glad these are cheap, because I have four of them now.

3] Digidesign Digi 002 Rack

It's nice to have this finally in a rack with all my other recording gear, so - theoretically at least - I can record my live performances now. 8U is a bit large for a mobile system for me, since I'm my own roadie, but for some tiny venues, like art galleries, this wouldn't really be impossible (The 284 is only about 8 watts per channel. LOL!). More on this in a moment.

4] Lexicon MPX-G2 Guitar Effects Processor

Long discontinued, and still the best ever. This is my preamp as well as my effects device, and - as I've mentioned before - it's the only effects device I've used for ten years now. I have four of them, and I plan to buy more.

5] 1U Vent Plate

Class "A" amps generate lots of heat, even a tiny one like the Sig 284, so this is a good idea to allow for some convection cooling: The hot gear above generates heat that radiates up, and this allows cool air to be sucked in from below.

6] Furman PS-Pro Series II

This 20 Amp unit is really overkill for this rack, but, you see, I don't care about that. It offers unmatched filtering as well as surge protection, and tube amps really, really need super-clean power, especially when you're recording them. I hear almost no 60 cycle hum at all with this unit.

As I said, this could be used for mobile recording, but it is a tad on the large side and the 284 is way underpowered for large venues. Then, the Digi 002 requires a Mac with an external Firewire drive. That's a lot of stuff to schlep to a gig, set up, and test.

I'm thinking of going with the new Lexicon I-Onix FW810S instead of the Digi for mobile recording, and - believe it or not - using Garage Band 08 to record. The 08 version of Garage Band is not a toy anymore, and it records onto the computer's internal HD, which would mean just having to take my 17" 1.67 MHz G4 PowerBook to the gig with me. Then, if I replace the Sig 284 with a MESA 20/20 1U tube power amp (I already have one of those), I could get the rack down to a manageable 5U (6U with a vent plate (Or, a 1U rack drawer for the PowerBook)). I feel a new rack building project coming on!

Yes! I see it too!


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