Roots of Inspiration

It starts with a metronome; common time, seventy beats per. I just turn it on and let it play: tick-tock-tock-tock tick-tock-tock-tock.

I pick up my guitar, an older electric with mismatched pickups. It never seems to stay in tune for more than ten minutes at a time. I’ve just learned to live with it.

Start simple. Em. Then G. Back to Em. G again. I learned this nearly thirty five years ago; the basic of basics.

tick-tock-tock-tock tick-tock-tock-tock.

Just start somewhere. It’ll show itself eventually.

Em. G. Em. G.

I try adding in other basics; the variations of A minors and F sharps. Maybe even a C. They’re all bland. Everyone has heard them before.

Pause. I sip my beer.

tick-tock-tock-tock tick-tock-tock-tock.

Em with G again, but a slight mistake makes it G add9. Without thinking about it I bend the A up slightly. For a just breath, it becomes a G ♭3.

There it is.

tick-tock-tock … I stop the metronome. Play it through a few times; Em, G add 9, bend to G ♭3 for a 16th of a beat then bend back down to G add 9.

I hit record in the DAW, let the click run for an 8 count then play the new bit for about two minutes just so I have it.

Stop recording. Listen back. Smile.

“Yeah, there it is.”


Dramatic, isn’t it? I mean, it is the truth, but come on.

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A Sorta Update

Covid is still a thing. And there were truckers everywhere protesting about … I’m pretty sure they don’t even know what they were protesting about in the end. Needless to say I’ve been a bit of a shut-in. Or rather, more than I normally am. I’ve gone shopping for groceries, but haven’t been looking for good deals on music equipment. Like most others, I hope we’ll be in the clear at some point in the near future and can move on with whatever the post pandemic normal will look like.

In lieu of that, here’s a sorta update.

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Ashes To Ashes

Midsummer 2011, I purchased a base model 11″ MacBook Air; 1.6 Intel Core i5. 4GB ram. 128GB SSD.

This past week I went to turn it on. It gave me this:

bork bork bork

I held down the power button until it turned off. Hit the power button again and…

… nothing.

So this was it. It didn’t go put with a whimper. It just decided to pack it in.

For ten and a half years, this little MacBook Air:

    • Was my portable recording unit across two bands; countless demos and jams were recorded using GarageBand and Reaper.
    • Powered MainStage at home, rehearsals, and on stage.
    • Was my backup when my work computer freaked out (and, at one point, used for a full year because a company I worked for didn’t provide computers).
    • I’ve written who knows how many blog posts on it.
    • Was my teleprompter when recording video.
    • Was very decent at photo/image editing thanks to Pixelmator.
    • Has traveled with me to many countries. It was so small I just tossed it in the front pocket of my carry-on; I didn’t need an extra laptop bag.

In all those years the MacBook didn’t have a single issue. I did replace the battery in 2019; it wasn’t dead, it just wasn’t holding a charge for any more than an hour and and that just comes with age and heavy useage.

That’s value.

RIP little MacBook. You more than earned it.

Never 100%

I was working on a new video detailing the last few months of 2021, but we all know how my video & audio work is going.

In the meantime, I’ve been transcribing my video scripts to blog posts. I don’t feel pressured to finish videos because I’ve no plans to become a full time YouTuber. It’s been six months since my last video and no one is kicking in my door looking for a new one. This is just fun for me.

So what’s been happening? Let me tell you …

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The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Four – 5/26/2021

Episode Four: “Can Cheap Drums Sound Better?”

Today we’re going to talk about improving the sound of cheap drums without spending a fortune. Hear the difference fresh drum heads make to the cheapest drum set on the planet!

Evans D2 Coated Heads:

Episode notes:

      1. This is the first time I’ve ever changed drum heads; I’m still learning how to tune so they may be a little off.
      2. By the time I was editing, the cost of the Evans Tompack had gone up from the $40 I paid to just over $50. While that’s still a good price, don’t give up! Keep searching for deals.

Overnight Success

I’ve got not one, not two, but three Vlog episodes in various states of completion. I’m not going to lie, this YouTube thing is a wee bit more difficult than I expected. This shouldn’t be surprising to me, yet here we are.

It’s been over a month since I put up a new video. Since the BDI21 episode, life started to creep in and I managed to find myself behind. In that time though, a strange thing happened:

A couple of people subscribed, someone liked, and someone commented; all without any promotion. I haven’t really told anyone about this little project, it just … is. So the fact that people are finding this and taking a liking to it is pretty cool.

I sincerely take my hat off to all those who have found success on YouTube simply because the amount of work you need to do is mind boggling. Starting out, not only is there scripting, filming, editing, releasing, and promoting content, it’s all being done between and around what is referred to “normal life”.

This makes me think how ridiculous the idea of the “Overnight Success” is. Unless you’ve won a lottery or were born into wealth, there really is no such thing as overnight success. Just because we haven’t heard of a certain singer before a certain date does not mean that they all of a sudden popped up out of nowhere ready blow your mind. Nothing appears out of thin air, ready made with a number one song. Even those by the numbers, label created, top 10 boy bands require an insane amount of work get off the ground.

The cool thing about this project is that it just is. Some days I’ll have time. Other days I won’t. This is fun and I want to stay that way. If a few of you want to come along for the ride, no matter how sporadic, you’re more than welcome to.

The Low Budget Lifer – PV01 – 4/11/2021

Product Video One: “BDI21 – Cheap Bass Amp Modeler”

In amongst the Vlog uploads, this is a series on cheap equipment where I’ll talk about various pieces of budget brand mics, instruments, and other toys.

We’re going to kick things off with my favorite budget pedal, the Behringer BDI21.

The BDI21 is a surprisingly good modeler/preamp/DI that will cost you around $40.