Dotted Eighth Delay Studies

Setting up the U2/Hillsong delay in a variety of situations.

The Sessionists

Esther Subra (vocals), Serena Chew (keys), Justin (guitars), Alphonsus (drums and percussion)

Thoughts on G.A.S.

Why you should save up for an expensive guitar.

Setting Up Disaster Area DPC-8EZ and DMC-8D MIDI Controllers

An easy-to-follow video tutorial to get those patches programmed!

An Overview of My YouTube Channel

Feel free to browse some of the playlists on my channel. Hopefully this leads to you liking and subscribing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

To Curb The Urge

I very nearly bought another pedal. I tried to justify it with how bulky my present Boss DD-20 was, and that I needed a smaller delay pedal to bring along for small sessions.

When I objectively examined the features of the DD-20 versus the few pedals I was trying out, the same verdict kept coming back: the DD-20 is more than enough, and I really don't need the reduction in size. What was the initial draw in wanting to buy a new pedal? A false sense of prestige? Bragging rights amongst fellow guitarists?

Which one is it? That is a question all of us guitarists have to answer and be accountable for in our spending. Be honest in your evaluation of gear needs. It may save you easily $200.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making Do With Little

I tried an experiment today which got me thinking about how overly extravagant my full rig may be when all I'm required to do is to be a simple rhythm guitarist. My usual rig is a whopping 20kg, and I knew there wasn't going to be space at New Heart ministries' rehearsal room to accommodate my pedal board.

So, I did the unthinkable. I figured out that all I really needed was an amp sim, something to warm the signal up and a simple overdrive, so I went with the following:

The SansAmp GT-2, set to the California amp on clean with a centered mic.
The Xotic EP Booster v2, which is set to unity gain.
The Paul Cochrane Timmy, which I set to a lower volume.

After experimenting for a bit, I concluded a few things:
  • The California amp model on the GT-2 is quite hot by itself, and when the drive is turned up past 20%, it begins to break up slightly. All I needed to get a light crunch (of great tonal satisfaction, by the way) was to drive the GT-2 harder with the EP Booster.
  • I usually set the EP booster to 30% when I'm using it in my big board, but over here I could afford to get the signal slightly hotter, so I turned it up halfway. The really cool side effect of cranking it so much is the natural compression you get out of the pedal, so a compressor wasn't really needed.
  • Lastly, I went with the Timmy knowing that a light transparent overdrive will give just the right push for very little solos I had, and I didn't want to drastically change the character of the tone. Now that the signal was hotter, I had to turn down the treble on the Timmy to compensate (as I shared in a previous post, the Timmy has reverse-taper knobs for treble and bass)
The  results were very enlightening. It turns out I really don't need that much to get my desired tone!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo Tip: Avoiding Barrel Distortion in Zoom Lenses

I'm doomed. I got myself into a new expensive hobby--photography! I got myself a Canon EOS600D, and quickly acquired an 18-55mm, a 50mm/f1.8, and a Nissin flash. Here's a quick and interesting lesson I learnt from our resident photographer, Rinaldo Ackbar, about zoom lenses:

A perfect lens would render straight lines as straight, no matter where they occur:

Most practical lenses fall short of perfection and instead bend lines outwards (barrel distortion) or inwards (pincushion distortion). This is how barrel distortion will be perceived:

Why is this important? Well, the human brain is remarkably good at recognizing human faces, and can readily detect when someone has gained or lost weight, for example, just by looking at the face. The same is true for geometric distortion. Here's an example of barrel distortion when taking a portrait shot at 18mm:

This is not particularly flattering (except perhaps if the intended creative effect is to have the background bend around the subject), and instead, portrait shots should be free of geometric distortion to appear natural. This can be avoided by stepping back and zooming in, as follows:

(Credits to Rinaldo for teaching me! Don't worry, photography posts aren't going to take over the subject matter of this blog. I'm just too noob at it!)

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