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!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Get Great Sounding Volume Swells (Electro-harmonix Freeze)

The Electro-harmonix (EHX) Freeze is one of those pedals that's really quirky. I didn't know how to use it in the context of my music, until I saw one on Jon Carolino's board and wondered how he could achieve epic-sounding volume swells.

Part of the secret, I believe, is to use the Freeze as an infinite sustainer so that the chord to be processed by the delay and reverb effects has much more volume than just a normal swell. I've recorded a video detailing how I've used the Freeze, including its placement above the volume pedal (in which case, you'll also need a small volume pedal, like the AMT Little Loud Mouth).

Check out the Amazon link above to get yourself a Freeze!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dinner at Collin's (November 2016)

Affordable Western fare is quite a rarity here, so Christine and I were pleasantly surprised to come across Collin's, who recently opened a branch in AMK Jubilee.

Their serving of foie gras is quite generous!

Their steak and chicken combo.

The mushroom and grilled chicken pasta.

Their mushroom soup has a hint of truffle oil.

If there's one thing I don't like in pasta, it's too much garlic. That's my only beef with Collin's, who serve otherwise excellent Western fare.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ministry Musings: Adapting Your Tone for a School Hall Environment

I was asked to serve at this year's youth camp, which led to the building of this Pedaltrain Junior board to ensure maximum compatibility with any sound system I was going to plug into. I gladly took it up considering my dosage of vitamin M (for music) has been quite low for the year. I know, what with my worship leading commitments, I should have a healthy dosage of vitamin M since I serve twice a month at Contemporary Service.

It's different. As a musician, I get to focus on my guitar parts, the tone from the effects, and the expression of emotion as I play. My task as a worship leader forces me to push all that musical awareness to the back. I have to worry about how the songs gel with the rest of the service, liturgically and musically. I have to make sure I'm directing the band to play in a certain way, that my vocals aren't distracting (as I'm not much of a singer), and that the scripture I read and prayers I lead point the congregation in a particular direction.

That aside, this post is primarily about adapting to various sound environments. Specifically, let's address the issue of serving in a school hall.

I served with Jeremy and his worship team for their first morning session, and I was immediately greeted with a technical problem: the sound system made everything sound muffled, especially when amplified through a school hall. A school hall, with tall ceilings, sonorous floors and glass doors, will have some crazy long reverberation that will colour your guitar tone. The goal is to make everything crips, clear, and clean, allowing the hall environment to accentuate your tone, rather than muffle it.

I did a few things on the board to try and be as clear and articulate as possible:

  1. Cut out all short reverb effects, including long background delays. I usually have a mild reverb coupled with a long delay with a low mix to cushion my tone in the background. In our usual worship space, which is a cinema hall, instruments tend to sound too dry (think of a studio environment).
  2. Tweak the EQ on pedals to cut out the low end and boost the mids. I did this on my "pre-drive" pedal, a CMATmods Signa Drive, and the tone controls on the Hotone Komp compressor, which has a sparkle switch and a tone knob.
  3. Use digital delays instead of analog-style delays. I have a DD-7 which has a crispy clean digital mode, a much more desirable sound over the rest of my analog delays on the board (a Strymon Brigadier, and an Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master). The natural reverb of the hall will colour the repeats of my digital delay anyway.
In the end, I was only using at most 5 of the 15 pedals on my board, but that is precisely the point--I designed the board to have maximum compatibility with any sound situation I was placed in. If I only had 5 pedals, I'd have to make do with the tone that I have, and won't have any leeway to tweak.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Recommended Gear for Beginner Electric Guitarists (TC Electronic/December 2016)

This page is written primarily for my guitar students who want to get themselves some gear but have no idea where to start, but if you're here browsing, do feel free to check out the links below!

Some things to let you know before you peruse these links:

  1. I tried to make it as simple as possible for you by compiling all the links together from one shop. I love Amazon and it's the simplest way to shop online.
  2. The total cost of this rig will be under $500, which may sound like a lot of money, but I assure you the tone is 100% more satisfying than getting a multi-effects unit that you may spend hundreds of hours on to get one workable tone out of.
  3. You don't necessarily have to buy everything at once. If cash is an issue, build your rig piece-wise. That's the great thing about analog--your rig is as small or as big as your needs are.

Pedaltrain Nano

OneSpot Power Supply

Hosa Patch Cables

TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion

TC Electronic Flashback Mini Delay

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini Reverb

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

Some videos to show you what you can do with these:

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Paddy Hills' Truffle Menu for Christmas 2016

Christine and I had a fantastic brunch at Paddy Hills, and they have a Christmas truffle menu for the season. I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

Check them out in more detail at their official Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dinner at Pasta J, Thomson Road (November 2016)

Pasta J is named after its owner, John, who may come off pretentiously for the uninitiated--he openly admits to having no prior F&B experience, leaving an engineering career in the pursuit of his culinary passion. However, all it takes is one visit and a sampling of his dishes to know he isn't just all talk.

His pesto appetiser is delightfully full of the good stuff that makes you want to scrape the bottom of that shot glass. It has an intensity that I have not been able to find anywhere else.

Likewise, the mushroom soup is by far the most intensely flavored of the lot I've had in memory. Legend has it that he reduces the water content in the mushroom so much that when it ends up being stock in the soup, the flavor is rich and full.

Remember the reduced-mass mushrooms? I think those belong to the same bunch in the pork cutlet dish. I think there's a deliberate choice in the cut of pork used in this dish, as it's all tender and nothing chewy/rubbery that you would find with a larger cut.

I've saved my favorite for last. This is the Caramel Carnivore, and it is packed with caramelized onions, pork meat balls, and a dash of heavy cream (that you pour from a shot glass when served). Meat lovers, this dish does not come any more highly recommended!

All in all, Christine and I always enjoy our time at Pasta J. We've even come here for Mothers' Day celebrations, and have brought both mothers from respective families here. The only warning I can think of is if you're not a pet lover, and you can't stand dogs, this place is pet-friendly. From time to time you may have owners coming in with their beloved pooches--who may bark, run past you, brush against your leg.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Brunch at Grub (November 2016)

So this place has undergone a face lift since Christine and I last dined here, with the bar area gone and the menu changed completely.

With the bar gone, some of the "home kitchen" vibe that Grub once had was lost. I suppose they had to change it up due to increasing patronage.

Call me a geek but I think the typography on the menu invites me to read it in full.

Dried flowers do make for a fuss-free, easy-to-maintain decoration on the table.

Christine had the har-cheong-kai (prawn paste chicken) burger, which was juicy, flavorful and had that prawny tinge encased in the crispy crust. This may be a minor thing for some, but we think the fries were absolutely spot-on. None of them were soggy, each had a decent level of crispiness, and they were not overbearingly big.

I had the breakfast stack, which had bacon and chicken cheese sausage, much to my non-kosher delight (that's what staying in a Jewish hostel can turn you into). The generous topping of balsamic vinegar brought out the freshness of the salad. My only gripe, as it is with most breakfast meals, is that the roasted tomatoes were still too wet. But then again, that's my personal preference.

To top off the meal, Christine got a serving of churros, which were nicely crisped. I could taste the Nutella sauce, but not so much the cream.

More info here:

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