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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 10, 2020 8:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Are There Any Players Out There?

This past week Micah and I exchanged a few posts about our listening habits and studio recordings. Although I know there are musicians on this forum (Mando, Stratocaster) the subject of playing and recording our own music rarely comes up.

There is Grateful Dead Musicians Discussion Group on FB that is very active, as well as groups supportive of any kind of instrument you play. There are Grateful Dead backing tracks on Youtube that you can jam along with. There are multitudes of music lessons available for FREE on Youtube as well.

In fact, the web group "playing for a change" has mixed a version of Ripple that was recorded around the world - then the tracks were assembled into a cohesive song. What a great use of available technology.

I'm 63 years old and a long time guitar player - but because these resources exist, I've decided to learn to play pedal steel, lap steel, mandolin, and fiddle. The point is, music, and especially making music brings joy and meaning to a life that's on the downhill slope - and I'm telling you it's an incredibly uplifting thing!

You can do it too! And this forum can be a place where we can encourage others to play and share the music we love. In fact, we can share multi-track recordings on the interweb to create songs without ever meeting each other!

I've seen things getting a bit long in the tooth around here, I'm still waiting for my 10 year stickpin and Chinese Rolex from the HR Office of the Prime Minister. So, if you're interested in exchanging music related stuff, including taking lessons together online, or discussing where you can get a deal on instruments and gear - Let's Encourage Each Other To Do It.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Jan 13, 2020 12:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Windows guy here. I use Samplitude ProX and matched RME interfaces. Basically German protools. I can record 16 tracks live 16/44. I use it mainly for recording live performances and practice sessions. I've got a full PA with an Allen&Heath mixer that allows direct out recording. I paid 250$ or so for the software (educational pricing). I chose it as it was what I learned on when I assisted in a local studio, and the engineer really talked it up. They have a 3000$ version (Sequioa) if I was really serious ;>) I use a laptop as my "tape deck".

My current band has multiples at each position, busy working stiffs who can't always make an 10:30 gig on a Tuesday night- so we can mix and match and usually find a quoram.

In my home studio I have enough gear that people just need to come over, no need to haul gear- I’ve got everything anyone would need – including a full drum kit. Bait to get musicians to want to come over and play.

Playing music is unbelievable fun. You will never get closer to the experience of a live GD show than the pressure of playing this music on stage in front of an audience - in full 100% improvisational mode. All leads, tones, tempos and what not are on the spot created and new every night, no worked out note for note anything, never the same twice. Play it real or go home! Fate music, as Jerry would put it. The sharp end of the rope - to use a rock climbing phrase about being the lead climber (another sport I love due to the pressure and how it leads to single minded focus).

As a bass player I learned the music for 100’s of songs. Now that I’m the front man I had to learn all the lyrics as well. Singing and playing are an incredible brain exercise. All the synapses firing at once. GD music is all about subtle nuance, quiet/loud, fast/slow juxtaposed – superimposed many times. A million little things to keep in mind all the while having a blissful musical experience.

"If I can’t entertain myself how can I expect to entertain anyone else?" Jerry Garcia

I practice a few hours every day. Playing a '62 Strat is one of the greatest feelings in the universe. The single best guitar on the planet through the greatest amp ever invented ('58 Super). I can noodle for hours on end and not get bored. Add some cannabis and I'm happy as can be. But alcohol is the death knell for quality fingers get real stupid real fast when beer is involved.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jan 13, 2020 9:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Great post Earl!

Absolutely. Echoing what flow mentioned, 58 years of accumulated wear and tear make picking up one of my guitars or mandolins a lot more enjoyable than stepping into a muay thai ring to fight a kid 40 years younger - even if it was just sparring.

So far, campfire picking at a music fest or Friday night picking circles at the local farmer's market has been the extent of playing publicly. Haven't made the jump to a "real" band, but my buddy and I get together every couple of weeks to work out new tunes we've been listening to. We could pull together a short set of maybe 15-20 tunes and have a lot of fun with it.

Most recently, finding the music of Townes van Zandt (yes I am embarrassed to admit that) has motivated me to learn how to Travis pick. I don't have it down yet, but "I'll be Here in the Morning" sounds really damn good on the new Sinkerwood D18.

And with that, time for more practice.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 13, 2020 10:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Townes? Nothing to be embarrassed about, I have more appreciation for his songwriting every time I hear another Townes story. I've taken a few shots at Travis picking, bet never quite mastered it, but desire to. I like Matt Smith's approach to teaching.

I've really had an interest in sinker wood for numerous reasons, including musical interests. Down this way, they're pulling cypress and oak. Not great musical quality, but some beautiful furniture wood.

I think the next post will be a resource primer for home recording. There's some great technology and reasonable it's a start. Thanks for chiming in! (BTW, I just scored an Eastwood Mandocaster - it's fun as hell!)

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jan 13, 2020 10:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Hope this works....

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 13, 2020 10:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Sweeet! I saw where that wood was retrieved in Belize - and could be from as long ago as 1880. I bet it sounds spectacular!

My favorite dread is an 81 Yairi Silverlark, which is kind of weird. It's walnut and spruce. Def different tone. I imagine it was really crisp when new, but has aged nicely....

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 11, 2020 3:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Way to go Earl--good thread; of course, I am biased, cause I think the albums by our boys have ALWAYS been the cream of this crop (har, har; but, it's true...).

Seriously, a nice way to reconnect; Flow may play an instrument or two (ahem), but he's still got no game when it comes to taking on McGlone and me in the infamous two on two championship (of course, he was paired w dire, so...).

On the other hand, I couldn't play my way out of a paperbag, kazoo or ukulele. I are tone deaf.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 13, 2020 9:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

WT: This post is truly aimed at you. If playing an instrument has been a unrequited desire in your life - there has been no better time than now. Even if it's just a harmonica - there's more available online for all levels of players than ever before. Even if you're tone deaf.

More than anything else, I'm trying to spread the good news that it's within reach. Being retired, or retarded in my case, leaves a lot of down time for pursuing something that actually brings the joy of learning and accomplishment back into a life that probably spent years just working to get by...

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Poster: high flow Date: Jan 13, 2020 6:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Thanks Earl. I jumped on this thread because I fervently agree with your original sentiment. The experience of finally committing to learning an instrument has been very rewarding. I can't think of another hobby which would have fit so well in to my current life.

I took lessons as a kid and for various reasons(read on), learned nothing and lost interest. The instructor my mother hired was a classical flamenco guitarist with a smelly house. Years later, my brother who is a very capable guitarist, said, "You took the wrong kind of lessons man. Had that guy shown you a couple of rock and roll chords....". I had no idea. But by that time YouTube was there to allow me to learn what I wanted to learn at my own pace. I will play until I am no longer capable.

Occasionally, late at night, when I lay-down a clean, well-timed solo, I look out into the audience in acknowledgement of their imaginary applause. Rock Star!

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Poster: Jeff Kaplan Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

absolutely. i'm very active. play in 3-4 bands around the bay area. lots of talent out there. and, i've started teaching ukelele to the staff at Internet Archive. we have a weekly group of 4-8 people and it's great fun. the look on their faces when they realize after the first lesson that they can play music is priceless.

the mixed blessing is the amount of instruments i've acquired over the years. out of space, out of money. owellz. This post was modified by Jeff Kaplan on 2020-01-11 17:38:30

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Poster: high flow Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

See you at Los Lobos tonight Jeff?? I'll be wearing a Kelly-Green A's hat and my group can usually be found toward the front, stage-left.

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Poster: Jeff Kaplan Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

have fun. i play out so much a rarely see anything. My Airplane band is at 19 broadway in fairfax on jan 18. let me know and i'll put you on the guest list.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Jeff: I was smacked in the head by how many people are taking up the ukulele. I stopped in a local music store in SC and there was an entire wall of them - probably 30 or more, and this is in a relatively small town. Church groups and elementary schools are going nuts over these things!

I've got a couple old friends that play in the Bay area, one for Dedicated Maniacs and the other for House of Floyd.

Anyway. If you can give any kind of advice on how to move this thing forward, even a little bit, please chime in. And thanks for your input!

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Poster: Jeff Kaplan Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

in british columbia it was (maybe still is) required that uver elementary school kid learn ukelele. they hand them out like we used to get flutaphones (remember them!) they have assemblies where the entire school gets together to play ukelele.

i got Mitchell brand ukes for the people. the ones with gear tuning are $30-40 through guitar center.

playing it is pretty simple. it's the same basic fingering patterns as guitar but the instrument is tuned up a fourth. so what on guitar is a G on ukelele is a C.

these tons of "get started" videos on you tube. i start with "Octopus' Garden" Wont Back Down" "Ripple" and "Jambalaya". all really simple. DO IT!

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Poster: polarized blue Date: Jan 11, 2020 2:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

It's been on my mind recently and I'm so glad to read this discussion. I've been playing music since age 8 - clarinet, 16 - piano, 20 - guitar. I've only really stuck with the guitar the whole time since then. I also was born as a really good singer, I think, but now at age 54 and a lot of non-use, my vocal chords can't usually last more than 20 min. I understand that with conditioning and practice I could get it back, but it's finding the time...

I also used to really enjoy writing and putting my poetry into songs, then making a cassette demo of my first or second play-through. I carried on doing that for several years, creative writing, song writing, playing, singing and learning. I played my originals in a 4-piece rocking blues band with my own brothers and we recorded a lot of that material and most of our gigs. There's where the problem started. We were mainly mixing the sound for the room, and never for the recording, so only a couple of the tapes turned out to be listenable. Also, we didn't use stage monitors, so I could hardly hear my own vocals over the drummer I was positioned in front of. Sometimes I went right off. Anyways it was lots of fun and then the inevitable, we all started marrying our girlfriends, the band broke up and we all moved long distances from each other. As family, we still try to get together every year or two, and of course we try to have a little jam when that happens.

We have always been talking of using the internet to try to do this but none of us has spent much time researching. Finding the time to do a real-time session would be tricky, especially because I live in England. Maybe occasionally with planning. But we have been interested in working on the original songs and some of our favorite covers in the way you guys are discussing. To lay down a track and sending the songs around to each other on the internet and have some fun. I also have the good luck to have two teens who are starting to get interested in playing guitar and ukulele, so things are looking up to have someone to play with, to inspire each other.

We are actually talking of getting a piano in the house. Maybe an electronic keyboard, I hardly know where to start with that, something professional, but not too expensive. I also am thinking of getting a new amplifier for my Telecaster. My brother thinks I ought to get one that has all preset multiple sound stages.. Something like that. One that has a dial that makes it sound like different famous amps without needing a a dozen pedals and cables and batteries etc..

My main passion is listening to the Grateful Dead every day, and along with that, my desire to make my own songs. My wife is not into any of that, but she is patient to a point. I check in to the forum here every day, even if I don't take part too much, my heart is with all of you and I really feel we all do share that special love of the band and the wider love of all kinds of music. This inspiration is another in a time that my life seems to need it and things keep reminding me that it's a real thing and I can't let go of the feeling that music has given me since being a toddler in the mid 60's. My mom always had the radio or her record player on. My earliest music memories are Janis, Jimi, Beatles, Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, Motown and Beach Boys. She also went to Woodstock, us kids stayed home with Dad.

Nice to get in touch here again. I will check in some more and follow this thread while it lasts and try to follow the links and stay in touch with you players sharing ideas and info. Thanks for the prompt..

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

PB, good to see you, now that you're out in the open! If you're thinking about getting a keyboard, I recently bought a used Yamaha for around $200 at a local Guitar Center - Do they have them in England? Anyway, Yamaha has keyboards with weighted keys and "touch" sensitivity that are very reasonably priced. Various piano, organ, strings settings, and to the enjoyment of my household, a headphone jack.

I can help a little with the amp too. Fender has some new hybrid tube amps with emulators for their "vintage" sounds. They also have "fuse" online software to further dial in various tones. I'm looking at the Super Champ head, since I already have a 1X12 cabinet. Here's a link for more info.

Stay with us, we're just starting so, please be patient. And thanks for your input!

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Poster: high flow Date: Jan 10, 2020 8:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

"The point is, music, and especially making music brings joy and meaning to a life that's on the downhill slope - and I'm telling you it's an incredibly uplifting thing!"

I started playing guitar about 7 years ago. At age 42 I was ready to curtail my basketball activity due to sore knees. I still play hoops occasionally, but in guitar I saw a way to pass time, and an activity at which I could improve. I thought about golf, but committing 5 daylight hours just isn't in the cards for the father of 2 teens. The only downside is how quickly to clock moves from 1030PM to 0130AM once you pick-up a guitar.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 11, 2020 9:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Hey Flow! One never knows who the players are until they crawl out into the light! I'm not exactly sure how to move this thing forward, without it being a never ending thread, but I'll figure something out, Probably assemble a bunch of resources and link to them....will catch up a little later...Good to see you my friend!

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Poster: Edsel Date: Jan 10, 2020 11:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Had been recording guitar wankery to cassettes and reel-to reel with a friend since the early 70's and playing in a regular band since '86. Got my first PC in '96 and later joined a guitar players site where Peter Quistgard had posted an offer for a free copy of Cool Edit Pro. I jumped on it. Began recording through the input jacks on my soundcard. There is no latency using this method by the way. Did a bunch of recordings with friends with excellent results. Took up a collection in 2000 with my band mates and purchased a Layla 24/96 recording interface to get 8 separate channels in real time. Seems like it was around $800 at the time, and it came with a fresh legal copy of Cool Edit Pro. In 2020 we still use it. I've never used anything else, so my experience is limited to that alone. It lives in our band room, but I still record at home through my stereo input jacks. There are many fancy recording programs for a lot of $$$ but I've never seen the need for anything else. I've recorded 75-100 of my LP's to my computer, straight from phono preamp to sound card inputs, cleaned them up with CEP and burned them to CD with very satisfactory results. I keep 24/96 copies on my computer for listening, and I swear that some of them sound better than the LP. I don't know how that's possible, but when I play them for friends, many say the same thing. Very strange.
Keep it simple is always the best advice. I encourage everyone to learn to do this, it fills the hours with great satisfaction even when the music we make isn't all that great. Do it now !

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jan 10, 2020 12:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Are There Any Players Out There?

Yep. This is always a big issue out there. Which DAW (digital audio workstation) to use or buy. Lots of arguments on all sides. Garageband comes free with Apple products and is highly regarded among non tech savvy musicians. Everyone wishes the same for Windows, but it never appears. I use Audacity which is free open source. Friends use Reaper, and a lot of studios use Pro-Tools.

They all come with learning curves, and you need an interface to get your sounds into the machine...but that's another subject for another post.

Thanks for your input Edsel....let's try to keep this going!