Related grooviness

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bert Jansch, Danny Thompson, John Renbourne FREE

Bert Jansch, John Renbourn & Danny Thompson - Open Air Festival, Gandino, Bergamo, Italy, August 5th 1990, from master.

Disc One :

Bert Jansch Solo Set:

1. Bonny Portmore (aka The Ornament Tree)
2. Durban's Flowery Vale
3. David
4. Pretty Sara

Bert Jansch & Danny Thompson Set :

5. Let Me Sing
6. One For Jo
7. Chat
8. Black Mountain Side part. 1 (with vocals, same trad. Jimmy Page made famous)
9. Black Mountain Side part. 2 (1 glitch between the two parts)
10. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer

John Renbourn Solo Set :

11. Instrumental
12. I Know That Someday I'll Sing A Lullaby
13. Watch The Stars (Pentangle's cover)
14. Lord Franklin
15. Little Niles (Randy Weston Cover)
16. Lindsay
17. Sandwood Down To Kyle pt. 1 (1 glitch between the two parts)
18. Sandwood Down To Kyle pt. 2

Disc Two :

1. Three Sheeps
2. Cherry Instrumental (Dollar Brand Cover)

Bert Jansch, John Renbourn & Danny Thompson Set :

3. Instrumental
4. The Time Has Come >
5. Servant >
6. Sally Free And Easy (Pentangle's cover)
7. I've Got A Feeling (Pentangle's cover)

Really nice recording, awesome performance.

Bert Jansch official site

John Renbourn official site

Danny Thompson official site

FREE DOWNLOAD: Waterboys Galway

DECEMBER 23 1988


Recorder: Sony WM-D6C
microphone: Sony ECM series

01 Intro
02 Fisherman's Blues
03 Medicine Bow
04 Twa' Recruitin' Sergeants *
05 Strange Boat
06 Meet Me At The Station *
07 Has Anybody Here Seen Hank ?
08 Old England
09 And A Bang On The Ear
10 Mr Customs Man
11 Jimmy Hickey's Waltz
12 When Will We Be Married ? *
13 When Ye Go Away
14 Be My Enemy
15 Savage Earth Heart / Satisfaction*
16 Intro Tomas Mac Eoin
17 An Cailin Alainn *
18 Bleann Na Bo *
19 Piano intro by Mike
20 The Stolen Child *
21 The Whole Of The Moon
22 Audience / Here we go...
23 A Pagan Place
24 Intro Guests
25 O'Carolan's Welcome *
26 The Good Ship Sirius
27 This Land Is Your Land *

GUESTS : Tomas Mac Eoin - Lead vocals 17,18,20
Charlie Lennon - Fiddle on "When Ye Go Away"
Alec Finn - Bouzouki on "When Ye Go Away" and "O'Carolan's Welcome"
Brendan O'Regan - Bouzouki on "The Good Ship Sirius"
Sean Lennon - tr. 25, 26
Sean Smith - tr. 25, 26

Grab it HERE !

FREE DOWNLOAD: Waterboys Bonn


Disc 1:

01 - Hello Berlin - eh Bonn
02 - In search of a rose
03 - Kiss the wind / intro: German National Anthem
04 - Rags
05 - Strange Boat
06 - Medicine Bow
07 - Be my enemy
08 - Something that is gone
09 - A man is in love
10 - Everything is broken
11 - Good man gone

Disc 2:

01 - The thrill is gone
02 - The healing has begun
03 - Karma
04 - When ye go away
05 - Old England
06 - A life of Sundays
07 - Savage Earth Heart
08 - Trumpets
09 - The whole of the moon
10 - Fisherman´s Blues
11 - Room to roam
12 - Why don´t we do it in the road


Mike Scott - Vocals,Rhythm and Lead Guitar,Piano,Bodhran
Anthony Thistlethwaite - Sax,Electric Mandolin,Organ,Lead Guitar,Electric Piano
Trevor Hutchison - Bass
Ken Blevins - Drums

The Imagined Village Womad download


and HERE

The Imagined Village, what an amazing concept and an amazing band.
Simon Emmerson ( brainchild of IV and also from many musical projects including Afro Celt Soundsystem ) has just finished a question and answers stint over on TALKAWHILE ( drop by and you can read all the conversations )

From Wikipedia:

The Imagined Village is a folk musical project spearheaded by Simon Emmerson of the Afro Celt Sound System. It is designed to produce modern folk music that represents modern multiculturalism in the United Kingdom and as such features musicians from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

The project led to the release of an album by various artists on Real World Records. Some of the tracks on it are modern re-interpretations of traditional folk songs. The title of the album comes from a book "The Imagined Village" (1993) by Georgina Boyes.

"The Imagined Village E.P." was released earlier in 2007, and is a remix of the album tracks. The 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards voted "Cold Haily Rainy Night" as best traditional track.

( They have also won a " Hancock " award from Talkawhile due to be presented very soon. See TAW for details )

The most powerful imo ( and controversial to some ) track on this amazing album is Tamlin retold, featuring the lead vocals of Benjamin Zephaniah ( who I first heard of when I was 17, stoned and listening to Rasta ) , and joined by the backing vocals and fiddle of the eternally gorgeous Eliza Carthy. A reggae dub version of a very traditional folk song with some folkie fiddle thrown into the mix ! Whatever next :)

More Afro celt stuff HERE
Imagined Village official site HERE

And then of course " Cold hailey rainy night " everything folk should be ( taken from their live jools holland appearance and just pinging with incredible energy... )

Seth Lakeman part 2 download


Remember if you like Seth to support his official releases , his new album is especially wonderful:

Andddd... probably my favourite rendition of KITTY JAY :

Monday, 28 July 2008

Coming up....

Coming up this week... Nick Drake, Seth Lakeman and Waterboys downloads, loop libraries for download and some rambling :)

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Fiddle strings...and starting the fiddle

Do they matter?
I have several sets here, ranging from some cheapies to the full monty: Dominants, and these are my string of choice for my beautiful vintage fiddle. Am I a string snob? Possibly, but I really DID notice the difference when I string my fiddle with Dominants, and although they are expensive, I will never use another string.

Scouting about the web I found a lot of mixed opinion on the types of string used... here are a few:

Strings can be compared to car tyres. Strings directly influence the performance of your instrument. They must "adhere" and vibrate well - be tough and very responsive. Like car tyres they must work as a whole and they must match each other, so that when passing from one string to another, no difference should be noted in string tension and tone. Don't try one make for the G, another for the D, A, and E - a totally different kind for each string in most cases leads to a mismatch in feel and performance. Cheap Violins come with the worst tyres. These are used simply in order to say that the instrument is complete and functions ( albeit with a screech !) . Cheap Chinese strings are also far too thin - just rip these off and buy some new strings. Anything will sound twice as good. If you buy Dominants or better, your Chinese violin will sound at least three times as good ! ( Good tyres will make the car drive better and feel better ! ). Strings wear out and need replacing well before they burst. If you keep them clean they last longer, though.

The full article is HERE

A bit about Dominant strings:

Thomastik : Dominant - These are warm sounding strings with good general characteristics. I usually insist all students start out with these strings, because they have a much warmer and rounder sound than metal strings. They are not the most expensive string either. I also think more dynamics can be obtained with these strings, and a much broader tonal range is also possible. These strings will not sound as loud as metal strings, but they do cost 2 times the price. However, as they sound 3 times better, and can be obtained in small sizes ( for half size violins, for example ) I tell my young students to invest in these high quality professional strings. I think even Perlman uses these on his Stradivarius !
These strings lose their tension and become flat for quite a few hours after putting them on, but aft
er 3 days they are quite stable, and keep well in tune. They are made of a sort of nylon called Perlon ( a name used only by Thomastik ), and the core of the string is made up a many filaments or strands of Perlon. The exterior is aluminum winding, which is quite susceptible to corrosion through sweat and perspiration. If not cleaned ( as all strings should be - except Chromcore ) within 6 months or less the surface smoothness will be lost, as tiny holes eat into the aluminum surface of the string. Alcohol is a good substance to clean the string with, but take care not to spill any onto the belly of your violin. My impression is that the many independent filaments of Perlon give the sound a broadness and fullness which is very satisfying. The strings are thick, full of bass tone and round in sound, and not too tense. These are very popular strings, and sale statistics say more of these strings are purchased than any other type. FINAL MARK 9/10

The biggest issue for me as a fiddle player ( apart from quality of sound an
d warmth ) is that the strings are Vegan. Some of the well known expensive brands will use animal gut and that is a no-no for me. Good strings can make even a basic cheaper fiddle sound great.

STRINGS MAGAZINE have an informative article on 30 different strings

Each violin reacts differently to strings, the fiddle is am awkward bugger, but htat of course is part of its appeal. I have tried Larson and Dominant on cheaper new fiddles and on my main fiddle which is about 170 yrs old and dominants have won each time. But then I prefer the heavier warm rich sound of the dominant... your mileage may vary...

If you are starting out on the fiddle I would recommend a cheap one to start with and don't worry too much about the strings until you know that the instrument is for you. T
hen invest in some decent strings and be sure that your fiddle is set up properly ( ie bridge is fitted properly and that the soundpost is correctly situated. ) A luthier or music shop will set up a fiddle for you quite cheaply and it is worth investing 20-30 quid in.
A good starter fiddle can be grabbed for as little as 50-70 quid now. Amazon have a full size fiddle starter set with bow and case for £ 59.99 by Antoni which is quite ridiculous when you think about it:

Antoni 'Debut' ACV30 Full Size Violin Outfit



String views from forum

More Judy Dyble stuff

Stumbled upon this BLOG with a feature on Judy.

And taken from Jude's own blog this cute pic:

More guitarist downloads

Scale poster for guitarists FREE PDF

Blank manuscript paper

Blank TAB paper

Blank CHORD paper

Generic sheet music pdf

Featuring: Acoustic guitars- plus downloads

This guide explains the different types and sizes of guitar available and gives general tips on what to look for when buying a new guitar.

There are many different makes of acoustic guitar in each price range and, as a general rule, the build quality tends to be comparable within a given price range.

The first thing you need to decide is what type of acoustic guitar you are looking for.

The Different Types Of Acoustic Guitar

The Steel Strung Acoustic Guitar
This is a very common guitar used by all styles of guitarist at all levels and is extremely versatile for playing in a wide variety of musical styles. It may come in several different shapes and styles.
The Dreadnought guitar is probably the most commonly used type of guitar for styles such as rock, pop and blues, having a large body and producing a full, rich tone.
The Jumbo guitar is similar in style to the Dreadnought but has an even larger body making it ideal for big sounding chords with great low-end tones.
The ‘Parlour’ style acoustic guitar generally has a smaller body and a sweet, rich tone and is often used for folk styles and finger picking. Its smaller size may make it preferable to Dreadnought or Jumbo models if these feel too bulky to play comfortably.

* Steel Acoustics are the most popular of all the acoustic style guitars, and have been used by everybody from The Beatles to Coldplay
* The Dreadnought’s larger body is suitable for teenagers and adults
* Steel Acoustics are versatile and let you play many types of music: including jazz, rock, pop, folk, blues and Latin
* Steel strung guitar packs are available from under £50 and so represent a “great value” first instrument

The Classical or Spanish Guitar
The classical or Spanish guitar has a distinguished musical history with some of the best classical-style guitarists hailing from Spain and Latin America. The instrument’s distinctive sound and feel is largely determined by its nylon strings, the top three being clear nylon, the lower three being wire-wrapped. Nylon strings are easier to press down than steel ones, making them particularly suitable for young children, especially on a scaled-down instrument. Some of these guitars are small enough for children from 5-6 years upwards. Classical or Spanish guitars are not generally used for more popular music styles, but can be a great starting point if a full size, steel-strung acoustic is too daunting.

  • They come in small sizes, so they’re great for young beginners
  • Softer strings make playing easier
  • Starter packs are available from under £40

The Electro-Acoustic Guitar
If you intend to play in a band with drums or other amplified instruments—or play live through a PA—you should consider an electro-acoustic guitar. These are essentially acoustic guitars with a pickup under the bridge. The pickup translates the vibrations of the strings through the bridge into an electric signal which can then be amplified. This is easier than rigging up a microphone in front of the guitar and transmits less extraneous sound. Electro-acoustics tend to have a less rich sound when played without amplification because the sound board cannot be too resonant otherwise feedback occurs when it is amplified. Volume and tone controls are usual.

  • Suitable for playing on stage with a live band
  • Best for amplification
  • Suitable for teenagers and adults, not young learners
  • Volume and tone controls are usually included and some have a built-in tuner

Acoustic Guitar Features Explained

Headstock –the part of the instrument where the machine heads (the rotating keys that tune each string) are fixed

Neck — the long wooden section with the fretboard Make sure it is straight — not warped or twisted —and comfortable to handle.

Fretboard – the flat or cambered face of the neck with the frets

Frets —metal strips set into the fretboard at calculated intervals so as to create specific notes when plucked strings are pressed against them

Nut –a small strip of material set into the guitar where the fretboard meets the headstock . It determines the height of the strings at that point and has grooves to space the strings correctly

Soundhole –hole in the soundboard of the guitar, designed to let out the sound produced inside the instrument.

Bridge – supports the strings on the soundboard and helps transmit their vibrations into the body of the guitar where the sound is generated

Guitar Sizes

For late teen or adult players, buy a full-size acoustic guitar. For younger players consider smaller sizes.

½ size guitars are good for children between the ages of 5 and 9.

3/4 size guitars are are suitable for players 8 to 13 years old.

These are necessarily approximate age guidelines but they offer a starting point. Comfort is all-important...

When Trying A Guitar In Store…

If you are a beginner, it helps to have an experienced player with you when buying. If this is not possible, our sales assistants are there to help. Try out the guitars one after another, and listen for differences in tone and volume. Does it rattle at high volume? If so the action may need adjusting. (The action is the height of the strings above the fretboard). If the action is too high, the guitar will be difficult to play and painful on the fingers after a while. If it is too low, you will hear a buzzing as the strings rattle against the frets. Test each fret to listen for buzzes and rattles. Everybody will have a preferred action height so make sure you get what is right for you and always ask questions if you are unsure about any aspect of the guitar you are trying out.

Making Your Choice…

When you have decided which style of guitar you are comfortable with, hold it in the playing position. It should feel well-balanced when you play it. Strum a ringing chord and listen to the quality of the sound and individual notes. This is a very subjective thing, but it should be pleasing to your ear. If you are in any doubt about the sound or feel of the guitar then don’t hesitate to try out another couple until you find the right guitar for your individual needs. If you make the right choice then you can play the same guitar for many years so it’s well worth spending the time to get it right.


Chords: great interactive tool



Ultimate scale e book

Basic caged guitar chords e book


Wednesday, 23 July 2008

More FREE e books inc. shure, reason, podcasting

Some more musician e books, all free, just grab em !

Getting Great Guitar Sounds Book Of Guitar Effects


REASON extensive tutorial

ROLAND: Beginners guide to mixing

SHURE: Microphone techniques for music

Judy Dyble articles

Posted with permission from Judy , these three articles are currently on Judy's myspace page so add her as a friend to see all of her pics and blog entries. She also has a blog here so stop by and say hello.
The files are in a pdf form and contain 3 good quality article scans ( Shindig magazine, Froots and Rock n Reel )


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Dave Swarbrick RARE AUCTION !!

Dave Swarbrick is auctioning a very rare piece of Fairport history in aid of the starving people of Ethiopia.

Swarb is auctioning a piece of music signed by his late friend and former Fairport member, Sandy Denny, on eBay

"When Sandy died, the contents of her music stool came to me. Amongst the contents, were twelve pieces of her sheet music, all classical which Sandy played from time to time.

What makes them unique, is not only were they owned by Sandy, but each one is autographed by her. In the thirty years or so that I have owned these keep-sakes, I have only released four of them and all to women who have a special interest in Sandy. They are: Pamela Winters, Cathy le Surf, Vikki Clayton and Chris While.

I am now offering for auction, a framed copy of Bosworth's Musical Classics. Signed: Sandy Denny and authenticated on the reverse of the frame by myself, Dave Swarbrick.

Closing date is Friday 8th August. The winning bidder will be announced on the Saturday night at the Fairport's Cropredy Festival. And, also on Fairport Convention's website. Unless of course, there is a specific request by the successful bidder for anonymity. There is no reserve and all proceeds will be donated to ETHIOPIAID."

Judy Dyble... She is a bit good !

I have just stumbled upon Judy's BLOG...

Very entertaining, but then much of what she says is.
She is currently working on a new album, and upon release has very groovily agreed to an interview with this very blog. Can't wait... plan to ask some unusual and interesting questions, as there are far too many interviews ( imo ) focusing on Fairport and times gone by...
The fact is that Judy has been doing solo stuff for a while now and I would like to focus on that.

Below is a little bio for youtube that I did for her ( because there wasn't one ).. it is short and a bit crap and currently being remade into a longer more detailed effort that will do her far more justice. It features three of her solo tracks, so if you are unfamiliar with her solo stuff take a listen:

The thing I love most about Judy's music are the floaty vocals and the words she chooses to paint with. Although some of her words in some songs are decidedly melancholy, her delivery would never show that.

A couple of other clips, the former is recorded at Fairport's Cropredy Festival, 2007.

Guest stars : Judy Dyble, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Iain Matthews, Richard Thompson.

And another, this time from the warm-up show at Woodford Halse Social Club, prior to the Cropredy Festival. It's the 2007 Fairport line-up with former members and guests Vicki Clayton, Judy Dyble, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Martin Allcock and Jerry Donahue. It also features a very bouncy SWARB !

Just fantastic, great sound on those two clips too.
Judy has a WEBSITE and is also on MYSPACE

** Boring hippy reminiscing warning **

I first heard of Judy Dyble when I was 17, a total stoner, and hanging with all sorts of colourful ( and sometimes dubious ) characters. One in particular was called Taliesyn, a tall guy who jangled with jewelry when he walked, wore a constant bandanna as headwear, and drove a painted commer hippy van with stonehenge on the back doors. needless to say we were hounded a lot by the police :)
Sitting in his room at his ( liberal ) mothers house in leafy Buckinghamshire, lots of pagan posters ( esp Fitzpatrick ) on the wall, candles... cliched hippy pad but delightful all the same.... smoking much sticky black pot ( which was far easier to get then as it is now ... none of that rocky crap for us ! ) and rolling numerous long ones for the road on album covers.
His room was the first place I heard Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Beverley Martin and Trader Horne....
And so yes I did partake in an act of desecration on Judy Dyble's face.. I rolled a fat one ( actually more than one ) on " Morning Way ". I am sure I am not the first..... and I am sure she wouldn't mind :)
And then stoned, wobbling, stumbling into said hippy bus for the short journey to the Iron Horse ( known by everyone who drank there as the " Iron lung " due to the big heavy cloud of cannabis smoke that slapped you in the face as soon as you walked inside ) , a pub that counted the Windsor chapter of Hells Angels, lots of potheads, Deadheads, A DJ called " Kozmic Ken " ( who is still Dj-ing ), spotty underagers and arty students as its clientelle. I worked the bar for a while and it could get quite hairy ( not just cos of the biker beards either ).
On weekend nights a helpful ( and bent ) police friend would call the bar to warn us we were about to be raided, and everyone would drop their substances a) behind the bar sofas, or b) in the beer garden grass. The police would come and usually leave empty handed. Of course it was rare that anyone was able to easily find there stash again so upon closing time, the bar staff would have a nice bonus is they could be arsed to go look for said dropped packages. I rarely had to buy my dope whilst I worked there :)

The Iron is now gone, knocked down for some shitty office building, along with it the yellow nicotine walls and hairy, stinky bikers. A part of my youth gone for good.....

Introducing the electric fiddle !!!

An electric violin is an amplified violin that sends out a signal through an electrical pickup device. There are several different models of electric violins. Some are standard acoustic violins with an electric pickup added to the bridge. Other types of electric violins are designed differently and only work properly when plugged in. Electric violins are often used to play different types of music than standard acoustic violins.

The pickups of electric violins are important. Since electric violin strings are usually made of metal, either magnetic or piezoelectric pickups are used to transmit the sound to the amplifier. This system is similar to the way electric guitars work.

Some people add an electric pickup to a standard acoustic violin so that it’s signal can be transmitted to an amplifier. The problem with putting a pickup on an acoustic violin is that acoustic violins have a hollow wooden body that can create feedback when it is played electrically. The resonance of the sound vibrating in the violin’s body interferes with the sound made by the strings and can cause annoying, high-pitched squealing noises to come out of the amplifier.

Most electric violins have a solid body design. The solid body keeps the instrument from feeding back. Also, any necessary electrical equipment, such as any wiring or batteries, is housed in the body. Since the electric violin is a relatively new invention, it has no standard body shape or design, and makers are free to experiment and invent new ways of designing the instrument.

Electric violins are usually used in different situations than acoustic violins. An electric violin is viewed as an experimental instrument and is not found in classical or traditional music, but is often used in avant-garde music. Guitar effects like reverb, chorus, and distortion can be used to give the electric violin a unique, otherworldly sound.

Electric violins are unique instruments with a sound all their own. Electric violins are perfect for musicians and composers who want to have their own individual sound.

More here on WIKIPEDIA

Electric fiddler site

Of course the alternative for a trad fiddler is to amplify their instrument.. Fishman pick ups are great for this:

Fishman originally built its reputation by developing pickups that literally changed the way acoustic stringed instruments were heard and experienced in live performance situations.

Now the company introduces a new line of premium pickups for Violin, Viola, Cello, Mandolin and Resophonic Spider-style guitar.

A result of Fishman's special expertise in the field, an intensive R&D effort spearheaded by company founder Larry Fishman, and today's most sophisticated transducer technologies, these new pickups offer an extraordinary level of performance, tone quality and accuracy for stringed instruments.

The new piezo-ceramic Concert Series pickups for Violin, Viola and Cello are preinstalled in a high quality Despiau bridge to provide the ultimate performance in terms of a precise and perfectly balanced tone from string to string.

Specifically designed for two-piece Archtop and Flat Top style Mandolins and Spider-style Resophonic guitar, the new Nashville Series premium pickup models also feature an integrated installation in a high quality bridge that enhances the overall tonal character of the instrument.

In addition to an exceptionally clear, true and natural tonal response that reveals the true character of the instrument, these new pickups sound remarkably consistent every time they are played.

The new stringed instrument pickups are also optimized for use with the Fishman Aura Imaging Pedals to provide a higher level of sound quality and added sonic versatility in live performance. Violin, Viola, Cello and Mandolin pickups include a Carpenter jack, while the Resophonic pickup includes an endpin jack.

An impedance-matching preamp for these pickups is recommended, but not required.

Guitar tabs

It's much easier to learn how to read guitar tabs than it is to learn sight reading on guitar. Knowing exactly which fret and string to put your fingers on is the main advantage of tabs over notes. However, most tabs don't clearly express the rhythm of the music so it's best to also have a recording of the song you are learning.

Guitar tabs are written on a six lined staff. Each line represents a string on the guitar. The top line of a guitar tab is for the high E string, and the bottom line is for the low E string. All of the other strings fall between in order.

Here's what a guitar tab staff looks like:

e--------------------- <- high E string

B--------------------- <- B string

G--------------------- <- G string

D--------------------- <- D string

A--------------------- <- A string

E--------------------- <- low E string

Sometimes the string names won't be written at the beginning of the tab staff, and it will look something like this:







But don't worry, it works just the same as before.

If you're not quite sure about your string names yet, here's an easy mnemonic device to help you remember them:

Ed And Dan Go Bowling Every Day.

What do the numbers mean?

The numbers on the lines tell you which frets to play. So, a 1 will mean the first fret, 2 stands for the second fret, etc. If you see a zero, that means to play the open string.

Here's an example:







Alright, let's walk through it.

First, play the open low E string. Then play the second fret on the D string. After that play the first fret on the A string, then the open A string. Play the third fret on the low E string, and finally the open low E string again.

See? It's not hard to figure out how to read guitar tabs!

What about chords?

Chords are written the same way, except the fret numbers are stacked on top of one another. Here's an E7 chord for example:







Sometimes, if you're supposed to take your time strumming, the tab will look like this:







There are some other symbols that you are likely to see on tabs besides just numbers. Here's a list of what they mean:

  • h - hammer on
  • p - pull off
  • / - slide up
  • - slide down
  • b - bend
  • r - release bend
  • ~ or v - vibrato
  • x - mute
  • t - tap
  • pm - palm mute
  • tr - trill, rapid hammer ons and pull offs

So, learning how to read guitar tabs is not that hard, especially when you compare it to note reading! To get the most out of a tab, get a recording of a song to practice with and get the rhythm from.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Nick Drake stuff coming very soon !

Saturday, 19 July 2008


FREE download HERE


Available on my personal blog HERE


Marc Gunn's 14 tips to a better music website E BOOK










Stay posted for a load of free stuff today

I am uploading stuff as we speak, a load of free ebooks of special interest to guitarists and singers, some loop packs and over on the LIVEJOURNAL blog I will be posting a Leonard Cohen concert ( Poland ) from his recent tour.

Also on here today will be a podcast of the exclusive interview with SETH LAKEMAN which was conducted on
Diversity FM by Colin Bertram.

Friday, 18 July 2008

The Boundless living challenge !

I just joined another network, free to join, invited by my friend Addy on facebook. The group that I was invited to is absolutely busting at the seams with positive energy and spirit, and within an hour I am chatting to healers, a lady who has written a musical lol and all sorts of creative and colourful souls.

The group is HERE if anyone is interested ( not a referral link ), that is the link to my profile.

So what is this group?
It is the 45 day Boundless living challenge, a place to manifest it seems. I am new there and don't know too much about it yet as it is in pre-launch but if it is anything like the energy I have felt there tonight then I am glad I have joined.

I have been busy compiling a load of musician resources in the form of pdf
e- books and software which I will be uploading and sharing in the next few days. There is so good stuff there for musicians and I also have got my mitts on a load of business stuff for those withing to grow their web presence and tips on networking etc. I will be adding those links too, probably in a big zip file on rapidshare or something similar.

Behind the scene , I am busy busy busyyyyy designing the main BE A GODDESS MUSIC site which will incorporate many of the resources on this blog in one spot as well as be a big time resource for musicians and the like. I am networking like mad with other artistic women so expect to see some of them featured too.

The new site will have a very large downloads section, the majority of which will be 100% free. I will also be adding both free and paid loop libraries, how-to's, tech stuff for recording and graphics stuff too.

There is still a lot to do so inbetween building the site I am taking breaks to network and build relationships with others who I can work with and assist. Women in numbers are strong, and I believe in the concept of
" paying it forward ", so this looks to be an interesting project.

I am also learning about autoresponders, lists, business plans and all sorts of stuff so if I am not on here as much you know why... it means my brain has gone pop :)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Eliza Carthy - my music channel 5

My Music: Episode 4 - Eliza Carthy
Channel 5 - 27 April 2008

Documentary series exploring the musical influences of four of the most successful artists in contemporary English folk music. This film focuses on Eliza Carthy, a singer-songwriter who is bringing traditional music to a new audience. Part of a legendary musical dynasty, Carthy regularly mixes musical genres as disparate as music hall, tango and even drum and bass. Her willingness to experiment with various styles has allowed her music to reach a new generation of fans

PART ONE HERE ( just follow the links to the rest in the sidebar or by hitting my youtube user name )

Swarb's lazarus !!

Swarb's Lazarus is a trio featuring the legendary English fiddler Dave Swarbrick (ex-Fairport Convention, ex-Whippersnapper), known affectionately as Swarb, ace guitarist Kevin Dempsey (ex-Whippersnapper) and multi-instrumentalist Maartin Allcock (ex-Fairport Convention, ex-Jethro Tull). Swarb's Lazarus play mostly traditional music of the British Isles.

Swarb received a new pair of lungs in October 2004 after years of debilitating emphysema which left him at death's door a few times, but he wasn't quite ready to fulfil his premature obituary which was published in the Daily Telegraph in April 1999...

All the photographs on this clip by Bryan Ledgard and Chris Bates

Seth Lakeman - Haunt You - darkly ominous

Taken from his new album " poor mans heaven " which is ( I think ) his best yet:

This song is just dripping with ominous and dark energy which is quite different for Seth.
Looks like the new album has received some well deserved good reviews such as :

When you’re hot you're hot. With Poor Man's Heaven, the man who would be folkie cross-over king is certainly giving off a lot of heat. The instrumental palette may be largely the same as 2006's Freedom Fields but the reach is bigger and you can hear an ambitious stadium-sized appetite rattling around in the fusillades of up-front drumming which open the album. Such is the rock and reel quotient present, there are moments where you could imagine Jimmy Page and Robert Plant coming up with some of this stuff; the thundering pattern utilised on The Hurlers bears a passing resemblance to the flurry of energy sizzling between the guitar and drums of Led Zep's Four Sticks.

and this amazon review :

If you're already the proud owner of Seth's previous albums then the best way I can describe this is as like Kitty Jay and Lady of the Sea - its fast, loud and foot stomping. There's a couple of slow songs but the pace doesn't stop.
If you're new to Seth then hello. Maybe you like folk music with a bit of a kick or if you're a fan of people like Clannad or The Levellers then this is certainly up your street. The inspiration for the album is the Cornish coast including the Penlee lifeboat tragedy, shipwrecks, old Cornish legends about standing stones and a race to catch whales. All of this may sound a little odd but its the way its delivered - with a striking drum and a frantic fiddle.
I can't praise this album enough - it was played full blast several times on a 4 hour drive if thats a good recommendation! If you get the chance to see any of these songs performed live then you're in for a treat.

Seth's myspace has some of the new songs on it, well worth a listen, the album rocks !

Folk by the oak festival w/ Seth Lakeman !

Unable to attend due to health issues but this sounds like a great little festie:

Folk by the Oak, Sunday 27th July 2008

JSL Productions present a summer afternoon of sublime contemporary folk music set amongst the ancient wooded fields of Hatfield Park.

Bring a picnic, sit back and absorb yourself in wistful ballads or dance along to jigs and reels surrounded by ancient trees in the beautiful Elizabeth Oak Field. For those who love acoustic music at it’s very best! For a location map please click here.

Ticket information:

Adult :£26
(£33 on concert day and subject to availability)
Child under 16 years: £14
Family Offer (2 adults and 2 children): £72
Children under 5 years free
Groups of 10 or more qualify for a £2 reduction per ticket.
50p from each ticket will be donated to The Willow Foundation

Click here to buy tickets online
or phone our info/booking line on 01432 355416.

Featuring an award winning line up of artists:

Monday, 14 July 2008

Making your music sound professional ( production )


Why is it that some perfectly well-recorded songs sound like demos, while others sound like top commercial tracks?

One of the questions we hear most is "Why doesn't my music sound as 'produced' as the music I hear on commercial CDs?"

I'm sure you won't be too surprised when I tell you that there isn't a single, simple answer. Some people assume that the superior equipment used in pro studios is the key, but although competent gear is required to do the job properly, you don't actually need anything esoteric.

Even when it comes to recording vocals you don't have to use expensive high-end tube capacitor mics -- artists such as Phil Collins and Mick Jagger often use relatively inexpensive dynamic models because that's what works best for them. A few years ago, the drum sound was what gave away most demos, but now we have good drum machines, drum samples and sample loops, as well as real drums, to choose from.

The secret of a produced sound starts with the source material. It doesn't matter what you do to your recording afterwards if this isn't up to scratch. It almost goes without saying that good timing and good tuning are essential, but the choice of sounds and the way in which acoustic instruments and voices are recorded has a huge bearing on the perceived quality of the end result.

Vox Clever

If you record vocals in a small, untreated room, the chances are that the resulting sound will be boxy, so place your mic somewhere near the centre (but not exactly in the centre) of a larger room and put up improvised screens (sleeping bags, duvets, blankets and so on) where necessary to kill the reflections. Used in this way, virtually any respectable mic will give you good results providing you use a pop shield. You can also record acoustic guitars in the same environment.

Vocal Compression

Vocals invariably need compression, but what kind and how much?

Listen to what you've recorded and try to establish how much variation there is in the vocal level. If you hear a lot of fluctuation it might be better to use a model of compressor that can pin down the level without changing the sound too much. The compressors that come as standard in Yamaha digital mixers are good for this, as you can really pile on the gain reduction without changing the sound too radically; there are also analogue models that can do the same.

On the other hand, you may feel the vocals need thickening as well as levelling, in which case a compressor with a character of its own might be better suited to the job. Tube and 'opto' compressors generally produce the fattest sounds, and of course there are software plug-ins that emulate just about anything you can buy in a rackmount box.

The goal is to get the vocal sitting nicely with the backing track so that you don't feel the urge to turn it up or down in different parts of the song. Professional engineers may also spend some time fine-tuning vocal levels with their mixer automation systems, and if you use either a digital mixer or a computer-based recording system you can do the same.

Key Facts

Synth sounds must be chosen with care, because a lot of factory patches are designed to sound big and impressive for the benefit of those who choose their new instruments on the strength of 'preset cruising'! What sounds wonderful on its own might take up too much space in a mix so, if you don't want to edit the patch, try using EQ to trim off excess bass or high end.

The EQ'd patch might sound odd in isolation, but it may well fit the track better. Another tip for those reluctant to get into heavy editing is to layer patches to get the desired result. For example, a deep bass sound mixed with a more percussive patch might help you produce a bass that you can hear as well as feel.

It's important not to over-orchestrate your arrangements, especially when you have fat synth pads and overdriven guitars occurring at the same time. The same is true of some treated drum loops, which can actually take up a lot of space. If in doubt, listen to some commercial mixes in a similar style to the track you're working with.

You may be surprised at how little there is going on at any one time.

It may help if you get your sounds as close as possible to correct at source so you don't need to use a lot of EQ. Few budget mixers have the kind of EQ that works well when called upon to make major tonal changes, and often you'll find that the more you EQ, the harsher, boomier or less focused your mix becomes.

Reduced Reverb

Once you've created space in your mix, don't give it all away by filling every available gap with heavy reverb. As it happens, reverb is one area where a decent-quality unit really helps, especially if you use a lot of small-room or ambient reverbs. You don't have to spend a fortune: the excellent Lexicon MPX100 costs around £200, yet still offers the general feel of Lexicon's more expensive studio processors.

Bear in mind that heavy reverb tends to push a sound to the back of a mix, so if you want a vocal to appear up-front you should use a fairly bright reverb, with 80mS or so of pre-delay. Don't overdo the delay time, either, especially with up-tempo songs. Other effects should also be used carefully -- use an effect because the track needs it, not because you happen to have it!

Dramatic effects can be made even more dramatic if you use them for short sections of a song rather than having them full-on all the way through, and delay effects often work best when the delay time is related to the tempo of the song.

Master The Situation

What many people don't realise is just how great a difference is made to commercial records at the mastering stage. Prior to mastering, you might be surprised at just how ordinary some mixes sound. Mastering often involves nothing more than compression, limiting and equalisation.

Favourite Strings

Guitars and basses can be a dead giveaway that a recording is not a commercial one if they are poorly recorded. Sticking a mic in front of an amp is probably still the best way to get a live-sounding recording of a performance, but if this is not feasible there are so many good recording preamps around now that there's little excuse for getting a thin or buzzy guitar sound.

However, go easy on the overdrive, and consider using less overdrive but combining it with compression if you need sustain. Use a gate to keep your guitar tracks clear of unwanted noise, and also try to reduce clutter in the arrangement: where two guitars are playing essentially the same chords, for example, first decide whether both guitars are actually necessary.

If they are, consider using different chord inversions for one of the parts, or even a capo. Incidentally, acoustic guitars almost always sound better miked than DI'd.

Basses can actually be more difficult to record than guitars, because although they may sound great in isolation when DI'd via an active DI box and a compressor, they can still lack punch in the context of the overall mix.

Again, consider miking the amp or using a guitar DI preamp so you can add just a little overdrive to warm up the sound. Compression will help keep the sound even and punchy. A good tip here is to make any necessary EQ adjustments when the rest of the track is playing, because then you'll be able to make the sound match the track. If you EQ the sound first it might sound great on its own, but could get completely lost when the other faders are brought up.

This is one area where the equipment does make a huge difference, though with all-in-one mastering processors now available at prices project studio owners can afford, it is possible to get a professional sound at home providing you have good ears and accurate monitors.


A good equaliser doesn't just change the spectral balance of a sound: it also seems to lift information out of a mix. One popular mastering technique is to apply an overall boost of just one or two dBs at around 15kHz with a wide bandwidth setting. This is what people mean when they talk about 'air EQ', 'sheen' or 'gloss'. With a nice equaliser this boost will lift out high-end detail while at the same time pulling the vocals forward, but it shouldn't make the sound harsh or toppy.

Similarly, adding a gentle dip at around 180-250Hz may help clarify a muddy lower mid-range, while a boost at 70-90Hz will firm up a weak bass end. It is vital to use a classy equaliser for this job, though -- a cheap one just won't deliver the necessary fairy dust! (And a good mastering equaliser probably costs more than many people's entire computer-based recording system.) I use an SPL Vitalizer on some of my mixes, as it replicates many of the EQ functions of a mastering processor, and if you don't have the money to buy a high-end equaliser I'd recommend one of the lower-cost versions of the Vitalizer as an easy-to-use alternative.

A very gentle overall compression of around 1.1:1 with a threshold of -30 to -40dB will make a mix sound more even and more powerful. However, multi-band mastering processors add a lot of flexibility in the area of compression, because they give you the opportunity to perform operations such as applying more compression to the bass end than to the rest of the mix. This helps firm up the bass end only, and any spectral imbalance caused by the different compression ratios can be restored by adjusting the levels of the various frequency bands at the compressor's output.


Mastering also tends to involve limiting, a process similar to compression (but with an infinitely high ratio) that controls just the tips of loud peaks. Applying a little limiting will often make it possible to increase the avera"The secret of a produced sound starts with the source material. It doesn't matter what you do to your recording afterwards if this isn't up to scratch."

If you're starting from a 20- or 24-bit master and you reduce to 16-bit right at the end of the process, this has the benefit of using the whole of the bit resolution of the CD format, which means less noise, less distortion and better low-level resolution. It also makes your CD sound as loud as the 'produced' commercial CDs in your collection. Use a limiter specifically designed for mastering (such as the Waves L1 plug-in or the limiter in your mastering processor) and don't over-limit, or you will start to hear the difference. Usually 4-5dB of limiting is all that's needed.

A note on limiting: Any decision taken to limit or not to limit is a musical one. Some musical styles apply heavy limiting as part of the musical style’s “sound”, others don’t. Production requirements may suggest limiting is needed, for example preparing your music for broadcast might necessitate limiting in order to compensate for the radio’s smaller dynamic range. In our example we exaggerated in our limiting setting – The student should understand that limiting to produce a 5.2dB attenuation is a bit heavy. Normally we should watch out for a maximum of 4dB attenuation.


Processing via tube or simulated tube circuitry can also warm up a mix (which is why tube EQs and compressors are popular for mastering), but again you get even more flexibility if this tube processing comes as part of a multi-band package. For example, adding a little gentle tube saturation only to the low band will noticeably thicken the bass and kick drum without spilling over into the midrange and high end.

Similarly, adding high-end saturation has an effect similar to an enhancer, enhancing detail and and lending gloss. The secret with all these treatments is to use them sparingly and always compare the processed sound with the unprocessed to make sure you have not gone too far. A good processor will transform a recording with just a dB or two of adjustment where needed. If you find you're using a lot of processing, suspect your basic mix of being too wide of the mark.

Summing Up

As you can see, the magic of musical production isn't something you 'paint' on at some point in the recording process, but is rather the result of attention to detail at all points throughout the recording, starting with the musical arrangement and choice of sounds. Nevertheless, processing at the mastering stage (ie. after your mix) can make a huge difference.

Professional mastering is expensive for a reason: pro mastering engineers have great equipment and a lot of experience in using it. If you're not confident you have the necessary equipment and expertise to do your mix justice, think about getting your work professionally mastered, especially if it's destined for commercial release.