Here’s the story about how I was writing music without being aware of it – unfortunately I think it happens often for a lot of people who writes music. As a little “bonus” you can read why the title “Funky Mama” is appropriate for this specific song I’ll use for this story. It’s always tricky to find titles for instrumental tunes 🙂
Writing music – writing Funky Mama
I was visiting my parents, staying at their house for the weekend. As I’ve written earlier I always bring my guitar for holidays. When I arrived we had some nice food, some good wine and talked a lot. The day after we all sat in the living room, doing whatever we liked to relax. Mom was reading a book in her favorite chair, dad was looking thru some art books. I was just jamming around on my guitar.
After a while I decided to make some coffee. Dad was still reading and mom was doing their laundries. While I was in the kitchen I heard her whistle a catchy phrase. I thought I knew it from somewhere but couldn’t decide from where. After a while it started to annoy me that I couldn’t name or categorise her tune. I went to her and asked – “what’s that you’re whistling … it sounds familiar?”. My mom laughed and told me that it was what I have been playing in the living room a little earlier.
Back in the living room I picked up my guitar. Within seconds I realised that she was right – it was the “theme” I’ve been jamming around for some time. I decided to record a memo in my phone. Good decision. Just a few weeks later the tune was added to my bands setlist.
Writing music without being aware of it
I had been writing music and composed a complete song without being aware of it. It would have been forgotten, if my mom hadn’t started to whistle the theme. After this experience I record almost everything I jam over for more than a few minuttes. Therefore I’ll suggest that you also remember to record whatever you’re jamming around with. You’ll never know when something interesting is showing up.
And a little fun fact: neither my mom or I was aware of the odd meter within the song. There’s a 5/4 bar in the middle of the A-part. I realised that when I introduced the tune to the band, and the drummer had to hear it twice to figure out what was going on 🙂
Later on I have even recorded the song on my second album. I also ended up jamming the tune on the American TV-show Studio Jams – you can see that part from the episode here. All this just because my mama caught the riff and started to whistle while she walking around fixing some things.
Yesterday my third album – Gratitude – was released. I’m happy, excited, proud, nervous. I have tons of feelings and thoughts running thru me and I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes, before I have to do something to distract my thoughts – I guess you can imagine how it is.
I’ve been working on this album for several years on and off. Actually did I write some of the tracks many years ago, while some of the tunes are totally new, also to me … at least kind of new, after working with them for some time.
When I make an album a lot of things go around in circles.
The Cioks Ciokolate is a serious and professional power supply – strong as an elephant, available to adapt to different surroundings just as many human beings … and delicious (at least for us guitar players) as a candy bar.
Why should I buy a new power supply?
It makes sense to ask me that, since I’ve written several posts about how fond I am of the Pussy power supply (also made by Cioks). When I returned from the oversea trip, I did with my new smaller board, I wanted to use my bigger board for the final recordings for my coming album. Suddenly I remembered that I stole the Pussy Power from that board right before I left for Canada. Since I’m very happy about my new smaller board, and have no intentions of letting it go, I needed a new power supply for my old board. I was just about to order another Pussy Power, when I remembered something.
An additional experience with the Cioks Pussy power supply
This summer I was invited to come to Canada and play with the great saxophone player Walle Larsson and his band. Since I had to travel overseas I had to resize my pedalboard and make some serious decisions about what to bring and what to leave at home.
Overseas travels and power supplies
Since I’ve been into racks for years I haven’t traveled overseas with a pedalboard before. I’ve heard from several friends that the solution often is batteries to avoid troubles with hum, but since I wanted to bring pedals that needed more power than 9 volts I had to find the a good solution. The solution wasn’t that far away … I looked at my big board, flipped it upside down and looked at my Pussy power supply … it took about five seconds to find the switch that made it possible to work with 120 V main voltage as well. It had all I needed for my new board – isolated sections, 9-15 volts, some of the sections with 400mA and a weight about one kilo … all I needed. (Actually it can deliver up to 24v if you need that!). A few minutes after I started mounting the Pussy power at my new and smaller board. I put some extra power chords in my suitcase, since I would receive the last pedals at my hotel in Canada and headed for the airport … ok, I did this some days in advance of my flight … I like to be organized 🙂
What does the Empress buffer+ do, and do I really need a buffer? … I mean there are several interesting pedals out there that can do some really exiting stuff, so why spend money on a pedal that doesn’t add a wild distortion or other ‘stuff’ to your sound? Well let me try to tell you about my experiences with buffers and why I just got the Empress buffer+.
When I made my pedalboard a couple of years ago I spent hours reading about true bypass, browsing the internet to find the right pedals, cables and jacks. I was very happy and excited about most of the stuff I ended up buying. But I must admit I was confused and disappointed when I finally put everything together and plugged my guitar into the board and amp … what happened to that nice warm and present tone I just had a minute ago, going directly into the amp?
After talking to some of my more nerdy friends who have had boards for years, I was recommended a buffer. Actually a guy in a music store already mentioned a buffer to me, when I was complaining about how all the volume pedals choked the tone while I was trying out all the different brands – and back then I replied that I was looking for one good volume pedal … not a volume pedal AND something to fix it. But now I was a bit more ready to hear about buffers. Again I’m not into all the technical stuff … I just want it to sound good.
Let med try to explain very briefly what a buffer does.
Some years ago, when I decided to go for a pedalboard solution instead of the rack setup that I’ve used for years, I searched the market for quite a while to find the right pedals for my new board. I ended up buying some really good, and unfortunately not cheap, pedals. The upside is that they are reliable and sound awesome, so now I don’t have to worry about purchasing ‘upgrades’ … or? 🙂
Why should I get a new pedalboard?
Well, last year I was invited to play in Canada this summer. When I got a little closer to my trip and started thinking about what to bring, I realized I had to cut down my current pedalboard, if I wanted to avoid spending a fortune on surcharges at the airports. What could I remove?? Actually, I loved my board as it was and didn’t want to lose anything, but I had to let something go. Some tough decisions had to be made, so I started browsing the internet again… and I inevitably ended up checking out what the brands I already used (on my main board) had to offer.
Some time ago I wrote about how I got my old Valley Arts guitar back. As I wrote in that post it was a little weird at first to play that guitar again, but after a few hours, it felt so natural. I couldn’t believe it was ten years since I played that guitar the last time. Today I’ll write about a modification I’ve done to all my guitars with Floyd Rose systems and why I have this tremsetter in my guitars.
One thing that showed me how many hours I have spend with my Valley Arts Guitar back in the nineties, was when I changed the strings after the re-arrival. I took off the old ones, added some new and started tuning up. Without a reference note or tuner in sight I just turned the tuners till it felt right. When I subsequently plugged the guitar into my rig and turned on the tuner, it was in tune – A440 spot on. After ten years it just felt right and was right – nice.
When I had played my old Valley for some hours and decided that I wanted to buy the guitar back, I also decided that I would re-install the tremsetter that I had in the guitar back then. Continue reading “Tremsetter in my guitar”
Here’s another “review”. Today I’ll write about the Radial Tonebone Trimode tube distortion. Again this is more about my personal experiences – why and how I use it –than a test with a lot of technically data and information.
Thru the years I’ve tried tons of overdrive pedals – some of them have done a good job – at least in combination with certain amps. But for me it’s essential that they work well with every amp. When I wrote about my move back in the days, from amp and pedalboard to a rack-setup I explained about the benefits I got from that. Thru the years I’ve dreamt about a setup that was easier to travel with than my rack, and at the same time a setup that is able to give me my overdriven tube sounds I can get from my rack setup.
How did I meet the Radial Tonebone Trimode tube distortion ?
Dear guitar friends – I want to hear your opinion about an issue I’ve just become aware of … an issue that really started to drive me crazy. I’m thinking about volume and wah problems … It is perhaps a bit nerdy but let’s geek out and enjoy it.
Here’s my volume and wah problems
The angle and the action on my wah pedal has always seemed very natural and as it should be. Maybe I needed a bit of time getting used to the new feel, when it was mounted on my board that’s angled, but it felt natural pretty fast.
But the angle and the action on my volume pedal has always seemed a little to big for me. After it was mounted to my board, I think the problem has increased. Many years ago I decided to drop my high-heeled boots and wear something more neutral, but now I miss the high heels when I want to turn the volume all the way down (which the guitarists usually don’t do very often), but it happens every now and then (yes, when somebody place difficult sheets in front of you … or when we need a break).
This is written either to advice beginners, or to inspire you if you are a serious guitar player with years experience, and therefore is someone your friends or students would ask for help in buying guitar related stuff 🙂
My best advice on buying a guitar
Don’t bother about the brand or model, don’t give it a lot of thought if its made of certain kind of wood, or has fancy features, looks extraordinary cool, has the latest invention of a tremolo system or anything like that. What’s important is that it should be easy to play and stay in tune!! Oh maybe one thing more – if you want to have an electric guitar – guess what: … buy an electric guitar.