San Francisco Guitarworks

14 04 2013

I keep taking guitars (and basses) with problems to San Francisco Guitarworks, and they keep converting decent instruments + money into amazing instruments.

Yesterday I got my Rickenbacker 360/12 back. Previously it looked amazing, sounded amazing, and played more or less like catching a muddy frog with your hand, if your hand already contained your car keys. Now it’s more like spelling your first name, and you get three tries to get it right.

Seriously, if you have a guitar (or guitar-like instrument) that needs some major (or minor) surgery, they will make it right. I think I’ve taken 4 different instruments there over the years, and each time the result is like the wand shop scene in Harry Potter when they finally pick the right wand.

P.S. if they ask if you want the Plek treatment, the answer is yes.

New 25-minute ROCKING video!!

7 06 2007

We (TungstenSF) recorded 2 songs (yes, 2 songs = 25 minutes!) a week ago and here is the result for all to see:

TungstenSF: Mercy II and Houdini


Bass Amplification, Part 2

21 05 2007

In Part 1 I talked about the reason why bass players basically can’t avoid the need for lots of amplification power on stage. In this part I’ll talk about picking amplifiers and speakers and how to shop for them.
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Bass Amplification, Part 1

21 05 2007

Yesterday I brought my full bass rig (meaning not the little practice amp I use at home, but the full live setup with effects, amp, and speakers) to the studio for a performance-volume rehearsal. It was not loud enough. I spent about 5 hours yesterday and 2 hours today studying up on what’s out there, and I ordered something new today.

I realized today that I’ve read a whole lot about bass amplification over the years and had plenty of real world experience with different approaches, and I think this information is interesting to bass players at least, and probably rock music audiences and price/performance minded home audio enthusiasts too. So, I’ll start with some basic information about the state of live rock music amplification in Part 1, and then share some of my recently acquired knowledge with you in Part 2.
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Tungsten SF

6 05 2007

I’m in a new band that formed in February 2007. It’s called Tungsten SF at the moment; we might drop the SF part. Here’s the Tungsten SF web site which has bio info, news, audio clips, and a snazzy band photo / desktop wallpaper in widescreen format.

If you’re on MySpace, please add tungstensf to your friends!


17 12 2006

Hi there. This is my new all-music web site & blog, separated from my more social and all-encompassing web site here.

This is where my news, works in progress, and small works will be published for fun. Later on I’ll include a performance calendar (once I figure that out).

For now, I’ve posted all of my old odds and ends (song and song fragments) here with a nifty and simple Flash MP3 player. Let me know if this breaks for you; I haven’t tested it much yet but this setup beats the empty “coming soon” page I had here before today.

Critters on Parade (with a Brief Drizzle)

15 12 2006

Composed December 9, 12 and 14, 2006. Sequenced & mixed December 15, 2006.

This is my final composition project for Music 233 at SFSU (Chromatic Analysis and Synthesis). The assignment was to write a piano and flute piece incorporating a specific overall form and a list of compositional techniques. I first came up with a harmonic structure (with general rhythm) that fulfilled all of the assignment’s requirements.

I recently watched Free to Be… You and Me on TVLand. So once I started to write a flute melody in a major key it was obvious to me that it should be written as if it were going to be in a children’s TV show.

mm. 1-8: the parade theme.
mm. 9-16: the description of what’ll be in the parade.
mm. 17-18: rain threatening to stop the parade.
mm. 19-24: the idea to take it all inside and have a carnival instead.
mm. 25-28: some fun indoors.
mm. 29-32: the discovery and announcement that the rain has stopped.
mm. 33-40: restatement of the parade theme, for the second try on having it outdoors.

(Note that the first and second sections each repeat once, so you hear mm. 1-16 twice then mm. 17-40 twice.)

This took about 12 hours from start to finish, from reading the assignment to compressing the MP3. The first part (harmony, and rhythmic and repeat structure) was done as scribbles on blank paper; the rest of the writing was done with Sibelius. There’s a PDF of the score.

This piece was performed (sight-read in front of the class) in the last meeting of the class on December 15th by pianist Emily Rubis and flutist David Roache. (Thanks!)

My Own True Love

1 12 2005

This is an arrangement of an assigned melody (with chord names) that I performed today as part of my final exam for Class Piano III (Music 203). We were required to use several accompaniment techniques, all of which are incorporated in my arrangement (PDF score here). Measure 5 uses “jump bass”, measure 6 uses “open 10ths”, measure 8 uses “strumming”, and the B section that starts at measure 21 and goes to measure 28 combines “piano style” in the right hand with “open 10ths” in the left hand. We were also required to add an intro and coda which in my arrangement are each four measures long. I did use the damper pedal a lot (as is appropriate with a slow sentimental song like this) but I didn’t write it in. The linked MP3 is just a sampler rendering of the MIDI export from this sheet music, though I did have to fudge the pedaling because Sibelius doesn’t honor pedal marks during playback. So instead of adding pedal marks, I just extended the chording so that it would ring as long as it would with a real performer using the pedal. It doesn’t sound as good as it would on a real piano but I don’t feel like playing it again for posterity. I got my A+ and I’m done now.

Untitled (Music 232 Composition)

27 05 2005

Composed May 19, 2005; sequenced & mixed May 21, 2005.

This is my final composition project for Music 232 at SFSU (Diatonic Analysis and Synthesis). The assignment included a simple melodic line and a fairly long list of required compositional devices. The harmony, voice leading, and rhythms are mine. There’s a PDF of the score which is what I turned in, and a MIDI version too.

This took me about seven and a half hours to write, including checking for errors, making sure voice leading was good, making sure all the required compositional elements were in there, adding all the analysis text under the staves, formatting it nicely, etc. Making a nice-sounding recording of it in GarageBand took about a half hour (mainly picking instruments and tweaking audio effects).

Fem Pop Vox

4 05 2005

Recorded Tuesday, May 4, 2005

As the title suggests, this is the first draft of a vocal pop tune intended for a female singer. This is the first song I’ve written that incorporates classical composition techniques I’ve learned at school, as well as being the first song I’ve written where the melody was designed to be sung rather than played.
The opening is a plagal cadence (destabilized by using inversions of iv-i instead of root position IV-I), which sets up Dm as the tonic. The verse uses Dm-C in a few different ways to lead into the V/III-III motion of C-F in the chorus, which initially returns to D but then repeats and follows a ii-V-I progression to F, the relative major of Dm. The coda follows an extended descending circle of fifths down to end on F.
It’s a work in progress: the voice leading could probably be better; there’s no bass line for most of the song; there aren’t any lyrics; the repeat structure as recorded isn’t what I intended. I’m happy so far, though.
I composed this in Sibelius 3 and then saved it as a MIDI file and imported it into Garage Band 2 which sounds much richer than the built-in Quicktime Musical Instruments that Sibelius uses.