Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Isn't technology supposed to make life easier?

So, about a year ago, I picked up a multi-effects pedal board for my guitar.

To be exact, this little number. Supposedly "the most advanced guitar effects pedal, ever." It's got some good tones on it, I admit, but it broke down after about 6 months. I took it in for repair, as it was still in warrantee, and that took about 2 months. I honestly don't blame Line 6 for this at all, I have several of their products, and this is the only one that's ever given me problems. As for the repair time, that's more a problem with the local repair guy.

I've gone around and around with this thing for most of the year. The "flight manual" (yeah, that's what they call it) is about an inch thick, and I'm a guy...I don't read manuals. So, I've never really figured out how to use the damn thing. That's compounded with the fact that I go back and forth on it.

Sometimes, I just get annoyed with the board, and play through my amp alone (also a Line 6 product), and I'm super happy with the tone I get that way. Then, that starts to wear on me, and I plug the X3 back in. So, it's like a circle of annoyance...I had settled on a plan to trade the X3 and my amp in for an upgraded version of my amp, but...the plans of mice and men, y'know.

How this relates to my weekend, you may ask.

I spent a goodly number of hours this weekend trying to put some music down on my recorder. This led to a few frustrations...

  1. At the fact I have to rely on a drum machine for percussion tracks. There is no ebb and flow to the drum tracks, no organic give and take. I keep thinking I want to get an electronic kit, so I could get somebody to come over and lay down drum tracks for me, or give it a college try myself, but I doubt my downstairs neighbors would deal with that very well.
  2. With my recorder. Somehow, 8 tracks doesn't really seem enough anymore, which is silly. I toss around trading in the recorder and buying a copy of pro tools, to see if I can work that out. I'm told the learning curve is steep, especially for a guy who doesn't like to read manuals (see above). Plus, I can't help but feel that my Fostex 8-track, and earlier version of this, muddies my sound. The way the thing is set up, you have to bounce tracks to use all 8 available. There are times when I feel it all turning to sludge, especially when I'm trying to create something with a harder edge.
  3. With my own playing. *SIGH* I kinda lay this on my drum machine's feet as well, but that's probably just passing the buck. I start every song with the drum track, I build something on the drum machine that gives me some room to play around, then I try to come up with some guitar line over that, then bass, then more guitar, etc. I feel myself falling into some ruts, rhythm-wise. I feel like I'm pulling the same beats to work with. Again, I'd like to have someone to play off of, and bounce ideas off of.
  4. With my voice. I haven't recorded anything worthwhile in over 2 years. Fact. I've also not even gotten to the singing point with most of the stuff I do work on. This is mainly because I can't really sing. I can croak a bit, and occasionally I can hit a vocal line the way I want to, but it's rare. Frankly, I just don't have a voice, and I certainly don't have a voice to do the things I hear in my head.
So, working on music, which used to be a great diversion for me, has become pretty frustrating. Mainly because, while it's primarily a hobby, I want to create things I can be proud of, and I want to improve my work. When I feel like I'm stagnant, well...I start to lose the desire to really dig into it.

that is not a good thing.

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