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GEAR NEWS & REVIEWS FOR MUSICIANS

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OCT13 - NOV’ 1 3

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YAMAHA Stagepas 400i & 600i Reviews on...

Palmer Fat 50 Plus the Eins 1w practice amp Digitech Vocal Live FX IMIX LA-2122 Samson MTR Series Studio Microphones

GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS RMS vs. Peak Power vs. Continuous Power TUTORIALS by ALAN RATCLIFFE ALISTAIR ANDREWS | NICK MATZUKIS KURT SLABBERT & SERGIO PEREIRA

WWW.MUSEONLINE.CO.ZA

www.yamaha.co.za


www.hybrid.co.za For trade enquiries or to find your closest retailer : Call (011) 250 3280 | orders@hybrid.co.za


Line Array System K-LA unbeatable price, unbelievable sound Full System Price: R 195,310.00 Includes: 8 X K-LA 28 Line array cabinets (Dual 8” MF Drivers, dual1 “HF Drivers - 4 Cabs per side) 2 x Bumper Frames for the K-LA array speakers 4 x Audiocenter VA1201 Amplifiers 4 x Dual 18” Bass Cabs

Total system power: 15 Kilowatts Components VA1201

K-LA 28

Dual 18’’ Bass Cab

AUDIOCENTER Dynamic Audio Solutions


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EDITION 27 | OCT/NOV ‘13 | Proud Supporters of SA Music!

CONTENTS

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Editors Note and Index Cover Review: Stagepass 400i & 600i Gear News Instrument Review: Samson MTR Series Microphones Instrument Review: Palmer Fat 50 Combo Amplifier Gear Review: Imix LA-2122 Gear Review: Digitech Vocalist Live FX Special Feature: Continuous vs. Program vs. Peak Power Demystified Continuous vs. Program vs. Peak Power Demystified continued Tutorial: Tips for upcoming bands Guitar Maintenance with Alan Ratcliffe Play Better Bass with Alistair Andrews Play Better Guitar with Kurt Slabbert An Intro into the Career Opportunities that exist in the Music Business

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subject that rears its head often is the sometimes heated debate on how best to measure the power rating of amplifiers and equally the power handling of passive loudspeakers. It’s fitting then that our cover feature - the Yamaha Stagepas 400i & 600i - an All-in-One Portable PA System, claims to be neither ‘massive,’ nor suffers the problem of matching amplifiers to speakers. It is already perfectly matched as discovered by Greg Bester on his visit to the Yamaha show room in Eastgate. Suitable for one man bands, small ensembles and public address, the new Stagepas is a feature rich package many performers will no doubt take advantage of. Greg also put his sound engineer’s cap on and delved directly into the aforementioned debate with

his article called ‘RMS vs. Peak Power vs. Continuous Power,’ which makes for interesting reading and will hopefully inform one a bit better when in the market for sound, be it to hire or buy. Sticking with PA, we also kept Greg busy with the iMix LA-2122 line array box. The jury is no doubt still out on the influx of Chinese made gear, but in truth we all know that even the top European and American brands have gone this route with some of their lines so, as Greg discovered, there are some pretty decent options on offer locally. Kalin got the chance to test Samson’s new MTR101A microphone which forms part of their new MTR series and it got a good thumbs up. Being a guitarist he took a big liking to the Palmer Fat 50 tube amp and its little cuz, the Eins 1 watt practice amp. Reading his review may just have

hordes of guitarists seeking out these great amplifiers. It seems that all the gear on test this edition gleaned suitable praise from our review team as Nic was equally impressed by the Digitech Vocal Live FX, a new vocal effects processor that comes with Lexicon reverbs and dbx compressors as well as a ton of rad features. Kurt and Alistair weigh in with more music theory based on guitar and bass respectively and our guest contributor, Nick Matzukis from the Academy of Sound Engineering, has put together a very interesting guide to the career opportunities that exist in the world of music. Perhaps this will encourage more to get involved in an industry that could always do with an influx of professionals. Enjoy. Dave Mac


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Cover Feature | YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i AND 600i | words: Greg Bester

YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i AND 600i PORTABLE PA WITH FULL FEATURED MIXER AND YAMAHA'S TRADEMARK ERGONOMICS

Supplier: World of Yamaha Tel: (011) 259-7700 Website: www.yamaha.co.za Pricing: Contact the World of Yamaha for further details.

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owered speakers; they’ve come quite a way since their inception and are now a little more than ubiquitous. They have also gotten a lot smaller and today we see a variety of sizes to meet specific applications. The old way of packing a gargantuan Class A/B amplifier into the housing, producing a heavy, cumbersome box prone to overheating is all but gone. Probably my most loathed feature of those older active boxes is that because of the massive heat sinks required to keep a traditional amp like that cool, you ran the risk of scratching your leg or arm when handling the hefty juggernaut. And believe me, you eventually did. It was only a matter of time. Of course, that all changed with the advent of the Class-D amplifier which packs a lot more power in a smaller footprint. The direct results of this are smaller, lighter powered loudspeakers that can incorporate more features and

PORTABLE PA SYSTEM

run cool because the theoretical power efficiency of Class-D amplifiers is 100%. This means that all of the power supplied to it is delivered to the load and none is turned into heat. In turn, this means no more scratches from heat sinks! Audiophiles can debate the merits of their sound, but for all intents and purposes, the conveniences of their design outweigh the subjective subtleties between Class A/B and Class D. Yamaha recently released their STAGEPAS “i”-series of powered speakers into the market, namely the 400i and 600i, which are lightweight, sleek speakers with detachable powered mixers. This makes them a sort of a hybrid between a powered and passive speaker. Why? Let’s take a look.

Features The STAGEPAS 400i and 600i are designed to be all-in-one PA systems. They’re not going to thump a rave into

submission but they’ll certainly do the job in a small conference, for an acoustic singer/songwriter, for small ensembles or for any other situation that requires public address or music amplification for a modest amount of people. Overall the speakers have a very modern look to them with their sturdy plastic-moulded enclosure, proprietary waveguide and secure top-side handles. I refer to them as a hybrid between a powered and passive speaker because the amplifier/mixer is housed in one of the speakers and is detachable. This means that you can run your cabling directly to the rear of the speaker or place it externally if you need to have direct access to controls at all times. The mixer is easy to detach and reattach due to a clever plastic clip mechanism. By lifting one clip you can pull it out. To reattach it, simply slot and clip it back in. The other speaker thoughtfully contains a detachable lid which covers a cavity to store mics and cable, etc.


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600i The 600i shares many of the same features as the 400i so I will just mention those that differ. Firstly, you get ten mixable channels instead of eight. There are the same four mic/line XLR and XLR/¼” combo jacks but further includes six mono and three stereo line inputs. The EQ section has three-band control with the addition of a 2.5kHz mid band. The low and high shelves remain 100Hz and 8kHz, respectively. The high impedance switch for channel four is still seen with stereo/mono switching available on channels 5/6 to 9/10. The other difference of course is speaker sizes and power output as detailed earlier.

How do they sound? 400i

Additionally, these speakers are compatible with standard speaker stands and instead of a traditional screw-style clamping mechanism there is a flip-style StageLok restraint that is way quicker to use. This is no surprise, however, as Yamaha has a penchant for ergonomics. The 400i is the smaller of the two and incorporates an 8” low frequency woofer, a 1” high frequency compression driver and delivers 400W (200W + 200W). The 600i is a little bigger and employs a 10” low frequency woofer, a 1.4” high frequency compression driver and delivers 680W (340W + 340W). Both speakers have a horizontal and vertical dispersion of 90 and 60 degrees, respectively. They can also be used as floor monitors and their firing angle is 50 degrees.

I/O The mixer portion of the STAGEPAS 400i and 600i is the most feature packed component of the package. While the two models do share some features, the basic i/o differs slightly.

The 400i has a total of eight mixable channels. All in all you get four mono mic/line inputs - two XLR and two XLR/¼” combo jacks along with four mono and two stereo line inputs. The fourth input can be switched to a high impedance instrument input for a guitar or keyboard and there is a stereo/mono switch for channels 5/6 and 7/8. Probably one of the more interesting features of the mixer is a USB port where an iPhone or iPod can be connected. This port is exclusive to these devices and cannot be used any other way. This is a bit of a limitation but I guess that since Apple devices are so commonplace, it isn’t too much of a concession. Unless you don’t have one, that is. The EQ section of the 400i is simple, offering two-band operation. In summation, there is an 8kHz high shelf and a 100Hz low shelf. Rudimentary effects are also on-board with the inclusion of a four-program SPX reverb unit, selectable by a rotary knob and tailored to your liking via a parameter control knob. The reverb options are Hall, Plate, Room and Echo. Master output processing comes in the form of a 1-knob master EQ with three basic options to sweep between: Speech, Music and Bass Boost, and a single push-button Feedback Suppressor. Outputs include L and R Speaker Outs, L/Mono and R Monitor Outs and a mono Subwoofer Out with an automatic high pass filter. Lastly, there is a handy footswitch jack to toggle the reverb.

I was able to take a listen to both systems at the World of Yamaha in Sandton, courtesy of Product Manager Bryan Michael. In a nutshell, these speakers deliver exactly what you expect of them: clean, mid-driven sound with a slightly extended low end. The 600i claims a frequency response of 55Hz to 20kHz and a maximum SPL of 129dB. That’s pretty loud, considering their size and 55Hz is a pretty good low end extension. Sure enough, the crisp and representative sound Yamaha is famous for was the result and I could hear all the bass notes with ease. The top end was clean and the midrange was forward and detailed. The 400i boasts the same frequency response as the 600i albeit with a slightly lower maximum SPL of 125dB. Despite being slightly smaller than the 600i, they supplied a surprisingly similar sound. I could still clearly hear every bass note and the overall tonal voicing of the system was practically the same as the 600i. One observation I did make, probably due to the limitations of their size, that there was a slight wooliness in the lower midrange but I’m sure playing around with the master EQ would correct it to some degree. This I felt for both models.

Conclusion If you’re a single acoustic performer, a small ensemble or a conference centre, the STAGEPAS 400i and 600i should meet your niche. They’re flexible, powerful, light and ergonomic and offer a variety of inputs, not to mention their affordability.


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Gear & Industry News | FOR DAILY GEAR, INSTRUMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS VISITS MUSEONLINE.CO.ZA

Gear News CASIO PX-5SWE

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he Casio PX-5SWE is the company’s premium model in its Privia range and is said to be the ‘closest piano ever to absolute perfection’ by the

company. To achieve this lofty claim Casio developed its Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source to seamlessly reproduce the natural changes in the tone, volume and timbre of a grand piano from the moment a note sounds, through its beautiful sustain, until it finally vanishes away. Even the length of the reverberation can be

controlled like an acoustic piano by adjusting the force of the keystroke. Players can also control the sustain of beautifully resonating tones according to their performance styles by using the piano’s built-in String Resonance function, which simulates the distinct reverberations of all 88 keys of the keyboard, a function that reproduces the resonant effect of a damper pedal. The Privia PRO PX-5S has a maximum polyphony of 256 notes, making it a highly expressive instrument for performing. Boasting 20 acoustic piano presets to capture the nuanced tonal variations and lingering

reverberations of real pianos it also includes 60 keyboard instrument presets, including “electric piano,” which seamlessly reproduce the changes in tone quality according to the force of the keystroke, and “clavi,” which captures the tonal character when the finger leaves the key. The Digital Signal Processor (DSP) allows a wide range of effects to be applied to four different parts. It also comes with Master Effect for adjusting the EQ and Compressor, and System Effect for controlling delay, reverb and chorus. Other features include four-band EQ and a host of excellent live performance tools via its six sliders, four knobs and two wheels. You can also designate up to four keyboard zones.

SA Distributor: James Ralph (PTY) Ltd www.jamesralph.com | (011) 314-8888

CHORD 4-CHANNEL UHF TRUE DIVERSITY WIRELESS GUITAR SYSTEM Chord continues to introduce very keenly priced gear aimed at the semiprofessional musician working on an

extremely tight budget, something quite welcome down here in Africa. Their latest product that has grabbed our attention is the wireless guitar system. It’s a professional UHF guitar wireless system that offers excellent sound quality and reliability. The compact transmitter plugs into your instrument allowing total freedom of movement. 4 selectable UHF channels allow multiple radio systems to be used together. Here are the main features;

(6.3mm) small, lightweight transmitter

! Receiver features power, RF (A/B), ! ! ! !

audio level indicators and volume control Front mount antennae Balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (6.3mm) outputs Power supply unit and patch lead included System supplied in custom, foam lined plastic flight case Supplied by www.tvaudio.co.za (011) 805-9910

! Compact 4-channel diversity receiver

! Unique 4-channel plug-in

IBANEZ ADDS JOE SATRIANI SIGNATURE GUITAR TO THE PREMIUM LINE In 2013, Ibanez introduced its first artist signature model to the Prestige line, the Joe Satriani JS24P CA. This six-string electric guitar delivers all the features players have come to expect from instruments in the Satch family including a three piece Maple/Bubinga JS Premium neck with hand-rolled fret edges, Joe’s familiar USA-made DiMarzio signature pickups (The Chopper and Mo’ Joe), and a low profile Edge tremolo system. Notably the price tag is significantly lower than one would expect for an Ibanez

signature instrument. “We didn’t cut any corners when bringing Joe Satriani’s signature guitar to the Premium line,” explained Junji Hotta, Ibanez USA Electric Guitar Manager. “Just like Joe’s other signature models, the JS24P features a hi-pass filter on the volume pot and a coil tap on the tone pot.” The JS24P features a lightweight American Basswood body and comes in a candy apple red sparkle finish. A hard shell case is included.

For SA enquiries contact: Midi Music (011) 403-0199 www.midimusic.co.za


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WASHBURN BRINGS BACK THE P4 Earlier this year Washburn Guitars announced the reintroduction of ’an old friend’ with the re-release of the P4, one of Washburn's popular models from the '90s. Built in the USA Custom Shop, the P4 features a solid mahogany body with a carved, bound maple top, and a mahogany neck with a bound ebony fingerboard and pearl teardrop inlays. The top shelf hardware includes a chrome TonePros® tune-o-matic style bridge with Schaller® fine tuning tailpiece. Premium Grover® 18:1 chrome tuners are utilized to ensure micro fine tuning stability. Seymour Duncan '59 pickups are controlled by 1

volume and 1 tone knob and chosen with a 3-way toggle switch. The Buzz Feiten Tuning System® ensures accurate intonation all the way up the fingerboard. The Custom Shop has gone to great lengths to make sure the current P4 is a

faithful recreation of the original P4; producing thick, meaty tones ideal for classic rock, blues and jazz. The P4 is available in Tiffany Blue and Silver Sparkle. Supplied in South Africa by: Tradelius Music Group www.tradelius.co.za | (031) 502-3080

THE ALL-NEW PRX700 SERIES FROM JBL PRO The PRX700 Series represent an evolutionary step in the efficient use of amplifier power, rugged durability and enhanced versatility in a self-powered loudspeaker designed from the ground up to perform in the real world of sound reinforcement where challenging audio environments, high ambient noise levels and loud volumes are typical. They are the first systems to use our patented Differential Drive technology with ferrite drivers featuring high power, wide bandwidth and low distortion. Versatile, scalable, easy-totransport and set up, the PRX700 Series use JBL's tour tested

technology throughout for a lifetime of reliable performance you can trust. The range includes three 2-way derivatives (10”, 12” & 15”), a dual 15” cabinet, a 15" Three-Way Full-Range and two subwoofer systems (15” & 18”). Says Bryan Bradley, GM, HARMAN Professional Loudspeaker Group: “The PRX700 Series demonstrates JBL Professional’s ability to deliver world-class technology at all price points, so that all customers have access to the best loudspeaker technology in the industry.” “Each model is designed for specific

applications, but integrates seamlessly with one another, offering a multitude of choices when tailoring a system to specific needs. In particular, the new PRX710 and PRX715XLF models offer customers even more options than ever before.” said Andy Flint, Senior Manager, Portable PA Marketing, JBL Professional. The PRX700 Series features JBL’s patented waveguide technology, providing excellent coverage throughout the system’s bandwidth. All models offer coverage of 90 degrees (horizontal) x 50 degrees (vertical), which the exception of the PRX710, which features coverage of 100 degrees (horizontal) x 60 degrees (vertical).

Distributed through Wild and Marr (Pty) Ltd | www.wildandmarr.co.za (011) 974-0633

TURKISH CYMBALS NOW AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA The international cymbal brand Turkish Cymbals, is now available in South Africa! The trusted name and sound to match will most definitely satisfy any drummer. Their ranges are available for the intermediate and for most seasoned drummer.

All their cymbals are handmade and unlike the other brands on the market, you will not find any machine pressed cymbals in any of their ranges! Their prices are more than reasonable and their quality is backed with a warranty! Turkish Cymbals are 100% handcrafted.

! The process of manufacturing

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includes hand hammering, hand shaping, hand lathing & hand polishing. That’s why Turkish Cymbals exhibit a wider range of sounds than any of their counterparts in the rest of the world. Turkish Cymbals offers a 2 years warranty on all Rides & Hi-Hat pair cymbals and a 1 year on their crashes. For more info visit their site at www.turkishcymbals.com Turkish Cymbals are distributed by Innibaai Distributors. (011) 414-4956 | www.innibaai.co.za


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Gear Review | SAMSON MTR SERIES MICROPHONES | words: Kalin Pashaliev

SAMSON MTR SERIES MICROPHONES COMPETITIVELY PRICED MULTI-PURPOSE STUDIO CONDENSER MICROPHONES

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amson have recently released a new range of studio microphones; the MTR Series. We grabbed the chance to try them out and whilst only the MTR101A was available for testing, we took a closer look at what the range has to offer too.

Overview Samson as a company began its trade by designing microphones in the US some 33 years ago. The company is also known for having expanded its expertise to bass amplification (Hartke) and effects processing (Zoom). In fact, it was Samson that was one of the first to have developed a wireless microphone system for mainstream use; just by that we can assume that it is a brand with enough heritage and experience in sound design. An American brand, Samson has built a solid reputation on keenly priced, quality products and are used by many top performers worldwide including the likes or Roger Waters, Vinny Appice and Chris Adler to mention a few Of course, the top studios around the world and even the ones in this country often employ microphones as rare as certain postage stamps, but for practicality’s sake, Samson is definitely a prime choice when compared to other middle- to top-of-the-range microphone brands.

microphone that can be used in just about any situation: vocals, wind and acoustic instruments and miking up speakers. But the best use I found for this particular mic was as an overhead drum mic or room mic and also for miking up a bass amp, which I have always preferred doing as opposed to going through a DI, unless it is an outstanding, high-end DI. The 101 requires 48 volts of phantom power and is unidirectional, which means that it captures the sound from one direction (the front) and discards any other sound from the sides or back. This allows for less bleed if you’re recording or mixing more than one instrument at the same time. It also means that it will not pick up peripheral room sounds, especially a room you’re not too crazy about capturing. The MTR101 features a flat extended frequency range, which allows for a linear reproduction of whatever you’re recording. It has a wide dynamic range of 121dB and an SPL (sound pressure level) of 137dB, which means that you can record some really loud and amplified instruments and get a true representation of the original sound when you listen back. It is precisely this quality that you should be looking out for when shopping for a mic. The microphone which was given to me to review, the MTR101A, is the standard 101 but with a few extra perks like a pop filter and shockmount for studio use.

The MTR101 / MTR101A

MTR201 and MTR231

The MTR101, the first in the series, is a simple-to-operate condenser

The MTR201 has an SPL of 132dB and contains a 10dB attenuation switch so

MTR101 with clip

MTR101A

MTR201

Price: MTR101: R 1,495.00 MTR101A: R 1,995.00 Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790 4600 www.audiosure.co.za you can handle the loudest of the loud. Other than that it has pretty much the same specs as the 101 and comes with a protective carry case. The MTR231, the third in the series, is a multi-pattern condenser with an SPL of 134dB and 10dB attenuation switch (as with the MTR201), but this time it offers three selectable pick-up patterns cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional - which makes it an extremely versatile piece of technology in the studio. The cardioid pattern would be used if you want to reject sounds coming from the rear. You can then use the mid function if you want to place the mic in the middle and record an ensemble of vocalists or instruments from all directions, or if you want to capture the sound of a great-sounding acoustic space. The bidirectional setting gives you the opportunity to isolate two sound sources. This microphone therefore lets you do anything that comes to mind and is great for experimenting with mic positions. The MTR231 is the series’ flagship model.

Verdict Based on my testing of the MTR101A I'd say the MTR series is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for versatile, competitively priced mics; I for one have been on the lookout for a microphone that can carry a full and dynamic bass guitar sound and on testing, the MTR101 did an excellent job. Again, versatility is exactly what Samson has opted to go with here, so I'd recommend checking these out.

MTR231


Imported and Distributed by

www.audiosure.co.za


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Gear Review | PALMER FAT 50 COMBO AMPLIFIER | words: Kalin Pashaliev

PALMER FAT 50 COMBO AMPLIFIER “Having received a few pieces of equipment to review for this publication, I must say that these two products from Palmer have been the most fun yet.”

FAT 50

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he saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”, is of course most of the time fallacious. Rather, for the concept to be believable, one should say, “If you want something done right, let the Germans do it.” And this was basically the first thought that entered my mind when I was given the Palmer FAT 50 combo amplifier to review. This baby is exactly what most musicians should be looking out for if they do not want to deal with overly technical amplifier set-ups. What I mean is that this amp is not made or manufactured simply - it is simply a simple amp to use.

Overview Palmer is a relatively unknown amplifier brand, especially in South Africa, though it has been going for some 30 years. The company builds its amps manually and is thus considered a boutique brand. However, the price tag of its products does not necessarily

reciprocate that descriptor - Palmer amps are in fact quite affordable and available in South Africa. The FAT 50 is a true tube amp. At first sight you might not think much of it: only a few knobs, devoid of too many lights, and so on; in fact, you might even miss seeing it amongst the other amps in the music shop. But I think we all know Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Ugly Duckling. It is a sturdy amp with a solid grill protecting its speaker and its weight is bearable, even if you’re not too hefty in the shoulders.

The Front Panel As said earlier, in a very German deconstructive approach, the FAT 50 offers a way in which you can model your sound quite effortlessly without extensive tweaking – it is the perfect amp to spec for live gigs where a few guitarists would be using the same backline. First, moving from left to right on the front panel, you will see the clean volume

channel and next to it a normal/bright selector switch. The latter can be used if you are looking to boost the treble of the clean channel, which is ideal for funk guitar. The high gain/low gain switch is next to that, which functions as a boost for both the clean and crunch channels; if you’re looking for a warm yet ballsy blues solo sound, the combination of the clean channel with the high gain boost is excellent. Then you have the drive/gain dial (what I described before as the ‘crunch’ channel) followed by the bass, mid and treble EQ selectors. These use high quality components such as silver mica capacitors. A wonderful aspect here is that if you turn the dials to 0, no sound will be heard whatsoever. From there you can slowly begin modeling the sound by gradually turning each EQ dial up until you get the desired sound. In essence, the EQ section of this amp also works as a volume. The drive volume and drive presence dials work hand in hand with the drive channel. This is because the


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EINS FAT 50 uses the same EQ for both the clean and drive channels. So, in order to get the right mix between both, the drive volume and presence dials would be the ones you would manipulate to get that right balance. The reverb and master volume are the final two dials and are followed by the standby and power switches.

The Footswitch The footswitch - which is heavy duty, made of 2mm steel housing - is an essential component to the Palmer FAT 50, particularly because it boasts a boost function (usually used to enrich your sound during solos). The boost function is made possible with an attenuator and its dial located on the back panel. This allows you to unleash the amp’s entire métier during the solo and suppress it when switched off. Note that if the foot switch is not connected, this function will be nullified and the amp will run at full range. The footswitch also allows you to switch the reverb function on and off and of course toggle between the clean and drive channels.

Supplier: Segma South Africa Tel.: +27 (0)11 312 1846 Website: www.segma.co.za

The Back Panel This is where things get quite interesting. Apart from boost attenuation, this amp also allows you to connect 8 ohm and 16 ohm speakers to it - 8 ohm in parallel and 16 ohm in serial. You can connect either one 8 or 16 ohm speaker or two 8 or 16 ohm speakers. On the pack panel you will also find the FX loop with its dry/wet dial, which controls the amount of effect you want mixed into the sound: 0 = 0% FX and 10 = 100% FX. Additional Specs: ! 50W ! ECC 83 preamplifier tubes ! 6L6 power tubes ! Speaker - The Governor (Eminence)

The Palmer EINS -1 Watt Mini Amp I also got a chance to look at the Palmer EINS, a 1W tube practice amplifier; now it might not sound like much, but boy are you in for a surprise! This little guy is one of the most incredible pieces of guitar technology I have come across recently. It’s as simple as tube amps can get - on the front panel you have an input, volume and tone dials, a boost switch and the power button, and that’s that.

FAT 50 FOOTSWITCH

Things again get quite exciting when you inspect the rear panel. The simulated output is the first here and you would use that to go directly into your mixing console. Then you have the HI Z output that you would use to go directly into your amplifier. With this function the EINS acts as a preamp that you can even add to your pedal board. Again, as with the FAT 50, you have a choice to go out into 8 or 16 ohm speakers. It’s simple, small enough to carry in a bag, loud enough to use during chilled live performances - if standalone - and ideal for practice. In my opinion this one is a must have.

The Subjective Verdict I have now received a few pieces of equipment to review for this publication, and I must say that these two products from Palmer have been the most fun yet. Fun for me is simplicity - the sooner I can get the technical admin out of the way, the sooner I can begin playing. Call me unsophisticated and backward, but music technology already had it right in the 50s and 60s, and so did guitar music. There is really no need to try and jump over one’s shadow or reinvent the wheel. And it is evident that the engineers at Palmer uphold that very philosophy. Of course, each of the two I tested has its natural character; in a nutshell the FAT 50 is a raspy sounding amplifier quite similar to the signature sound of Marshall amps. What is liberating, however, is that you need not crank up the volume to get that warm sound even at low levels the balminess is everpresent, and its EQ is fit for an award. As far as the EINS goes, there is simply no better micro amp on the market. Perhaps it might be a good idea to try both in unison and see how that works for you?


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Gear Review | IMIX LA-2122 | words: Greg Bester

Supplier: Imix Sound and Light Tel: (011) 974-1121 Website: www.sosofttrading.com Suggested Retail Price: R 1,910.00 each

IMIX LA-2122

LA-2122

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ast time I reviewed an iMix product it was the IM-715. It was a well-made, 15”-driven mid-high cabinet that exceeded my expectations in terms of sound quality and sheer volume. It didn’t offend and in fact came across as a worthwhile product for the price. It’s no secret, however, that iMix sources their products from China. But considering that manufacturing standards there are getting better all the time, so are the products. This is selfevident from the elevated level of quality we’re now seeing and hearing. iMix now has a passive line array: the LA-2122 with a companion LA-2218 subwoofer. There are a lot of line arrays out there and the opposition is stiff; I popped over to their showroom to have a look at the boxes and give them a listen...

Features and Specifications The LA-2122 is just as sturdy as the IM715. The 18mm birch plywood cabinet covered in a sand textured sand coating feels solid and resistant to wear. It’s heavy and robust and ready for the road or long term installation. This loudspeaker could be called a mid-sized line source enclosure. It contains two 12” drivers with three-inch voice coils and two four-inch high frequency compression drivers with 1.75” exits. The latter are paired to a couple of coincident bespoke HF waveguides. The power handling of the enclosure comes in at 200W x 2 (RMS) for the low frequency drivers and 50W x 2 (RMS) for the high frequency drivers for a total of 500W RMS for the entire enclosure. This is relatively low and there is no mention of peak handling but I would wager it’s in the region of 2000W. The nominal impedance is 4 Ohms.

The frequency response of the LA2122 is 60Hz to 18kHz. This is a pretty typical figure and offers a pretty good low end extension, even without a sub. The max sound pressure this box can produce is 129dB, which is loud enough and could possibly be exceeded when multiple boxes are assembled into an array. The crossover is set at 2000Hz with a 24dB/octave slope. Directivity is important for a line array as the name of the game is audience coverage. The vertical and horizontal figures come in at 50 degrees and 60 degrees, respectively. Finally, the LA-2122 has two Neutrik Speakon connectors in the back which I assume are wired in parallel for daisy-chaining. The LA-2218 is a dual-18” enclosure with an Aluminium-cast basket covered in the same sand textured black finish as the LA-2122. Power handling comes in at 1600W RMS at 4 Ohms and 32000W programme. Frequency response comes in at 32Hz to 600Hz, which is a pretty versatile range and a great lowend extension. Max SPL is 130dB, which is a perfect match for the LA2122. The internal crossover is a set at 140Hz with a 24dB/octave slope.

stand further away. After hearing it for a little while in the shop, this is what we did. My assessment? It’s difficult to be entirely objective in less-than ideal acoustic conditions but overall my impression was good and actually quite pleasant. The low end was full, despite it causing the road case to vibrate, and the overall tonal balance was good, from what I could tell. The top end is something I usually pay attention to on systems such as this and the results were positive.

Conclusion The LA-2122 is a well-made, bang-forbuck line array system. I doubt it will find its way onto international touring riders any time soon but I suspect we’ll see more of them emerging in dance club installation and in local gigs where budget is an issue and maximum sound for the money is important. I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t perform well in most situations so if you need a low cost, quality line array for your venue or small rental company, the LA-2122 comes recommended.

Sound I was able to hear the LA-2122 with the LA-2218 at the iMix showroom at the China Multi Plex on Main Reef Rd in Joburg. The small array they had set up there on a rolling road case was powered by iMix SH-800 and ICS-4000 amplifiers. The SH-800 delivers 1210W RMS/channel at 4 Ohms and the ICS-4000 delivers 1200W RMS/channel at 4Ohms. The showroom at the China Multi Plex is not ideal, acoustically. As most line source arrays are designed to be long throw it wasn’t going to be any use to hear it close up so I suggested we pull it out into the hallway and

LA2122 & LA2218 Line Array


18

Gear Review | DIGITECH VOCALIST LIVE FX | words: Nic Roos

DIGITECH VOCALIST LIVE FX

Supplier: Rockit Distribution Tel: (021) 511-1800 Website: www.rockitdistribution.co.za Expect to pay: R 4,795.00

“I HONESTLY CAN'T FAULT THIS UNIT, EXCEPT MAYBE IN THAT ITS MAGNIFICENCE MAY LEAD TO IT BEING OVERUSED.” as well as 99 factory presets, some of which are accurate emulations of the vocal sounds of popular songs from a wide variety of styles; for example, the crisp, punchy, doubled up and slightly delayed vocal from Justin Timberlake's pop hit Sexy Back, or the eerie distant telephone filtered lament from Tool's progressive metal classic Stinkfist, all of which sound frighteningly close to the original recordings. Here's a quick overview of the effects categories on offer:

F

or the average vocalist performing with a group in a club setting it's always a fight just to be heard through an underpowered PA, above the din of other instruments, bad acoustics and people at the bar, let alone be understood intelligibly. Conversely, a solo artist performing in a quiet space with just vocals and an acoustic guitar may want to spice up an otherwise stark, bare-bones sound. This is where Digitech's Vocalist Live FX pedal comes in handy. This is the latest incarnation of the Vocalist multieffects range and is a fantastic tool for sweetening your vocal performance without having to rely on the front of house engineer, hoping he can pull a great sound out of what is often very rudimentary equipment.

Overview The unit has too many treasures hidden within to discuss at length here but let me mention some highlights: This all in one magic box features 65 great studio quality effects such as licensed Lexicon reverbs and dbx compression and anti-feedback suppression as well as Digitech's own Live Adapt function that intelligently adjusts effects parameters to your performance in real time. There are 99 user saveable presets

! Gold Channel - A comprehensive

! ! !

!

! !

!

channel strip for meat-and-potatoes vocal sculpting like gating, E.Q, compression and surprisingly natural sounding pitch correction. Pitch FX - Offers crazy, synthy, robotic gender-bending octave sounds. Distortion/Filter - These range from megaphones, radios, torn speakers and bit crushing effects. Harmony - Create up to two simultaneous back up harmonies in various scales and keys or use in conjunction with the Live Adapt function for on the fly key calculation. Double - A very short delay or 'double' thickens up the voice. Parameters include, 1 or 2 voices, slight detune, humanise and a pitch corrected double. This is a great feature that rarely gets heard live. Modulation - Offers flanging, vibrato, choruses, tremolo and a fantastic rotary effect. Delay - Offers analog, digital and tape delays as well as ducking, which drops the volume of delay tails when you sing, allowing clearer articulation. Reverb - My favourite effects in this unit by far – These gorgeously rich Lexicon reverbs include various plate (my absolute favourite), room, studio, hall and stadium reverbs.

The Feedback suppression function becomes vital when using compression

and the inherent high frequency boosts of these pristine effects; it does an incredible job at preventing annoying squeals while maintaining that expensive tonal sheen. The Vocalist Live FX's secret weapon however is the Live Adapt function which uses a built in mic to analyse the chords and rhythm of the song in real time and adjusts the tempo of any delays you may have running or the key and scale of harmonies accordingly. Trying this out in the band room was quite amazing. It reacts quickly and accurately. The Vocalist live has mono or stereo balanced outputs, a line-out/headphone out, a USB port for managing presets and firmware via computer, and an aux-in that can be used as an external source for the Live Adapt function.

Conclusion While one could spend hours, no, weeks playing with the multitude of awesome sounds, I have to stress that the Vocalist Live FX is no toy. The effects truly are very high quality. Again, the reverbs in particular are incredible, each different model screaming with rich character! There’s also an overriding crispness and depth in the sound of the unit that is very impressive. Amazingly it can even draw an impressively clean and clear sound out of a cheap dynamic mic. I honestly can't fault this unit, except maybe in that its magnificence may lead to it being overused. In the wrong hands some effects may sound a bit over the top if used excessively in the incorrect context. Jokes aside, I highly recommend it!


20

Tech Feature | CONTINUOUS VS. PROGRAM VS. PEAK POWER DEMYSTIFIED | words: Greg Bester

CONTINUOUS VS. PROGRAM VS. PEAK POWER DEMYSTIFIED SOUND SPECIALIST GREG BESTER CLARIFIES THE DIFFERENT POWER RATING TERMINOLOGIES USED FOR LOUDSPEAKERS AND POWER AMPLIFIERS an enclosure with one or more speakers, a passive crossover and one or two input jacks. While these speakers may be cheaper, they require a separate amplifier but to the novice, knowing what amplifier to choose may be a challenge as there are a variety of options out there that supply different levels of power and performance. On top of that, once you wade through the multitude of specimens available, getting your head around the jargon can make it spin. So what does it all mean? In speaker specifications we generally have three parameters that define a speaker’s handling of power, all expressed in watts: peak, RMS, otherwise known as continuous power, and program. There are also other terms such as ‘impedance’ but we’ll get to that later. For the purposes of this article, I will use the ubiquitous JBL SRX715 passive speaker as an example.

Peak Power

T

his article will attempt to demystify the confusion that exists in the marketplace with regards to power ratings and how best to match amplifiers to loudspeakers. It’ll also hopefully give you a better understanding of what the different power ratings mean and how best to interpret them when investing in a PA.

Let’s get technical... Okay, folks. We’re about to get a bit technical here so put on your thinking hats and let’s talk about that elusive and often confusing matter of how audio amplifier power ratings relate to speakers. In today’s world there are basically two kinds of loudspeakers in

a general sense: active and passive. Simply put, active speakers contain amplifiers pre-installed in the actual housing of the enclosure that (we hope) are power-matched by the manufacturer to the speakers they contain. They will also usually have a couple of input options and some sort of attenuation circuit - a volume control - along with a crossover in the case of a two or three-way box. For those that don’t know, twoway means that the speaker contains two speakers: a high frequency driver and a low frequency driver. A crossover splits the signal into two parts - a high and low part - and those two signals are sent separately to the two drivers. All good so far? The other kind of speaker type passive - has been around since the birth of the loudspeaker and is merely

Peak power represents the maximum power (watts) a speaker can handle in the short term. The SRX715’s spec sheet says that it can handle a peak power figure of 3200W. This figure is usually determined by the manufacturer by running some sort of test signal through the speaker - in the case of the SRX715, IEC filtered noise with a 6dB crest factor - until it reaches the onset of clipping (overload or blowing). Since musical waveforms are infinitely more complex than test signals, this makes this parameter a bit ambiguous but I would use it as a severe warning not to use an amplifier that exceeds this limit. Speakers can handle momentary short bursts at full power but it is not advisable to run a speaker near this limit continuously.

Continued on pg 24...


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24

Tech Feature | CONTINUOUS VS. PROGRAM VS. PEAK POWER DEMYSTIFIED | words: Greg Bester

Continued from pg 20...

RMS RMS stands for ‘Root Mean Square’ a mathematical form of averaging and can be seen as the long term average power handling of the loudspeaker. However, this is a bit of a misnomer because RMS power figures for speakers are determined from a voltage measurement, not watts. RMS calculations require positive and negative values - like the cycle of an electrical waveform - and watts (power) only supplies positive values. This means that the average power rating of a speaker is derived from the RMS calculation of its voltage handling. In other words, there is no such thing as ‘watts RMS’. Fun, huh? The SRX715 claims an RMS rating of 800W. This means that it is the maximum average power the speaker can handle over the long term.

Program Power Program power is a little more nebulous and is actually an archaic term now, yet still useful. It was originally derived from the old method of performing a sine wave sweep during a power test. Nowadays for most manufacturers it is simply twice the average power and in the case of the SRX715, we see this is case because the RMS (average) rating is 800W and the program rating is 1600W. That being said, this rating can be useful because it is a good guideline in choosing an amplifier. More on this will be discussed in the conclusion of this article but suffice it to say that if a speaker is rated at 350W RMS, you

could feasibly power it with a 700W amplifier and still be okay under normal operating conditions.

Impedance Impedance is a bit of a complicated term and relates to the opposition to the flow of an AC circuit (the DC term is resistance) but, as simple as I can put it, if you select a speaker that is rated at 8 Ohms, you need to make sure the amplifier can supply the desired power at that impedance. Mismatched impedance between amplifiers and speakers can drastically reduce the efficiency of an amplifier/ speaker relationship. For instance, if you connect a 16 Ohm output of a 500W amplifier to a 500W speaker, the power delivered to the speaker - the load - will be halved, i.e. 250W.

Conclusion So what does one make of all of this? Well, in general, I would say that you should choose an amplifier that delivers at least 50% more than the rated average (RMS) power of the speaker. 100% more would be double the RMS rating - bringing you to the program rating - which is, as mentioned, also an acceptable choice of power although probably at the upper limit.

However, in a situation where the speaker might take abuse, this could deem that amplifier too large. The RMS + 50% range could be seen as a desirable balance of performance, distortion and headroom. Why? Speaker ratings are derived from sine wave and other test tone measurements in a lab. Real world musical signals are both more complex and dynamic with momentary peaks that exceed the average level of the material. Choosing an amp with a rating in between 50% and 100% of the RMS rating of the speaker will ensure the maximum RMS output of the speaker can be reached comfortably with enough headroom to accommodate erroneous peaks throughout the music.


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28

Band Tips | THE BENEFITS OF AN EP | words: Sergio Pereira

THE BENEFITS OF AN EP

A

t a recent music seminar in New York, Jay Frank, CEO of DigSin (a digital record label that distributes content free to subscribers), claimed that singles outsell albums eleven to one. It’s a resounding statistic that emphasises an alarming trend of the digital music era: full-length albums are fast becoming luxuries instead of necessities. Yet, despite the overwhelming substantiation, a plethora of newly formed, inexperienced bands still obsess about recording an LP, when, truthfully, an EP is more than sufficient (concept albums being a notable exception). Still not convinced? Okay, let’s have a look at the further benefits of an EP below.

money, which should be used to reinvest in your band. If your initial investment is smaller, the return is more attainable - moreover, you don’t want your band to dissolve, because your expenses have left you all bankrupt and homeless. QUALITY. There are times when you can hear the decreasing quality in a fulllength, purely because the band ran out of money and needed to complete the album urgently. This is unacceptable; the quality should be consistent throughout a release, or you shouldn’t bother at all.

COST. There was a time when labels used to front the money for album production. However, as label signings become less and bands move further towards complete independence, the financial onus is falling on bands to fund their own projects. In terms of cost, the recording of four/five songs (EP) will be significantly less than that of twelve tracks (album).

TIME. We’re living in a fast paced world, where everyone wants everything instantly and forgets yesterday’s flavour by breakfast. If you’re an upcoming group, your number one goal should be for your listeners to keep you in their minds, ears, and hearts. The fact is that the production time for an EP will almost always be less than that of a full-length (unless you’re Axl Rose; then, anything is possible). Also, you’re likely to be able to push out two/three EPs in the timeframe that it would take you to finish a full-length.

ROI (RETURN ON INVESTMENT). Chances are high that you’ll never fully recuperate your costs, or make a profit, from your releases - but you still have to apply good business sense to make back some

EXTRA FUNDS TO HIRE A PROPER PRODUCER. Instead of just utilising a basic recording engineer, who strokes your ego and allows you to lay down fifteen minute bass solos,

hiring a quality producer will provide you with an extra pair of competent ears in studio, which could result in your release possessing a much needed cutting edge. EXTRA FUNDS FOR MARKETING. This is undoubtedly the most overlooked step in the process. You’ve recorded your release; so now what? Market it! Having extra money to hire a publicist, film a music video, or buy advertising space is vital. Don’t just chuck the release into the wind and hope for the best; do something significant to promote it (and no, a Facebook spam spree isn’t enough). GOOD EPS CAN LEAD TO SUCCESSFUL LPS. It all comes full circle in the end. A great example of this is Durban band Gangs of Ballet, who released an eponymous EP, which spawned three radio smash-hits. The band subsequently signed with EMI, and their debut full-length album, yes/no/grey, went to #1 on the iTunes SA Album Sales Chart twelve hours after it was released for pre-ordering. Unquestionably, this demonstrated that if an EP is received well, it could lay a solid foundation for a full-length to become a full-fledged success, too. So, after considering all of this, don’t you think it’s time to put the LP idea on the back burner, and consider an EP first?

Author Blurb Sergio Pereira is a music journalist, copywriter, radio commentator, and soon-tobe published novelist. For nearly a decade, he has been involved in interviewing high profile musicians, reviewing concerts and albums, providing consultancy to international music companies, contributing to radio, digital, and magazines, and writing press releases and biographies for musicians and entertainment companies. www.sergiopereira.co.za


30

Guitar Maintenance | MAINTENANCE – CLEANING FRETBOARDS | words: Alan Ratcliffe

ELECTRIC GUITAR MODDING: PICKUPS connected or if you want to replace the old pickups. Measuring the old pickup’s distance from the strings will also help with an idea of where the new pickup should be adjusted to. Removing the old pickups is simplicity itself: remove the strings; open up the guitar; disconnect the pickup wires from the controls; and unscrew the pickup from the pickguard or mounting ring. I like clipping the old pickup wires close to the controls, but leaving enough of the old wire to see which colour was connected where.

FITTING THE NEW PICKUP

A guitar fitted with (L-R) a Gibson-style humbucker and two Strat single-coils

C

hanging a pickup is one of the simplest mods you can do to your guitar and the one with the most effect on the sound. In most cases it is also easy to undo unless you rout out the body and/or the pickguard to fit a larger style of pickup.

PICKUP TYPES The main types of pickups are humbuckers and single-coils. Single-coils - Single-coils are simple designs with a single wire coil and set of magnets. They are lower powered with a bright, articulate tone. There are a few common shape variants, namely: Strat, P90, Tele neck and Tele bridge types, with the vast majority on most guitars being Strat types. Humbuckers - Pickups with two coils which are generally larger and more powerful than single coils and have a warmer, thicker tone. The vast majority of humbuckers are based on the size, shape and mounting method of the original Gibson PAF humbucker.

FINDING ONE TO FIT Fortunately, most of the industry has standardised on a few different shapes and styles of pickups. Also, thanks to the huge modding boom of the last 30 years, there are a huge variety of models from every manufacturer, all conforming to those few sizes and shapes. It is now possible to get humbuckers that fit in guitars made for single-coils and vice-versa.

WHICH ONE? By now, you will have realised that even sticking to one type of pickup, there is a huge range of models to choose from. Because there are so many options, and because tastes and guitars differ, the best way to choose is by doing a lot of reading on manufacturers’ sites and discussing the options on forums.

REMOVING THE OLD PICKUP Firstly, it’s always a good idea to make a diagram of where the wires are connected once you open the guitar (or even better - take a photo), as a guide to where your new pickups should be

If you are fitting a replacement pickup that conforms to one of the standard sizes and shapes, fitting it is fairly simple: physically fit the pickup to the mounting ring or pickguard; then solder the wires to where the old pickup was connected. If you are unsure about soldering, don’t - take it to a pro or ask a friend to help. The one bugbear is that different manufacturers often use different wiring colour schemes, so do not assume that if two different pickups have the same colour wires they will connect to the same places - refer to the manufacturer’s site for wiring diagrams.

MAKING THEM FIT On occasion, you might want to fit a pickup of a different type and shape. In some cases this can be as simple as changing a pickguard, but if any wood needs to be removed, it’s usually best to take the guitar to a pro.

HANG ON TO THE ORIGINALS I mentioned last month that it’s a good idea to hang on to the old pickups in case you want to sell the guitar later. Strangely, upgraded pickups don’t often raise the value of a guitar, so it’s usually best to take out the pickups again and either fit them to something else or sell them separately.


32

Tutorial | PLAY BETTER BASS | compiled by Alistair Andrews

PLAY BETTER BASS THE ALTERED SCALE

In Intermediate and Advanced Harmony we will get confronted with Altered Chords. Altered Chords are actually Dominant Chords (the 7th chord on the V degree of the scale) with one or more of the following alterations: Flat 5 (Sharp 11), Sharp 9 and Fat 13 (Sharp 5).

If we analyze the scale you will notice that we get a R, b9, #9, 3, b5, b13, b7 in the scale. F Altered Scale consists of the following notes: F, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# and F.

These altered notes are also called tensions. The scale that brings out these tensions in your lines or solos is called the Altered Scale. The altered scales gives us the following altered notes that will create tension b5(#11), #5(b13), b9, #9 when used over a dominant chord. In the previous two issues we dealt with the Minor and Major Scales Inside the Western Classical Scales.

For the scale above you could also use Open A instead of A on fret 5. Over 2 Octaves:

The Altered Scale is actually just the seventh mode of the Melodic Minor Scale. It is also called a Superlocrian Scale. (Locrian b4) Let us look at the B Altered Scale: B, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, B This C Altered Scale works over C7alt, C7(b5), C7(#5), C7(b5 #9), C7(#5 #9), C7(b9 #9 #11 b13) chords. I personally would not use this for C7(b9) as the Harmonic Minor mode V or the diminished scale outlines this chord much better, but the Altered scale will work better when On close inspection you will notice that this scale is just a C you add other tensions e.g. C7(b5 b9) C7(b9b13) etc. Melodic Minor Scale starting B (the 7th) You can also think of the altered scale as a Melodic Minor a The concept will obviously be the same in all 12 keys. Semitone higher (B altered has the same notes as C C Altered Scale consists of the following notes: C, Db, Eb, Melodic Minor.) It might be a better idea to rather get this scale under your fingers so that you can know it as its own Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb and C. entity. If we relate to the Major Scale we get the following intervals: Some ideas for really getting to know this scale: R, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7 Construction ½, T, ½,T, T, T, T

! Practice in all 12 Keys ! Practice fragments of the scale (123, 234, 345 etc.) (1234, 2345, 3456 etc.) ! Intervals (13, 24, 35, 46, 57etc,) (14, 35, 46, 58 etc.) ! Over 2 octaves in all 12 keys. ! Practice using different rhythmic accents. ! Obviously all exercises should be practiced backwards (descending) as well. ! Sing the scale.

The first half of the scale starts like a diminished (½ -Whole) and the second half is a Whole-tone Scale.

Continued on Page 34...


34

Tutorial | PLAY BETTER BASS | compiled by Alistair Andrews

Fragments (B Altered) (123, 234 etc.) B,C,D - C, D, Eb D, Eb, F Eb, F, G F, G, A G, A, B (1234, 2345 etc.) B, C, D, Eb C, D, Eb, F D, Eb, F, G Eb, F, G, A F, G, A, B (12345321) B, C, D, Eb, F, D, C, B Intervals (B Altered) (13, 24 etc.) B, D, C, Eb D, F Eb, G F, A G, B (14, 25 etc.) B, F D, G- Eb, A- F, B Try to work out some licks using this scale, using various rhythmic variations. E.g. G7Alt Lick - Bb, G, Ab, Bb, Ab, Eb, B, Ab, Bb (follow colours)

Continued from Page 32... The notes of G7 = G, B, D, F and Db7 = Db, F, Ab, B You will notice that we get two common notes in these chords (B and F) G7b5 = G, B, Db, F and Db7b5 = Db, B, F, G Amazingly these chords share the same notes. G Altered = G, Ab, Bb, B(Cb), Db, Eb, F Db Altered = Db, D(Ebb), E(Fb), F(Gbb), G(Abb), A(Bbb) B(Cb) In essence when you substitute a dominant chord, you could also think of it as flattening the 5th of the original chord. (As seen above.) The Altered scale works very well over these chords as mentioned earlier You might have noticed that a tritone is “reversible” Example: B to F is a tritone and F to B is a tritone. G to Db =triton, Db to G = triton. This is the only interval other than the octave where this is the case, as the triton is smack bang in the middle of the scale. This is what the altered scale would look like if you should play it on a single string.

G7Alt Lick - Bb, G, Eb, G, Ab, Eb, B, F, Bb, B, (follow colours)

R

To take this a step further in harmony we have to look at Substituting Dominant Chords.

b9

#9

3

b5

b13

b7

Once you mastered some licks, you can join them to form lines.

By applying rhythmic variations to a line you can create Let us have a look at G7. This chord could be substituted lots of interesting solos. with a dominant chord a Tri-tone (3 tones) away, in this case Db7. The Tri-tone could also been seen as a flattened Please note that Altered Pentatonic Scales are not the 5th away. same as the Altered Scale. The opposite is also true; Db7 could be substituted with a dominant chord a Tri-tone (3 tones) away, in this case G7.

Maybe we should look at them in the next issue.

Till next time, “LET THERE BE BASS”.

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36

Tutorial | PLAY BETTER GUITAR | words: Kurt Slabbert

PLAY BETTER GUITAR THE MODES OF THE MAJOR SCALE PART 4

I

ts spring and soon it’ll be summer; that alone should inspire and get your creative juices flowing. So over the last couple of months we have been covering modes of the major scale and the associated chords. It is really important to make the connection with the sound of the chord and its Mode and therefore also know the sound of the mode. Just knowing shapes can be a pretty mechanical approach to music and will leave you writing technique instead of music.

Technique and technical facility are very important but not at the cost of melody and musical ideas. I personally measure my level of technical facility by the music I listen to; I should never hear something that technically I can’t play otherwise I have some work to do, which means rehearsing is a daily occurrence, and I don’t mean only guitar. I enjoy listening to pianists, bass players and brass.

Back to Modes of the Major scale.

Okay so if Dorian is the second mode of the major scale and we have A Dorian then what key are we in?

So this month we are covering one of my favourite modes, Dorian, which is the second Mode of the major scale which introduces a slightly Jazzier sounding minor scale than your normal minor pentatonic or natural minor. My favourite notes in this scale have to be the Natural 6 and the Maj 2nd.

It’s actually the key of G Major, so yes the notes are exactly the same as a G major scale but the difference is that I am playing them over an A minor chord and my target notes are obviously different. This is where people can get lost and battle to understand, so try not to, and realise that sound is everything and shapes can get you confused. Get used to how A Dorian sounds over an Am7 chord.

These are my notes of choice and really give this mode its spice. So A Dorian will look like this:

1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 A B C D E F# G And this will be Played over an A Minor chord.

I love using this mode in combination with other scales; listen to players like Larry Carlton, Robben Ford and a host of other funk, blues guitar players who use this mode.

Exercise 1


37 Record this sequence on your recording device in a funk style, then unleash your Dorian notes. Try and listen to the players I mentioned and borrow some lick ideas from them, that’s how we learn. I really enjoy bending the natural 6 up to the b7; there are so many things you can do to bring this scale alive but you have to try them and experiment, try landing on the B note which is the 9th. You will hear it just has so much zest. So here is a short piece with some lick ideas. Hope you enjoy and remember make them your own!! In the tab there are open strings shown. I would however play these lines preferably without the use of the open strings, it’s just personal preference!

If you have any questions please drop me an email on kurt@bluenoise.co.za

Copyright Kurt Slabbert Bluenoise Productions kurt_slabbert@hotmail.com


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Education | AN INTRO INTO THE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES THAT EXIST IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS | words: Nick Matzukis

AN INTRO INTO THE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES THAT EXIST IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS ACADEMY OF SOUND ENGINEERING SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON THE COMPONENTS OF THE MUSIC BIZ…

I

t’s not just about being a star. Music, in all its forms, comprises a huge, sprawling international industry. Because music is everywhere and each country seems to have its own culture, the possibilities of a career in the music industry are seemingly endless (despite the negative effect that the internet has recently had on the more traditional forms of the record business.) But the music industry is not just for musicians, songwriters, and singers - there are thousands of careers and employers in many fields: recording (labels), management, publishing, sound engineering, concert promotion/agencies, live production, studio production and post-production, choreography, broadcasting, public relations, image consulting, stage crews, riggers, transport personnel, stage/lighting designers, video producers, tour managers, pyrotechnics/ laser experts, and more.

I will try to highlight the areas of the industry that are important from the point of view of musicians, songwriters and music producers - the people likely to be reading this article. So please do not regard this as an exhaustive list - there are many other career possibilities in the music business that are not covered here. While many artists ‘go it alone’, because the internet for the first time gives them the opportunity to do so, the reality is that you will, at least when you become ‘big’, need a team. You will need to negotiate with individuals and corporations, so you need to know who they are and what they do. This is why a knowledge of contracts, royalty streams and music business principles is vital for EVERY artist. You will simply not survive without this (so do a course if you’re serious about music!) We will deal with corporations and institutions a little later in the series, but as far as individuals go, the key business players in the music industry are the following:

The Business Manager (Personal Manager) Read any artist biography and you will see that it was (just about every time) the efforts of the business manager that got the artist that ‘big break’ and maintained his career. The business manager will represent the artist, negotiate for him, assist in making business decisions (e.g. choosing a record company, producer, band and gigs), network, market and promote, give creative and administrative assistance, co-ordinate tours, press for payment, handle tax issues, pressurise the record company, publisher and other involved parties, and generally protect the artist’s interests (at least that is the theory.) He might protect you from the world, but if you don’t know the business, who will protect you from him? Internationally, a business manager will be paid between 10% and 20% of the artist’s income (turnover) before expenses. In South Africa and other countries, there have been some horrific deals made for up to 60% of the artist’s income.


39 A reasonable percentage for a good manager in South Africa should be around 15%, and anything more than 20% is generally regarded as unreasonable. This is the ‘traditional’ model, but partnerships where the artist and manager are 50/50 partners, are becoming more common.

The Agent The term ‘agent’ is an American one, and is used in a different context in South Africa. Here, the term (also the term ‘booking agent’) is generally used to describe an individual that books live performances or ‘gigs’ on behalf of artists (whereas in the USA, the term is sometimes used to describe what we know as the manager. This misnomer is an aberration that comes to the music industry from the world of film production.) Sometimes, agents also book artists on recording sessions, jingles, television appearances and so on, but the bulk of their income comes from booking live performances. In general, the agent takes a percentage (10% to 20%) of the performance fee for the gigs booked by him. Unlike those in America and Europe, South African agents are largely unregulated and do not have to be members of any union or association. This is something that our industry perhaps needs to look at.

The Concert Promoter This individual is an entrepreneur (or company) that specialises in the organisation of live performances. He is generally the person who carries the financial risk of the event (to the extent that sponsors are not involved), but he is also the one who makes the most money from ticket sales and sponsorship if the concert is successful. Essentially, a promoter will book the artists, venue, sound/lighting company and other services, will carry the responsibility of paying them, will advertise the event, will seek partners or sponsors, and will look to make as much money as he can by selling as many tickets as possible.

The Record Company Executive Naturally, all record companies and their constituent divisions are managed by executives. Included in this category of executives is the A&R (Artist and Repertoire) executive. There have been huge changes in record companies (labels) and their structures in recent times, suffice it to say that the record company’s business is to fund, market and sell an artist’s recorded work. The contract between artists and labels forms a major part of my book.

Don’t sign one until you’ve acquired advice or done a course!

The Distributor In some cases, the record company does not physically (or digitally) distribute its products to retailers, but outsources this function to another company, called a distributor. It is the distributor’s job to deliver (and sometimes sell) the products into retail stores (physical and digital), keep inventory and delivery counts, handle returns, co-ordinate delivery times for product launches and other distribution matters.

The Aggregator The definition of aggregator is “an Internet company that collects information about competing products and services and distributes that information through a single website, alternatively a wholesale buyer or broker of a utility service, such as electricity or long-distance telephone service, who packages it and sells it.” In the music industry, therefore, an aggregator is a digital on-line distributor that collects products from various labels and publishers and distributes them online. Aggregators have, of late, become very important links in the chain of music distribution, particularly of music recorded by independent record labels. While aggregators will seek to distribute music owned by the majors, they are of particular importance to independent artists and labels which might not have other distribution outlets.

The Publisher A publisher essentially purchases, is granted, or acquires, the right to use the copyright in a musical composition (as opposed to the recording - a different copyright) from the composer. He then re-sells the rights to use that piece of music by way of licensing it for the purpose of copying, recording, performance, synchronisation and/or other use of the music. Publishers are important powerbrokers in the industry today, largely because of the legalisation of internetbased music services.

related field) can vest not only in musical works, but also in logo’s, likenesses, photographic representations and branded goods in general. The obvious example of this is that of clothing that carries the artist’s image or logo.

The Artist In these articles, the term ‘artist' will be used to describe the musician who performs on a recording, concert or other session/ event. The term will therefore regularly be used to describe the performer (or group) that signs a contract with a record label, as well as the performer who signs a contract with a manager (or management company). It is not used when describing the musician in his capacity as composer or songwriter.

The Composer/Songwriter/Author

These terms refer to the individual that originates and generates (writes) a piece of music and/or lyrics, sourced from his/her own creativity. The term ‘writes’ is used both in the literal and figurative sense, and refers to the creation of a new musical or lyrical work by whatever means. The composer or songwriter (at least to begin with) owns the copyright in his/her creation. (This is to be distinguished from the copyright in the recorded work.) The Merchandiser There is, therefore, no music business While the record company manufactures without him. (and often distributes) music, the So there’s your fundamental intro into merchandiser manufactures goods bearing the name and likeness of an artist, who’s who in the business. Next time we’ll sells them and (hopefully) pays the artist a talk about royalty streams. royalty for each sale. This function, like that of the publisher, also falls under copyright use, because copyrights (and trademarks, a

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