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Re: Percussive Sounds on El. Guitar

Inspired by max's post, I just tried lightly tapping a bass pickup pole 
magnet with a medium sized bolt.  You can feel the magnet pulling on it, 
ya get a great percussive sound with lots of attack.  With delay time set 
250 ms and 100% feedback, it is definately percussive and interesting.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "max valentino" <ekstasis1@hotmail.com>
To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 12:39 PM
Subject: Re: Percussive Sounds on El. Guitar

> Sorry about the late post to this..I have been a bit busy of late 
> scraping, patting, thunking and muting on my own!
> Alright, the "faux drum" thang is something I do quite a bit, yet not on 
> an elec. Gtr but rather on an acoustic bass guitar. Some years back, 
> I first started doing solo bass/looping shows, I was using  A LOT of 
> processing and as many as three drum machines to supply drum/percussion 
> parts.  I found that as much as 70% of my audience would grow bored (or 
> least apathetic) of my show once the machines started.  Looping solo 
> on the other hand, who keep their attention.  I tend to think of this as 
> reaction to "canned tracks" and sequences being the opposite of a "live" 
> performance.  I even tried "playing" a drum machine at times (tapping in 
> the patterns I would use in real time to give the resemblance of a real 
> performance).  And, while the reaction to this was perhaps a little 
> warmer, there was always to "boredom factor" of having to watch someone 
> tapping little buttons and then hearing "big" drum sounds.
> So, I went to playing drum parts on my bass (this was at Rick Walker's 
> initial suggestion.and it was a remarkable bit of advice!)  I use all of 
> the afore mentioned techniques (string mutes, playing behind the nut, 
> strumming behind a natural harmonic, use of pinch harmonics, 
> pats and mutes-think paradiddles-nail scrapes, finger rubs, palm rubs 
> pats-which when applied at differing positions can produce an array of 
> differing timbres-and of course the use of foreign objects to "prepare" 
> the bass (see John Cage and prepared piano for reference.)
> I will at times use the Derek Bailey/Fred Frith trick of "drumming " the 
> strings with either metal, plastic or wood objects (each for a different 
> "flavor"-plastic swizzle sticks and bamboo chopsticks are my 
> favorite)..and even use my wedding ring to tap out patterns against the 
> strings.  And, I have been somewhat renown for the use of alligator 
> which give me a fantastic ersatz-gamelan effect. I also tap, hit and 
> the back of the neck, the headstock, the bridge and various parts of the 
> body (a'la Hedges, Badi Assad and Preston Reed). Sometimes I use a metal 
> slide as well.
> I don't currently use any electronic effects for this-I have in the 
> but now do all my sonic manipulation "manually".
> But here is the big advice from what I have learned:  If one is trying 
> create the "sounds" of drums, be that of kick snare, hi-hat etc. , then 
> you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  The sounds coming off 
> gtr really do not sound like the real thing.  What actually is emulated 
> these techniques is the envelope of certain drum sounds and their 
> placement in the music.  Often times is is easier for us to "hear" drum 
> parts when using "drum sounds".  I have found that any sound when 
> a necessary percussive envelope ( ask what is the attack, decay and 
> of the sound I "hear") will fit.  I often use references to drum sounds 
> ("gamelan" "gong"" bongo" or "snare") to catalog the sounds and 
> I use on my bass, but I really do not try to emulate the actual drum 
> ("bongo-ish" might be a better description.), and often I find myself 
> using those sounds out of context of which would be used in a 
> drum kit i.e. often I use a "snare-ish" sound on what might usually be 
> filled with a kick drum.
> The thing here is not to try to emulate/imitate drum or drum machine 
> sounds but rather develop a vocabulary of interesting tones and timbres 
> which employ various types of "percussive" envelopes and then develop a 
> rhythmic sense and acuity to employ those in a unique and creative 
> way ---vis a vis the use of loops.
> I have found this direction to be both more rewarding and more musical.
> Max