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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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.