Friday, July 27, 2012

Revolt 1989 Release

Well, somehow writing songs on a bridge 7 months ago led to this.  A two (sometimes 3 or 5) bass band.  A kind of tip of the hat to all the great bass players I've been lucky enough to have played with over the years.  I made this mostly at home.  With some help from Juan Pablo.  It's a kind of artys fartsy home recording, so patience please. 

Streaming and MP3's here:
Wav, MP3, and Flac here:

What is Revolt 1989? Well, the un-obvious answer is……….Well it was kind of a band. Sort of, for one night live and for a few days of recording. A short lived band I imagined while living in Asia. It was also the year of a very famous protest in Asia. Over the last two years I watched quite a few of these revolts. Ideas that now spread almost as easily as the wind. Much like what the wind would carry where I lived. A phenomenon called yellow sand. No not a derogatory term. Yet, a real thing; a dust from China, which would appear all over my stuff overnight, if I had left my windows open. One day, I found this sand and dust on my bass. I felt sad that I had neglected this instrument in such a way, even for a day. So, I wiped it off and began to play it again. Not long after that, one fall afternoon, I met a few guys in a nearby park. These fellows also played stringed instruments. One of those hombres was Juan Pablo. He played a bass once in Panama. He also played a jovial accordion, which brought many smiles. One night we wrote some songs together on a bridge, at the edge of a red light district in a far off land. It was a cold night, yet somehow, we met many crooked and twisted fellow Thud Stick players that night. We also somehow wrote a few songs on that bridge. The view was amazing, inspiration was running high, and some strange people came and watched us play. I then ran home and quickly bought a Theremin. Juan Pablo then sailed on for new lands and new frontiers soon after. I felt it was a great collision for the Thud Stick, which I won’t soon forget.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Setting Up a 12 String Acoustic For Better Action.

Filing the nut for the thicker gauges.
Filing the bridge down for the thicker strings.
I recently bought this late 70's Yamaha 12 string acoustic for about $70, which was a steal.  I think the shop I bought it at didn't realize the quality of the guitar because it did look as if it had been neglected for years and the action and playability was like a boxing match with Muhammid Ali for 9 rounds.  A constant struggle.  The Strings were too high to start with.  This was an easy fix.  I simply sanded down the bottom of the bridge and adjusted the trust rod, to my liking.  The other real problem was that the nut and the bridge were level and straight.  This causes a real problem when you want to fret a pair string pair.  The thicker string ends up being higher than the thinner gauged string.  Makes for clumsy fret work when playing.  So, to put the string at the same level point from the top, I stared with the nut.  I simply filed down and widened each thicker string gauges slot until the strings were level.  Next up, the bridge.  I slotted down each point were the thicker string ran across the bridge.  The playability really improved.  However, I ran into one last problem, the thicker strings were barely touching the bridge at this point.  The contact point was a little too low.  To fix this and to keep the action low, I filed out part of the bridge base were the string runs into the bridge pin.  Making the strings angle over the bridge contact much sharper, keeping the string snuggle over the bridge.  These adjustments took a bit of adjusting and time playing between each change to get everything just right.  It paid off.  I'm surprised these adjustments aren't standard on all 12 strings, considering the uniqueness the instrument poises. 
Routing the thicker strings lower in the bridge.