Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Some of My Favorite Tools
I love to experiment with different sounds and I'm constantly looking for new ways to explore and discover. Earlier this year I acquired an M-Audio Oxygen 25 USB synth controller, the little keyboard in the picture. It may look like a toy but it has so many capabilities it boggles the mind. I'm not really a keyboard player but with this and a strong background in music theory I can create atmospheres I never dreamed of. The amp in the photo is a Fender Mustang series "modeling amp", again, don't let it's small size fool you, they are called "modeling amps" because they feature sophisticated controls that allow you to make any guitar sound like it's plugged into any vintage amp you want, and add any effects you want. Years ago when I played guitar in live rock bands all we had was a big amp with a couple of effects like reverb and distortion and a few pedals on the floor that added chorus, digital delay, and more distortion. Back then a keyboard player had to have at least 3 different units, an electric piano, an organ(!) and a synthesizer just to play the latest hits, now they could do it with a larger version of the Oxygen controller. The guitar in the pic is an Epiphone Les Paul Special II, a budget guitar, but very useful, especially with the Mustang amp. Some of the tracks on "Halloween I'm Afraid" that sound like a synth are actually this guitar plugged into this amp, and then modified further with an audio editor on the computer. I'll get into the computer aspect in another post later. This is not an endorsement for these instrument makers, just my opinion as a fan of using them.