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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #1 
So let's think about this for a minute or two... what is your musical background, and what (if any) advantages does that prior experience give you to be able to learn and play certain tapped things more efficiently? Conversely, what disadvantages/weaknesses (opportunities for improvement?) does that bring?

As a guitarist coming to the Stick, knowing what I know now I would have spent a good year working on my keyboard skills, organ, accordion, anything that requires a separation of concentration and a bit of hand independence. Just my opinion of course. Thoughts?

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #2 

This is a very good topic of discussion, and one which I recently embellished upon greatly at Sticklist, which oddly enough - once Tappistry became re-born - I have not been back to, since I got tipped off that there's certain subjects like tuning in 3rds.. [major 3rds in my case] which are completely forbidden.

Over the next day or two, I will either completely re-write what i posted there OR perhaps I will combine and edit two seperate topics of discussion which I wrote about in great detail, however I'm thinking a fresh start might be better - so please give me a couple of days - because it will be quite long.


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Big George W

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #3 
I am looking forward to your thread/response, hahaha

As a stickist, I think I am going to revisit my approach to Emmett's Raised Matched Reciprocal tuning on my 10 string railboard. Kind of fun, it's like starting from the beginning! And yeah, that 3rds thread was pretty controversial lol Tune your axe however you like, and scream it from the rooftops - it's about imagination and self expression. Go for it!

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #4 
Tomorrow morning I'll see what I can do.
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Big George W

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #5 

[ok, it's tomorrow morning !!]

Does Musical Background matter ??

I'm going to say it does, and here's why: I come from a Irish German family, where music was always of an important role. On the Irish side, which would be my father... the emphasis was on classical music, from a listeners standpoint.

This led to an appreciation [which still carries through today] of proper sounding hi-fi systems, and a pretty substantial collection of records, tapes, and compact discs.

On the German side, which would be my mother - the emphasis was also on classic music, but because of their humble upbringings after WWII the emphasis was on performance, mainly with the violin... of which I have an uncle who went on to play with symphony orchestras, etc....

Anyhow, although I am from Germany, back when The Wall was still fairly new - I did indeed grow in in Brooklyn NY, and discovered my own musical tastes somewhere in the mid 1970s.

The first two records I ever received as gifts were Close To The Edge, by Yes... and of all things: Raw Power, by Iggy and The Stooges....

My father took great interest in what I had selected, and while I knew Yes would go over well, The Stooges kind of worried me - to which my father stated that he was not quite ready for that.

I turned 18 in 1983, but by 1980, and 81 [81 being the last year I returned to Germany, and incidently got to spend some time in the East... not too many people can say that !!] my musical tastes included Brian Eno, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, etc... and I was now interested in creating my own music.

By 1983, I was embracing all things hardcore punk - but at the same time - all things no wave, and experimental.

This was not just limited to music, but also performance art, along with art itself.... and to me there was no better place to be than NYC because everything was happening all at once.

Sonic Youth changed my life, along with hearing Jon Hassell.... also PlL's Flowers of Romance and Commercial Zone records....

By 1983, I was a part of a performance art duo called Third Uncle, and I was playing a short scale electric bass which could be described as both cheap and unplayable.

Later on, I found out why: the bridge needed to be moved back a solid two inches so it could intonate properly !!

*But this did not matter at the time, I was performing on an instrument which had all different kinds of strings and tunings, so the fact that it did not intonate meant nothing to me, until I got better...

Meanwhile, I got turned on to King Crimson's album Discipline - and Tony's Stick which at the time while I loved this record as a whole, the whole Stick thing while I appreciated, it never really became something I'd be interested in until about 10 years ago, maybe 15....

By the late 80s, I got my first two proper instruments: an L-2 Steinberger prototype [or so I'm told...] and a 1959 [for real !!] Danelectro double neck.

Both of those instruments were being played through a Roland JC-120 with a digitech bass harmony machine, and a Rockman stereo echo, and sustainer.....

Wow !! This was the start of what would wind up being the beginnings of collecting all kinds of instruments, and the continuation of constructing a personal recording studio, which really went full speed by the early 1990s once I moved to Connecticut.

Musically - maybe Stylistically - my taste in music has not really changed since the 1980s, but is has expanded some - and today I [still] listen to  Sonic Youth, Philip Glass, Suzanne Vega, Jane Siberry, King Crimson, Trey Gunn Band…. Tony Gerballe…. Flipper, PiL, Wire…  not to mention old friends from NYC the False Prophets…

But I also still like what was happening in the late 1970s early 1980s which could be loosely termed Ambient Music.
Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Jon Hassel, all the artists on Obscure Records, Cluster, all the SKY records artists….

[I am now cheating and taking some lines out of the answer I gave to a similar thread on Sticklist...]

Now - somewhere along the lines in the late 1990s, I started tapping on a Gibson Les Paul Bass, a new one - that was very expensive - that had a very flat straight neck.

God I wish I did not trade it now...

Then, as I was now focusing on both recording and playing out - eventually the notion of buying a Stick stated to come into play.

I'd already been turned on to tuning in 5ths since the early 1990s, while working with a long time partner who studied in the late 80s  with the Crafty Guitarists such as Tony Gerballe, and Robert Fripp.

Tuning in 5ths excited me, it forced me to see things differently - and eventually - I started swapping strings around - to mimmick the divided fingerboards of the Stick with several 4 string basses, and 5/6 string as well.

At this point I was known for modifying instruments left and right, I took a 1968 Danelecrto Coral longhorn hollowbody longscale bass [try and find one of those !!] and converted it to an 8 string [octive strings] but the switched the E and A pairings, and decided that I would set up some of the remaining strings for droning, and that instrument changed my life forever.

Trey Gunn got to see that one, and even signed it for me.

Speaking of Trey, I saw KC in 2003, and his Warr Guitar playing was just beyond belief.

His solo work was even more astonishing.

I then saw the Tony Levin Band a year later maybe, and WOW was Tony on fire that night - it was essentially the Peter Gabriel Band, minus Peter... and there was maybe 50 of us in the audience...

So, lest September I decided I was ready for a Stick.

I drove Grace and Cambria nuts going back and forth regarding a used Ironwood they had, in the end someone else got it.

Then, as luck would have it a used Warr Phalanx appeared out of the blue - set up with the bass half on the bottom of the neck as usual, and the melody on top but with a twist: set up so the heaviest string is paired up with the low B bass string - so like an upside down Stick....

*I'm still trying to figure out the right tuning for that but right now 5ths melody and 4ths Bass is the way it is set up.

Then, I discovered Traktor Topaz and the mighty Mobius Megatar and my life was completely changed forever.

I found a modified Toneweaver for sale, set up in 3rds - with a custom peg set up made by a luthier in Oregon... and I bought that instrument for exactly what the seller was asking, and in return I got a lifes work of calculations of string theory and physical aspects for every possible tuning under the sun - it was the best deal I ever made, besides adopting my dog !!

The tuning in 3rds I had never heard of or even considered - but when I told the seller that I was going to keep this instrument set up the way he set it up, he sent me a check so I could buy a complete new set of strings and gave me all the info on how to correctly go about doing that.

I believe he is a retired building engineer/designer so his brilliance was quite apparent while going over all his hand written notes on tuning which he so generously gave me as part of the deal. *I want to say he's well advanced in age, hence why he parted with this instrument - which I will play as if it were a cello as well because that's a great idea....

Meanwhile, thanks to the internet I'm researching all things Traktor.. and wow - the hate coming from the Stick crowd was beyond belief !! 

I mean, a lawsuit - really ?? *there's no comparison whatsoever !!

I watched all kinds of videos on line, and saw a distinct difference stylistically between people playing the Stick, a Warr, or a Megatar... and started to really believe I made the right choices based on my own avant garde way of doing things....

A second Mobius Megatar came available - a regular one - and I jumped on that immediatly as well, and set it up like a Grand Stick.

Immediately I loved the feel and comfort of this instrument - it hung so perfectly on me, felt to comfortable, balanced so perfectly.... I knew i was in, but i also knew that some day I would still get the real deal.

Meanwhile this past March, a used Railboard showed up for sale at S.E. and I wrote to Cambria and Grace - only to find out it was sold.

I mused about that while it remained for sale for like two more weeks, to the point where I felt i was now blacklisted.

But I did find a used Ironwood from the mid 1980s on my own, it was advertised as a 90s natural Stick but I kind of knew that was wrong.

I even offered the seller more money once I confirmed this but he was just happy to see it go to a good home.

So, to my horror and surprise this forum vanishes and I wound up trying Sticklist - since I now owned a Stick, I felt this would work.

But I soon realized that I was not going to fit in, everyone there is so properly trained and scared to try anything different or out of the ordinary.

It's like - all the focus on is more training and who can play the most intricate thing, or these strange covers with to me make no sense.

I mentioned an off hand remark to a person there I knew from here about our tuning in 3rds conversation [here on this forum] and all kinds of red flags and warning went off, so I knew that was the end for me there, and by chance - this forum is back up and running.

So - yes - background - mine which encompasses the NYC experimental music/art scene along with the New Haven experimental music/noise scene - that's what it's all about with me.

I freely admit I know nothing about reading music, notes - but I have a full understanding of string relationships with tunings in 5ths 3rds, etc.... as far as octaves go, etc...

I think the important thing is to use one's musical background what ever it may be to play from the heart, to do something truly original and unique that speaks for one's self.

In my studio I have a self fill with over 100 tapes of sessions I've been involved with.

For someone who knows nothing about music theory as far as reading and notes go, I must have done something right !! 

 

I apologize for the spelling errors.

I could have copied and pasted what I posted on S.E. but felt this would be better.

I lastly want to add that in the last 6-7 months of researching tapping, while the Stick players are definately doing some incredible music, and the Warr crowd is definately doing some very wild music - it's the Megatar crowd which I resonate with the most.

I love my Ironwood, but it's going to take a life time to master it properly - while the Megatar's I can just plug in and play and now worry about a damn thing 😉 

 


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Big George W

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #6 
Cool post, really interesting backstory - The backstory is always fun to know, and it's interesting how our influences influence us. Origins...

99% of the Stick guys are the coolest dudes on the planet. There are, like 2 guys who are complete and utter poopy pants if you have an idea that falls out of their realm of experience. Without a doubt, the 4ths/5ths tuning is very practical. Emmett's Free Hands book is amazing, as is Greg Howard's books and videos as is Bob Culbertson's as is Steve Adelson's stuff. Plus, the newer generation of players is making other connections, and advancing on it in really unexpected ways even if it's not on tap specific instruments. 

My viewpoint - do what you do, explore and develop - we all have our own individual thing and the instrument itself (a piece of wood with Strings) is just waiting to be played.

We all have a different reality, different playing needs and different ideas of what our ultimate goal is - the fun is in trying to reach those goals. If someone wants to discuss the practicality of a certain tuning or technique, all I can do is offer my opinion on what might work about it, and what might not work about it. And situationally, that really only applies to me, plus - it's STILL just an opinion. So again, I say go for it, it's your art, you are in the driver's seat - rock it.

To me, the biggest issue of tapping is doing separate things with each hand simultaneously. Hand independence. But again, what is the goal? Is the objective to be able to go out and play muzak covers of pop and jazz tunes? Or is there more...? What do we ultimately want from the instrument that we can't get from other instruments?

The instrument accommodates us, we can take it wherever we want and it will still be there ready to be cranking out notes...






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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #7 
Could not agree with you more, and my Ironwood will always remain 5ths/4ths because that was the design intent [fixed bridge] of the tuning for this particular instrument which to me is exactly why it sounds the way it does and if I may add: should.
Greg seems very genuine and Emmett is a true genius. I cannot possibly say enough good things about Cambria.
Again I am a super proud Ironwood Stick owner but right now stylistically I need to use my TT Mobius Megatars, because those are the right instruments for what I am doing at the moment.
My Warr Phalanx... I'm still trying to figure that one out because of the string arrangement but that's good too !!
Variety is the spice of life.
Also playing from the heart with no compromises....

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Big George W

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #8 
Oh for sure, Emmett is a indeed a true pioneer - not just as a player, but as an instructor as well as a builder and an inventor. The little tidbits he's given me here and there have proven extremely insightful, and fruitful once put into practice.

Opinion time - I firmly believe that a good 2-3 year stint on piano (Accordion, or Organ, whatever) focusing on hand independence stuff would be absolutely invaluable to a tap instrument player in having something to leverage - particularly if one wants to self accompany. lol That's just me though.


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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #9 

Yes, funny... I never touched on that.

Piano - and maybe drums/percussion... anything which teaches and encourages both the left and right hands to work independently of each other, hence my remaining lifetime of mastering the Ironwood Stick !!

I am at a level where I could play Stick like maybe two finger piano...

But... like that Toneweaver tuned in 3rds [with the peg modification...] was purposely bought to further my own path with soundscapes and layers of sounds - as opposed to actually playing of notes.

I run that instrument through long delays, lush reverbs, and basic harmonizers.... anything to make the instrument sound like a landscape of sorts, while my Warr was bought strictly for rocking out, same with the other M.Megatar... pushing the envelope to the max, where strumming/plucking/tapping/feedback/droning [my Warr purposely has No mute installed...] is flowing out of me.

Funny enough, the reason why I backed out of my original Ironwood Stick purchase during the fall was I felt I was not good enough, not worthy of owning a Stick.

But then I thought about it some, but by then that Ironwood was gone.

When I wanted a Railboard - it's really because I was thinking 10 string Steinberger bass - not Railboard !!

I was thinking of my L 2 and XL 2 and all the amazing capabilities those instruments have - tapping too !!

So, a miracle occurred - it was sold as well.

When the Ironwood appeared on Reverb, I wasted no time - well, actually I wasted about 24 hours thinking about it - but then I bought it no questions asked for full asking price, because nobody was going to beat me to it.

And what was the impulse this time ??

Seeing Trey Gunn performing live with KC on their Live in Argentina 1994 DVD, when Trey was still playing a Chapman Stick [Grand Stick, with what appears to be a modified - or maybe prototype ?? - split pick up arrangement like a P-Bass....

Trey was on fire, he was strumming that thing like an electric guitar, plucking... doing whatever the material being performed called for - and that was all it took.

I was literally like "finally, somebody got it right !!"

Of interest, once he moved to Warr - I felt that while from a technical standpoint Treys playing made a quantum leap forward - from an excitement standpoint, it seemed to me like Trey toned things done some.

But that's ok, he's still one of my favorites that's for sure.

But I'm with you - and I'll never be a proper Stick player - because I have had that 2 -3 year stint on piano or any kind of lessons outside of learning the circle of 5ths about 25  years ago.


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Big George W

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #10 
Trey is an amazing player, really unusual and innovative. I gotta say, those Warrs look super cool too... There's this guy, I think his name is Jimbo, does some absolutely ridiculous stuff! Also, Randy Strom is worth mentioning - probably one of the best jazz tappers out there without a doubt, also a Warr player...

I play drums, and damn it DOES help a ton, but that tactile finger and hand independence is really something else to develop... I went to music school, and had to take a keyboards class, but really I peeked by and never really developed my keyboard skills - it's on my "to do" list!

As a side effect of my Stick practice, my keyboard playing has gone through the roof (for me) so I feel like it would be a reciprocal relationship, one worth pursuing. I am really trying to get my violin playing in order hahaha so I am a bit short on time (damn bowing...) On top of guitar, Stick in 4ths, Stick in 5ths, it leaves me with not a lot of time... I might drop grand Stick in 4ths for a bit as I am having a lot of fun with my 10 str railboard in 5ths/4ths. Funny how I am able to really leverage all of that Stick practice over the last 4-5 years to actually get some tones out of the instrument!

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #11 

oh yes, Jimbo and Randy are both amazing players... and as for my 'regular' m.Megatar, I'm thinking about setting that on up in 'crafty' tuning 5ths/5ths and see where that leads me.

One thing I wanted to add, is that I was asked by a bassist in NYC who saw a picture of my 12 Warr Phalanx... he asked "how do you fret that ??'

My reply was: think of it as a harp, but instead of plucking individual strings, you are fretting individual notes on the fingerboard - using both hands, as a harpist.

Harp is another instrument that I am truly in love with, lyres... anything medieval with strings be it one or 40... and oddly enough THAT'S what brought me to the idea of tapping on a legitimate instrument designed for such playing [Stick, etc...] 

I don't know why I did not say so first, it would have saved me a ton of writing earlier !!

It was the harp  and lyre which brought me directly to where I am now.

I'll be back later - man, this forum is the BEST !! 


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Big George W

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #12 
I think I read somewhere that Trey and Fripp were all about 5ths tunings because it has a sort of natural proclivity towards "not" playing your standard blues influenced fare... I never really understood that, I mean it's the same 12 notes right? If I want to play blues influenced stuff a tuning change won't stop me...

But, maybe different tunings lead to having to finger scales and chords differently - some voicings and fingerings just lie more naturally in different tunings (ie Joni Mitchell)
and maybe those slight changes open up new gateways to interesting music played in a unique way. I mean, Stanley Jordan made a simple change to how he tunes and plays a guitar and look what he has done, right? Emmett Chapman's influence is unbelievably obvious, too - another who blazed his own path.

It's a big world out there, lots of people with many different approaches...


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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #13 

Funny you mention this because I was just now thinking the same thing while reading something on Sticklist... as I had a message to respond to regarding me going silent there.

One thing about me is I like doing things differently and when I was taught the circle of 5ths in the early 1990s by a student of Robert's my life changed forever because that tuning completely forced me to forget the past and move towards the future...

3rds even more so, contrary to what was recently said on sticklist....
3rds gives you complete range with no redundancy as far as duplicate strings go for the most part.

I would look at the 12 strings tuned in 5ths and 4ths or both sides 5ths both sides 4ths and I would dare say to my self what for ??

So many strings are duplicated, why ??

Don't get me wrong I like the blues but I got an early 1960s single pickup with rusted strings Gibson Thunderbird for when that moment strikes....


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Big George W

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WARR, Mobius Megatar [2], Syme, KYDD, Ovation [2], Steinberger [3], Tune, Schecter, Musicmakers [lots !!], Ironwood Stick [2]

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ixlramp

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big George Waters
3rds gives you complete range with no redundancy as far as duplicate strings go for the most part.

I would look at the 12 strings tuned in 5ths and 4ths or both sides 5ths both sides 4ths and I would dare say to my self what for ??

So many strings are duplicated, why ??


By 'redundancy' and 'duplicated' do you mean the pitch ranges of both sides overlapping?

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #15 
Yes, exactly.... and I get that the main objective of playing the Stick is self accompaniment... where one can perhaps cover rythym and melody or maybe two melodies or two rhythms simultaneously, and dont get me wrong that's way cool but that's not where it's at for me.
There's a thread on sticklist asking if anyone plays in mono, and yes I totally play in mono granted through a full range amplification system because I view my own playing as playing a single instrument with a whole lotta strings.
I have my Mobius Megatar Toneweaver set up in major 3rds per its original owner.
My Ironwood Stick is stock 5ths 4ths per factory original design.
My other Mobius Megatar I'm thinking 5ths and 5ths to keep things interesting, while my Warr Phalanx the jury is still out but I'm thinking melody in 5ths and bass in 4ths.... since the melody is on top and the heavy strings runs down the middle so in essence the opposite of a Stick...

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Big George W

East Derby CT

WARR, Mobius Megatar [2], Syme, KYDD, Ovation [2], Steinberger [3], Tune, Schecter, Musicmakers [lots !!], Ironwood Stick [2]

digitech, T.C. Electronics, ART, Lexicon, GK, Markbass, EA, Bag End, Guild/Hartke, SWR, EV, Radial, Furman

RAMSA, Alesis, Tascam, Fostex, Panasonic, Marantz, Sony, Roland, Yamaha, Audio Technica, AKG

Ampex, HHB, TDK Professional

 

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