New Crazymakers Single – “Still Keep Coming Back”

Y’all.  We’ve got a brand new single/video for ya today! “Still Keep Coming Back” was one of the first songs we worked up for the Crazymakers recording sessions last year, and it’s still one of my favorites to play.  The video shoot for this one was a hoot – we spent all day in a
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New Crazymakers Live Track - Just Can't Get Enough

New Crazymakers Live Track – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Fresh music today – a live video take of a previously unreleased track, “Just Can’t Get Enough”.  Cause sometimes you just can’t.

The song was recorded a few months back at the Ojai Underground Exchange. My bass tone is my beloved Fender Jazz 5 with a little Darkglass B7K Ultra fuzz/distortion inserted firmly into an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500. Tight, low, and a little bit crunchy, I was dialin’ for something like dub/reggae after a hot-box session. 🙂

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unchained-melody

New Crazymakers Single – “Unchained Melody”

Aw, yeah.  A beautiful re-imagining of an old classic you might remember. Iggy sings her heart dry on this one, and it’s a contender for my favorite of the 18 tracks I worked on in the studio with the lovely Crazymakers last year.

That said – to give major props where props are due – the bass tracks on this cut are, I believe, from the original demo and come from the amazingly talented instrumentalist/producer/etc David Franz (and fit beautifully alongside his wonderfully understated drum tracks).  I’ll be pleased to play it for ya live, natch.

Enjoy and spread the joy, my lovelies…

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Don Broco - Technology

Don Broco: Next-Gen Rock

I don’t usually pimp my listening habits here, but this is a special case.  About a year ago, I was pointed at a Bedford, UK band named Don Broco by two industry friends, independently – and that’s usually a big flare in the sky for me that something’s building up.  And holy shit, were they on it early.  Over recent years, rock music in particular has suffered from a severe drought in originality, and I’ve found myself shifting over to listening to more hip-hop, soul, funk, and electronic music in all it’s varieties.  But this band – holy shit.  They’ve found a way to pull much of these diverse genres into one cohesive, unique, individual sound. Their music has a bit of it all- heavy detuned riffs, ethereal electronic pads, a variety of vocal styles, slamming grooves, great lyrics, just a stellar package all around. I haven’t been able to put down their earlier stuff for a while… […]

Iggy T and the Crazymakers: All Caught Up

New Crazymakers Single – “All Caught Up”

Although the EP has been out for a few months now to great reviews, the Crazymakers just released the first official single/music video from our upcoming full-length album  – the first of three videos shot over the holiday season.  I really dig this song’s groove and feel, and Iggy’s lyrics and vocals really seal the deal for me.  Click thru for the video – hope you enjoy watching and listening to it as much as we did making it. If you dig it, we’d be truly honored if you share amongst your friends and family – help us spread the love!

You can also get more info and download the entire EP from our website at iggytandthecrazymakers.com, of course. Keep posted for gig updates and new tracks/videos – much to come in the next few months, for sure.

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Use 3rd Party Drum Plugins with the Ableton Push Controller

Using 3rd Party Drum Plugins with Ableton Push

The Ableton Push is a super-flexible songwriting tool and its Drum sequencer view is particularly helpful for building out beats quickly. But when you add a third-party drum plug-in to a MIDI track, Push only gives you its general melodic keyboard interface, not the super-handy Push drum pad and sequencing interface. If you want to use a third-party drum module like NI’s Battery or Toontrack’s Superior Drummer with Push’s drum-programming interface, you’ll need to follow a few simple, but often-overlooked steps.

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taking a drum break

Musical cross-training

If there’s one title that should be on my gravestone, it’s ‘bassist’.  I know this, it’s the foundation of who I am.  But I’ve got to admit a dirty secret – being relegated to 4 (or more commonly, 5) strings isn’t enough to quell my need to learn.  Musical cross-training is my new jam.  And I’m not sure I can stop.

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NAMM Show Floor (2014)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or NAMM – Day One

It’s the opening day of Winter NAMM 2017, the music gear event of the year for most musicians I know.  Vendors roll out their latest drool-worthy instruments and gear. And there’s a name for the affliction many musicians emerge from NAMM with – Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).

Umm… Gear Acquisition Syndrome?

Yep, it’s a thing. GAS’s key symptom is a relentless drive to grab your wallet and upgrade all your instruments, gear, and accessories to the shiny new hotness you’ve just played with.  When it comes to GAS afflictees, I’m pretty much a poster child – so it’s a good thing that I’m not attending in person this year.  Restraining my wallet hand is getting easier with age, but from early signs we may need medics at NAMM this year.  It’s gonna be a gear acquisition syndrome outbreak!

Here’s my first two candidates for ‘wallet magnet of the week’.

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Installing a Badass II bridge in your bass

Install a Badass or Omega bridge on your bass.

I’ve installed Badass high-mass bridges in every bass in my collection that will take them. Why? I love ’em to death for their beefy sustain and definition. That said, they often come without string slots cut. This doesn’t exactly make them a drop-in mod, they’ll need some handiwork to install. I avoid the pre-slotted bridges, as cutting them yourself allows you to get a perfect string spacing and fit for your particular bass. If you’ve got an unslotted Badass bridge (or one of the recently-available Omega bass bridges from Allparts, which from what I can tell are exact replicas of the Badasses, even constructed w/zinc), here’s a rundown of how to install them.

UPDATE: re-edited this in January 2017 to add pictures (finally!) from a new build. Also note- if you’ve got an Omega bridge, these steps should also work.

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the road ahead

The Road Ahead

2017 hasn’t come fully into focus yet, but already feels like a breath of fresh air. I haven’t really gotten back into the swing of my daily routine(s) yet, but I already feel like the baggage of 2016 has finally slipped free. The road ahead is foggy but highlights are starting to poke through the haze, drawing me forward with curiosity and intent.

I decided to not kid myself this year with the usual New Year’s resolutions. Instead I’m just sticking to the basics, with the goal of leaving this year stronger than I began it. And by doing so, hopefully find the road ahead to more productive paths for personal and professional growth.

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Looping a loop on bass guitar

I recently experimented with an improvised bass loop using a T.C. Electronics Ditto looper pedal I’ve had sitting around for a while. Of course, it was tons of fun. I originally bought the pedal to run simple bass line loops at the front of my pedalboard. It’s helpful for fine-tuning tones and settings without having to play bass at the same time. However, so far I’ve only used it as a test simulator in the studio. I’d secretly been wanting to play around with it more creatively for a while. I wish I hadn’t waited, as live looping is a ton of fun!

Accordingly, I took the plunge and improvised a quick composition live on the spot.  One pass, under a camera’s eye, with the record light on for a bit of pressure.  Enjoy!

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NAMM

An armchair, post-NAMM wishlist.

I always look forward to January, and my annual trip to the NAMM show in Anaheim to gawk at the cutting edge of music hardware (and software).  When I realized my schedule wouldn’t get me to NAMM this month I was bummed, but kept my ears and eyes peeled online. Despite no significant time on the show floor this year, there were a few announcements and developments at NAMM 2015 that still caught my attention. It should come as no surprise that I’m rather focused on effects & amps for guitar & bass. Here’s my video post-NAMM wishlist, with commentary.

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July 2013: My ear magnets

July was an interesting month for listening. I was a bit over-obsessed with French pop/hip-hop and the grandiose new release from Aussie prog-rock uberheroes Karnivool, but still fit in some old Beastie Boys and a spattering of west-coast American hipster pop fluff. Makes a fun mix for a bright summer’s day.

Stomp 01: Pedalboard overview.

pedalboard 4

Love me some pedalboard. I really do.

For decades I refused to use any effects on my bass guitars, being strictly fingers–only when it came to dressing up a note. I can’t deny that self–imposed deprivation helped me master my instrument early on without distractions, and taught me volumes on restraint and articulation I wouldn’t have learned had I jumped right into the effects world. However, after 20-odd years my tone had started to get a bit routine, my phrasing uninspired, and I found myself looking for ways to break out of the rut. Salvation came by way of a critical, distorted bassline I needed to cop for one of my fill-in sessions with a Bay Area electronica band – but cranking preamp gain in my painfully-clean SWR SM–900s was a non-starter. So I grabbed a friend’s Big Muff Pi for the gig, and the rest is history.  Years later, I’ve worked and gigged through so many effect combinations, sizes and themes to my pedals and pedalboards that I’ve got my preferences and sounds down to a pretty solid philosophical, aesthetic and ergonomic art.

Philosophically, it’s all about having *the right* assortment of tonal choices when I need them, easily accessed, with as little impact on my basic tone as possible. I still prefer a tone that’s piano-clean yet asskickingly fat via mostly 18v active basses- any effects are simply additive to my primary fingers/instrument/amp sound.  That way they stick to their role as the spice in my steady diet of groove, never the main course.

Aesthetically, my effects have got to allow me to enhance my normal tone gracefully (compression, EQ, and chorus), distort the signal six ways from Sunday (boost, distortion, overdrive and fuzz), and filter/add to it (envelope, pitch & synth effects).  Efficiency is also a factor (wireless receivers, digital tuners).  And it’s simply got to look clean and usable, not some random tangle of wires and boxes that could be kicked astray with a errant toe.

Ergonomically, my pedalboard has got to be playable like an instrument, portable and reliable, and fast to set up & tear down at gigs.  It needs to be laid out in common pairings/groupings of pedals in close proximity to one another so I can trigger the more complex, multiple effect settings with a single ‘stomp’ (or at least without signficant tap-dancing onstage).

Tall order, but well-filled now in my current pedalboard. Lets take an overview of my main groups of effects.

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