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Boss RC-20 or Line6 DL4..HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Murf, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Steve Cat: thanks....I really have not got the whole "marketing thing" together yet! working on my website (still)....
    Please drop me an e-mail at: ekstasis1@hotmail.com
    and I'll make sure you get one!
    on to the clips....
    in the 50s John Cage did several pieces for "prepared piano" in which he applied alligator clips and other found objects to the strings of a grand piano. The placement of these objects was not arbitrary, but rather based on careful and extensive research and designed to create certain overtones and harmonics.
    Guitarists borrowed this technique liberally....Fred Firth has done much experimentation with this technique as also has Elliot Sharp and Derek Bailey. Even Brian Eno did several pieces with "prepared guitar". On the bass side....Bill Laswell has probably been the foremost practicioner of this technique. In all, or at least most, these cases the preparation of the bass or gtr has been down over the fretboard and designed to make a clangorous, and somewhat scary and menacing noise (ah...the avant garde!). Laswell has used this to a great extent on his first solo album "baselines" as well as recent works such as "Invisible Design".
    For my purposes I have gravitated more to the area of the string which is over the body and pickups (save for my piezo equipped basses). Up there, are a multitude of harmonic nodes; the spots where you would find "artificial" harmonics. By mapping out those spots for all strings, I have found harmonic nodes which, when prepared with the clips, produce overtones quite like steel drums, gamelan sounds, bells, or even the sound of a car exhaust being tapped with an icepick :-0) ! Some sounds are used for rhythmic loops (a'la drum parts) some to add a harmonic interest...and others just for clangorous, noisy fun!
    I have also found, thru the experimentation of using clips, that I can finger those same harmonic points (often as a four note chord) and strum or pluck the strings behind that to produce a similar, albeit less metallic, effect "sans-clips".
    The use of alligator clips in itself is not novel, nor all that original. Or for that matter all that important...what is important here is the concept of using the bass to create music, through whatever means neccessary. I strongly believe that creativity and imagination should not be stifled, nor should it be condensed to standard licks and techniques or electronic effects. You should use whatever creativity you can to produce music on whatever instrument you can. Certainly this will include standard licks and techniques and electronic effects...but don't limit yourself to just that. In my case I have been considering just what my hands do, and can do, to produce music on the bass.
  2. First the disclaimer! This may adversely affect your strings. Use at your own discretion... AHEM!

    When I was a young(er) bassist I experimented with putting blu-tack on the strings. Roll up some blu-tack, then wrap it around the strings at a desired point. Provides a not quite dead, but strange, muted noise. Sure the vibration of the strings loosens it after a while but then you get other assorted mad sounds - not quite predictable. I mostly tried it wrapped around the strings near the plucking area. Over the fingerboard could get messy, but even more interesting.

    CAUTION: This may not be best done with your $$$ Elixir or TI strings. It tends to leave a residue.... :eek:

    Mummy... !
  3. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Yet more bizarre things we have in common Mike - I did the very same thing... :oops:)

    Also experimented with coat hangers, clothes pegs, and any thing else that clipped or hung... :oops:) made a right mess of my first bass with stuff like this! :oops:)


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