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Controled By Radar:Q for Michael

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by maxvalentino, Oct 18, 2002.

  1. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Hi Michael,
    I just picked up a copy of "Controlled By Radar" (McGill/Manring/Stevens). Quite a wonderful disc!
    It really shows your playing in a different light... I'll try not to use that "F" word..with some amazing interplay between you three.
    I was curious to a few things: How much of that album is improvised? It sounds as though quite a bit of it is.
    I particularly enjoy the "Left Brain" disc, which features you on that lovely Larivee ABG (esp. track 4 with the psuedo sarrod/Indian raga feel!)

    As you know, I have a vested interest in anything featuring and ABG, and your playing here is quite remarkable. It is really refreshing, and of course inspiring,to hear you play one of these (sometime ago I heard a track I believe on a WH sampler which featured this same bass). I have not yet been able to sit and listen to the whole disc at once: I keep having to run and grab my bass and try out something I heard you do (yea, I WILL be stealing some of your stuff!)! I was curious as to the set-up of your Larivve 5 string...tuning(s)...strings?
    And, am I wrong or do I hear some E-Bowed ABG in there too? I have found using the e-bow on my Godins to be quite a task (although the fretless is much easier to control than the fretted). Partly due to the incredible wide dynamic range and sensitivity of piezos (every fret noise and ebow growl, due to the wider vibrational arc of the light strings I use) is picked up. Any tips or tricks there?

    Nonetheless....great disc which I thoroughly enjoy.
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks so much, Max. Coming from you, that's high praise indeed. It was a lot of fun making CBR. As you guessed it's almost entirely improv-based. We came up with some structures in the studio, but we didn't prepare anything beforehand. I have to admit that I like the acoustic disk better, too. I was a treat to be able to play that Larrivee fretless 5-string for a whole record. I used a few altered tunings, but nothing too strange. I used my regular electric strings on the Larrivee (D'Addario EXL200), adding a high C. On the track you mentioned, "He is Invisible, He Cannot be Seen" I tuned to 1-5-1-5-1 of the key and used a capo to get more buzz off the fingerboard on the open strings. It was a little abstract to play the scale of the "raga" in that tuning, but I thought the openness of the tuning really helped support the mood.

    I did use a little Ebow on the Larrivee, but it's not quite as creamy as on the electric -- I'm not sure exactly why. I rarely use the Ebow over the magnetic pickups on the electric, so I doubt that's it. I think it probably has more to do with how the magnetic pickups respond to the strings' vibration. I'll let you know if I find a way to make the Ebow really sing on the acoustic like it does on the electric.

    Please feel free to "steal" from me whatever you like! I've never felt like any of these ideas really belong to me as much as they are just part of the nature of the bass and the landscape of music in general. I any case, I'm more than happy to share. In fact, I did use some preparations on the ABG on one tune, so I think I owe you one!
  3. kimstevens


    Nov 12, 2002
    I've been loving Controlled By Radar, too. I do wonder if Michael's right hand technique changes much when he switches fron electric to his Larivee -- does it require a much heavier effort?

  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi Kim,

    I generally don't use any more effort with my right hand when I play the Larrivee, but it does require a bit of a posture adjustment. It's a little tricky to figure out how to hold my right arm to be able to play comfortably for a long time with the sound I'm looking for, but I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

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