Saturday, September 12, 2009


I had my brother visit today. We set up our respective gear in the lounge room and jammed for a bit. Him on his lovely black Ibanez with Marshall amp and I did a combination of my Vantage and the Gibson L6S.

Lots of fun.

One of the things we did was an earlier version of "How Can It Be over", where he set up the Ibanez with some nice warm distortion to play the original riff that "made" the song when I wrote it. Really nice to get the feel of that one again. I backed off to my original finger picking style to play against him as against how I do it solo now.

He has spent so much more time getting to know his guitar and working on his technique. It puts me to shame at times; but the great thing is that he loves to jam against the music I write, so we have a ball. Maybe I should get him on some of the recordings that I'm doing at home :)

The bad news was that I think my old practice amp has a small rip in the speaker. The nice thing to know was that my big amp (The Jade twin 130) sounds as good as ever and I really had to watch the levels in the house. Especially with the electric acoustic as I couldn't find my feedback buster quickly. At a later time I'm going to try running the full mix into the jade to see if it might work in a pinch for a small PA.

Also got to muck about with a few ideas that I had and progress them a little.

A great day for jamming.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Performing Live onto the Internet

I mentioned earlier that I play live into Second Life. This is not as tricky as it may initially sound. OK, my setup is a little more complex than when I started, but you really don't need a lot to get into it.

The most important thing you'll need is a way to take your audio and send it to an shoutcast (or icecast) server. I use a tiny free little tool called BUTT (Broadcast Using This Tool).

Now as to my setup, it's a bit more complex than it used to be and it's forever changing, but as of this moment it comprises the following.

An Acer Travelmate 7720G notebook. While I'm currently doing audio in (and out) using USB, this notebook also provides a line level stereo input, which I find useful. I've also set up a second screen off the notebook that I can see while I am playing. This allows a bit of interaction with what people are saying/typing online while I'm onstage, making for a more intimate performing experience. It can also lead to dropping me into fits of laughter in the middle of a song, but that's live music!

An Ashton MXL8 mixer feeding one channel into a Digitech RP150, which in turn connects in stereo to my notebook through USB. The RP150 does a little EQ, post compression and reverb for me (as well as the odd freaky effect on the whole shebang).



  • Vantage VW25CWSB - Electric Acoustic cutaway (I'm holding it in my profile pic). This is the instrument that I mainly use.
  • Takamine D-20 TBS Acoustic. I need to mike this one to use it. But it has a lovely tone.
  • Ibanez V302 12 String Acoustic. Again I need to mike this when using it.
  • Gibson L6-S Deluxe - Lovely to play. I bought this guitar with my first pay packet in 1986. Mine is done in the natural satin finish. Apparently there were only 2161 of these made.
Now the effects line on the guitar is pretty simple. I have a PSK CP-1 Compressor which looks to be a Korean knock-off of a Boss compressor pedal feeding into my nice new Boss RC-2 loop station.

Performing into Second Life

Most of the venues in second life provide their own shoutcast or icecast stream that will need to be programmed into BUTT. I also rent one of my own in case there are problems with a venue stream or the venue simply doesn't have one. A stream that will handle up to 50 listeners costs me about US$3/month.

I'll get a bit more into the specifics of making your avatar look like he is actually playing in another blog.

Only My Music

I'm going to try something different here. I have a number of blogs where I mix personal stuff, work stuff and my music. This one is going to be a different in that I will only blog about music here.

To introduce myself, I was in a couple of bands 20-25 years ago in Newcastle, Australia and had a good time then, but i dropped out to make a living elsewhere, ending up here.

Back in 2005, my wife invited me to Coastfest. I met a whole lot of wonderful people and got involved with Brackets and Jam doing sound for the North monthly event and helping out with subsequent coastfest events.

Brackets also gave me the opportunity to start getting back into some performing in the shape of walk-ups.

In addition a few years back I started playing some of my own stuff and some covers live into Second Life in the persona of Tpenta Vanalten. I've met a lot of wonderful people and very helpful musicians all over the world through this fantastic social medium.

I play a bit of everything, as long as it can be done on an acoustic guitar (or maybe a uke). You can have a listen to some of what I've done in the following places.

I'm not quite sure what I'll be putting up here but it would be nice to get into some conversation on topics like, performing, songrwriting, recording, ... stuff like that. I may even talk about some of the folks I'm listening to, be they recorded, live, or live in second life.