Tag Archives: guitar

Brad Ormand Ibanez 8-String RG Prestige

07.11.2016 – New Ibanez Prestige 8-String Guitar

Yep, that’s right!  I got a new guitar.  It’s beautiful!  Now I have a USA Stratocaster and an Ibanez RG on hand to work with (Plus the Precision Bass and my acoustic, a Fender Del Mar).  This Ibanez has 8 strings (with a low B and an F# below the standard open E).  Some of you already know about this kind of guitar.  It’s an RG Prestige model with a  Hazelnut Ale finish.  It has EMG 808 pickups, and I really like them, actually – I don’t plan on changing them.  Very “woody”, and with lots of grain.

But, yeah – I was looking for more strings to play than the standard 6.  And, I at least I knew I wanted the 7th string for a lower appeal.  I wanted to continue the scale down and was looking to be able to play some lower accompanying notes with my chords and double-stops as well.  Muting has been a challenge, though.  When you wanna play, for instance, the regular E major shape, you can’t just pick the bottom 2 strings as well, you have to either mute them or skip them on the fly before the strum.  Ha – I’m still getting used to that, but actually, it’s helping my technique.  But, other than that, I have no other problem at all navigating the vertical direction.

Brad Ormand - Ibanez RG Prestige 8-String

Coming from 6 strings, the “targeting” is different.  Usually, you’d just either do it by feel or count strings from either top or bottom, from either E, to find out where to fret/pick in the moment.  But, with the 2 additional strings there, if you need to get to the low E, you have to be able to quickly count from the high point: 1 (F#), 2(B), to 3 (the low E string) to get the quick targeting right.  Or, you could just think in terms of F#.  It takes a while to get used to it – just like if you get a new tool belt with more slots on it, it takes a bit of practice to become familiar with it to where you can just reach, grab, and go.  But, it’s no problem, it’s fun to learn.

In the horizontal direction, lengthwise along the fretboard, the scale length is 27″ – an inch and a half longer than my Strat than I’m used to.  But, actually…  I find it even more comfortable!  Especially past the 15th fret.  I’m excited to pick it up every time.

F# to B is a fourth, B to E is a fourth, as E to A is a fourth, and so on…  So, I can continue scale patterns right down the strings and the patterns are the same.  And, believe me, it’s awesomely fun to rip through an extended scale or lick from the lowest to the highest string, doing all 8 in a row – great fun!

I have experimented with tuning on this thing.  As I said, the standard tuning is: F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E, (although Ibanez, I think, ships them all with a step lower) and I tried to turn the B down to an A, like F#, A, E, A, D, G, B, E, so I could have and extra “fundamental” tone when I play in Am or Cmaj.  And, it allowed me to do similar dropped-D-style  playing in the middle there.  However, it just was awkward and I felt like I’d be better off using standard tuning and just reaching when I need the dropped stuff.  I also experimented with dropping the F# to E, but man, that low string gets floppy fast when you deviate too much, but it’s possibly workable.  Maybe one day, I will write something specifically for that, but for now, I like the standard fourths.

Brad Ormand Ibanez 8-String RG Prestige

So, I recored a demo of it – take a listen if you want.  I think it sounds rad!

http://www.bradormand.com/audio/music/crusher_inst.mp3

I look forward to writing more and more songs in the rock and metal genre this Summer and Fall.  Also, I am learning how I can incorporate the lower strings to standard chords to get really full ring-outs.  And, lastly, I’m really enjoying the Ibanez RG Prestige “sound”.  There’s so much tone to explore, just by holding notes, bending them, pinching harmonics, and the pickup positions – You can make this guitar “talk” – it’s really a great experience!

 

 

 

 

Sheet Music Unfolded

04.07.2016 – Guitar Practice and Crafts

I just spent the month of March on an initiative to improve my music theory and guitar playing skills.  I worked on other projects, too during this time, but haven’t finished anything to show.  The results of the practice are pretty amazing, though.  I’m doing it again for April.  I wanted to be able to take my existing guitar skills and augment them to be able to play all of my Major and Minor scale shapes, plus the Blues scale, clean, in every key, all up and down the neck at 90 BPM, sixteenth notes.  I couldn’t do it March 1st – it was too fast, but by April 1st, I was able to do it!

I’m not primarily a guitar player, but I knew the keyboard and a lot of theory, so I could visualize the intervals and know what each sounds like on the keys, but to use my left hand fingers to do it was hard.  I have been playing guitar at a casual level for a long time, and have come up with the parts and recorded guitar on all of my songs, but wanted the ability to express my ideas with more ease.  And, I’m getting into using the guitar as a MIDI instrument and harmonic EFX generator, too.  So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ve practiced every day for at least 30 minutes for 30 days – getting these left hand fingers and picking hand stronger!  It’s a lot like working out (and speaking of, I have been exercising for 30 days straight, too, but that’s beside the point).  For May 1st, I’m trying for that group of scales and positions, up and down, at 100BPM, sixteenths.  120 in July.

After I get to a good technical point, then I can start creating patterns and phrases and learning the songs I had previously written in a new light and see where I want to take them.  New stuff, old stuff, and stuff yet to be laid down.  And, re-create these ideas in a way that inspires the greatest of good-feeling emotions.  That is the goal for that.

Brad Ormand - Guitar Practice Left Hand

TENDENCIES

My other projects, like the audio granulator, woodcarving, and drum construction, are in a holding pattern.  I notice my tendency to “cycle” through each discipline every few months.  But, actually, I’m fine with that.  I noticed last night when I came across some code for my audio apps while backing up my drive, that I actually held myself back from working on it, as if to say, “No, not now – I’m practicing guitar and I have green paint waiting to be used on the canvas before I can get back to you, audio app“.  And, that’s fine.  Why not?  I think…

I’m inspired more to explore ideas that are just surfacing and “hot” right now so I can “lock them in”, and then get back to them on the next cycle.  But… the downside is that I lose some momentum.  But, I capture the “hot” ideas in the stream of consciousness.  Just an observation.  Evens out, I guess.  And, this project log shows me what I come back to and what I don’t.  Most I cycle back to.  I sure do have a lot of interests, though – that’s for sure.

However, I do think about the different categories of projects I have active every day – and I always have a base level of inspiration for them all that never leaves.  And, it’s more exciting to get back to them after a bit of a break and after a large success in another field.  Rationalization or not, it is what it is right now, and until I get to the point to where I do them as my primary business, I can continue to operate in this way.

THE GOAL

My job takes up most of my time (as does driving to and from it).  I’m okay with it because it funds my projects.  However, I would rather my PROJECTS fund my PROJECTS.  haha – I mean that makes the most sense, right?  I’d be hard at work all day on them if I didn’t have these other responsibilities.  On the flip side – my career is in Software Development right now, I’ve worked hard on it,  and they need me and I need them and it’s a good “handshake”.

So, for now, I’m happy.  But, fueling my choices, somewhat, when I decide how to spend my project time is definitely motivated by what I can come up with that #1) I love to do, and #2) that will provide me a profit to put back into the skills that created it.  The audio app and drum construction ideas are the hottest right now, as far as crafting.  And the idea of making excellent music that does well in the marketplace and licenses well (and that I really like!) is an inspiration for my theory and guitar practice right now – to really bump up my ability to produce well-made songs.  Better than before.

Sheet Music Unfolded

Sometimes, I just want to paint for relaxation and sometimes, I just want to play music for enjoyment, so it’s both – a desire to make worthy “products”, mixed with a desire to enjoy my skills.

Either way, I’m getting better skills in the process.  And, that leads to being better able to express my vision, which would be the ultimate goal – To be able to express myself in the most powerful ways possible.

Brad Ormand - First Embedded Fourier Transform

11.16.2014 – Fourier Test & Guitar Practice

Well, during my tests of the real-time FFT on the embedded system with the SSD1306 as the display, I blew the Atmel chip out. Ugh.  At least I think so.  No smoke released, no smells, no heat – it just won’t program anymore.  It’s done.  And, I think I know what I did to brick it.

I’m running the chip with an ADC reference of 3.3v, and while using my iPhone as a signal source, I probably drove about 1.8v + 1.8v (peak-to-peak) = 3.6v+ into it (or more), to my estimate.  It’s stated max *is* at 3.6v.  I built a front-end circuit for it to all be positive voltage, so no negative voltage passed through, but had no input peak protection at all.  I measured the signal on the oscilloscope beforehand, and it was lower than the 3.3v, but it was turned down, and it was voiceover instead of mastered music, and there may have been transients and all that…  Ugh.  Basically, I just spaced and didn’t pay attention to currents.  I would never have even hooked it up with it turned up if  I had been really thinking.  I was in a hurry to do the tests, I guess.  Fools rush in. 🙂

So, anyway, I’ll build some input protection on there and re-consider, twice, what signals I feed in next time.  The good thing is…  I have a few more of those chips, soo…  I’ll drop another in and carry on.

But, during the tests, I was actually able to make a real-time-updating waveform display on the SSD1306, which looked soooper cool.  I did do a static test of the FFT implementation on the system and snapped a pic – it’s kind of a crappy pic, but you can see the peak and a few harmonics.  It was a really low sample rate.  However, never got to the part where I enabled the FFT per frame before the system stalled during my ADC tests…  So, I’m really looking forward to doing that, later.  Will it work?  Will it be super slow?  IDK.  When I get more time, I’ll restart.

Brad Ormand - First Embedded Fourier Transform

And, in other news, I re-strung my guitar with those 10’s and tuned it up.  It sounds pretty great.  I set up a comfortable station with an amp and a chair between the kitchen and the living room.  I then began practicing some scales at the level I left off a few months ago.  Breaking off rust, right now.  My goal is to play the “Kitchen” solo, at speed.