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Acceptable Latency

Dave wrote about the fear of unacceptable latency with the new
Gibson digital guitar (or any guitar) and it got me to thinking
about my philosophy about 'acceptable' latency in any instrument.

Because I started out playing drumset, I have had the pleasure of playing 
instrument that has virtually no latency whatsoever.  Hit a snare with a
drumstick and
, voila!   Immediate transience.

I say this because when I started playing bass guitar it became obvious 
the low bass notes
develop over a few milliseconds after you pluck.    If you use your thumb
far away from the bridge
and turn the treble down on your bass (dub stylee or subsonics) the
'latency' is really visceral
compared to hitting a hi hat with a stick.

Anyone who has gone from a trumpet to a tuba knows this one really well.
Or from playing sticks to 'stirring the soup' playing jazz with brushes.

What we do, if we switch instruments is that we compensate until we learn
how to play
'in the pocket' with another instrument (or another loop).

I really noticed this when I went from using the Jamman to using the Line 6
to using the Repeater
to using the EDP.   Everyone of them has slightly different inherent
latencies (most probably resulting only
from the style of footswitch used.

One by one, because I am a freak about micro-timing (and playing 'on top 
or 'behind' the beat for different kinds of expression),
I learned how to have good timing with each of these new 'latency'
challenges.   I'll soon be using the Behringer FCB 1010 with
Ableton's live and Cycling 74 Max/MSP and I know it will be back to the
drawing board on learning each systems inherent latency.

So I hear what Dave says about unacceptable latency, but I would contend
that a more latent phenomenae
(I think of the earliest Peavey Bass Synth I ever tried
out.....................wow, talk about large latency) just provides
us with an even greater challenge to improve our abilities to teach
ourselves how to consistently play ahead or behind the beat
with rhytmic impunity.

LOL, with great respect, Dave,  I say 'bring on the latentcy'!!!!!!   It's 
great teacher and it's doable, if awkward as hell at first.


ps A long time ago, I believe I posted an exercise designed to teach anyone
in one hour how to play behind the beat, ahead of the beat or right on the
money.    If you aren't sure how to do this,  you might search for that
thread or if people can't find it, I'll repost if anyone wants me to.  It 
the almost always the culprit when people have a hard time playing with 
other for rhythmic reasons.   The other night as an example I played with a
killer guitarist and a killer bassist (who was subbing the gig for the 
time).   The bassist and I are both really used to 'laying back' on the 
as is done in a lot of soul and r&b but it was the guitarists gig and we
weren't jiving at all!!!!!  It took me half of the first set to realize 
the guitarist was actually playing hard funk (with a discernable swing to
every thing he played) on top of the beat and he was really uncomfortable
where we were laying it down.

At the set break we all three discussed it and came to the conclusion that 
should play 'up' and with the guitarist and just let the bass player follow
me.   Well, I'm so used to locking it in with the bassist (and what a good
bassist this guy was) that it was a definite challenge and I definitely
spent the first half of the next set a bit in my head but locking it up to
the best of my ability.  Luckily, I have trained my self to play on any 
of the beat, so although it was uncomfortable,  we fucking rocked the house
in the second set!    The audience
went nuts to..........It was just palpable how much better we sounded from
set two to set one.   15 years ago I would have left the gig bewildered,
thinking, "I just don't click , stylistically, with this guy" and never
played with him or her again.   The good news is this guy is stoked to hire
me again the next time he needs a sub and he is a fantastic funk player, so
I"m stoked to have met him.