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Re: looping and using monitors
Luis Angulo wrote:
"I am having fun doing this thing lately last night i
played in konstanz laying layers of rhythms i also
graved an old cookie tray from the bar for a snare
sound(a la ricko suave) with different instruments and
then playing guitar on top with really low open tunigs
fro a bassier sound,i did a version of "Walk on the
wild side" man you should have seen the peoples faces
bro!a girl kept coming up every 5 min. trying to see
what was behind the monitor and how i was doing it and
i just cracked up:-))then i went on to explain how i
was doing it and people seem fascinated by it."
Wow, what a wonderful gig it sounds like, Luis. This is one of those
times that I wish I had a lost rich uncle to leave me a million
bucks so I could just drop everything and jet in and play with you as a
at your next gig in Konstanz (for those of you unfamiliar with it,
is one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Germany...........truly
beautiful and untouched by World War 11's bombings, but that's another
"I am doing congas with a small kanjira it sounds great but
i want to get a good hand snare drum and maybe a small
cymbal, what can you recomend me as a drummer?"
Evans, by the way, puts out a portable conga that is just a head on a rim.
It sounds fantastic as a conga and is so low profile that it's easy to
throw it into the back of a rack case or guitar bag. Another trick I
is to use a piece of enclosed tupperware with a pitch shifter. You can
layer several 'conga' parts really quickly just by switching the pitch of
the pitch shifter---I use the cheesy and wonderful Vocal 300 by Digitech).
Viz a vis a snare drum there are several cool simulations you can use
of actually buying a snare drum (which can be bulky to carry).
One I love is to take a string of really large fake pearls (I use dagylo
lime green ones but that's just me.......lol) and put them inside of a
frisbee that is made of the more brittle kind of plastic (as opposed to
rubbery plastic). With both hands, throw the beads in the air and catch
them in the frisbee (turned upside down) and , VOILA!!!!!, a great
white noise hip hop snare sound............again with a pitch shifter you
can run the gamut with such a thing. Any kind of material strung up:
beads, rattles, metal beads, chain of different thicknesses, etc.
when thrown on wood or metal or plastic objects will cause a 'snarey' kind
Otherwise, I bought an 8" 1970's fiberglass pearl drum and put piccolo
snare hardware on it; bought 8" snare heads (custom ordered) and
drilled out the bottom rim to accomodate the snare strands and have a
wonderful lo profile rap snare that can sound like heavy metal when tuned
down and played through a pitch shifter (are you getting how much I depend
on my vocal 300?).
Cymbals are more problematic because they take up so much territory and
can be quite costly.
One thing to be on the lookout for is really cheap used (and sometimes
terrible sounding cymbals), particularly cymbals that were designed for
small children's toy drum kits. With some simple DSP processing, some of
these cymbals can really come alive in a looping situation.
You can play them on the bell with the tip of a drum stick or the body or
you can hit the side of the cymbal with the middle of the drumstick
to create really different textures.
The beauty of looping is that you can take a really cheesy inexpensive
cymbal (even a broken one discarded and sold for very little at a flea
market) and do one loop of one technique, layer a second loop of a second
technique, etc. and come up with a fascinating and quite idiosyncratic
One thing I love to do along these lines with my Repeater is to mallet a
cymbal continuously on one of my loops and then
take the volume down to nothing on that track. Using the volume on the
Repeater with my left hand and keeping my right hand on the mute button on
the returned channel on the mixer you can swell the volume up and mute it
own the downbeat to create really cool and controllable
backwards cymbal sounds. You can also take all the bass off the channel
and boost the treble when doing this to get a
SHHHHHHHH sound and then immediately pump the bass and boost the midrange
get a SHHHHUUUUUUUUUSHHHHHH sound.
This is a fun trick during 'breakdowns' in a track.
Also, lot's of metal objects can easily double for cymbal or bell sounds.
Stainless Steel mixing bowls make awesome gong and sound fantastic when
reversed, especially if you've hit the edge of the bowl hard with your
or a mallet or stick.
If you take wire wisks, they frequently have hollow stainless steel
which if hit with another metal object sounds very much like a triangle
which you can then dampen at will. Again, this shit sounds fantastic
Add different modulation effects and other DSP processing and you can have
universe with a bunch of kitchen utensils that all fit in one stainless
steel mixing bowl. You should have hear the fantastic German frame
drummer, David Kuchermann and I playing steel mixing bowls as we walked
around the poor parts of Nashville looking for junk shops to buy
in. It was really beautiful!
Okay, now the ringing of acoustic multiple loops.
I use the AKG C1000s with the hyper-hyper cartiod plastic focuser it comes
with. It sounds fantastic but as long as there is open air monitoring you
will get bleed.
I think the solution is threefold:
1) don't use many acoustic loops and make sure you do your drum looping
first........this is crucial so as not to bring in your guitar/bass/key
sounds into the bleed into the mix
2) buy radio shack wireless headphones for $70 USD and elimnate all your
other onstage monitoring
3) buy costly in ear monitors.
When I can't use my wireless headphones, I just keep my overdubs to a
I hope this helps. Wish I could have seen you play, buddy. Hasta la
ps the handsonic is really cool, but it lacks viscerality for my
and people get more joy out of watching you play physical objects.
Tell that to looper Tom Roady, though, who does mind bogglingly beautiful
things with his Handsonic drums and Zendrums.