A Couple of Musical Toolson April 22, 2009 at 9:29 pm
I’ve spent the past couple of evenings working on some musical stuff for Andy Tallman. He’s written a bunch of songs and is working on recording them. I’ve offered my (limited) services as a guitarist and bass player and actually got seriously to work on things last night.
I’ve often found myself stuck in a sort of loop when playing guitar. I usually wind up playing the same old songs, or the same hacked together pseudo solo. I needed a way of breaking out of some of my old moulds so I gave TuxGuitar a shot to try and write some stuff via tab. For those of you who don’t play guitar, tabs (tablature) is a lazy, shorthand way of writing guitar music where you have six lines and put the fret number of the note on the line rather than using the more standard five line staff with real notes. It’s extremely convenient and TuxGuitar lets me mess about with ideas and then play them back in midi right away. I used it to break out of some of my old habits. Now all I need is the ability to play approximately what I’ve written down and I will be in business.
The second thing that I found lately is called Kristal. I was looking for a way to record my guitar parts that was a little more robust than Audacity (though Audacity is a very solid program, it just had more latency issues than I was prepared to deal with). Latency is less of an issue with Kristal but is still present so in the end I wound up listening to the song on my iPod and playing the parts I had written into Kristal without any additional playback. Once I had done a few takes, I moved them around within Kristal to try and line them up. I need much, much practice.
If I can’t get my desktop soundcard to work in reducing latency (after my last format, it arbitrarily decided no longer to output sound via any of the ports), I might pick up one of these. It supposedly allows for very low-latency recording and I would be able to use it as an alternate (and likely higher quality) output for my rather infrequent DJing outings. The software I use (Mixxx) supports multiple soundcards so I would be able to route a separate headphone output to use for beatmatching and crossfading excellence (trying to avoid boots in the dryer stuff which is what has happened the last couple of times I’ve done it).