The folks on the telecaster discussion board are used to using SoundCloud to host the tracks they create for their Backing Track Challenge activity. Several told me that I would get more attention if I posted Soundcloud links instead of links to files on my blog. I decided to get with the program and start posting tracks to SoundCloud.

Recent tracks include the following:

Another pop track

A jazz sort of thing in 9/8

A slow pop thing

I have been having a lot of fun with this. None of the tracks are perfect. Everybody does them fast, often in one take. It is part of the game.

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Tweed Pignose

A few years ago I acquired a tweed Pignose. I don’t think I have posted about it here before. Here’s a pic:


The first thing I will say is that it looks way cooler than it sounds. It sounds best if you think of it as a distortion pedal that also functions as an amp. I had it in my office for a while, where it served pretty well as a very low volume practice amp. It can get loud, but it won’t be clean. I’ll try to put up a clip later.

It runs on AA batteries, but you can get a power supply for it. When it first came out, in the 1970’s I think, it was revolutionary, but these days there are better options.

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Still More TDPRI STuff

This is a slow rock thing that is reminiscent of Neil Young. I played my strat through Tonelib. I did it in one take, so it is what it is.

This is a blues shuffle. I got out my Roland Ready Stratocaster and my GR-20 Guitar Synth and put a saxophone on it. Then I put a lead on it with the aforementioned Stratocaster. It may have been too much because the backing track was already pretty well populated.

Here is a slight remix of the above track. I boosted the level of the guitar a little, put a touch of reverb on the sax to put it back in the mix a bit, and put some compression on the master.

Here is one called “Wake Me Up.” It’s a pop backing track. It’s my strat in the neck/mid quack position, through Tonelib. It’s designed to be clean and sweet.

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More TDPRI Backing Tracks

This is a “Slow Pop” backing track. I used my Tele through the Tonelib Deluxe amp sim with Bounce reverb, a Marshall 4×12 cabinet, and a simulation of a Klon Centaur distortion pedal.

They had a “Big Band” track up that was based on the chords for “Embraceable You,” but I don’t have the jazz chops to attempt that one.

Here’ another. For this one I used my guitalele.

Here is a slightly altered version of the country blues thing. The first note was jumping out way too loud and it was through the whole first impression of the track off. It was bugging me, so I adjusted the volume envelop for the track to tame that note. Now the first phrase makes sense.

This one is called Monday Madness:

The Tele is on the left, the Casino on the right.

One more for this post. This is a track in 3/4 in G, that uses almost all the chords in the key. I used my Casino through the Deluxe model in Tonelib with Dragonfly reverb.

OK, one more. This is funk in D lydian. I used my Tele.

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Just Like Tom . . .

Today, Craig and I got together and took all day to produce one track, a cover of a Dylan song.

Craig played rhythm guitar (an orange Tele with a mini humbucker), lead guitar (my Agile LP copy on the bridge pickup) both through his Acoustic Image amp, and bass (my Douglas violin bass) recorded direct with adjustments through the Bass Professor II plugin. He also did the vocal. I played drums and was the recording engineer.

We think it sounds pretty good. It is almost a professional track, by our very suspect standards.

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TDPRI Backing Track Challenge

This is just a lead recorded to a backing track posted on, the Telecaster forum.

It is my Telecaster on the bridge pickup through the Deluxe model in Tonelib GFX.

Here’s another one for a different challenge:

That’s my Casino through the Deluxe model in ToneLib.

A third one:

This is my Agile LP through the Tonelib AC30 Top Boost model.

And yet another one. This my Agile LP again on the neck pickup through the Tonelib Tweed Deluxe. I added some organ to the track using Xhip Synth.

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Ain’t No Mountain . . .

Yesterday, Craig and I got together and played most of the day. I had stripped down my cajon kit to the 13″ New Beat hi-hats, a 15″ Sabian HHX Studio Crash that I used as a ride cymbal (it also has a nice bell), and a 12″ splash cymbal that served as a mini-crash. And of course the 10″ Gretsch Blackhawk snare.

I put new Aquarian heads on the snare:


Gretsch Blackhawk snare with Aquarian Texture Coat head

These heads are popular among drummers on DFO, the drum forum I sometimes frequent. The stock head had almost no texture, so brushes wouldn’t really work. They probably figured that nobody would do brushwork on a 10″ snare, but I wanted to. I think that the new heads gave it more definition too, more pop, less splat. I like them.

Here is one track from the session:

Craig is playing a black Ovation acoustic-electric through a Fishman amp. We were using two mics at this point I think, one for vocals and one for the room, with the guitar going direct from the amp. I put a little compression on this mix, and I attenuated the frequencies above around 5,500 hz to tame the hi-hats a bit. They were really bright. I might use the 14″ Armands next time.

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From 2012

Craig found a CD of stuff we had done in 2012. Here’s a track that I don’t think I have posted before. It’s a version of “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones:

I don’t remember what guitar, amp, or cymbals this is, but I know I am playing the Tama Silverstar Metro Jam kit. I have toms! Which I don’t have at the moment.

Whatever amp that is, the tremelo on the guitar is glorious. It might have been some kind of pedal (Update: Craig says it was a Babyface Tremelo, which he no longer has). Craig’s playing and singing is awesome as usual. This is just Craig on one guitar and vocal and me on the drums.

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Distortion Using Avantone CK-1

This is just a clip to help the Reaper forum troubleshoot this distortion problem:

A second clip of the end of the track:

Update: the thread is here:

Reaper Forum Discussion

Apparently, this is a noisy mic. It may have something to do with the way the interchangeable capsule connect.


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New Snare and New Tracks

My cajon-based mini drum kit is now complete with the addition of a 10″ Gretsch Blackhawk Mighty Mini snare. Here it is:


10″ Gretsch Blackhawk Mighty Mini Snare

Today, I went out to Craig’s to try out the new kit. We recorded a bunch of stuff. I will say up front that these tracks are mostly first or second takes, and sometimes I didn’t know what song we were going to play when Craig counted it off. Most of this was recorded with one mic, my sE X1A condenser, which turned out to be a very musical mic, excellent for vocals, and it was picking up the whole room. I think that the snare sounded better in the room than it sounds in these recordings because of all the room reflections. To reduce volume, I was playing with Tala Wands, Cool Rods, Blasticks, and finally, Vic Firth Aj6s. I know that on “Little Sister,” I was using my Wuhan hi-hats. At some point I switched to Zildjian 14″ Armands, and then later to some 2010 13″ New Beats, that I have never really liked, but apparently record well.

This was the first time I played this kit with another musician and the first time I have played a drum kit in about five years. I hear lots of things I need to work on. Here are the tracks. We had a lot of fun.

“Little Sister,” an early Elvis song.

“In My Life,” a Beatles song. Ringo has a really cool part, but I only remembered part of it. I am pretty sure I used the Armands on this.

Give Me One Reason,” a Tracy Chapman song.

“Soulshine” a Warren Hayes song.

“One Headlight,” a Wallflowers song. I used to play this with Craig, but not on drums. I have no idea what the original drum part sounded like, and I didn’t know what we were playing when we started. Somehow I fell into something Deep Purple does in “Smoke on the Water.”

And finally, “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne. This is probably the roughest of all. I am sure I was playing the New Beats by this time.

Craig is amazing throughout (though he did forget lyrics on occasion). On some tracks he added a second guitar after I left.

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