Quintet gig at The Bull’s Head Barnes

Looking forward to this one.  7:30pm this coming Sunday (14th May).  A chance to air out some of my originals as well as some classics which don’t always get performed.  Myself and Ayo Akintonwa on guitars, Ben Treacher on alto, Martin Young – bass, John Park – drums.  Joining us for several numbers in each set will be the young and talented singer Samantha Grefsheim.

Bull's Head Poster


Overdubbing Guitar

The other day I decided to take half a dozen of my short original tunes and see what could be done by overdubbing some additional parts.  All sounds were made using one guitar, and everything was recorded onto a Tascam multitrack via a Roland amp.

The first track, Workin’ All Night (the title is a slight exaggeration!) is an attempt to bring some funk to a drumless setting.  I recorded a rhythm guitar part to the left channel, a bassline to the right and the main lead line somewhere in between.  To simulate a bass drum kick on beats two and four I turned up the bass frequencies and patted the three lowest guitar strings.  Pick scraping on the sixth string helped to allude to a kind of vinyl scratching effect, and a separate track with phaser helped to simulate an organ sound for the chorus.

Microcosm is more of a laid-back, open-ended jazz groove with the melody dead centre, rhythm guitar panned to the left, palm-muted bassline to the right and the phaser for sustained chords.

Skimming Stones tries to evoke that pastime with the bounce of the rhythm and the use of different phrase lengths.  This time there are two rhythm guitar tracks panned far left and right.  The first played fingerstyle, and taking care of the bass notes, the second played with the pick.  The lead line occupies the space between the two.

Blues Amble is taken at an appropriately leisurely pace.  A bassline is played on the low strings of the guitar.  There are once again two rhythm guitar parts to support the melodic line, the second of these parts provides tremolo chords during the solo.

Anthem For K.B. makes use of a few extra tracks.  In addition to the rhythm and lead guitar parts, there is also a phased bassline, designed to reference more of a fretless sound.  The phaser is employed for chords in another channel, and other tracks are used for percussive effects such as muted strumming and fretboard bongo tapping!  The K.B. in question is Kenny Burrell – the first jazz guitarist I ever heard – on a CD borrowed from the library back when they had a pretty good collection.

Lazy Evening is the last of the six tunes.  It’s my homage to soul music and in particular guitar players such as Steve Cropper, Cornell Dupree and Teenie Hodges – players whose subtle contributions added so much to the appeal of 60’s & 70’s soul music.  I played the whole piece as a solo track (left channel), then added some touches on top.  These include the right channel rhythm guitar, the basslines, a touch of approximately simulated organ, and a short guitar solo.  Later on, for the minor-key change, two more lines were added, and then panned left and right.  These are single note reinforcements of the 6ths which were present already in the original guitar part.


Upcoming HiTones Gigs

Couple of HiTones dates coming up.  Next Thursday (5th March) we’re back in the SU at RWCMD (9pm).  It’s going to be filmed and used as a means of promoting our competition gig the following week:  Wed 11th we’re at the Full Moon Bar in Cardiff (event starts at 7.30pm) for the semi-final of Live Music Society Cardiff’s Battle of the Bands competition.  Please come along to both, but particularly the gig at Full Moon, audience support counts for a lot and is always much appreciated.  We’ll be playing our usual mix of funk, blues and soul classics and a few of my original numbers.