On board the Lennon Bus, we get a lot of visitors who want to learn to play the guitar. As the most popular instrument in the world, that’s not a surprise. To get you started, we teamed with NAMM and Epiphone to bring you this short video. Start practicing!
I play bass quite a bit and it is one of those instruments that fell into my lap. Everyone seemed to always need a bassist and I had always had wanted to play in whatever band that I could. The first bass that I ever bought (and still love) was the Epiphone Viola Bass. It is an amazing little bass and the short scale neck always worked for the type of music that I was playing at the time (either Brit Pop or Post-Punk). But as time went on, I started to realize the limitations of having a four stringed bass.
NASHVILLE LEARNED ME WELL
After spending some time seeing bands play in Nashville, I noticed that the five-string bass was the most common bass to be playing. Session musician after session musician would bring a five-string on stage and I noticed there were reasons for this.
The five string bass has a factor that allows for more versatility than a normal four-string bass in how one is able to play certain notes while not having to move the hand. Let us take a look at this little fret-board chart that I created:
from high string to low
On a typical four-string bass, we only go as low as that E that is at the bottom, so that when staying in first position (the first few notes), the lowest of low notes that can be hit is the E. With the introduction of the fifth string, the lowest note is now a B which allows for an easy follow up into the E on the fifth fret (which translates over to our normal low E string).
See how the bassist is able to stay in one position and clearly make a sonic mark in the song by hitting super low notes to match the kick while being able to do runs up and down the neck without having to get into the more treble-y 12th fret range? That is the advantage of the low B string on the bass.
For session work, this is necessary. If an artist comes in with a song that is drop-tuned or requires a deeper sound that a typical song, the five-string allows the bassist to be ready to play right away, versus the four-string bassist having to retune.
As any studio should, we have a selection of basses to deal with any need for any song. To make sure that we are ready, we got the Gibson Tobais Growler bass as our five-string. The pick-up controls allow us for quite a few different tone choices as well, though I think the round-low bottom end is really where it is at for this bass.
We made it through SXSW today
Live streaming and recording everyday
Todocast folk helped beam signals around
Live streams from everyday can now be found
On our website
It was all right
So do go see
Music for thee
So much more to come in the next month
Streamin’ from the bus we are not grunts
1. Preconceived notions are tricky beasts that play dangerous games with your judgment, on the bus or off the bus. Off the bus, that would be an entire other story of value judgments, critiques and a book length idea about making decisions.
2. This is a blog post
2.a. (Ceci n’est pas un blog post?)
3. But preconceived notions and guitars is what I am specifically thinking about right now. For the non-guitar players out there, someone’s favourite guitar and preference can make all of the difference in the track or their guitar playing.
4. We have a lot of guitars on the bus but not all of the guitars in the world. Gibson SG, Les Paul, Casino, Blues King and more. There are plenty of options.
5. The Gibson Firebird X is a new addition to not only our guitar family but the world.
6. You should click that link and read more about the guitar. It is a strange and amazing little device.
7. Ours is a shiny blue. Pretty beautiful, actually. See?
8. It has a lot of character to it. The ability to change tones is more in-depth that I previously thought. In this clip, I am playing the first chord from A Hard Day’s Night through the Firebird. There are a lot of settings on this guitar.
9. Did you hear those acoustic simulations? It sounds really pretty. I am really happy with it actually. The Stratocaster simulation is cool and nice, the ES-335 has me sold but when it got to the acoustic 12-string, I fell in love. A 12 string that I do not have to constantly retune.
9.a. All of that was recorded with the Avid Eleven Rack as a DI interface into this Macbook.
10. Is this the last of it? No, this is the start. More of these to come as we get to play around with it more on the bus.
Like that, like some strange flash, we were gone from Southern California. We had been there for a full month, we rarely spend such an amount of time in one area but it was the start of the year, the landscape of the southern part of the state is expanse and warm in the winter and tradeshows and events were abound. Driving up the grapevine (see: Interstate 5), the next event was up in Pleasant Hill in the East Bay by San Francisco and the previous event was a stop at S.A.E. Los Angeles. Down there on Sunset Blvd, we sat at S.A.E. and had a day parked between two buildings gazing out to the beautiful streets that make up Hollywood. This day we had the amazing songwriter and producer Toby Gad and artist Chelsea Williams on the bus doing a live performance and an interview with winners of an S.A.E. contest.
exhibit a: sunsetblvd
As we were conducting the interview, there were a series of hurdles that we had to overcome like a marathon runner who is in it for the education rather than the checkered flag (Do marathons have checkered flags? I never ran one, I would not know). The first was that we had 7 people speaking at once in the interview and each had to have descript audio inputs. That was easy enough, we have enough recievers and batteries to where we just ran that all into Pro Tools 10 and grabbed the video with a mixture of our cameras and Tri Caster.
In post, though, we ran into some issues. Listening back to the audio, it was insightful and beautiful, with genuine moments and instances of everyone connecting, thought it was a bit noisy. With any of this live audio stuff, I found out, there is quite a bit of work put into the act to make it listenable. I had never attempted a project of these sorts so the tricks that I learned from this session were thanks to Ryan. What he pointed out to clean up noisy post audio was this: MCDSP NF575 was the main tool for the session. I played with the preset settings until I got one that was somewhat close to what my goal was and then went into “solo-mode” to go after one specific buzz that was going on. In this case, it was a frequency in the highs that was the result of a A/C running in the background. Using a super small Q number, I surgically pulled out the one frequency and the audio came out clean.
I sit enthralled in the front studio of the bus, I sit enthralled reading Eugenides’ new book “The Marriage Plot.” I sit so enthralled that I do not realize that we were sitting at the University of Southern California campus until I look up and noticed the markings of the Trojan mascot around me. It all blurs on me a bit, I am running audio for today’s session. I sit and realize that the students we are going to have on today are a practiced band and will be coming ready armed with guitars and all.
Impressive, I think that they were described as impressive.
USC is a really impressive campus. Was it one of those instances that happen on the bus where we end up at a pretty location on pretty day and pretty sun lights our pretty parking spot and everything is just pretty. The weather was fantastic, the people were nice and I was running audio.
I do not do audio too often. I’m on a big video kick so doing audio was a slight change for me this day and I felt ready for the task.
Guitars are a subject of fascination for me. I spent a youth with Sonic Youth. They are a strange tool that can coax so many different sounds and feelings and emotions and chords and sensations and tones from the solid (or hollow) body.
We spent the beginning of the year setting up the studio as we wanted things to be changed around for us for the New Year. A passing thought we had that shaped its self into a reality is the idea of being able to plug guitars into the bus anywhere and have them DI’d and set to record.
Ryan and Hans spent an evening soldering and setting up the http://www.avid.com/US/products/PRE”> Avid PRE to be a DI pre for the bus just by patching.
I had a nice view of the campus most of the day from my view in the middle studio just out the front window, I had little to no intention of moving from my spot. Joy enthralled me when I realized that they are remote controllable through http://www.avid.com/US/products/family/pro-tools”>Pro Tools.
Sunshine enjoyed from inside the bus.
exibit 2: sunshinebusfine
I learned about audio
And the protagonist of “The Marriage Plot”
And my own personal love of not only guitars
But suit jackets
And MIDI controllable PREs.
When the New Year begins and the bus staff returns to the bus, it is a kind of a celebration. The bus exists as our home, the bus exists as our place of work and the people at the bus exist as our friends, so the return in the parking lot in Burbank served as a time of celebration. It was quickly back to work though for us. One of the reasons for this celebration is due to that the fact that the start of the New Year and the end of the break from the previous year is when new technology gets installed on the bus.
This is all worth noting but it is not nothing to note that it is a few weeks into the New Year and there have been no signs of activity on the blog. There is a reason for this. We got our selves a new toy to play with, though I believe it would perhaps be two toys.
The first being the Newtek Tricaster and the partner in its crime being the satellite dish on the bus powered by Todo Cast. With the combination of these two technologies, I may present to everyone a new and exciting facet of the Lennon Bus.
On this site, we are going to be showing of live broadcast of concerts that the bus does, Lennonbus Live sessions and many other things. We got the chance to break in the Tricaster at NAMM with a Lennonbus live session, concerts at the Wanna Play stage and an amazing live concert headlined by Bootsy Collins.
exhibit 1: Lennon Bus at Namm 360 view
This is our first foray into the field of live broadcast. Where it will go from here, we can only assume good places. With the bus having a history of doing Warped Tour, SXSW and other festivals, we really have the chance to crank out some fab live footage from the bus.
As we work on what could be the next Lennonbus Live video, go to the site and watch any of the videos that are archived on the site right now.
How was your weekend? Was it well?
Over the weekend, we at the Lennon Bus had quite a bit going on.
We really did!
Our tour season is winding down with only a few more days to go before we begin the trek back to California and what could be a more strange and fantastic way to end the year besides being in South Beach in Miami. The weather is not too far off from San Diego in the summer time, so I felt rather at home. Palm trees were abound and adorable pups scrabbled around s the bus sat parked on the beach front by the Betsy Hotel. Tours were given both days but the highlight of it all was the unveiling and birthing of the Wish Tree that will be on permanent display here in Miami. The amazing photographer Rob Zuckerman was there to make portraits of the first 100 people that hung their wishes.
“Wait, one second.”
“Make portraits? That is a strange phrase.” Let me explain.
This was a phrase that Rob used when he was taking portaits that evening. Something that he had said that had failed to cross my mind was the way we use language when talking about photography. TAKE portraits. SHOOT pictures. CAPTURE photos. It is all very aggressive and a proactive alteratation of our discourse can alter the way the entire action of photography is seen. MAKE portraits together, not SHOOT them.
At the ceremony, the excessively talented bassist Kate Davis played her rendition of imagine for the crowd and recorded a version of it on the bus that near brought us all to tears. We’ve got to say “salutations and thank you” to Young Arts for helping us set this musical aspect of the ceremony.
“And now?” Now we get ready to head back out west for the winter and prepare for the next year.
Photography, to me, is a means in which I can alter the way I remember things. I can see things a certain way with my eyes and thus my memories are formed but my eyes always see things the same way. If I change the lens of a camera and take a picture, or edit that picture in a certain way, then we can really alter our memories of reality. A day that you saw in one way will look different in your mind when you look at the photos you have taken as the camera saw something different than you. Not better, not worse, but the camera can make subjects pop, it can blur out buildings, it can zoom across a field.
So I want to start a blog series explaining how I use photography to remember things and what it means to me as I go around the country and also how it can help you change your world.
With each of these lenses, the first set of number reference the aperture of the lens while the second set of numbers is the zoom of the lens. We will get into the specifics of zoom and aperture in another blog post, but for now, we can see some photographic evidence of how each of these numbers react to one another and how each of different types of glass shape how a picture can be taken.
The first is the Sony Wide 4.5-5.6/11-18, the “wide-angle lens.” If you notice for this picture, there is a bit of curving on the picture on the outside-edge. What I did was open the aperture all of the way and zoom out as much as I could. We use this lens very frequently on the bus as we can get in close to get wide shots of the situations we find out selves in.
Second is the Sony 3.5-6.3/18-250, the “zoom lens.” While the most the wide angle lens could zoom in was listed as 18mm, the most that this lens can do is 250mm. What this gets you is a strong ability to see zoom in on things further away. For concert photography when you are not in the photo-pit, this lens helps us get solid picture from far away.
Third, we have the popular Sony 2.8/16, the “fisheye lens.” This lens functions similar to the wide-angel lens in allowing us to get wide shots while we stand close to the subject, but takes it a step-further by embracing the image distortion. See how the lines of the horizon get pulled a bit and the clouds bend? The joy of embracing image distortion!
Fourth is the ultra-clean Sony 2.8/100, the “macro lens.” Like the fisheye, the macro cannot zoom in from the set focal length so the strength of this glass is based around the ability to take pictures in a unique way. With the macro, we can get close shots of small objects that then appear larger than they did in reality. Tight, close nature shots are always a powerful part of this lens.
Last is an exciting and unique lens, the Sony 135 STF lens. STF stands for “Smooth Trans Focus” and I’ll write a blog getting into the capabilities of this lens but for now, we will just get into the basics. To quickly sum up the lens, it can pull of really amazing bokeh shots. See how the blur of the object in the foreground and the background and soft are providing a nice framing for the rock-pile that is in focus? Bokeh, okay! Again, we will get into this lens later on with a blog post based just around it.
That was a lot of information, I know, I know. But for now, take that in and think about the fact that just by changing the lens on the camera, you can alter the way your pictures are taken and the way reality is perceived by you for the moments you are holding the camera. I’ll follow this up with some more information about photography in a bit but in the meantime, if you have any questions about these lenses or anything photography related, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail and I’ll write up another blog post answering your question.
In all of my years of recording music, I have never received any formal training in that area. Unlike some of the other engineers, I got my degree in English Literature, which put me a step behind when it came to knowing how to use all of the technology on the bus. In addition to that, my newly knitted passion for video had not training basis to exist on either.
Much to my joy, we were brought to Avid in Daly City for five days of hands on training in Avid Media Composer with Bryan Castle and Pro Tools with Eric Kuehnl. In the two days of Media Composer training, the fabulous Brain opened his brain to us and we were able to figure out things with Media Composer that will make the flow of editing video on the bus easier and quicker. It was fab being able to see how Media Composer gets used in a professional setting and then seeing the cool little features that make me want to do some more interesting videos. Like Auto Title, which was mind blowing. Seriously, check it out.
On our last day with Mr. Castle, we all got delicious Indian food out in San Francisco at Chutney.
We then had three days of Pro Tools training with Eric and we got to have some hands on experience working with my new love, the Avid Icon D-Control. That combined with the live room that we got to do some tracking in was a great first studio-not-on-wheels experience for me. Be on the look out for our tracks Over The Rainbow Jam, Blue Whales and I’m A Monster in the near future.
We then proceeded to go to Chutney again and count down our final days in the Foggy City of San Fran.
Posts By Kyle Baudour
Learn About It, Guitar!
On board the Lennon Bus, we get a lot of visitors who want to learn to play the guitar. As the most popular instrument in the world, that’s not a surprise. To get you started, we teamed with NAMM and Epiphone to bring you this short video. Start practicing! …
Five String Basses Bais
Five string basses ORGIN STORY I play bass quite a bit and it is one of those instruments that fell into my lap. Everyone seemed to always need a bassist and I had always had wanted to play in whatever band that I could. The first bass that I ever …
Poem for SXSW
From top left: Cruisin’ USA, Lissy Truillie , Rachael Sage, Birds of Chiacgo, Wheeler Brothers We made it through SXSW today Live streaming and recording everyday Todocast folk helped beam signals around Live streams from everyday can now be found On our website It was all right So do go …
THE FUTURE: Part 1: Introducing: The Firebird X
1. Preconceived notions are tricky beasts that play dangerous games with your judgment, on the bus or off the bus. Off the bus, that would be an entire other story of value judgments, critiques and a book length idea about making decisions. 2. This is a blog post 2.a. (Ceci …
A Delay and Waylay That Wa LA: SAE & McDSP
Like that, like some strange flash, we were gone from Southern California. We had been there for a full month, we rarely spend such an amount of time in one area but it was the start of the year, the landscape of the southern part of the state is expanse …
POW POW: PREs and Sunshine and Literature
I sit enthralled in the front studio of the bus, I sit enthralled reading Eugenides’ new book “The Marriage Plot.” I sit so enthralled that I do not realize that we were sitting at the University of Southern California campus until I look up and noticed the markings of the …
Near Year’s Honours
When the New Year begins and the bus staff returns to the bus, it is a kind of a celebration. The bus exists as our home, the bus exists as our place of work and the people at the bus exist as our friends, so the return in the parking …
What Wonders We Witnessed When We Went To South Beach: 2011
How was your weekend? Was it well? Over the weekend, we at the Lennon Bus had quite a bit going on. We really did! Our tour season is winding down with only a few more days to go before we begin the trek back to California and what could be …
Photography in My Eye: Part 1: Glass
Photography, to me, is a means in which I can alter the way I remember things. I can see things a certain way with my eyes and thus my memories are formed but my eyes always see things the same way. If I change the lens of a camera and …
Lennon Bus Gets Trained: Avid in San Francisco
In all of my years of recording music, I have never received any formal training in that area. Unlike some of the other engineers, I got my degree in English Literature, which put me a step behind when it came to knowing how to use all of the technology on …