audio journal + studio notes from composer + pink noises author tara rodgers aka analog tara

@ ~200 words
x 30-sec mp3
x 640x480 jpg

17th January 2011

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strat buzz

my strat is back from time in the shop with local luthier steve. i knocked it off its stand when crawling around plugging in cables, and was convinced that the low E string developed a buzz it didn’t have before. the electric guitar setup procedure on steve’s website was helpful but involved, so i decided to take it to steve himself. on the wall of his shop hung an old diploma from the university of maryland; i asked what he studied: “philosophy. but i always dreamed of working on guitars full time.” i said: “you’re living the dream, man!" he did a full setup: neck, nut + saddle adjust, minor fret work, tightened screws + nuts, restrung… in that so many technologies are now black-boxed (even cars) there was something comforting to hear that much of what can go wrong with guitars are matters of geometry + physics. if you know what you’re doing, you can look down the neck + check the alignment… still hearing occasional buzz but i may need heavier gauge strings, since i use a thumb pick + really dig in. here’s some practice noodling with no pick at all; nighttime, needed to play quiet. 

Tagged: black boxbuzzfendergeometryliving the dreamluthierphysicssteve carmodystratocastercars

21st December 2010

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it’s not just your speaker, it’s your freedom

the fostex 6301b personal monitor: encased in aluminum, it feels serious, real. not to imply that all music gear inevitably reminds me old cars, but something in the compact boxy design and retro font of the 6301 instantly reminded me of the early-80s chevy citation (“you’ll like the space it doesn’t take up in your garage”). (incidentally, the citation replaced the popular nova, as driven by my great-aunt margaret. only later did i realize she had a totally hot car.) indeed, fostex launched their “rugged and road worthy" speakers in 1982 + the design hasn’t changed much since. for me, its road worthiness most often means carrying it into another room, though i imagine it would be fun to take it farther… recently i attended a tribute to the sound artist maryanne amacher, and one of my favorite anecdotes that someone shared was that maryanne once complained that if cameras and microchips could be so infinitesimally small, why not speakers? then people could walk into a room, grab a handful of speakers out of a box like grains of sand + throw them into the air… 

Tagged: chevroletcitationfostexgrains of sandmaryanne amachermonitorsnovaretrospeakerscars

13th December 2010

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on the hammond

signs of life in the studio, after a long hiatus while finishing my phd. thrilled with my new recording setup: 2x neumann km184 condenser mics (which i became enamored of while doing the mfa at mills) running into a sound devices 702 digital recorder (highly recommended by my audiophile buddies). here, the glowing 702 records a hammond L-103. the L-103 was likely built in the 1960s, a cousin of the more famous B3. my folks acquired this one used, when i was a kid, through an ad in the old knickerbocker news. i remember visiting the house where we got it; the hammond seemed forlorn and neglected on a screened porch. it was bought for the other family’s daughter, 20 years before, who never took to it. i don’t remember how we got it home. maybe in the back of our oldsmobile cutlass wagon? this reminds me, i keep meaning to read annie proulx’s accordion crimes… also, check out owen chapman’s research on the history of the hammond organ

Tagged: accordion crimesaudiophilecutlasshammondkm184millsowen chapmansound devicescarsannie proulx