Auctions, a Bargain? No.

Auctions used to be somewhere where you could go for a bit of a bargain, but not anymore – they’ve become places where people try to get retail or inflated prices depending on whether or not the item is new or “vintage”.

I regularly wander auction company listings looking for keyboards/synths but usually never see any so it’s back to eBay to troll the never ending shite and bullshit prices. Let’s look at say a Korg Kronos 88 – retail is around the $5,500 mark +/- a bit and what is eBay full of? Yep new Korg Kronos 88’s for that price. I’m confused, where is the bargain that an auction is supposed to bring, sure as hell not anywhere near advertisers of Korg Kronos’.
That’s the new stuff what about ‘vintage’ and I use the term loosely. Let’s look at ermm a Korg M1 there is one retailer/spammer on eBay who seems to think they’re worth a small fortune (or their ego is as inflated as their prices on all their stuff which is fucked up) as in $500 to $600+. My personal opinion on the M1 is one of “BLEH” if you want something like that get a T2EX, but I digress. Other sellers look on eBay to see how much they’re selling for, see this idiots pricing structure and follow suit – my response to that is “BAHAHAHA you cretins!” As far as I’m concerned a mint and I mean MINT M1 is worth no more than $350 as they aren’t a rare piece of kit, and if you don’t like my offer then piss off I’m not that fussed.
There was one there the other week that had a dead keybed, broken keys and a fading screen and they wanted $300 as a starter – give me a break sheesh.
It seems to me that if you put the words keyboard and synthesizer together people assume they’re on a winner – you know the type, find a cheezy Casio at a garage sale for ten bux, take it home, grab a few snaps and stick it on eBay for ten or twenty times the price when in reality the damn thing is a door stop, nothing more nothing less.

Ehh I’m bored now, rant over 😉


Four More Cigar Box Guitars

Yes, four 😉 Seeing as I had a stack of marine ply I cut it all to CBG size so now I’ve got masses of tops, bottoms, ends and sides, with that said I started on one, then another and another to the point where I ended up with five body’s ready to go. Discarded one as the more I looked at it the more I disliked it and have ended up with the four as shown in the pic.

They are as follows:
From LtoR Rock On’ – Three string acoustic, Libro de los Muertos or Book of the Dead for non-Spanish speakers – Three string semi acoustic with humbucker, V-Star Embossed (cheers Con) – Three string semi-acoustic, Shovellin’ – Three string acoustic oh and the Shovelhead engraving is off centre on purpose, I didn’t want the bridge to cover it.
All need final tweakin’ but not gunna say what to which one 😉

Four CBG's On The Go

                     Four CBG’s On The Go


Finished the Latest Cigar Box Guitar

It’s a 270mm long Montecristo box stripped of all paper and dyed Royal Blue, the neck has a 15 degree scarf joint and is dyed Plain White and the Fretboard is Chinese Red – all normal off the shelf powdered food dyes not the over the counter stupidly priced timber ones, it’s got a split pair of piezo’s in it, the tail piece and hinges are from a caravan mob, nut and bridge are cut down bolts.

Texas Blues Cigar Box Guitar

Texas Blues Cigar Box Guitar


Reason vs MixCraft vs Reaper

Upper management decided that due to the fact I’m a dinosaur I have to look at a DAW as I tend to do a fair bit of composing/engineering here at home on the analogue synth’s then send the stuff off to the studio for final processing. That said, it was suggested I look at a DAW, that way I can (or should I say “THEY CAN”) find it easier to manipulate so the end product is easier to sort.
If you know me you’ll already know my opinion on suits so I won’t bother going in to that again, I’ll just be doing a comparison between the three DAW’s that are in the title. Now personally, I hate them (DAW’s that is). No let me rephrase that I tolerate them, as I find it easier to find the sound I want by turning a knob or pushing a slider than waving a computer mouse around. But to get them to shut the (insert expletive) up I’ll be comparing three. Propellerheads Reason 7.1, Acoustica’s MixCraft Pro 7 and Cocko’s Reaper Version something that escapes me and publishing my thoughts here just to prove to those who pay me I have actually looked at them 😉 it’s not going to be a real super in-depth review, just my personal view so take it or leave it.

So me being me – captain negative bastard, I’m going to start with the con’s as I found them, the computer I’m using them on is a Windows 7 64bit system with a dual core cpu and eight gig of ram. Apart from that I’m computer knowledgeable but far from a geek – so on to it.
Reason: No support for VST’s which is madness in this day and age as Arturia do some brilliant stuff and I actually enjoy tinkering with Korg’s Legacy, but neither will work in Reason so that to me is a big no major failing.

MixCraft: Regularly crashes due to the fact that a lot of VST’s are 32bit and from my understanding they themselves acknowledge the issue. Sadly a lot of the better VST’s are 32bit and they aren’t being ported to 64bit so if this issue will ever be sorted who knows. I’ve actually had it lock up my machine to the point where CTRL/ALT/DEL don’t even work so a forced restart is needed.

Reaper: I found I had to troll through too many drop downs to get to what I wanted, whether that was a VST a filter or an FX.

Now as for the good bits, I’ll start with midi. All three found what I have plugged in at the moment, the Moog Little Phatty, Roland RS and Korg MS2000 which run through an E-MU 2X2 well the Moog has a USB also so – they also found the Arturia Beatstep and Keylab 61 but that would be expected considering the latter two bits of hardware are essentially made for DAW’s.
As for audio in, I run everything that isn’t midi capable e.g. the modular, guitars, voices etc through a Behringer mixer, I also run the three listed synths through it too as I find there are sounds there that just aren’t available and I just couldn’t be bothered hunting for a similar sound in the DAW’s (yes there’s the dinosaur again).
Reason finds audio in (I use ASIO) without a single hiccup, both Reaper and Mixcraft took a bit of dickin’ about. I actually gave up with Reaper, it used to work but for some reason it now refuses to. Mixcraft however was happy enough to find the audio but the volume was so low and the help files were too vague so I gave up on that too.
Exporting audio, now personally I like Mixcraft for that as you get a number of choices be it FLAC or WAV or MP3, why anyone would export a serious file as an MP3 escapes me but ehh it’s there.

Midi: All three seem to take midi files without argument, in Mixcraft you even have the choice of seeing it in the midi edit feature as a score (I compose some really complex stuff at times – scary) which is a real treat, BUT that’s as far as it gets, either I missed something or Mixcraft can’t handle automation, tempo etc. a good example would be Rossini’s ‘Dawn’ from the William Tell overture. The time sig is 3/4 and the tempo is from memory 54 or there abouts. Loading my comparison midi in to Mixcraft saw it tag the time sig as 4/4 and 120bpm ermm not quite right is that, Reason and Reaper handled it fine. As far as editing a midi file I must honestly say you can’t go passed Reason, both Mixcraft and Reaper were too frustrating – as they say less is more and Reason has that.

Addons: Reaper and Mixcraft make use of VST’s along with inbuilt stuff so essentially your bank of instruments is all but endless oh and Mixcraft also has Izotope Mastering Essentials which I happen to like. Reason on the other hand does come with a fair bit but to get the most out of it you have to obtain refills and and rack extensions which can become expensive.

End Bit: Which one is the better? None really (the dinosaur’s back) but I suppose I have to pick one. Reason has its stability, Mixcraft looks and feels better and the ability to utilise the squillions of VST’s out there, Reaper is cheap hmmmm a toughy.
I think I’ll have to lean toward Reason only because of its stability, if Mixcraft was more stable or the 32bit/64bit issue wasn’t then I’d be leaning toward that instead. If I had to give them a rating out of 10, Reason would get an 8, Mixcraft a 7.90 and Reaper a 6.5.

#reaper #reason #mixcraft #music #DAW #VST #synthesizer #sinultimata #arturia


I think myself lucky

I was sitting here trolling through some classical pieces – mostly Rossini for something to start the new album with and then it hit me, William Tell Overture part 1 Prelude Dawn, talk about gob-smacked. I’ve heard it a million times before and just took it as a nice peaceful piece of music but as I’m listening to it, the next door neighbour who has only lived there a few days came home from work and was greeted by his daughter (probably around 3yrs old I’ve no idea) with a hearty ‘Daddy Daddy I love you.’

Now you’re probably sitting there thinking so what, well I’ll tell why what (huh?) he is profoundly deaf and for me to hear his daughter over the top of ‘Prelude Dawn’ gave to me a new vision of that 2 minutes 45 seconds (give or take) of music. Instead of a peaceful morning dream sequence, the way I’ve always seen/heard it, it became a subtle audio visual feast and for that one simple fact, that being I can hear I can honestly say ‘Thank God’ – if I couldn’t hear music I think I’d go spare.

Anyway the youtube video attached to this is Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Prelude Dawn is obviously the beginning to approx 2:45/50, enjoy.


Top 50 Iconic Songs

Some fella by the name of Dr Mick Grierson, from Goldsmiths, University of London used some form of mathematical/computational theory whatever to come up with the top 50 iconic songs and what a crock of shit his end list is (see here for the story and list).

Looking through the list I could probably agree with two or three, the rest are just pure crap down to and including a sodding cover song – shit if you’re going to call a song iconic, atleast credit it to the original artist.
Anyway, I (amongst probably 1,000’s of other bloggers) have decided to create my own top 50 iconic songs and if you don’t agree with me then tough shit, do I look like I give a fuck?

They’re not in any particular order, just as they come to mind.

  1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  2. 32-20 Blues – Robert Johnson
  3. Seasons of Change – Blackfeather
  4. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  6. Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple
  7. That’s Amore – Dean Martin
  8. My Way – Frank Sinatra
  9. In A Gadda Da Vida – Iron Butterfly
  10. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  11. Toys in the Attic – Aerosmith
  12. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
  13. Death Walks Behind You – Atomic Rooster
  14. Can’t get Enough – Bad Company
  15. Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy) – Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs
  16. 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson
  17. In For The Kill – Budgie
  18. You Are The Sunshine of my Life – Stevie Wonder
  19. White Room – Cream
  20. She Loves You – Beatles
  21. Riders on the Storm – The Doors
  22. For Your Love – The Yardbirds
  23. Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones
  24. Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland (although I prefer Billy Thorpe’s version)
  25. Heart of the Sunrise – Yes
  26. Pictures at an Exhibition – Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  27. Billy The Mountain – Frank Zappa
  28. Wishing Well – Free
  29. Child In Time – Deep Purple
  30. Iron Man – Black Sabbath
  31. Be My Lover – Alice Cooper
  32. Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
  33. Babe – Styx
  34. Back in to the Future – Man
  35. Gypsy – Uriah Heep
  36. Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull
  37. Race With The Devil – Gun
  38. Mesmerisation Eclipse – Captain Beyond
  39. Breadfan – Budgie
  40. Us and Them – Pink Floyd
  41. Julia – Pavlov’s Dog
  42. Aqualung – Jethro Tull
  43. All Right Now – Free
  44. Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd
  45. Sheer Heart Attack – Queen
  46. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  47. Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Rick Wakeman
  48. Cross Road Blues – Robert Johnson
  49. Bloody Well Right – Supertramp
  50. Fantastic Piece of Architecture – Bloodrock

Well that’s my 50, it could easily be 100 but hey Grierson started it!


11/11 Lay Your Weary Head

This was penned this 11/11 and where it came from I’ve no idea, I’m not a poet (as can clearly be seen) more a fiction writer – perhaps distant thoughts of family who’d served and of course the countless others. It was suggested that perhaps it would be good as a video, so me and my trusty Korg T2EX did the music, the images are public domain.

Lay Your Weary Head.

Through mud they trudged
As deep as their knees
Thoughts lingered on
Of families

Many had gone but many stayed
In unmarked graves
Were where they laid
From friends a silent prayer was said
Then over the top they went ahead

Bullets cut them down en masse
Some they say should have been in class
Learning English, ‘rithmetic and fun
But battle on, they did as one

Now lay your weary head old soldier
Your battles fought your war is over
No need to remember what you’ve done
Your memories live on in everyone

Lest We Forget

©Copyright Carl Bratcher 11/11/11


More Guitars – Asturcon’s This Time

Picked up two more guitars, both Asturcon’s – short run instruments that kick arse 😛 I’ll add pics of them as soon as I get a new camera seein as mine went tits up grrrrrrrrr and I hate using my stoopid fone.
The first is an Asturcon Carlos Garcia signature “Maestro de Metal” with Humbucker Single Humbucker pup setup, a single run of 150 in 2008, mine is number 19 – what an ear melter NYAH!! LOL the 2nd is an Asturcon “Grey Wolf” Single and Split pup bass, same vintage. The serial numbering is a tad confusing though – you have to add 50 to the last two digits and mine is 58 so that makes it a 2008 so if you had a number like 050958 (just made that number up) the actual serial number is 0509 with 58 being the 2008 year, 05 is the model so that leaves 09 which is the manufacture month so that’s September.
05 – Maestro de Metal
09 – September
58 – 2008
19 – run number (sig’s only)

Confusing bastards 🙂 but the give-aways for genuines are the numbers are on the back of the headstock next to the Carlos Garcia signature and stamped in to the neck stock on a cock-eyed angle – sig versions like mine also have in the neck stock a CG after the serial number indicating a sig series. I’m having less luck finding info the Grey Wolf but I’ll keep searching.