Archive of the MixSounds Category

Fractured Guitars

Long a player in the lower priced sampled products market, bigfishaudio established a separate division, Vir2, several years ago. Vir2 products cost a bit more, but they are still very attractively priced and have a luster and feature sets that distinguish them. Fractured Guitars (which can be purchased for $150 as a download by visiting the bigfish site: http://www.bigfishaudio.com/detail.html?512306) fits neatly into the Vir2 scheme.

All of the sounds, Instruments, and Multis included in Fractured Guitars derive from one or more acoustic guitars-I think; I couldn’t find any information regarding the source material on the bigfish site. This product operates within the Kontakt 5 player, which is included in the download.

The five categories of Instruments (Chromatic Kits, Tempo Synced, Pads & SFX, Melodic, Drum Kits) fall into two broad categories. The quick attack/release samples have a prepared piano quality that makes for effective rhythmic patterns, while the longer samples have an ethereal sensibility that film score composers will quickly glom onto.

To get the most out of this library you’ll want to distinguish those sounds that have a clear tonal center to them, even though they’re colored with sound design elements that create a dissonant edge. Take one of these sounds, and play an F#m7(no 5th) chord in your right hand and an Fm7(no 5th) chord in your left. The ear tries to hear through the shimmering and is pleasantly confused by the tonal ambiguity. Sounds cool, right?

The effects that ship with Fractured Guitars (reverbs, flangers, etc.) are quite serviceable, and the interfaces that let you control them are well laid out. You can, of course, re-pitch, pan and apply equalization to all of the material.

No sample library worthy of the name would ship without a set of samples that evoke the magic of Jimi Hendrix at his most freaked out. Even though these sounds were all created from an acoustic guitar (again, I think!), the manipulations do include the kinds of sweeps and harmonic excitations that the great master was fond of.

Developers tend to fall in love with the permutations that their products are capable of producing. For me, the number of presets is a bit too high; quite a few of the instruments are variations on a theme that the user could be left to explore on his own. I would also like to see an audition button. As things stand you have to load an instrument and strike a few notes on your keyboard controller to get to know it.

Notwithstanding these minor complaints, Fractured Guitars is a beautiful sounding library that’s worth every penny you’ll pay for it.

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DP 8

Big news out of NAMM from MOTU, particularly for Digital Performer fans who moved over to the Windows platform and had to switch from their beloved workstation because it was only coded for the Mac.

DP 8, due to be released in the Spring of 2012, will operate on on Mac OS X and Windows 7. Stay tuned for a full review in the near future.

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Joe Franco

Sure, you have the chops to become a highly recognized rock musician whose peers include Leslie West, Jack Bruce, and Hall & Oates. But can you turn those skills into a real business like Joe Franco has done?

Seriously folks, Franco, who worked his way up the New York rock ladder in the mid-70’s, has toured throughout the world, written a well respected book on the art of his craft (“Double Bass Drumming”) and, for the last 15 years, owned a highly successful audio post production facility, Beatstreet Productions, located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.

Joe’s no stranger to the pages of Mix, but we thought we’d catch up with him and see how the last several years have treated Beatstreet.

Mix: Joe, how has the audio post industry changed in the last five years or so?

Joe Franco: “Budgets have tightened up, particularly in the last couple of years. Some of the PBS shows we work on are having a harder time finding grants and sponsors. Our business trimmed back as a result of these changes, but we’ve been fortunate enough to pick up shows on Nickelodeon, Playhouse Disney, and Adult Swim.

“We’re also writing music and doing audio post work with a few overseas companies located in the UK, Italy and France. FTP servers have been a game changer, particularly in the area of globalization. Other than time zones, working with someone in Europe is no longer much different from working with someone across town.”

Mix: Has the impact of the home studio revolution maxed out?

Franco: “Probably. If we made a living recording bands we’d be in trouble! Fortunately, our core business is music and audio post for network television series.”

Mix: What’s the latest piece of technology you’ve fallen in love with?

Franco: “Our SNS San Storage System. I can’t imagine carrying around drives like we did in the old days. Our storage is unseen; it lives in a four space array in our machine room. The volumes can be shared by all six of our Pro Tools rigs. They come up as icons on a desktop, cloud-like. It’s great!”

Mix: Are you playing much these days?

Franco: “Not as much as I’d like to- running Beatstreet takes up most of my time. I played drums recently and produced Eddie Ojeda’s solo album. Eddie was the guitarist in Twisted Sister. As you know, I played with that band in 1987.

“I recently played on Kansas guitarist Steve Walsh’s album, and also worked on projects from electric violinist Mark Wood and guitarist Zak Soulum. Both of these will be released later this year. My 70’s band Good Rats, plays an annual reunion show at BB King’s. The next one is on March 31st- check it out!”

Mix: Any final words of wisdom?

Joe Franco: “I’m glad to have found a niche in audio. I read your blog on “Glad All Over.” Dave Clark made sure the drums were mixed HOT! I loved that song, and “Bits and Pieces.” Classics!

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“Glad All Over’

Someone once said that a generation is defined not by the most outstanding popular music it produces, but by lesser examples that manage to capture its collective imagination. Wait, nobody ever said that-I just made it up. Still, as I scrolled through my iTunes master playlist just now and tapped on the Dave Clark Five’s (semi) classic single, “Glad All Over,” the thought popped into mind.

For those of you who lived through that era (“Glad All Over” was released in November of 1963), no explanation of the times is required. As for the rest of you-ha ha, you missed a real treat! Seriously, folks, the sixties were gear!

The marketing machine quickly recognized that well scrubbed alternatives to The Beatles would appeal to kids and their parents, who saw groups like The Monkees, Gerry and The Pacemakers, and The Dave Clark Five as less threatening. It would be a mistake to dismiss the output of these bands, though. Some of the songs-The Pacemakers’ “Ferry Cross The Mersey,” the first Monkees single,“Take The Last Train To Clarksville” for example-were finely crafted and well produced.

Dave Clark was the drummer and business mind behind the group that bore his name. He had an ego large enough to shatter established performance practice and under Dave’s direction the drum set was moved to the forefront, where he banged away freely without any apparent concern for timekeeping. Keyboardist and lead singer Mike Smith was the kid with musical training, however, and it was Mike who wrote and delivered “Glad All Over.”

Rock writers dream of unearthing three chord hits, and apart from the bridge, which introduces a fourth chord (the lowered sixth, which ultimately leads the final chorus up a semitone), “Glad All Over” is a quintessential example of this, the Holy Grail of pop artifacts.

A simple anthem to puppy love (“You say that you love me. You say that you need me.”) delivered in call and response fashion, “Glad All Over” retains its appeal today, nearly a half century after it entered the charts. It peaked here in the States at number six.

The Dave Clark Five had a couple of other successful singles. The best of the bunch, “Catch Us If You Can,” came from the film of the same name, a weak facsimile of “Hard Day’s Night.” Like all the other groups that piggybacked on top of The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five had a limited upside, and when they disbanded in 1970 it was without the hysterical sense of loss that numbed Beatles fans felt when that illustrious quartet called it quits. Still, for those of us who were there- and the rest of you who wish you were!-Glad All Over” remains a signature song from the sixties.

“Glad All Over”
Columbia DB (UK), Epic (USA)
Writers: Mike Smith, Dave Clark
Producer: Adrian Clark

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Finale 2012

Makemusic (www.makemusic.com) releases a new version of its flagship product, Finale, each year. Sometimes the advances are radical, other years less so. Finale 2012 offers users who rely on the Garritan Orchestra instruments that have shipped with the product for the last several years increased flexibility in instrument assignment, more control over the audio engine, greater implementation of the Unicode standard, a significant simplification of the score spacing function, and a printing option that, while not sexy, is the new feature I find most useful.

If you’re a power user who integrates score creation software into a fully loaded work station environment, the advancement in Finale’s audio engine may not interest you. I hit Finale after a score is completed, and therefore have little experience routing staves to the instruments from the Garritan library. However, it’s obvious that the new, highly customizable Score Manager feature will be extremely attractive to writers who need to maximize control over Finale’s internal audio play back functions. Each year Makemusic moves a few steps closer to developing Finale into a stand alone DAW for composers who need to verify the accuracy of their scores solely within this environment.

Let’s face it: spacing remains the most problematic aspect of all notation products. Allowing for fluid placement of all the symbols and articulations that make up a score is simply a difficult job for any program to handle. All of us have had frustrating moments entering a forte symbol and then having to grab and place it where we thought it was originally stamped.

I write several large orchestral works a year, and spacing of systems is an issue that I have to deal with. In 2011 Makemusic made it easier to grab individual systems and move them around without disturbing neighboring ones. The new Space Systems plug-in goes a step further. You can grab an individual page, several, or the entire score and experiment with the different spacing options… very helpful.

Most of my scores are written on a Windows 7 machine. Previous versions of Finale forced me to load Cute PDF, a free app that acts as a go between between Finale and the PDF format. This year Windows users have been given the gift of elimination- scores can be saved as PDF docs directly, and in addition to the convenience factor there’s another huge advantage: Finale 2012 uses its own page size functionality, not the computer’s, so the size of the score you output is aways correct. Save an 11 x 17 score as PDF, and you can print the PDF will print to either an 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17 inch printer accurately.

If you use this application and are interesting in streamlining your workflow, FInale 2012 is clearly worth considering.

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Xmas!!!!

Ok, I admit it… I kind of choke up every time I hear Andy Williams break into “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” Forget the fact that his hot as can be ex-wife was convicted of killing her model good looks ski bum boyfriend, this track speaks to the family get togethers that seemed mythical in the universe my birth family inhabited.

Obviously, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” sung by anybody- I prefer Judy Garland’s original, from the film musical “Meet Me In St. Louis,” is a tear jerker for all but those who spent some time in the Muqtada al-Sadr “kill whitey” training schools. And yet, year after year, I keep spinning the late great Donnie Hathaway’s “This Christmas.”

Maybe it’s because we know that this gifted young artist tossed himself out of a mid-town Manhattan hotel room, but whatever the reason, Donnie managed to conjure up the joy and magic of Christmas without denying the genuine pain that’s part of this coveted holiday for so many people who live on the fringe, the outskirts.

Whoever gets your vote, I wish you Peace, Joy and SOUL (wait, isn’t that how Don Cornelius signed off of every episode of Soul Train?) throughout the holidays, and beyond.

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HUMAN

I first met Andy Bloch at the Mannes College of Music back in the mid-1970’s when we were both students of the great guitarist Fred Hand. Fred; there was no one like him back then, and few players can hold a candle to him today.

Andy has gone on to preside over Human (www.humanworldwide.com), a hugely successful music production company with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris. We spent about an hour on the phone the other day catching up.

Gary Eskow: “How has the music for advertising business changed in the last five or ten years.”

Andy Bloch: “In a couple of important ways. The collapse of the recording industry has forced artists to find alternate income streams. As a result, more and more tracks are available for television and radio use, and these sync licenses have had a detrimental impact on the amount of original scores that commissioned.

“This development has made it critically important that we deliver tracks that have the aural polish of masters, even when we’re submitting demos. If a client is listening to your demo over an iPad and you’ve only had half a day to put the track together, you’re at a clear disadvantage when the next cut he or she plays is from an artist who spent six months making a record.

“Fortunately, great strides have been made in the area of mastering plug-ins. We have 14 composers working out of our NY and LA offices, and all of them have their own mastering chain. For a grand you can pick up the Waves Mercury bundle or something comparable. I love the Waves CLA-2A compressor; throw that across the main buss and your tracks pop. Like it or not, we have to be aware of the importance of competing with mastered records in terms of volume. I love the Sonnox plug-ins. The Inflator is great, and when I’m in a pinch, with no time to master a track in detail I’ll throw on the Sonnox L2. The plug-ins that Tony Maserati designed for Waves are a necessity for me as well.

“Having a clean signal path into your DAW is obviously of critical importance. It’s amazing to me how little you have to spend on quality microphones. The MXL mics are outstanding. Knock-offs made in China, they sound great. For $129 or so you get a condenser and pencil microphone. We recently conducted a shoot out between a U87 and the MXL mic. The $4,000 you spend on the 87 gives you an incrementally better, more wide open sound. If you have the money to drop, great, go ahead.

“There are so many companies making excellent mic-pres and compressors. All you need is a couple of channels of high quality analog gear and you’re good to go.”

GE: “I remember spending a small fortune putting together 3/4” reels and sending them out back when I had a music production house. The industry eventually switched over to DVDs. Do you still send out reels?”

AB: “No! Of course, it’s still important to have reps who go into meeting with ad agency personnel, and they’ll take a DVD or two with them. No one wants you to send them a reel anymore, though. They just want you to provide them with a link.”

GE: “Has the internet opened up new distribution opportunities?”

AB: “Yes. If you go to our site and click on SPECIAL PROJECTS you’ll be taken to a link to an album (“Under The Holiday Star”) that we recently recorded for Stella Artois, which they’re releasing as a free download on their site.

“We recorded this album live at our studios. The idea was to track eight classic holiday songs with a 60’s French vibe. It was a lot of fun to do. You remember Gordon Minette, right? He’s one of our writers. We tracked the eight tunes at his place, and mixed and mastered them at Fluxivity (www.fluxivity.com) over in Brooklyn.

“Fluxivity is a great place to work. They’ve got a classic Neve board over there, and during the three days we spent working there I didn’t hear a single click or pop. Matt Shane was the mastering engineer, and I recommend him highly.

GE: “You’ve had an office in Los Angeles since 2004. Do you still go out there as frequently as you used to?”

AB: “No, in large part because the integration of our facilities through the web has gotten so much tighter. On any given day we’ll have between 60 and 80 jobs in our database, in various forms of developments. We are in constant contact with our LA office as well as those in London and Paris, but there’s very little need for me to be anywhere but here, which is great. It’s easy to stay on top of things from wherever you are, at any time.”

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Applied Acoustics Systems

Ten years ago some industry analysts believed that modeling would replace samples as the top dog in the virtual instrument world, perhaps as early as the day we are now living in. Creating instruments based on psycho-acoustic calculations that can compete with recorded sample libraries has proved difficult, however, albeit with some interesting exceptions.

Applied Acoustics Systems (www.applied-acoustics.com), a company based in Montreal, Canada, was founded in 1998 by Marc-Pierre Verge and Philippe Dérogis. Engineers and musicians, the pair were well suited to bringing modeled instruments to the market, and their line- particularly Lounge Lizard EP-3, which many keyboardists feel is the most realistic replication of the Fender Rhodes- and Ultra-Analog VA-1, a personal favorite of mine, has proved popular with both pros and amateurs. AAS released a new product, Chromaphone several weeks ago, so this seemed like a good time to catch up with them.

Eric Thibeault joined AAS immediately after graduating from college. He’d interned at the company and so the transition was smooth. “I was studying electrical engineering here in Montreal,” says Thibeault. “I was able to do two internships prior to graduation. They offered me a job, and I’ve been here ever since, for about ten years.”

I remember liking the voicing characteristic of Strum Guitar. “Right, that’s a nice feature. You can activate a setting that will translate a three note piano triad into a full bar chord, voiced as it would be on the guitar, which makes the performance much more realistic sounding than it would otherwise be.”

So, where are we in the evolution of modeling technology? “Still advancing. Chromaphone is a clear development in this area. In the past we’d send a signal from one resonator to another; a modeled guitar string, for example, would be fed into the model of a physical object, the body of a guitar.

“Now we have an equation that emulates the acoustic energy that’s shared between these two objects. Simply put, in the past one object influenced the other, now the influence is bi-directional. A piano has many of these kinds of couplings going on at all times. To effectively recreate its sound you need to model all of these interactions. Chromaphone bring us one step closer to that goal.”

And how does the market look from the perspective of Applied Acoustics? “There are two ways to look at it. Apple just reduced the price of the Logic Pro 9 Bundle by several hundred dollars. That’s great for the user, and potentially for companies like ours, because the user will have cash left over to purchase products like the ones we make. On the other hand, Logic is packed with features, so they will most likely wade through all of them before looking beyond the boarders of Logic!”

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Rhianna’s Grandma

The course I teach at the Kintock Halfway House in Newark isn’t really about music. The guys I work with fit the profile outsiders would expect to find, for the most part; young men from financially stressed backgrounds form the general population. Most of them have little academic training and almost no exposure to cultures that live outside the mean streets they call home.

Current statistics say that the recidivism rate in NJ is about 74%. That means, I tell the class on day one, that we’ll be offering most of you graduate courses upon your return to the joint. Hoping to reduce that rate by just a trace amount I try and extend an inmate’s capacity to relate to people and cultures that seem foreign by asking him to consider the possibility that artists from radically different backgrounds might- at times- express common themes. Stravinsky and Shakur- what does their art reveal about the ways they differ as individuals, and could it also show us that their needs, fears, and sense of joy intersect at a deep, core level? If they can draw a line between Beethoven and Beyonce, might they one day be able to bond with someone sitting across the desk from them who has a good job to offer?

So we start out with the main man himself. A distant figure, for sure, until I tell them about the brutal treatment Beethoven was subjected to by his father. We talk about the Heilegenstadt Testament, the suicide note that Beethoven left for his brothers in 1802, when, overcome with grief at his growing deafness, he contemplated suicide. He was drinking too much at that point- but he was drunk much of the time, for most of his adult life. Somehow he pulled himself back from the brink of despair and wrote the Eroica Symphony. We play the first movement, and the guys take it in. Then we listen to bits of the Pastoral Symphony; the room feels quieter, and when it’s over the men explain to me how Beethoven’s courage led him to a place of greater peace.

THE SHIT IS REAL

This is a story of the South Bronx
where at the age of 14 I was already knockin’ off punks
My moms was on welfare
I knew I had a father, but yo
the nigga was never there
So what the fuck was I to do?

Fat Joe didn’t have it any easier, and he lays it all on the line in this autobiographical rap. What would Joe and Ludwig talk about if they sat down and had a beer together?

Our Broadway unit traverses a fifty plus year span. We listen to “Oklahoma!” “Guys and Dolls,” “West Side Story-” the usual stuff, and end up listening to excerpts from two contemporary shows, “The Light From The Piazza,” and “Grey Gardens.”

Ado Annie, what a wonderful character! The second female lead in “Oklahoma!,” Annie is the bad girl with a heart of gold. Check out these lyrics, from the great song “I Cain’t Say No!” that Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers wrote for her:

I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,
I’m in a turrible fix
I always say “come on, let’s go”
Jist when I orta say nix!
When a person tries to kiss a girl,
I know she orta give his face a smack.
But as soon as someone kisses me,
I somehow, sorta, wanta kiss him back!
I’m jist a fool when lights are low
I cain’t be prissy and quaint
I ain’t the type that can faint
How c’n I be whut I ain’t?
I cain’t say no!

I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,
Kissin’s my favourite food
With or without the mistletoe
I’m in a holiday mood.

Although i can feel the undertone
I never make a complaint
‘Til its to late for restraint
Then when i wanna i caint
I caint say no!

“S&M,” a brassy Rhianna statement of sexual liberation, may not reveal the level of craft that Hammerstein was able to conjure, but does the character she’s created have something in common with Ado Annie?

S&M

Love is great, love is fine
Out the box, outta line
The affliction of the feeling leaves me wanting more
‘Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me.

“Yeah,” said one of the guys at our last session. “They’re both freaks.”

Ah, the joy of seeing a student make a connection.

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Being related (by marriage) to one of the richest men in America is an interesting (not uncomplicated) experience. I remember when Zygi, a lifelong football fanatic, called about six years ago to inform me that he and his brother had purchased the Minnesota Vikings. Hmm, there goes 600 million dollars.

Family events are most often lavish affairs with hangers on galore, but there are benefits- the music in particular. Last week Zygi and Audrey threw an engagement party for our niece Elana and her fiancé Brett at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The flamboyant party planner they use arranged to have all of the seating, which sits on risers, disappear; he turned the venue into a three-tiered living room, with plush velour couches on every level. We walked in, I said goodbye to my wife Jerri, grabbed a martini, and sat about 15 feet from the stage while a procession of spectacular musicians displayed their wares. Wynton hit the floor at about 10 p.m. and he was just as good- but no better- than the bad to the bone talent assembled around him.

Last year my sis-in-law threw a smaller party for Zyg’s 60th birthday at some beaucoup de cool restaurant in the village. Word had it that an event for Obama was the only other time the place had been shut down to the public. The food and wine were good, but I walked in with a bigger buzz, having had a great recording session that day at BiCoastal Studios, Hal Winer’s place in Ossining, NY. I was floored by what I heard.

A brief preamble: back in the day I concertized on the classical guitar, so I have an understanding and appreciation for finger pick guitar stylings. There on the stage were two players; one keeping time in a supporting role, and the second- Adam Rafferty- holding court. Man, this guy is good!

Adam manages his concert career and distributes his instructional DVDs and CDs- including the latest, “I Remember Michael,” a tribute to the king of pop which just landed on Jazziz magazine’s top ten list of 2011 releases- using the tools of the new order. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, look for Adam on YouTube, and most definitely migrate over to his website www.adamrafferty.com to check him out.

We spoke the other day.

Gary Eskow: What influence did Chet have on your development as a finger style guitar player?

Adam Rafferty: “Chet Atkins? Funny, he wasn’t a major influence on me growing up.
I’m coming to him these days by way of my friend Tommy Emmanuel, the great Australian guitarist. I’ve become awestruck by guys like Chet and Les Paul, seeing how much they contributed, how good they were onstage, and how they turned people on to the guitar.”

GE: Where did you grow up, and what was your early musical training?

AR: “I grew up on the upper west side of New York city- W. 111th Street, to be exact. My dad played the guitar and sang a bit. At the age of five or six I began taking lessons from Woody Mann, a player who still tours and gigs.

“Woody was into the finger style blues tradition. He showed me licks by Rev. Gary Davis and some of the other old masters. Woody was a cool teacher to have, a gut level guy who had also studied with Lennie Tristano and knew harmony and theory. I liked playing the blues, it’s part of my roots, but I quickly moved over to the jazz side of the room.

“When I was 15 I started taking classical guitar lessons with Dennis Cinelli, a student of Fred Hand’s [my old teacher!]. Eventually I went to SUNY Purchase. I graduated on the six year plan. I ended up really enjoying my time at Purchase but the first year was miserable; the classical guitar department was an extremely competitive environment with a lot of dogmatic teachers. At this time, around 1988, studio engineering classes were beginning to flourish. I enjoyed those courses tremendously.

“I was trying to expand throughout my college years. I even fronted a hip hop group as a rapper. When I met Mike Longo, who had been Dizzy Gillespie’s piano player, the school let me study with him outside, play gigs, and eventually graduate as a jazz major, although technically Purchase didn’t have a jazz department at that time.”

GE: You graduated… and then?

AR: “Everyone who graduates from college thinks that a scroll from the sky will unfold and reveal the path you’re supposed to follow. I did, at least, but it didn’t work out that way. I scuffled around, playing gigs for organ/singer/entertainer guys up in Harlem, working clubs three or four nights a week. It got to be a weird, late night scene with lots of alcohol and drugs at these clubs. I bounced around, did various odd jobs, taught guitar, and learned how to build websites for people.

“I spent some time playing straight ahead jazz while trying to find tour dates. I played in Austria, in Germany, but it was extremely difficult. I wasn’t an avant garde player like Mike Stern or John Scofield. My style, grounded in the Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, George Benson tradition, was not considered fresh by a lot of people. I kept at it for about 15 years, had some great times, but found it very difficult to sustain a career.”

“Eventually I realized that it wasn’t working for me. I took about a year off, reassesed what I was doing, and discovered Tommy Emmanuel. The togetherness of his presentation is so world class and appealing, and the material so direct, that I realized this was a model I could use to develop my own entertainment style.

“Life got immediately better once I started playing solo guitar. Out of a survival need I had to change, to make my music appealing to more people. This personal change coincided with the onset of the YouTube explosion. A couple of my videos- “Superstition” and “Billie Jean”- caught fire when I put them up in 2007. They each have had over a million hits on YouTube. Of course it’s all relative; some people have a million subscribers, but that number of hits is not insignificant. Those two songs helped my career enormously. Lots of players have copied my arrangements and put their own perfomances up on the web.

“People started e-mailing me asking if I’d post guitar tablature arrangements of the songs, and that led to the DVD instructional aspect of my business. I made a DVD of Stevie Wonder material, one on the Jackson 5, and I’m now assembling a second Stevie Wonder DVD. This work constitutes more than half of my income.”

GE: Your website is packed with content. You mentioned that you built sites for other people in the past. Do you take care of yours?

AR: “Yes. It’s critical to update a site regularly. Google just announced that they’re going to revise their engine, making it faster. That will up the ante even more, because Google will hit the latest entries first.

“YouTube is the funnel, the place where people find me, so I post material there on a regular basis. I use my schlocky flip cam for those videos, but I do record the audio seperately.

“The video quality of the instructional DVD’s is very important. I met a couple of guys on Long Island several years ago who have multimedia, design and advertising firm. They do a great job.”

GE: Where do you track your records?

AR: “I’ve made four solo CDs, two of which I recorded here at my place. I thought I could just throw up a couple of mics in front of a guitar. How terrible could it be? My micing technique has gotten better over the last five years, but for “I Remember Michael” I wanted to go into a professional studio.

“I went out the twinz records studio in River Edge, New Jersey. Manfred Knoop, the engineer, did a wonderful job. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after this record was made.”

GE: Did you hire a promotional company to help you market “I Remember Michael?”

AR: “I called several PR companies, and I did end up paying for radio promotion for a period of eight weeks. That was a fabulous experience. The traditional print and media PR people charge a lot of money, though, and they can’t guarantee that you’ll get anything out of their efforts. I spoke to Tommy Emmanuel’s manager and the advice I got was to save 10 grand and market the material myself, which is what I’m doing.”

GE: So the lesson is, don’t way for the scroll to unfurl?

AR: “Yeah, I think so! For me, taking the time to think things through led me to the realization that what was most important was to use music as a tool to make connections with people in a very concrete way. That changed my style, my career choices, and it’s put me in a great place.”

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Mix The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the Briefing Room for the latest press postings.