z Gear Stories episode 28

Gear Stories 28  Toontrack, Mesa Boogie

 

Howdy friends!  It’s time for Gear Stories again!

 

Only two things you need to know about Gear Stories… First, If you don’t want to get it, just let me know and I’ll turn it off.  Second, If you’re not enjoying it, you’re not READING IT!

 

Usually, I start out with a few bits of news and promotions that we are running, but this month, we have so many cool promotions going on, I’m going to put them at the end!  With one exception… Gibson Guitars.

 

Recently, a flood devastated a large part of the central United States, and smack dab in the middle of that flood, was the Gibson Guitar factory in Nashville, Tennessee.   Therefore, American Made Gibson guitars have suddenly come into very high demand!

 

Here’s some info on Gibson, answering most of the questions, such as when will they start to build?  What time frame for delivery from then?

 

 

#1- The factory is being rebuilt as we speak.  There are ZERO guitars being built in Nashville today. They may start production in August, maybe September, Maybe the end of this month.  Nobody knows for sure.

 

#2- We are now sold out of almost every Nashville built Gibson guitar (custom shop Les Pauls, built in Memphis are still coming in, and were unaffected by the flood)

 

#3- We are standing at the brink of the most unprecedented opportunity in collectable guitar history.  Imagine owning one of the first Les Paul’s to come off the line at the newly revamped facility.   For that matter, imagine owning one of the last Flying V’s made before the flood stole them from our hands.  Even a Joan Jett guitar at $920 is MADE IN AMERICA!    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/JJBHSECH

 

#4- Historically speaking, every time there is a shakedown of major proportions in the world of guitar manufacturing, there are opportunities both at the onset to clear out the last few collector’s items, and after the change, to be one of the first to own one of the new ones.  You have the opportunity to buy history here, not just a guitar.

 

#5- According to Gibson, with this current turn of events, much of the Gibson Nashville product is already backordered out a full two years.   If you can wait, you will get a piece of history.  If you need a guitar now, but still want a piece of this history, we can place an order for a Gibson and keep it on hold, and inform you when it comes in.  Springing from this tragedy like a phoenix, there is an unprecedented opportunity for you!

 

Now on to the Gear Stories.

 

 

Toontrack… It’s inexpensive, easy to use, AND it sounds GREAT!  What more can you ask?

 

I remember the first time when the guys from Toontrack came to visit us at Sweetwater.  They made a short presentation about this new drum software they had just released called EZ Drummer.

 

I had my doubts, but I gave it a try, and WOW!  things have not been the same for me again!

 

EZ Drummer remains basically unchanged from the day they released it about three years ago.  It comes with a basic library of drum sounds… a Pop Rock drum kit, recorded acoustically.  (If you are looking for big hip hop sounds with 808’s and things like that, then this software is not for you… if you want the sound of an expertly recorded acoustic drum kit at your fingertips, then this is what you need!)  Also, along with the expertly recorded drum samples, came a library of loops, played by a session drummer.

 

Many people have put out loops, but these are a bit different.  They are encoded in MIDI, and they were played by a human and not quantized… they are basic grooves that one would find played in songs, but each basic groove comes with a wide variety of variations, for instance, with totally closed high hat, and then with half open high hat, or with  ride on the bell  AND a ride on the outer edge of the cymbal , and of course, those comes with the hat and ride on the 1/8th notes as well as 1/16th notes!  Also there are Ghost notes on the snare which gives the parts a distinctly human feel… no drum machine can easily create that vibe!    And then, along with all those grooves, comes a variety of fills.

 

And the thing that makes this so easy to use is that once you’ve opened up EZ Drummer inside your recording software, you just click  on the names of those loops and drag them over to a MIDI track and boom!  There it is.  You can very easily put together a drum part for an entire song complete with fills and choruses and breaks and verses, etc… and you can do it in just a few minutes!

 

Also, it comes with an internal mixer in it, so you can blend just the right amount of toms and kick and snare and overheads and room ambience.  It’s so easy it’s kind of scary!

 

Of course, one drum kit would not satisfy the hungry masses for long, and shortly after that came the expansion packs.  Each one had a new drum kit and a new library of loops, all of which can be mixed and matched inside EZ Drummer… For the Metal heads, there is the drum kit from Hell, or the Nine Inch Nails fans, there is the claustrophobic kit… for the fans of Funk, you have the Funkmaster’s kits with a double whammy from  Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jabo” Starks.  For country fans, there is the Nashville kit.   There is even a Latin Percussion expansion pack!   There are a TON of expansion packs that are set to appeal to EVERYBODY!   At this point, I have acquired them all!  And more so, I USE them all!

 

An added bonus is that the loops from all the expansion packs work with all the OTHER expansion packs, which can yield some very interesting results!

 

There are other drum software applications out on the market that allow you to make finer tuning adjustments to the drum sounds and mixes, so in response to that, Toontrack came out with  “Superior Drummer” which has all the tweaky adjustments you  could need!

 

Because when I’m doing my own productions, I am incredibly particular about how things sound, I have even developed my own work flow that I have never heard of anybody else using, so here’s my handy hint for the day…  I build the drum part for a song on a MIDI track using EZ drummer… THEN, I get a bit crazy with it.

 

I duplicate the tracks and do MIDI searches and delete everything from one track except the Kick drum, and then another track, delete all but the snare, and then the toms and then the cymbals respectively.  Then, I change from EZ drummer to Superior drummer and that gives me some more kits to choose from, and I go through every drum, selecting the exact instrument I want from  any of the dozen or so kits I have available… whatever seems right for that particular song.  then I render that particular instrument track to Audio, and then move on.

 

There have been times I’ve used loops from the Pop Rock library, but used a snare from Funkmasters, a kick from the Drumkit from Hell, toms from the Nashville kit and cymbals from the Jazz expansion kit!  Then I go back and add some Latin percussion loops, and I’ve put together my own vibe that NOBODY else uses!  It’s a crazy process, but at the end of it, I am satisfied that I got exactly what I wanted, and that is a GREAT feeling!

 

I have even had rock bands come in with electronic drum kits and record in MIDI, and then I have used the MIDI tracks to trigger EZ drummer!  That is a GREAT solution for the aspiring recording engineer that does not have a great big drum room and mics to record their acoustic kit in!

 

As I’ve offered before, if you wish to hear a track or two I have done using EZ drummer, let me know and I’ll send you an MP3!

 

So now, the deal!  EZ Drummer has always been a Steal at $149, and the expansion packs are usually $79, but from now until the end of July, there is extra special pricing on the expansion packs!  They are only $39!!!  Unbelievable!

 

Check out all the Toontrack  products we carry here!   http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Toontrack

 

 

 

 

Mesa Boogie… Reshaping the sound of the guitar for our age!

 

(Cue the theme from Star Wars!)

 

A Long time ago, on a planet far, far… well actually, however far you are from San Francisco… that’s how far away…  but San Francisco in the 1960’s probably seemed like another planet!

 

There was an electronics repair man named Randall Smith that gained a reputation as the guy to fix guitar amps.  Soon, he was fixing amps for the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, and other psychedelic luminaries of the time, and his clientelle were ecstatic about the modifications and improvements he made for them.

 

Once, as a practical joke, he took a Fender Princeton amp and decided to see just how far he could boost the gain… and for the time, he took it completely over the top!  It was a completely new sound… a sound that we have become quite familiar with and has defined the modern Rock sound.  We know it as “High Gain.”  Before Randall Smith hot rodded that Fender, that sound had never been heard!  When he played it for Carlos Santana, who was a local guitar slinger at the time, Carlos made the famous statement… “Man, that thing really boogies!”  And the name was born.

 

Randall was working out of a little shack in the woods, that he called the Doghouse.

 

Soon the souped up amps gained notoriety and Randall was spending all his time making “Boogies.”  But eventually Fender noticed the large number of Fender transformers that were being sold to this tiny little shop in California, and they cut him off!

 

Randall knew it was time to move on, so he moved out of the Dog House and into a two story Garage!  He would use reject wood from local sawmills and built his own amps, and he moonlighted to get extra cash rebuilding Mercedes Benz engines!

 

From such humble beginnings came the legend that is now known as the Mesa Boogie!  With the quality of a boutique, hand built guitar amp, Mesa Boogie has stepped into the mainstream marketplace, and his amps have become some of the most sought after amps in the world!

 

The Rectifier, Dual Rectifier and Triple Rectifier have taken over the Rock guitar world, but Mesa Boogies are so much about tone, it would be unfair to think of them as an amp just for Rock Guitarists…  They have a wide variety of amps that can create the gamut of guitar tones.  One of the most notable lately is the Lone Star!  Names after the Great State of Texas, these amps great that edgy, “Twangy” tone associated with country/Western music with a richness that really cannot be duplicated!  In short, if you are an electric guitar player, Mesa makes an amp that would be perfect for you!

 

For a long time, Mesa Boogie would not allow their amps to be sold online.  They wanted a real person to be involved in the process of buying a Mesa Boogie amp.  Eventually, however, Sweetwater proved to them over time that we were capable of providing the kind of customer support and knowledge base to truly represent their amplifiers to the public over the Internet… Probably  because Sweetwater is so much more than just an online dealer!  SO if you are looking online for a Mesa Boogie amp and you want the reliability and support that you can’t get by buying used from some faceless e-bay listing, then Sweetwater is the ONLY place you can satisfy that longing!

 

Check out the line here!  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Mesa_Boogie

 

And if you want to know more about the colorful history of Mesa Boogie, here’s the place to go!   http://www.mesaboogie.com/US/Smith/our_story.html

 

Then call me and we will get your very own piece of the legend in your hands!

 

 

 

Here are all those sales and rebates I mentioned at the beginning of this month’s issue…

 

As mentioned, we have LOTS and LOTS of sales going on!  Basically, here’s a list!

 

Manufacturer: Blue

Title: Get $350 Cash Back!

07/01/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content: Purchase a Blue Kiwi from Sweetwater during the month of July and get $350 cash back!

All requests must be postmarked no later than August 15, 2010. See form for details.

Rebate Items: Kiwi

 

Manufacturer: Ableton

Title: Get a Free Instrument!

07/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content: Purchase Ableton Live 8 or Suite 8 from Sweetwater between July 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010 and get any Partner instrument for FREE.

For more information, visit http://www.ableton.com/choose-your-partner.

Rebate Items: Live8, Live8Suite, Live8upLite, Live8SuiteUpL

 

Manufacturer: Allen & Heath

Title: Get Cash Back on ZED Mixers!

07/06/10 through 08/06/10

ZED436 – $200

ZED428 – $175

ZED420 –  $150

 

Manufacturer: Hammond

Title:Get Cash Back on Hammond!

06/01/10 through 08/31/10

XK3c, 2101mk2,3300 – $75

XM2, XMC2 – $50

 

Manufacturer: Hammond

Title: Get Up to $250 Cash Back when you accessorize an XK3c!

06/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content:

Purchase a Hammond XK-3c and qualifying Leslie speaker for $75 cash back.

Purchase the XK-3c together with a Lower Manual for $150 cash back.

Or, get the Complete XK Traditional or Pro System for $250 cash back!

Rebate Items: XK3c

 

Manufacturer: Hammond

Title:Get $150 Cash Back when you add a Lower Manual!

06/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content: Bundle a Lower Manual with the Hammond XK-3c and get $150 cash back!

Rebate Items: XKLMpro, XKLMtrad

 

Manufacturer: Hammond

Title:Get $250 Cash Back when you build an XK System!

06/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content: Purchase a Complete XK Traditional System or Complete XK Pro System from Sweetwater between June 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010 and get $250 cash back!

All rebate forms must be postmarked no later than 30 days from the date of purchase. See form for details.

Rebate Items: XKBenchTrad, XKStdTrad, XKpedals, XKStdPro

 

Manufacturer: Leslie

Title: Free Pedal or Mic Package – $389 Value!

06/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content: Purchase a Leslie G27 or G37 from Sweetwater between June 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010 and get a FREE V-20RT pedal or a Benson Audio Labs mic package!

All rebate forms must be postmarked no later than 30 days from the date of purchase. See form for details.

Rebate Items: G27, G37

 

Manufacturer: Bock Audio

Title: Get $300 Cash Back!

Effective Dates: 07/01/10 through 08/31/10

Rebate Content:

Purchase a Bock Audio 151 from Sweetwater between July 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010 and get $300 cash back via mail-in rebate! See form for details.

Rebate Item IDs: 151

 

Manufacturer: Yamaha

Title: Get $500 Cash Back

Effective Dates: 07/01/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content:

Get a DTX950K during the month of July, 2010 and score $300 cash back. Register online at http://www.yamaha.com/rebates and postmark your submissions by August 15, 2010 to qualify.

Rebate Item IDs: DTX950K

 

Manufacturer: Yamaha

Title: Get $300 Cash Back

Effective Dates: 07/01/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content:

Get a DTX900K during the month of July and score $300 cash back. Register online at http://www.yamaha.com/rebates and postmark your submissions by August 15, 2010 to qualify.

Rebate Item IDs: DTX900K

 

Manufacturer: Lynx

Title: Bundle Gets You $420 in Cables

Effective Dates: 06/14/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content:

Get a Lynx AES16 or AES16e with an Aurora 16 or an Aurora 8 and score up to $420 in free cables. You’ll get $420 for the Aurora 16 bundle and $210 for the Aurora 8 bundle. Lynx has to receive your claim by August 31, 2010. Check out the form for details.

Rebate Items: AES16, AES16e

 

Manufacturer: Lynx

Title: Bundle Up for $210 in Cables

Effective Dates: 06/14/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content:

Get a Lynx Aurora 8 and an AES16/AES16e between June 14 and July 31, 2010 and score $210 in free cables. Lynx has to receive your claim by August 31, 2010. Check out the form for details.

Rebate Item IDs: Aurora8FW, Aurora8, Aurora8HD

 

Manufacturer: Lynx

Title: Bundle Up for $420 in Cables

Effective Dates: 06/14/10 through 07/31/10

Rebate Content:

Get a Lynx Aurora 16 and an AES16/AES16e between June 14 and July 31, 2010 and score $420 in free cables. Lynx has to receive your claim by August 31, 2010. Check out the form for details.

Rebate Items IDs: Aurora16, Aurora16HD, Aurora16VT

 

 

 

And now for something completely different….

 

a grasshopper walks into a bar and sits down, the bartender comes over and says hey, ya know we have a drink named after you, the grasshopper looks at him puzzled and says, you have a drink named Steve?

 

Until Next Time!

 

I look forward to being of service.

 

Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer

www.sweetwater.com

800 222 4700 x 1352

260 432 8176 x 1352 (outside the U.S.)

260 432 1758 FAX

[email protected]

 

Manage the way Sweetwater communicates with you here:

https://www.sweetwater.com/myaccount/login.php?redirect=/myaccount/index.php

 

No trees were harmed sending this e-mail, but several billion electrons were horribly inconvenienced!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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