z Gear Stories episode 4

Gear Stories #4 – “Fear Of Sampling” and “How can I buy a guitar I’ve never played?”


Hey there!  it’s that time again where I share a few insights and anecdotes about a central theme of MY life… Music Gear!


As always, don’t be bugged by these… if you don’t like them, let me know and I’ll remove you from the list!  But give it a chance… you might find them entertaining!


As is my normal modus operandi, First an affordable piece of gear that just about everybody could pick up, and then, on to some high end gear that most of us can only dream about… but thank God we can dream!


I start with a little piece of software called….




I have used some pretty deep and complicated software, and have worked with platinum artists and grammy winners, but yet…I confess…  I was terrified of sampling!  All that keymapping and looping and sample file management  just baffled me.


Of course, I’ve used samplers… particularly the samplers in Reason, and MOTU’s Mach 5, but generally as playback devices.  Every time I tried to create my own samples, I fell flat on my face.  It was embarrassing.  The closest I ever came to success was by making a bunch of AIFF files of my voice singing “do” and setting them up as a drum kit in the Reason Redrum drum machine.  It worked, but it was a silly way to have to do it.


Hopefully, you haven’t lost ALL respect for me.


But now, there is hope, with a little program called the Compendium bundle by Redmatica.  (I humbly apologize to all of you Windows users, but this is only available currently for Mac OSX)


It consists of three applications, called Auto Sampler, keymap, and ExsManager, and this is software that could change your life.


It’s got automatic EVERYTHING!  You can set it up to play sounds from your keyboard, record them and then format the whole thing for you, all while you’re downstairs fixing a T.V.Dinner!  You press the button, leave and then it plays the notes it needs.. if it’s too loud, it turns it down… with keymap, it automatically  places the samples on the right keys, and stretches them out across the keyboard appropriately, and it even finds the perfect cross fade point for looping!  It just does everything…  (I’m hoping the next upgrade will fold laundry!)


Redmatica’s point is that these things that used to take a whole lot of time, now are done automatically, so you can spend your time working on the important things, like finding the right sounds and maybe even MAKING MUSIC!


That’s all well and good, saving time… but for me, is has opened the door to allow me to just feel like I can actually do it for the first time.  Creating my own samples… by proving the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear of sampling!”  (that IS what he said, right?)



From now, until the end of May, 2008, you can get the entire bundle for $349.99, that’s $40 off the advertised price!,


or if you want the programs individually, $30 off on Keymap, $15 off of AutoSampler, opr $10 off of ExsManager Pro… but believe me, You’ll want the whole bundle!

Here’s the link to the Redmatica Product line…





And now, because I haven’t paid enough attention to our guitar players,  Let me introduce to you….


…the GUITAR GALLERY! …starring in, “How can I buy a guitar I’ve never played?”


I’ve heard this question way too many times, and I want to answer it to you all right now, once and for all!


Let’s imagine that your dream guitar has just come in to the local Guitar Mart…  You walk in and push your way through the crowd of 15 year old wanna-be rock stars who have all just learned how to play the “Stairway to Heaven” riff, (or whatever the modern equivalent to that is…  “…Baby One More Time” by Britney?  O.K.  just messin’ with you.)


You find this lovely instrument in the hands of the lead guitarist from the local Metalica tribute band, and wait interminably for him to hang it back up, pick up his bag of gummy bears and walk out, feeling that he had showed the town who REALLY knows how to play “Enter Sandman!”


Finally, you casually ease your way over to the object of your desire, you pick it up lovingly and gently stroke the guitar’s neck…  and then you feel it…  Gummy Bear residue from the last guy.  Yuck!  …if you hired he cast of CSI, I’m sure you could trace the DNA of the entire regional music scene on the coolest guitars hanging on the wall in the local Guitar Mart.  SO let me ask you this question… if you buy it there, are you getting a “NEW” guitar?


I thought so.



So here’s what happens to a guitar when it comes to Sweetwater from the manufacturer…


First thing, it is unpacked and inspected by one of our luthiers…  (These guys are AWESOME! )  and if free from defects, it is photographed in great detail and those photos are posted in the guitar gallery for you to peruse.


Then, the guitar is sealed back up and put in a climate controlled room where it remains among it’s peers, longingly waiting to be discovered.


One day, when you have looked in detail over all the high resolution photos of your dream guitar on our site, you decide that you must have it!  That’s when the really cool stuff starts!


Marty and the guys get it from it’s cloister, and lovingly give it a fifty five point inspection, setup and re-string…   Once, Tracy, one of my regulars, and a really fun guy, was buying a BEAUTIFUL Gibson, and Marty found a little dent in the finish about the size of a pin head…  He took a high res photo of it and sent it to me, so I could inform Tracy of the defect and let him decide if it was a deal breaker.


Most people wouldn’t have given that little nick a second thought, and would have sent it along without letting the customer know… but not our guys!

Because of our process,  even though the customer has never actually touched the guitar, we RARELY get one of these guitars coming back to us with the customer saying that it was not what he/she expected.  So I can, with confidence, recommend our Guitar Gallery as the ultimate way to buy your dream guitar and actually get a NEW guitar!


Here’s a link to a more informative, yet less colorful description of the process…



From now, until the end of the month, I am prepared to offer 15% off virtually any guitar in the guitar gallery…


And by the way  we have just learned that we can still get a factory sealed Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein Guitar!   Of course, that’s a special order!


Until next time, Enjoy your gear and MAKE MUSIC!


Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer


800 222 4700 x 1352

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

260 432 1758 FAX

[email protected]