Happy Holidays everybody! (And no, that is NOT a political statement.)

I’m still working on the sounds to go with the songs for the upcoming recording sessions for my next record, “Blue Future.” My favorite tool for making orchestral sketches (“orchestral” used here in a very broad sense) is the looper. I put the loop linked below together with two Digitech RP500 patches, a Digitech Jamman Solo XT looper, a Lucky 13 D harp re-tuned (by me) to a Country tuning (draw 5 reed sharped by 1/2 step), and an Audix Fireball mic, with a Peavey KB2 keyboard amp at the end of the signal chain. I recorded the loop playing with a Zoom H4 recorder placed on a stand directly in front of the KB2’s speaker. I normalized the audio file (in Audacity, of course, a really nice tool for quick jobs like that) and edited for length. Otherwise the original recording is unaltered.

The setup in the studio for “The Lucky One” and (soon) for “Blue Future.”

Fat, Fat, Fat

The first RP500 patch is one I put together using the Digitech Blackbass amp model with a Bassman cabinet model and a pitch shifter set to move the pitch up by a minor third, and 100% wet. With the pitch shifter inactive, this patch sounds like a very big Chicago-style blues harp; with the shifter on, it sounds like a slide guitar. I laid down two layers on the loop with this sound, one with a full-throated tone for the foreground, one with a scratchy chug at much lower volume behind it. Whenever you double a harp part, especially when you play the harmonica at two different volume levels, you get minor variations in pitch that produce a really fat sound. And THIS sound is fat, fat, fat, one of the closest approximations of a heavily amped guitar that I’ve ever produced.

The second RP500 patch is a simple bass sound, created with the pitch shifter set to drop the pitch by an octave, again 100% wet. Usually I’d set it to drop the pitch by 2 octaves, but the Lucky 13 already has a low end that’s an octave lower than a standard harp. (It just occurred to me that if I set the pitch shifter to two octaves down, I could play the part in the second octave of the Lucky 13 and get a lot more flexibility and power on the bends. Hmmm.)

Put those two sounds together, and you have a very punchy ensemble sound with a lot of depth. I’m going to use this setup for my new song “Paint This Town,” an ode to not worrying, at the sessions for “Blue Future.”

Here’s the clip, short but powerful. Dig.

RP500 Patchset Licensees Delight!

As of this morning (18 December 2017), I’ve sent every one of my RP500 patchset licensees a bulk load file containing all of the RP500 patches I used to record “The Lucky One.” Thanks to my licensees for your support, and Merry Christmas! (ALSO not a political statement.) One caveat: we won’t have access to the gear required to make a Mac version of this set until after Christmas. In the meantime, if you’re an RP500 patchset licensee and you use a Mac, or you haven’t received our email (I’m looking at you, klassick) because your email addy has changed, let us know.

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