Music

Backups to the rescue

Yesterday I felt like listening to some Christmas music, and had a hazy memory of having a CD of the All Souls Orchestra somewhere.  I had a flick through my CD folder but couldn't find it, and then remembered that I'd looked for it last year and found it to be broken - CDs, it appears, are not 100% bullet-proof after all, and this one had decided that the silvery backing wanted to peel off, rendering it well and truly dead.  So, that CD had ended up in the bin about this time last year.  So long All Souls Orchestra.At least, that was until I noticed I had a backup CD in my folder that I had created way back in 2002, on which I had crammed 9 music albums, some of them 2-disc albums, in MP3 format.  Lo and behold, there was the All Souls Orchestra album!  So I got to listen to the Christmas music after all.Well, eventually.  (more…)

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Rooted – In the beginning

On sale now - only £5!! Rooted is a band I set up at Orchard Baptist Church a couple of years ago, mostly playing completely original songs written by members of the band.  After almost a year and a half in the making, our debut album is now finished and available for you to buy.  At the moment there are limited copies available, so get your bookings in now to ensure you don't miss out!In the beginning features 7 songs, including one bonus track at the end, and covers a range of musical styles, from rock to reflective, with the aim of stimulating worship in a variety of ways.  From the loud and rocky "Father God you reign" to the softer "I draw near" featuring a cello trio, there is something for everyone in this concise album of original Christian music.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Music

Line 6 Variax 300 review

Yesterday my new Variax 300 arrived in the post, ordered last weekend from Dolphin Music (they never did tell me when it was going to arrive). I've been playing it quite a bit since then, getting to grips with what it can do, and playing with the Line 6 Spider III 15 amp I got at the same time. I may not have had much experience with electric guitars (this is the first I've owned), but so far things are looking rosy.For those who have not heard me raving about this guitar before, allow me to quickly explain what makes this guitar so different from most others you may have seen. At first glance it looks like any other electric guitar, with the red body and white pick-guard and traditional cutaway body shape. But take a second look and you'll find something missing - the pickups. Rather than it being one guitar, this is lots of guitars in one, thanks to some clever modelling and a selector knob. Think of it a bit like the voices on a keyboard - hit the right setting and you'll create a completely different sound. The Variax 300 has several guitars built-in, including a variety of electric guitars, some semi-acoustics, a handful of acoustics, and some fun instruments too (banjo and sitar, to name but two). It truly is one of the most versatile guitars I've come across.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Music

Decision made – Variax it is

Those of you who know me will know that making decisions is a long and hard process at the best of times, even with something as simple as deciding what to have for breakfast (not a problem when there’s only one cereal on offer, but present me with a choice of six different cereals and it could easily take me a couple of minutes to decide which I want). So coming to a decision on something as important as which guitar to spend money on has turned out to be quite a monolithic challenge for me. Thankfully, I think the decision has been made. And I think it’s the right one.Yamaha RGX A2Until this morning I had my heart set on the Yamaha RGX A2, which is a futuristic looking white guitar with some fantastic design elements and quirky features, including an LED in the volume knob and tuning pegs that are round rather than flat. In terms of looks, this guitar is awesome, right up my street. However, it is about £250, and having played it in the shop this morning it didn’t quite feel that much. Sure, it was fun to play, and allowed me to create some really cool rocky tones, but because it only has two humbucker pickups it’s rather limited in tonal variety, which is a shame.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Music

The kit conundrum

For those of you whom I haven't told already, I'm in the market for a new guitar. A couple of years ago I bought a nice Fender Stratacoustic, which is effectively an acoustic guitar that looks like an electric, with the idea that it would be able to perform the job of both an acoustic and an electric at the same time, saving me a bit of money in the process. Unfortunately, as with most things that try to do too much, it's only really mediocre at either. On its own the body isn't really loud enough unamplified to fill a large room, and the action just isn't set up for electric guitar licks, and can't be adjusted because it doesn't have the useful adjusters for tweaking the intonation and action. However, with my deposit due back from my previous house I shall have enough money to spare that I can go out and do the job properly and get a good electric guitar and amp. The problem is, I've got to decide what to get...(more…)

By Matthew, ago