Since 2022, gigging has been picking up. This year, I revamped my “Gig Bag” to reflect better what I am doing now.
The “OLD” Gig Bag was a Landsend Canvas laptop bag I got in the late 90s. I believe I had two of these, a black one and a blue one. The black one basically fell apart about 10 years ago, and the blue one has been my go to. It has done great….except I wanted something slightly more “rigid” to better hold items I am carrying. Also something slightly bigger. This “tool bag” fit the bill perfectly. In fact, one of the Amazon reviewers uses it for a gig bag. Small world.
Next pocket has a small philips and straight blade screw driver, a stubby 6-in-1 screw driver, a Gerber Gear Dime multi-tool, an extra lightning cable, usb microcable, and a usb c cable, and small charger for them. And an extra USB stick. And an extra pedalboard patch cable.
Hello all. Perhaps you have heard of Twitter? Did you hear that a rather suspect guy now owns it outright and is basically allowing all the bad actors back on the stage? Perhaps you want that sort of interactivity where you can follow people or topics, but not have the Ads or the garbage that comes with Twitter nowadays?
I am proud to introduce Musician.Social, a Mastodon instance that is very much like Twitter, without the crap. There lots of people flocking to Mastodon “instances” now that Twitter is Elon’s vanity project.
Basically, every Mastodon site is linked together via “Federation”. Think of it as like email, where everyone has @gmail or @yahoo or whatever, but are still able to communicate. Mastodon is like that. You can follow people you like (like director Rob Reiner who just started on Mastodon). And you can choose the @ part you want at the end.
So, check it out. Follow some #hashtags, and make some connections.
I’ve been a big supporter of these Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) trackers for items for a while. The idea of them is that everyone seems to have a cell phone, and have their bluetooth on the cell phone enabled. When they are in the area of a BLE item, the cell phone will notice the item. And if it is running a App, it can report the location to a central tracker.
The most popular of these BLE trackers was Tile. It works on Android and Apple, but you need to have the App running for it to report locations.
In 2021 Apple released it’s own version of the idea called AirTags, which doesn’t need an App running in the background. It uses Apple’s really cool FindMe network, which has allowed Mac, iPhone, AppleWatch and iPad owners to keep tabs on their devices. Anyhow, it is transparently running in the background of all Apple devices, meaning the number of devices that can report locations is huge. Huuuge.
AirTags are, however, sorta expensive. Plus they need a case. But……Apple did create a “Find My Network Accessory Program” and one such device to come from this is the Chipolo One Spot. This $28 device works perfectly on the Find My Network, and it has a little hole in it to put on a keychain or luggage tag.
So……..basically, get one. Put it in your case. Your gig bag. IF……and I hope it is a IF……something ever happens, like you forget it somewhere, misplace it, it gets STOLEN. You have a chance of getting it back. There are a NUMBER of stories of people being able to use AirTags to get items back.
I think for $28, it’s a no-brainer, especially if you are a Apple device person. I have one in my case (along with a Tile), my accessories bag, portable PA, etc.
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There is a huge need for a simple, yet effective pedal that every sax player needs on their pedal board. That is a microphone preamp with FX loop. There are several out there, but saxophonists really need something more. What if they also play a wind synth but want to use their pedals with it?
The solution I found was using the Eventide Mixing Link. Except the problem with this is that you cannot separately adjust the gain on either input. So say your mic needs to be at 1 O’Clock, but the wind synth needs to be at 4 O’Clock? You’d have to adjust the levels, and hopefully remember to do it again when you switch again. And how do you mute the microphone? You can’t really (unless you get a passthrough on/off plug or something).
There is another pedal by Zorg called the HornFX Blow! While it looks great, it doesn’t have any sort of ability to address the problem.
Enter the Elite Acoustics EAE StompMix 4. This is a very interesting pedal that is also a mixer. It looks like it would totally allow you to have a stereo effects loop, stereo output, and two microphone/line inputs. Very interesting…….
You hear the term, dB. Decibel. But do you really know what it means? Here is a GREAT post about what it is.
The first thing to understand is that zero decibels does not mean silence. Instead, it refers to the quietest sound that humans can hear, which is roughly equivalent to the sound of a mosquito from ten feet away. All other decibel levels are multiples of this reference intensity.
There are a LOT of “sax enhancements” you can buy. Some, like ones made by Oleg, are great. I have used the Oleg palm key risers since the 2000s. Highly recommended. These type of enhancements fix a functional issue with the saxophone.
Then we get to that are…..well……..subjective. The weighted screws, the “tone tablets”, and the Klangbogens of the world. Do these work? I have no idea. Perhaps. I’m not really keen on blowing a lot of $$ to find out. Some of the theories on how they work seem rather suspect.
However, I did come across this tonight, and this actually makes a lot of sense to me. The Mr PS is a little half circle you put on at the TOP of your saxophone neck pipe. That little “dead” area before the cork starts. The area that essentially should be a small “gap”. You put either a metal one or a plastic one there, and then you have a transmission source from the vibrations of the mouthpiece to the rest of the horn. Now that actually makes a lot of sense to me.
Interesting take on using effects pedals. A lot of guys are using that Intramic which is a little water resistant mic that you put IN the neck of the sax, but non-destructively. A lot of horns in the 70s, they drilled out a hole in the neck and put in a pickup.
Why you’d want that? Prevents feedback, and bleed from other instruments. You learn more about it here, and check out HornFX’s YouTube channel to see him use it.
Anyhow, I’m not sure I like this pedals used in this video. Not really my cup of tea, but it’s interesting none the less.