Backing Up For The Musician

As you may or may not have heard, Myspace lost over a decade of data recently. Yes, seems some people had stuff on Myspace and that it is actually still a website.

So, this brings up the topic again of backing up your stuff. Your music, your music files, etc. BackBlaze has a good blog post on the subject.

For me, I have several backups. My main computer does daily mirrors (cloning of drives) to external drives. And it backs up to BackBlaze. For stuff on my Synology NAS, which include archives of projects, all my PDFs, music, etc, that is backed up to an external hard drive daily, and every few days it is backed up to a remote NAS at my work. And the remote one is slowly uploading to my Google Drive all that data via Arq. My laptop(s) are backing up essential files to Google Drive using Arq.

The important thing is that you need to have at least 2 backups. One local, and one remote.

Review: Woodwind Design’s Alto Sax Stand

In a follow up to my review of the Woodwind Design’s Baritone Stand, here is my review of the Alto version.

The saxophone that I take around the most is my Alto. In the Tripack case.

The case has been modified to hold a Piccolo. Something I find I need a lot when gigging. The tripack case is really awesome in all that it holds…..and now, it can hold the stand for the alto sax.

The design of the stand is similar to the baritone stand, except that it is obviously smaller. It fits in my case in two parts. It does NOT fit in the bell with the neck. There is simply no room for both of them. The stand is fine being in the area between the bell and where the piccolo goes.

Is it totally awesome to have a stand for the alto IN the case? Yes it is. When I’m out teaching, I now have a stand to put the alto on. The flute and clarinet have stands that fit in the case, and having that now for alto…….it’s very nice. Everything I need is now in the case.

Is the stand worth the price. Heck yes. Again, it’s freaking CARBON FIBER. It weighs NOTHING, and it is super strong. True, it’s an investment, but so were the horns I play on.

Go get one of these stands now.

Apple Not Appealing Royalty Increase

From 9to5 Mac:

“Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon are all coming together to appeal a recent U.S. Copyright Royalty Board ruling that would see songwriter royalty payouts increase by 44 percent.

Apple, meanwhile, is seemingly the only major streaming service not planning to appeal.

Spotify has been stealing for a long time. Time to pay up.

Sheet Of The Week – Girls Like You (Maroon 5)

This one I did but forgot to post. Here it is finally.

  Girls Like You by Maroon 5 for Eb Instruments (154.1 KiB, 10 hits)
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  Girls Like You by Maroon 5 for Bb Instruments (153.3 KiB, 8 hits)
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How Shure’s SM57 Became the World’s Go-To Microphone

Great article about how the Shure SM57 became the “go-to” microphone in the audio industry. For me, I like my Sennheiser 421 or Shure clip on, but I ALWAYS have a SM57 in my bag “just in case”.

When the world’s top audio engineers are asked for their one, must-have, general purpose dynamic microphone, many always answer: Shure’s SM57. Why is this $100 mic so revered? The simple answer is it sounds good on virtually everything. But with so much great new mic technology, how has this workhorse from the mid-1960s maintained its role as one of the world’s most popular dynamic microphones?

Sheet Of The Week – Fortnite Phone It In Emote

Ok, fine, here it is. It’s annoying, but everyone seems to want it. It is played, in the game, by an Alto Sax. Enjoy.

  Fortnite Emote Phone it in for Eb Instruments (38.7 KiB, 8 hits)
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  Fortnite Emote Phone it in for Bb Instruments (38.0 KiB, 7 hits)
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DYI BLuetooth Page Turner

The biggest issue for anyone who has an iPad and uses it for music is turning the pages. You can buy a myriad of them on Amazon. But, that is yet another thing to take to a gig. And what if you already have an effects pedal happening? It’s another thing on the floor, that you have to figure out where to put it… can’t you put it on the pedal board?

Pedalboard 2.0 tried to do this. But it was huge. Took up a LOT of space, even on a bigger pedal board. And I don’t like lugging around the bigger pedal board.

Pedalboard 2.0
Pedalboard 2.0…..just too big to take to gigs.

So, why not make one? There are a couple of DYI projects on the web to make a bluetooth page turner, one of them being this one on the instructables. However, they no longer sell the keypart of this project, the Adafruit EZ-Key. Spending some time on Google I found this great tutorial by Anthony Warren which used readily available parts. We parted ways on how to do the code though, which I’ll explain a little later. Let’s get to the parts.

The first part is an Adafruit Feather M0 Bluefruit LE. This is the brains of the whole thing. It is powered by either a battery pack or USB. The power supply on my pedal board has USB, so power is not an issue.

Next parts were the Etopars Guitar Effects Pedal Box Momentary SPST Button Stomp Foot Switches. These are in an OPEN state until you press them, and then it completes the circuit.

Wiring was pretty straight forward. Both switches share a common ground.

white wires aren’t connected to anything at the moment. Perhaps later for a blinking light or
Underneath the board, USB power to the Bluefruit and the wiring of the switches. Again, white wires are not connected to anything at the moment.
Finished product.

The whole thing was really easy to do and now I have an effects pedal with a page turner on it.

Now, the code. I chose to do the route of making the Bluefruit a keyboard replacement rather than what Mr. Warren did (where he did it via Midi). The advantage is that it is easier to pair, and it was easier to get ForScore to work. Plus I had a time deadline on it, and wanted it working before a gig. I MIGHT revisit this and tweak it some more (perhaps using Midi). Right now though, it works really well. I think I might tweak it so when you stomp BOTH Switches, it drops the bluetooth connection for a set period of time or until you stomp BOTH again. This would allow me then to use the iPad’s keyboard for a period of time. Anyhow, the code is based off the example in the Arduino IDE.

 This is an example for our nRF51822 based Bluefruit LE modules

 Pick one up today in the adafruit shop!

 Adafruit invests time and resources providing this open source code,
 please support Adafruit and open-source hardware by purchasing
 products from Adafruit!

 MIT license, check LICENSE for more information
 All text above, and the splash screen below must be included in
 any redistribution

  This example shows how to send HID (keyboard/mouse/etc) data via BLE
  Note that not all devices support BLE keyboard! BLE Keyboard != Bluetooth Keyboard

  This pageturning code is based on the above Example. Uses ForScore on an iPad. Changed the next page keymapping to N and the previous page to P

#include <Arduino.h>
#include <Wire.h>
#include <SPI.h>
//#include <Keyboard.h>
#include "Adafruit_BLE.h"
#include "Adafruit_BluefruitLE_SPI.h"
#include "Adafruit_BluefruitLE_UART.h"

#include "BluefruitConfig.h"

  #include <SoftwareSerial.h>


? ? FACTORYRESET_ENABLE?   ?  Perform a factory reset when running this sketch
? ?
? ?                           Enabling this will put your Bluefruit LE module
                              in a 'known good' state and clear any config
                              data set in previous sketches or projects, so
? ?                           running this at least once is a good idea.
? ?
? ?                           When deploying your project, however, you will
                              want to disable factory reset by setting this
                              value to 0.? If you are making changes to your
? ?                           Bluefruit LE device via AT commands, and those
                              changes aren't persisting across resets, this
                              is the reason why.? Factory reset will erase
                              the non-volatile memory where config data is
                              stored, setting it back to factory default
? ? ? ?
? ?                           Some sketches that require you to bond to a
                              central device (HID mouse, keyboard, etc.)
                              won't work at all with this feature enabled
                              since the factory reset will clear all of the
                              bonding data stored on the chip, meaning the
                              central device won't be able to reconnect.
    MINIMUM_FIRMWARE_VERSION  Minimum firmware version to have some new features
    #define FACTORYRESET_ENABLE         0
    #define MINIMUM_FIRMWARE_VERSION    "0.6.6"

// Create the bluefruit object, either software serial...uncomment these lines
SoftwareSerial bluefruitSS = SoftwareSerial(BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_TXD_PIN, BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_RXD_PIN);

Adafruit_BluefruitLE_UART ble(bluefruitSS, BLUEFRUIT_UART_MODE_PIN,

/* ...or hardware serial, which does not need the RTS/CTS pins. Uncomment this line */

/* ...hardware SPI, using SCK/MOSI/MISO hardware SPI pins and then user selected CS/IRQ/RST */

/* SPI, using SCK/MOSI/MISO user-defined SPI pins and then user selected CS/IRQ/RST */
//                             BLUEFRUIT_SPI_MOSI, BLUEFRUIT_SPI_CS,
//                             BLUEFRUIT_SPI_IRQ, BLUEFRUIT_SPI_RST);

// A small helper
void error(const __FlashStringHelper*err) {
  while (1);

    @brief  Sets up the HW an the BLE module (this function is called
            automatically on startup)
void setup(void)
//  while (!Serial);  // required for Flora & Micro

  if ( !ble.begin(VERBOSE_MODE) )
    error(F("Couldn't find Bluefruit, make sure it's in CoMmanD mode & check wiring?"));
  /* Disable command echo from Bluefruit */

//  Serial.println("Requesting Bluefruit info:");
  /* Print Bluefruit information */;

  /* Change the device name to make it easier to find */
 // Serial.println(F("Setting device name to 'Bluefruit Keyboard': "));
  if (! ble.sendCommandCheckOK(F( "AT+GAPDEVNAME=Bluefruit PageTurner" )) ) {
    error(F("Could not set device name?"));

  /* Enable HID Service */
//  Serial.println(F("Enable HID Service (including Keyboard): "));
  if ( ble.isVersionAtLeast(MINIMUM_FIRMWARE_VERSION) )
    if ( !ble.sendCommandCheckOK(F( "AT+BleHIDEn=On" ))) {
      error(F("Could not enable Keyboard"));
    if (! ble.sendCommandCheckOK(F( "AT+BleKeyboardEn=On"  ))) {
      error(F("Could not enable Keyboard"));

  /* Add or remove service requires a reset */
  Serial.println(F("Performing a SW reset (service changes require a reset): "));
  if (! ble.reset() ) {
    error(F("Couldn't reset??"));

  // Set up Pins on the board to be able to handle the SPST switches (Guitar type switches)
  pinMode(6, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(11, INPUT_PULLUP);
  // Give some visual feedback things are working on the board
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW

    @brief  Constantly poll for new command or response data

void loop(void)
// interval for each scanning ~ 500ms (non blocking)
//  ble.update(500);
  if ((digitalRead(6) == HIGH) && (digitalRead(11) == HIGH)){
    // This is here as a little visual indicator that this are working ok
    digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  if (digitalRead(6) == LOW){
    digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);    // turn the LED ON by making the voltage HIGH 
    if( ble.waitForOK() ){
      Serial.println( F("OK!") );
    Serial.println( F("FAILED!") );
  if (digitalRead(11) == LOW){
    digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);    // turn the LED ON by making the voltage HIGH 
    if( ble.waitForOK() ){
      Serial.println( F("OK!") );}
      Serial.println( F("FAILED!") );

Pedalboard 3.1

I describe my previous pedal board setup here. A couple of months ago, I replaced the Nano POG with a TC Electronic HOF Mini. I found with the Eventide H9, having the Nano POG was sort of redundant. Plus, I have the Eventide H9 on bluetooth midi, allowing me to easily configure it to change patches when I switch pages in ForScore. 

Having a reverb is really nice to help fill out one’s sound when dealing with different sound systems or performance spots. I still haven’t quite figured out how to get the EWI into this rig yet. The last attempt the volumes from the mic and instrument in on the Eventide Mixing Link were wildly off. Hopefully I’ll figure out a fix soon.

The other addition to the pedal board are the two switches on either side. This was a little project I did last week to incorporate a bluetooth page turner. This project will be documented in the next post.

Jazz-Sax, all things Jazz and Sax