FX

This has been updated on 17 October 2014.

The Laney IRT Studio is such a good amp that you really do not need a lot of FX as it has built in reverb and with 3 channels you can drive it to get the overdrive you need.  Having said that my main target is to record.  I decided I wanted to access all the soft instruments.  So I have invested in Apogee Gio as my midi computer midi interface and MIdi Guitar software.  That allows me to do full midi without having to buy a Roland GP10 or GR55, which contain soft instrument patches and also interface to the amp.

Before recording I wanted to get the backing and the rhythm laid down so I invested in the Boss RC300 high end 3 hour looper.  So I can record pre tracks and also up load them to the computer.  This is my basic thinking recording device.  Once I have established what I want I can move to record in Logic Pro X.

Having said all of this Boss brought out the ME80 which is an eight switch pedal board containing, amps, compressor fx, OD/DS, mod, delay, EQ with several combos of mod all manual.  In addition, they have patches in banks that you can program in each.  Boss Tone Studio allows you to download a whole bank of artists patches using USB link which I have done with Alex Hutchings patches so far.  Josh Munday an Aus working for Boss has done a phenomenal job with standard rock song legend sounds such as Hendrix, Eagles, etc.

Given I really like analog I went for a Wampler Ego compressor before the ME80 came out.  This pedal is great at maintaining even sound output from your guitar especially when coil tapping.  It also has loads of sustain for clean mode without any overdrive.

Before I acquired the ME80 or even knew it existed I ordered Tom Quayle’s Wampler Dual Fusion and Faux Tape Echo combination as my Hollier grail and memory man are good, but not easy to use nor easy to instantly obtain the sound I want delay wise.  I also have MXR P90 and Flanger two fantastic true pedals which I will put with the Wamplers.  The dual fusion to me is a way of having very light overdrive or distortion with such a combination of tones and sounds it will allow me to search for different to stamp my mark rather than someone else’s sound in my writings. So now I have kind of two pedal board set ups, COSM to the left and Analog to the right.  Both are extremely good and once I find I stop using one, I shall relief myself of it with friends or eBay.  All are less expensive in Thailand so I can see how I can reap my money back if I do not like what I have.

Now to write songs with a large array of sounds and soft instruments which allows me to think in choir and orchestral terms not just simple guitar sounds.  Input wise I have an Musicman Axis Super Sport and a Novation keypad 49 and Warwick Corvette Bass.  My Waghorn has started to be built as w8e speak.

This is now an update since I have the Waghorn.  Read that post to understand how my amps are set up now and recording.  For me I sold the Memory Man, Hollier Grail and Flanger, mainly because they are 18v and 24v and a pain to power.  The STB 8 power board for the analog works.  This board is now split in two.  Going to send return on the Laney IRT Studio I now have the Wampler Faux Tape Echo, MXR Phase 90, TC Electronics Corona Chorus mini and Flashback Delay mini.  Again like the Boss Tone Studio selection, the TC Electronic minis have Toneprint and allow you to change using the computer and phone with a large banks of artists sounds.  I love this kind of technology where you can edit and change settings without a gazillion switches.  On the input side, I added the EH Big Muff Nano to get those Pink Floyd type fuzz and distortion sounds. I also added the Boss DS-1X as both Alex Hutchings and Jack Thammarat like this pedal from Boss. However this is quite a metal mid and highs pedal almost wiping out the lower frequencies.  I found the Wampler Dual Fusion Euphoria side to be inadequate with the Waghorn, so I researched what are the best pedals for humbuckers at the lower registers and added the Fulltone OCD v4. Yes there are arguments between the best with V1 through to V4.  You have to try as they are different with every guitar and amp.  I found the V4 was better than the V3 I tried so have gone with that.  Now this pedal is awesome with the tones you want for blues or rock very great and when used with the channels of the Laney IRT Studio it is awesome.  Next is stack with the DS-1X which gives me a new Dual Fusion type scenario.  I can see the Dual Fusion which the Euphoria side is better with single coil being next ebay selling.

I shall post more on these FX as I use them.

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Guitar Update

After a lot of testing including the MM JP13.  This is a powerful guitar with the new Illluminator pick ups great fro heavy rock and metal with a boost switch which gives a huge hike in volume.  Great for concerts where you want a hike for solo mode.  The pickups are very bright/sharp, no warmth or depth as I was expecting from DiMarzio’s feedback.  To me to the ear you have a lot of difficult distinguishing between the bridge and neck pickups they are both trebly.  Reminded me of my Parker Fly which was also a heavy guitar with little to no warmth.

In the jazz fusion, jazz, blues line I have tested the Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennesse, Re release Epiphone Sorrento 1962 limited edition and the D’Angelico Ex SS.  All 3 great guitars with the ability to find that jazz tone that is warm and soft.  The Gretsch is probably the best out of the 3 if you do not consider price.  Here it is 85000b/ so quite expensive, but well finished.  The Epiphone which was used by Lenny Kravitz is a great guitar for the price it has mini humbucker’s by Gibson and has a warm tone great for 24000b/ and definitely worth considering, this was no 18 of 1962, I think it is made in Japan.  The D’Angelico Ex SS made in Korea is extremely well finished with great jazz warm tone, but also great for blues when driven.  However, the set up was poor and the action quite high. Not as people say a guitar you can use straight out of the box.  Its 46700b/ I was impressed with the Kent Armstrong pickups which I had not come across before.

As in my previous posts I love the EVH Wolfgang Special from Japan, great warmth which if you add sustain gives a great rock guitar.  However, I have bought a Musicman Axis Super Sports as it is well priced here and very resale able, although I think this is one I shall keep.  The warmth and depth of the tone in this guitar makes it great for rock and jazz fusion.  I have listened to many different artists and amateurs on YouTube with this guitar and they all get this warm tone I like.

I read a lot about humidifiers for cases given the high humidity we have in Bangkok and I bumped into the MD of Karura cases who recommended the two way Humidipak sold by Planetwaves, so I am kitting my case out with a Hygrometer and humidipaks, given the neck is a special gun oil and not treated other than this way making it prone to humidity.  I also researched that Birchwood Casey Tru Oil and wax is the preferred method of maintenance on the neck, using Murphys oil soap as a cleaner.  Have to the treat the neck like a Baretta.

Next up is completing the design of my Waghorn guitar due in June 2014.  I shall be making a matrix of pickups I have tried out as part of a future post.

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iPad Air and the apps I use

On 15 Nov I purchased the iPad Air.  I have had an iPhone 4 since they came out so I am familiar with IOS and IOS7.

The main reason I purchased was the apps it runs.  I have 3 screens based on personal productivity, business, video, music and sound apps.

Personal productivity main change is writing on the iPad using a wacom bamboo duo stylus, Notability is a great notebook, I also have paper for drawing and sketching, each allows you to add voice comments and photos.  I also have Bamboo Paper and Loop but they are portrait only so I will leave them until later.  Last but not least I have Livescribe + which works with Livescribe 3 pen which is a bluetooth pen that you write on a notebook, but it also writes into your iPad for you.  Me thinks I have just made this redundant, but I can write and record on the pen and download later.  So if I carry my pen and a notepad I probably will use when I am not allowed to take the iPad with such as some government places.  Say no more!!  The iPad can truly be used to get rid of a notebook and pen though so feel really good about that. Obviously have professional calculator, currency, pocket, clock, maps, thai language translation and translator as I do come up against many other languages.  All the Social nets Facebook, twitter, linked in as well as skype.  I use gmail and mac mail so I have an online and offline email system.

Business productivity – cloud storage access to google drive, dropbox and skydive as well as iCloud giving me 32gb of cloud storage. iWork the Mac office apps, bunch of education on 6sigma, NLP, PM and CM.  Now individual apps for supporting my business – strategy – strapped, BSC, andara, mindmapping – simple minds, project tools – Planning pro, risk register, modellers – iFW for SWOT and PEST, modeller lite, iMolder and iWorkflow for process mapping, org mapping with Workteams, innovation – GB TRIZ, SMART GOALS, then whiteboard and my leads for business use.  So I have apps from strategy to execution including process mapping, goal building and innovative TRIZ methods.

Video and music and sound – YouTube, iTunes, iTunes U, Logic Remote, Tiny Piano, Shazam, TED, Podcasts, Classic FM, Guitar Tuna and Dragon Dictation.  YouTube allows favourites on the iPad which means you can build folders of tutorials or short examples.

In addition, I have bluetooth keyboard, Wacom bamboo duo stylus, lightning cables hdmi, vGA, USB all for instant TV or projector presentations if there are a lot of people.  I also have an EasyAcc 8400ah power bank if there is no power handy.

I have Safari as the browser when I am on line.  All the apps are downloadable from the apps store and come in free and professional versions.

If anybody has further recommendations to these I would love to hear from you.  I hope you find this useful

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Update on guitar and equipment

Well, times moved on and I now have the Apogee Gio, despite it being old it works and it works well, took me 10min to set up Mainstage with the conert template it comes with.

I have sold my Fender Strat and my Parker Fly!

I have ordered a Waghorn custom guitar based on Sauria S body shape, but challenging Tom to get to 2kg.  We are looking at African Mahogany which is a lighter wood. Hardware not complete yet, but we will use Hottip trem with midi and piezo bridge pickup.  Then I am going to try both DiMarzio Pafs and Suhr SSV pickups.  3 configuration.  11cm 4.2cm width neck, 24 frets.  So midi and normal set up.  Hopefully, it will be ready June 2014, watch this space.

So enough of kit, now I am focusing on building my Jazz fusion playing.

I have acquired the Boss RC300 looper and it is great edition.

I have tried the Suhr Modern and am not keen on these SSV neck and SSH plus bridge pickup. I also tried the Musicman Axis Super Sport, the sound I like from Alexis Hutchings, but again I found them a little muddy and the tone control almost pointless. I am finding the JT Yamaha Pacifica to be far more responsive.

Next up to try is the Musicman JP13 which has the new Illuminator DP256/257 pickups with a booster switch, it will be interesting if they are better.

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Recording, Amplification and Live Performance

In the last few days I have been looking at how to record using my MacBook pro, whether to purchase Logic Pro X and Mainstage and how to connect my amp or guitar to the Mac.  Many people use iPads to and some even iPhones.  Unfortunately, my eyes need a 13 inch screen at least.

So first I looked at the connections:  Apogee Jam, One and Gio all pretty dated now although the One has just had a new model released.  Also looked at Line 6 UX 2 stage, Peavey’s Ampkit Line HD, Keith McMillans Softstep and some others.  The upshot is they all expensive and all need more than they have.  Pedal switching is going to be must if I am using the same set up live as recording through the Mac using Mainstage.  The software that goes with Logic Pro X.  The Peavey is the one that let’s you down as there is no real foot pedal to go with it unless you linked the Sanpera to it and I dont know how you would do that.  A connection is quite expensive circa £80, a good USB mic is cheaper solution.  Maybe ok for composing on the iPhone or iPad, but then you need something else as well.

Looked at Alex Hutchings set up, gosh he must spend as much time on kit as he does playing.  He uses Boss GT100 pedal Boss GR55 synth pedal with GK pickup built into his AH6 Waghorn, a macbook and Laney amps.  His guitar is spec’d as the connection here says: http://www.waghornguitars.com/electric/ah6.php.  Beautiful piece of kit, but complicated.  Did my head in and I like to be techy!!

I looked at Roland 80GX or 80XL like on line demos £303 plus pedals £111 or £414.  Line 6 Spyder IV  £313 plus pedal £157   £470  + UX2 £185 £655 altogether.  Didnt feel right.

What have I always used, Peavey!  Don’t cough, they usually have the best solutions.  My Dr Z is no longer with me so I to meet my requirements up pops Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 and the Sanpera II pedal.  It connects to Logic Pro X and Mainstage, wow.  This amp is a combined lead, acoustic and bass guitar amp.  You set the logic depending the input.  You can switch to, so my Parker Fly with the fisherman piezo I can switch to acoustic mode and then back to lead.  Can do that on guitar to, but with the pedal wont have to pause playing.  It has several acoustic, lead and bass effects as well as other instruments like violing and synth and is patchable from the Mac.  So my guitar will now be as my keyboard once was, but with a lot more flexibility as an instrument.  Amp is £300 and the pedal £160, so I am £200 richer for my studies.

I am also looking at Fender Mustang 3 as the G Dec 30 which has backing tracks included which has a super clean sound and again Fuse software links straight into the Logic pro.

What I have ended up buying is the Laney IRT Studio amp with an IRT112 speaker.  This is a traditional all valve amp with super tones and great control. It has a 15w and 1w input so can be used for gigging or at home.  It has a direct USB connection and is picked up by Logic or Mainstage.  Looking forward to playing with Mainstage and the effects back into the amp.  It has interesting reamping technique to use with the software to.  In terms of midi foot controller the best at the price is the Behringer FCB1010 which you connect your midi in and out to a USB and then into the Macbook.  You then set up the presets as you want on the selection of effects you choose. It has an up and down scrolling switches, plus two expression pedals, one configured to wah the other volume. Price £102 roughly.

I have used Behringer kit before and can never fault it.  I also bought Jack Thammarat signature Yamaha Pacifica now discontinued, which is awesome for the price and out shines my 5 times the price Fender strat USA custom with emgs.

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Modifying my Parker Fly Classic Guitar

I recently have looked at Adrian Belew who has a Parker Fly Signature and also Alex Hutchings who uses Waghorn guitars.  Both use special synth and styles which is a mix of jazz, blues and fusion.  I have a 1997 Parker Fly Classic with the original Dimarzio pickups, which to me have always been too trebley causing me to use other guitars.

Alex Hutchings has a custom built Waghorn and after contacting Tom, we decided my Parker would be more difficult to modify to his specs than building a new one.  So, I have put that to one side.

Adrian Belew’s on the other hand is less of an obstacle as the basic guitar is the same.  Here are pickup changes needed:

Bridge Piezo Fisherman accoustic is kept on the same
Bridge preamp RMC very subtle pickup pow’r bridge PF especially for Parker Fly and Poly Drive 1 (£?) Need to add a 13 din plug  http://www.rmcpickup.com/products.html
Bridge pickup  Seymour Duncan Jazz TB4 (£80) – http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/electric/humbucker/high-output/sh4_jb_model/  or could leave Dimarzio as is
Neck pickup Sustainiac stealth pro (£150)  http://www.sustainiac.com/prfly.htm  This will need a push pull switch with click (see his video)
Adrian also has a Line 6 Variax electronics installed with an extra switch.  I am planning to use a Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 which has many of the guitar and synth models he uses so as that is a very expensive piece of kit I have dispensed with that.
My classic will now be customised to be similar to Adrian’s, have midi capability as well as that stealth stainer octaver.  Cool!
That should keep me happy for at least a couple of year’s until tech moves on.
Well seems not, having been touch with US Music Corp who now own Parker, they say that any modifications are not possible to use their words.  They have now brought out a Maxxfly DF842 model with the same pickups as above without the Variax.  They have suggested I buy that.  However, nobody stocks it and there are no prices for it and after a lot of consideration I think Parker who now make in Indonesia have lost the plot since Ken Parker left.
So I have acquired a Jack Thammarat Yamaha Pacifica and its great.
See my next post on Recording, amplification and life performance!!
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Innovation Techniques

Introduction

In business and economics, innovation is the catalyst to growth.

Innovation is the development of new customers value through solutions that meet new needs, inarticulate needs, or old customer and market needs in value adding new ways.

This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available In the organisational context. Innovation may be linked to positive changes in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitiveness, market share, and others.

Purpose of this Post

This paper looks at the approach to answering ‘how do you make an organisation more innovative?”  It is an introductory paper.

Approach

Innovation is also about the workforce and customers pooling knowledge in a way that allows the capability to be assessed, prioritised and extracted on a frequent basis

Carnegie Mellon USA offer a maturity model of how innovation progresses through a sequence of levels that go from a reactive workforce through to controlling and managing through to continuous improvement of innovation.

The techniques include:

Reactive Innovation

  • Incentive reward to individuals
  • Incentive reward to groups
  • Ad hoc review of submitted ideas by a small number of individuals not related directly to the company strategy and values

Structured Innovation

Emphasis on collaborative techniques both with the workforce, partners and customers.

  • Focus Group collaboration to brain storm and prioritise potential innovations based on strategic sub-themes
    • Network social networking discussion tools
    • Facilitated collaboration reviews using anonymous IT techniques
  • Knowledge management innovation retrieval, assessment and publishing
  • More formal reviews at a senior management level

Controlled Innovation

  • Targeted innovation themes that are researched to create ideas and to create breakthroughs with a defined objective, funded and managed
  • Peoples’ performance is developed to include formal training in innovation techniques and is measured
  • Defined innovation process for the organisation including review and relationship to business plans

 Internalised Innovation

  • Innovation organisational process cascaded throughout the organisation and known to everyone as participative and rewarding
  • Process to review and assess meaningful innovations including virtual laboratories and incubators
  • Predictable outcomes from the innovations collected

Continuous Improvement

  • Innovation centre of excellence that identifies and encourages people and groups in the organisation that are innovation stars
  • The wisdom innovation elders in the organisation that promote, mentor and encourage people and groups throughout the organisation to innovate.  These elders should include external people and internal people such as Phil Treleaven of UCL, UK, or innovation maturity people such as myself.

Many companies who lead in innovation have a process where their research or their “idea pool” can create incubators to nurture, develop, trial, test and support new innovations.  Some companies create a virtual laboratory for incubating new processes, new services and products, testing efficiency or demonstrating it will work to capture greater investment, based on sound financial models.  They either restructure their organisation to entertain the fundamentals of the incubator or they start a separate organisation to service the market.

 Links

Charles Leadbreater is an interesting speaker who points out that more often than not it is your customers where the innovation comes from and you need to include them as well as your work force in innovation.

http://www.ted.com/talks/charles_leadbeater_on_innovation.html

Professor Phil Treleaven UCL UK, research and teaching interests cover Financial Services (e.g. computational finance and algorithmic trading) and the Creative Industries (e.g. anthropometrics surveys using 3D Body Scanners). In Financial Services we have major and unique collaborations with Reuters, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and other leading investment banks, who have donated a virtual trading floor.

*http://www0.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/p.treleaven/

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