Music, Guitar, & Band
I’ve been playing guitar for nearly 30 years. Though I'm currently gigging out and working on a record with my band Building James, I'm also working on a less organized solo project in my home studio. The Building James material is coming out awesome, and the gigs are fun as hell, but I still write and record my own material on the side…. it’s therapy.
Actually, “solo project” sounds a little too official for what I’m doing. I mean, I’m not shooting for the next White Album here. I’ve just wanted to produce a decently mixed 6-8 song demo of my own tunes for a long time. As these songs get written and recorded, I'll be posting them here - making them available to anyone who may want to check them out.
People tell me that my music is a little bit of downer, but it’s all how you translate it. I find energy and clarity in most of my recordings. It is what it is.
Meet the Studio
All of my personal recordings are done using a combination of a Korg D888 multi-track workstation, and the ProTools computer recording and mixing software. I use the Korg to capture the tracks, then I import the .wav files to my computer and use ProTools to mix. It may seem a little needlessly difficult to those who are familiar with recording, but I do this because I’ve never had much luck with computer interfaces. I always get ‘some’ amount of lag or driver issues. I’m also old-school when it comes to recording, preferring to actually move knobs and sliders. Doing it all with a mouse – clicking and dragging – just looses something to me.
For mics I use two condensers, the MXL 990/991 set. I was a little concerned by the price of these. I mean honestly, $100 for two condenser mics? I didn’t expect much… boy was I surprised. I love them.
For effects I have a Boss GT-8 guitar effects processor. Granted I should probably mic my amp, but I run the GT-8 directly into my KORG so I can get clean stereo effects on my guitar tracks. I don’t yet own a stereo guitar amp.
None of the recording gear I use is “top shelf” or “high fidelity” but it works perfect for what I am trying to achieve, and none of it broke the bank.
A Man Needs Guitars
In the past I’ve played metal, funk, jazz, blues and whatever else anyone wanted to bug the neighbors with. One thing I’m pretty happy about is that I never pigeon-holed myself to any one style. Because of this, I’ve gathered a small collection of guitars for varying playing styles.
- Fender Acoustic – With no active electronics, I use this guitar for most of my non-amped jam sessions such as burgers on the deck or beers around a campfire. The sound is incredibly warm and the fretboard feels great.
- Ovation Celebrity Acoustic – I bought this on a whim one day because it was a great deal. As it turns out, it was the best buy I’ve done in years. The integrated pickup is awesome and the on-board tuner is always a nice feature. I use this guitar on stage and for most of my recordings because it just sounds so nice when amped. When playing acoustic, or non-amped, the sound is a little thin and tinny.
- Gibson Les Paul Studio – Enough said. This is my rock guitar and is completely badass. I’ve played a bunch of Les Pauls over the years, but none that have the same feel. I bought this guitar brand new in 1990 when this model (lite) was introduced. Every nick and ding is something I’ve done. I’ve played it for so long now, the fret board is building up a nice smooth feel.
- Ibanez JS100 – Joe Satriani signature-series electric. I wanted a versatile, modern-sounding electric and being a Satch fan I decided to get one of these. I even went to a CD signing and had this one autographed.As a guitar player and Joe Satriani fan, this is like the holy grail of guitars. Warm sound, fast fret board, sexy as hell… *sigh (view post about this guitar)
- Taylor 214ce Acoustic - I bought this guitar after a terrible day at work. I needed an acoustic with active electronics, and I've always loved Taylor guitars. After owning it for a couple years now, I have to be honest and say it's a little brighter than I'd prefer. Maybe I need to experiment with other types of strings. It's plays awesome, but I wish it was a little warmer.
- Fender HSS American Strat - My first electric purchase in a decade or more, this is such a beautiful guitar. I love it. It's fretboard is super fast, and the humbucker pickup has all the crunch I could ever need. Go play an HSS Strat. You'll be impressed.
We're an original Indie Rock band based out of Southern New Hampshire, but we've played all around New England. Our demo track "Still Around" was featured on WHEB's Local Licks.
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Check out some of the demo tracks from our upcoming debut studio album: