Unusual gig coming up and I need some out-of-the-box thinking.

Porrig

Member
Messages
3,830
Ok folks, here's the situation so please bear with me for a bit. An actor friend of mine who also happens to be a very well known TV personality here in the Netherlands due to him having been the 'face' of a national supermarket chain in their adverts for over 10 years has a solo theatre show next weekend. It's a short 45 minute set that's part of a larger national festival taking place in 3 cities over numerous weekends and consists of him doing some storytelling and singing some of his own compositions.

He called me up a few days ago and asked me if I would want to join him in the performance of one of his songs on the last evening of his run. It will consist of the two of us onstage, him singing and playing an autoharp and me an electric guitar. Sound is all taken care of and I'll be running my strat into a Zoom G3X that will go direct to the PA. Room size is around 300.

The song he wrote is a sort of mutant Jacques Brel country waltz with pretty dark lyrics. It's a simple song structure: Dm - E7 - A7 - Gm - Bb - C - F are the basic chords.

(If you're still reading so far, thank you :) )

Here's where I'd like some input/ideas. He asked me to build a progressively intense layer of sound behind the song. If you play the chords in waltz time you should get a pretty good feel of where things go.

The first thing that sprung into my mind was Marc Ribot - the unsettling junky skronk stuff he did with Tom Waits. BUT, I've never really done stuff like that before in terms of sound crafting.

SO - I'll have no problem figuring out a part to play BUT what sort of quirky lo-fi/out there effects and sounds could make things interesting.

Thanks for reading.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,072
It sounds like he's looking for dramatic effect. Have fun with it.

Let's say there are six verses. You can set up six presets on your Zoom, one for each verse.

I'd probably start by getting progressively dirtier with tone and looser with the phrasing. Once you've built up to a very dirty tone, you could add in reverb and delay with long tails to let it get even messier as the delays cascade against your playing. A reverse delay might be interesting.

Finally, I'd probably pull out all the stops for the last verse. Maybe take a spoon or screwdriver to your strings, press them against the pickups for some real clanky noise. Maybe detune your strings, one at a time through that last verse, so that by the end of the song your guitar is completely out of tune with floppy strings that you can scratch against the pickups in bunches.

This should work as long as it doesn't distract your singer from hitting the melody. If he keeps it together, people's minds will fill in the musical gaps you're leaving in your wake.
 

SackvilleDan

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,072
I'd say get a looper, and start building some texture... you can start with some droning root notes, and then add some fills over the main chord structure... reverb and delay will be your friend here to fill out the sparse orientation!
 

ChampReverb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,793
I'd say get a looper, and start building some texture... you can start with some droning root notes, and then add some fills over the main chord structure... reverb and delay will be your friend here to fill out the sparse orientation!
However, playing with someone on a one-off thing and expecting them to sync to, and stay in-sync with, the chords in your looper might be asking for a really big ugly sound if it goes awry, which it might.

-bEn r.
 

oldtelefart

Member
Messages
4,659
If you use a looper, I would strongly recommend some rehearsals to nail the timing issue.
How good is his rhythm on the autoharp?

Otherwise, half a bottle of Bokma Oude Friesche and let your imagination run wild.......
 

Porrig

Member
Messages
3,830
We had one rehearsal today for an hour where he showed me the song and I got the basic structure sorted out. We'll have another rehearsal on show-day. Having never used a looper live I doubt I'll risk it for this, though it does sound like an excellent choice. His timing is spot on and the song is short so who knows! I have a week to practice so it can't be that hard!
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,015
I'd say get a looper, and start building some texture... you can start with some droning root notes, and then add some fills over the main chord structure... reverb and delay will be your friend here to fill out the sparse orientation!
I agree. Thought of adding some minimalistic slide with a gritty tone if you have any of those skills. Doesn't have to be much to add a very distinct textural layer.

Then there is our own David Torn and what he does with a whammy. You said Strat, so you'll have one handy. Sounds like fun. Good luck with it.
 

Sam Sherry

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,175
Don't overlook the obvious: The basic, organic musical arranging / orchestration techniques work to build intensity just as they have for centuries.

. Volume -- No need to belabor that point
. Registration / tessitura -- how high and low your notes are; how you use open strings or harmonics
. Rhythm -- how active your background is; how syncopated your background is
. Counterpoint
. Harmonic complexity

. . . and much more . . . like loopers . . .

Have fun!
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,841
I agree. Thought of adding some minimalistic slide with a gritty tone if you have any of those skills. Doesn't have to be much to add a very distinct textural layer.

Then there is our own David Torn and what he does with a whammy.
thanks, d!
but, did you mean to say "looper", there?
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,841
when it comes to out-of-the-box thinking, we're all on our own..... just like when you're onstage with that guitar in your hands, it's really up to you;
the best advice i could offer would be to encourage you to regularly exercise your musical imagination: practise it, as it were.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,015
thanks, d!
but, did you mean to say "looper", there?
Well, your looping is pretty well known, I was thinking of what you do with the whammy bar/tremolo bar. I had just watched a video of you demonstrating your use of the bar to get a faux pedal steel sound. Very cool.
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,841
Well, your looping is pretty well known, I was thinking of what you do with the whammy bar/tremolo bar. I had just watched a video of you demonstrating your use of the bar to get a faux pedal steel sound. Very cool.
thanks!
dude.
 

straightblues

Member
Messages
9,613
I would start with clean guitar finger picked, then a little harder with a flat pick, then just strum, and then hold each chord. Increase the dirt and the delay as you progress through the song. If I were doing it, I would set a pretty overdriven sound up with my guitars volume knob on 10 and then roll my guitars volume knob to 5 for a clean tone to begin and then turn up the volume each verse. I would use two delay setting, a shorter one and a longer one, start with the short and move to the long.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,904
The Zoom has many cool and wacky ambient fx and an excellent looper built in. The tools are already there at your disposal, so good luck!
 

Porrig

Member
Messages
3,830
It all turned out well in the end, though the hat was not my idea...but, ya gotta serve the song.
 




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