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Guitar Musician e-zine     06/28/2006


In This Issue:


  "...The movie "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956) completely did me in, particularly seeing Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps who looked really dangerous. it started me wanting my own guitar ...another motivating factor was the collapse of rock and roll in 1959. Elvis was drafted, Buddy Holly was dead and there was no real danger anymore. Overnight everybody was named Johnny This or Johnny That, and they were all singing this terrible V-neck sweater music. So it was like, "What are you bastards doing with my music? I'm not going to have that taken away!" So I think we decided we just wanted to take it back..."

                                                           - Jeff Beck / Yardbirds / Jeff Beck Group


Some Humor

  A group of Tyler Texas friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck.

"Where's Henry?" the others asked.

"Henry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail," the successful hunter replied.

"You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?" they inquired.

"A tough call," nodded the hunter. "But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!"

 


A Lesson For The Learning

Interested in guitar lessons? - Be sure and check out the guitar lessons offered by Andrew Koblick at Amazing Guitar


 
Click here for all products by Crown.
 

Crown XTi Series Power Amplifiers

More features, improved specs, and a LOWER PRICE!

By Randall Fowler

Crown XTi Series Power Amplifiers

I�ve always admired Crown amps, but I became an enthusiastic fan when our band acquired a CE 2000 over a year ago. We needed more power. The CE was surprisingly affordable, and it dramatically improved our sound. Put simply, we think of it as the soundest sound investment we ever made.

This made me especially curious to see what the new Crown XTi Series had to offer. Crown doesn�t come out with new lines every year just to keep their name in the press. When they do, it means they have worked out significant improvements in their technology that warrant it. They�ve made an amp that is lighter, more reliable, easier to use, cleaner, more versatile, more powerful, more affordable, or some combination of these amp improvements. What I found was the XTi amplifiers make advances to some degree in all of them. The XTi Series raises the bar in performance, adds features, and maintains the level of affordability established by the CE Series.

Sound fundamentals

The first consideration, of course, is an amp�s sound quality. Every Crown amp I�ve ever heard has delivered impeccable sound. That�s why they are the number one power amp of touring sound companies, the amp most often stated as a requirement on band contracts, and why so many older Crowns are still in service. Comparing the XTi 2000 with the CE 2000, I couldn�t hear much difference. Both sounded fantastic. Under extreme conditions and to a more discerning ear, the XTi model would probably sound appreciably better, judging from its better specs, but within normal operating range, both amps had the same Crown sound quality�strong, smooth, and full.

Down on the pounds

An amp�s weight isn�t of ultimate importance, except when you are lifting and packing the rack into a club. Then it becomes important. The heaviest of the XTi amps, the XTi 4000, is under 19 lbs. and definitely lighter than the CE. Crown cites a 20% reduction in weight. The XTi amps are also more compact. They drop the rack size down to two spaces from the three spaces required for the CE models. A two-space power amp isn�t unusual but is less common for amps of tour-worthy build and power.

Crown XTi 1000, XTi 4000, XTi 2000
 

Crown XTi 1000, XTi 4000, XTi 2000

Full protection

The XTi amps are made to function reliably and live lengthy lives, but Crown can�t keep your other gear from malfunctioning in ways that potentially can damage the amp. To keep the XTi from being at the mercy of fate, they have provided extensive defenses. Shorted outputs, open circuits, DC, mismatched loads, general overheating, high-frequency overloads, and internal faults�all are prevented from wreaking havoc by protective circuits, and comprehensive LED status indicators are provided to alert you to problems.

Another kind of protection built into the XTi amplifiers is even more comprehensive, adding defense against human stupidity. It�s Crown�s guarantee�a 3-year, no-fault, fully transferable warranty. By industry standards, this is an exceptional guarantee, perhaps the best there is. It reflects Crown�s confidence in its product, and is one more way in which Crown leads the pack.

The big easy

The biggest enhancement the XTi amps offer over the CE models they replace is front-end DSP processing (the reason for the LCD screen on the front panel). It gives you ready-made presets that make the XTi especially easy to use under varying conditions. You probably don�t consider power amps to be difficult pieces of equipment to operate. They�re not, but they are part of a system that has to be tweaked to achieve optimum sound under varying conditions, and that can be tricky.

The DSP processing and presets make it easier to dial up good sound from your system to accommodate changes in speakers, room acoustics, volume levels, and musical styles. Just the fact that the Crown has such a smooth, even, basic sound gives you a head start, but the simple selection of the right preset automatically sets crossover points, shapes EQ, applies limiting, adds delay for time alignment, and optimizes the amp for the speakers it is driving. It even has a subharmonic synthesizer to get the most from subs. With the appropriate preset selected, a little fine-tuning quickly leads to sweet perfection.

 

Improved prices

The three XTi power amps give you a choice of wattages, world-class sound quality, Crown ruggedness and reliability, and advanced DSP control, and do so without raising the price. Actually, the XTi models are a notch lower in price than the comparable CE models were when they were introduced. It is a rare event when a company improves a product and lowers the price simultaneously, but Crown has done it with the XTi amplifiers. When seekers of quality sound can have the very best for just a few bucks more, they�ll go for it every time. You can look forward to hearing a lot more Crown-driven music�maybe even your own.

Features & Specs:


Common Features:

  • Integrated DSP with LCD display
  • Accurate, uncolored sound with low distortion
  • Comprehensive protection circuitry: shorted output, open circuits, DC, mismatched loads, overheating, high-frequency overloads, and internal faults
  • Versatility to handle a wide range of speaker impedances and outputs
  • Speaker presets for crossover settings, EQ, limiting, and delay
  • Onboard subharmonic synthesizer
  • Comprehensive LED status monitoring for each channel
  • Speakon and binding post outputs
  • XLR inputs and loop-thru
  • 2-space size and weights under 19 lbs.
  • Switching power supply
  • 2-ohm load capability
  • 3-year, no-fault, fully transferable warranty

XTi 1000: 500W per channel @ 4 ohms ( See Product )

XTi 2000: 700W per channel @ 4 ohms ( See Product )

XTi 4000: 1,200W per channel @ 4 ohms ( See Product )

 

GUITAR Q AND A

 

To Click or Not to Click

Kelly Monroe, Sacramento, CA

Q: When recording should I use a click track?

A: This is more of a preference thing. I tend to like the band to groove with each other without a click track but some bands swear by the click.

If you don�t use a click you run the risk of speeding up or slowing down the tempo while recording. I like for a song as it gets louder dynamically to speed up a few BPM which you can�t do when using a click.

My recommendation is to try recording both ways and see which feels the best for you and your band.

Hope this helps!

Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House

 


Feature Paid Advertisement

 

 


 

Writing Song Lyrics

First Lines

By John Braheny

John Braheny The first words from a singer's mouth are critical, particularly if they're the first words you've ever heard from that artist. It all goes into that evaluation you make as a listener about whether or not you I like the record. So with your writer's hat on, you need to think about how strongly you can interest the listener with that first line or lines. When a publisher or producer hears that first line, he's deciding whether to keep listening or turn it off, too. If it doesn't sell him, he's not optimistic about selling it to an artist.

Don't fall prey to the temptation to start with "I'm just sittin' here (a) writing this song (b) thinking about you, or (c) looking at the . . ." or "Woke up this mornin'. . ." (didn't we all?) or other equally uninteresting clich�s. Though these might be penciled in to get your motor running, when you get down to a rewrite they should be the first things that get penciled out.

Your first line should set the tone for the whole song and make us want to hear what comes next.

You can set your first scene by asking several questions. The answers will contribute to what you want your lyric to accomplish.

Where is it taking place?
Is it important to the song?
What kind of a place is it?
 

Are there evocative features? If you allude to a particular country or city, the mountains, beach, etc., be careful of passive "picture postcard" openers that don't carry with them action, flavor, attitude, or emotional charge. "Ten miles west of Houston," "In a dirty downtown doorway," "At home in your love," "Halfway into Heaven" are all about places, either geographical or emotional.

  • Can the hour, day, season, or year offer a flavor that enhances the emotional impact of your song? Think of the number of songs that use "morning" or "night" to evoke a mood.
  •  
  • If the song is addressed to someone, is there something arresting you can say? If the song is about someone, can you say something that immediately gives a picture or a quick personality sketch.
  •  

Is there an active image you can use? If you're expressing an emotion, can you do it in a poetic or dramatic way? "I feel so out of place," for instance, just kind of lays there. Contrast that with George Gobel's old line, "The world's a tuxedo and I'm just a pair of brown shoes." Of course, that type of cleverness isn't always the answer< ## HC mdash ##>it depends on the tone you want to establish.

A listener should have the answers to the "who, what, when, and where" by the end of the first verse, as well as know the song's attitude and mood. But most importantly, the listener should be persuaded to keep listening, no matter how you accomplish it, with your lyric, your music, or better, by both.

Here are some examples of good opening lines:

My stupid mouth has got me in trouble
I said too much again to a date over dinner yesterday.

John Mayer - "My Stupid Mouth"

It's sitting by the overcoat
the second shelf, the note she wrote
that I can't bring myself to throw away

Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20) - "Long Day"

You said I'm gonna buy this place and burn it down
Coldplay - "A Rush of Blood To The Head"

I was standing in the grocery store line
The one they marked express
When this woman came though with about 25 things
And I said don't you know that more is less

Tom Douglas & Buzz Cason for Martina McBride - "Love's the Only House"

This excerpt is from John Braheny's book, The Craft and Business of Songwriting, 2nd Edition). It's available at Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere. For info about John's critiquing and consulting services, go to www.johnbraheny.com.

 


Brought to you by TAXI: The Independent A&R Vehicle that connects unsigned artists, bands and songwriters with major record labels, publishers, and film & TV music supervisors.


Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

 
David Russell, Renaissance Favorites for Guitar
By Mark Small
On his 21st album, prolific Scottish classical guitarist David Russell explores 16th-century lute and vihuela music from England, Spain, and Italy. The disc opens with the stately �Fantasia X,� by Spanish-born vihuela player Alonso Mudarra. The work�s subtitle indicates that it was an imitation of the harp music of court musician Ludovico, but Russell gives a deliberately unharp-like performance by avoiding the overlapping notes that other players, such as John Williams, favor in the scalar passages. Fourteen pieces by English lutenist John Dowland form the core of the disc�s 26 tracks. Russell balances Dowland�s spritely dance selections �Dowland�s Galliard� and �Lady Hundson�s Puffe� with the dolorous �Lachrimae� and �Semper Dowland Semper Dolens.� Works by Luys de Narvaez, William Byrd, Franceso Canova da Milano, Pietro Joan Ambrosio Dalza, and Pietro Paolo Borrono round out the hour-long disc. For the majority of the pieces, Russell places a capo on the second fret and lowers his third string to an F# to approximate the sound and tuning of the lute and vihuela. Throughout, he deftly executes the music�s contrapuntal lines, ornaments, and bursts of sixteenth notes with ease and sumptuous tone color. (Telarc, www.telarc.com)

 



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