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Guitar Musician e-zine     09/13/2006

In This Issue:

  "I had been to S�o Paulo the year before and became pretty well acquainted with the music of composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, I had already started playing that music, and the audience response had been pretty good because those songs are so melodic. I knew it would be something that would be appealing; I wasn't thinking that it would make the top of the pop charts or anything like that."

                                                               - Charlie Byrd - Jazz Guitar

Some Humor

  Donations To The Preacher

After the church service, a little boy told the pastor he was going to give him a lot of money when he grew up.

''Well, thank you,'' the pastor replied, ''but why?''

''Because my daddy says you're one of the poorest preachers we've ever had! ''

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 Fxpansion.

BFD Premium Acoustic Drum Module and Expansion Packs

A fully equipped virtual drum studio

By Gene Rauch

BFD Premium Acoustic Drum Module and Expansion Packs

As technology continues to develop, products that are available for recording music today dwarf those released just a few years ago. And better yet, many of the features found in the world�s finest recording studios are now also available to smaller project studios�and at a fraction of the price.

However, unless you�ve had access to a world-class studio, a top engineer, first-call session players, a collection of instruments and mics from vintage to modern, and an unlimited budget, recording perfect drums has always been a problem for the project or home studio.

That�s why the software gurus at FXpansion UK teamed up to create BFD. Real-sounding pristine drums from a software program? Seems impossible, eh? Read on...

The moment you hear the first hit you will know

BFD is a multiplatform (Mac 10.2.8 & higher/PC Win 2000 & XP) 24-bit program that runs in standalone mode or inside your favorite host recording application as a virtual MIDI instrument. The easy-to-use intuitive interface provides all of the dynamic variables you�d expect from working with a live drummer in a studio environment.

BFD comes with seven distinct acoustic drum sets to get you started, and each kit may be loaded complete or you can load individual drums to create your own custom kit blends from the seven drum sets.

BFD has unique features that allow you to create drum tracks that are indistinguishable from the real thing. These include; multi velocity disc-streamed file access architecture for unparalleled sample layer reality at any volume; realtime adjustable overhead, room, and PZM stereo mic pairs; variable phase switches for kick and snare mics; variable direct-mic-to-stereo-mic trims for perfect room blending of individual instruments; full tuning; panning; solo; mute; and a complement of host application and MIDI adjustments for perfect studio synchronicity. And for that "can�t tell the difference between this and the real thing", BFD allows you to tweak and randomize timing and strike velocities for perfect realism.

More than fantastic realism

Built into BFD�s platform is a Groove Librarian that allows you to audition several thousand different MIDI drum files spanning many types of musical genres. You can listen and link various grooves and fills to find those that are just right for your next masterpiece. Since they were created by real drummers, you can employ details with hi-hat work and fills, for example, that would otherwise take hours of programming for any of us non-drummers. These files can be imported onto your host application�s MIDI track(s) and quickly assembled there to create an entire song in no time. And because they are standard MIDI files, micro-tweaking is easy, should you wish to manipulate any of the preprogrammed notes to suit your taste via your MIDI note editor.

Fxpansion BFD Deluxe Collection Expansion Pack

Fxpansion BFD Deluxe Collection Expansion Pack

Going way down deep

Digging into the underbelly of BFD, you will find many features that deliver perfect cohesiveness with your studio setup. Interface options, choke-fade options, engine options, a complete MIDI setup page for the ultimate MIDI triggers, and a comprehensive routing page that allows you to adjust things like the amount of kick, snare, and overall kit bleed from one mic to another! See for even more details about BFD�s easy-to-use yet feature-rich interface.

BFD offers so much that you�ll want a quick, dedicated hard drive to enjoy peak performance�at least 7200 RPM or faster. BFD is a disc-streaming program and as such requires its data folder to reside on a hard drive that is separate from your system/OS hard drive. For laptop users, a firewire 800 external drive is strongly recommended.

Simply put, if you�re looking for acoustic drums that no one will be able to differentiate from the work of a top call session player, engineer, and studio, then this is the program for you.

And there�s even more

Occasionally people just don�t know when to stop and luckily for us all, FXpansion�s design team is no exception! While BFD comes with seven complete acoustic drum kits, FXpansion has produced several other additional libraries that can be loaded into BFD to expand your sonic options:

  1. XFL�22 gigs of incredible acoustic drums. Think BFD on steroids.
  2. Deluxe Collection�55 gigs of an exclusive library created by producer extraordinaire Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago.
  3. Jazz & Funk�55 gigs of the purest and most detailed jazz and funk kits for the audiophile musician.

And if electronica is also your thing

Then you owe it to yourself to check out GURU from FXpansion. GURU is your beatbox dream come true. Advanced step sequencing, groove manipulation, sample editing, and beat slicing�in an inspirational, all-in-one workstation plug-in. Based on an enlightened approach to drum loop creation, GURU makes building that perfect beat faster and easier than ever.

Check it all out!

You can sample all these incredible products through online tutorials and mp3 sound files by going to There you will find an abundance of product information that will answer any questions you may have. When it�s time to buy, Musician�s Friend is an exclusive retailer of FXpansion products and can quickly provide you with any of them by way of their award-winning sales and service team. So check out FXpansion and see if you agree that virtual drums never sounded so real.

Features & Specs:

BFD Premium Acoustic Drum Module Plug-In DVD

  • 9GB of sounds from 7 real drum kits
  • Additional hats, snares, and cymbals
  • Each drum recorded with 11 different mics
  • High-quality drum sample library
  • Studio-like control of mic blends
  • Up to 46 velocity layers
  • Comprehensive MIDI groove library
  • Triggers in real time from a keyboard or BFD
  • Humanization functions
  • Integrated swing controls
  • Controlled velocity and timing randomization
  • Mac & PC compatible

XFL 22GB Expansion Pack for BFD

  • 5 DVDs with 22GB of real drum kits
  • Recorded with high-end gear
  • Every drum recorded with 11 different mics
  • Includes huge variety of brushes and mallet hits, toms, kicks
  • Cymbals include splashes, Chinas, accents, and rides with bell
  • Percussion includes cowbells, jam blocks, tambourines, handclaps, and fingersnaps

BFD Deluxe Collection Jazz & Funk

  • 55GB of immaculately recorded, detailed drums
  • Complete kits by Gretsch, Yamaha & Slingerland
  • Snares include Ludwig, Pearl, Rogers, Luxor, and more
  • Wide cymbal selection includes extensive Sabian plus Wuhan
  • Selected hits played with mallets, rods, and hands

BFD System Requirements:

  • 1 GHz Pentium III or Athlon (Windows)
  • Apple PowerMac G4, OSX 10.2.8 733 MHz (G4 1.2 GHz recommended) (MacOSX)
  • 512 MB of RAM (1GB Recommended)
  • DVD drive(For installation)
  • Windows 2000 or XP or MacOSX 10.2.8
  • 9 GB of free hard disk space (Separate drive with a minimum speed of 7200 RPM recommended.)




What is the Distal Joint?

Justine Vickery; Lawrenceville, GA

Q: I have heard some talk of bending the Distal Finger Joint to help your playing. Exactly what is this?

A: Great question! Most people don't know about this.

The distal joint is the finger joint closest to the fingertip. It often must bend to play chords and riffs properly. Many students don't bend it when they should. This is especially true of the 1st and 4th fingers.

For a beginner this joint won't want to bend, but must be made to when doing finger exercises, scales, and other riffs. It's very important, for instance, to make sure this joint is bent on the first finger while doing a "C" chord.

When I check my own private students I find that they often are missing this in their at-home practice, and the only way I can get them to pay attention to it is to make them do it!

So start examining your distal joints as you play and practice. If you work with them, they will become more and more flexible.

Hope this helps!


Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House

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  Tech Tip - Time-Based Effects: Reverb
By Dennis Kambury

Of all the gear you can add to your studio, perhaps the most enjoyable one is reverb. Used judiciously, it adds richness, complexity, and a sense of space to what might otherwise be a dry, sterile sound. Our ears love it, and musicians throughout the ages have sought it out in caves, concert halls, stairwells, and little black boxes with blinking LEDs.

Virtually everything you hear indoors is colored by reverb. In any enclosed space, sounds are reflected from the various surfaces�walls, ceiling, architectural features, and other hard surfaces�and arrive at the listener's ear some time later than the original or direct sound. The amount and timing of the reflected sound in relation to the direct sound is how we interpret the size of the room.

Various methods have been used to bring reverb to the studio and the stage. Reverb chambers use an empty room (or hallway, stairwell, bathroom, etc.) with a speaker on one end, and a mic on the other. The source signal is sent from the mixer to the speaker, picked up by the mic, and returned to the board to be mixed with the original source. Altering the reverb is simply a matter of adjusting the location of the mic and/or speaker and placing absorptive material on the walls. Although not at all portable, the result is very realistic!

Spring reverbs are popular in guitar amps and are occasionally found in studios. As their name implies, they use one or more springs to create a reverberant sound. The source signal is sent to the spring's input transducer and converted to mechanical energy, which causes the spring to vibrate and generate internal reflections. These reflections are picked up at the other end and converted back to a musical signal that's returned to the board for further mixing. Springs are generally fixed, with the only adjustment possible being level.

Plate reverbs are similar to springs in that they use a transducer to convert signal to mechanical energy and use another transducer to convert the mechanical energy to an electrical signal. Instead of a spring, they use a thin steel plate, resulting in a richer sound than a spring can deliver. They are also more adjustable�the transducers can be moved for different response characteristics, and dampers can be used to adjust the decay.

Digital advances have resulted in radical improvements in reverb technology and capabilities. From the affordable DigiTech S-100 to the midrange Yamaha SPX-990 and the lush Lexicon PCM-91, incredible realism is now within the reach of even the most budget-oriented studio.

Perhaps the best part about digital reverbs is their ability to adjust real-world type parameters to generate their sounds. You can adjust room size, density, decay, and more. To make things more interesting, most reverb units also include delays, choruses, panners, and other effects that can be used separately or in combination with reverb.

The latest advances in computer technology are finally making good-sounding reverb plug-ins possible. One of the coolest of these offerings is Altiverb, software that uses a form of modeling to re-create the reverb characteristics of actual spaces.


Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

Ani DiFranco, Reprieve
By Adrianne Serna
On her 18th release, singer-songwriter and independent music icon Ani DiFranco continues to keep her listeners on their toes. Featuring only herself and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Todd Sickafoose, and recorded during her first-ever break from touring (due to an unfortunate bout with tendinitis), Reprieve�s 13 tracks reveal a much mellower and more grounded DiFranco than the one who recorded such famously angst-ridden albums as Dilate and Not a Pretty Girl. On the opening track, �Hypnotized,� DiFranco�s acoustic guitar and soothing vocals flow serenely with the backing piano, upright bass, and pump organ, accomplishing the effect signaled by the album�s title. �Nicotine� moves in a meditative guitar groove, while the politically fueled �Decree� showcases DiFranco�s knack for hard-hitting metaphors (�the stars are going out / the stripes are getting bent�). Although DiFranco�s current melodies are becoming increasingly difficult to follow (in comparison to those in her catchier, more commercially appealing past work), Reprieve is an intimate, thought-provoking, and inspiring journey for those who appreciate depth and intricacy. With her alternate tunings and jazz-influenced lines, DiFranco paves a unique musical path. Yet she displays the familiar strengths that have made her an overwhelming indie success: her signature fingerpicking style, rich vocal vibrato, passionate politics, and brilliant expressiveness. (Righteous Babe,


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