Bowing and plucking for the microphone

Tried the sound of my new strings on my new (used) instrument yesterday – and Zuleikha took some photos of that:

Wolfgang bowing his upright bass, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020
Wolfgang playing his upright bass, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

The first one of these photos is also on my Wikiloops profile in case you’re interested (but the music I played isn’t uploaded there yet).

As always, thanks for viewing.

NBD, and Mr. Booze

“NBD” is a term from, the biggest forum for bass players word-wide, and it stands for “new bass day” – so if you use it, you’re reporting about a new purchase, normally with pictures.

So here you go:

Big bass violin, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

Got it for a very good price including lots of add-ons like a stand, a pickup, a French bow, and a bag from a member of a German/Swiss forum for bass players, It’s a Christopher DB202 which means it’s all laminated (plywood), and in gamba shape (but with a round back, most gambas had a flat one).

So today I connected the pickup and my microphone to the audio interface like this:

Double bass recording setup, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

and then I played a Blues together with Nils, Peter, and Philip, called “Mr. Booze”, like this:

Not that easy to handle an instrument that big in Bb flat minor for your first one, but fun anyway – thanks and merci to my friends for the music 🙂

More in and in – and thanks for reading, and for listening.

Cheap double basses

My brother Willi had a double bass when we were younger – and we both would love to have one now. I have checked some locally and at Thomann’s (Europe’s biggest music store), and was always kind of put off, either by price (~2.800€ for a solid Romanian bass I loved) or by setup.

But lately I saw a review of a Thomann “Rockabilly” – one of the cheapest Chinese plywood basses they offer. That review is in Italian, but the guy can play, and that bass sounds and looks wonderful (with additional Thomastik Spirocore strings (about 160€) on it):

Thomann Rockabilly Kontrabass Review

Miked (or picked up? Both?) a bit closer, and with a jazz standard, it sounds pretty good:

Blue Bossa Bass Line backing track accompaniment

So this one is from Thomann’s plywood line of basses, and also comes in black or different shades of wood. My brother’s comment was that if that is how plywood sounds, it would be good enough for him…

I agreed (with the remark about the changed set of strings on it), but there’s a slightly more expensive hybrid model available now at Thomann’s, would love to check that out as well:

Stentor 1950 Student Double Bass

It’s the Stentor 1950 Student bass, and it indeed sounds wonderful as well:

The Stentor 1950 Double Bass

I agree about that “melting the audience” remark – at least you could melt me with that one 🙂 Available at Thomann‘s as well, for a real good price in my opinion.

I’ll have to try that one. And maybe take my brother with me, maybe they’ll sell two of these 🙂

As always, thanks for reading.

The Gentle Rain (featuring Ali Campbell)

Here’s Don, Ali, and me:

Ali isn’t on Wikiloops as far as I know, so it doesn’t make much sense to show the list of musicians with just Don and me.

Oh, and this is of course not my normal fretless bass, it’s the Karoryfer “Meatbass” which is a great free sample library of a 1958 Otto Rubner double (or contra) bass:

So thanks to Karoryfer and to Ludwik for the nicely sampled instrument as well. You guys rock!

As always, thanks for reading, and for listening.

A new mini keyboard for me, and my first contact with it

Got this one on Monday:

Keyboard, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

And I used it together with a free synthesizer in Ardour to record this:

This has several remixes already (three alone this morning), and for one of these remixes I used another free virtual instrument, and I also borrowed this from Zuleikha:

Zuleikha’s Ukulele, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

This is Zuleikha’s Ortega “ruocean-ce” ukulele which was one of her birthday presents for her 14th last year. As you can probably see in the photo (or read in its product description), it has an in-built tuner, so it also has a piezo pickup and a preamp built in – and so you can plug it in directly into an interface like I do it with my bass guitar as well. For the recording I used this, and I also used my Røde NT-1A microphone to get my fingering noises on its strings (and the foot-patting, couldn’t really filter all of it out).

Not that easy to change from a bass to that g’-c’-e’-a’ tuning of the little thing… 🙂 But for the few chords (and a simple Reggae rhythm) which I used here I think I figured it out…

The three remixes from this morning were all on top of that recorded piano/ukulele one, see the ‘loops if you want to hear these.

And as always, thanks for reading, and also for listening.

Daumenlage / Thumb position

This is what separates a double bass from an electric one:

Daumenlage / Thumb position, Schlitz 2019

Another photo from Alexander Dawo which I took last week in Schlitz. And yes, he explained to me later how to get in and out of this Daumenlage…

As always, thanks for reading and viewing.

Last Peace, by Zuleikha L

Last night, Zuleikha uploaded her newest composition “Last Peace” to Wikiloops. I had helped her a bit with getting the Addictive Keys Studio Grand into Ardour, so she mentioned me as well on her lovely track. And over the night, she got 11 thumb ups, 5 downloads and 1 remix already as you can see here or on her track:

“Last Peace” by Zuleikha L on Wikiloops

I also like her new avatar there which she drew herself:

And as you can see, she also received a first remix already, which were some jazzy drums & guitar played by João (nickname jjdf) from Portugal. Obrigado!

As always, thanks for reading.

My weekend of week 6, 2019

Yesterday I had some “fun” (read: work) again with Mitchie’s new computer. It started with lots of slow updates of Windows 10, about which I wrote already in my last post, and it went on after I finally got a nice new external casing for her SSD which came with the machine.

As it turned out, I had forgotten or at least not considered the fact that before installing both Windows and then Linux on her new SSD I had switched off SecureBoot in the machine’s UEFI (formerly called ‘BIOS’). Tho Ubuntu could have dealt with it as well as Windows, it just didn’t seem worth the hassle. But what I hadn’t known and considered was the fact that Lenovo was so friendly as to turn on Bitlocker encryption on the drive as well, so even with jumping through several hoops to even get that key from Microsoft, I still couldn’t get Windows to de-encrypt the whole shebang again. In the end I gave up on this – there are things to do during your lifetime which are more worth of your time than dealing with stupid stuff like this. And the fact that a commercial vendor like Microsoft has keys to your machine which they don’t even tell you about seems more than questionable to me… So I formatted that old SSD and put a FAT32 partition onto it, so that it can be used as a bigger (and much faster and more reliable) USB “stick” with 128GB.

One more positive side note about Lenovo: their support pages are first class. If you allow them, they scan your machine and install all the drivers (for Windows of course) you might need. That’s almost as good as Linux which simply installs them without even bothering you with it.

Another topic:

Mike Johnston wrote a nice short article titled “Mike’s Seven Laws of Lenses” on his site The Online Photographer. And – not for the first time – he included a photo of a lens which he seems to love, and which I even have:

Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm/1.4 on Mike’s page

This is a nice one indeed, and well worth having should you consider a Micro Four Thirds camera (or even have one already). With my copy of that lens I took the following snapshot of Mitchie’s new machine, with the additional SSD leaning against it:

Mitchie’s new machine, with an additional SSD leaning against it, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

This is btw such a dark scene that I had to underexpose it in camera with -2.3EV to keep the blacks real black (pictures such as this one confuse the metering of even the best cameras, they would turn the photo into an average grey instead of mostly black). Anyway, you see her new “USB stick” (her old SSD) and its size as well. The machine with its 13.3″ screen is tiny, the drive even more so.

So that was my Saturday. My Sunday started with getting another new piano which was described in an article (in German) on Delamar – an online magazine from musicians for musicians from Darmstadt (ca. 18km from here). That virtual piano was interesting me because it’s some kind of hybrid between a sampled (=recorded), and a modeled (=computer generated) one, and because the sound sample on Delamar’s page sounded really nice (and some of its users even claimed that it’s better than the commercial modeled Pianoteq which I’ve tried (and liked) on Manjaro lately).

Of course like so many other “freebies” this piano comes as a Windows or Mac plugin only – but thanks to falkTX’s Carla the loading of an unencrypted Windows VST is no problem on Linux anymore (except of course that you’re running an additional Wine layer to emulate some Windows resources on Linux, but that’s not falkTX’s fault). So after downloading that freebie I could look at and listen to it on my Debian machine – looks like on my screenshot of it:

Screenshot from 2019-02-10 12-45-57
the freebie “NeoPiano” from Soundmagic, a Windows VST running on Linux (thanks to falkTX and his Carla plugin rack)

And yes it sounds nice tho I haven’t tried much until now. But now that Zuleikha has Mitchie’s old Core i5 notebook from Dell, she will be able to test it as well – she’s the pianist in the family, not me. 🙂

So next time Zuleikha comes up with a new composition of hers, we can compare it against the commercial xln Audio ‘Addictive Keys’ Studio Grand (a Steinway D sampled in a studio somewhere in Sweden), and the other free ones we have already like the Salamander (Yamaha C5) or the ‘Piano in 162’ (another Steinway). The files she uploaded to Wikiloops so far were all done with the commercial xln one.

And now let’s have some more coffee, and a piece of cake 🙂 As always, thanks for reading.