Tag Archives: band

iRig and AmpliTube Rock You

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This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu.

My first band was an all-girl band that didn’t need a keyboardist (my first musical instrument of choice), just a second electric guitarist and substitute bass player. Instead of passing me over for the audition, they stuck a guitar in my hands, handed me a lyric sheet with chord progressions, and asked me to give it a go. I did, and I got the part. Good thing I knew a few standard chords on the guitar. Songwriting and practice times used to take forever, mostly because we had to haul in our own equipment (including quarter-inch cables, stomp pedals, mics and mic stands, and speakers that almost weighed as much as I did). We scratched notes on paper, made rudimentary recordings, and we didn’t even have a video camera between us. What’s a girl rocker to do? If I could, I’d climb into a time machine with iRig and AmpliTube for iPad and iPhone, and rock the living daylights out those girls.

IKMultiMedia sells an impressive family of software instruments designed for the modern musician. It takes bulky components and hacked pieces of hardware strung together with miles of chords, and streamlines your set up to not only be less cumbersome, but also less painful to the consumer’s wallet.

Ben of Ben Union spent just fifteen minutes in my art loft in Seattle playing with the iRig and Amplitube on my iPhone4 (also available on iPad), and in moments, he was playing sweet licks and grooves with very minimal set up, and no gigantor speakers and amplifiers to carry. We ran sound through my Bose speaker, and compared it to the Fender Vibrochamp amp (which I rescued from a garbage dump, and once scraped off a dried frog that had taken shelter in the back and ended up getting fried onto the metal parts). Amplitube is the mobile app of the moment for the modern guitarist and composer, allowing users to create, process, record, and amplify music seamlessly, without the burden of carting around heavy, sometimes fragile, and often expensive equipment. Users can plug in a set of headphones or external speakers into the iRig, insert the ⅛-inch plug to the iPhone, and plug a ¼-inch cable from the guitar to a port on other end.

The latest version of the killer app, AmpliTube 3, ramps user’s experience with the following elements:

  • 160 pieces of gear, more than double the amount of other packages
  • 51 individual stompboxes and effects
  • 31 amplifier preamp & power sections
  • 46 speaker cabinet models
  • 15 high end stage and studio mics
  • 17 post amp rack effects
  • Open architecture, so users can add more packages as you need them, like AmpliTube Fender™ and Ampeg® SVX
  • Drag and drop features, so you can locate your components where you want it

Additionally, AmpliTube 3 boasts the proprietary VRM™ (Volumetric Response Modeling) technology, allowing users to add ultra-accurate rotating speaker effects, free dual mic placement plus room ambiance and response. Translation: ever wanted to sound like you were in a different-sized room, with a variety of vintage sounds and effects at the touch of your finger on a screen? If you are a guitar, bassist, drummer, or vocalist, you should be waving your hands wildly by now, shouting, “I want!” I know Ben was having a blast with AmpliTube, and he had not even explored all the settings!

While most of the app world is not accustomed to the cost of applications for music creation, any musician would tell you that the price of this app and hardware are well worth it. With nothing to wear out, and upgrades and additions available, this is a system no modern musician can afford to pass up, unless s/he is willing to be passed by.

B. Imei Hsu is a nurse psychotherapist, Bellydance and Bollywood dance artist, musician and vocalist, and coach for artful businesses. She creates content for her own businesses, including Hips For Hire, as well as content for other blogs, including Psycho Nurse on Lockergnome. You can drop in on her art loft in the Old Rainier Brewery in Seattle, WA, where she lives and plays with her iPad loving cat, Charles-Monet, by tuning in at Ustream.tv.

Organize Your Band with BandCentral

When a band is busy, things can go haywire pretty fast. There are many difficulties associated with staying organized during the touring, performing, writing and recording processes. Wil Padley, a bass player in the U.K. band The Domino State, came up with the idea for BandCentral to help him and his fellow musicians attempt to bring order back into their lives.

BandCentral is an easy way to manage your band online from anywhere in the world. The tools lets bands track their earnings and expenses from merchandise, CD and ticket sales. The admin controls allow for privacy settings to be altered, so that different access levels can be given to different members of the group as needed.

It’s also integrated with SoundCloud, which is an online place musicians can share their music and files. It also lets them comment on the various things they have in progress.

BandCentral has a free version, which is ad-supported. A band can sign up for the premium account to have full access to the site and services without having to look at ads. The premium account is about $9.00 (U.S. dollars) per month.

BandCentral is used by bands, managers and even record companies. It is a “shared space with all the tools you need to manage your band: everything, from gigs & rehearsals, assets & fans, to recordings, merchandise & money… all from one central, secure and instantly accessible place.”

Making the Band: A Kid's Perspective

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Alec is 13 years old. He goes by the handle iDrummer in our live community. He is a budding musician, and sent in these tips on how to get yourself or your band noticed.

  • People / Bandmates First, you’re going to need to know some people that are into your type of music. Some ways you could find people are to look around your school, work, and extra-curricular activities. Just start a friendly conversation, and let them know about your music. Usually, this takes some time to find the right people, because there are so many different people with varied tastes. You’re going to have to take your time. When you get around to the band part, mention that you’re looking to start a band, and that you wonder if they’re interested in joining. If his reply is no, ask him if he knows anyone that is musically talented. More than likely, he will know a few people if he plays an instrument. The more people you have, the more you will be taken seriously. Once you get the desired amount of people, make sure everyone is “ok” with their band members, so there are no disputes between one another. When you are all settled in with each other, come up with a name. This may be hard, but it’s important.
  • Recording / Covers Most artists start out their careers by doing cover songs (song written and recorded by other artists). You could go right into recording, but it’s good to know your band’s weaknesses and strengths in music. Start out with a couple of ,simple songs. Once you get the hang of how everyone plays then go for hard songs or start recording. Recording is a major deal. There are many ways to record. If you have some extra cash (as in like $2,000) then you can buy some “ok” recording equipment. Best chance you have to get good recording equipment is Guitar Center. Recording professionally is usually quite cheap. Before picking a recording place, do a little research on them. They may be really cheap, but they may have bad quality recording equipment. Also, they sometimes don’t supply you with instruments… which means you have to haul all your amp, guitars, drums, bass’s, cords. There are also two ways to record. There is 2-track and 4 track recording. 4 Track tends to come out with a better quality since you record one instrument at a time. 2-track is faster and is easier to do. In 2-track, you record the band first, and then the singer. 2-track is cheaper but lower quality.
  • Get your music out There are various way to get your music heard. One of the free ways is to put it on the Internet. Myspace, for example, is a great medium. You aren’t charged a dime to create an account or upload music onto your page. All of your friends can hear it, and you can gain fans. It’s best to have someone good with HTML and internet coding to help create your myspace, it makes it look more attractive and more official. Another great way to put your music online is via iTunes. It does cost you, but you can earn money off of it.
  • Shows / Venues After you get noticed, you might get offers from local bars to come play at night. Once again there are many ways to get shows. If you want to book shows, you’re going to have to impress whoever is in charge of booking talent. If you’re good enough, they might refer you to other venues. Even if you’re offered a show for no pay… it’s still a good way to earn a fan base. Another way to get bookings is to have your music sent to a record label. They might pick it up and listen to it. Send it to a bunch of record labels, instead of just one.
  • Marketing These is a very complex part… yet simple. I’ve been giving you marketing tips all along. Once you have a pretty big fan base, it’s time to decide if you want to market products. There are very simple ways online to create products for your band and sell them at shows / venues… or even on the street corner. Places where you can find free product creators is Zazzle or CafePress You can also set up an eBay store!


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Jamming at Gnomedex

I don’t know if the Net Gods will force me to take this video offline, so grab it while you can – an impromptu jam between Dave Dederer, Doug Kaye, and Derek K. Miller – amazing. I mean, at what other conference party would this happen? I know that Doug said he was rusty with the bass, but they all did better than I ever could. I probably would have screwed up the triangle if it was hanging there. It was quite a surreal moment, to be standing there when this happened. They attracted quite a small crowd. I’m disappointed the band didn’t stick around to sign any autographs, though.