Tag Archives: Zon

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Chris Squire and the 8-string bass – Part 3

This is the first (sort of) tutorial video of a series I am doing about Chris playing the 8-string bass. I began on episode 3, talking about the use of the Ranney bass from 90125 on.

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Universal Garden

 

Universal Garden has been a sort of “forgotten” song for me, since I had so many other favourites on “Open Your Eyes”. When it came the time to rediscover this album, I thought I should give a chance to this song and hear carefully what was going on with the bass. When I finally noticed that Chris was playing the 8-string bass and detected the “Ranney” tuning, that’s when things started to become interesting.

For those who don’t know, Chris developed an alternate tuning with his Ranney 8-string bass. Instead of having all string pairs tuned as octaves, he decided to have perfect fifths above the D and G string. On his “starlicks” video interview, Chris describes this as a “gothic” sound, and songs like “Changes”, “Hearts” and more recently “To Be Alive” and “It Will Be a Good Day“.

The bassline is a bit hard to hear in places. I had some doubts in the opening section, deciding whether the notes were played on the E string (as octaves) or the D and/or G strings (as fifths). The is a guitar overdub that plays on a similar register and confused me a bit. I decided to play a mix of the two versions but to be honest I am not sure about that intro. For example, on the Conspiracy live DVD Chris plays his “second” Mouradian 4-string and he hits the same notes using fifth chords on the D and G strings (G#, E, A, G#).

For the video, I did a very basic concept that I actually think of many times… only I forgot to write down here. I just googled for “universe” and the name of a colour and I selected the images I liked the most. I remember I looked for red, orange, blue, purple… maybe the same as Jon Anderson’s Yesshows “pre-Ritual” speech :) So I just applied the effects to those pictures. Finally I included Yes members pictures and applied a colour to each one… I thought of which colour to associate to each member. Billy – Purple; Steve – Red; Jon – Gold/Yellow; Chris – Green and Alan – White! :)

Bass: Zon Sonus 8

Strings: Zon 8 String set and D’Addario EXL 280 piccolo strings (for the fifths)

Effects: Amplitube 3 – Ampeg BA-500

Signal path: Bass→PC→Amplitube

eight guts

I’m starting using Soundcloud. I thought this could work as an audio scrapbook where I will make some experiments and store any ideas that will arise. Something to share quicker without having to build a video clip.

The first entry is an improvisation using the Zon Sonus 8-string bass. Just exploring the natural timbre of the bass, without any effects or amp simulators. I just enjoyed the “echoes” that I can hear vibrating inside, enhanced by the long sustain that this bass provides. This can be felt even with the bass unplugged – it would be interesting to hear it acoustic, captured by an external microphone… Hope you enjoy it!

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It Will Be a Good Day (BASS AUDIO)

It will be a good 2012! Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Miguel

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Merry Christmas from Miguel

These are my wishes of Merry Christmas for all of you visiting my music.
May the Music be with you always!
Miguel

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To Be Alive

A beautiful song by Billy Sherwood. Also a good example of how to make use of the 8-string bass, letting the notes shine, keeping it simple and focus on the timbre of the instrument. The top two strings are tuned in perfect fifths (just like “Changes” or “Hearts”)

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Le Mystére des Voix Bulgares – Пиленце пее (Pilence Pee) [arr. Miguel Falcão’s “BEBE”]

Pilence Pee (Пиленце пее) is my latest musical adventure. This song features a traditional Bulgarian choir arrangement, adapted by me to an ensemble of bass instruments.

Sometimes an idea is just an idea… the idea of making this arrangement has been haunting me for the last 8 months and for 8 whole months I worked on it. This is the second effort of my BEBE, following the test experience of “Svatba”. My dear channel viewers sent me an incredible loving feedback by then, including some very own native Bulgarian friends. I thank you all for your encouragement and I really hope that this time it will please you too.

Having in mind, once again, that the Bulgarian female choir voices *are* irreplaceable, I tried again to absorb the inspiration of those wondrous sounds and, somehow, to speak my soul through my playing.

The original BEBE concept had to be extended. To achieve the expression of the sustained pairs of voices, I used effects on some basses, namely, the Malekko b:assmaster (second appearence after “Amazing Grace“) and a Sansamp TRI O.D.. My BEBE (Bulgarian Electric Bass Ensemble) had a very special non “electric” guest – one of my doublebasses had an important contribution for the final texture of the sound. BEBE’s veteran members Rickenbacker 4001CS and Fender VI also welcomed the Zon Sonus 8-string and the Warwick Thumb Bass.

The notes were taken all by ear and, later, checked with the help of a friend of mine. Then many changes were (as in Svatba) made, as to adapt the song to my own taste and style of playing, hopefully without spoiling it too much. On the outro I did take some more freedom, harmonically, and in general drifted away from the original Krassimir Kiurktchiiski’s arrangement.

Pilence Pee (sounds like “Pilentse Peh”) is a Bulgarian folk song and it means something like “Little bird sings”. I just know a little Bulgarian and I searched for the meaning of this song, with the generous contribution of some friends. For 20 years, since I heard this song released on the album by 4AD, I sang it without understanding a word, just sounds. But, having understood the lyrics this year, I honestly had the sensation that I already had got the message. The message is beautifully composed and yet extremely tragic. And if there is a sign of hope for the years to come, the beauty of the Bulgarian Music that blossomed from its people, in spite of five centuries of slavery couldn’t be a better example. Love now – because it may be too late and you will regret it. Hear what the little bird speaks.

Voice order
high (main):Rickenbacker 4001CS + b:assmaster
high (pedal):Warwick ThumBass + TRI-O.D.
mid (main & pedal):Fender VI and doublebass
low (main):Rickenbacker 4001CS + b:assmaster
low (pedal): Zon Sonus 8

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New Pictures

“Alternate tune”… I dared to include on my channel this little tune for 8-string bass. This song is still, though vaguely, Yes-related as it was my contribution for the alt.music.yes CD called “Cyberian Khatru”, released in 2000. The bass tuning was inspired by Chris Squire’s Ranney 8-string, with a slight change on the top string: E(e8),A(a8),D(a8),G(e8). I tried to explore the pureness of the instrument’s beautiful sound using open strings and some harmonics and keeping it simple, letting the bass sound freely… the sound is direct with a touch of reverb only. Hope you relax, meditate, but don’t fall asleep ;) Thanks for listening, friends!