What Can I Do For You? What Can You Do For Me? How Can You Help Yourself?

Follow-Up to “Welcome to Plan M”

Recently I published the “Welcome to Plan M Blog.” Prior to that I had a rough idea of where I wanted to take this series, but the picture wasn’t clear until I put pen to paper and wrote it down.  As I got to the end of that post, it was apparent that this shouldn’t be just another guitar blog.  Although I am a guitar player, this blog needs to be about more than just guitar.  The digital realm is already saturated with those.

I want this blog to be about MUSIC, and helping adults enrich their lives through music.  This means that I’m going to need to create content that reaches out to fans of classical music, hip-hop, metal, country, world music, pop, etc. 

I want to write for people who bought an instrument during the lockdown who hoped to learn to play from YouTube videos. I want it to resonate with those who did so successfully, as well as those who gave up and stuffed it in the back of the closet. I want to connect with people who played in bands when they were young but got nudged away from music when the pressures of adult life got them down.  I want to coax them back toward the tunes that they love.  Perhaps most importantly, I want to reach out to people who never had the opportunity to learn an instrument, but still have an insatiable lust for music.

I’m in my forties now, and I relate to all the people I just described above.  In fact, at one point or another, I was each of those people.  That’s not who I am today though.  Today, I’m a guy with a day job who likes to play rock music on Thursday nights in the basement with buddies.  I plan live-band karaoke parties to get my friends involved. I’ve been able to build music back into my life in lots of other creative ways and I’m going share them all with you.

I only mention it here, because if I’m not careful, I may end up focusing my suggestions on guitar players because that’s where my current interest is. That would be fine, but I want to be more inclusive than that. I play a few instruments, but some I haven’t played in a while – out of sight, out of mind. 

I’m making this request for you to hold me accountable.  If this blog becomes too guitar focused, you should send me a message and remind me to come back to other musicians.  Trust me, I’ve got ideas for everyone, I just don’t have time to write all the posts. 

Are you someone who relates to what I’ve written above?  If so, please leave a comment and tell me your story.  If I have suggestions for you, I’ll write those articles first.  Consider it a perk of being one of the first to read and subscribe to my blog.  Thanks for reading rock stars, divas, moguls, & maestros!

Welcome to Plan M

Maybe you had big dreams of being a rock star, country diva, or rapper when you were a kid.  So many of us shared that dream.  For most people, this dream was fleeting.  It appeared suddenly as you rocked out into your hairbrush microphone in front of an audience of one in the mirror, then it faded away as mysteriously as it appeared. 

For some of us of though, this dream persistent.  We rushed home from school so we could get to band practice sooner or woke up in the middle of the night with a lyric we were too afraid we forget- only to find that we couldn’t get back to sleep and had to stay up all night to finish the song.  For us, music was career Plan A.

Perhaps you took music lessons or maybe you were self-taught.  Either way, try to remember what it felt like the first time you were able to honk out a vaguely discernable melody on your instrument.  Try to remember first time you created musical harmony with another person’s voice.  Remember the tingles that shot down your spin the first time you played E power cord through an overdriven amp or spit out an improvised rhyme that was so inspired and fresh that you surprised yourself with how creative you could be.  Think hard.  Can you remember it?  Can you feel it?   If you’ve read this far, I’m willing to bet that you can– and that chill is still on your spine, that’s the magic coming back.  Revel in it.

Now, unless you’re a professional working musician, you probably moved on from your musical dreams at some point.  Maybe you retired your guitar to its case under the bed when you left for college.  Maybe you did musical theatre in a community group for a bit but gave it up after having kids.  Maybe you grew tired of trying to sing over the roar of the coffee grinders at open mic nights.  Regardless of your path, at some point you probably abandoned your musical ambitions and moved on to your Plan B.  We all promised we wouldn’t do it, but eventually the pressures of the real world beat us down. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the real-world and you’re an adult.  You did what you had to do, and that’s ok.  You took a job in a bank, or a factory, or hospital.  Hopefully whatever you do pays the bills and brings you fulfillment.  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

Photo by Suvan Chowdhury on Pexels.com

After transitioning to Plan B, your life went on.  You moved to a new state, you found a different career, had kids, got divorced… who knows, but you eventually landed on Plan C, then you adapted your life to overcome some new challenges and found yourself on Plan D.  The cycle continued.

You struggled, you persevered, and now here you are today surfing the web to find ways to enrich your life.  Perhaps the hair on the back of your neck is still on end from a few paragraphs ago.  I’m hoping I triggered a memory so vivid and rich that you’re beginning to realize how much happiness music used to bring to your life, and maybe you’re feeling inspired to recapture that feeling.  If so, this blog is for you – to help you find your Plan M- creating a more meaningful life through the magic of music.

Right about now you’re probably intrigued by the idea of being more musical, but the pressures of the real world are already starting to make you doubt yourself.  You’re thinking you don’t have the time, or the money, or the talent. Stop that! Stop it now! 

I’ll be honest up front; I’m not going make you into the next Kendrick Lamar here.  That would take a lot of time and effort, and quite frankly, you and I don’t have that kind of time or talent.  We’re looking to find joy here, not to become rich and famous.   You don’t need talent, money, or even lots of time to find joy.  Talent is obviously optional for happiness (just look at all the terrible singers who love doing karaoke).  Many of the ideas you find here won’t cost you a penny.  Some of the ideas described here require minimal amounts of your time.   Some of them you can do with your kids, while other ideas will be better experienced alone, and some will be better in big celebrations with all your loved ones. I’m going to do my best to cover as many genres as I can too.  There is a little something for everyone. Leave your insecurities and the door and enjoy.

 Let’s begin.

{On May 7, 2022 I posted a response to this entry. If you’d like to read more, please be sure to read “What Can I Do For You? What Can You Do For Me? How Can You Help Yourself?” Enjoy!}

The Legend is Born As the World Falls Apart – Hootenanny 2020

April 20, 2022

One winter after I graduated college, the drummer from my college band invited me to a New Year’s Eve jam session in Ithaca, NY. His buddy was throwing a party in this farmhouse out in the woods and my buddy was kind enough to invite me as his guest.

We drove down the winding snow-covered roads of upstate New York. Eventually, we pulled up to this beautiful old farmhouse. We dragged our gear up to the attic where we found a drum set and a ton of amps were already there. People trickled in as the sun when down and the jam session got started. We played all night, even when the ball dropped in NYC.

I’ve never been much good at improvisation, but I took a few solos. I embarrassed myself a bit… not because I was all that terrible, but because the caliber of musicians was really good. There were great minds and talents in the room that night and it was a blast. I don’t want to name-drop, but there were some people in that room who would one day become significant folks in the music business. Of course, none of us knew it then, but looking back at the talent that was in that room I shouldn’t have been surprised.

In the morning, we drove back through the snow to Buffalo and life went on, but I never really forgot it. It was very different than my experience playing in bands had been where we wrote and rehearsed every note (with just a few occasional sections for improv). I was enamored by the feeling of awe that washes over when everyone comes together to create those magical musical moments, out of nothing.

Flashforward 20 years- I’m playing in a band called Featuring No One. FNO is a band that rarely plays a gig. Instead, we’re focused on building a community of friends and musicians. Occasionally we write and record a song. Each time we do, we always invite a friend to be featured on the track, kind of like the hip-hop folks do. Except, for us, it’s not a cheap promotional stunt. We’re not famous, and I don’t expect we will ever be, but we’re going to have a ton of fun and share the joy with those we love.

The early days of FNO were in my DC apartment. We’d sit with acoustic instruments and write songs, then if we had something we wanted to record we’d move to another location where we could do basic tracking. Once we had the rhythm tracks recorded we’d recruit a friend to sing or play a solo.

I’m not sure how we never got a noise complaint. I think my neighbors must have been saints. (Thanks Quebec Housers!) We recorded a few tracks and dumped them onto SoundCloud. It was a blast. I still have vivid memories of Jehn tracking vocals in the bathtub of my studio apartment. Those were the days, and she rocked it.

Flash forward a few more years later, I bought a house with my wife. Suddenly FNO had the space to play, and enough distance from my neighbors so we could get loud. Our focus shifted more to building chemistry within the core group. We stopped writing songs for a while and focused on rehearsing cover tunes. Sometimes we’d experiment with different instruments. We had the freedom to learn and grow and develop our skills and chemistry.

Eventually, we started working on a setlist, but we still had no intention of playing shows. We just wanted to be able to competently play songs we loved. Eventually, we had 10 songs, then 15, maybe more.

This was great fun and very fulfilling, but eventually, we started to get detached from the community that we had when we invited Jehn, Alex, Ashley, and Drew into the sessions. There were five people core in the band and those same 5 people came to rehearsal (well 4 of us, one member moved out of town, so his role changed a little… more about that later). Our other friends weren’t involved anymore. I’m not sure if that bothered the rest of the band, but it bothered me. So, I started strategizing.

I recalled that night in Ithaca, NY. I wanted to share that live experience with my friends and family so I pitched an idea to FNO. I suggested a Hootenanny, where all our friends could join in and be a part of the band for the night- whether they had talent or not. They were in.

We sent an evite to 30-40 of our friends. We instructed them to bring whatever instruments they had. If they didn’t have any they could sing. If they couldn’t sing, they could still come and listen and party. We published our setlist and encouraged people to learn the tunes and plan to join in.

I set up the PA with a few extra mics and put all my extra guitar amps out. The basement was set up for a full five-piece rock band (plus special guests) and the living room upstairs was set up for an after-hours acoustic jam session.

The night of Hootenanny started a little bit like a house party gig. FNO jammed and our friends and family politely listened. After a little encouragement and lots of liquid courage, a few of our more daring friends started to join in.

The flood gates burst open when our buddy Josh showed up with his bass. He pluigged in and joined in as though he’d been rehearsing with the band for years. Josh is a gigging musician with a vast repertoire. He made it look easy, and when others saw him join in, they felt empowered to do the same. Suddenly everyone was grabbing a tambourine or a microphone, and then the party really came to life.

Occasionally someone would offer to lead a song, we’d do our best to follow. Sometimes it was ok, sometimes it was terrible. It didn’t matter, it was loud and fun.

That was early March 2020. I don’t need to tell you what happened about a week later. That’s all chronicled elsewhere. Our little Hootenanny was the last bit of socialization that some of us had for quite some time.

Now I don’t know if people look back at it nostalgically because of everything that happened after. Maybe they really had as much fun as I did. Regardless, throughout the lockdowns, people would chat me up over Zoom calls to talk about how much fun they had that night and to beg for me to host another one soon.

Well after about a year of lockdowns we started planning for the next Hootenanny. FNO wrote a setlist and started learning the tunes. We even added some fresh blood to the band. Now I’m happy to say that the second Hootenanny is about to happen next weekend.

It’s a really easy theme party to throw if you’re already set up for a band, even easier if your friends all play acoustic instruments. If you’re looking for a way to make music play a bigger role in your happiness, this could be a GREAT way to do it.

I’ll try to post the evite, setlist, and other information in the information below so you can use it as a template for your own Hootenanny. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Making Music in Adulthood

April 19, 2022

I played in a number of bands through my teenage years and through college. Some were more successful than others, but none of them had me on the fast track to super-stardom. Bummer.

The band I played in during college was kind of successful. I used to look forward to weekly rehearsals and gigs, and I really missed the community that arose around us after graduation. Sure, we were playing gigs mostly in our small college town, but we sold out the clubs each time we played. We had a consistent fan base who wanted to hear our music and be part of our “scene.”

I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this was some grand endeavor. The biggest club probably held 400-500 people. Many of them were much smaller. The size of the crowd didn’t really matter though, those were OUR fans. All 500 of them, and we were part of their community and that was special.

Predictably, that band broke up after graduation and I moved to the city to start the transition to adulthood. I had a job and a few friends and family in town, but otherwise my life was a blank slate. I wanted to make music, but I didn’t know any musicians in the area. Sure, I could have started over, but that was daunting and to be honest, I wasn’t sure that I had the kind of energy it would take to create a new band from scratch. After all, now I had real-world responsibilities and I couldn’t stay out all night at the clubs like I used to do.

One day I ran into a buddy from college. He was the founder of our college acapella band. He and I toyed with the idea of starting a band for a while. We experimented with different lineups (including using a drum machine when no suitable human was available). We played some gigs and drank some beer. It was fun, but it was pretty clear it wasn’t going anywhere. Eventually, we stalled out.

One day our little band decided to do a little recording session with some of our friends, friends who had some musical talent but weren’t really interested in being in a band. It was more of a goof than anything.

We wrote a comedic parody of U2’s “One” with lyrics about Elliot Spitzer’s sexual proclivities. We were pretty proud of the outcome, so we sent it to our local radio station hoping they’d play it on the morning show. We got an email back from the DJs saying how great they thought it was, but it was too spicy for radio. So, we made a video slideshow to go with it and threw it up on YouTube. It got to about 70,000 hits and then it got taken down due to copyright violations. We didn’t understand that we couldn’t use photos from the media. Oops! Lessons learned.

Anyway, things fizzled out for that band shortly after that. We called it quits- for a while. Then one day my buddy’s wife suggested that we give it another go. She said that her husband was happier when he was making music and she really wanted to encourage him to have that kind of influence in his life.

I’m not sure that I had the self-awareness at that moment to know that I felt the same way, but I do now. In fact, that moment has hung with me for 15 years. I thought it was amazing that she supported us making loud noises in her basement, while she watched their two young girls upstairs. She was trying to let her pursue the things that made him happy in life. She did it with a smile (even though I know she didn’t appreciate it when we vibrated the wine glasses off the wine rack).

Sure, that says a lot about her. Clearly, she’s an amazing wife. (My wife is similarly supportive and exceedingly awesome like that as well. It’s part of why I married her!) Perhaps more importantly though is the realization that even though we weren’t kids anymore, even though we had given up on Plan A- Be a Rockstar, rule the world and we had moved on to Plan B- get a job pay bills. We didn’t have to give up on the music. We just had to find a way to be more creative about how we did it. That’s what this series of articles is going to be about… how to keep the moment up with music after your life changes.

Maybe you had a Plan A that led you into a successful career. Great for you! Maybe your life took you down some winding roads and you found your success on the second or third attempt. Maybe you’re still trying to find your path. Either way, if you’re looking to make music a bigger part of your life, and make your life happier, then this series is for you. This is how to move on to Plan M.

Thoughts on Sponsored Content

April 1, 2022

I know the internet is full of people who are sensitive about advertisements and the role that influencers have on sales. I’ve got mixed feelings on the topic myself, and now that I’m creating something and putting it into the world, I’ll have to figure out how to proceed. So let’s start that conversation here.

I should make it clear; I don’t have any sponsors. Honestly, I don’t think I have any readers yet. This blog has only been active for a few weeks. I haven’t even told anyone I’m doing it and I don’t think anyone has seen it. As of the time I’m writing this, there have been three hits and they were most likely all me. I don’t expect sponsors will be knocking down my door anytime soon, although I admit, I wouldn’t be opposed to sponsorship if it were offered.

That being said, it’s not too early to consider how to handle talking about products, because even though I’m not paid to say so, my opinions about certain products may be considered an endorsement.

I’ve been putting links to some of the products I’ve used in the blog. I don’t have to do that, but I think it could be interesting or helpful to anyone working on a similar project.

For instance, when I link to a product, such as the HX Stomp that I have mentioned many times, I have to make a choice. I could decide to link to the Line 6 webpage which would give you some great information about the product. Alternatively, I could link to the Sweetwater website which would help you buy it quickly. Of course, I could just as easily link you to the Guitar Center website that would get you the same product from a different company. Is it right for me to endorse one major box store over another? I don’t know. I like them both and I shop at them both. I could just as easily link to one of the many YouTube channels that reviewed the HX stomp and that would give you yet another perspective. That could help an up-and-coming influencer get started.

Honestly, I don’t know what the right strategy is. I don’t know if it makes a big difference, any option I choose may show an actual bias that I have. It just as easily may suggest a bias I don’t have but APPEAR to have. I don’t have any qualms about telling you about great products when I find them, why should I? I want you to love making music and great gear helps! If I find crappy gear, I’m not likely to use it, so I probably won’t be writing much about the negative experiences (unless it really pisses me off, then I reserve the right to rant). So please, understand that this is a bias that I have- I’m going to write about the good stuff, and as of now I’m doing it because I want to, no one is paying me for my opinion.

You probably believe me now because I’m nobody. You’ve never heard of me, and neither has anyone at Sweetwater except for my Customer Service Rep (shoutout to Adam Caesar) and maybe the folks at my local Guitar Centers. The burden is on you, dear buyer, you’ve got to be an educated buyer. I did the research myself before I bought the HX stomp by looking at all of those resources. I like it and find it to be a hugely useful tool in my studio. You might think the same thing, you might not. I don’t know. I’d be curious to hear your opinions on this product or any of the others I mention.

I’m also interested if a certain type of link is more useful to you, my readers (if you exist). Leave a comment or email me. Let me know. Right now I have no corporate masters, so mold me as you want me to be and I’ll see how I can best support your needs.

Bridging the “Chasm” – Overcoming the “Leave of Presence” & “the Big Dum”

March 14, 2022

I was very hesitant to abandon “Amnesty for Asking” before I finished my demo, but I just wasn’t making progress and I’m determined to keep this project moving in the right direction. Hopefully, this blog will help me keep track of the song, and when I’m ready to give it a good performance I can record that guitar part. I’ve got hundreds of half-complete demos around and very few that are complete. I need to become a closer.

In the meantime, I decided to move on and listen to some of my early demos and pick a new target. I chose to work on a song that was tentatively titled “Chasm – Leave of Presence.” It’s a rock song about how sometimes people are absent from your life, even when they’re still in it. My rough demo had a Logic Pro AI Drummer that played the same beat through all sections of the song. I have an A section, B section, C section, and some intro/outro material. I also noodled through some lead guitar parts that weren’t terrible. Most of the pieces of a song are there, minus the vocals. These ideas were just a series of loops that I had cut/pasted. It sounded very robotic.

Like “Amnesty for Asking,” I rearranged to order of the sections to what I think might be more reasonable (Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse Chorus Bridge, Chorus Outro). I’m not sure that this is the right format since I haven’t the many lyrics yet, but I don’t see any reason to do anything revolutionary with the format for this song other than my boredom with that overdone form.

Unlike “Amnesty,” this song is easy to play. So I laid down a rudimentary bass track and re-recorded most of the guitar (except for the lead guitar- the rough demo is good enough for now for that). It was effortless this time, especially because I used my HX Stomp as an interface. I pulled used some basic presets to get rough tones using USB input 1 and I recorded the DI signal using USB input 5 (this is a useful trick). This way I can go back and create unique tones later and not have to worry about the performance. I find this to be the best workflow for me because I like to separate the engineering tasks from the musician tasks as much as I can. This way, I can concentrate on my performance when I’m doing the musician work, and I can concentrate on recording when I’m in engineer mode.

I still have the basic drum tracks in there for now, but I can come back to those later. Logic Pro seems to have a lot of ways to tweak the drums and I’m looking forward to digging into those a bit more.

Also, while I was reviewing my other demos I found a quick burst of inspiration for a newer tune, tentatively called “The Big Dum.” This demo is just a chord progression with a rudimentary drumbeat. Unlike most of the songs I have right now, I have a rough cut of lyrics written so I laid down a very rough vocal track. I’m no singer, and I still need to come up with a strategy about how to handle vocals. I’ll probably need to get a series of guest singers, or maybe I’ll experiment with the Vocaloid plugin (I heard about this on Ben Levin’s Youtube channel – check it out.)

Rig Rundown – March 2022

March 13, 2022

So there are a few basic pieces of equipment I should describe from the start. This won’t be a comprehensive list, but it will include the gear I will use in just about every session including my computer, DAW, interfaces, and speakers. I’ll additional posts when I get into specific tunes if people are interested. (By the way, I am not sponsored by anyone so my opinions are my own.)

I suspect if you’re reading this, you’re probably just getting started with your studio. This gear is used in my basement project studio and it’s not used commercially. It’s all decent quality, and much of it is affordable but it may be more than most new recording engineers want to spend. Just be aware, you can put together a much simpler rig than the one I’m describing for a lot less money. For instance, you don’t need two interfaces and you don’t need an outboard mic pre like the DBX 286s I describe below.


I’m using an off-the-shelf Mac Mini running Monterery purchased in 2020. It’s got the Apple M1 chip with stock 8GB memory and 256 storage. I’m using a pair of old mismatched monitors, a gaming keyboard (because it lights up), and a standard mouse. I had been using Garage Band, but I started a trial of Logic Pro and I love it. I think it’s the most intuitive DAW I’ve worked with. It was easy for me to make the switch as a former ProTools user. I love the Drummer feature, especially for early demos. The biggest downside is that it only works on Apple computers.

I also have a Microsoft Surface Laptop running Cubase. I don’t do much recording with it because I find Cubase really stifles my workflow. The Surface only has one USB jack, so it’s not really convenient for recording, but it’s nice to keep around if I want to move to a comfy chair and write lyrics or if I want to listen to demos outside of my little home project studio.


I’ve got some old KRK Rockit 8s. They’re about 10 years old and still get the job done.


Right now I’m using two. The first is a Focusrite 18i8. I use it when I need to mic up anything like my amps, acoustics, or vocals. Sometimes I use a DBX 286s through a line input. This gives me the option of compressing sounds in the analog world before I route the signal to the A/D converters.

The second interface is my HX Stomp. I just got this and it’s quickly become my default guitar tracking tool. There are a ton of programable sounds for when I want to do custom recording, but often I just call up a preset to do some quick demo work. It’s really nice to get right down to work without having to set up a lot of gear. I can also use it as a DI for re-amping later. This is super convenient for when I want to work early in the morning and don’t want to wake up the neighborhood.

Guitars and Amps

I’ve got a bunch that I own, but right now the two I use the most are my Fender EOB Strat and my Fender Noventa Jazzmaster. I love the Strat for anything single-coil, and with the humbucker in the bridge position, I can quickly switch gears if I need to. I also love the Sustainer. The Jazzmaster is a cool change of pace, and the P90s make for unique tones.

My main amp is a 15 watt Fender Bassbreaker on the clean channel. It works great as a pedal platform and it has plenty of gain if I want to get heavy.

Getting Started – Collecting My Thoughts and Developing a Plan

Originally Posted February 6, 2022

I’m going to keep this one really short and sweet. Yesterday I took stock of the riffs I’ve been working on and I made a quick catalog. My plan is to use the information below to keep me on track. I keep this in a text file in my recording folder.

Yesterday I spent some time doing an evaluation of “Amnesty for Asking.” I’ve got demo stems arranged in a rough format that I think will work and my next step is to go back and replay all the parts so they sound decent, not necessarily prefect. 😉

I’ve also got a bunch more songs to work through, so if I’m not feeling like working on Amnesty I may move down the list to find one that better suits my mood. I can update the file periodically so that I always have a decent status of how far along each song is.

One consideration I have is for efficiency sake, it’s probably best to finish one or two tunes then move on so I don’t get stuck in intermediate steps of songs for ages. We’ll see how that works out.

Here is my current assessment of licks/demos:

Updated Feb 6, 2022


1. Slow Grind 80bpm- Reminiscent of Old Pumpkins – Shoe Gazer

2. Cool Delay Effects (Keely or Boss DD200)

3. Major

4. Fairly well developed (multiple sections written)

5. Likely to be heavily processed, may be good to wait until better with FX

6. Slow tasty bends & Reverse Guitars, FUZZ with Submachine

7. People assume you mean something evil when you ask a question – getting judged/canceled


NEXT STEPS: Pump up the drums and retract guitars


1. 120 BPM CMaj

2. Grinding

3. Fairly well developed (multiple sections)

4. Riffed out

5. Could be straightforward, but will need a shredding solo


1. Midtempo Bob – 106pm in FMaj

2. Room for tasteful leads and bass groove

3. Pop format likely- may need a new bridge

4. Slow bends

5. Needs ambiance

6. Will need vocals to carry it and great lyrics


1. Cliche funk guitar lick with rudimentary drumbeat- needs a lot of work

2. Think of an updated CS lyric

3. May want to go full shoegaze

4. Write fun lyrics about people go get the good old days/Britney Spears was free

5. 112 BPM B Maj

6. Just the root of a song, not much to work with yet


1. Dark Groove A minor 95 bpm

2. Interesting harmony & melodic leads are well developed

3. Latin drums are interesting but will need some work

4. Experiments with the Major sections need to figure out what works best

5. May need a new arrangement with all the major stuff at the end like Layla piano part

6. Arrangement needs work, probably needs at least one more minor modal section


1. A minor 100 BPM

2. Despite being minor it is very uplifting

3. Lead noodling has some good ideas

4. Acoustic groove with ambient guitars are uplifting

5. Rough bass part (needs to be more inspired)

6. Is a nice contrast to other songs

7. Repetition in the bridge is cool


1. Slow half-time grind (136bpm Cmaj?)

2. Lots of rhythmic space is a nice contrast

3. Right now its only two sections- will need lots more development (listen all the way to the end for a CODA section)


1. 6/8 is a nice contrast

2. Feels like a drinking song

3. Can play the Taylor

4. Maybe relatively simple

5. Nice progression (IV iv cadences)

6. Not much to it other than a chord progression

7. 88pm Cmaj? (Doublecheck Logic Settings may be incorrect)


1. Light arpeggiated rif

2. 100 bpm Dmaj

3. Some ok lead ideas

4. Opportunity for space FX

5. Some riffs sound stiff, you’ll need to practice before you can track

6. Standard form may not be the best, think more about the arrangement

7. Could be a nice final track


1. Slow heavy grind with feedback – 110 BPM Minor

2. Good chance to layer guitars- several ideas on demo

3. Sound doesn’t really match the inspiration based on the guy who build the secret condo in the mall

Boredom is the Mother of Invention


Originally Posted February 6, 2022

Judging by the recent boom in guitar sales during Covid, I’m not the only one who spent too much time watching YouTube videos about guitars and guitar gear and spending way too much money buying gear.  I’ve got a good case of GAS and my wife would agree. 

Buying and testing gear has been a great hobby for me and I don’t regret it.  Those little hits of dopamine from those last-second bids on eBay really helped get me through some dark days.  Sorry to anyone I sniped.

Now I should explain, I’m not some pro musician who has a need for lots of gear.  When I was young I hoped that would be me, but that ship sailed and sank to the bottom of the ocean long ago.  I work a stable 9-5 job like many of you.  I still jam with my buddies in the basement a few times a month, but we don’t gig.  Sometimes we write songs, but that’s rare these days. 

My buddies are all talented, but there are no virtuoso players.  Let’s just say, that given our lifestyle (adults with full time jobs, families, and other obligations), I don’t see us breaking through that ceiling and that is perfectly cool with me.  We’re having fun, being creative, drinking beer, and making music and I estimate that is better than about 98% of the population.  Life is good.

It’s a lot of fun and I really look forward to, but I need more. I really love to write.  In high school and college I played in bands that were focused on writing original music.  Some of the members of those bands are successful working musicians now.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with hugely talented players, and although I don’t have the skills to perform on that level, it doesn’t stop me from trying.  Over the years I’ve written some wonderful songs, and I’ve written some real stinkers.  I love the process, so even the stinkers were worth the time spent on them.  After all, learning through failure is still learning.

That being said, I’ve collected a heap of guitar, bass, and recording gear over the course of Covid (and I have plenty from the before times too).  I don’t want to start a museum, so if I’m going to keep this stuff I need to use it.  All of it.

My goal is write and record an album or albums (what IS an album anyway?) using each piece of gear here.  Honestly, I’ll never get through it all… but like I said, I’m not ashamed to fail.

I’ve started writing and demoing riffs, but up until now I haven’t done much more than that.  I tend to get distracted by new fun side projects (like last week I picked up a P-bass and now I’m rewiring it).  Distractions like this are fun, and they might be helpful to the ultimate goal, but more likely than not they’re just pushing me away from time in my home studio.  If nothing else, that P-bass is one more bit of gear I need to work onto this album. 

In fact, this blog is just another one of these distractions.  However, my hope is that I will spend a few minutes writing my plan for the album here, to share with you. Then I can use each post to build a plan with short-term achievable goals to help keep the album moving forward. 

For instance, yesterday I cataloged my riff ideas and gave them all working titles.  I took a few notes about my favorites and sorted my least favorite ideas into another folder on my computer for later use (or disposal).  Then I took stock of the level of development of each song noting factors like BPM, key, number of song sections, relatively completeness of the format, etc.  After that, I went to the first song on the list “Amnesty for Asking” and shuffled clips around to try and come up with a draft arrangement.  I should mention that these recordings are ROUGH. there are plenty of aimlessly noodled licks, a few of which may be the basis for something better, but most is stream of consciousness garbage.  It’s ok, I just want to see if I have enough material that I’m enthusiastic enough about to invest the effort to continue.  If so, then I’ll put in the work.  I developed a cool motif with slow bends that I really like and it sounds pretty cool with a fuzzed out rhythm guitar (maybe I can use my MXR Submachine).  With a bit of work, it could be a ShoeGaze banger.  We’ll see.

Today I will probably experiment with my new HX Stomp as an interface as I rerecord some of the better clips.  Again, this is just another demo so I’m not looking for perfection and I think calling up some HX stomp presets may be the quickest way get to success.  If nothing else, it will help me learn how to use that glorious little box.

Although, right now it is early morning and I’m still in bed.  The day may go another way.  I may have to do chores around the house and in all likelihood will lose my motivation before I get to the studio.  I may prefer write another blog post – this has been fun.  Perhaps I’ll start doing a rough arrangement of another song from the list – who knows.  If I think of it, maybe I’ll tell you next time.