Using Overdrive/Distortion with Organ and Keyboard Sounds

Bob Leggitt | Monday, 23 November 2015 |

If you’re a guitarist, chances are you’ve been bombarded with advice on how to work with overdrive. But if you want an overdriven organ sound, you probably haven’t been quite so overwhelmed with info. I thought I’d redress that imbalance with this post, which assumes you’re looking for a convenient and effective way to overdrive an organ sound, and you perhaps need some detail on the theory of it all.

Death By Digital: How Technology Killed Music

Bob Leggitt | Saturday, 21 November 2015 |

Just as video killed the radio star, digital killed... Well, what did it kill, exactly?... Some elements of pre-digital music technology are clearly still alive and well, and I'm sure certain occupants of Silicon Valley would be quick to dispute that the music business is dead. But if you're a musician, you might see quite a different picture. A picture in which progressively, and due to a wide array of factors, digital technology has killed and zombified the music business.

I'm going to look at the progression of digital's negative impact, including some of the more obscure factors, which date back to the dawn of the digital age. But I'm starting in the present day, with the obvious...

The electric guitar has been one stronghold of pre-digital technology which refuses to die.


It doesn’t take an expert to recognise that the Internet has not only massively increased the scale of music piracy, but also partially legitimised it. Huge online corporations have made a fortune appropriating and distributing music either for free or on the cheap. True, the big guns in the music biz have gone after their share of the profits, but they've had to badger for it, and smaller entities usually get a lot less compensation, or miss out altogether. Ultimately, the online world is going to take without asking. Those best equipped to fight back and assert their rights will do so, but an awful lot of artists get screwed over. Some don't even know how much of their content is being distributed without consent.

Music Promotion on Twitter: From Soundcloud Spam to Success

Bob Leggitt | Thursday, 19 November 2015 |

Over on Twirpz, I’ve done quite a few articles about Twitter and its out-of-control ‘marketing’, and Twirpz is where I normally keep my Twitter-related analyses confined these days. But this specifically relates to musicians and people involved with some form of musical creativity, so I’m posting it here on Planet Botch.

I must admit that, much as I love the way Twitter circumvents the problem of having to give out an email address for casual communication, and much as I like to watch a good Twitter row, or an irrepressible Internet Lothario wondering why webcam chat girls keep blocking him, there’s a lot about Twitter I think is awful. Spam, for example. Robotic spam, that Twitter doesn’t seem interested in doing anything about.

Good Times! Blocking is Back on Tumblr!

Bob Leggitt | Friday, 5 June 2015 |

If you recall Tumblr prior to spring 2012, you’ll know that once upon a time the site had a Block function. You didn’t want anything to do with a user? Fine. You simply hit Block, and bang – they were out of your life, end of. Well, almost end of. They could create another account, of course, but since it was much quicker to hit a Block button than to create a new account, any persistence would inevitably be finite.

Image: The new location of your list of blocked users - at the bottom of your blog's Settings page. I've edited out the middle of the page to save space, so yours will be longer. To edit the list you just click the pen symbol to the right.

In spring 2012, however, Tumblr changed the old Block feature to a softer, updated option called Ignore. The idea behind this was to prevent users from easily recognising they’d been blocked, and perhaps cut down on some of the revenge tactics they could feasibly consider (like creating aggressive new accounts to circumvent the block and hurling abuse). Afterall, if a troll doesn’t know they’re blocked, they’re not going to try and take action in response.

Shadow MIDI Guitar Synthesis in the 1980s

Bob Leggitt | Friday, 24 April 2015 |

Boasting 21st century technology as early as the 1980s, the German company Shadow powerfully marketed a range of guitar-related products through the era of spandex and headbands. With a range running from a well-established assortment of innovative guitar pickups, right up to complete guitars like the SHP-01 (electric solid with acoustic sound), and the SH1 (Superstrat with both passive and active capabilities), Shadow made big noises in the ’eighties. But it was the brand’s very high-profile venture into guitar synthesis that perhaps proved most interesting.