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Emily's Journey Down The E/V Road!
Guess it was time to start this.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (18 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 22, 2023 - 9:31 pm
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@ABitRusty -

THANK YOU! 

Wow, I can look right at you playing in your videos, talk to you for a couple YEARS, know your instruments are only acoustic & somehow completely ignore all of it! 🥴  ...I probably shouldn't be bragging about losing all perspective!  

Appreciate you pulling me out of the rabbit holes - I need to curtail my scattered brain & focus on some priorities pertaining to this thread!   

  • I don't want to lose sight of playing for myself & those physically around me, it's what matters most (to me) - live sound needs to be my 1st priority, not post-production. 
  • I've started to explore what I can change in bowing & left hand use to play Mortimer better as an EV - need to learn more. 
  • Love my current strings under ear, especially plugged in, but maybe I hear too much under ear & may need different strings if I want to let the amp work better (?) - need to research more. 
  • Back again thinking of Octave Strings (fighting my Helicore adversion) - will have to research more for what can be used as my 5th string.  Some opinions I've read say scrap the Octave C idea, use a higher B on the other side.  Think it's really only feasible if I dedicate another EV specifically for them... Kevin's gonna kill me. 🤭  As an alternative, I might just be very happy strung F, C, G, D, A (not Octave).
  • Right now, recording only needs to serve a few purposes for me: a tool to critique & improve my playing and a way to share & also preserve how I sound.  Later, it can be a creative playground & allow me to do more multitracking when I want to play different instruments together.  
  • The Mini Spark IS remarkable for being a little practice amp I need to continue to explore - upgrade later.  The only things I regret right now is not having a Looper pedal and an Octave pedal - unfortunately, they were pretty much my original reasons for wanting to play EV. 😒 There are some workarounds I'll look into. 

...got snow again! 

- Emily  

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ELCBK
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January 23, 2023 - 11:47 pm
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As bad as I want to concentrate only on the EV part of playing, I still need to work on some basic violin techniques, cause I hear EVERY little thing while using my new amp! 

Need to work on my left hand shape & thumb at least part of EVERY practice!  It's certainly a concern with vibrato, plus I don't want the edge of my hand touching/deadening my E string (VERY close to the fingerboard edge with 5-strings). 🙄

I went back over the Violin Lab "Vibrato Beyond The Basics" video I shared in the Left Thumb Thread and also watched a few of her other videos relating to the left hand.  What bothered me - she's really emphatic about immobilizing the violin between the chin/jaw & shoulder, with NO support by the left hand.  Sure, a completely free left hand makes everything easier, but I can't have my instrument clamped in a vise on my shoulder - I have to be able to roll it & move it around with 5-strings... and besides, there's many great violinists that play with NO shoulder rest!  

At least I made some good progress tonight! 

My Violin is a very heavy instrument, but not scroll-end heavy like my Viola - so, still some weight on my thumb, but my thumb isn't slipping.  I started practice with vibrato on all the notes for this simple violin play-along of "Mad World".  It has 'normal' & 'half speed', but I like to just use the 'normal' speed slowed down to .85 - versions for Viola & Cello are also shared in the Fiddling With 80's Music! Thread.  Concentrated on getting some consistency, not so much with vibrato, but kept it simple so I could combine violin tilting, rotating my hand up over the strings & coordinate my thumb - while trying to sound good!  I tried slightly adjusting my shoulder/head for more stability - felt some improvement.

Slowly getting more confident with intonation (confidence does NOT imply perfection 😄), so I don't feel the need to anchor my thumb at the scroll anymore.  Still, going to have to invest a lot of time to get smooth transitions with my left hand - hate it takes every speck of my undivided attention!  Once I start practicing anything fast - progress goes out the window (I have to keep up).  I'm not a patient person. (lol)    

Also, had fun trying out more new AND old favorites tonight... just hope all this work on the EV will also help me some when I go back to playing Viola.  😊 

Btw, my Spark app does read my violin as 'low impedance', and it should be - it's an 'active' pickup. 😳

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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January 24, 2023 - 2:57 am
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Sorry, Emily, I haven't read the thread.

Don't get hung up on impedance.

In theory all devices have high input impedance and low output impedance. This is so that, since the two will form a voltage divider, as much voltage as possible is input into each successive device in a chain of devices. Impedance matching is not necessary. I have met people who used an impedance transformer when plugging a mic into an instrument amplifier. This is wrong thinking - they assume the very low output volume is due to impedance mismatch - but the impedance transformer works in this situation because it is coincidentally also a voltage transformer. Mics have a very low voltage output. Instruments have a much higher voltage output, so an instrument amp doesn't need to be as sensitive as a mic amp, which is why mic amps are mostly called preamps. The impedance transformer boosts the mic's voltage so that it is suitable to be fed into the instrument amp.

Good on you for using your ev. I have never used mine except to test it. I have a bass practice amp. I'd like to buy a Marshall guitar practice amp but can't be sure I'd ever use it.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway -

Thank you!   

My violin has a "Glasser Swordtail active chinrest system with Bartolini electronics".   I think it has a type of piezo pickup, not sure!  So, I can't easily find what this means in relation to my Mini Spark Amp - or how my violin fits in this 'guitar world', because my pickup & preamp system seem different than most who use my 10 watt amp for guitar! 

I have quite a few amp & effects patches to choose from through my app - not really sure if these are (or work similar to) IR's.  ALL are preset, but ALL can be customized.  This is good, because it's taken me over a week to realize NONE are just right for me!

Trying to keep it simple, but there's a bunch of knobs that can be adjusted in each 'patch' - I just need to get a quick understanding what they all do! 😖  Bottom line - it's not easy trying to give myself a crash course for some general understanding... frustrating!  

...got a bunch of little concerns, like - how much do I need to drown out my violin's sound (with the amp) when recording?  I don't really mind hearing both while I'm playing - maybe I'd feel different if I had a solid body EV (?)

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Gordon Shumway
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January 24, 2023 - 5:57 am
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ELCBK said
maybe I'd feel different if I had a solid body EV (?)

I know I do, lol.

But there are plenty of semi-acoustic guitar and mando players. They must have the same problem. Otoh, maybe they just play too loud.

The nature of your pickup doesn't matter. All that matters is that it's loud enough. Amp and preamp inputs are either "mic" or "line" (aka instrument). Try both and see what output you get. Probably too much if you use the mic input. Start with line. If it's OK, its OK. If it's too quiet, choose mic. You can get some nice distortion by overloading a mic input (or any preamp), but I don't know if they have voltage protection. Usually they have very different plugs and sockets, making it a moot point. I'd certainly choose (and expect the correct choice to be) line/instrument; and be warned, my friend has blown more than one impedance transformer. I don't know how.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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January 24, 2023 - 6:35 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

I'm having a little trouble relating, because I only have 'Volume', 'Bass' & 'Treble' on my Violin - all other control adjustments must be be worked within my Spark App 'patches'. 

Each 'amp' I can pull up will have different characteristics, along with a lineup of different components (brands vary by patch) that are preset.  Each component can be adjusted right on the touch screen & can also be disabled/enabled - the individual component controls can greatly vary, depending on brand/model.

BUT, there is always the same order of component lineup as this photo. 

 

https://static.wixstatic.com/media/e28224_cc9b5f9fcede4159b03e4ff61c4e2c05~mv2.png/v1/fit/w_1000%2Ch_1000%2Cal_c/file.pngImage Enlarger

 

Even though I have learned & understand the purpose of each component in the lineup -

I'm still at a loss as how best to adjust the controls on each. 

It's going to take me a while! (lol) 

The Spark App will also use my phone to record my playing with a backing track

- getting close to being ready to try. 

Sorry, this should've been info in my OP! 🥴

- Emily

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Try each preset without adjuating anything but your amps volume..  see which you like.   alot of these presets are designed to mimic famous amp configurations ..like what hendrix used..etc..so it maybe easier to flip through all of them and just adjust the amps real world adjustments.

in that picture the gate being enabled could be part of the volume issue.  those are used to supress unwated noise before it hits anything else.  the compressor is used to lower volume when you play too loud.. its not intuitive but used so in the end you can raise volume without your loud parts overdriving everything.

maybe find a blank preset and add one pedal type at a time.

in the end theres no right or wrong..its getting the sound you want.  who cares how you got there. 😀  

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty - 

https://www.inta-audio.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/guitar-effects-pedals.jpg

First thing I did last week was go through all the patches - only adjusting the volume on my violin & the Mini Spark.  Next, went thru just disabling/enabling some of the pedal components - some configurations (patches) have some already disable, so enabled them to hear the difference.  Also, I spent time bottoming/maxing out some control settings to see if I could hear a difference - really grabbing at straws. 🙄 

 

Had NOT tried anything with the Noise Gate (#1 - will try) - and had not tried disabling everything in a line up, to compare ONLY the amps with one another, then adding one component back in at a time (#2 - will try)

Think I'll have to look up the individual brand of pedal for help tweaking - it would be different if all 'Drives', or 'Comp/Wah', etc... used the same terminology on their controls, but they don't! 

Btw, not only are there different brands that are preset in each configuration - besides just enabling/disabling, I have the option of swapping some out for a different brand of the same type.  Haven't tried that, yet (#3 - will try).

For example:

  • I might be given the preset Drive, "Booster" - has only 1 control, 'Gain'.  Or, I could swap it out for a preset "Black Op", which has 'Distortion', 'Volume' & 'Filter'.  So, THREE controls different than the "Booster" Drive! 🥴
  • I might be given the preset Comp/Wah, "LA Comp" (Positive Grid) - says 'Leveling Amplifier' over an On/Off, also 'Gain', 'Peak Reduction' and a 'Limit Compress'.  So, basically 3 controls.  Or, I could swap for another preset 'Comp/Wah', "Sustainer" (Positive Grid) - but it has a 'Check' button, 'Level', 'Tone', 'Attack' & 'Sustain'.  FOUR different controls!  🤔... are these REALLY 2 similar pedals, or just viable options for my configuration?

I'm just frustrated, because at first I thought, "Oh, I have a basket of apples - if I learn about 'Drive' pedals (in general), I'll know what to adjust on ANY 'Drive' pedal." 

...nope. 

I'd like to try swapping out preset pedal components before I spend any more time learning to adjust settings, but I am still concerned that all these presets are meant to make guitars sound special - NOT VIOLINS (but I don't want to sound like an acoustic violin, either)!  Inevitably, I'll probably have to learn how to tweak these pedals for something 'MINE' (#4)

 

Just dawned on me... when I attended Andy Reiner's workshop on the 5-String Fiddle (April 2022 Fiddle Hell), he showed off his Acoustic/Electric 5-string - but when he wanted to show what fun could be had with a 5-string plugged into an amp with effects, he chose to play a solid body Yamaha!  🤔... didn't think about asking why back then.  Since then, I see he's put up a bunch of videos about effects pedals on his YouTube Channel Skiing Fiddler.  Starting to get under my skin about the Octave pedal & Looper... I better find something of equal interest pretty quick. 

Just watched a handful of videos that helped - things are starting to make more sense, but not sharing videos from Fiddlershop competitors. 

 

THANK YOU - you just helped me a bunch!  

Just The Simple Smile Smiley 

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no prob!  I agree..think a straight up electric violin would help using that setup.

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ELCBK
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Ah HA! 

I'm glad I didn't try either of my wireless transmitters to connect my violin to my Mini Spark, yet.  Found out there's some kind of interference problems with using one with my preamp - I need the kind that uses a short cable so battery pack & transmitter are a little farther away from the chin rest. 

...love if someone knows different.

 

Getting a little clearer understanding of my preamp.  

So this IS a piezo pickup (Schatten?) - made active with the Swordtail system (tailpiece & chinrest) using Bartolini electronics! 

James Connell of Swordtail (Colorado) is the inventor/designer of amplified tone control products for string instruments and worked with Glasser & Bartolini to produce my preamp system.  Thought it was great to find out that James is a professional luthier and playing musician, too! 

Until someone tells me different, I'm sticking to this. (lol)

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Basically I'm leaving this thread alone now because I guess abitrusty knows far more than I do. Your app, Emily, is an amp simulator, I guess. In the past, different makes of amp had different sounds - Marshall had one sound (loud and brash), Fender had another (maybe less loud, but warm and powerful - their 100W bass amp was popular with blues harmonica players for years). Originally they all had valves (tubes) and were all distinctive. Your gear is solid-state and can mimic all the different tube amp sounds. That's why each amp has different settings. You will confuse yourself unlss you just pick an amp and stick with it for a while getting to know it.

Andrew

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@Gordon Shumway -  

Thanks for your help - turns out my app was smart enough to know if I had low impedance or high.  I know this sounds ridiculous, but I had to start somewhere. (lol)

Yes, it simulates - but I still need to learn how to adjust these virtual effects & amps as if they are real!

Hope you'll pop in later... I'm just a little slow right now, but there's more to this practice amp & app than just turning on effects. 😊

https://ih1.redbubble.net/image.930684516.1873/poster,504x498,f8f8f8-pad,600x600,f8f8f8.jpg

 

...wonder if the next generation of Kids is going to be able to tell the difference between what's real & what's virtual?

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It may be good to look at it historically - in the 70s the main, if not the only, guitar pedals, were fuzz, reverb, wah-wah, and then a bit later a thing callled a flanger. Phasing and echo tended to be done in the studio, not with a pedal, until the electronics got more sophisticated, although there was a pedal with a mechanical spring inside it that may have done reverb and delay and echo.

So you should start simply - first try fuzz, then reverb, etc. Full clipping on a fuzz box just gives a square wave, which isn't so interesting to listen to. Most just have a little fuzz, which is a simplistic type of amplitude distortion. I don't suppose Hendrix used one often - mostly he'd just get the distortion you get from overdriving a Marshall amp. He used a wah-wah for sure. You'd have to Google him to find out more.

Stay in the loop - I was lucky - when these were new, they were on a half-price introductory offer on Amazon and my bassist friend recommended one to me.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway said
Basically I'm leaving this thread alone now because I guess abitrusty knows far more than I do. Your app, Emily, is an amp simulator, I guess. In the past, different makes of amp had different sounds - Marshall had one sound (loud and brash), Fender had another (maybe less loud, but warm and powerful - their 100W bass amp was popular with blues harmonica players for years). Originally they all had valves (tubes) and were all distinctive. Your gear is solid-state and can mimic all the different tube amp sounds. That's why each amp has different settings. You will confuse yourself unlss you just pick an amp and stick with it for a while getting to know it.

  

i just popped in because of the bias fx software..i also have a version and was trying to add.  You always have good advice and input so i think it would be helpful if you continued adding to thread as you can.  Im pretty much all acoustic.  and have never setup a guitar rig in real life for performance.  i have a small amp with a multi effects pedal ...but its been collecting dust for a while now.

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@ABitRusty -

What instrument can you plug in if you 'dust off' your amp? 

Do you have Bias Fx 2?  I've been trying to figure out the difference between the Spark app & Bias Fx 2.

 

@Gordon Shumway -

I can't believe you aren't using those pedals RIGHT NOW - they're really COOL! 

You have lot's of features in those multi-effects pedals!  I can't change the order of my configuration like you can. 

There are quite a few 'single vs. multi-effects' pedals & 'analog vs. digital' pedals comparison videos on YouTube - haven't watched.

 

I was going to talk more about Jimi Hendrix, but didn't get a feeling anyone was interested.  I got caught up on the History of JH Effects Pedals because I was interested in the  "Experience Jimi Hendrix For Spark" package, especially the "JH Octave Fuzz", inspired by Roger Mayer's Octavia - but it doesn't do what I hoped.  Roger talks about his history with JH & the Octavia Pedal.  I already have a few JH & Fuzz patches available on my app - all have WAY too much 'fuzz' & distortion for me.  I like Rock & Heavy Metal, but I'm not looking to sound like JH. 

I think the coolest patch I have available is modeled after Brian May of Queen - felt it was very close to giving me feedback - thrilling, but scary loud coming out of such a tiny amp! 😬 

I have many available known to Rock, Metal, but also Blues, Pop, Alternative & a couple Acoustic.  Some are terrible for double stops, or surprisingly heavy on the high end (I understand it's purpose, but no thank you) - like I said earlier, hard to find something I want to use throughout a whole tune.  The Spark Amp & Effects List is only part of what's available.  I will want to use the BT Controller to switch between patches.

I'm going to pick a few more that sound fun to use for some of my tunes while I continue learning about how to adjust them.  I'd like to try to record something this weekend.

The Weird Eyes Smiley

...anything I play right now is a mess because I'm giving my left hand little finger joint the evil eye! 

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Emily a few years ago on a cyber monday type thing i got one of the bias fx2 bundles.  I plug electric guitar into audio interface and load the bias fx2 software as stand alone or within presonus as a plugin.  my monitors (speakers) or heaphones play the sound.  sometimes ill drop one of the presets on a fiddle track and turn it imto an electric guitar type sound.  fun to mess with.

I have an epiphone les paul copy and a fender player strat.  One son left behind his electric bass and the other an off brand strat copy.  Hoping grandkids may start showing interest.  grand daughter is in a guitar thing at school and had her first Christmas concert this year.  Cute.  My oldest son and youngest (bass) actually jammed a bit during Christmas for a couple of hours.   The oldest has a pretty good voice and has learned alot of the american/folk type stuff so worked out.

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said

@Gordon Shumway -

I can't believe you aren't using those pedals RIGHT NOW - they're really COOL! 

You have lot's of features in those multi-effects pedals!  I can't change the order of my configuration like you can. 

Well, the point is I'm trying to learn the violin and I know they will prevent me!

 ...anything I play right now is a mess

nuff said?

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

That's GREAT! 

At first I thought the Spark App & Bias Fx 2 were basically the same (Spark Mini vs. Bias Fx 2)... but NO!  Your Bias Fx 2 (demo & review) is really geared for building a rig from the ground up (slowly picking up jargon 😁)!  I see you can also choose speaker cabs, mics and even split a path to add more - so true IR!  🤔... back to the 3 Sigma Violin IR's - Bias FX 2 Mobile Irloader Walkthrough, new feature?  Be GREAT if you could use it!  Don't see any way for me to use it with the Spark App.

You even have a 'pedal board' view, to make editing MUCH easier!  The Harmonizer is VERY COOL, too!  I'm very interested in comparing the 'looper' Garrett shows in Bias Fx 2 at 14:00 (demo & review), to what's in the Spark App.

So, my Spark App may seem more limited, but did hear it's also run by the Bias Tone Engine - and the Tone Cloud is friggin' endless... spent way too much time exploring more tones there tonight!

Started learning common names for some pedals, how they are used & why to adjust them, these videos got me going:

I know I'm overloading myself with info, but some of it is actually sticking! 🤭 

These videos gave me a lot of info for using the 'Smart Jam' - I need to go over it again! 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/11/11/48/11114850bba36a31d4a75159857a6c4c.jpg

Had fun with a Jimi Hendrix patch I found, along with many, MANY more on the Tone Cloud - of course I had to play Star Spangled Banner!  ...sounded great, tone was not as bad as JH ones I tried earlier - I still can't play anything fancy, though.

Found a VERY weird "Fuzz Wah" patch - it's strange & unique, I have NO idea where I could use it, but I need to find some place!

...getting late & I can't stay up all night, again! 🥱😴

- Emily

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway said:

Well, the point is I'm trying to learn the violin and I know they will prevent me! 

That's what I was telling myself!  

Honestly, I wasn't sure if this would prevent me from improving, but I feel much better about it now.  It's given me some new motivation & I think it's also helping my self-critiquing, because I'm listening to 2 different sound sources of my playing simultaneously. 

I'm keeping on top of the areas I need to improve - and I can see my 4th finger joint is already doing better!

 

...plus I'm getting too old to put things off.

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ELCBK said...plus I'm getting too old to put things off.

That's why I don't want to put off learning the violin.

Andrew

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