Yesterday’s Activities

I currently enjoy being a member of a fantastic guitar forum based in the UK: . The forum membership consists of guitar enthusiasts, guitar players and guitar builders (luthiers).

One of the luthier members of the forum is David White (find his website here). Each year (I think I’m correct in saying) David builds a ‘Road Trip’ guitar and David allows (vetted and fortunate) forum members to borrow the guitar for two weeks before handing the guitar over to the next lucky participant.

Yesterday it was my turn to pick up the guitar from Keith (forum administrator) in Somerset. I’ve included pictures of the handover (courtesy and permission of Keith) and some of my own photographs of the beautiful instrument.

The instrument is a Terz guitar which means that it is tuned a tone and a half (step and a half for US players) higher than a standard tuned guitar. It also has a shorter scale length. The guitar has a bell-like quality – it fair chimes and is loud for its diminutive proportions with a very sweet tonality. It also has to be said that it sustains for forever and requires very little effort to get the top to resonate. You can find out more about this guitar style in David’s line here.

Keith and Dale

anthea at keiths




I have to add that I’m glad I travelled yesterday as today would have meant navigating this:


Many, many thanks to David White, Keith Chesterton and the Acoustic Soundboard forum.

Below are some very hasty demos of the guitar recorded using a rather antiquated set up:


Fair Annie


Stuck in a Loop

It seems that I’m currently stuck in a behaviour cycle that lasts for approximately 8 months or so. It consists of (jump in at any point on the list):

  • working on old Earth Balm material for release on Bandcamp,
  • working on electric guitar playing (usually metal / prog rock styles)
  • working on graphics resources
  • learning Javascript and building web pages / web apps
  • working on my solo acoustic guitar
  • back to the top

This has been the case for approximately two and a half years now. I think it’s high time I jumped out of the loop and perhaps perhaps concentrate on the acoustic guitar playing (and singing) because it’s the thing I feel most comfortable with and have spent the most time doing over the last ten years – so logically, what I should be best at. Else, continue in the same tired old pattern.

With two sons off to Uni next year, supply teaching is no longer a viable option for work and I’m considering retraining or studying for more contemporary and appropriate qualifications. To this end, I had a Careers meeting earlier this week that had me genuinely excited about moving forward.

Just wondered if anybody else has had similar cyclical hamster wheel experiences, if and how they solved them and what the end results were.

Perhaps it’s just a well-past-mid-life crisis.

Photograph of myself and Nigel Hodge at the Castle jam night. Copyright info to follow.
Photograph of myself, Kelvin L Smith and Nigel Hodge at the Castle jam night.


Snow, snow, thick, thick, snow

“Snow, snow, thick, thick, snow” sums up the current situation in South Wales perfectly.

A view from our kitchen window at 8.00 a.m. March 2nd.

I woke up this morning to no central heating and must wait until Monday or Tuesday for British Gas to attend for boiler repair. We are actually quite lucky because it looks like a pump or valve problem which means that we still have hot water (via an immersion heater) and electricity (for our 2 convector heaters) . Others are not so lucky.

Still, the snow falls outside. It’s pretty but it’s dangerous. Our neighbour is trying to dig out a path on the road with his mechanical digger. The UK is never well equipped for these weather conditions despite the advanced warning. It seems that plundering supermarket shelves of supplies is what passes for ‘being prepared’ – reactive rather than proactive perhaps.

Currently, I’m enjoying relearning all about Javascript, CSS and HTML in preparation for projects that involve the Earth Balm music material. I do seem to be stuck in a cycle though.

Wherever you are, keep safe.

Looks like Red Cow Music in York, one of my favourite music shops, is about to close.



Happy new year to everybody.

Just a post to say that I’ll probably be mothballing my WordPress and Twitter accounts for a short while. I’ve finally got to the point where I’ve started remixing and re-recording Earth Balm music and I’ve begun with the track Enchantment. Usually, I work on several tracks at the same time but currently I’m limiting myself to one piece of music as I get to grips with mastering Logic Pro X. Hopefully, I’ll be kept busy and out of mischief and have a good reason not to be wasting money as Logic Pro X seems to have everything I ever really needed already contained in its DAW walls. I’m loving the flexibility and sheer range of choice with the Drum Track.

I shall of course be checking my favourite blog posters’ post from time to time but would like to apologise in advance if I don’t appear to be responding regularly.

Please, wish me luck.

Early screen shot of the work below…

enchantment mixing
Logic Pro X “Enchantment” project picture.

Cubase and Logic help

Since retiring from full time work in February, my pension and part time wages haven’t been enough to cover my monthly bills and I’ve had to sell off some of my guitars and amps to cover the shortfall. However, I’ve been planning to work on my music files for a few years and kept some of the proceeds from the sales for upgrading my DAW to Cubase Pro 9.5 as its feature list is long and most marvellous indeed.

I diligently watched Steinberg’s ‘Festive Countdown’ sales offers (over the Christmas period) with my virtual cash at the ready . Everything except Cubase Pro appeared during the 12 day stint so I’ve decided to stay with Apple’s “Logic” DAW.

I’ve been with Cubase since I started recording with computers in December 2000 (at that time using it in tandem with Sonic Foundry’s “Acid Music” which had incredibly advanced pitch and time control but no midi or virtual instrument facilities) so was pretty au fait with how to make the most of it.

Now, I’m hoping that somebody out in the ether can recommend a truly comprehensive book that can help me utilise all of the features of Logic Pro X. I have the manual printed out and can refer to it but would like additional reference reading.

I’ve completed the task of turning all of the original Acid ‘stems’ into Logic files, including the Cubase / Cubasis VST generated audio but need to know how to make the most of facilities like side-chaining (particularly for gating audio), effects sends and returns and how to set up the mixer (I could go on and on). Next, I’ll be replacing audio with more modern sounding plug-ins and recording scratch tracks of guitar, bass and vocals. I need to do this because its my intention to alter keys and tempos and insert time signature changes (I’ve been bitten a little by the modern prog rock bug). It’s also my intention to incorporate more of my altered tuning acoustic guitar parts to the compositions. I have some 80+ pieces of older Earth Balm music, some even older Pre-Earth Balm songs and some 30+ acoustic guitar arrangements to keep me busy.

I guess I won’t be seeing daylight for several months.

Hope you all have a peaceful and prosperous 2018.


Edit December 27th @ 12.55: Thanks to Andy Long for suggesting this book.

Edit December 27th @ 19.33: Of course this means that all of the Cubase Files I recently converted from Acid Pro files now need to be converted to Logic Pro X files.

EB… what it’s all about

I know I’ve linked to this video before but while I work on the older Earth Balm remixes, I thought I’d just provide a link to a video that ‘illustrates’ one of the tracks. It’s a ‘fan’ video and not an ‘official’ one (indeed there are no legitimate Earth Balm files available on the ‘net). I’ll create a simple official video compilation over the next few days using the original mixes.

Yer tiz: