The Water Doesn’t Move

If you surf, you know the thrill of catching a wave. Even body surfing affords this exhilarating feeling. You learn to feel the pull of the wave, time your effort, kick, swim, and ride the crest to the shore. Something you may know but don’t think about is that the wave is pushing you, not the water. When waiting for a wave to catch, you remain more or less in the same spot. It’s the undertow and tide that’s moving the water, the water is just the medium that the wave is moving through.

A point on a bicycle wheel only moves at the same velocity as the bicycle when it is exactly in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. When the point moves from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, it travels faster than the velocity of the bicycle, when it moves from 3 to 9 o’clock, slower. When you pedal a bicycle at 25 kph, any point on the wheel is either traveling faster or slower more often than the speed you and the bicycle are traveling. The velocity of this point, if graphed, is a wave.

When the sun is photographed at the same time each day it creates a shape when the multiple images are laid on top of each other. The shape called an analemma. It is very similar to the numeral eight laid on a 45-degree angle, more akin to the shape that we use to represent the concept of infinity. The bottom loop is a bit smaller than the bottom one, but the shape is dependence on your position of latitude. When I saw this image, I made a connection with nature and the relationship of the orbit of the earth around the sun. While the earth and sun have a finite existence, the length of their existence is nearly incomprehensible to us. If we graph this shape and use the X axis as time, we again get a wave shape.

Myth has it that the gentle beating wings of a butterfly in Africa create the initial disturbance that eventually becomes a powerful hurricane in the Atlantic. How can such small things when looked at in greater detail either get lost in the big picture or be so integral to the whole? When floating on the surface of the ocean, we are bobbing on the peaks and troughs of waves; when observing a bicycle, it travels at a constant velocity while the velocity of a point on the wheel is constantly changing relative to the velocity of the bicycle which can be represented by a wave; the shape the sun traces in the sky as the earth orbits the sun can be represented graphically as a wave. How great is the improbably that the beating wings of a butterfly create a hurricane hundreds of miles in diameter, with winds in excess of 160kph?

Sound is a vibration. It is an acoustic wave that transmits through a medium such as gas, liquid, or solid. The air doesn’t move and the sound we create and call music or art is intangible. It is electromagnetic energy. Vibrations. Waves. Just like the current unifying theory of the universe, string theory, where the vibrations of the strings determine the state of the universe.

We are the water; the music we create is a wave that washes over us. We are the bicycle; our velocity is constant, the wheel’s always changing. We are the earth; the sun’s orbit traces its path in the sky. A butterfly beats its wings; a hurricane blows in faraway land.

Bottom Line: Catch the wave, surf the groove to the shore.

A Better Alternative

The stigma of changing your mind is that it implies weakness. I’d argue that changing one’s mind when faced with new facts and better information is courageous. Rather than ignoring and rejecting out of hand, acknowledging and considering new facts shows strength. On our path to a greater understanding of music on our chosen instrument, it’s our responsibility to consider new information and incorporate it into our understanding. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, “I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.”

It took a while, but eventually I came to understand the concept. I changed my mind. Did I feel regret for my past beliefs? No, I just moved on knowing that now I understood a concept that was closer to the truth, closer to reality. It is human’s ability to adapt that has made us the most dominant species on the planet. To adapt necessarily implies an ability and willingness to change especially when presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If we lacked the ability to adapt and change then we would not be able to incorporate new and better information into our world view.

Think of the alternative. Your instructor teaches you a new concept, you struggle to understand it, but eventually you do get it. You start to hear in other people’s playing the use of this concept. A door of understanding and new perception has been opened. You try to incorporate this concept into your playing but struggle to do so in a musical way. Your instructor suggests that you need to spend more time in the shed, perhaps many hours that could stretch into a year of work. Do you abandon your new understanding and go back to your old ways, or do you persevere and double your efforts to understand the truth? The only person you risk harming with your deceit and ignorance is yourself.

Do you have the desire and motivation to become a better musician? Are you open to new information and insights about how you become a better musician? You don’t necessarily need a thick skin, just a willingness to be honest and open with yourself; question the “facts” that got you to where you are; understand that the way to advance on your path is to search out the nuggets of wisdom from the musicians that traveled this way before you.

Bottom Line: Do you have strength and resolve to actively challenge your beliefs?

Mooer Hustle Drive Review

by Dave Fields

Dave Fields

When I look for an overdrive pedal, I’m always looking for a pedal that sounds natural, not too bright, smooth….

Something that sounds like one of my favorite amps (of which the name I won’t mention) but with a natural overdriven tone. Also, one that when I push with a compressor or a clean boost, won’t break up in a nasty, ratty way.

On the top of my list is the Mooer Hustle Drive. Not only is it natural and smooth sounding, it’s SMALL! I love how when I turn my volume up or down on my guitar how the Hustle Drive responds like an amp. How did Mooer cram all that sound into such a small package?! When you click the on switch, it all comes roaring out in a perfect sound package. It not only sounds amazing live, it records with, in my opinion, the perfect tone. And hey fellow guitarists, it’s all about the tone right?!

I’ve taken this pedal with me on tours all over the US and Europe and it’s performed flawlessly.

Mooer Hustle Drive

Here are my settings for the Hustle Drive: (set the amp to a beautiful clean tone, then):

  • Volume: 12 o’clock
  • Tone: 1 o’clock
  • The switch should be set to: LP
  • Drive: 12 o’clock

Check out my guitar sound on my song, “Changes of My Life,” to hear an example of what the Mooer Hustle Drive and other Mooer pedals sound like together.

VERDICT: I give the Mooer Hustle Drive 5 out of 5 stars.

Dave Fields – Fodera Guitar artist/NY Blues Hall of Fame inductee. Touring recording artist.

Life is Short

Life is short. As short as we make it.

“And then one day you find ten years have gone behind you, no one you when you run, you missed the starting gun.” –Pink Floyd

We’re given enough time in the average life span to accomplish much. Think of the many musicians that have left us too early and yet managed to produce a veritable lifetime of material in such a short period of time. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kurt Cobain… it’s a long list. These musicians and many others have created music that has inspired millions.

If you feel you have a passion, a vision, a drive – pursue it. Don’t compromise. Find similar minded musicians that share your vision so you can work toward your goal or go it alone. Playing music that doesn’t inspire or lead you toward achieving your goal is just as time consuming and draining as playing music you love. You could spend your most productive and healthy years helping someone else achieve their vision instead of putting energy and focus toward yours.

While our lives are long, we only have a limited amount of time. Make as much of it your time. Follow your dreams where ever they may lead you.

Mini Pedal Madness at Gear Gods

Trey Xavier of Gear Gods contacted us about contributing some Mooer micro pedals for a “shoot-out” style review he was doing to build his “dream” fly rig  pedalboard. We jumped at the opportunity and sent Trey a Baby Tuner, a Funky Monkey, a Hustle Drive, a Noise Killer, a Repeater, and a Tres Cab for the shoot out.

This week is the first installment of his shoot out. First up are the wah pedals. At the time of the review, we didn’t have a Wahter pedal so we sent Trey a Funky Monkey Autowah to use against the mini wah pedals from Dunlop, Morley, and Hotone. Even though the Funky Monkey does not have a rocker pedal it still compares well. Trey really likes the compact size, quality of sound, and options of the Funky Monkey. If you don’t use a wah that often the Funky Monkey saves quite a bit of space over even the smallest of the wah pedals and may be your best option.

Check out the video for the full test results and check back next week for the next installment.

(Funky Monkey starts at 9:40)

Winner of Guitar Player / Osiamo Gear Giveaway

Michael-Irvine-1k-winner_10Congratulations to the winner of our Guitar Player / Osiamo Gear Giveaway, Michael I of California. Michael is the lucky recipient of a bunch of great gear including a Rockready Volo gig bag, Mini, and Snap! Strap, a Dr J Planes Walker Fuzz, a Bigfoot Engineering Trouble Booster, a Taurus Dexter Octaver, a Mooer Trelicopter, and a great selection of Pickboy picks. Michael was really excited to hear the news and says, “Thanks again for the great gifts. I will enjoy all of them.”

Michael, we hope make some great sounding music with your new gear!

Exclusive Interview : Gennaro Esposito

Tell us a bit about your musical history.

Italy. New York. Paris. Madrid. From my university studies at the Conservatory to Master Classes with jazz/fusion, pop and gypsy musicians in multiple countries, I have tried to combine different techniques and styles because I have always believed that music is a global language. Training in classical, flamenco, folk, rock, jazz, and more – across 2 continents – forms the basis of the rhythm and melodies behind my sound.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m in the process of my second CD that reflects my experience here in NYC and includes talent from both the US and abroad. Other projects I am involved in now include a new CD with an R&B/Jazz singer, playing classic funk with a 13-piece band, and performing original rock music with a local rock band. Collaborations aside, I produce curated pieces for independent filmmakers and am in production for a video series launching in 2014 called “Fashion Compliance.”

Gennaro-Dr-J_1000x714What role does music education play in your career?

Ongoing music education is an integral part of my professional career and musical evolution. Having discovered a way to make this fun, I spend countless hours each week fine tuning my tone, learning new materials, and identifying up and coming artists.

What do you think of the current state of the music industry?

Technology’s impact on the music industry requires musicians to be in a state of constant adaptation. Producing and marketing with an understanding of the current marketplace for music is integral to success within the music industry today.

Why do you use Mooer pedals?

From the gig bag to the pedal board, Uptown to Downtown, being a musician in NYC means Mooer pedals are a key element of my gear. Not only because of the conveniently small size but also because of the rich tone it puts out without any compromise.

Exclusive Interview : Kyle Ragan

1) Tell us about your musical background
I grew up playing classic rock with my stepfather who is a fantastic drummer. honed my skills playing with his band, a bunch a great guys all over twice my age at the time. Though that music wasn’t my real passion, the 90’s really shaped me as a musician. I really loved a lot of the acoustic based rock groups and songwriters during that time. That really shaped my songs and playing style.

Kyle-Ragan_01_464x6492) What are you working on now?
A couple of things actually. My band Screams and Whispers is in the midst of recording our 3rd album. We are very DIY so we are engineering and producing it ourselves. We are very excited about that. Aside from that I also run a Youtube Channel, where I do gear reviews for guitarists. I have been building that up for the past 2 years. That is also a big focus for me.

3) What is the role of education in music?
Music education is VERY important to me. I grew up in vocal programs throughout my school years. It stimulates creativity and fosters teamwork. It teaches you how to be a part of something bigger than yourself. So important.

4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
It is a double edged sword. The path to be heard is open to everyone now. The platforms exist, the opportunity is there. That said the days of the mega star are over except for a select few break through artists. Making a living is MUCH harder through the business. Also getting heard over the abundance of people making music is very hard. The options are limitless, the opportunity is there but you have to creative.

5) Why do you play Dr J pedals?
Being somewhat a gear head I have amassed quite a collection of pedals and run a pretty large board live as as result. With Dr.J, quite simply they make pedals that are exactly what a guitarist like myself needs. The Armour Buffer REALLY helped me tame my pedal board and deal with any signal loss I was getting across that many jumps. The Aerolite is a very Flexible Compressor allowing 2 options not commonly seen in other compressors. One, being a mix control which I find extremely useful and the other being an input level select which really comes in handy when switching guitars and allows me to quickly compensate for differing pick up output levels. This was key for me. Dr. J offer innovative solutions for these problems and others we commonly encounter, as well as tried and true mainstay gain pedals. Just a great company really trying to push the boutique sensibility into its more, mass market, parent company Joyo.

Click here to learn more about Kyle, and click here to check out his YouTube Channel.

Mooer Mini Flight Rig MF

This Mooer Mini Flight Rig was inspired my Michael Fenimore, one of our Mooer local artists. Neal really like Michael’s pedal selection and with the addition of the Mod Factory created a pedal board great for gigging or song writing. Click on the above video to watch Neal’s play through of the board. This board really has lots of possibilities.