GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?

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Oblomov Boblomov
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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:35 am

Anyone have experience buying a digital piano?

Having done a lot of research, I've been suckered in to the Yamaha hype and at the moment I feel like I have to get the YDP-164 Arius.

I would really love something from the Clavinova range, but I simply can't justify the price hike. I can justify the 164 over the 144 because of the enhanced hammer action (I was raised on an acoustic piano).

However, I'm concerned that I'm simply falling for a brand name.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:14 pm

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Anyone have experience buying a digital piano?

Having done a lot of research, I've been suckered in to the Yamaha hype and at the moment I feel like I have to get the YDP-164 Arius.

I would really love something from the Clavinova range, but I simply can't justify the price hike. I can justify the 164 over the 144 because of the enhanced hammer action (I was raised on an acoustic piano).

However, I'm concerned that I'm simply falling for a brand name.


I've been playing digital pianos for years, but more stage pianos than at-home type, and mainly on headphones when not playing for others.

I've played many over the years but I always come back to Roland, but it's got to be down to what feels and sounds good to you.

Currently I have a Roland Fantom X8 (workstation with 88-note proper weighted action), and over the years added expansion cards for better piano/electric piano sounds. But as of November last year, rather than use the Roland sounds I bought the Ravenscroft 275 ios for my ipad, and use the Fantom as just a MIDI controller - the piano sound is so good on the Ravenscroft I can't stop playing it.

For me, the Yamaha action on the pianos I've tried haven't worked for me- I don't seem to be able to control dynamics on it very well- but it really is each to their own and it might suit your playing 'weight' better. From the youtube video review I just looked at it does sound nice! :D

The difficulty right now is trying them out, and it's a lot of money for taking a 'punt' on one, unless you've already fallen in love with it.

Good luck! If you have any questions I'll try to answer if I can. :toot:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:36 pm

Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Anyone have experience buying a digital piano?

Having done a lot of research, I've been suckered in to the Yamaha hype and at the moment I feel like I have to get the YDP-164 Arius.

I would really love something from the Clavinova range, but I simply can't justify the price hike. I can justify the 164 over the 144 because of the enhanced hammer action (I was raised on an acoustic piano).

However, I'm concerned that I'm simply falling for a brand name.


I've been playing digital pianos for years, but more stage pianos than at-home type, and mainly on headphones when not playing for others.

I've played many over the years but I always come back to Roland, but it's got to be down to what feels and sounds good to you.

Currently I have a Roland Fantom X8 (workstation with 88-note proper weighted action), and over the years added expansion cards for better piano/electric piano sounds. But as of November last year, rather than use the Roland sounds I bought the Ravenscroft 275 ios for my ipad, and use the Fantom as just a MIDI controller - the piano sound is so good on the Ravenscroft I can't stop playing it.

For me, the Yamaha action on the pianos I've tried haven't worked for me- I don't seem to be able to control dynamics on it very well- but it really is each to their own and it might suit your playing 'weight' better. From the youtube video review I just looked at it does sound nice! :D

The difficulty right now is trying them out, and it's a lot of money for taking a 'punt' on one, unless you've already fallen in love with it.

Good luck! If you have any questions I'll try to answer if I can. :toot:

Thanks Lime – I must be quite an impatient person because in the time since I posted I have actually ordered a piano :fp:.

I did a lot more research and I actually ended up going for the Casio PX-870 BK Privia. I really get the impression that it is technically a superior device when compared with the YDP-164 and that the additional cost is brand tax, with Yamaha obviously being one of if not the most premium name in the market.

I'm also telling myself that it'll sort me out for a few years, while I save for a flagship Clavinova :shifty:.

I did look at Roland briefly – for some reason they just didn't seem to pull me in, which is ridiculous really because everything is marketed in a very similar way and I'm mostly judging off fancy-looking websites and YouTube demonstrations :fp:.

I've always had this impression that Casio is a bit cheap and nasty, but from reading up it seems they've done a lot to move on from that image and (hopefully) deservedly so.

Should arrive in a few days! I've not played for about a decade, so it's going to be interesting to see how I get back into it.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:25 pm

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Thanks Lime – I must be quite an impatient person because in the time since I posted I have actually ordered a piano :fp:.

I did a lot more research and I actually ended up going for the Casio PX-870 BK Privia. I really get the impression that it is technically a superior device when compared with the YDP-164 and that the additional cost is brand tax, with Yamaha obviously being one of if not the most premium name in the market.

I'm also telling myself that it'll sort me out for a few years, while I save for a flagship Clavinova :shifty:.

I did look at Roland briefly – for some reason they just didn't seem to pull me in, which is ridiculous really because everything is marketed in a very similar way and I'm mostly judging off fancy-looking websites and YouTube demonstrations :fp:.

I've always had this impression that Casio is a bit cheap and nasty, but from reading up it seems they've done a lot to move on from that image and (hopefully) deservedly so.

Should arrive in a few days! I've not played for about a decade, so it's going to be interesting to see how I get back into it.


Congratulations! These days the standard of equipment is generally so much better than years back when I started, and basically you can upgrade when and if you think you've outgrown it.

My first proper synthesizer was a Casio CZ-3000, & was a great bit of kit (until it got nicked from my car).

I'm currently looking at upgrading to a Fantom 8, having had my X8 for 12 years or so. But it's just shy of £3k ! :dread:

What kind of music do you intend to play?
Do you read music?

I'm writing piano music at the moment, a set of short pieces that I've been working on for years. Always interested in what fellow pianists are up to!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:31 am

Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Thanks Lime – I must be quite an impatient person because in the time since I posted I have actually ordered a piano :fp:.

I did a lot more research and I actually ended up going for the Casio PX-870 BK Privia. I really get the impression that it is technically a superior device when compared with the YDP-164 and that the additional cost is brand tax, with Yamaha obviously being one of if not the most premium name in the market.

I'm also telling myself that it'll sort me out for a few years, while I save for a flagship Clavinova :shifty:.

I did look at Roland briefly – for some reason they just didn't seem to pull me in, which is ridiculous really because everything is marketed in a very similar way and I'm mostly judging off fancy-looking websites and YouTube demonstrations :fp:.

I've always had this impression that Casio is a bit cheap and nasty, but from reading up it seems they've done a lot to move on from that image and (hopefully) deservedly so.

Should arrive in a few days! I've not played for about a decade, so it's going to be interesting to see how I get back into it.


Congratulations! These days the standard of equipment is generally so much better than years back when I started, and basically you can upgrade when and if you think you've outgrown it.

My first proper synthesizer was a Casio CZ-3000, & was a great bit of kit (until it got nicked from my car).

I'm currently looking at upgrading to a Fantom 8, having had my X8 for 12 years or so. But it's just shy of £3k ! :dread:

What kind of music do you intend to play?
Do you read music?

I'm writing piano music at the moment, a set of short pieces that I've been working on for years. Always interested in what fellow pianists are up to!

Sorry to hear about the theft! How long ago was that? Maybe there is an expert former-thief somewhere out there, churning out masterpieces by the dozen on his trusty CZ-3000.

Just had a look at the Fantom 8 – it's quite a piece of kit! I think it's reasonable to allow yourself an upgrade though, if you can expect to get a good 12 years out of it before needing to look again.

I'll be venturing back into classical music. Fortunately yes, I do read music. I imagine it would be extremely difficult to learn now if I hadn't already done so as a child. When did you learn?

Would you be prepared to share your pieces with me? It'd be great to try and learn them! I ended up somewhere between ABRSM Grade 6 and Grade 8 standard, so I'm not particularly good at all, but I'll give it a good go!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:05 am

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Sorry to hear about the theft! How long ago was that? Maybe there is an expert former-thief somewhere out there, churning out masterpieces by the dozen on his trusty CZ-3000.

Just had a look at the Fantom 8 – it's quite a piece of kit! I think it's reasonable to allow yourself an upgrade though, if you can expect to get a good 12 years out of it before needing to look again.

I'll be venturing back into classical music. Fortunately yes, I do read music. I imagine it would be extremely difficult to learn now if I hadn't already done so as a child. When did you learn?

Would you be prepared to share your pieces with me? It'd be great to try and learn them! I ended up somewhere between ABRSM Grade 6 and Grade 8 standard, so I'm not particularly good at all, but I'll give it a good go!


Theft was, ooooh, nearly 30 years ago! Back in the days of gigging with a Funk Rock band I ran with a friend of mine. I've got through a lot of keyboards since then, many of which are vintage now and are still lying around here - an RD700, XP-80, Ensoniq SQ1-Plus...

These days classical is way more my thing, but I also muck about with creating loops for ideas for songs - my partner used to sing professionally so (all too rarely) we'll collaborate on something.

I'm pretty sure my pieces (they are short preludes) would be well within your capabilities, although it's difficult to judge the level when you write it yourself, as you practice, practice, practice the particular chord shapes, jumps, fingering etc until it doesn't feel hard any more.

I'm not great at reading music in real time but I do practice - I'm kind of OK with the notes but it's all the 'punctuation' that I can't take in all at once. I know (and pay) a guy who transcribes my pieces and also is a publisher, so as I get them finalised I'll start getting them out there.

Favourite composers? It has to be Chopin for me!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:14 am

Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Sorry to hear about the theft! How long ago was that? Maybe there is an expert former-thief somewhere out there, churning out masterpieces by the dozen on his trusty CZ-3000.

Just had a look at the Fantom 8 – it's quite a piece of kit! I think it's reasonable to allow yourself an upgrade though, if you can expect to get a good 12 years out of it before needing to look again.

I'll be venturing back into classical music. Fortunately yes, I do read music. I imagine it would be extremely difficult to learn now if I hadn't already done so as a child. When did you learn?

Would you be prepared to share your pieces with me? It'd be great to try and learn them! I ended up somewhere between ABRSM Grade 6 and Grade 8 standard, so I'm not particularly good at all, but I'll give it a good go!


Theft was, ooooh, nearly 30 years ago! Back in the days of gigging with a Funk Rock band I ran with a friend of mine. I've got through a lot of keyboards since then, many of which are vintage now and are still lying around here - an RD700, XP-80, Ensoniq SQ1-Plus...

These days classical is way more my thing, but I also muck about with creating loops for ideas for songs - my partner used to sing professionally so (all too rarely) we'll collaborate on something.

I'm pretty sure my pieces (they are short preludes) would be well within your capabilities, although it's difficult to judge the level when you write it yourself, as you practice, practice, practice the particular chord shapes, jumps, fingering etc until it doesn't feel hard any more.

I'm not great at reading music in real time but I do practice - I'm kind of OK with the notes but it's all the 'punctuation' that I can't take in all at once. I know (and pay) a guy who transcribes my pieces and also is a publisher, so as I get them finalised I'll start getting them out there.

Favourite composers? It has to be Chopin for me!


Sounds good and you must let me know when copies are available.

Bit of a coincidence as I've been listening to a lot of Chopin lately. I'm pretty determined to give Fantasie-Impromptu a go at some point, although it's almost certainly some way beyond my ability!

Trying not to be impatient while waiting for the piano to show up but I really wish it was here right now! :slol:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:45 am

If love to hear some piano compositions when you've recorded some :wub:

I've been using my little mini midi keyboard thing on my latest track to add some basic cello to the background. Simple as hell really, just 3 or 4 held notes to compliment the bass, but it adds a lot of depth to the sound. Shame my voice is so gooseberry fool as it lets the rest of it down (although I'd imagine most are overly critical of their own voices).

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:55 am

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
Sounds good and you must let me know when copies are available.

Bit of a coincidence as I've been listening to a lot of Chopin lately. I'm pretty determined to give Fantasie-Impromptu a go at some point, although it's almost certainly some way beyond my ability!

Trying not to be impatient while waiting for the piano to show up but I really wish it was here right now! :slol:


Fantasie-Impromptu is a great piece to learn - I used to play it (and struggle through parts of it still now, just because it sounds so great) and want to get it under my fingers again.

If you don't mind, if I can give some tips:
Once you get the 8th notes right hand/6th notes left hand rhythm down, it's not toooo bad! :nod:
When your fingers ache, rest (don't do yourself damage), and then after a break just work on the middle section for a bit!
Work on an easier piece at the same time!
Don't always start at the beginning, or you'll get a brilliant start and then dry up the further through you get - sometimes I'll learn a piece from the end backwards.

I'd love to exchange tips working on it if you're up to it, when you get there- there are some parts I'm just not sure I'm fingering right, quite uncomfortable :(

If you had a quick go at the Minute waltz first, which is way easier, you'll get used to playing the relentless stream of notes that you'll need for the impromptu. ;)

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:00 pm

Lime wrote:
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:
Sounds good and you must let me know when copies are available.

Bit of a coincidence as I've been listening to a lot of Chopin lately. I'm pretty determined to give Fantasie-Impromptu a go at some point, although it's almost certainly some way beyond my ability!

Trying not to be impatient while waiting for the piano to show up but I really wish it was here right now! :slol:


Fantasie-Impromptu is a great piece to learn - I used to play it (and struggle through parts of it still now, just because it sounds so great) and want to get it under my fingers again.

If you don't mind, if I can give some tips:
Once you get the 8th notes right hand/6th notes left hand rhythm down, it's not toooo bad! :nod:
When your fingers ache, rest (don't do yourself damage), and then after a break just work on the middle section for a bit!
Work on an easier piece at the same time!
Don't always start at the beginning, or you'll get a brilliant start and then dry up the further through you get - sometimes I'll learn a piece from the end backwards.

I'd love to exchange tips working on it if you're up to it, when you get there- there are some parts I'm just not sure I'm fingering right, quite uncomfortable :(

If you had a quick go at the Minute waltz first, which is way easier, you'll get used to playing the relentless stream of notes that you'll need for the impromptu. ;)

Great advice, although for some reason I feel more intimidated by the piece than I did before :slol:. I'll take a look at the Minute waltz first as you suggest. FI certainly seems to be something you need to warm up to, rather than diving straight in!

Are there any easy pieces you would recommend that are particularly enjoyable to play?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:44 pm

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:Great advice, although for some reason I feel more intimidated by the piece than I did before :slol:. I'll take a look at the Minute waltz first as you suggest. FI certainly seems to be something you need to warm up to, rather than diving straight in!

Are there any easy pieces you would recommend that are particularly enjoyable to play?


I'll take a guess at your 'coming back to piano easy' level, as if you've played up to grade 8 then you'll have tackled some decent level repertoire.

To get back into playing, try looking at Chopin's Prelude in A Major (Op.28 no. 7)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLU4wgtpjGs

Sheet music:
https://musescore.com/classicman/scores/60121

It's only a page, it's got a nice mix of easy to get to chords/shapes, plus a slow tempo makes it sound far better than rushing.

The juicy chord in bar 12 (48 seconds in) is a good stretch, particularly if you play it as written (not a broken chord) - this guy gets it right.

And, as they say - easy to play, difficult to master. Many players can plonk through it, but to get it sounding really musical will be a nice exercise and really rewarding.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:48 pm

Cool, thank you. Looking forward to getting stuck in!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:00 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:If love to hear some piano compositions when you've recorded some :wub:

I've been using my little mini midi keyboard thing on my latest track to add some basic cello to the background. Simple as hell really, just 3 or 4 held notes to compliment the bass, but it adds a lot of depth to the sound. Shame my voice is so gooseberry fool as it lets the rest of it down (although I'd imagine most are overly critical of their own voices).


I just got a Scarlett 2i2 and am currently working out how to use it, so I am planning to do a load of recording over the next few days, hopefully I'll have something played well enough to share! (There's that self-critical thing you mentioned!)

Between us all we should be able to collaborate on a music track, might be cool to have a Grcade virtual band!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:21 pm

The good news: my piano is all set up, sounds great, feels great and I've already enjoyed many hours of playing.

The bad news: there is a big old bash in the back of it, where it has clearly been damaged in transit. I've gone down the route of "it's impossible to see it, because it's against the wall, so eventually I will forget about it" and in the meantime I just have to cross my fingers it hasn't already and isn't going on to cause any other more serious damage.

The worst news: I just had a quick go at Fantaisie-Impromptu and what the strawberry float :lol:. If I commit every spare waking moment to practice and pray each day to all gods ever invented to become a pianist twenty orders of magnitude better than I currently am, I estimate I will be able to play a small fraction of it at 10% speed within about seven years.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:19 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:If love to hear some piano compositions when you've recorded some :wub:

I've been using my little mini midi keyboard thing on my latest track to add some basic cello to the background. Simple as hell really, just 3 or 4 held notes to compliment the bass, but it adds a lot of depth to the sound. Shame my voice is so gooseberry fool as it lets the rest of it down (although I'd imagine most are overly critical of their own voices).


What midi controller do you have? I have a cheap Akai, LPK25 I think it is. Keys are a bit stiff, but it's okay for finding sounds on.

I did two entirely midi projects recently, DSK The Grand Piano VST was used as a base, and I built the cello and violins around it. It was kind of cool playing around with the notes and seeing what works. Not sure I would ever do it again though :lol:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:25 pm

I have the LPK25 too :datass: Its fine for what it is, especially as i cant play, so what i use it for is onky by ear anyway.

Itd be handy if you could pass on those vst links, becuase i find most either dont work or properly crash reaper. The cello one is the only one ive managed to get to work so far really, hence why ive used it. Id love some more strings and piano sounds.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:48 pm

I use Reaper as well :datass:

These work on my version of it, although the DSK ones can take a moment to get going. Overture is their orchestra VST, it's not super amazing, but you can get some good results if you play around with it, I find the 'Full Strings' Preset to be fine for some orchestration.

https://www.dskmusic.com/dsk-the-grand/

https://www.dskmusic.com/dsk-overture/

I also use these, the noisemaker synth is my favourite. Has a whole bunch of presets. Below are the reverbs I use.

https://tal-software.com/products/tal-noisemaker

https://tal-software.com/products/tal-reverb

http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?pl ... rb&id=2870

And this thing is a really good free EQ VST. But the included one in Reaper (ReaEQ) is nice and has some presets for your guitars (I usually use the Marshall setting).

https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-vos-slickeq/

I use the Reacomp and the JS limiter whenever I want to make a track louder. You just gotta watch both as they can really strawberry float with your recording.

I forgot the most important one.

https://www.powerdrumkit.com/

Free drum VST, you can pay to get rid of the screen it opens. I've been using this one for a while and it's great.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:53 pm

Lovely cheers. Im doing some more recording tomorrow so ill try that out.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:40 pm

Starting a list of things I hate about having an electric piano:

1. There is no excuse to not play with a metronome, which if you're like me and have always afforded the same courtesy towards metronomes that Dracula would to a clove of garlic, is a wake-up call similar to a fresh North Atlantic tuna to the face.

:cry:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:54 pm

I have the Akai LPK25 and the pads equivalent, it's useful for quickly punching notes but I'd pretty much always correct them the piano roll of DAW (I use both repear and Live). The arpeggiator is actually useful which is interesting.

Funny people are talking about pianos, I use an old M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 which is fully weighted, it's a bit like a Rhodes with really heavy keys but I've gotten accustomed to it. Makes a big difference to playing dynamics, not really necessary for something like an organ, clavier or harpsichord.

It also has a ridiculous amount of knobs and faders (25/9) which I pretty much never use. I used to use it with Reason Pianos which is good but more recently I've been playing around with Addictive Keys (Rhodes MK1 pack) which came free with my audio interface (Focusrite give you free plugins every couple of months).

Wrote some nice stuff on Sunday, never remember to record it though as I get stuck in the moment and then it's gone forever. I think if I really applied myself, I'd pick up classical piano very fast as I play two handed arpeggios, just not great at chord progressions because of so much movement. THe dexterity is already there from playing guitar.

Piano Notes Pro on iPad is a good app for mapping music to keys by the way, I haven't bothered with it much as I never read sheet music and don't really care about theory but it's well made.

I have GarageBand on iPad too but never use it.

My Roland GR-20 guitar synth actually works extremely well with a keyboard and is pretty much a Juno D in disguise with added expression pedals. Haven't hooked it up to a guitar more than a few times in the last 10 years. Otherwise I keep going back to the same couple of VSTs in Live for sounds. Been a solid user of Live since around 2006 when it was Version 4. Introduced my brother to it and now he's on the Ableton blog, got shipped out to LA to perform and do a workshop for their convention last year.

Tech talk aside, I have hundreds of hours of unreleased and unfinished music nobody knows about, a situation that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon. I play classical guitar to a very high standard but most of my music is avant garde stuff I couldn't give a strawberry float about anyone judging for authenticity. Yet it's hard to forget when I tried and put out demos my band got booked and got invited back because we were actually interesting. I guess that's what happens when society basically dictates you can be good at one thing and everything else falls by the wayside, it feels impossible to pursue all of these things at once, and I've never been any different. You have to pipe all of your energy down one avenue on social media and never shut the hell up about it, a process which always feels insufferable to me. I'd need several lifetimes to do half the creative gooseberry fool I want to. Might be good at some point to just "give up" pursuing what can be even remotely considered a commercially viable outlet for my artwork etc and focus on music for a couple of months to see what happens... But that means even less income and generally less inclination to finish anything. My brother released an album and it seemed like strawberry floating no-one cared. The abstinence of my family (and to a lesser extent friends) to encourage that sort of thing as well kind of beat me down over the years.

It's hard doing art gooseberry fool lol, don't do it expecting validation, it never comes.

♥ gaems | t: @GRcade | FB: GRcadeUK | YT: GRcadeVideo | Twitch: GRcadeUK
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