being imaginative with the use of your gear
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Old 21-05-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
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being imaginative with the use of your gear

Whether it's cause of budget, like in my case, or just simply because you feel like being creative... Do you ever use any of your equipment in ways other than the manufacturer intended?
Like do you have any "thinking outside the box"-style tricks you use when recording or playing?

Like for example, I use guitar pedals with this really shit old keyboard I have to at least fuck with the sound a bit (inbuilt it has an impressive 8 voices, and 4 effects wow I know). It makes it sound a little less boring. Though everybody's done that I'm not sharing it to impress you but to give you an idea of what I mean. I'm sure you guys have way cool tricks up your sleeves, I'd love to hear them.

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Old 21-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

there are loads of mad combos ive done over the years because of my lack of cables. you'll be suprised how much you can do with the wrong cables and a couple of dodgy connectors lol

i connect my samplers up in really weird ways sometimes too... a lot of these tricks were learned off other people though

i cant really think of any buy my all time favourite (and first) trick was to get a mini jack to mini jack cable and put it in the green and pink jacks on your computer, then record songs from youtube into audacity haha

used to spend all my lunch breaks doing that in music college when i was 16... all my trance tracks have little mouse click sounds on them every now and then and i know where they all are after listening so many times

not really what you meant but yeah

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Old 21-05-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

In my opinion that is exactly what pedals are for though X3 not exclusively for guitar use only. Now, if you were to like, open up those pedals and keyboard, circuit bend it all, etc. Some pedals have more than one input/output as well which can be handy for feeding back. Used to do a lot of this sort of thing at Ghyt's, but he was more into it than me.

I mean in it's basic form it's all just electronics you can add/take what you want from them if you have the know how.

I did however, when I had an apartment acoustic piano, stick bits of paper and foils and fabrics in between the strings to get different tonalities out of them, this is what is known as "prepared piano" if I recall.

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Old 21-05-2013, 08:03 PM   #4
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

I think working within limitations is a good thing. Like you said with that keyboard of yours OP...making the best of what you have often leads to your best music. I've spent a stupid amount of money on gear for someone who fucks around with sounds in their spare time. But I have the most fun with minimal setups.

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Old 21-05-2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

For a long time I used my cassette 4-track as an overdrive/distortion pedal. Best distortion sound you'll ever hear.

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Old 21-05-2013, 11:51 PM   #6
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
there are loads of mad combos ive done over the years because of my lack of cables. you'll be suprised how much you can do with the wrong cables and a couple of dodgy connectors lol

i connect my samplers up in really weird ways sometimes too... a lot of these tricks were learned off other people though

i cant really think of any buy my all time favourite (and first) trick was to get a mini jack to mini jack cable and put it in the green and pink jacks on your computer, then record songs from youtube into audacity haha

used to spend all my lunch breaks doing that in music college when i was 16... all my trance tracks have little mouse click sounds on them every now and then and i know where they all are after listening so many times

not really what you meant but yeah
I feel you on the lack of cables thing, the only keyboards I "have" (they're not mine) are two keyboards my dad bought secondhand. One from the 80s and the other 90s and neither have their original power adapters. I just use guitar cords and plug them into the headphone output then to a recorder, or I use these weird idk what kind of cables they are or what for but they're the right size. It works, somehow there's sound. Shit sound, but sound nonetheless.

Just do what you can with what you have, is my current motto. :banalama:

(I actually started out with recording on a tape recorder, like a small one you hold in your hand, with a really really bad microphone plugged into it. I seriously have like casette tapes of my music from then, like ridiculous. But it was all I could afford and I was really fucking determined to make music. I don't even dare to listen to them now, I'm sure they're really really really bad. ) Not really a trick more of "it gets better" so stick with it. I have now moved on to CDs. Fancy fancy cds.
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Old 22-05-2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by Broton42 View Post
In my opinion that is exactly what pedals are for though X3 not exclusively for guitar use only. Now, if you were to like, open up those pedals and keyboard, circuit bend it all, etc. Some pedals have more than one input/output as well which can be handy for feeding back. Used to do a lot of this sort of thing at Ghyt's, but he was more into it than me.

I mean in it's basic form it's all just electronics you can add/take what you want from them if you have the know how.

I did however, when I had an apartment acoustic piano, stick bits of paper and foils and fabrics in between the strings to get different tonalities out of them, this is what is known as "prepared piano" if I recall.
using guitar pedals feeding back into themselves is my shit. Protip: get a EHX Bass Big Muff Pi and feed the dry out into the input and the wet out into your interface. Instant analog square wave. You can tune it to C3 with the volume knob and throw it in a sampler for awesome funtimes.

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Old 22-05-2013, 12:07 AM   #8
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by neutral View Post
using guitar pedals feeding back into themselves is my shit. Protip: get a EHX Bass Big Muff Pi and feed the dry out into the input and the wet out into your interface. Instant analog square wave. You can tune it to C3 with the volume knob and throw it in a sampler for awesome funtimes.
Haha I actually once did exactly this
I chained a volume pedal between the dry and the input with an extra input so I could also play stuff through it, it gave a real cool effect. It became a real distorted effect that slowly returned back to the square wave. Had some fun then

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Old 22-05-2013, 12:10 AM   #9
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

We used to take a delay pedal with a cable running out to a 4-track, and a cable running in, but with nothing hooked up. Then we would touch the tip of the connector and make popping noises with it while messing with the delay. We didn't have a synth at the time, so this was our way of getting weird little blips and bloops.

Also, before we had a drum machine we'd mic shoes in the dryer, and next time you have a mic set up, turn the gain up a bit and mic a switched-on lightbulb.

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Old 22-05-2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

Wow this thread is full of feels. <3

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Old 22-05-2013, 12:13 AM   #11
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Also, before we had a drum machine we'd mic shoes in the dryer
I AM GOING TO TRY THIS RIGHT NOW.







Ok, maybe not right now. But like, tomorrow.

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Old 22-05-2013, 12:30 AM   #12
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
... and next time you have a mic set up, turn the gain up a bit and mic a switched-on lightbulb.
This is awesome, definitely going to try this once

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Old 22-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #13
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

I use my tempest drummachine as a desktop polysynth, because it sucks at percussive sounds. Does that count too?

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Old 22-05-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

i use an old roland dj-70 sampling keyboard for midi input, really i just use the pitch bend wheel hehe
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Old 24-05-2013, 07:00 PM   #15
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

Circuit bent toys and effects pedals. I like to make my own instruments, too. Some touch contact stuff, and a spring instrument. Also putting a speaker on top of my guitar, putting music through it and recording the output of the guitar gives really weird textures and sounds.

I went through a phase of recording things on a crappy shoebox tape deck. I drilled a hole in it, and would handcrank the deck while recording, so it came out all warbly and stupid. Feedback loops with a mixer is a lot of fun, too.
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Old 24-05-2013, 07:06 PM   #16
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by Broton42 View Post
I did however, when I had an apartment acoustic piano, stick bits of paper and foils and fabrics in between the strings to get different tonalities out of them, this is what is known as "prepared piano" if I recall.
I'm reminded of stories of Jared Louche and Dylan Thomas More back in the 90's, torturing piano strings at Wax Trax to record "Pink".

Last edited by g0lem; 24-05-2013 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 24-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #17
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

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Originally Posted by gif View Post
Whether it's cause of budget, like in my case, or just simply because you feel like being creative... Do you ever use any of your equipment in ways other than the manufacturer intended?
Like do you have any "thinking outside the box"-style tricks you use when recording or playing?
Even though most of you here have probably seen this, I'm (apologetically) posting it again.
I don't think the manufacturer thought of this use/abuse first hand:


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Old 24-05-2013, 09:19 PM   #18
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

Similar to the OP, I've ran a snare sample through an Ibanez Tube Screamer to add grit to it, then layer that new sample into the old one. Probably not an obscure trick though.
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Old 20-12-2013, 10:49 PM   #19
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

As a more general perspective, I like to think about how all my hardware/software components take in information and output information. Converting MIDI to audio is useful for me because if everything is in an audio format then all my signal processing is more or less unrestricted. I can send it through a chain containing any audio processing units in series and not have to worry about whether or not it will work.

Keeping things in MIDI is great too though, because you can turn anything into anything else -- for example I could take a MIDI drum beat that was created for a softer Jazz track, and put more heavy electronic samples into it just to hear how it sounds. Doesn't always come out right, but after experimenting enough you're bound to create unexpectedly cool things.

Differentiating between MIDI and audio may seem trivial, but its one of the most fundamental limitations on how you can utilize your gear. Understanding what won't work is easier than identifying EVERY setup that WILL work, and opens you up for creativity.
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Old 20-12-2013, 11:00 PM   #20
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Re: being imaginative with the use of your gear

I ran a truly crappy yamaha mini keyboard thru a Digitech Synth Bass pedal and it was amazing. Everything sounded pretty much the same through it, but it instantly made the synth sound 300x more expensive. It was worth it for 60 dollars.

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