Web Development, App Development, Music, and ?

If you’re reading this page, you might wonder what the heck you’re looking at.  Here’s the deal – My name is Richard MacLemale.  My day job is to be the web guy for a large school district, which mostly consists of web development.  I am married and have to teenage kids and a dog.  After work and on weekends, I do a bunch of things, depending on my available time.  Here are my main interests:

1.  Web Development.  I take on clients from time to time and build websites for them.  It’s something I enjoy.  If you want a website built, email me and we can talk about whether we’re a good fit.

2.  App Development.  Under the company name Cool Classroom Software, I have two apps in the iOS App Store.  I don’t really develop apps for clients, but if you’ve got a cool idea and enough money, we’ll talk.

3.  Writer.  I created and write at budgetguitarist.com.  I’m super, super into electric guitars and I like to write about them.  There’s also some random silliness on that site.

4.  Recording Artist.  I have three albums available in the iTunes Music Store.  You can also find a couple of my albums on Spotify.  I don’t play in a single genre.  My third album was folk rock, and my second album was 80′s pop-rock.

So there you go – that’s me.  I don’t get bored too often.  Sometimes I take a lot of projects on and sometimes I take none, depending on what’s going on.  Thanks for stopping by.

:)

Richard

Ever Changing Moods

Every time I start to think “Hmm, I think for my next album I’ll just make it free,” I get a check in the mail from CDBaby for music sales.  Almost like the Universe is trying to tell me something.  It is.  My new approach, which I will set in stone, is that I will always put out music that is free to listen to online.  And if people want to purchase it and show support, they will be able to buy it from either Bandcamp or iTunes.

My life is complicated.  I keep changing my musical goals.  Why?  Because music is one of two hobbies for me.  My life, if divided up into categories, would look like this:

  • Work (Career) – Web programmer and developer.
  • Home Life – Wonderful (and beautiful) wife, two great kids, and a not super well-behaved dog.
  • Hobby 1 – Software Developer.  I own Cool Classroom Software.
  • Hobby 2 – Songwriter/Recording Artist.

That’s not the order of importance – but it probably is the order of how my time is spent.  One of the things I am learning, with everything going on, is to stop setting spur of the moment goals.  I’ve gone through a bunch of “goals” lately and I keep changing them, which means my goals need to be more general.  Instead of “I’m going to record an album about dogs,” my goal should be “I’m going to write and record songs I like.”

It’s kind of interesting reading through my previous blog posts.  It has taught me that I need to be more focused and work on tasks, and stop making big long term goals on a whim.

And yes, it is pretty funny that I’m a web developer yet I’ve chosen the most basic WordPress theme in the universe for this site.  But it’s exactly what I want – simple and functional.  For something jazzier, go up and click on the Cool Classroom Software link.

This is Time Management 101.  This is basic GTD.  You can’t “Record an album about dogs.”  It’s too big a task.  But you can “record a guitar track for a song.”  Last night I recorded 5 guitar tracks for the song “Dog of Thunder” – two tracks on my Epi Les Paul, and two tracks on my yellow Strat, and then one clean track on my yellow Strat.  The first four tracks were recorded using my Line 6 Floor Pod Plus, with the Modern Distortion patch I edited.  It’s the same patch I used on the choruses of “Never Completely” and “A Guy Like That” on the choruses.  Bringing the heavy guitars in on the chorus is one of my favorite arrangement tricks.  It’s like you’re cruising along through the verse, and then the chorus comes in and it gets more dramatic.

I suspect the fun isn’t over.  Today I’ll record a clean Epi Les Paul track.  And with the two clean tracks I’ll run them through Amplitube 3 and see if I can come up with something I like better than the Pod sound.  I’m pretty sure I will.  If not, the Line 6 sound is the fallback.  Also on the agenda is to record a bass track.  Which means I have to write one first.  Um, also on the agenda is to write a bass track.

 

Free Music?

Aaaand I’ve shifted gears again, because I have big plans for my upcoming CD, “Songs About Dogs.”  An entire CD about… dogs?  Yes.

Never done “funny” music before.  It’s entirely possible that I’m not as funny as I think I am.  But you only get one cliche about life.  I meant you only get one shot.  Once you’ve shot your life-bullet, you’re empty and you die.  No…  maybe you only get one crack at the wheel and that’s all.  Charlie Brown said that.  No, Phil Collins did.

I’m working on the song “Dog of Thunder” right now.  Logic Pro 9 is a killer DAW and I love it like an 8 year old loves his partially melted Hershey bar.

What I don’t know is whether I’ll put this album out for free.  Probably will.  Probably make it free and also put it on iTunes with the others.  Guitar strings aren’t cheap.  Actually, they kind of are.

I’m turning into a guitar tone whore.  I keep moving from sound to sound.  I’m starting to think that I need to build a third strat.

This post is over.

Guitar Sounds

I just put my Tex-Mex pickups back into Riker.  And I’ve finally given in and named my number one Strat “Riker.”  If you don’t get the reference, well…

As I’m working on “The One Thing” (aka Album number four,) I’ve decided to just start blogging the process.  For a hobbyist, my CD’s have sold OK… I’ve sold out of all three CD’s at CDBaby.  Still need to get more made and send them to Seattle.  The last copy of Never Completely went to some fan in Japan.  That just blows my mind.  Thank you, Internet!  I’m not really making any money at this music thing, but I’m having a blast.

Anyway, I’m after some really specific guitar sounds in this new album, and Riker had to be redeployed with Tex-Mex pickups from near the Neutral Zone.  One of the reasons is that I want to recapture the guitar sound on Never Completely but maybe add a little bit more character to it.  The GFS Alnico V’s in Riker were crystal clean and highly detailed – great for doing clean picking and jazz chords, but too clean for rock.  It’s like running a 5k in dress shoes.  The Tex-Mex pickups are dirty and a little lacking in detail.  Some people absolutely hate them.  But for 80′s slightly distorted trashy strat sound, they’re perfect.

The GFS Alnico V’s went into my number two strat, which has no name other than “yellow strat.”

So, guitar sounds.  Aside from 80′s trashy strat, I also want to use some much heavier sounds, more buzz saw insane metal type sounds.  Honestly, I don’t care to hear the buzz saw distortion constantly, but I’m going to use it more like a string pad in the background to make things sound huge.  Evanescence mixed piano and buzz saw guitar, so why can’t I?

Riker will handle trashy 80′s strat and buzz saw.  He might also do a little distorted bluesy for me.  For the cleaner strat stuff I’ll use the yellow strat.  But I’m also going to use my Epiphone Les Paul.  I put GFS Alnico II pickups in it, and it sounds like it just fell out of 1979, so the LP will be handling some “hard rock” sounds.  I’d describe that as distorted but not buzz saw.  Rush 2112 has a great example of hard rock guitar.  It’s got more character than buzz saw, more tone.

My Yamaha and Larrivee acoustics will also be used, and somewhere in the mix will be my Telecaster.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know how it sounds.  A 47 year old dad is gonna make a rock album.  You can’t “rock” when you’re 47.  You’re supposed to be in the garage sorting your bolts.  No way can you “rock.”

Watch me.

 

Auditioning Guitar Sounds

Here’s what I learned today – how to audition guitar sounds.

  1. Record about 8 bars of a guitar part clean in Logic.
  2. Put in drum loop to make it interesting.
  3. Loop the 8 bars.
  4. Play it back.  And go through every patch in AmpliTube and save the 2 or 3 best.
  5. Audition the 2 or 3 and pick the best one.

Took me half an hour to figure out the best guitar sound for the 2012 version of “What Are You Trying To Prove?”  It’s a compressor pedal going into American Tube Clean 2 preamp and eq model, with a 100W 6L6 amp.  But I’m pretty happy with it.

This is by far the best way I’ve ever seen to record guitars.  Run Logic and AmpliTube at the same time, record in Logic and use AmpliTube to get as close as you can to the sound you want.  The recorded track is clean.  On playback, use the same settings in the AmpliTube plugin.  Very cool.

Gear List

Hi there!

Welcome to my web site.  I’m redecorating.  I’m also working on a new album, and every second I spend here is a second I’m not writing.  My day job is in educational technology.  Outside of work I write software and music.

But this blog will make a nifty diary as I write and record my new album.  Here’s what I have so far – I’ve got two songs fully written and nothing recorded.  And I’m bringing back at least one old song.  But I’ve been gathering up tools and now I’m ready to start recording.

Which is why I’m procrastinating here.

Anyway, here’s my gear list, in signal chain order:

Mics

  • Rode NT1-A
  • EV N/D767a
  • AKG C1000
Instruments
  • Casio CDP-100 Piano
  • M-Audio Keystation 88ES
  • StudioLogic Multimedia Keyboard
  • Fender MIM Telecaster
  • Fender MIM Stratocaster (Tex-Mex pickups)
  • Fender MIM/AM Stratocaster (GFS Alnico V pickups)
  • Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus (GFS Almico II pickups)
  • Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar
  • Larrivee D-03 Acoustic Guitar
  • Squier P Bass
Outboard Gear
  • Line 6 Floor POD Plus
  • Phonics Stereo Compressor
  • Alesis MidiVerb
Mixers
  • Alesis MultiMix4
  • Yamaha EMX312sc
  • Yamaha MG 12/4
Computer Hardware
  • Intel iMac
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPod Touch

Computer Software

  • Logic Pro 9
  • Fender Fuse
  • GarageBand 6
  • AmpliTube 3
  • Melodyne Uno
  • Waves
  • Drums On Demand (tons)
  • more sampled instruments than anyone should ever own

Monitoring

  • Mackie FR 800
  • Alesis Monitor Ones
  • SONY MDR-7506 Headphones
  • Shure In Ear Headphones