chris sharkey's wrong guitar

real music by real musicans!!!????

I just read another article from another famous musician weighing in on the whole Spotify thing. The usual valid points were made but somehow, by the end of the article, this guy had gone from legitimately discussing ideas of ‘worth’ and ‘rights’ relating to modern musicians to basically just slagging off modern music.
To top it off the article ended with the familiar rallying cry of the bitter/out of touch : ‘REAL music played by REAL musicians’!
Wait a minute, the Spotify issue is an important one that requires thought and debate but let’s not let it get hijacked by the type of people that probably would have complained just as loud about the advent of the published score, wax cylinder, loudspeaker, electric guitar, jukebox, LP, CD, synthesizer, sampler, pro tools etc etc etc…
Every single day I am blown away and inspired by things that are happening with modern music. Do i think the music industry is fair? No, but it never was.
Progress can be painful. Don’t make the mistake of thinking anyone owes you anything just because you own a guitar.

NUMBER 5

„„……;;;;[[[[===—- /  … … . ? > ? > > > > WEDNESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 

WHARF CHAMBERS       > > > > < < < < < > > . . < < , ]][[][[] ] [ ] [ ] [ »>/

 < < < < < < < > > > . . , , ;; ; ’ ’ ’ [  [[  P PP  P  FIVE POUNDS ENTRY


#5 will also feature a one-off bespoke catering event courtesy of VERDINE so  … … …COME

………………. > HUNGRY

i was supposed to have a play with matthew bourne last week (we’ve been playing in duo a bit lately with me on acoustic guitar, him cello/piano)

anyway he ended up being busy so i spent the afternoon making this tune - the weather was nice and i think you can hear that in the track

almost all of the sounds were made with an acoustic guitar - they were then processed in various ways and bits of vocals and programming were added to complete it.

an improvisation that christophe de bezenac and i recorded a few months ago - it’s one take with no edits featuring guitar, kaoss pad, vocals, percussion, laptop and stuff.

my salad recipe is:

2 tins of tuna / 2 ripe tomatoes, diced / 1/2 cucumber, diced / 1 red chilli / 5-10 diced cornichons / 1 handful of coriander / add pepper and a good pinch of sea salt / douse with vinegar, olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon / mix well and eat washed down with a bottle or so of white wine

bits and pieces and bits

had some cool opportunities to test out various versions of rigs and pedal combinations lately - i’ve gone back to using fender twins when i go abroad to eliminate the extra cables involved with using effects loops in other amps - with the twin it’s just whack the pedals in a line and shove it into the front end (oh, grow up!)

this is fine but i’ve gotten so used to using my fryette and hearing delicious tube distortion and power amp compression, so what do i use to get anywhere near this type of sound with a twin?

1 - trusty modded Boss DS-1 - really natural sounding ‘break up’ distortion at low settings and cleans up well with gtr volume knob - you can crank it for a kind of fizzy sound that can be handy (especially if you put it before a volume pedal) for swells, feedback and general unpredictability 

2 - Keeley Compressor - clean sustain and percussive nile rogers-ness - makes the twin sound like it’s running at 10 instead of 3 (er, chris, can you, er, turn it down a bit…?)

3 - Fulltone Octafuzz - unexpectedly sounds great through a twin, that’s it….

OK other things that have been floating my boat recently are:

Zvex Lo-Fi Junky - what can I say, want your guitar to sound it’s been mixed by Flying Lotus? This is for you - I can’t get enough of it

Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander - THE best sub-octave, synth fuzz I have EVER heard

Red Panda Particle - OK, keep this one on the down low because it’s one of those ‘secret weapon’ devices. Ostensibly a granular delay, its my new ‘desert island improv’ pedal (what’s yours by the way?!)

HOWEVER!!!! you know how those old Boss Vibrato pedals go on ebay for 400 quid?

Just get this instead, it’s great and i picked mine up for 20 notes :

keep it wrong~cs

acoustic guitar (part 2)

the thing about playing an electric guitar with flimsy little strings is that it makes your hands pretty weak. as soon as i pick up an acoustic or electric with heavy gauge strings i feel like a beginner again.

the other thing about acoustics is that they have high action. no problem for strumming around the campfire but tricky if you want to get noodly or bendy which i like to do.

so the first thing i did when i got the acoustic in the picture below is whack thin strings on it and get the action lowered. genius right? wrong.

here’s the deal: i know nothing about acoustic instruments . turns out that the easier you make your guitar to play, the shitter it sounds.

dont get me wrong, it’s a nice sounding guitar for the price i paid for it. It has solid rosewood back and sides, spruce top, nice pickup system but the improved playability comes at the expense of sustain, dynamic range (it chokes out fairly quickly), bass response and overall volume.

so, for friday’s show with batteries (corey mwamba, andy champion and joost hendrickx) i upped the string gauge (which improved things a little) and went for it.

we recorded the show and, sure enough, when we listened back to the soundcheck (with the guitar miked with a nice neumann tube) it sounded horrendous! in the end we ended up using a mixture of a 57, the neumann and the pickup to get a sound that was decent. unfortunately we may have to ‘fix it in the mix’.

so, i’ve learned my lesson. i’m having the action raised again and have just bought a set of 13 gauge strings - let the weight-lifting begin.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -//////////////////////////————————————————-

in other ‘electric’ news - i’m pretty excited to be adding a kaoss pad to my live rig for the upcoming ‘spiel’ shows in norway in february.

it’s part of a fairly elaborate rig set-up based on the wet/dry/wet concept - i suppose that will be the subject of the next blog……

OK - keep it wrong ~cs

pedal set up for tonight’s show with the Geordie Approach at Tou Scene in 
Stavanger 

left to right:
digitech jamman / fender phaser / moogerfooger ring mod / hexe revolver / strymon el capistan / boss oc-3 / keeley modded boss ds-1 / ernie ball volume / m-audio expression pedal (controlling ring mod frequency) 

I’m using a 2 amp set up so the stereo looper brings the 2 signal paths together before they are split to the twin and the bass amp. 
the revolver is a super cool 1 second sampler that does way more than I can be bothered to explain here. needless to say, if you get one, I’ll know you copied me.
the ds-1 turns the twin into a Marshall that’s breaking up and compresses the sound nicely for sustain and noodling.
I’ve nicked the phaser from my fellow wrong guitar mate, vidar schanche - it’s sounding pretty rad in the soundcheck even though it is RIDICULOUSLY big.

sound in the room is nice tonight and we are working with a visual artist who is going to mess with the original get carter movie with max msp while we play.
I’ve also forced the soundman to parallel compress the drums and compress the overall mix to add a little ‘excitement’ to the mix (at the expense of a little dynamic range).
it was a bit of a battle getting him to do this&#8230; 

ok, geek-out over - keep it wrong…

pedal set up for tonight’s show with the Geordie Approach at Tou Scene in
Stavanger

left to right:
digitech jamman / fender phaser / moogerfooger ring mod / hexe revolver / strymon el capistan / boss oc-3 / keeley modded boss ds-1 / ernie ball volume / m-audio expression pedal (controlling ring mod frequency)

I’m using a 2 amp set up so the stereo looper brings the 2 signal paths together before they are split to the twin and the bass amp.
the revolver is a super cool 1 second sampler that does way more than I can be bothered to explain here. needless to say, if you get one, I’ll know you copied me.
the ds-1 turns the twin into a Marshall that’s breaking up and compresses the sound nicely for sustain and noodling.
I’ve nicked the phaser from my fellow wrong guitar mate, vidar schanche - it’s sounding pretty rad in the soundcheck even though it is RIDICULOUSLY big.

sound in the room is nice tonight and we are working with a visual artist who is going to mess with the original get carter movie with max msp while we play.
I’ve also forced the soundman to parallel compress the drums and compress the overall mix to add a little ‘excitement’ to the mix (at the expense of a little dynamic range).
it was a bit of a battle getting him to do this…

ok, geek-out over - keep it wrong…