Many people, both here in the Philippines and back home in the States, ask me what I do to keep busy. For the most part I don’t have trouble staying busy, though there are occasions that I get bored. It’s much harder to explain what I do to occupy my time, then it is to do so.

One of the things I’ve spent more time with since my retirement is my guitar and music. It’s not always playing or practicing. I’ve spent time modifying my guitar and making adjustments to it, in addition to doing the same with my amplifier. Lately I’ve also been playing around with recording devices and software.

I’ve never been into recording. One reason was when I was quasi-active playing (’70’s) it was much more difficult to do so. Now it’s unbelievably easy.

The device I’ve ended up using, Apogee Jam, is really quite small. I just plug my guitar or mic into, plug it in to my computer, use an appropriate software program, and start laying down tracks. I use the GarageBand software as it comes with the Mac and it’s incredibly easy to use, but at the same time very robust in its features. I’m by no means an expert, as I’ve just recently started playing around with it.

What I primarily plan to use it for is to listen back to my soloing to see what I feel I need to work on. I don’t have any illusions of publishing any songs or anything of that nature. I don’t write songs anyway. This should be very helpful for that.

I basically, at least so far, have imported a backing track and added a soloing track along to it. I really haven’t gotten in-depth into the actual soloing, because I’ve been focusing on how to use the software and the best method to get the guitar into the software. I can either go direct or I can use a mic and record my amp.

If I go direct there are a ton of amps and effect emulations that I can use. The really nice thing about that is I can change them endlessly after I have recorded. Add an effect (which I don’t care too much about) or change amp models, until I’m happy with the sound. I can also apply some of this to the recorded solo through the mic, but that doesn’t really make as much sense to me. If I’m going to do that, I might as well go direct.

In addition to the personal stuff, I’ve recently started visiting the local jazz club. I decided to join Jazzistas de Davao (the jazz society) and offer my support as best I can. It appears I may help them with some website work, and I may play a song or two with the house band if I can get up the nerve. More on Jazzistas de Davao if/when we get the website up.

Anyway this is one of the many things that I do to help pass the time and keep my mind occupied.

Oh, here’s a partial track I just did to try out the mic. As you can see – I’m a hobbyist. But I’m OK with that.


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