Diatonic Tenths and Today’s Synth Pop Music

I find in today’s pop music the use of Diatonic Tenths is increasing. What are Diatonic Tenths? Check out the video below and a good bass player who knows his theory will tell you all about them. As a guitar player myself originally, I learned about Diatonic Tenths in college. Little did I know that in today’s pop music you’d be hearing it all over the radio. Listen carefully to what this gentleman is saying about Diatonic Tenths in the video and think about how you could apply this to synth pop and dance music today. You can create some really cool melodies and bass lines with the use of Diatonic Tenths.

Sometimes you’ll find the secrets of music today are not really secrets. Rather they are just ideas crafted from little known ( or sometimes well known ) concepts in musical theory. It’s also important to reach out to other instruments like the bass and guitar and see how you can apply approaches to those instruments to your synth and keyboard playing. When you find yourself running out of ideas or inspiration, dive into some musical theory and try something new.

Portable Music with the Boss Micro Br Recorder

Boss Micro-Br Recorder
Boss Micro-Br Recorder

Today I found and picked up a used Boss Micro BR portable music recorder here in Japan. It’s incredibly small and very light weight. I currently don’t have any recording devices other than samplers, loopers, or the computer. I thought about getting a larger recording device, but I always felt that the computer was probably the best choice for me so I tend to use that when I need to record.

There were several factors that prompted me to buy the Boss Micro BR. Originally I was considering the Korg Sound on Sound Portable Multitrack recorder which I still like, however I can only find it new and I’m not ready to pay full price for one yet. I basically bought the Boss Micro BR (unit only) for $50. The 128mb demo SD card was found inside but that was it. At home here I already have an extra AC Adapter plus a 2GB sandisk memory card that worked great although I’ve heard the Boss Micro-br only works up to 1GB. That’s fine for now though. I also had plenty of cables and the manuals are all available online which I prefer. Being in Japan, most manuals are in Japanese anyway so I obviously migrate to the internet to get the necessary literature.

Although I play the keyboard most of the time nowadays, I grew up playing and still play the electric guitar. I find that the Boss Micro-br is FANTASTIC for sitting anywhere in the studio, house, or even outside for playing. The Boss Micro BR runs on batteries and I can just sit anywhere and jam on the guitar to either the built-in drum machine or to backing tracks that I record. I even think it’s possible to create your own drum patterns using a Drum Pattern Arranger which is available via shareware. I can also use the available conversion software and either import or export WAVs and/or MP3s which is nice.

Basically though, the Boss Micro BR is a fun little unit. I grew up in the 80’s and the only thing close to this that I once had was the Tom Scholz Rockman which had that “Boston” Rock sound I recall. I never really used it much because I remember it being quite one dimensional with the “Boston” sound and there were other little quirks too like no drum machine and you couldn’t record on it. It was great at the time because I could jam on my guitar while walking around the house. It was certainly a novelty at best. With the Boss Micro BR I can get a very good amp simulator, great quality sound, and loads of effects. Plus I get a dedicated drum machine and 4 tracks to record ideas and/or back tracks. Through headphones the Boss Micro BR really sounds fantastic. Some people are critical of the distortion, but again coming from the old classic Rockman of the 80’s I find the distortion to be better than anything I’ve ever heard unless of course you are a big Boston fanatic…laugh.

I also will likely use the Boss Micro BR as a voice recorder and MP3 player. I tried both and it performs very well with these two functions. I also own another Voice-Trek recorder which I use quite a bit. Being in Japan, I often send MP3 voice messages to family and friends, so it’s nice to have a backup with the Boss Micro BR. I’m also constantly listening to music and knowing I have something I can use as a backup MP3 player is great. I’ll probably throw all kinds of music and podcasts on this. Plus you can use the Boss Micro BR as a means to slow down music for learning songs, chords and riffs for either the guitar or the keyboard. This works very well also. It will also be great to throw the Boss Micro BR into my Roland SH-01 GAIA case and have something to record or jam with on the go.

I bought the Boss Micro BR over competing brands simply because it had a rock bottom “used” price and it had some pretty good functions to start my recording with. Whether I move on to something else or not will likely happen if I encounter some major problems or find a used Korg SoS recorder for a good price. There may be something else out there as well and if anyone can recommend a good portable music recorder alternative, please leave a comment. I’d sure appreciate it.

Although Music recorders have been around for a few years now, it’s still a slight volatile market with updates happening every year or less it seems. I think the Boss Micro BR was released in 2006 if correct. All in all though it’s a fun little device and can be used and enjoyed in many different ways. Support from Boss seems to be good and so far I haven’t had any issues with learning how to operate the device. Some say it’s overly complicated, but as a synth player, computer programmer, and overall sound nut, I find it’s not that hard really. Like everything else, it just requires a bit of work to learn initially and then you’re off and running. Again, my expectations are low and requirements are simple, so perhaps that’s why it’s been a good match so far.

Should be fun doing some keyboard jams with it too!! Enjoy!

Roland GP-8 GP-16 Guitar Effects Processors

Roland GP-16 Digital
Roland GP-16 Digital Guitar Effects Processor

Today I picked up a used Roland GP-8 and Roland GP-16 guitar effects processor for a total of a hundred bucks over at the music second hand shop. They were just brought in today and were in excellent condition. The GP-8 was in very good condition considering the age of the unit. The Roland GP-16 was in mint condition which was very surprising. I didn’t get any manuals or foot controllers, but I do already have an FC100 so that should work fine.

The GP-8 is mostly an Analog Effects Processor with basically 8 Boss stomp boxes in one unit. The Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor is one of the earliest (1987) multi-effect racks with 8 effect blocks that included Dynamic Filter, Compressor, Over Drive, Distortion, Phaser, Equalizer, Digital Delay and Digital Chorus. The digital delay and chorus are both 12-bit. There is a slight bit of noise with this unit but nothing that a Noise Suppressor can’t take care of. There also is no reverb, but I can always get that out of the GP-16 or somewhere else.

Roland GP-8 Analog
Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor

The GP-16 is a Digital Effects Processor that contains a Compressor, Distortion, Overdrive, Picking Filter, Step Phaser, Parametric Equalizer, Noise Suppressor, Short Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Pitch Shifter, Space-D, Auto Panpot, Tap Delay, Reverb, and Lineout Filter respectively. I heard a rumor that the Space-D is the same as the Boss DC-2 although that I believe was analog and not digital. So that’s probably the only difference between the DC-2 and GP-16 Space-D. The Parametric Equalizer, Chorus, and Flanger are really good on the Roland GP-16 as well.

I already have the Boss GT10 and GT8 pedal boards. I didn’t need the Roland GP-8 or GP-16, but for $100 together, I couldn’t pass them up. I’m really glad I bought them. Of all my pedal boards now, I think I like the Roland GP-8 Distortion the best. It really reminded me of the boss distortion pedals in my room when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s really fantastic in my opinion. The Dynamic Filter, Compressor, and Phaser are also really good.

With the Roland GP-16 (1990), I particularly liked the Dimension Space-D, Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser effects. Just about all of the modulation effects are fantastic. The distortion is not as good at the GP-8 to my ears but still usable. The GP-8 sounds fatter and more full, while the GP-16 is a bit thinner, BUT, not as thin as my Boss GT-10 when I first plugged that in. The GT-10 I thought was really really tinny and had a lot of fizz. The GP-8 had no fizz at all in the distortion department and the GP-16 almost nil as well, but it did have something a little fizzy which I can’t quite put my finger on but not so bothersome as with the Boss GT-10.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16. I didn’t expect to use them much for guitar, but rather for my older synths and keyboards. However, I think I’ll be taking the GP-8 for it’s wicked distortion the next time I’m out playing. I think the GP-16 should sound great with my keys and even my guitar synth. It’s pretty cool too.

I should also note that both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 worked perfectly with Midi Quest Sound Librarian and editor. I tested them both today and I was able to transfer all Patch banks for editing. So effectively, I can now edit patches on the computer very easily for both processors. I also have the older Emagic Sound Diver for PC and noticed there is an instrument file for the Roland GP-8. I’ll have to try and see if that works, but for now Midi Quest is good. Both the GP-8 and GP-16 came with the original patches as well, so I didn’t have to go looking for them. Manuals were found on the UK Roland FTP site.

I STRONGLY recommend the Roland GP-8 for a great all around and cheap effects processor if you can find one in good condition. I would also recommend the Roland GP-16 but only after you get the GP-8. I also think both make great effects processor for synths too. If anyone can confirm that the Boss DC-2 is indeed inside the Roland GP-16, please comment. I’d love to know if this is true as I’ve never heard a real DC-2 to compare. The Roland GP-16 Space-D sounds sweet though.

In conclusion, the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 are still very good effects processors despite their age. The Roland GP-16 has some very unique patches and effect combos in it which I can understand bring some people back to them. The Roland GP-8 is just warm and friendly. I love it!

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