Microtonal metal?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by The Omega Cluster, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    That's what I'm hoping :lol: I've been coming up with some inlay ideas to help. How did it feel from a physical standpoint having the frets so close? It's something I've never experienced without them also being at the top end of the fretboard (i.e. a regular guitar at the 24th fret) and thus suffering from stiff sustainless strings anyway. I'll use mandolin wire and certainly test it out before doing anything expensive!
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Once the frets get closer together than the width of a fingertip, I just mash my finger into the frets themselves. It's not as painful as it sounds :lol: and I can get a decent clear stop that way, but my main problem up there is getting disoriented. If you have inlays, you have to make them really small or else have them bisected by fret slots. Beyond that, I believe it's a real pain for whomever levels off all of those frets.

    Do you mind if I ask who you had in mind to do the work? We have a guy here in the USA (you're probably familiar with him) who does work like this super cheap, and I've worked with him a couple times, and I've personally had good luck with him, but he's had a few very vocal critics in the past. There's another older guy up north who, I guess, does the work through some sort of proxy, but I've ordered from him before as well, and he's done excellent work fast, and is fairly priced, and then there's a guy out west here who charges and arm and a leg, and also doesn't respond to phone calls or emails very well, so I cut my contacts with him. I can also recommend not to use Carruthers Guitar Works in California. My business with them was not at all a pleasurable experience, but, oddly, they seem to have a good reputation; I'd say maybe I was unlucky, but my dealings with them were very thorough and lasted several years of headache, so I really don't think it was a fluke. But I'm sure you'd much rather stick with someone in the UK.
     
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  3. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I know what you mean about mashing the finger haha, I refretted a harmonic series board with a few very close frets but it was a very amateur job at the time. I am aware of whom you speak, had some chats with him previously. He definitely has quite an attitude but seems a reputable businessman for sure. If I wasn't dabbling in luthiery myself I'd probably go that way with a Strat or something. I'm inclined to get more practice in and do a cheap build myself, though with how busy I am a conversion of an existing cheap guitar may be a better idea to get something in my hands to experiment with faster. If I like it, I do have in mind a full build from a high end UK builder who hasn't previously dabbled in microtonal fretting but I'm sure could do a great job !

    I've really fallen in love with 31 EDO on the computer. I avoided it for a long time due to its size but in the end it's just so fantastic for retaining a potentially completely normal sound with excellent buzzy tuning whilst also of course opening up more extreme microtonal gestures and a rich palette of intervals
     
  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    By the way - I listened to your most recent release last week Bostjan and very much enjoyed it! Very entertaining lyrics too haha
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I know exactly what you mean. I started out on the computer as well, with the harmonic series, 17-EDO, 19-EDO, 22-EDO, and some different JI tuning sets. I bought my first micro guitar from Jon Catler, was blown away by how good it sounded IRL compared to the computer. After that, my dad helped me build some three string guitar prototypes with different tunings, and I comissioned Thomas Knath to build me a bigger, more customized microtonal guitar with a longer scale length and extended range, but he passed away, and then I commissioned Carruthers and they never started my project, then I found a local guy who said he'd do it and I ended up with an unplayable mess, then I was moments away from commissioning a Strictly 7, when the company started falling apart... phew, it was a long painful ride, but "you know who" came through for me with a guitar and a bass, and honestly, he didn't do everything flawlessly, but everything that really mattered was done very well, so I was really happy with how it turned out, and the price was right, too.

    My own work has been thrilling to do, but less thrilling to play. I think I can do fretless pretty well, but fretting a 31-EDO or 34-EDO or anything around that level takes a great deal of patience to get it done properly. I think I'd draw the limit of utility not much beyond that. 36-EDO is something I've wanted to mess with on a "real" instrument (as opposed to a synth), since it cuts 12 into thirds, or 38-EDO, cutting 19 into halves, but the law of diminishing returns always stops me.

    Hey, thanks so much Tom! I'm really flattered.
     
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  6. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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    Most likely not, I lost all interest in compiling tracks into an Album/EP/Demo/etc. years ago; the last time I did was in late 2014 (non-microtonal) and I've since removed that from the internet along with the majority of my "completed" music.
    If I produced something I felt was worth fleshing out then when it was complete I'd record the guitar and bass properly (mic'd amplifiers - which I find much easier to work with) and put in the work to make the programmed drums sound natural (unlike in those clips), but I'd probably end up with the wall of noise production anyway since I've always gravitated towards that. Unfortunately, I no longer play drums since playing was aggravating my tendonitis terribly even with significant technique work so it's unlikely that anything I record will have real drums in the future - vocals will also most likely be absent on anything I record in the future because I don't feel I have anything of value to say and therefore vocals would only be a detriment to the music; but I was having fun playing with the microtonal choir oohs. :lol:


    I wasn't posting here actively for quite a while. I was using loopbe and scala to retune guitar pro, but it was inconsistent at best - sometimes it just refused to work. So I'm back to just hand writing things out.
    Not 31EDO, but my Guitar and Bass are in 33EDO, so what I did is mark off 11EDO on the side of my fingerboards and use that for reference.Not really useful to you but the general idea of finding an MOS or another subset and marking that for reference is probably your best bet.

    Aside from some attitude issues (that got him banned from this site) the guy you're talking about guy in the USA is nice enough, but his luthiery skills are a bit lacking and you get what you pay for - the instrument will probably function; although not always, such as was the case another poster in this thread and a guy on facebook I was in contact with, but even if it works it will almost certainly be rough around the edges in a very literal sense - he doesn't bevel or round off his fret ends. For the money you could buy the tools to do it yourself.
     
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  7. InHiding

    InHiding SS.org Regular

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    I just listened to a few songs from vol II. It's sort of hypnotizing at moments. Very interesting. I got a bit of a Buckethead feel sometimes too.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Thank so much for taking the time to check it out, and thanks for the kind words!
    I listen to a lot of Buckethead. I'd like to imagine what he'd do with a few different tunings.
     
  9. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Except this is not the Fibonacci sequence.
     
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  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    *Linear recurrence sequence seeded by 5 and 7.
     
  11. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Oh, then it has to be a G series. Fibonacci only starts as 1 and 1 or 0 and 1. The G series takes the general concept of adding the two prior numbers to form the next one, but any number can be chosen.
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I picked up the bad habit of referring to any binary linear recurrence sequence as a "Fibonacci" sequence from two professors I had who made the same generalization.

    But anyway, the most popular Indonesian gamelan tuning is "slendro" or 5-EDO. It's the smallest widely used equal temperament. Other gamelan tunings are typically unequal, so, really, it's the smallest equal temperament that is culturally meaningful. Some different cultures tune xylophones to 7-EDO, and 7-EDO is really the smallest equal temperament which can effectively construct a pentatonic scale. 12-EDO, obviously, is the most widely accepted tuning by far. 19 and 31 were the only two number of notes to compete with the standardization of 12 per octave during the Renaissance, and, incidentally, 19-EDO and 31-EDO are meantone tunings with a third comma and quarter comma, respectively. The next meantone approximates are 43-EDO and 50-EDO with 1/5th comma and 2/7th comma. All of this gobbledigook means that, historically, the equal temperaments that have the most significance and also been best approximates to pentatonic and diatonic scales from the idiom of Western music are 12-EDO, 19-EDO, 5-EDO, 7-EDO, and 31-EDO.

    I just thought it was interesting that those fit into the form F1=5 F2=7 Fn>2 = Fn-1 + Fn-2

    Maybe it means nothing, yet 50-EDO predicted as the next number in the pattern also behaves the same way.

    And that's not to discount that you can get some very consonant intervals from 17-EDO, 22-EDO, 24-EDO, 27-EDO, 29-EDO, 34-EDO, etc. - but - if you play with these tunings enough you can run into some characteristic limitations in certain applications, plus 34-EDO is a subdivision of 17-EDO, and 24-EDO is a subdivision of 12-EDO, and neither of them offer improvements on the intonation of the fifth. The intervals in 34-EDO are not really a significant improvement over 31-EDO, except that being an even number, 34 offers a better tritone.

    They're really all just different palettes for painting different types of pictures, though.

    TL;DR 31-EDO is pretty cool and bostjan has a bad habit of misspeaking.
     
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  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Fun video, Star Wars Cantina band in various tonal systems.
     
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  15. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon ...but I like Timaru...

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    484A33A7-18A2-4788-83E8-BA141E117109.jpeg Here’s a 24 tone equal temperament (1/4 note) “straight” microtonal bass that MonoNeon had custom made with a stretched 2:1 octave scale with 12 frets added...not metal by any means (funk, R&B, experimental) but my PREDICTION is that a guitar crossover “take” on a straight fretted microtonal scale similar to this will be the first to catch on in metal
     
  16. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon ...but I like Timaru...

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    09254395-3030-41DE-A247-994BA7CC0F7B.jpeg BTW...this guy plays his basses upside down, strung backward...truly unique dude...
     
  17. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon ...but I like Timaru...

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    +1 on F-F...Flora-Fauna is about the best “metal” example...
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    What is a "stretched 2:1 octave scale?" What does "straight" mean in this context?
    I'm part of several microtonal groups online, and I read them quite often, yet I still find myself confused by the jargon to the point where I feel I don't understand the gist of a post from time to time.

    Anyway, 24-EDO, or whatever you wish to call quarter tone tuning, is quite obviously the most common microtonal tuning worldwide. The Arabs have been using it for hundreds of years, and the Persians maybe even longer. Ibanez even built some standard production electric guitars with quarter tones to market in the middle east.

    King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard has been using a guitar with some quarter tones for a year or two, and I've had a guitar with a few quarter tone notes for over ten years now. I think it's probably the best way to stick your toe into microtones without having to commit anything. You can play along with any standard 12-equal instrument without having to adjust anything, and then you can hit a maqam or off-note or extra-blue note here or there without really having to change gears.

    My main approach, with 19 notes equally divided per octave is also not new. That one goes back almost to the Renaissance, around the time the keyboard layout was standardized. Some people didn't want to allow the enharmonic equivalences we now have, i.e. C#=Db D#=Eb etc., and instead wanted to divide the octave into 19 tones, such that C# and Db would be one tone apart from each other. Those wanting such were in a small minority, though, so we ended up with 12-equal and not 19-equal as a standard tuning. My focus on 19 was to play with the idea of "what if...," and I think the result is that music done that way sounds pretty normal, for the most part, with a few new exciting things here and there to throw into the fray.

    My hats go off to people doing music in non-meantone and non-subdivided tunings, though. 17-EDO (17 notes per perfect octave divided equally) sounds pretty great, but you have to either play by feel rather well or else keep better accounting of where you are in your head. I really love the sound of 22-EDO, but I'm one tiny step above being completely clueless as to how to implement it. Tuning choices like those are unforgiving, in that, you can't universally play "normal" stuff, like you get with 24-EDO or, to an extent, 19-EDO or 31-EDO.

    The context of funk rock, IMO, is fertile ground for microtonal experimentation. A lot of funk rock bass lines walk up or down (usually down) chromatically, and to drag out this sort of progression with a few quarter steps or whatever analogous idea, can make for some really nifty sounds, at least to my ears. Guitar soloing over a typical funk rock progression, it's nice to throw in a b5, whether you start with a Dorian mode or minor pentatonic or whatever. With an extra note, there are some fun things you can do in between the 5 and b5, and also going up to the major sixth, if you are going with dorian, to make a micro-chromatic run from b5 - d5 (half flat) - 5 - t5 (half sharp) - #5 - bd6 (flat and a half) - b6 - d6 - 6. I'd encourage anyone with a fret saw and a cheap guitar they hardly play and a piece of fretwire to give it a shot.

    So, here's the above bass in question in action:

     
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  19. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon ...but I like Timaru...

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    C400A6E7-509F-4D99-BD72-4E8FE0905CFF.jpeg Straight meaning straight fretted...as opposed to micro-fretted (seen here)
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  20. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Yes, you ARE going to have straight frets when you play in equal temperament, unless your guitar has fanned frets (still straight though, but not parallel) or true temperament (made to account for the strings' mass, tension, and playing length).
     

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