Bass Transcription – Pink Floyd ‘Money’

Money Edit

Introduction

I’m continuing with my series of transcriptions this week with a full electric bass score for the Pink Floyd classic ‘Money’ as performed on the album ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ (1973). The sheet music includes both standard notation and tablature (TAB) for standard 4 string electric bass in standard tuning.

Before we dive into the performance notes, download a copy of the sheet music from Sheet Music Plus here

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New Music – Antony Cull ‘Promise (Oscar Remix)’

New Music – Promise (Oscar Remix)

Last month I released a new single ‘Promise’ under my solo project (you can read the launch post here). The original track was a mix of classic Trance and modern EDM and has so far been really well received. And it wouldn’t be a successful dance track without the obligatory set of remixes, enter VDV Productions.

VDV Productions Logo

VDV Productions Logo

I was approached by producer Oscar Vander Veldon of VDV Productions to do a full remix of the original. The result was a more chilled out House style remix that sounds really different to the original. Take a listen to remix in the Soundcloud player below and compare it the original in the other Soundcloud player below.

Very different I think you’ll agree?  Much less hard hitting with a more space and really wide bass response. If you’d like contact VDV Productions for a remix, you can contact through the following social media sites.

It was a really interesting experience hearing my own track filtered through another producers composition and production style. I’d love to hear other tracks I’ve written get the full remix treatment in the future. Let me know what you think of the remix (and the original) in the comments section below. If you’d like to here more of my music check this dedicated page here. As always thanks for reading!

Solo Guitar Arrangement – Gary Jules ‘Mad World’

Lesson Introduction

I had a lot of requests lately for the Gary Jules and Micheal Andrews version of ‘Mad World’. The original Tears For Fears version is an absolute classic but there is something about the haunting arrangement of Gary Jules that seems completely timeless. I think a lot of people first heard this on Donnie Darko (such a good film) but it comes around pretty regular with every generation. This was single from the 2001 Gary Jules album, ‘Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets’ and was written by Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears.

Before we dive in to the lesson grab yourself a copy of the sheet music (with TAB) from Sheet Music Plus here!

Initially I set out to create a very basic open chord version for beginner student. As time passed I found myself bringing in elements of Micheal Andrews piano arrangement and vocal melody into my version. Before I knew it I found myself arranging a full version for solo guitar for my more dextorous students. Despite being arranged initially for solo guitar this arrangement would also work well with a vocalist for a beautiful duet.

To make the arrangement possible and accessible, the piece has been arranged in A minor. To play this arrangement in the original Gary Jules key of F minor simply place a capo on the 8th fret. If you want the Tears for Fears version put the capo on the 9th (this may be a little cramped for some acoustics).

Performance Notes

  • The arrangement requires a basic knowledge of fingerstyle technique. The bass line should be played with the thumb throughout with the remaining fingers focusing on the melody. If you are struggling to get separation between the parts try dampening the lower strings with the side of the palm.
  • As the piano utilises a sustain pedal in the original, aim to let notes ring out were possible and if played amplified add reverb to increase the overall ambience.
  • The only challenging chord shape in the piece is the first D chord of the Chorus which should be approached with a barred C shape.

If you have any other problems with the piece leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this lesson and the arrangement useful for your own performances. I’d love to hear your performance of the piece, put a link to your video/audio in the comments section below and I’ll take a listen. The next solo guitar arrangement on the list is the 90’s classic ballad ‘Kiss From A Rose’ by Seal. Thanks for reading!

New Music – Antony Cull ‘Promise’ Single

New Music!

I am very excited to announce that my latest EDM single, ‘Promise’ is out now! The track is a fusion of classic trance textures, progressive house structures with a hard, modern EDM beat. The track is driven with hooky melodies and broken up by carefully constructed breaks. Take a listen to it in the Youtube player below as you read (links for other players below.)

How It Was Composed.

The track started out as three separate ideas written over a three month period that I cut, fused and remixed into one self indulgent 8 minute mix. From this extended mix, I gradually cut and edited the whole track down to tight 5 1/2 minutes to make it radio/club friendly and to give the track more momentum and urgency. The inspiration behind the fusing of several separate ideas was to capture in a record, the feel and build of a live club set into a single track.

I’ve been looking forward to releasing a following up single to last years ‘Digital Sleep’ EP (you check it out here), for the last few months but thankfully I’ve been busy and hard at work for my various production clients. ‘Promise’ brings together all of the electronic music production techniques I have developed since releasing ‘Digital Sleep’ and moves my electronic sound a lot further forward.

The artwork has a mix of Indian ink and watercolour. I’ve always had a strong sense colour, shape and texture when I listen to music so I aimed to create the image I see when I listen back to it. I would like to continue exploring this area with future release. It would be fascinating to see what art other peoples synesthesia creates from this track.

Antony Cull Promise Single Final 1

‘Promise’ Antony Cull

Where To Get It.

The track is available to buy/stream now from all the usual distribution services including iTunes, Spotify, Deezer etc. Here are the links to all of the usual places, don’t forget to do all the relevant things to support the track on that network, it is really appreciated.

  • iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/promise-single/id1237640902
  • Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/4XH9kMCpZd9T7G0zr9FeX3
  • CD Baby – Artists get 90% of all purchases on CD Baby! – https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/antonycull2
  • Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promise-x/dp/B072354KPM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495787931&sr=8-1&keywords=antony+cull
  • Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Antony_Cull_Promise?id=Bi77zyb6ygcgf5kdmvqhdwedoca&hl=en_GB
  • Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2iCDuK_EcI

Everything I earn from these releases is put back into the music and I want to thank you for supporting these projects. I have already started writing new material with a slightly different approach to be released later this year. I’d love to know what you think of the track in the comments section below, thanks for listening!

Production Credits

Composed, performed, engineered, mixed and mastered by Antony Cull

New Music – Warning ‘This Time’

New track, ‘This Time’, has been released from UK punk-rock band Warning and is on Soundcloud now for your listening pleasure! The track reminds me of early Green Day, self-titled album Blink 182 fused together with these Alkaline Trio style guitar patterns. Take a listen to the track in the Soundcloud player below.

‘This Time’ Mixing Process

The recording sessions were produced and engineered by James Ashman. Thankfully he had some serious mics and a Focusrite interface so the quality of the recordings where solid making my job as the mixing and mastering engineer so much easier.

Now I’m not one of those engineers that follows a strict order of parts when I mix but I knew the drums and vocals were going to require the most time so I focused initially in those areas.

The drums had some slight phasing issues which took a while to correct with panning and nudging the individual parts to sync with the over heads. A fair amount of EQ and some slight reverb and compression on each track tamed everything ready for a stereo bus compressor. The tambourine you hear towards the end was myself as the last chorus wouldn’t lift when it switched to a half-time feel without the much cymbal work. It felt really empty on the high end and that needed fixing (thank god for tambourines)

Vocals where run through my latest effects chain with light de-esser, EQ, two compressors (for very low gain reduction with each), octave down and the usual reverb and delay for ambience.

The bass performance was duplicated so I could treat the low thump of each note and the aggressive rattle of the pick attack separately and blend them with a compressor at the end. There is something about treating the pick attack with lots of brightness and amp distortion that really helps it sit with the guitars.

The guitar sounds when they arrived at my desk where really dark and naturally compressed with all that gain. It was mostly a case of bringing out the high end and cutting/boosting frequencies to puzzle piece the sounds together. I still went for some light bus compression just to tie the stereo image together.

The rest of the process was just getting each component to the right volumes so it felt balanced. The mastering chain I’ve been using recently worked really well. I’ve stopped using any multi-band compression about 9 months ago and it really lets all the dynamics through. Perhaps I’ll buy a new multi-band plug-in and try and reincorporate it in.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this track, I certainly enjoyed mixing it. It is always an interesting experience working on another producers recordings and I have always loved working with punk bands. I’m looking forward to working with Warning in the future and seeing how their sound develops. Here are all the links to their social media, give them a follow to stay up to date.

  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/warningofficial/?hc_ref=SEARCH
  • Twitter – https://twitter.com/Warning_UK?lang=en
  • Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/warning_band/?hl=en

Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you would like a quote on mixing your music, take a look at my music page here. Thanks as always for reading!

Performing and Producing Personnel

  • Harry Kingston – Vocals, Lead Guitar
  • Ollie Hambrook – Guitar
  • Dylan Gibbons – Bass
  • Joe Sammons – Drums
  • James Ashman – Recording Engineer, Producer
  • Antony Cull – Tambourine, Mixing and Mastering Engineer

 

New Music – Grace Hancock ‘The Dark Side Is The Bright Side’

I recently had the absolute pleasure of producing a track for composer-performer Grace Marie Hancock. The track in question, ‘The Dark Side is the Bright Side’, was envisioned as a song for a villain in a Disney/Musical Theatre style. To compliment the tone of the song Grace has released with a video. Check it out in the YouTube video below!

Production Process

As myself and Grace live a considerably distance apart, we decided to opt for the remote session format. This is were a client records all their necessary part into a Logic session and send the entire project to me. From these parts I then add various desired musical elements before mixing and mastering . Grace sent me a project with a wav file for the piano part which gives me less flexibility than MIDI but really locks me onto the tone of the original performance. I then treat it with the usual EQ and compression like any other live recording. You might be surprised to know the vocals were recorded using a Shure PG48, which after some processing (EQ, compression, reverb and delay etc) actually does a really good job, especially considering the cost.

From these recordings I make the obligatory chord chart. I realize that to most modern producers this is very old fashioned by I always feel I get the best results from any session players I use, including myself. Using Sibelius and the hand-written chord chart I then construct the orchestral part. The entire orchestra is designed to enhance rhythms and feel of the piano and vocal but also fill in the sonic frequencies and create some counter melodies. By the time the orchestral arrangement was finished I had a full string, woodwind and brass sections with some timpani and snares to underpin it. I then bounced the MIDI file out and imported it into the Logic session and dialed in the appropriate sounds. I ended up using a sound bank from Komplete for the fretless upright bass which has made me consider getting a few basic instrument packs from them in the near future. It just sounds so much better then the Logic equivalent with the sampling of the buzz and finger noise.

The guitars were the next thing to go down. A cheap small body classical was used for the boxier tone and a Fender dreadnought was used for the bright steel guitar and the tremolo harmonies in the bridge. There was a slight lack of sonic weight in the low-mids so I tracked an organ part just to fill it out more and add some sustained elements to the chorus.

Digital percussion didn’t feel right against the live piano track so I set about replacing almost every percussive element with live instruments. Thankfully I had some shakers and my trusty tambourine to hand and I took a trip home to pick up my old hide head bongos. It was still sounding a little flat so I borrowed a snare to track live snare and bought an agogo to define the main beat. The percussion section is one of my favorite elements of the track and I have to give a shout out to Ollie Hambook for lending me the snare.

I ended up mixing everything as I tracked which left only tweaking sections to taste and adjusting some the levels after Grace heard the first master. The master wasn’t heavily compressed as I wanted to keep all of the dynamics in place. When you revisit those old Disney recordings the overall level is so much quieter then a modern pop production.

Final Thoughts

I’m looking forward to working with Grace more in the future as she performs with such with such heightened expression. It’s a real joy to mix something that has such a complex arrangement and allows me to use the orchestral skills I’ve spent so many years learning and maintaining. If you’d like to hear more from Grace check out the applicable links below:

I hope you enjoyed this track. If you would like to talk to me regarding your own project click here and take a look and the production services I’m currently offering. Let me know what you think of the track in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

Performing and Production Personnel

  • Grace Marie Hancock – Lead & Backing Vocals, Piano
  • Antony Cull – Acoustic Guitar, Orchestral Arrangement, Percussion, Organ, Mixing & Mastering Engineer.

How To Tune Your Guitar!

Now this topic has been covered thousands of times online but I wanted to write a lesson for my various students as a refresher.

What is Standard Tuning

The standard tuning of the guitar is E, A, D, G, B, E. This tuning and the strings intervals (distance between notes) will be the focus of this lesson. Many students use a mnemonic device to help recall the order of notes, here’s a couple to try out or try and create your own if neither helps:

  • Elephants And Dogs Get Big Ears
  • Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie

Each string gets progressively higher from the thickest (lowest) to the thinnest (highest). Standard tuning is used for the vast majority of the pieces in the guitars repertoire but there are countless other tunings you will undoubtedly encounter in your time playing. In this article I’ll be looking at several different tuning methods that I have broken down into two catagories: digital/analog guitar tuners and old school aural tuning methods.

TC Electronic - Polytune 2

My Trusty TC Electronic PolyTune 2

Use a Guitar Tuner

Now this may seem obvious but a digital tuner (or app) is the quickest and easiest method tune as it does not require any aural (listening) skills. I would always recommend using a tuner when staring to learn as it leads to less time tuning and more time playing.

  • Vibration Based Guitar Tuners – In the past decade I’ve seen the rise of small guitar tuners that clip onto the guitars headstock. These tuners pick up the pitch of the string via the guitars vibration through the neck. I’ve tried a few different tuners of this type including the Korg Pitchclip and TC Electronic Polytune Clip, but for sheer accuracy and affordability I continue recommend the Snark clip-on tuners.
  • Stomp Box Stage Tuners –  If you perform live regularly then a dedicated stage is an absolute must. Stage tuners allow you to accurately tune your guitar on a noisy stage completely silently. I currently use the TC Electronic Polytune as it is extremely accurate and has a super bright LED display, perfect for dark stages and studios (you can read a full review here). I’ve also used tuners such as the Boss TU-2/TU-3 and Korg Pitchblack and found them to be perfectly serviceable.
  • Guitar Tuner Apps – If you’re on a seriously low budget but own an android/apple device then you can download one of the countless free guitar tuners. My current favorite is the Roland Boss tuner which works well on my iPad and iPhone and plays nicely with students android operating systems. It should be noted that most DAW (digital audio workstations) such as Garageband (check review here) also have a built in digital tuner but you may need a device, such as the IK Multimedia iRig, to plug the guitar into it to get any really usable accuracy.

Old School Methods

Once you have developed an ear for what a guitar when correctly should sound like then it is worth spending some time learning how to tune by ear.

For all of the following methods you will need to tune your low E string before continuing. If you are jamming with another guitarist, simply ask them to play an open, E string and use it as a reference pitch to tune up to. If you ask a non guitarist for a reference note make sure its the right octave to make it easier, if it sounds too high ask them to go down an octave and if it’s too low ask them to go up and octave. Traditionally guitarists would use a tuning fork or pitch pipe to tune to. Some guitar tuner and tuning apps offer the option to play a tone (note) to tune to. It is usually the open A string (A 440Hz) as this is traditionally what and orchestra would tune too. If you are playing alone this is the best way to get a reference note. There are two commonly used aural methods still in use: the 5th/4th great method and the natural harmonic method.

  1. 5th/4th Fret Method – By fretting the 5th fret on the low E string you can then tune the A string to this fretted tone. Continue his method for the next two strings (5th fret A to open D, 5th D to open G). To tune the B string you will need to fret the 4th fret on the G string (as the interval changes from a perfect 4th to a major third). And finally for the high E string, fret the 5th fret on the B string. I would repeat this method and play some chords before beginning your practice session.
  2. Natural Harmonics – Assuming you are competent at playing natural harmonics you can also tune accurately with them. By playing the 5th fret harmonic on the E and 7th fret harmonic of the A you will create the same pitch. This will allow you to use your fretting hand to adjust the tuning peg. Repeat this method for the next two string (5th fret A to 7th fret D, 5th fret D to 7th fret G). For the B string play the 7th fret harmonic on the low E and open B string. And finally play harmonics on the 5th fret on the B string and 7th fret of the E string.

As you adjust the strings in tune the two notes with clash more and more creating a what is known as ‘beat’. As the two notes approach unison (the same pitch) the beats will get faster and faster until they reach the same pitch. This acoustic phenomenon will help you tune by ear and hear clearly when the correct pitch is reached of passed.

Some Other Thoughts on Tuning

  • Tune Up – This commonly used turn of phrase is literal. Tuning a string up to pitch is preferred as brings the necks tension up to pitch with it. Reducing tension on one string can reduce the overall tension on the neck causing other strings to slip out of tune. If you go past the correct pitch go back below it to re approach it gradually.
  • Silence is Golden – Contrary to many amateur performers I have seen live, no one wants to hear you tune. Don’t do it to your audience! Since the rise of digital tuners you rarely see a professional musician audibly tuning so investing in a stage tuner will make your set appear a lot more professional. If you change tunings a lot during a performance consider a second guitar for the other tunings. Better yet get a friend you trust to tech for you during the show and pass you each guitar as you need it and keep them properly tuned.
  • 440Hz? – The is the frequency to which most modern music is tuned to. 440Hz refers to the pitch of the open A string on a guitar in standard tuning. This frequency and the relative intervals are often referred to as concert pitch as is became the agreed pitch to which orchestral players would collectively tune. I would advise sticking with this unless a specific song requires you to change.
  • The Records Out Of Tune? – Often older recordings will sound out of tune with a perfectly tuned guitar. This is because they often predate the invention, accessibility and affordability of digital tuners and would have been tuned against a piano or a pitch fork. Once you have developed strong aural skills it is a good exercise to tray and tune to these records before playing along.

Final Thoughts

The importance of a correctly tuned instrument cannot be understated. Even if you had perfect technical ability and brilliant tone, an out of tune instrument will always undermine your performance. The more times you tune, the faster you’ll get at it and in turn the more of your practice time you will spend actually playing.

Hopefully you have this lesson interesting and useful. If there is something you think I’ve missed (perhaps you want information on some other tunings) or a topic you’d like me to discuss in future lessons please leave a comment in the section below.