Saturday, August 27, 2005

I did a bit of shopping today.

A new music shop opened up, and had a sale, so we went in there.

My mate had a look at the guitar pedals, and bought himself one.

I had a look at the basses, and was really impressed with one, a 5 string.

I played it for a while, and then went and found my mates, in looking at a synthesiser setup.

The guy working there showed us all that, rack mounted gear, that emulates stacks etc, and you can set it to the sounds you want, seemed pretty cool, but really pricey.

I had another look at the bass I'd been playing, a black 5 string, Alvarez, and decided that I wanted it.

I asked the guy what sort of a deal he could do on it, he came and looked, worked it out, and dropped $120 off the tag price.

I asked about getting some strings, to replace the cheesy ones on it, and then they joked what I'd try to get out of them next, a case?

We looked at the strings, the guy was going to give me a cheap set, but then realised I needed a set of 5, so that set were no good. He picked out a more expensive set, and took half the price off.

They went to find the box for the bass, and while they did so, I had a quick look at the cables, and decided to get a new one, I grabbed a short cheap one, $10 worth, thinking he'd just throw that in, but he only charged be cost for it, whatever.

I paid for that lot, and then we chatted for a bit.

The guy said to come back if we needed anything, and I asked if they had microphone preamps, since we need one for the Shure mic I bought last weekend.

He said they did, and we went and looked, he had a 5 input unit, with some basic mixing functions, and dropped $15 off the price of that, so I bought it. My mate had been looking at a whistle thing, so they guy threw that in with it.

My other mate had grabbed a glass slide, and while the guy didn't throw that in, he gave it to us for cost.

Not a bad days effort. I put the new strings on my new bass (couldn't put the new B string on though, because it's too long/too fat at the adjustment), then I had to tune it.

I had a look around, to see if I could find some instrument tuning software for linux.

I found a few different bits of software, but I didn't have any luck. I think there's something funny going on with the sound support on my laptop.

I tried a couple of different bits of software:

Linux Tuner. It fired up, but then didn't do anything, wouldn't respond to the sound input.

gtune, I didn't get as far as even downloading this.

vtuner, I couldn't get this to compile, it needed some other library, which wasn't available for Debian, and the source of that other library wouldn't compile for some reason.

tuneit, didn't seem to work, never responded to any input.

gtkguitune, starts, but never displays any input.

After this, I started to wonder if there was some sort of a problem. I found it hard to believe that out of all these programs, none would do anything.

I checked that the volume control was setup properly, it was turned right up on the microphone, it wasn't muted, and was selected for recording.

I could hear the guitar through the speakers, it was like the software wasn't looking in the right place.

I wondered if it had something to do with the ALSA support I'm using, and if this stuff was designed for OSS.

I kept looking, specifically for ALSA based stuff, or JACK based, and I found a couple more..

fmit, this was a real pain to compile, I needed to find where libraries were, set environment variables, install the JACK dev stuff. I got it compiled, ran it, and it pegged my CPU. I managed to kill it, and found it had output a whole stack of errors about a broken pipe.

I found another one, qjacktuner, of which there's only CVS access to. I downloaded all the files, one at a time, out of CVS, and then I went about trying to compile it. I needed to install libsndfile to get sndfile.h, then it compiled. I ran it, and it just didn't do anything.

I found this really good article, about guitars and linux. It has links to another couple of bits of software, gtune, as I found before, and xtune, but both the links in the article seem to be dead.

I discovered that tuneit will work with both OSS/ALSA, and JACK, so I tried using it with JACK, but I still didn't get anything.

Anyway, as I said, I think there's something wrong with the sound support (chmod 777 /dev/dsp didn't help), because even the gnome sound recorder doesn't work.

It'll claim to record, but you can't hear anything, and if you try to record again, the app will just hang.

Maybe I need to recompile the kernel, with different sound driver options, but then that means rebuilding the wireless drivers again, argh.

Anyway, I gave up, I booted up the windows machine I usually use Guitar Pro on to tune my guitar.

Even this was a pain, because I discovered that the sound pickup was really lousy for some reason, I found that I had to have the plug pulled out of the guitar slightly, for it to work.

I wondered if this could have been the problem on my laptop, so I had another go, with the plug out a bit, but it made no difference.


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