How President-Elect Obama''s proposed policies could affect musicians
What an exciting election season we just finished! A new era is being ushered in! No matter which side of the political fence you were on, we have to agree that it is exciting to see the entire world celebrating the change with us. The first African-American president…new feelings of hope…watchfulness to see if the economy can improve…hope for a change from a war-culture to one of productivity and emphasis one environmental/energy issues. It is a revolution in how we see ourselves and how we hope to interact as part of a global community.
The big question for us: What could all this mean for those working in music-related fields? Teachers, part-timers, performers, studio players, local gigging musicians, weekend-warriors, those who deal in new and used instruments, those desiring formal music education—all will be affected, hopefully for the better, by the election results of November 4. The value of the dollar, our health insurance, our taxes, seeing friends and family members go to war, seeking education, and the leisure time that makes more performance opportunities possible are all things on the table that will have a great impact on the music scene and its related workers. If things go according to plan, musicians, I hope, will greatly benefit from the new administration and the new era.
One of the largest concerns of many of my friends and colleagues in music-related professions centers on health care benefits. Adjunct music professors, full-time performers, studio teachers and small music businesses all struggle with the question of how to acquire (and afford) health insurance. Many people who might otherwise work in music fields choose not to do so because of the problem of acquiring health
benefits for their families. Under President Obama, it may become possible, for the first time, for these workers to more easily acquire health insurance. This alone may affect the number of people who can now consider a career in a music field.
Most of the average working musicians, teachers, and owners of retail stores who I know do not make more than $200,000 a year. For this group, it will mean tax cuts and a lighter burden at the end of the year. This was a controversial topic between the opposing candidates in the election season. If it comes to fruition, the players and teachers who I know will benefit.
Jimmy Carter was the first president to take seriously the question of a need for energy independence. He was ahead of his time and the idea had no traction. Following a clear crisis, the past eight years were lost as well and should have been used toward that end.
Finally, after being confronted with the pressing nature of the issue, it is being taken seriously, and under Obama we may see changes that, before long, will leave us driving to the gig in an electric car.
Will we be singing songs of the electric hybrid car, like we did in the first rock song (Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88”)? It may not have quite the same nostalgic appeal.
For those desiring a college degree in music performance and music education, the nature of how one goes about this may be drastically changed. In theory, university and community college attendance will become possible for many, in part, through a plan of trading community service for education. Tax credits and a revamped financial aid process will change how music students will apply for college and how they will pay tuition.
Of huge concern for modern musicians is the future of the internet. The Obama website promises the following: “(We) will protect the openness of the internet: Obama and Biden strongly support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet. (We) believe we can get true broadband to every community in America.” For those who are involved in internet music sales, promotion of bands, and a whole host of music-related internet activities, the future looks bright. The administration’s interest in technology and research can only help those whose livelihood has a connection
to the internet.
Beyond these considerations, the most important aspect of this era of change — something that could potentially and strongly impact musicians — is the general feeling of hope that seems to be emerging. When the economy is doing better, and when our primary focus is not on a wartime culture, the ground becomes fertile for the arts. If people are feeling better and more hopeful in general, they spend more money and they spend more time in leisure activities. For musicians and retailers (vintage dealers, too), this is all good news, since more money is spent on event tickets, concerts, clubbing, instruments and accessories, lessons, DVDs, computers, etc. Contrastingly, when people are fearful, and especially when they are fearful of the financial future, all the ‘extras’ are ended, such as spending money to be entertained by live music. We have reason to be hopeful in the New Year!
Happy New Year, from Jazz Guitar Hardball!
A clinician and jazz educator, Jim Bastian is a 10 year veteran of teaching guitar in higher education. Jim holds two masters degrees and has published 6 jazz studies texts, including the best-selling How to Play Chordal Bebop Lines, for Guitar (available from Jamey Aebersold). He actively performs on both guitar and bass on the East Coast.
An avid collector and trader in the vintage market, you can visit Jim’s store at premierguitar.com (dealer: IslandFunhouse).
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.