The Ride

©Will Spicher 2007

   play The Ride

Watch the video (or launch YouTube page in new window).

(Note: video window sized for 480p resolution
TIP: Show full-screen, then restore to get 480p video)

Quick Jumps:

This instrumental draws its inspiration from a very big part of my life that has never found its way into my music before: mountain biking.  I am fortunate to live close to one of Illinois' best trail systems: Farmdale Reservoir.  This month (Sep, 2007) I logged my one-hundredth ride there and decided to celebrate by dedicating a song-page to it.

Don't get me wrong; I am no shredder!  In fact, I often ride alone precisely because I am too slow for pretty much anyone I ride with.  Nevertheless, I keep riding because I love it--the air, the dirt, the trees, splashing through the streams, slipping through mud puddles, and sudden rain.  Though I ride for exercise, I ride more for stress-management, solitude and endorphins. 

With that, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Peoria Area Mountain-Bike Association for their hard work and advocacy of the truly wonderful sport of mountain-biking.

About The Ride

Below is a link to an image map. I took a ride with my GPS and my camera and took pictures of my favorite spots. Enjoy the tour.

About the Song

I have been sitting on the bass line for a few years and have always enjoyed playing it but lacked ideas for giving it enough variation and motion to become a song.  That changed when I picked up the T5, dropped the low E to D, and played the bass line into the Jamman, and started playing along.  The chorus practically jumped off the frets.  As I thought more about it, I drew inspiration from one of my favorite guitar solos of all time: Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd, where the bass is doing something in D pentatonic while the organ runs through just about every chord in the book, and the guitar plays this amazing lead.  (The trained ear will hear the similarities rather quickly.)  So I went with it and laid down chords almost at random and had an awful time later remembering how they went as I wrote the guitar part.  But I listened to scratch tracks until it became embedded in my subconscious, and, with time and patience, the guitar line pretty much wrote itself.  The real trouble was with the super-shredder riff (1:50-1:60) which was really over my head, so I had to play it at 75% speed until I was ready to try it at full tempo.

About Mix B

After creating the original mix, I had an opportunity to play the song live.  I soon began to feel that the second chorus was a boring repetition of the first and needed something to create interest, so I created a wah-wah-effected solo that became part of the live performance.  In the mean time, shockwave flash has become obsolete as YouTube video took over, and I wanted to upload the slide show to YouTube along with other newer songs. However, the flash file is not compatible with YouTube, so I needed to start over.  Therefore, I invited Mike Kerby & Associates to shoot video of me playing the new solo against a makeshift green screen, and I turned the pictures over to him to reassemble into a new video.  However, I will continue to make Mix A and the original slideshow available here:

   play Mix A

Slideshow with Mix A

The T5 is run through the newest addition to the guitarsenal: The Carvin-V3-Powered Rig. The signal chain is daunting:

Taylor T5 (switch pos 4, no EQ, full volume)
GSP1101 (stompbox section for wah)
Carvin V3 Preamp to series effects loop
GSP1101 (effects section)
Carvin V3 Preamp loop return to power tubes
Carvin V3 4x12 half stack
Apex 215 Dual Ribbon mic (Courtesy of Rob Weber)
Aphex 207D tube preamp to S/PDIF output
M-Audio Delta 1010LT PCI interface

Notice that the GSP1101 appears both before and after the V3's preamp. This allows stomp-box models to operate at instrument level (the way stomp-boxes do), and conventional effects to operate at line level after the preamp tubes (the way they should).

A great thing about the V3 is that it responds to MIDI program change messages for channel switching, effects loop activation, and volume boost. That means I can use the MIDI foot pedal to control both the amp and effects (Digitech GSP1101).  But the really great thing is that it contains five preamp tubes (12AX7) and four power tubes (EL34) to capture that tone that still cannot be modeled adequately by digital signal processing algorithms.  The only problem is, I don't have the fortitude to turn it up loud enough to work the power tubes "properly." I may have to bury the thing in the closet and run cables under the door.

I really did not feel like starting over by converting the project from PowerTracks to Sonar, so I simply loaded Mix A into Sonar and played along with it. In the process, I discovered a great tool that I have ignored for three years: Sonar's 64-bit Multiband Compressor.  Switching it in and out of the master-bus, I noticed it works a subtle magic on the mix, which I describe as "tighter" and more "defined."

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.     1 Tim 4:8

...God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  1 Tim 6:17

Production Notes

Back To WillSongs++
published 29-Sep-2007
updated 18-Feb-2011