May 1, 2020

Rob Thomas | Little Wonders

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About this Video
Released in 2007 and written and sung by Rob Thomas himself, is a real story about his wife's dog Tyler (you may think otherwise based on the notion relayed in the lyrics), but ended up being the title track of Disneys animated feature 'Meet the Robinsons'. Go figure.

Another way to get a sense of this story/tune is to not ignore the simple yet amazing aspects of life and take the time to reflect on your place in the world.

I'm playing this musical work in the Key of AMajor w/no capo (in G if with capo on third fret) and produced to the original arrangement in set in 4/4 time. Tempo is 167bpm. I had a fully orchestrated backtrack produced that matches the musical style and sound I wanted. I have a basic backtrack available for practice if you want it.

Notes of Interest
The opening sequence is a neat little lick matching the original lead guitar heard in the background. I removed that opening lead from the backtrack, to be replaced by my own playing - sounds good and is a match. If you listened to the backtrack, there is no opening lead lick. There are other points in the backtrack that have been attenuated to be replaced with my own playing.

Handling a Sour G String
This tune has rather long sustaining notes that use the G string a lot and does produce sour sounding notes. To compensate, adding any vibrato, overdone reverb, or gentle hammers or slides - are all for not. Sour sounding G string issues have a been an issue for many players for a long time. Not to mention that the guitars themselves don't offer a solution - cheap to pro.

Playing sustained note on the G string gives rise to the possibility of sour G's. Sure, playing fast lead and blasting out fuzz or other noisy overpowering effects can hide the problem, but not for this style of play.

Changing string gauge, off setting intonnation, selective fret range tuning, changing pickups - heights, fret-work, bridges and nuts - are all to no avail. I have used my Stratocaster, Telecaster, Gretsch and Jazzmaster - installed new strings, twiddled with intonnation etc., again -- no positive results. Very frustrating and annoying indeed.

When you think about it, why do acoustic guitars not suffer from this problem in general - yes cheapo acoustic guitars can have this issue. Most quality acoustic guitars however have for the most part even with no easy way to intonnate and various bridge solutions - still produce good results on G string play.

The main difference is the string type, acoustic string sets have a wound G string. Electric string sets offer plain G strings for the most part. You will have to buy a special string set with a wound G string for electrics.

I did a buy a D'daddario set with a wound G string - .018w. It did sound good but is really attenuated in volume. This means some twiddling of the G spot pickup - so that was a non starter.

Went back to a new plain G string of a .01 set. Paid more attention to the intonation and tuning. Was better, but still sounded off.

I did discover the frets themselves were somewhat flat and not crowned enough. Spent some time in leveling and crowning the frets and voila - some minor buzz disappeared and the G string had a much better sustained ring and sound. Go figure.

Equipment Used and Settings

  • Fender Telecaster. Bridge pickup. Flat tonal range set using built-in EQ
  • Strymon Flint Reverb
  • No vibrato needed.

Audio and Video Production Tools
Audio recording is done using REAPER DAW, ART DI boxes and an ART USB based audio interface to get guitar sound to DAW.

Video production work is done in Adobe Premiere CS5. Original and final Video resolution is 1280x720p. Compression is about 7-10mb/s MP4. Youtube will transcode to their transmission specs anyway.

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