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Jasper's Cast / Blog

Tech Speak, pt 1: Electric Guitars and Basses

Welcome to Tech Speak, the portion of our Jasper's Cast blog where we can talk about gear and technology. This is the 1st installment of the series that I, Jackson, am putting together because, well, I love gear and technology. I think that we in Jasper's Cast have a weird and eclectic collection of stuff that would be nice to outline and document. Most importantly, though, we are a very DIY band who does all of their own recording, engineering, mixing, and mastering, and to promote how easy--and fun--it is to do everything yourself, we want to fill you in on our process.

Electric Guitars

First up, I'd like to talk about our electric guitars, mainly because that's what's set up at the moment to record. It's also probably the most straightforward to explain. When recording, I run the guitars through two amps, a 1967 Fender Super Reverb and a 1968 Fender Dual Showman. The Showman is super bassy, while the Super is brighter and cleaner. The combination of both sounds really well balanced. For some parts, it's a little unnecessary to have both amps, so some of the guitars are tracked just through the Super Reverb. Both amps are mic'd with Shure SM-57's.

I'm using a couple of different guitars on the record. For the most part though, I've turned to my Gibson Les Paul that I purchased right before we started recording. It's by far the most versatile and balanced guitar I've played, so it's getting the most use. There have been some instances where I've used a Fender Stratocaster, mainly to add a different texture to the guitars sounds. Jeremy also has a Burns Steer, which is a very cool and very funky guitar, that hasn't made an appearance on the record yet; I'm sure I'll be using it very soon though. For slide guitar, I use a '50s Airline Archtop that I purchased at a Goodwill here in San Antonio for 80 dollars. It's really banged up and impossible to play, but works fantastically for slide. There's also a few instances where I've used my resonator; that guitar is my go-to guitar when I play live, but really hasn't been a factor on any of our songs. Bass

For bass, we've been using a Stagg bass that I purchased used. The previous owner converted it into a fretless and did a pretty messy job, but it sounds great and gets a ton of use with us. We run that bass into an Ashdown head and through an Ampeg cabinet. We mic the cab with a Shure Beta 52A kick drum mic, and also run the clean bass signal, unamped or "direct", into the mix as well.

Effects

On our previous record, we used a lot of effects, specifically a ton of reverb and delay. We've definitely cut that back on our recordings at the moment, relying mostly on a drier guitar tone. I do use a couple of different overdrives and distortions for a few of our dirtier guitar tones, mainly going through a TC Electronics Mojo Mojo. Also used has been a Boss DS-1 Distortion (Robot Monster modded this), a Keeley Katana, a Boss Equalizer, an MXR Micro Amp, and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. We've also used a few different delays and reverbs, such as the Malekko 616, an 80's EHX Stereo Memory Man, an EHX Cathedral, and a Digitech Digiverb. I have a Line 6 multi-effect that has some pretty cool filters that have subtly made their way onto the record. Also, I've used a tape recorder to build some pretty interesting tape loops for a couple of different songs on the new record. The bass signal is, for the most part, recorded clean without effects.

Thanks for reading,and check in next time to read more about our recording gear and process. If you have any feedback or comments about our process, we'd love to hear about them! Also, any comment you have on the DIY process interests us too!

Jackson Jasper's Cast

Graduation

The end of the school year is a fine time to reminisce. As I turn in my last paper and prepare for the very last exam of my undergraduate college career, I'm starting to think about where I've been and where I'm headed. In the short-term, a new house, a new job, and a new routine. Long-term, a new city, a career, and all those other things. But I know that music is always going to be a big part of what I do and why I do it. And you'd better believe that the dulcimer is coming with me no matter where I go. So, right before graduation, we've got a show at The MIX on St. Mary's. It'll be my last show as a college kid, but I promise there will be plenty of post-grad shows to come, as well as some new developments from Jasper's Cast as we all deal with some pretty big changes shaping our lives. I want this whole band to graduate with me, and it's gonna take some work but I promise it'll be worth it. Keep an eye on us, and we'll be sure to make things interesting. Cheers,

Eric

Deja Vu

Greetings, dudes.

We started this blog way way back, on December 30th, 2010, with the best intentions of keeping you guys up-to-date with what we as a band were up to. Boy, did we fail big time. Since this started, over a year ago, we've had 7 blog posts, with the last one dating back to April 14th. But while we have been lackadaisical in keeping our blog current, we've been quite the opposite in other areas of our musical endeavor. Here's a quick list of things we've done over the past year:

- Toured. Twice. - Self-recorded, mixed, mastered, and released our 1st full-length album. - Put together a humongous album release show. - Replaced a band member. - Played countless shows with some super-duper bands here in San Antonio. - Written countless songs, some super-duper.

So while we may have slacked off on our blog-posting, we feel pretty darn awesome about everything else we've accomplished. It's been a hell of a lot of work, but it's also been a hell of a lot of fun. We also have no intention of letting up at all. As this new year starts, what we have planned for 2012 looks eerily similar to the incredible year we had in 2011. While we have no plans of replacing a band member this year, we're going to play quite a few awesome shows with some awesome bands. We're going to write some awesome songs. Most importantly, though, we're going to self-record our second full-length album, henceforth referred to as LP 2, this year. We'll post a blog going into detail about that next time. This post is mainly to let you know how excited we are for the upcoming year.

Thanks, you guys, for listening, following, and caring about us. It means a lot.

Jackson

City Lights Album Release

So, Jackson and I were sitting in Zach's house, 'watching' the front door. Jackson had strayed to the keyboard in the back room, and I was feeling the powerful urge to pee. My book was growing less and less interesting as nature kept calling, so I shuffled like the patient of some mental ward into the bathroom. As soon as I left the bathroom, just kinda shaking the water off my hands, I heard the brakes squeaking out in the street. Like the aforementioned mental patient, I started shrieking and pretty much just losing myself. "UPS UPS UPS!!!" I was shouting, and like my nurse, Jackson came running into the room, nearly tackling me as I tried to open the front door.

The UPS guy looked at us like we were idiots, but I just grabbed the clipboard and signed. Hells yeah, they were ours. The albums, all of them. We carried them triumphantly above our heads into the house and tore a box open. The shrink-wrapped little beauties sat gazing up at us, nestled in their rows, all comfy and cute. We gazed down at them, returning the favor. We grabbed one and opened it up, giddy and kind of idiotically. It was just too good to be true- it had all worked out somehow. Our name wasn't even misspelled. Cool.

The album is called "City Lights: How I Learned to Love the City" and it has been our project for about three months now. Consuming weekends, late nights, and lots of beverages, the project has made our heads and wallets ache, our girlfriends mad at us--or at least frustrated with us, and yet we've all had tons of fun and I, personally, regret nothing!

The album sounds and looks very professional--effects and distortion are brought to the center stage, the subject matter strays to the serious or introspective. It's very different from our previous recordings, but explores dichotomies that I believe define the band. The concepts of progress and growth are central--a storyline that deals with the country vs. the city, and songwriting/arranging that features acoustic vs. electric instrumentation. There has certainly been some growth and progress in the making of this album (within the band and the band members), but there has been a continual examining of where we have come from, who we want to be, and whether or not we're headed in the right direction.

So please give it a listen or check out whatever we might have up online. Come see us sometime, pick up a cd for cheap if you come to a show. Our music has changed, and continues to change still, and we'd love for you to be a part of it and tell us what you think of it.

Thank you to all that have helped us on this album, thank you to all the folks who came and partied with us at the release show/party, and thank you to all of y'all that continue to be a part of this Jasper's Cast shindig. Eric out!

Eric

EP Release

Yesterday, 3 Strings Records and Jasper's Cast officially released the Jasper's Cast EP. It consists of seven songs, for free, comprising roughly 24 to 5 minutes of, well, Jasper's Cast. They are all songs that we here in the band could call oldies, as we've been playing them at shows for a good year now, but they are indeed goodies as well and are, I believe, some of the best songs that I have been fortunate enough to help into existence. There are, in my mind, doubts and anticipations-- worries galore... But behind them all a happiness that we're finally able to give the world some quality recordings of some very fun songs. As we've recorded and mixed, engineered and mastered, I've grown to love these songs more than I though possible, and I hope that you all will share this love with us. So please make a little time to give this EP a listen, and I think that you'll enjoy what you hear. Thanks, Eric Elliott and Jasper's Cast

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