Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: March

Well here's the March installment. I almost didn't get around to doing it this month... I'm a bit busy at the moment!

Just click on the above image to open the larger 580x580 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Photo of the day: A big heavy box

Well it's finally here! My digital piano (Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240) finally arrived in the huge (and extremly heavy) box you see in the photo. Fortunately the nice people from the shop humped it upstairs for me and I then spent a couple of hours putting it together. Assembling it was actually quite hard work, especially disposing of the mountain of cardboard and foam that was left over.

I'm afraid that I'm far too busy playing it to write any more details right now, but I will reveal all soon (or maybe I'll just tell you about the piano). Suffice to say it's really really bloody good. I am quite amazed by the sheer quality of the instrument. Those Japanese really know what they're doing with this kind of thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photo of the day: Guitar practice

I was trying to figure out Ritchie Blackmore's guitar solo in Rainbow's Gates of Babylon (click here to listen to the original). This is something I've tried doing a number of times over the last few years and given up. I've always wanted to learn it because it is one of my favorite pieces of guitarwork of all time! It is an extremely complex solo. It has unusual scales and phrasing, and I find it very difficult to pick out the notes when listening to the original recording. In other words it is a sod to play!

I decided to I'd pull an MP3 of it into Audacity and slow it down to try to make sense of the bits I am struggling with. So far this experiment is working quite well and I've worked out quite a few bits of it. In fact I think I'm about 70% of the way there now. I'll hopefully do a backing track and record it up on Garageband and post a YouTube video soon. The photo shows my PC with the original track slowed right down on Audacity. The laptop is my trusty Mac with Garageband on it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The piano has been ordered!

I ordered a piano a few days ago! Well a digital one anyway. Of course I'd love an acoustic, but this is much more convenient for me at this present time; headphones... USB interface... different instruments... doesn't weigh a tonne etc... you get the picture.

The model I have ordered is a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240 in Rosewood. These digital pianos have a "graded hammer effect" which means that the keys are weighted like in an acoustic piano (heavy at the bottom and lighter at the top). They also look pretty good as they've tried to make the cabinets look more like acoustics. I was going to get one on ebay, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for which wasn't miles away. Therefore, after lots of homework and a few trips to music shops I finally ordered one from new.

I was blown away by how the thing sounded in the shop, and can't wait for it to arrive next week. I'm looking forward to resuming my lessons! I've had about 5 or 6 lessons so far, and haven't had one since December. I decided to stop them until I get a piano because much as I enjoyed the lessons, I thought it was a bit pointless continuing unless I could practice. Anyway it'll finally be here soon and I'll have to get to work on it as I think it's the deadline for applying to do Grade 1 next month.

Here's a video of some bloke playing the same model Clavinova that I ordered: