Tag Archives: Music

Line6 M5 “Expression Knob” Mod

CAVEAT: If you do this mod you can’t use a Line6 -style expression pedal via the jack any longer (well, you can, but you only get half the “travel” between minimum and maximum – you never get all the way to your maximum). The mod is reversable (by disconnecting wires from the PCB, though you’ll still have the knob mounted).

This one is a really easy mod; it’s much easier than the previous dedicated scene select mod.  The Line6 M-series are all capable of using an expression pedal to change parameters within a given model. Things like delay rate, mix level, tones, pretty much any parameter can be adjusted on the fly using Line6’s expression pedal or any expression pedal that uses a 10k linear potentiometer (so, Ernie Ball VP, VP Jr.  are out, as are standard Mission Engineering pedals.) The Line 6 expression pedal is quite simple, using only a 10k potentiometer between the tip and sleeve of a regular 1/4″ connector. When the potentiometer is all the way “up” then you can set the maximum parameter value, when it’s all the way “down” you can set the minimum value. This video shows you how to set these (and happens to use a knob as well).

In my case, I once made two expression pedals out of old wah shells and 10k pots. I used these with an M13 for about a year. In a recent attempt to scale back my rig while maintaining functionality, I now use two M5s, and modded them with the dedicated scene select as mentioned earlier. But, I also want to be able to take advantage of the expression pedal possibilities but don’t have room on my board for either the two wah-style pedals nor the expression switch/double preset mod which uses a fixed 10k resistor with  a DPDT between tip and sleeve.

So I decided to mount a foot controllable knob to  the top of each unit. As usual, this could be done to the M9 and M13 and probably any other Line6 unit that takes an expression pedal.

IMG_20141215_154956

Here’s what you need (for one pedal):

1 – 10k 9mm PC-mount mini pot, Smallbear. It’s not possible to use standard size 24mm or 16mm pots for this job.
1 – Large MXR style fluted knob, Smallbear.
1 – Knob Cover, Dunlop ECB131, Smallbear.
Hook up wire
Solder
Heatshrink

1) Take the bottom off the M5, which is a bit tricky. After removing the four screws on the bottom and the MIDI port screw, you need to push from the side opposite the MIDI ports, this will dislodge the bottom panel so that it can be easily pried up and removed.

2) Remove all the nuts from the jacks. This will allow you to remove the main PCB. Make sure to disconnect the ribbon connector that connects this board to the upper board. Mine had hot glue holding it together. This was easily dealt with by using a utility knife to slice the glue near the connector joint.

3) Remove the knobs from the topside of the unit using a slot head screwdriver to gently pry them up. Unscrew all the silver screws with lockwashers that connect the second PCB to the standoffs inside the unit. Disconnect the quickconnect that connects this board to the footswitch board.

4) The new pot can positioned in line with the footswitch, on the top plane of the pedal directly under the Line6 branding. I used masking tape to mark the position using the knob cover for guidance, like this:

line6knob01

5) Putting the unit aside, wire up the pot like this (the yellow wire is the tip, the grey is the sleeve:

IMG_20141215_152230

6) Mount the pot inside the unit (you can see there’s plenty of room even with the double preset switch in there:

IMG_20141215_153237

7) Now you reassemble the unit but before putting the main circuit board into place, solder the yellow and grey wires to the correct spots on the PCB:

IMG_20141215_153948

…and use hot glue for redundancy.

IMG_20141215_154024

8) Now you can reassemble. I did it like this, but there’s lots of room to route the wires differently:

IMG_20141215_154350

9) The mod in its final stages of completion:

IMG_20141215_153221

IMG_20141215_154911

IMG_20141215_154956

It’s actually quite easy to move, and you can approach it with your foot from a variety of directions. It doesn’t interfere with any of the footswitches either!

Guitar Sweatshops

via Another Line of Flight

Musicians usually show up at rallies to protest labour rights but it is very rare for that protest to be at a guitar show! If you own a Cort, Fender, or Ibanez guitar you will want to read about labour relations at their Korean factory.

Embarrassingly, I have never thought about labour conditions in Asian guitar factories. I reflected a little on this after hearing about this action. I think I can boil it down to a blind-spot: because it is music, there couldn’t be anything truly negative surrounding it” I mean guitar making, what could be more pure a pursuit than that? But of course there are always material conditions associated with the creation of things, and thus why should large scale industrialised guitar making be any different than shoes? I own one custom made instrument, I know the maker personally, and I saw the guitar emerge from pieces of raw lumber to become the instrument I now play. I also own an excellent Korean made guitar, a G&L “Tribute” Series. I have now learned that this guitar was very likely manufactured in a Cort facility, I now find this embarrassing. I also now have to question all of the other guitar accessories I own. One thing is for sure, I can use the guitar as an entry point into discussions of labour conditions in guitar factories, commodity fetishism, ideology, and labour more generally — as I pull it out of the case, or if someone remarks on it, for example. In this way, perhaps the workers can speak through the instrument? I dunno.

There has always been a highly racialised discourse about the supposed superior quality of American made instruments over their Asian made counterparts. This is part of a far reaching discourse that characterises the American labourer as a craftsperson, working with his/her hands to extract a beautiful instrument from a block of carefully chosen wood. This is contrasted with the common perception (and realistic) of the Asian factory, with all its attendant “Toyotaisation” (just in time shipping, hyper-Taylorist factory organisation, etc.), and the suggestion that it is impossible for anything truly beautiful to come from such a technologically sophisticated organisational paradigm. Perhaps this perception of the Asian factory has aided in dehumanising the labour process. But it turns out that there are still actual people at the end of that line, working to bring instruments to aspiring and accomplished musicians alike. We need to think beyond the commodity fetish and acknowledge the chain of events and human actions that bring us our products, perhaps we need to do this even more so for things like instruments, to which we attach such mythologies of purity and beauty that further mystify the material conditions of their makers.

What you can do: http://axisofjustice.net/how-to-support-the-cort-workers-namm/

Music

I’ve just put up free full versions of my two albums. It will be a little while before there’s anything new, and it’s been nine years (!) since the last new stuff! You can find them on the Music page. Enjoy!

O Canada

The Harper government has suggested this week that it might take a look at revising the lyrics of “O Canada” in order to make them more gender neutral. Specifically, they are looking at replacing Robert Stanley Weir’s line “in all thy sons command” (to my recollection, this line is often rendered as “in all our sons command”), with the line from Adolphe-Basile Routhier’s original poem “thou dost in us command.” I think that in an ongoing effort to recognise the centrality of music in social and cultural life, this deserves comment.

This, of course, is a pretty valuable discussion to have, and one with at least a twenty year-old history. Indeed, why should patriotism only be associated with sons and not daughters? While we’re at it though, we ought to take it further and ask important questions about the music that is supposed to represent the people of this country. Let’s look at the French version, and begin the process of eliminating its gender specificity (“nos aieux” = “our forefathers”). Moreover, let’s ask ourselves whether a country whose indigenous population was largely polytheistic, and whose contemporary population is a grand mixture of people of many religious and non-religious backgrounds, needs an anthem that so prominently features the Christian deity, in both languages—they are, after all “His” sons. One step further.  Let’s acknowledge the troubled history of national anthems themselves as emerging out of a violent, colonial, oppressive nationalism, a violence that is reflected in “Car ton bras sait porter l’épée” (“As in thy arm ready to wield the sword”). And finally, we might just take this opportunity to re-examine the term “patriot” itself, and acknowledge its Latin and Greek roots: pater =  father. [1] I’d say that this is one way to harness the debate and hold the Harperites to the letter on this move. Then we can have a proper discussion about the notion of national political and cultural representation.

In a move sure to cause a vivid debate, I certainly don’t take this as a signal that the Harper government has all of sudden put gender issues on the table as part of its message. No. This is the same party and leader who have objected to same sex marriage and benefits for same-sex couples, who advocated disallowing women to appeal for pay equity, oppose national childcare, cut funding to Status of Women Canada, who wage a vicious war on the poor that disproportionately affects women, and who generally espouse conservative “family values”…the list goes on. Changing a word is unlikely to have material effects on the lives of Canadian women or anyone else.

But what is perhaps most subtly disturbing about this is that it comes at the very same time as a federal budget. As politicos are fond of calling it, this is an example of “deflective” or “deflection” politics. DeBord called it spectacle. The idea is to seed a story so perfectly well-suited for “person on the street,” populist “analysis” that members of the mainstream media simply cannot help themselves; they simply HAVE to cover it, it’s news. It’s also much easier to get a reporter out on the street with a microphone to ask people if they think nouns or pronouns [2] ought to be replaced in the national anthem than it is to ask people what they think about, say, a $3.25 a week increase in Child Tax Benefits ($3.25!?), continued promotion of “corporate welfare,” increased efforts in securitisation (which is, interestingly, also included in a chapter about “Supporting Families and Communities”)…and this list goes on. Especially after the Olympics, this is the perfect topic to deflect attention away from the budget; it is downright entertaining to see people speak passionately about “owning the podium” and how much it meant to “us” to have the national anthem played more times than any other host country had theirs played. It’s significantly less entertaining to have dry economists point out the failings (or successes) of a budget.

By nature a deflective tactic is also presumed to be less important than the issue from which it is supposed to divert attention; one wouldn’t deflect with something more crucial, that would draw unwanted attention. There is rarely any intention to move forward on the actual substance of the deflection. In this case, I think it would be fair to say that there will be a 50/50 split amongst those people polled who care about the issue, it will gain no real political traction, and it will thus have served its purpose as an entertaining piece of theatre.

But I don’t mean to suggest that the issue is not actually important, in fact, I argue the opposite. Using gender as a deflection is further evidence of this government’s contempt for progressive social issues. They have cravenly manipulated the intense feeling of pride held by many who live in this country over the great successes of hard-working, talented athletes; they have instrumentalised the supposed sanctity of the national anthem; and they have trivialised gender issues as a means to deflect attention from a budget that appears at first to be business as usual, but which I am sure, upon further inspection, will yield further damages for people, and further gains for corporate Canada. For me, this shows ultimate disrespect for each of these important issues. In addition to playing classic divisive politics (they are ignoring people affected by the many other problematic issues in the anthem’s lyrics), it seems to me a typically chauvinistic approach to suggest that issues affecting women could be addressed by paying attention to “aesthetics” rather than to material concerns.

So, what do people think about this?

Links:

http://www.budget.gc.ca/2010/plan/toc-tdm-eng.html
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/
http://www.rabble.ca/columnists/2008-stephen-harper-vs-feminism
http://www.newstalk650.com/story/20100304/30241
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/732997
http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/04/the-government-delivers-an-empty-almost-flippant-budget/
http://www.stephentaylor.ca/2010/03/stakeholder-reaction-to-the-2010-budget/
http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/anthem-eng.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Canada#Proposed_changes_to_lyrics


[1] Thanks to Valérie Savard for bringing up this point.

[2] Interestingly, this is probably one of the only times we’ll see debate over grammar occupy a front and centre position in the mainstream media!

Michael Geist on the Canadian Copyright Reform Consultation

Michael Geist notes the rock and hard place situation in which Canadians who desire a sane copyright law find themselves. The strategies employed by powerful lobby groups in order to shut out the voices of educators and consumers of creative works are of particular interest. Those in support of strict copyright laws, including “three strikes” laws for Internet users

turned out en masse for a public town hall meeting in Toronto late last month, resulting in multiple interventions from record label executives (four from Warner Music alone).  Packing the room ensured that there was virtually nothing heard from education and consumer groups, many of whom could not even attend the town hall since all the tickets were scooped up in less than five days.

See the full post here.