Ricky Garvey

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The Lumineers Cover – Ophelia | Little Climbers Bedroom Session

I’m going to have to be 100% honest right of the bat. I’m NOT by any means a fan of The Lumineers. That being said, I really dig their new song “Ophelia” and jumped at the chance to cover it with my good friend Josh from my project Little Climbers.

The Lumineers have an album coming out in early April titled “Cleopatra.” Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the record and plan to revisit their older stuff as I may have jumped the gun the judging this band. It happens. I admit my faults. ๐Ÿ™‚

Behind The Lumineers Ophelia Cover

I purchased this mandolin for $70. It was one of the most random purchases I’ve ever made. But it’s been a fun cheap investment and I’ve enjoyed learning simple chords. I may spend a few bucks investing in this mandolin this year. We’ll see. Either way, it’s super fun to play and I’m glad I got to do so on this cover video.

If you haven’t yet, head on over the the Little Climbers YouTube channel and subscribe for more cover videos as well as us playing some originals.

Unfortunately, Josh is moving about an hour away from where we currently live (Tustin), so these videos may be a challenge to pump out on a consistent schedule. So with that being said, enjoy this one. Check out some older videos we’ve put up on our channel. And enjoy it while you can!

Ambient Music EP | All The Hard Ways

One of my goals for 2015 was to create an ambient music EP with a few noisy tunes created in my home studio. Home studio is just another fancy way of saying my second bedroom where my wife lets me store my music equipment and iMac. But I’ve been lucky enough to record some really cool projects in this studio, even if my wife was cooking dinner 10 feet on the other side of the wall.

So with that being said, I’m announcing that the very EP I recorded and finished by the end of the year (and I cut it close. Masters were sent back to me on New Years Eve) is finished and you can purchase it for $2.

But I want to give back to everyone who has supported me.

If you use the coupon code “makenoise” you will receive this EP for FREE. All I ask is that you share the fact that this is essentially free with a friend that’s into ambient music like Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, or Godspeed!.

It’s simple too. Just send them to this link: https://gumroad.com/l/allthehardways

You can even copy/paste that link into your social media feed for extra points!

I also thought it would be cool to give a bit of background on each tune and how I got some of the noisy effects. So here’s a bit of background.

All The Hard Ways - Ambient Music EP Album Cover Art

All The Hard Ways EP

Trust Me, I’m Lying – I rediscovered the Line 6 M9 earlier this year after having it sit on my shelf collecting dust. I love its reverbs and delays, but I would typically only use it for that. It took up quite a bit of space on my pedalboard, so in my early 2014 pedalboard update, it was taken off and set on a shelf, where it ultimately sat untouched for too long. I’ve talked about the way this song is structured, but it’s fun to note that the first layer sat recorded on my Line 6 M9 for a few days before I decided to come back to it.

All The Hard Ways – I spent the later half of 2014 playing a few dates with an artist named Tyrone Wells. We played Craps and that’s where the phrase “all the hard ways” comes from. Flash forward to the later half of 2015. I’m at a bachelor party in Vegas with some good friends. I come home and decide to do some final mixes of this song (EQ. Fades. Simple stuff). Had to come up with a title and had to go with this.

Somewhere Between Here & There – This is the actual recording that you’ll hear in the live looping on my YouTube Channel. I turned my amp off, left the room, but left my Line 6 M9 on…. just in case. I’m glad I did. What planned to be simple live looping session for my YouTube Channel turned into a song on this EP. I manipulated the original loop by utilizing the reverse and half speed feature to give it some cool sounds coming into the song and going out.

28 – I love Back to the Future. I’m also a fan of using movie quotes in my songs. It’s something I’ve done for years. I just turned 28 and that can be a scary thing. This was the final recording I did on my two week vacation from work in late December. I used a lap steel guitar to get this sound running into my pedalboard. No looping. 2 tracks.



Ambient Guitar Looping | Ambien Ambient

I had quite an interesting weekend. And without getting into too many details, I ended up with a bit of free time Sunday afternoon and decided to spend it doing what I love to do most – ambient guitar looping with my pedalboard and Line 6 M9.

In case you didn’t know, looping and making ambient noise is one of my favorite pastimes. I love to loop with my best friends. It’s a real fun and entertaining way to get the creative juices flowing.

With that being said, I recorded today’s ambient session. It was all improvised and I ended up liking what resulted from this ambient guitar looping session. Check out the video below that is also on my Ricky Garvey Music YouTube channel in case you haven’t checked that out yet.

Behind the Noise

As I mentioned above, this is a total improvisation. The song is in D, but sticks to the 4, 5, and 3 chords with a simple inversion to make it sound extremely emo.

I’ll admit it. Sometimes going for the emo tone is totally ok. If it works, it works.

The high note in the beginning is a tremelo picking “A” note played and looped high on the neck. This made for a pretty interesting sound when the 4 chord comes in.

I think it gives it a feel that it can actually go in any direction. That’s why I’m a fan of having ambient notes NOT just be the standard note of whatever key the song is in.

From here, the song is split up in just a few simple parts. The high picking parts are there to give the song a chorus and a melody line to set that section apart. From there, verse 2 is just a dynamic build on those same chords. I end up picking those same chords in a few different variations while trying to avoid mudding it up. I think you can see me make some quick, last-minute decisions on what to do next.

The outro is just the “chorus” for a long time until I decided to fade the video out. Truth be told, I tried to put on the half-speed setting (which is a total huge hit or major miss). This time, it was a major miss since the progression for 4 bars is already pretty long. Double it up and make it sound like a messed up tape – not the coolest thing to set up as a next section.

But it made for ย rad intro shot with the pedalboard! So there’s your fun fact. The music you hear in the intro is the actual song in half-speed.

Have you been playing around with ambient guitar looping? I’d love to hear what you’ve been working on! Comment below and let’s share our projects.

Ambient Guitar Tone – All The Hard Ways

From time to time, I throw up some ambient tunes on my YouTube page from sessions in my home studio. I’ve been on a bit of a kick trying to figure out what I can accomplish with my Line 6 M9 pedal as a standalone unit. If you remember from my last post, I got on this kick because I had a fear that I was relying on my current board and the noise it makes too much. I wanted to ensure that I can remain creative with just one pedal and find some cool ambient guitar tones.

On a side note, I had another looping session with my buddies a few weekends back. Being married and having kids makes it tough for the group to get together so when we do, we make sure we break out the Line 6 M9 and have a good time looping and swapping turns.

So How Did I Make Noise With the Line 6 M9 This Time?

I like to walk through the steps it took to get to the final outcome. Going into this track, I expected to do the percussive sections in the reverse order as you hear them today. I wanted to do a full-time verse and intro and go into a half-speed chorus. I did this on the last tune and walk through and it really is a cool way to add dynamics to a track, especially when looping.

Ultimately, I ended up not doing this original idea, but doing the reverse. I started looping the percussion with the “half-speed” setting enabled. I layered some string sounds and noise with a dotted 8th delay to give it something super rhythmic. It’s not 100% perfect. There’s some hiccups, but I find that it gave the percussion character. Instead of taking the 30 seconds to do another take, I kept it. Call me lazy. I’ll agree. But I’ll just go ahead and pretend that’s what I went for and call it creative. You choose how you want to interpret the scenario. ๐Ÿ™‚

I wanted to do a moody tune (surprise). I played around with the 6 and the 1 chords with a delay that was just on the border of being annoying. It was almost too much and fought with the percussion layer but I liked where it was going.

After that initial full-time tag that lasts a couple of quick measures, the next verse carries those chords into a half-speed feel so it lowered the notes I played by an octave. This added a bit of dynamic to verse 2. When the main chorus/outro comes in, I went with the most emo chords I could think of – 4 / 6 / 1 / 5. I added the major 3rd since I was listening to some latin music that day.

This is the part where I admit I cheated. The lead line you hear on the outro was not done in the single take. I went back and overdubbed, so this song is actually two tracks instead of one track like my last song I walked you through. Call me a cheat. Call me a fake. I just knew it needed something more!

Your Turn For Ambient Guitar Tone!

What pedals do you have lying around that you haven’t touched in some time? How can you use them to stir the creativity in you. I’ll remind you, I had the Line 6 M9 on my shelf for a year before I took it down, dusted it off, and started having fun with it one-on-one. Feel free to share your music and creative projects in the comments below.

Ambient Guitar Tone – Making Noise With a Line 6 M9

I’ve always been a fan of loop pedals. I got my first experience when I saw a Minus the Bear show in 2004(5, maybe 6) and Dave Knudson danced all over his multiple Line 6 DL4 pedals – recording parts, reversing parts, doubling time. It was a unique use of the pedal that I hadn’t seen prior to that. I remember thinking, “Note to self Ricky: Order 2 Line 6 DL4 pedals in the morning.” I only ordered 1, but I was on the right path.

Ambient Guitar Line 6 M9

Line 6 M9 – In All Its Glory

Looping is Better With Friends!

Years later, worship guitarist buddies of mine from local churches would get together on a weekend night, have a few craft beers (it’s not a sin if it’s a craft beer right?) and take turns looping parts with one of our Line 6 M9 pedals. These pedals are amazing. In case you’re unfamiliar, they are all of Line 6’s pedals rolled into one. You have the DL4, modulation settings, and every verb they’ve come out with. I’ll tell you what would be a sin though – using the pedal for anything other than delay or reverb. We’re still dealing with Line 6 after all, remember.

But the point is – these pedals are fun. Looping parts is fun. Being creative is fun. So now, in 2015, I took my Line 6 pedal down from the shelf, dusted it off, and created something with JUST that pedal. It seemed like a challenge. The challenge was to make sure I wasn’t too reliant on my current rig. What could I create with just the Line 6 M9? Well…. check it out:

So What Did I Do with the Line 6 M9?

I went into this track knowing I wanted to double the tempo for the “chorus” of the track. With that in mind, I started looping with the “half speed” feature enabled. This would allow for the tempo to double up when turned off. This is how the fantastical/whimsy/electro feel is established in those parts in the track just after minute 1 and the outro of the track.

I initially laid down a rhythm/percussive layer. I’m a huge Brett Bixby fan and saw him (ironically) use a DL4 to add some percussion to his acoustic set. The rhythm you’re hearing is string tapping and various pick and string sounds. Nothing too crazy.

The next layer you hear is the basic melody progression. It all plays around in the 1 chord with a 4 chord hinted.

I found it extremely interesting that the notes I played in the “verse” (for lack of a better term) came off with a certain set of emotions. Kind of draggy. Moody. And then those same notes doubled up in the chorus totally changed the mood. During this double timed chorus, I added some rhythm notes that I knew would sound like a bass when we switched it back to the half-time. Planning ahead is extremely important when you plan to play around with the half-time feature. To be completely honest, the second verse where the track goes back to half speed is almost too chaotic for my taste. You can probably pick this up with how quick I go back into the second chorus at double speed.

But this is all part of the fun for me. I like that I can look back at this and see it as a full experiment vs. a “This track is perfect!” mindset. I’m looking forward to making more tracks like this and utilizing the M9 more than I have been this year.

Your Turn

So how do you use your Line 6 M9? Do you loop with it? What tricks/tips do you have? Comment below and let’s talk noise. After all, at the end of the day, all we’re doing is just making noise.



Why I Believe in the Delay Pedal

I was 20 years old when Coldplay’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
came out back in 2008. I happened to be looking for a new guitar tone to pursue. There were tons of directions to go. Hillsong United was just getting on board with the dotted eighth setting as most churches were. With that being said, tons of guitarists were standing out in the sound mix. But there was a major transition occurring with just how the delay pedal would be used to create ambient tone.

When I finally got through all of Coldplay’s latest album, the last song happened to be Death and All His Friends. Pretty standard tune. But come 2 minutes in when the ending anthem occurs, we’re seeing Jonny Buckland use his delay to play his lead line in a super humble way. It really changed the way I viewed guitar.

I remember thinking, “Oh! I don’t have to shred or play anything extremely crazy to help build parts. I can simply follow the melody or harmonize on it with a simple line. Single notes. Delayed. Creating space. Not showing off.”

Of course, looking back now, I can see that Jonny Buckland wasn’t the first to implement his delay pedal in this fashion. BUT, it was THIS lead line and use of the pedal that led me down a path of using the delay pedal in such a way as this. He took a pretty solid cue from The Edge and played a sort of “anti-solo.” No need to shred.

You have a lot you can learn from a line like this. I know I sure did. I recently came across the above video and had a sense of “Ricky, this is it man. This is why you play the way you do.” It’s funny to get reminders like that. To be completely honest, I wrote a part with one of my bands that was oddly similar to this. I didn’t go into it thinking, “Let’s add a ‘Death and All His Friends’ guitar part here.” The point is to show you just how influential certain parts can be to your playing. This is that part.

So tell me, what guitar part or lead line defines the way you play? Comment below and let’s chat influences.

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