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Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby James Steele » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:23 pm

mikehalloran wrote:
James Steele wrote:Chiming in regarding passive pickups versus active. I have to throw in with the passive crowd. I prefer them by far.

Guitar - Yes

Bass: Solid State amp, I prefer Active; tube amp, I prefer Passive.


Yep... I was definitely referring to guitar. Have no clue about bass. :(
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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby monkey man » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:11 am

mikehalloran wrote:
James Steele wrote:Chiming in regarding passive pickups versus active. I have to throw in with the passive crowd. I prefer them by far.

Guitar - Yes

Bass: Solid State amp, I prefer Active; tube amp, I prefer Passive.

After having used EMGs exclusively for 15 years on bass and finally getting to see that the waveform on my recordings was truncated at the attack end (late '90s), I swore I'd go passive for the rest of my life. The attack's initial rise was literally missing, but only to, say, 10-15% of the overall, eventual height at most. I figured at the time that maybe it helped add a little punch, which it probably did, but ultimately it wasn't true in its representation. There was obviously something "phoney" about it which I couldn't live with, being the old-school fuddy-duddy I am.

Fast forward 10 years, and following an auspicious trip to a pawn broker, I found myself playing my first notes on a Music Man Stingray 5. So much for my commitment to passive PUs. Mind you, I've made this exception (for bass) only with regard to the MM humbucking actives on the Stingray 5; I can't speak for any other offerings.

James Steele wrote:Chiming in regarding passive pickups versus active. I have to throw in with the passive crowd. I prefer them by far.

Same here, James (for guitar).

This has created a quandary of sorts for me 'though. My "love affair" (financially-driven) with L6 guitars has come to an end. I'll retain one of them for the sitar, resonator, acoustic, banjo, Rick, semi-acoustic and so on options, but for my first ridgey-didge, "proper" guitar, as you might expect, I've been musing for quite some time as to whether to go for a Luke I or Luke III.

The "I" employs an EMG 85 humbucker and custom EMG "Steve Lukather" single-coils, and delivers that fat, crunchy, in-your-face, mix-cutting-attack sort of sound Steve used for at least 15 to 20 years. It also cuts nicely for clean rhythm parts.

OTOH, the LIII's Dimarzios sound a helluva lot darker and thinner, lack the phenomenal attack of the EMGs, but are also fairly versatile and seem better suited / able to render subtleties more faithfully.

I put a whole lot of research into it - reading and listening to videos etc., but for the life of me I'm no closer to deciding which way to go. In an ideal world I'd get both. I can't audition either.

Any comforting words or offerings of wisdom, bro'?

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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby mhschmieder » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:59 pm

Yeah, I went permanently passive about a half decade ago and there's no looking back. Of course I get ridiculed by just about everyone, or accused of being a legacy snob -- pretty far from the truth. It was when I started doing a lot more studio work that I realized what I'd been missing just because my passive basses had all been really bad models from the Dark Ages of the 80's through early 90's.

Funny thing is, my passives are louder than my last actives or hybrids. And I prefer not having so many knobs and sliders too, as I became a much better bass player once I had to learn how to have my fingers be 99-100% of the tone.

I do agree though, that active basses are best mated with solid state (e.g. Avalon U5) and passive basses with tubes (especially all-tubes, such as the miraculous Mesa/Boogie Prodigy that somehow manages to be a featherweight even though it has a gazillion power tubes and pre-amp tubes inside).

I sort of think active basses became popular because people had switched to solid state amps and weren't getting the tone they needed. Not all solid state is bad either, but it's more expensive to design a really good solid state amp than an excellent tube amp. Avalon U5 is affordable, all things considered. I also once had an amp from a company called A.M.P., and the guy I sold it to still uses it today (he's a full-time pro and we stay in touch).

OK, now I need to read the entire thread to see how it wound up here, having started as a discussion about Steve Lukather. :-)
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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby mhschmieder » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:18 pm

OK, now I see how the discussion appeared to have gone astray -- interesting stuff! I didn't know Lukather had made such a switch in his guitar setup, and am also surprised he had a partying lifestyle as I had always assumed someone like him was probably "clean" as it's hard to be reliable when you're not.

Then again, Chet Baker made a gazillion recordings, because he always had to pay for his next hit of heroin. Anyway, good for Steve that he's cleaned up. Always liked him as a person and think he's a tremendous musician who does what he needs to to serve the song, without obvious ego, and also has a tremendous amount of passion (including his vocals).

I don't think I have his latest solo album. I have either two or three from him, and love how varied they are yet still retain an identity that doesn't make them sound like a random collection of orphaned recordings. I was always surprised his solo work didn't get more attention.

As for Toto, I am a big defender of that band. Too many judge them by "Pamela", and other (rare, for them) maudlin hits. I personally love "Africa" but many hate it. Regardless, one doesn't have to dig far into their albums to find dozens of gems, each different from the last, and leaping across many genres. In each case, lots of passion and soul.
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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby mikehalloran » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:48 am

Now you've done it by bringing up the ghost of the late great Chet Baker. Oh, I could go way OT here.

When I was 15-16, I used to sit in with Mr. Baker on Monday nights...
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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby monkey man » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:11 pm

Crumpets, Mike! :shock:

Mark, thank you for sharing your thoughts, especially on TOTO. As a near-four-decades-long defender and self-confessed fanboi of the band, your comments were music to my ears, mate.

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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby AsensoryMusic » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:52 pm

Yes, sure, we have seen more and more people with access to technology allowing them to record and produce music. Beforehand, it wasn't that people couldn't make music, they could always strum a guitar or blow a few notes on the sax. It was recording, producing and distributing that music that was the hard part. So now that's gotten easier, and everyone and their step sister has a Soundcloud page.

But as far as the music industry is concerned, my stance is f**k them. No offense to anyone here who identifies with the industry, but the constant selecting out of quality, original music in favor of recycled garbage has made many feel the way I do. And I don't mean to say the only good music is played by virtuoso musicians at the highest level. A lot of it is, but there is room for those with talent, creativity and sincere, new, interesting ideas to express. The music industry marginalized those (for the msot part) for decades, so I say good riddance.

Its time the non-musically inclined pinheads who have been running the industry do something else for a living. Now, if we could only force the same changes to the film industry .... one can wish.
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Re: Steve Lukather Rant About Music Biz

Postby Gravity Jim » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:06 pm

I love Luke's work, but it's nothing but mildly amusing to listen to someone who worked their butt off to become a big-time musician, headlined for decades while also working as an in-demand star sessionman, and made a beaucoup pile of bucks getting old and bitching about the very business that made them rich.

You're old, Steve. The business changed. Again. Scrape up your winnings and go home.
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