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The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution
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rupert pupkin
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Joined: 2007-05-04
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Post 2017-11-24 13:24   [Quote] 
Ed Organmax wrote:
I wonder how many edits are there in the entire 13-minute track? Think I've heard at least one. As for the Rubber Shirt drum track I always thought that came from a prototype attempt to record "Outside Now" (as heard on the Lather outtakes bootleg) but "Friendly Little Finger" does feature drums taken from the "Ocean..." jam sessions. Tempo-wise it's very similar to the latter half of "Ocean", but is it a completely different performance with no matching elements? I mean FZ sometimes used Vinnie's drumming for more than one piece. But I suspect that the last six or so minutes from "Ocean" originally went on for at least 15 minutes or so, leaving a fair bit to pick and choose.

A lot to unpack. Hopefully one day there will be a release of the original 45 minute jam.


this is one of my favorite Zappa track ever.
I don't know how we call it (I'm not a guitarist) "staccato" rhythm a bit reminiscent of Richie Havens ?
There's this Vault show (from the Joe's series - sorry I forgot its exact title) with a rare 1975 show where Zappa says "now I'm gonna play a rhythm guitar solo..." it's not the Ocean is The Ultimate Solution, but it sounds quite a bit like the acoustic portion of this track.

I'd love to hear the untempered 45 minutes jam.
I was not that fond (in fact, not really at all) of the "Lather" edit of "The Ocean"... IMHO the best cut is the one on "Sleep Dirt". At least, this is the most "satisfactable" cut...

although the electric ending guitar solo is epic, I'd love to hear more Zappa on acoustic guitar such as... of course "Sleep Dirt"...
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pbuzby
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Post 2017-11-24 17:08   [Quote] 
rupert pupkin wrote:

I was not that fond (in fact, not really at all) of the "Lather" edit of "The Ocean"...


Yes, on Lather he cut the first three or four minutes, which I guess was necessary to fit it on that LP side, but I prefer the longer version.
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hisnameisbob
Joined: 2015-06-12
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Post 2017-11-24 21:05   [Quote] 
It's one of my absolute favourites too!

Serving suggestion: proper headphones & player, a sunny beach and a good helping of [3-(2-Dimethylaminoethyl)-1H-indol-4-yl] dihydrogen phosphate aka Psilocybin. ZTTunes

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Overnitefreak
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Post 2017-11-25 00:01   [Quote] 
Quote:
There's this Vault show (from the Joe's series - sorry I forgot its exact title) with a rare 1975 show where Zappa says "now I'm gonna play a rhythm guitar solo..."


That would be from "Chunga's Revenge" off the Joe's Menage album.
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MPierry
Joined: 2005-08-14
Posts: 80
Location: United States of Whatever
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Post 2018-07-09 18:17   [Quote] 
father-0blivion wrote:
Thanks cyranoDB

Quote:
The Ocean is the Ultimate Soloution

This track was recorded in the same studio I first heard Gregory Peccary in at the Record Plant in Hollywood. Frank had been experimenting with mic's and recording techniques etc. as was his want to do.
He came up with an incredible alternative tuning for his Fender 12 string, and an inventive process for recording it. ( This guitar had been modified I think by Rex Bogue-who had built Mahavishnu's custom guitars, restored Zappa's "Hendrix Stratocaster" that Jimi had set on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival(!), as well as being the inventor of "Balls Deluxe" built-in pre-amps!!)
This guitar had low string and high string discreet stereo outputs which Frank panned left and right. It also had a Barcus Berry pickup buried in the neck at the head stock,which he panned center.
The tuning was so that the low three strings were tuned to the intervals of M7-M7-m7, and the high strings to a tritone-M3 &m3;!! So every note or chord he played was an incredibly complex and atonal harmonic event!!!
Couple this with the innovative panning and the result was this wonderful "glass shattering" guitar sound that was completely unique and to my knowledge has never been duplicated since!



I admit I find this tuning to be utterly confounding. I have a pretty good sense of what musical intervals sound like, particularly on guitar, so when I would mentally try to imagine what such a tuning would sound like, it didn't seem right to me at all. Anyway, I finally tried it out on a 12-string guitar the other day and it sounded every bit as atrocious as I had thought.

Anyway, in hopes that somebody here can set me straight, here is my interpretation of what Bozzio writes above.

Since there are six intervals listed, my assumption is that each interval refers to the tuning between each pair of strings. I also assume that the big strings (corresponding to those on a six-string guitar) are tuned normally (EADGBE). So here's how I tuned the 12-string:

E2-D#3
A2-G#3
D3-C4
G3-C#4
B3-D#4
E4-G4

I tried playing single notes. I tried playing chords. I couldn't come up with anything remotely pleasant sounding. Either I've got this completely wrong (which I hope is the case) or Bozzio misremembered it or miswrote it.

Thoughts?
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McMick
Joined: 2015-06-26
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Post 2018-07-11 14:34   [Quote] 
Regarding the title of the song, I think it might be a chemistry joke. Just figured it might be worth mentioning.
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oofers
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Post 2018-07-11 14:51   [Quote] 
MPierry wrote:

I admit I find this tuning to be utterly confounding. I have a pretty good sense of what musical intervals sound like, particularly on guitar, so when I would mentally try to imagine what such a tuning would sound like, it didn't seem right to me at all. Anyway, I finally tried it out on a 12-string guitar the other day and it sounded every bit as atrocious as I had thought.

Anyway, in hopes that somebody here can set me straight, here is my interpretation of what Bozzio writes above.

Since there are six intervals listed, my assumption is that each interval refers to the tuning between each pair of strings. I also assume that the big strings (corresponding to those on a six-string guitar) are tuned normally (EADGBE). So here's how I tuned the 12-string:

E2-D#3
A2-G#3
D3-C4
G3-C#4
B3-D#4
E4-G4

I tried playing single notes. I tried playing chords. I couldn't come up with anything remotely pleasant sounding. Either I've got this completely wrong (which I hope is the case) or Bozzio misremembered it or miswrote it.

Thoughts?


I'm actually glad you tried this -- I'd always thought that Terry's interval breakdown of the turning of the pairs of strings might be incorrect, as it didn't seem, based on description, it could possibly sound good. I never had a 12-string to try it out, and I also thought that the tuning was so unorthodox that it may require special-gauge strings (ie, not a normal 12-string set right out of the package).

Anyway, I have no insight as to what the issue is. I interpreted his description as you did (although it took me moment to realize you listed the lowest strings first). I do find it surprising that Terry would know those intervals off the top of his head. But who knows.
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Ed Organmax
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Post 2018-07-11 15:45   [Quote] 
I'm checking out the Lather edit (for quick reference) which begins with the 12string part unaccompanied and it seems that at 0:34 FZ strikes the low strings which are open and then adlibs on the high string pairs. My guess is that FZ may have tuned the low strings to some kind of harmony in the open position and even if the third high string pair or possibly even second might be in thirds, then the highest string pair seems to be tuned in fourths.
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studiotan
Joined: 2005-06-15
Posts: 3
Post 2018-07-11 19:01   [Quote] 
Hi there! It's my first post to Zappateers.

Recently, as it happens, I've been analyzing the alternate tuning of this tune. I don't have a 12-string guitar, but somehow came up with a hypothesis that seems promising...

First of all, I took a look at an slow interlude (4:02-4:42), during which FZ almost always seems to play two notes each time. It means that he plucks one course each time. (A 12-string guitar has six courses, each of which has a set of two strings.) Therefore, if you transcribe the two notes, you can guess the interval of one of the six courses.

So I tried to transcribe this section with a standard guitar. Here's the result:
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_standard.png
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_standard.mid

As you can see, there're four different intervals: minor 3rd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, and perfect 5th. After struggling to figure out an appropriate combination of strings, I came up with this tuning:
C3-F2, E3-A2, A3-D3, D#3-G3, G#3-B3, B3-E4

1: E [*1]
2: B (4th below from 1) [*1]
3: B
4: G# (Minor 3rd below from 3)
5: G
6: D# (Major 3rd below from 5) [*2]
7: D
8: A (5th above from 7)
9: A
10: E (5th above from 9)
11: F [*3]
12: C (5th above from 11)

[*1] This pair might need to be a half step higher, because FZ plays harmonic F and C at 1:13. If they are natural harmonics on the 12th fret, the first course has to be F4 and C4.
[*2] It might be very hard to tune this string, because it has to be tuned down more than an octave. Probably better to change it with a thicker one?
[*3] The 11th string is tuned to F, because FZ seems to hit the low F twice (5:03 and 5:09), which sounds like an open string.

Based on this tuning, I revised the guitar tab, and continued transcribing until 5:00:
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_12string_01.png
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_12string_02.png
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_12string_03.png
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/studio/tan/zappa/ocean/toitus_12string.mid

As Power Tab Editor doesn't handle a 12-string guitar, I split the 12 strings to two guitars; "Gtr 1" is for main strings (FADGBE), and "Gtr 2" is for additional strings (CEAD#G#B).

This tuning is interesting, because you can play some triads only with two courses. For example, you can play a major triad with a combination of the 2nd and 3rd courses (see measure 4). And, if you use a "power chord" form on the 4th and 5th courses, it becomes FZ's favorite sus2 chord! (Please check 2:23-2:30. Those lower chords can be played with power chord forms of C, C# and D#.)

So.... Does anybody want to try this one?
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Ed Organmax
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Post 2018-07-12 12:38   [Quote] 
So if it's possible to figure out the exact tuning just by listening, then who knows, maybe one day Dweezil could perform "The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution" with his band. The challenge of course would be that FZ overdubbed a six string solo on top, but maybe the bass solo could be the opportunity for Dweezil to hand over the 12-string to a rhythm guitarist and switch over to lead guitar?
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oofers
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Post 2018-07-12 14:40   [Quote] 
studiotan, great work. I have yet to try out your transcription, but it looks promising.

You doing this makes me realize two things --

1) FZ's unorthodox tuning of the courses presents a unique problem to transcribers -- do you write out the actual pitches of every "pluck"? Or just the principal (thicker) string? I know putting into 2 staves is what your had to do because of the software, but if one were to transcribe this for print, I think the former option. It would look interesting -- everything is a dyad, or 4-note-chord, or 6-note, etc. Incidentally, traditional 12-string guitar transcriptions only show the principal pitch, as the courses just double it at the octave or unison (but I'm sure most folks know that). As I said, an interesting problem arises from FZ's interesting tuning

2) As suspected, Bozzio's memory must just be wrong. Tuning courses in M7's and m7's --- that's just asking for trouble. I believe this proves that P4's, P5's and thirds is much more likely.
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pbuzby
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Post 2018-07-12 15:49   [Quote] 
oofers wrote:


2) As suspected, Bozzio's memory must just be wrong. Tuning courses in M7's and m7's --- that's just asking for trouble. I believe this proves that P4's, P5's and thirds is much more likely.


I'm curious if FZ used that tuning on some other session that Bozzio remembered.
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Ed Organmax
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Post 2018-07-12 18:04   [Quote] 
I've only tried tuning one course into M7 and it did give some pleasant jazzy/Brazilian kind of chord voicings to play with. Any more might be just asking for trouble. So of course thirds and P4 and P5 would be the way to go.
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pappazappa
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Post 2018-07-13 02:02   [Quote] 


PZ ARtweRks Creations

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studiotan
Joined: 2005-06-15
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Post 2018-07-13 10:47   [Quote] 
oofers wrote:
You doing this makes me realize two things --

1) FZ's unorthodox tuning of the courses presents a unique problem to transcribers -- do you write out the actual pitches of every "pluck"? Or just the principal (thicker) string?


In a way, both. I wrote out all of the actual pitches, with the ones on the principal (thicker) strings written in the upper staff (Gtr1), and the rest written in the lower staff (Gtr2). I wish I could write them all in one staff, but AFAIK, no guitar tab software can handle this unusual tuning. Anyway, the fingerings are essentially the same on both staves. (I wrote "essentially", because sometimes one of the two strings in the same course is plucked slightly later than the other, or doesn't ring strongly enough to be audible. I tried to notate those differences in my transcription as much as possible.)

pbuzby wrote:
I'm curious if FZ used that tuning on some other session that Bozzio remembered.


Or, he was just exaggerating the story. Note that some other details in Bozzio's text are different from O'Hearn's recollection. ("Pat O'Hearn came down to L.A. to play... with legendary jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon" vs "I was in Los Angeles, playing a jazz gig with Joe Henderson"; "In a minute he pulled the electric bass" vs "the next night, I came back in... and slapped on the electric bass part".)
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