New track on Youtube: “Anna ni Issho Datta no ni”

Hi all, I hope you’re safe and well. Here’s something I’ve been working on for the last day or so, while sitting at home basking in this glorious UK sunshine

I’ve had the melody of this tune playing in my head for the last 18 years or so (it’s very catchy!), and I’ve always thought it’d work well as a piano piece. It’s the ending music from a TV show I watched as a kid, and this is my interpretation.

I hope you enjoy the piece.

This track was originally recorded by the Japanese artist See-Saw, and featured during the end credits on the anime series Gundam SEED.

Improving a £15 Guitar Pedal Board with simple DIY tools and two bolts!

**Disclaimer: Don’t attempt this yourself unless you are confident using power tools and handling sharp metal. I take no responsibility for people who somehow manage to hurt themselves undertaking DIY tasks.**

I picked up this cheap guitar pedal board from *a popular Internet auction site* for a mere £15, and as one might expect – the build quality is very poor.

It’s not flat, it rattles, and the flat board configuration (i.e. no raised back or two tiers) makes controlling the pedals at the back more difficult (if you want to avoid mashing the controls on the front-row pedals).

In this video I’ll address these issues – by drilling two sets of large holes for some M8 bolts I can shake out the metal swarf that’s rattling around in there, attach some simple height-adjustable legs, and correct the warped geometry by setting one leg ever so slightly different to the other. This will also give me room to attach a pedal power supply underneath, but I won’t do that in this video.

The board came with some hook and loop tape, so I’ll apply that, and then throw on a few pedals to show you how it looks and how many pedals you can expect to reasonably fit on one of these boards.

My recommendation, if you have the cash, is to just buy a good quality board and spare yourself the trouble of messing around with this. In all likelihood the bolts would give way if you started stomping heavily on this thing…

Note the inclusion of some random royalty-free music at the end to cover the high pitched breathing noises caused by speeding up the video so much 🙂

I hope you enjoy the video and that it gives you some inspiration for improving your own boards.


Happy 2019!

Happy New Year all!

I recently acquired a beautiful Washburn Maverick BT-9, a fairly rare model unique to the UK market around the turn of the millennium.

At the bottom of this post is a short clip demonstrating its wonderful single-coil tones on a suitably seasonal tune!

Washburn support were quite enthusiastic and helpful in identifying the age and country of manufacture. Here’s a reply I got from Dave Steffen:

The BT9 shows that the Brits were more on the ball than we were! The BT9 was only offered in the UK….ordered with a special maple neck, and a swamp ash body! These were made sometime between 2001 and 2005…the neck plates do not have the origin date. Looks to be Korean….the hardware leads us there and it fits into that 2001 to 2005 timetable. We really like this guitar…..designed by William T Atkins….Billy T….thus the BT designation.

Interestingly enough, the seller told me that he purchased the guitar in around 1998/1999, so we have a bit of a mystery on our hands as to its true age. Based on Washburn’s reply, and the various information I’ve found on the Internet, the guitar certainly does seem to have been made by the Samick factory in South Korea – in my opinion the quality of the build seems to agree with this notion.

I hope that 2019 proves to be a great year for you.

A First Foray into Tank Drums

I was fortunate enough to receive a lovely, handmade Tank Drum for Christmas from my partner, and have been almost unable to put it down since. I’ve been wanting one of these since seeing a handpan street performer in Lisbon back in October 2016.
In the spirit of the New Year, here’s my first ever video featuring the drum, featuring the Westminster Quarters chime! — Matt

Meeting one of my Music Heroes

I was fortunate enough recently to meet one of my all-time heroes, the great Julie Fowlis, after watching her amazing performance live at The Stables, near Milton Keynes.
She was gracious enough to hang around for a meet and greet, and I managed to capture a picture.

Matt meets Julie Fowlis, 7th November 2017 at The Stables nr. Milton Keynes
Matt meets Julie Fowlis, 7th November 2017 at The Stables nr. Milton Keynes

Naturally I had to record a cover of one of her tracks, so I picked my favourite one of all: Òganaich Uir A Rinn M’ Fhàgail. I first heard this one on BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions, and was immediately taken with it, so here’s my humble attempt at recreating the theme of the tune – enjoy! –Matt

Guitar solo cover gets recognition from the original artist!

A video containing two guitar solo covers that went live on Youtube recently has received praise from the artist who originally wrote/performed them.

The video contains covers of “Battle Hymn” and “Hail and Kill”, originally written and recorded by the band Manowar. Matt performs all of the instruments for the duration of the video. Ross “The Boss” Friedman contacted Matt to say:

Wow Matt thank you. That’s a big honor. Well done!

The video can be found on Youtube, or viewed below.

“Coming Home (Live)” now available on Youtube

A second clip from ‘An Evening with Matt Stevenson’ live at The Core @ Corby Cube has been released to Youtube. This time featuring Elio Andrade on vocals, this song was originally written by Timo Tolkki and recorded by Stratovarius on their 1997 “Visions” album.

This has always been a favourite of mine, and exemplifies the quality of Tolkki’s work while he was with the band Stratovarius. My version, whilst different from the original, aims to strike a strong contrast between the longing of the lyrics in the early verses and the certainty of the lyrics immediately before the guitar solo. As the solo begins, the song transforms from delicate ballad into something much more powerful!
This was a real joy to perform, and I hope that you enjoy listening to it – Matt.

“All the trust that was built along the years
Is coming back to stay.
I know, just look ahead, the road is free,
I’m coming home.”