GP meets Frank Zappa

Howdy y’all!

I’m the bassist/arranger/MD/production manager/sound designer/babysitter for the touring Zappa project, The Furious Bongos. We’ve been using GP for a couple of years now as the host for all the mallet sounds in our percussion rig.

As far as design goes, it’s pretty simple: a 4-octave MalletKAT is the controller, split to Pianoteq (95% of the gig) and the Spitfire BBC sample set for some orchestral percussion. The Spitfire sounds are all remapped to the lowest octave on the KAT, so on the couple of patches where we use it, the percussionist still has their mallet sound of choice on the upper octaves.

Processing is pretty simple too. There’s a Waves S1 on the Spitfire samples to make their native panning line up better with what the FOH mix needs, and there’s an Amek 9099 channel strip and Fabfilter comp on the global layer.

The one extra thing I did since I’m the bass player AND the guy who has to troubleshoot any problems during the show (our percussionists have been, shall we say, “hesistant” to learn the tech), is to insert metering at every point in the chain.

Beyond that, it’s a simple rig. Marimba, vibes, xylophone, glock, bells, and extraneous orchestral noise makers.

50+ shows on this set up, and no problems that weren’t directly caused by the player themself…lol

Cheers

Conrad St. Clair

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And a couple of video links fer funsies:

Black Page #2: https://youtu.be/lxhLL1FdHZ4?si=hTvu0fE1tkB5ASYs
What’s New In Baltimore: https://youtu.be/5zigwxXi40M?si=kVeOhcOcBgBNWbAk

Enjoy!

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Talented group! I thoroughly enjoyed both videos. I’m also a bassist and bopped along to your basslines. Excellent live mix. Easy to pick out each instrument. Sub’d your YT channel. Gotta watch all 49 videos. :+1:

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Thank you for sharing! :slight_smile:

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Thanks, man! The mix is from the multi-track, though - we record EVERYthing, and I mix things down once a given tour is finished.

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Right in the Zappa vein!!

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Only big big smiles here. Terrific performance, very good mix and Chad Wackerman!

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I just checked your website and noticed that you mentioned coming to France, the Netherlands and Germany in the fall. I live on the Atlantic coast of France in Arcachon, about 45 minutes west-southwest of Bordeaux. It would be way cool if you played a date in Bordeaux. I could make that one.

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J’adorerais jouer là aussi! We’re still working on those EU dates, though - it’s tough bringing a 9-piece band over there, but our goal is at least one run in the EU each year.

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Hey Conrad, Zappa alumni Robert Martin here, a GP fan, user and beta tester for a couple of years now. Great to see you using this top notch technology to make Zappa music too. I especially enjoyed the re-harmonizations sprinkled through your Black Page video. Great to see you joining forces with Chad too.

I’ll be on tour this summer with Banned From Utopia, including a show in Cincinnati on July 14. I believe you guys are based there, correct? If you’re around and want to see the show, I’d be happy to guest list you. Give me a holler.

Robert

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