Drumming Video – Jam Solo Opportunity – A Musical Intermission

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

For the last two months or so I’ve been bringing you a blog post a week. I’m trying to abide by that rule. I’m working on a rather long and complex post at the moment. Needless to say it won’t be ready for this week’s post. As many of you already know, I’m a designer but I’m also a musician in my spare time. That explains my @sixstringsensei Twitter username just in case you were wondering. So, while I work on the new article which will then release next week, I’ll leave you all with a brief musical intermission. I present to you my latest drumming video… Jam Solo Opt. Enjoy! -D


Sanyo Pedal Juice Rechargeable Power Supply for Guitar Effects Pedals

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Sanyo Pedal Juice Power Supply

Here’s a neat little device!  A rechargeable power supply for 9 Volt guitar effects pedals.  These days, anytime I hear or read the word “rechargeable” I take note!  Guitarists all over understand that one thing we go through a lot is 9V batteries.  Not only do most guitar effects pedals out there work on 9 Volt batteries, but as pedals have gotten more sophisticated so has their power consumption.  The battery inside a classic analog distortion pedal might last about 10-15 hours or more of playing but modern digital delay pedals for example, will eat up a battery in as little as 2 hours.  That’s a lot of batteries.  And… a lot of money wasted.

Sanyo has come up with a solution for guitarists who prefer batteries to AC power supplies to power their 9V stomp boxes.  This power supply is not only rechargeable, but will last much longer than standard batteries.  This unit is the Sanyo Eneloop Pedal Juice™.  This modern and sexy looking little white box is one of the best ways to save batteries and power your guitar effect pedals reliably.  Sanyo claims it can power classic 9V pedals for up to 5o hours and high current draw digital effects up to 27 hours on a single charge.  The unit will also warn you if it’s in need of a charge.  It will display an orange light when it has about 50% charge left and then a red light when it’s getting dangerously close to fully discharged.  That way you know way before it shuts off.  The specs also say you can use it to power other 9Volt devices such as certain recorders, synthesizers and drum machines.  The Sanyo Pedal Juice™ will accept a current draw up to 2Amps (2,000 milliamps).  That is enough to power a good number of pedals at once if you need to.

Sanyo Pedal Juice Zoom

I don’t believe all that I read and I’m not about to simply plug a new power supply into my precious collection of pedals without testing it.  So, I took my unit and plugged a multi-meter to it to test it out.  The multi-meter read 9.21 Volts out of each of the 2 available ports.  Impressive!  That’s a better reading than some brand new batteries.  So I hooked it up to an MXR EVH Phase 90 and turned the unit on.  Simple enough.  The pedal is powered and it’s nice and quiet with no external noise whatsoever.

“I found it goes great in combination with my current AC power supply…”

I tested the unit again after an hour of playing and then again after 2 hours.  The output reads exactly 9.21Volts every time.  I found this to be a nice little feature.  The problem with most batteries is that after a few hours they start losing power quickly and no longer produce 9 Volts.  So far it seems the Sanyo Pedal Juice™ will provide a steady supply of power at the same voltage until it is completely drained out.  This assures your pedals will perform at their best even when the unit has only 20% power left.

Output jacks

My first impression of the unit and it’s 2 outputs left me wondering if I might miss having more outputs.  But, since it will handle a current draw of up to 2Amps you can easily daisy-chain a couple of pedals out of the outputs and you’re golden.  Since there is no AC power transformer as in conventional “wall outlet” power supplies there is no 60 cycle hum or noise introduced into your signal chain.  If you are on a tight stage with a limited supply of wall outlets, you only have to worry about finding a spot to plug in your amp.  No need to plug in your board.  Plus, once you are done you simply plug it into its included charger and again… you’re golden.  No need to remove a bunch of batteries and replace them.  And for those who argue that they use individual 9V rechargeable batteries for each of their pedals… Well, there’s no need to take each of them out, one at a time and charge them.

Sanyo Eneloop Pedal Juice Image

There is one great advantage to using the Sanyo Pedal Juice™ and it’s the one that has been working for me the best.  I built my effects pedalboard with great care and the best components and I’ve found I get no hum or added noise from my AC power supply.  But, the size of my board and power connections is limited.  I have a bunch of effects pedals that I love yet don’t live on my pedalboard.  I find myself not using a lot of them as much as I would like to because of the hassle of dealing with batteries.  Oftentimes I’m working on a song and I realize there’s an effect I’d like to use which is not on my board.  I’ll go fetch it out of storage only to find it has no battery.  By the time I find one that actually has power left and plug it in I’ve lost my train of thought and muse.  Now, with my new Sanyo Pedal Juice™ I can simply plug in the pedal and continue with what I was doing.  At any point, I can dig up another pedal out of my collection and quickly plug it in and continue playing in a matter of seconds.  I found it goes great in combination with my current AC power supply for this very feature.  Last thing I heard, this little unit is selling for around $200.  Due to the reliability, battery savings and sheer convenience, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Win your very own Sanyo Pedal Juice!

Yep Yep!  I’ve have a brand new unit, in box and ready to power up your guitar pedals.  Click on the image link below to go to the official giveaway post!

Sanyo Pedal Juice Contest Image


Prove it to the World New Punk Rock Drumming Video

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Copper Snare

Finally! After a couple of months of having babies, surfing my brains out and working multiple artwork projects, I put in some time to edit another drum video.  This is the 4th in the series filmed with Go Pro HD Hero cameras.  Recorded during the latest Christmas holidays, this one features a song written by my wife and I where she also does the vocal and bass parts.  I play the guitars too in this project that we call “Right is Backside”…a name that comes from the term used by surfers to describe those that ride a right breaking wave with their backs to the wave.  (That would be me).  Can you guess at what time this vid was recorded?  Enjoy! -Danny

RiB Prove it to the World Drum Video by Danny Cruz from Danny Cruz on Vimeo.


Jazz Drumming Video at Studio R

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Post image for Jazz Drumming Video at Studio R

I’m as nomadic as anybody else I’ve ever met.  My musical side has moved back and forth between Puerto Rico, Hawaii and California numerous times.  For that reason, I’ve had many music studios.  My latest incarnation of a studio was a spacious 16 x 18″ room in a two story building in sunny North County, San Diego.  I know my time with musical real estate is usually short, therefore I try and make the most of it.  It came as no surprise that I decided to shut this place down temporarily in order to make way for a new baby coming.  I decided I wanted to create a new series of drum videos to seal off this studio with a grand finale.  Not only are the results amazing, but the fact that they were shot very late into the night during the Christmas holidays makes for an even greater allure.

The video below is a slightly upbeat and very fun jazz track provided by the great Rhythm Magazine from the UK.  It is video number 2 in a series of 8.  Keep in mind, I’m not a jazz drummer by any means.  I’ve been playing rock for over 14 years and only started playing jazz 2 years ago.  A Dave Weckl or Steve Gadd type drummer would completely smoke this track.  Given my limited experience playing jazz, I think it came out quite well.

About the drums:

The drum kit is my prized Mapex Saturn Special Edition Birch & Walnut in Supernova Red.  This kit is the Five Star Drum Shops Edition.  I bought this set from West Coast Drums in Orange County about a year before they closed their doors.  I kept the tuning the same as usual.  I didn’t tune them specifically for jazz.  I usually tune my drums with slightly tighter resonant heads, and leave the batter heads a bit lower.  This is not as important with this kit, due to it’s larger tuning range, but has proved specially important with other thick-shelled kits I’ve owned in the past.  The drums have Remo Emperor batter heads and Ambassador resonant heads.  Given the Saturn’s super thin shells, the sound is very boomy and resonant, even when playing with bundle sticks.  The sticks I used for this recording are Vic Firth Steve Smith signature Tala Wand with a foam core.  The choice of snare is likely not the best for jazz due to it’s shallow depth.  It’s a DW Collector’s Edition Copper 4 x 14″.  My choice of Zildjian K Custom Dark cymbals however, is excellent for jazz although I use them for rock all the time.  The hi-hat is a K Custom Hybrid 13 1/4″ and the splash is a good ol’ Zildjian K.

About the recording:

“I wanted to get enough room ambiance to emulate one of my favorite Art Blakey jazz drum recordings from the 1950′s but with an obvious contemporary end result.”

I used mainly a combination of Shure SM57 and Sennheiser E835 microphones.  The single overhead microphone you can see in some of the angles is an Audio Technica AT4041 condenser.  This mic proved to be key in tying all the other microphones together.  The 7 channel microphone layout was plugged into a Mackie Onyx 1620 soundboard which was plugged via firewire into an Apple iMac running Logic Pro 8.  I added quite a bit of ambiance to the drum track using a room reverb plug-in in Logic.  When I mixed the drums with the backing track, I actually added some of that “large room” reverb to it as well.  This would hopefully make both separate tracks sit better together like if they had both been recorded at the same time.  I wanted to get enough room ambiance to emulate one of my favorite Art Blakey jazz drum recordings from the 1950′s but with an obvious contemporary end result.

About the video:

The camera angles are achieved using 3 Go Pro HD Hero digital cameras.  Given that Go Pro offers a slew of different mounting attachments, I was able to mount these exactly where I wanted them.  My favorite angle is the one where the camera sits right over my two rack toms and looks straight at me.  If you look closely you can see the picture vibrate when I hit the cymbal that sits right over that camera.  All 3 angles were played at once, in one take.  The raw footage was then brought into Final Cut, were I edited the video and synchronized it with my Logic Pro recording.  The graphics at the beginning of the video I created in Photoshop a few weeks prior to shooting.

That’s basically it.  This video was a lot of fun to shoot.  Please rate with 5 stars on YouTube and subscribe to my channel.  This is the second in a series of 8 videos that I’m releasing once per week until completed.  To stay informed of future releases please subscribe to my blog via RSS or email.  You can find the links to both on my sidebar.  Until the next one… Danny.