'One Minute With Dec' 08 Nov 2009

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“3 Minutes on the Radio With Dec” –

"My Emails Are Written With Good Humour And Should Be Read With A Smile"

[-The views of any contributor to 'One Minute with Dec' are not necessarily the views of Dec Cluskey-]

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Samuel Butler


And all is well in the Cluskey camp [Con has a lucky escape]

How To Make A Great Guitar Solo [the real story]

New electronic aid for musicians [The I-Tab … brilliant idea]]

Subscriber's Section [ positioning in the mix? ]

The gags: ..... [ Marriage counselling? – from Willie.]

And all is well in the Cluskey camp [Con has a lucky escape]

My brother Con, lead singer with our band ‘The Bachelors’ had a remarkably lucky escape last week … fairly frightened us to death and a warning to all those who feel we are fighting fit.

He ripped an artery somewhere between his stomach and large bowel ….

In the rushed examinations, X-Rays, scans, to locate it he lost a mighty amount of blood over a 24 hour period… From someone so healthy to passing out in a matter of hours.

The great news is that the rip was finally located and treated … he was thoroughly shaken and left quite weak. So our concert at Gosport last Friday had to be rescheduled. First time in our long history that Con has missed a show … what a record?

Home now and getting over the experience … lucky boy! I give my thanks to all those who contacted me … and Con.

“If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere

long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do." Samuel Butler

How To Make A Great Guitar Solo [the real story]

I have great respect for Tom Hess … a long time guitar tutor and quite a player.

Like myself he gives an awful lot of stuff away for no dosh. His latest is a master class in constructing and playing a guitar solo.

Tom feels like I do that a solo is only a great solo when it is necessary for the song. In other words, take it away and the song will suffer … for instance Bryn Adams “Everything I do I do it for You” … one of the greatest constructed guitar solos of all time … while I am at it, check out any Brian May solo in any Queen hit … like me Brian feels the solo has to say something melodically … it is nothing to do with thousands of notes …

By Tom Hess


There are lots of ways to make guitar solos. Most guitarists focus on ‘what to play’ versus ‘how to play things’.

Read on:


“Why do guitar players play thousands of notes in a solo?

To get one or two right!" [an oldie, but goodie]

New electronic aid for musicians [The I-Tab … brilliant idea]

The introduction of a new electronic aid for musicians, The I-Tab, was among the highlights of a major Dublin-held music equipment event.

Scheduled for release in early 2010, the I-Tab takes the form of a 5" touch-screen tab player which scrolls the lyrics and chords of a song in perfect time, thereby helping musicians to learn new material.

In addition, the I-Tab - which is manufactured by an eponymously-named company in Co. Kildare, Ireland - can play backing tracks and tuition videos. It also will sit at the top of the guitar displaying the lyrics as you sing .. clever eh? And about time … major artist have had the facility of lyrics scrolling before them on autocue style computer screens for years. Check out the next concert you go to or TV concert you see.

See the detail at http://www.i-tab.com/

"Develop success from failures.

Discouragement and failure are two of

the surest stepping stones to success." Albert Schweitzer



“Hi Dec

Keep up the good work and thanks for all the brilliant tips and the fabulous gags .....

Regards S (Manchester)”

"Fear is static that prevents me from

hearing myself.” Samuel Butler

Subscriber's Section [ positioning in the mix? ]


“Hey Dec

How about the live mixing engineers who purposely pan the FOH soundstage to match the positions of the musicians?

Should the drums always be central in the mix with the toms panned left and right?


My Reply:

Our rules are "one short reply to ONE question on music FOR NON-MEMBERS, Members of 'The Serious Writers Guild' have unlimited personal access to Dec by direct telephone, Fax and Email, apply at https://secure.mistral.co.uk/makehits/swgappsecure.htm ".

[Any advice given here shall not be deemed as financial or legal advice under any existing or future laws of any country]


Strangely, in our concert presentations we have drums placed on the right [prompt side to be correct] ... only for the reason that the FOH [front of house] spotlights are hitting my brother and I, usually centre stage, and they will catch the drummer [picking his nose?]. So we strive for a blank space in the middle with Marshall amps on show. The band is thus split with members on each side.

But the sound presentation will still be with kick centre, snare a smidgeon right and HH [High Hat] a smidgeon left. Bass middle. We go for a full spread toms picture as we feel that the double image of live and speaker image gives a quirky bigger sound ... we use sampled, triggered drum sounds which have different tuning to the live toms .. so the sound images are distinct and different.

Con's acoustic guitar will always emanate from his usual standing position although he uses a slight stereo room reverb. My Marshall is full stereo so will come from the stack in just off centre stage with stereo image to left and right speaker stacks [we don't like line array]. Thus I have a triple image with the stereo tricks audible from the main FOH system in stereo.

On a slightly different tack, the idea for kick and bass coming from middle [the norm since God was a boy] comes from the fact that the weight of sound will be equally carried by the left/right speakers ... altogether the most sensible scenario ... rather than burden one speaker with that weight. It is almost rare to see the drummer sit central nowadays in a modern stage set and would certainly be unusual to see a bass player standing or sitting stage centre [Sting? Maybe]

Engineers would rarely look for a 'live' band stereo scenario .... simply a 'perceived' image. Full live bands in, say, a Westlife or Amy Winehouse session set up would not be in a 40's style big band positioning ... far from it. Drums would be in a separation booth and the rest of orchestra aligned in the correct, 'best separation' positioning. Strings in the accepted symphony orchestra seating [usually on a separate day]. Choir/BV's in a separation booth.

So, there are no correct rules, save that the sound should be the best possible ... Robbie Williams' swing album was a disastrous affair where Guy Chambers [his first major producing role for Robbie ... and his last] arranged the big band in the traditional set-up in the original USA big band studios .... the result was awful ... beyond belief.

I was present in Decca Number 3 for a live recording of The Johnny Keating Orchestra [all the original Ted Heath musos] ... set up, in front of an audience, in proper recording studio fashion ... result? Amazing ... And the sound image, on record, was as if the band was performing in front of you, drums in the middle.

Regards and hope this helps someone.

Dec [Cluskey]


Dec [Cluskey] dec@makehits.com

2 Gold discs in 2008! Decca have relaunched their ‘World Of’ series on the back of those hits. Readers Digest are now promoting a triple album set …. Do you think I can help your music career succeed?

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"All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every

organism to live beyond its income." Samuel Butler

The gags: ..... [ Marriage counselling? – from Willie.]

Eileen and her husband Bob went for counselling after 25 years of marriage.
When asked what the problem was, Eileen went into a passionate, painful
tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 25 years they had been

She went on and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness,
feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had
endured over the course of their marriage.

Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the
therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking Eileen to stand,
embraced her, unbuttoned her blouse and bra, put his hands on her breasts
and massaged them thoroughly, while kissing her passionately as her husband
Bob watched with a raised eyebrow!

Eileen shut up, buttoned up her blouse, and quietly sat down while basking
in the glow of being highly aroused.

The therapist turned to Bob and said, 'This is what your wife needs at least
three times a week... Can you do this?'

Bob thought for a moment and replied, 'Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I play golf.'



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  • “Hi Dec £170,000 I've made in the past six months ... so many projects I haven't a minute. Number 4 in Music Week chart ... can't wait for next year ... they are predicting huge chart success for my productions. Unbelievable.
    D**** E****”

  • In 2010 film, just budgeted in LA, for full theatrical in the US for $8.7mill with Paul Kay attached.
    Two Liverpool 08 commissions. First with 200 choir Second a major CD Brass Band album with Fairey Brass Band ... Phil Lawrence [UK]

  • I had my first Top Ten Hit in Germany as a songwriter, great things are happening ... I'm on tour all over Europe with the band that I'm producing. We're the official support act for 50 Cent. 15 shows in the greatest countries of Europe. Marcell Brell [Germany]

  • We played The Cavern Club in Liverpool
    Patchwork Grace were the best thing they'd ever seen!!
    Ian - Thanks again Dec! [UK]

  • I was asked to play at the Pepsi Music festival in Buenos Aires. The most important festival held on the whole South American continent. it lasts 10 days every major local star, as well as many international acts like Megadeath, The Wailers, Die Toten Hose, etc. Thanks again Dec ... Emiliano Canal [Argentina]

  • Recently I have finished a score for an independent movie called “Treehouse”. I am now composing tracks for various music libraries for licencing and am also discussing publishing the MUNKIE catalogue with various publishers. Jason Clarke. [N. Ireland]

  • This is Yosi & Ofir Nafkar from Israel member of The Serious Writer Guild Membership No NET0778030W. We wrote music for an Australian Movie By Kerry Bowden. She is a great woman who helps children in need. The movie and the music had a great success. Together we gathered 1million$. [Israel]

  • Hi Dec, some good news regarding my girlfriend Erin's songs, 3 are being used on a new American TV show. Anyway thanks again for your invaluable support, knowing your there makes this leap into the publishing world feel a lot safer ... Roger O'Donnell [The Cure]

revised 07 Nov 2009 mailto:webmaster@makehits.co.uk
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