How I Setup My Bass

Upon becoming a Fodera artist, I would like to share how I maintain, setup and tone my beloved bass guitar.

Although this article focuses on my Fodera Emperor Standard Classic 5 as an example, the same approach can be projected to any bass.

Topics in this post contain highly subjective preferences. Your might (and probably will) differ from mine, but the general principles will be useful.

Specs

Detailed spec options of ESS5 can be found at http://www.fodera.com/emperor-standard-classic/ . My bass happens to have an alder body with black finish, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. I have two Fodera/Duncan alnico humbuckers which can be switched to single coils.

Generally speaking; ash + maple produce a brighter tone with a pronounced top end, typically preferred for slapping. However, slapping is not the only application – many non-slapping bassist prefer this combination as well. Alder + rosewood produce a warmer tone with pronounced low mids. In both cases, you can even out things to a certain degree using EQ. Maple reflects too much of the fret & finger noise for my taste, so I prefer alder + rosewood.

Ceramic humbuckers produce a modern tone typically preferred by metal / progressive / etc players, while alnico (“al”uminum + “ni”ckel + “co”pper) produce a vintage tone. I seem to prefer alnico.

Rest of my gear can be seen at Pinterest .

String Choice

I prefer to use medium gauge uncoated nickel roundwound strings.

Light gauges feel like rubber under my hands, and heavy gauges consume a lot of finger stamina. Medium gauges provide a happy balance.

Coated strings have a longer life span than uncoated strings. However, the ones I tried so far sounded dull to me. They also have limited grounding capabilities because the metal of the string can’t touch the skin. On certain situations, I hear sparky electric clicks through the amp when I move my hands up & down, which is obviously not desirable. Therefore, I prefer uncoated strings.

Steel strings are too bright for my taste, and they wear the frets much faster than some other materials. They also have a very strong magentic pull – the pickups of my Fodera seem to pull steel strings so much that the B string sounds off-pitch despite the perfect setup. I assume that cobalt strings would have an even greater magnetic pull. Therefore, I prefer nickel strings.

Flatwound strings provide have a very warm, deep tone with no finger noise. Roundwound strings provide clearer high mid & treble frequencies, which I happen to like a lot. That’s also suitable for the music styles I play. Therefore, I prefer roundwound strings over flatwounds.

Some typical strings I reach out for are;

 

Setup & Maintenance

I change my strings whenever they sound to sound dull to an extent where it can’t be fixed with EQ (what is lost, can’t be put back). If the string change is not part of my periodic maintenance, I change one string at a time to keep the neck constant and apply the maintenance steps (below) after the point of string change. Otherwise, I remove all strings so I can run through the entire maintenance procedure.

Normally, I run a full maintenance once every 6 months, which is based on the following steps.

Here are my measurements mentioned below in a clean format.

Neck relief: 0.25 mm @ 8th fret when 1st and last frets are pressed

String height: 1.25 1.25 1.25 1.50 1.75 from G to B @ 24th fret

Front pickup height: Bass side 2.5mm, treble side 1.75mm between the pickup + bottom of string when strings are pressed @ 24th fret

Back pickup height: Same as front pickup

String spacing: 19mm between the mid points of the strings

Wood Maintenance

First of all, I remove all of the strings. Thanks to the easy string removal system on the Fodera bridge, this is as easy as it can be.

Next step is cleaning. I use an air duster to blow the dust off the cavities of the bass. Then, I clean the guitar with a good guitar polish applied to a clean soft piece of cloth on every place except the rosewood fingerboard. Afterwards, I dry it off with another piece of cloth.

Next step is fingerboard maintenance, which applies to rosewood only (don’t do it if you have a maple neck). The deal is, rosewood has tiny little horizontal dents all over the fretboard. If the neck gets too dry, those dents tend to grow and turn into cracks. If things get further and the cracks grow as well, you might end up having a ruined neck. Therefore, you need to oil the rosewood fingerboard from time to time. I use lemon oil for that, which I apply to the entire fingerboard generously. Wood between each fret interspace should “drink” a fair amount of lemon oil with the help of a clean cloth. After the entire fretboard is oiled, I let the guitar rest and dry for a day or two. At the end of this period, I dry off any remaining oil from the fingerboard and frets using a clean soft cloth.

If you have a neck without finish, you would need to apply gun stock wax to it as well; the same way you applied lemon oil to the fingerboard.

Jason from Fodera Guitars has a wonderful video on oiling the fingerboard; which you might want to watch if you have never done this before.

String Installation

Next step is to put on the strings. Not much explanation needed here; except keeping the neck in balance. I start with the A string (the middle string), and add an additional string to either side sequentially – which looks like A – E – D – B – G. Then, I tune the strings.

Neck Relief

Next step is to setup the neck relief. I apply a capo to the first fret and press the first string at the 24th fret. Using a feeler, I measure the distance between the first string and the 8th fret. I have a light touch, therefore my ideal measure is 0.25 mm. In my opinion, this is as close as you can get without any buzz. If you have a harder touch, you might need to adjust the relief as needed.

You need to re-tune your strings after each truss rod adjustment.

If you are not experienced with this setup, get help & training from a luthier or more experienced player on the first few times. Jason from Fodera Guitars has a wonderful video on the subject; which you might want to watch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgmoRHr2cD8 .

String Height and Spacing

Next step is to adjust the string height via the bridge. Using a measurement tool, I measure the distance between the end of the string and the top of the fret at the 24th fret for each string. Due to my light touch, my ideal distance is 1.25 mm for A D G, 1.50 mm for E and 1.75 mm for B string. The reason why E & B have different heights is; they are stronger strings and they need to be a bit farther away so they don’t overpower weaker strings. If you have a stronger touch, you might need to raise the strings according to taste.

Most bridge saddles have 2 screws for each string. Make sure that they have the same height. And you need to re-tune your strings after each height change.

If your bridge supports string spacing adjustment, you can adjust to taste. My Fodera has a string spacing of 19mm, which provides a wide comfort. The key is, distance between the middle points of string should be equal. For example, distance between B – E should equal to the distance between E – A.

In case you need instruction, I recommend the string height video of Jason from Fodera Guitars.

If you lower a string as much as the bridge allows you to, but still can’t get as low as mentioned above, then your neck angle might not be properly setup. That wouldn’t be the case with a high end boutique bass; however, you might experince that on production basses. The solution is to remove the neck, apply a thin piece of card / wood between the neck & the body at the spot closest to the bridge, re-attach the bridge and re-run the maintenance procedure. A very thin shim goes a long way. This will change the bridge angle and lets you lower the strings further than before.

If you do a shim operation, you obviously need to go back and restart the setup with the neck relief. If you are not experienced with that, you might get help from a luthier. In case you need instruction, the commercial video of StewMac can give you a good idea.

Buzz Check

After setting up the neck relief and string height properly, you shouldn’t experience any buzzing. Play around some with your regular touch. If you experience buzz between the 1st-12th frets, the neck might need more relief. If you experience buzz between 12-24, the string height might not be enough.

Please note that another reason for buzz might be unleveled frets. Ideally, each fret should have the exact same height all over the fretboard – that’s usually achieved with a plek machine. If some frets are higher than others, those might buzz despite a perfect setup matching your playing style. The quick but poor solution is to increase the distance between the string & frets by playing with the relief or string height. The good solution is to have your frets leveled by an experienced luthier. In case you are wondering, you can watch Stew Mac leveling frets. That’s not something I’d recommend doing on your own.

Pickup Height

Next step is to setup your pickup height. Again, this is a matter of taste. If you set your pickups close to the strings, they will sound hotter. Set them apart, and you’ll get the opposite effect.

Please note that pickups produce magnetic pull. If the pickups are too close to the strings, the magnetic force of the pickups will affect the oscillation of the string and you’ll start to sound out of tune. Some string materials, such as steel and cobalt, are more susceptible to magnetic pull. Some materials, such as nickel, are less susceptible. Pickup type is also a factor: Ceramic pickups tend to produce stronger magnetic fields than alnico pickups.

In any case; the distance between bass strings & the pickup should be greater than the treble strings & the pickup. You wouldn’t want the stronger strings to overpower the weaker strings. We make up the power difference by making the weak string get closer to the pickup so they get heard better.

Here is my preference for pickup height measurement. When the the strings are pressed on the last fret (24th fret); bass side of each pickup should be 2.5mm and treble side of each pickup should be 1.7mm.

After setting the pickup height, play around your bass through your amp and ensure that all strings sound even. Due to your technique, you might be hitting some strings harder than others – or they might be other factors affecting the string to string balance of your bass. Minor pickup adjustments might be needed accordingly.

In case you need a demo on pickup height, you can watch Jason from Fodera Guitars adjusting his pickups .

Intonation

After making sure that your bass is in perfect tune, it is time to check your intonation. We need to ensure that each string produces the desired frequency on the 12th fret. For example; your E string might be in perfect tune, but if the string length is not correct, it will sound off at the 12th fret and won’t be in tune overall.

For each string;

  • Let the string ring and ensure that it is in tune
  • Press the string on the 12th fret and check your tuner
  • If the note is in tune, move to the next string
  • If the note is flat, you should shorten the string via the bridge
  • If the note is sharp, you should lengthen the string via the bridge

 

In case you need a demo on intonation, you can watch Jason from Fodera Guitars intonate his instrument.

Battery

If you have an active bass, changing your battery every 6 months is a good idea. It is also important not to leave the jack on the bass, otherwise the batteries will drain extremely quickly.

Tone

Tone is a highly subjective matter of taste with no universal rights and wrongs. How you should approach the tone of your bass depends on many factors such as your gear, technique, band, style of music, acoustics and size of the stage & venue, etc. I can’t guide you through a walkthrough of absolute tonal success, but I will talk about my approach which might inspire you to develop your own.

Principles

I do my main tonal setup by leaving my bass flat and tweaking the EQ of the amp. I use the EQ of my bass for minor tweaks during the gig, which involves tiny boost & cuts here and there (we will talk about this later). The idea is, it is hard (sometimes impossible) to turn back to your amp, tweak the sound, and get back to playing. But it is very easy to make a small adjustments via the onboard EQ with a small hand gesture.

Another reason is; once you cut a frequency, you can’t put it back any more. Think of old dirty strings that don’t ring that well any more – no matter how much you boost your treble, you can’t make them sound sparky when slapping. The same applies to your bass EQ. If you cut some frequencies onboard, you can’t put them back on the amp. Therefore, having a flat EQ on the bass initially is important in terms of frequency abundance as well.

The distance between the amp & your standing point is very important. Assuming that you have a mid sized amp, you should be staying around 2m away from your amp in order you can hear yourself. If you are too close, you will be standing behind the point where the sound is actually formed, and you won’t hear yourself well while your band members complain that the bass is too loud. If the stage is small and you can’t get the ideal distance, you might be better off using the amp as a DI only and mainly hearing yourself from the monitor speakers. Or, in-ear monitors. So, keep your distance (if possible) while shaping your EQ and playing on stage.

Your rig isn’t the only factor shaping your sound. The venue size & shape, ceiling height, stage material, amp placement and many other factors play a role on how you sound. You should imagine your bass + head + cabinets + the entire environment as a big giant rig producing your sound. Whatever you setup on the amp is only a starting point for your sound. Since you can’t shape your material environment, you’ll shape your amp EQ so that the amp -> material environment will produce the sound you want. Whatever EQ sounds good at home might sound bad on stage, or some EQ sounding good on a certain venue can sound bad on another venue. This means that you can’t have a fixed global EQ setting which works everywhere. You can have a certain sound you like, but how you’ll achieve this sound EQ-wise will differ from venue to venue. So you need to learn and love the EQ.

How you sound alone will differ from how you sound in the mix. After doing your initial EQ, be prepared to tweak it further after you play all together. Another point is; how you sound outside will differ from how you hear yourself on the stage. After setting your amp EQ to your taste, you are going to need to trust the sound guy for how you sound outside. Talk to him/her about your sound preference, but let him/her be the final judge. I also recommend sending him/her your flat signal so they can add / subtract frequencies more accurately (another reason to leave your bass EQ flat initially). Many amps have a pre/post switch or a dry out output (pin or XLR) to enable that.

Amp EQ

Having covered the principles, we can move forward and tweak the EQ on the amp.

Start of by setting your bass flat. If you have a passive bass, you’ll want to leave the EQ wide open. If you have an active bass, you’ll want all EQ knobs centered. If you have a StingRay Classic and don’t have a center detent, good luck finding the flat spot.

Set your amp EQ flat as well. If you like the sound coming out with the flat setup, then fine! Don’t play with anything. You may get off with a good sound using a flat EQ at times. However, you’ll need to tweak the EQ in many other cases.

You need to be aware of the gain knob that most amps have. This knob will set the strength of the initial signal coming from your bass. A very low gain setting will leave you sounding weak. A very high gain setting will overpower the amp so you can’t distinguish the nuances of your technique. You need to find a sweet spot inbetween; where you sound strong enough to be satisfied while you can still hear your nuances. In many cases, gain & volume on the amp need to be balanced simultaneously. This means, the amount of gain you’ll need will be different on low & high volume situations. On my Aguilar ToneHammer 500, I tend to set the gain at 10 o’clock while the master volume is around 12.

In terms of EQ setup, you need to know what each frequency does. In case your amp has 4 EQ knobs;

  • Bass will define how boomy your sound is – think of the subwoofers
  • Low mid will define how punchy your sound is – think of the Precision Bass sound
  • High mid will define the nasal / bite amount of your sound – think of Jaco
  • Treble will define your presence in terms of string / fret noise – think of the top end of slapping

In case your amp has 3 EQ knobs;

  • Bass will command your bass + a bit of the low mids
  • Mid will command your low + high mids
  • Treble will commad a bit of the high mids + your treble

In case your amp has 2 EQ knobs;

  • Bass will command your bass + low mids
  • Treble will command your high mids + treble

Different amps will have their knobs set at different frequencies; the information above is just a casual general guide.

Some amps have the option to switch to a graphic EQ. Now this is where you have the most control, but it might be overkill for many players which are not sound engineers. Talkbass has a good explanation of frequencies , but I rarely get there on live situations. If I’m in the studio, I leave that level of granularity to the sound engineers anyway.

As a general principle, cutting gives better results than boosting. If your bass sounds too boomy and you can’t hear your highs, cut the bass instead of boosting the treble. If your bass sounds too punchy and you can’t get enough bite, cut the low mids instead of boosting the high mids. You get the idea. Perceived frequency balance is as valid as actual frequency balance – when you cut the treble, people will perceive the sound to be “boomier” despite you didn’t boost the bass frequencies, and you don’t overpower anything, ending up sounding cleaner.

Most of the time, a little cut or boost goes a long way. If you feel like you need extreme EQ changes, chances are you don’t have the correct rig to produce the sound you like.

Bass EQ

Here is how I setup the initial tone of my Fodera. Leaving the bass and the amp flat, I leave the pickup balance at 50% and switch to single coil mode. In this position, I tweak the EQ of my amp aiming at a good slap sound leaning towards Marcus Miller. Once I’m happy with that, I can tweak my bass from song to song aiming at different sounds.

Examples:

  • Single coil mode, %75 neck pickup, slight mid boost will lean towards a precision bass sound. Treble cut & slight bass boost gets me into motown territory.
  • Humbucker mode, %75 neck pickup, treble cut will give me a sub bass sound. Usable for dance, R&B, reggae styles; plus a a double bass emulation depending on right hand technique.
  • Single coil mode with centered pickup balance will give me a good slap tone. Also nice for chords.
  • Humbucker mode with centered pickup balance gives my default fingerstyle bass tone. I use this position most of the time.
  • Single coil mode, %75 bridge pickup, passive tone cut will give a nice mellow solo tone.
  • Humbucker mode, %75 bridge pickup, slight bass boost will give a nice Jaco-ish tone. Passive tone cut is optional for some mellowness. If I don’t boost the bass, I get a good framework for compressed fuzz effects as well.

 

Active basses with 2 / 4 band EQ’s or passive basses will require different approaches, obviously. But how I approach my Fodera can inspire you into the right direction.

Note that your hand placement and technique also plays a great role in terms of shaping your tone. Leaving your pickup balance centered, try playing close to the neck and attack the strings softly with the meaty part of your fingers – this will produce a very warm and deep tone. Now, play close to the bridge and attack the strings with the top of your fingers as if you would scratch / claw the pickup. This will produce a very bright tone and will also allow you to play 16th notes tighter. Now, play between the neck – bridge pickup with the side of your fingers. This will produce a low mid oriented balanced sound.

The combination of amp EQ, bass EQ and your hand technique will define your initial sound output, and the venue will shape the rest. I have provided my own initial preferences, but you’ll need to work out your own over time and with experience.

Pedalboard EQ

After you are happy with your amp EQ and how you can shape the sound with your bass, you can set the EQ of individual effect pedals. Don’t attempt setting the EQ’s of your pedals earlier.

Conclusion

I feel like this is one of the most comprehensive articles I wrote about bass setup. When it comes to music, there are no universal rights & wrongs. What sounds good to someone can sound bad to another person, and what works in a certain context might not work so well in another one. Having said that, I hope that my approaches will give some inspiration to the entire community of bass players.

Shaft Da Kapanıyor

Yaklaşık 20 sene boyunca çeşitli oluşumlarla sahne aldığım, hayatımın her döneminden pek çok anımın olduğu Shaft Club da; İstanbul’daki pek çok canlı müzik mekanı gibi kapanıyor. “Her şey nasıl başladıysa öyle biter” diyen Yavuz Çetin’i hatırlıyorum bu haber karşısında, tatlı bir hüzünle.

Peki ama bu canlı müzik mekanları neden birer birer kapanıyor? Bunun genel geçer net cevabını söylemek zor olsa da, bazı subjektif gözlemlerimi paylaşmak istiyorum.

90’larda Müzik

90’larda İstanbul’da sayısız canlı müzik mekanı haftanın 7 günü canlı müzik yapardı. Çok iyi Cover grupları vardı. Aklıma gelen bazı gruplar; Blue Blues Band, Indians, Volvox, Funk Doctors, Soul Stuff, Kangroove, Acil Servis, Athena, Gür Akad Band, …

Bu yıllar, aynı zamanda albümlerin satıldığı ve stüdyoya yatırım yapılarak albümlere büyük bütçeler ayrılabildiği yıllardı. 90’larda çok kaliteli parçaların biraz da yorumlanarak canlı çalınması, o dönemin dinleyicisine büyük keyif veriyordu ki bu mekanlar bu kadar doluyordu.

O kitle, artık kariyer çoluk çocuk sahibi olduğu için gece hayatından biraz çekilmiş gibi gözüküyor. Eğlence tercihleri daha sakin, yemekli mekanlarda dostlarla bir araya gelmeye evrildi.

2000’lerde MP3

Peki sonradan gelen nesil? 2000’li yılların başından itibaren Torrent / paylaşım programları türedi ve kaçak MP3 indirip dinlemek çok kolay hale geldi. Bu kolaya da geniş kitleler ne yazık ki meyletti.

Sonuç? Plak şirketleri, albümlere yapılan yatırımı azaltıp konserlere yapılan yatırımı arttırmaya başladı. Ucuza maledilen, dolayısıyla müzikaliteden ister istemez ödün verilmiş albümleri bedava verip; insanları dansçılar, kostümler, egolar ve ışık gösterileriyle göz kamaştıran biletli konserlere çekme yoluna gitmeye başladılar. Zira MP3 evde dinlenebilir, ama konser atmosferi evde yaşanamaz.

Popüler müzik, artık büyük ölçüde elektronik öğeler içeriyor ve bir sahne gösterisinin sadece bir parçası olmuş durumda. Dolayısıyla; şimdiki nesilde canlı müzik dinleme kültürü epey azaldı gibi. Bir diğer deyişle; davul / bas / gitar / klavye / vokal formatındaki geleneksel bir Rock grubunun çalabileceği parçalar, artık yeni neslin ilgisini çekmiyor. Çünkü o parçaları dinleyerek değil, sahne gösterisine fon müziği olan elektronik ağırlıklı müziği dinleyerek büyüdüler.

O parçaları seven kitleden hala canlı müzik dinleyenler ise, mekanları çevirmeye yetmiyor artık.

Amatör Gruplar

Gözlemlediğim bazı mekanlar, popüler 1-2 grubu hafta sonu yüksek bütçeyle sürekli sahneye çıkarıp, hafta içi ise amatör grupları çıkarma yoluna gittiler. Amatör gruplar, “Vay canına, X’in çaldığı yerde çalacağız, büyük fırsat” duygusuyla düşük bütçelere sahne almayı kabul ettiklerinde, onları dinlemeye gelen arkadaş eş dost sayesinde de mekan biraz olsun bir şeyler kazanabiliyordu.

Ancak bunun da etkisi uzun vadede olumsuz oldu kanımca. Eskiden mekana gitme kavramı vardı. İsim yapmış bir mekana haftanın hangi günü gidersek gidelim, mutlaka kaliteli bir grubun iyi bir müzik yapacağını biliyor olurduk. Dolayısıyla; “canlı müzik dinlemeye çıkmak” kaliteli müzik ve eğlenceli bir gece anlamına geliyordu.

Enstrüman ve eğitim materyalleri artık çok erişilebilir olduğundan, gruplar kısa bir sürede basit bir repertuarla sahne alabilir hale gelebiliyor. Geliyor da, grubu tanımayıp mekana gelişigüzel gelen insanların keyif alacağı bir sonuç çıkıyor mu ortaya?

Genele bakıldığında pek çıkmıyor sanki. Sahne alan grupların ortalamasındaki düşüş, müşteriler arasındaki “canlı müzik” algısını da aşağıya çekti kanımca. Bundan ötürü, canlı müzik vaadeden mekanlara gelişigüzel eğlenmeye gitme olgusu epey darbe yedi.

Biletli Mekanlar

Buna alternatif olarak; insanlara gelişigüzel canlı müzik değil, sevdikleri grup ve sanatçıları biletle izleten mekanlar açıldı. Bunlardan bazıları gösteri merkezi statüsünde, bazıları bardan hallice, bazıları ise 20-30 kişilik samimi mekan formatındalar. Ancak ortak noktaları; grup performanslarını aylık / sezonluk program çerçevesinde bilet satışıyla sunmaları.

Bu formattaki büyük mekanlar, genelde takipçi sayısı yüksek albümlü grupları çıkarmayı tercih ediyor – bazen de yabancı grupları getiriyorlar. Daha mütevazi gruplar ise, küçük butik mekanlarda daha küçük bütçelerle (muhtemelen biletten % alarak) sahne alabiliyor ancak. Bu butik sahnelerde ise ciddi ses sistemleri yok, bir kısmında davul bile yok. Dolayısıyla; oralarda da akustik ağırlıklı küçük ekipler, ufak beste oluşumları veya performanslarına doğaçlama / masal / komedi gibi öğeler katarak merak uyandıran orijinal içerik sergileyenler yer bulabiliyor.

Bu mekanlar, şu anda kısmen tutunabiliyor gibi gözükse de; bakalım uzun vadede ne olacak…

Sonuç

Son olarak; eskiden canlı müziğin kalesi olarak görülen Beyoğlu’nda ayan beyan gözlemlenebilen değişimi de dile getirmeden olmaz. Bu değişim, Türkiye’nin çehresindeki bir değişimi özetliyor aslında. Sebepleri konusunda pek çok rivayet olmakla birlikte; net sonuç orada (müzikli müziksiz) sayısız mekanın kapanması oldu. Eskiden Beyoğlu’na eğlenmeye giden kitlenin bir kısmı Karaköy’de, bir kısmı ise Kadıköy’de zaman geçirir oldu.

Bu yazının sonunda, değişimin kaçınılmaz olduğunu dile getirmek istiyorum. Bir Çin atasözü; değişim rüzgarları estiğinde kiminin barınak kiminin yeldeğirmeni kurduğunu söyler. Müzik piyasasındaki bu değişim rüzgarlarının kimi nereye götüreceğini hep birlikte göreceğiz.

Why I Avoid TV

No, I don’t watch TV at all. Never seen a single episode of Lost, Game of Thrones or Prison Break. Don’t watch the news, sports or any show either. Instead, I allocate my time on productive occupations. That’s how I find the time to write books or keep up with the bands I participate.

I would like to openly evaluate my last year to demonstrate how this works for me.

TV Statistics

According to multiple studies, an average adult spends 4 hours per day watching TV. I will cut this in half so that most readers can relate to an average rate of 2 hours per day.

When you sum it up; this makes ~14 hours per week, ~56 hours per month and ~730 hours per year. Assuming that an average work day is 8 hours long, it means that an adult spends ~90 workdays on TV.

This is a lot of time.

People have different preferences. You might be spending much less time on series; but you might be spending time on video games, newspapers, trivial social events, etc instead. Therefore, I would like to generalize the abbreviation “TV” as “Time Vampires“.

My Secret

Spending TV time on productive occupations is my secret.

If you check my Website; you’ll find that I’m a software architect, a writer, an active musician and a yogi simultaneously. People often ask me how I manage to run those occupations in parallel. Well, time management and discipline is an obvious answer. However; before managing time, you need to have some free time in the first place.

Avoiding TV (time vampires) altogether is how I find free time.

This leaves me 90 workdays (about 4 months on the job) to do whatever I want. This is more than enough to write, practice songs and do some yoga.

A Year Without TV

For instance; my SAP Press book on ABAP Design Patters took me one year to finish. And it is around 400 pages. This means that I wrote ~1 page every day for an entire year. Assuming that a page would take me an hour to complete, I can safely say that I published a book instead consuming the time I saved from TV. A profitable exchange, right?

730 annual hours – 400 hours spent on the book left me with 330 hours. Assuming that I practice bass guitar for 30 minutes every day in average, I have spent 180 hours practicing music. This means that; avoiding TV has also enabled me to play gigs.

This still left me 150 hours of free time. Assuming that I do 30 minutes of yoga every other day, it means that I have spent 90 hours on yoga. This still leaves 60 hours of free time. I have probably spent this time on movies, YouTube or video games. But those are not habits. Exceptions don’t define you, but habits do.

The only significant downside of TV avoidance is; I don’t understand some references and jokes among my peers. Well, I can live with that – I’d rather have another published book + my gigs under my belt.

Conclusion

Being aware of time vampires in your life is an important first step of taking control of the way you live. Video games, newspapers, magazines, trivial social events might be TVs that affect you.

Once you start saving free time, you can start doing time management to achieve your goals over time. I have published a Turkish speech on time management which might guide Turkish speaking readers. Others might be interested in researching methods like GTD and Pomodoro.

Gitarda Dip Gürültüsü ve Çözümleri

Eğer gitarınızdan dip gürültüsü geliyorsa, bunun genelde iki sebebi olabilir: Manyetikleriniz veya bulunduğunuz mekanın elektrik sistemi. Bu yazıda, bu problemleri inceleyip olabilecek çözümleri tartışacağız.

Manyetik Kaynaklı Gürültü

Single Coil bir gitar manyetiğinin içerisinde, tek yöne doğru sarılmış bir bobin bulunmaktadır. Bu bobin soldan sağa doğru sarıldıysa +100 polaritede, sağdan sola doğru sarıldıysa -100 polaritede olacaktır.

Manyetiğiniz, radyo antenlerine benzer bir şekilde, havadan yayılan elektromanyetik frekansları algılamaktadır. Eğer odanızda elektromanyetik dalga yayan hiçbir cihaz yoksa ve elektrik tesisatınız da temizse, Single Coil manyetiğinizi hiçbir dip gürültüsü olmadan kullanabilirsiniz.

Ancak; sahneye çıktığınızda işler değişir. Mekanda; buzdolabı, ışık sistemi, ekranlar, vb cihazlar bulunacak ve elektromanyetik dalga yayacaktır. Gitar manyetiğiniz bunlara maruz kaldığında; hiçbir nota vurmasanız bile bir dip gürültüsü yaymaya başlar.

Farklı yönlere dönerek elektromanyetik dalgaların gitarınıza çarpmamasını sağlayabiliyorsanız ve konser boyunca o yönde çalabilecekseniz, sorunu basit bir şekilde çözebilirsiniz. Ancak; bu yöntemin işe yaramayacağı pek çok durum olabilir.

Humbucker manyetikler, bu tarz bir dip gürültüsüne sahip değildir. Bilmeyenler için; Humbucker manyetikler iki Single coil manyetiğin aynı anda çalıştığı bir manyetik türüdür. Humbucker içerisindeki manyetiklerden biri soldan sağa (+100), diğeri ise sağdan sola (-100) sarıldığı için, birbirlerinin polaritesini sıfırlar ve elektromanyetik dalgalardan etkilenmez hale gelirler. Humbucker tonlarını seviyorsanız, Single Coil yerine Humbucker manyetik tercih ederek manyetik kaynaklı dip gürültüsüne sonsuza dek veda edebilirsiniz.

Telecaster veya Jazz Bass gibi iki Single Coil manyetiğe sahip gitarların da manyetikleri genelde ters sarılmıştır (biri soldan sağa, diğeri sağdan sola). İki manyetiği aynı anda etkinleştirerek Humbucker efekti yaratabilir ve dip gürültüsünden kurtulabilirsiniz. Aynısı, Stratocaster gitarların Neck + Mid veya Bridge + Mid şeklindeki ara pozisyonları için de geçerlidir.

Precision Bass‘ta ise Split Coil bir manyetik bulunur. Yani; ikiye bölünmüş tek bir manyetik vardır ve bu parçalar yine birbirinin aksi yönünde sarılmıştır. Humbucker mantığına sahip bu Single Coil manyetik sayesinde, gürültüsü önlenmiş olur. Bu mantığı takip eden ve geliştiren Aguilar, kendi içinde iki zıt sarıma sahip ama Single Coil özelliği taşıyan Jazz Bass manyetikleri üretmektedir. Başka gitarlara yönelik benzer manyetikler üreten başka firmalar da var elbette. Bu tarz manyetikleri tercih ederek; hem Single Coil sound’u alabilir hem de dip gürültüsünü kesebilirsiniz.

MusicMan, HS modellerinde Single Coil manyetiğin yanına bir de Ghost Coil manyetik eklemektedir. Bu manyetik, gövdenin içine gizlidir ve herhangi bir ses üretmez. Tek görevi, Single Coil manyetiğe ters sarımlı bobini ile Humbucking etkisi yaratmak ve dip gürültüsünü kesmektir. Ghost Coil barındıran bir gitar tercih ederek veya gitarınızı modifiye ettirip bir Ghost Coil ekleterek bu çözümü uygulayabilirsiniz.

Ancak; Humbucker, Split Coil veya Ghost Coil çözümlerinin her biri, ton değişikliği anlamına gelmektedir. Vintage Single Coil Sound’undan mümkün mertebe feragat etmek istemiyor ancak yine de dip gürültüsünü kesmek istiyorsanız, o halde yardımcı pedal kullanmayı önerebilirim.

Önerebileceğim ilk pedal, Electro Harmonix’in Hum Debugger pedalı. Bu pedal, manyetiğinizin dip gürültüsünü tespit ederek 60 Hz civarındaki dip gürültüsünü EQ modifikasyonuyla devreden çıkarır ve sisteme temiz bir ses gitmesini sağlar. Forumlarda bu pedalı kullanan bazı kişiler gitarlarının tonunu değiştirdiğini, bazıları değiştirmediğini, bazıları ise ton değişikliğinin (özellikle mix içerisinde) gözardı edilebileceğini söylüyor. Ben bas gitarımda pek bir ton değişikliği hissettiğimi söyleyemem, gayet memnundum.

Bir diğer pedal türü ise, Noise Gate olabilir. Pek çok marka Noise Gate pedalı üretmektedir. Bu pedalların özelliği, belli bir Volume seviyesinin altındaki sinyali sisteme hiç göndermemektir. Bu sayede; gitarı çalmadığınızda, görece düşük bir ses seviyesinde olan dip gürültüsü sisteme gitmeyecektir. Çalmaya başladığınızda dip gürültüsü de sisteme gidecek, ancak kendi notalarınızın Volume’ünün çok altında kaldığından izleyici bunu muhtemelen hissetmeyecek / duymayacaktır. Noise Gate’in dezavantajı ise; dinamik bir çalıma sahipseniz, görece sessiz çalmak istediğiniz notaları da kesme riskidir.

Elektrik Kaynaklı Gürültü

Bu ikinci tarz dip gürültüsü, gitarınızın manyetiği ile doğrudan ilişkili değildir. Daha ziyade, mekandaki elektrik altyapısı ve topraklama ile ilgilidir.

Türkiye’deki prizlerde iki soket bulunur. Bunlardan biri elektrik, diğeri topraktır.

İdeal durumda; elektrik sistemine bağlı tüm cihazların elektrik / toprak polaritesi aynı olmalıdır. Ancak; pozitif ve negatif polariteye sahip cihazları aynı altyapıya bağladığınızda; elektrik ve toprak savaşmaya başlar. Bu savaş, hoparlörlere dip gürültüsü olarak yansıyacaktır.

Bu problemi elimine etmenin yolu, cihazları sırayla fişten çekerek problemi neyin yarattığını anlamaktan geçer. Problemli cihaz vazgeçilebilir bir cihaz ise, konser sırasında fişe takmayarak veya (varsa) alternatif bir tesisata takarak problemi çözebilirsiniz.

Bazı DI Box / amfilerde “Ground Switch” diye bir düğme bulunur. Bu düğme, cihazın polaritesini ters çevirmektedir. Tesisattaki cihazların Ground Switch’ine basarak polaritelerini çevirmeyi deneyebilirsiniz. Pek çok örnekte, dip gürültüsünü bu şekilde hallettim.

Dismissed From TM Center

I would like to share an incident I have experienced in the TM center of Istanbul / Turkey.

Although I am not a TM practitioner, I practice mindfulness meditation (20 years), yoga (5 years) and am one of the founders of Shamoon. Being familiar with meditative practices, my attention was drawn to TM by a practitioner friend of mine.

Going one step further; she invited me to TM center Istanbul to join a meditation session + conference. My intention was to join the practice doing my own mindfulness meditation and listen to the speech to get familiar with TM.

However, the outcome was quite different. A lady, who is the leader of the center and who knows my friend quite well, dismissed me out of the class because “I was no TM practitioner”. She said that I can watch an introduction video somewhere else, but I can’t join their session.

From my point of view, this is a very rude behavior. I visited countless mosques, churches, yoga centers, meditation centers and other similar places. No matter where I went, people were always very warm and welcoming to visitors, and I was always allowed to silently participate their practices. This is how my understanding of spiritual growth is: Welcoming and open.

But the approach in the TM center was quite different – I was dismissed out, despite the fact that my friend is a regular practitioner and I told about my background very politely.

Nevertheless; me & my friend left the class, partially shocked. Her relatives, who are also TM practitioners, learned about the incident and said that they are disappointed & doubt if the TM practices they learned were genuine.

I’ve sent an e-mail to the TM headquarters in India to prevent any misdirected prejudices. How should I evaluate the exposed behavior? Is this a personal mistake of a single teacher? Or would I be dismissed like this in any TM central – and why is that necessary? Am I dismissed because I didn’t pay yet, or is there another reason? However, I didn’t get any reply.

End of story.

ABAP’ın 10 Sene Sonrası

(…) Türkiye de şu an ABAP bilen uzman kişiler aranıyor ve ben bu alana tamamen yolumu çevirirsem bundan 10 sene sonrası içinde yanlış bir tercih mi yapıyor olurum? (…) Benim ulaşmayı istediğim noktada sizce ABAP uygun bir yerde mi ? ABAP için modül geliştirebilmek şu an için ne kadar aranan bir pozisyon olsa da, (…) bir 5 sene sonra belkide rutinini koruyacak ve bana ihtiyaç kalmayacak bile. Şu an Amerika da BIGDATA’nın zirve yaptığı bir dönem 10 sene sonra belki de ABAP duymayacağız Spark, Hadoop duyacağız. ABAP bunun esnekliğini bana sağlayabilecek mi Kerem bey? Sektörün içerisinde ve ileriyi görebilecek tecrübeye sahip biri olduğunuzu göz önüne katarak bana verebileceğiniz tavsiyeler nelerdir ?

SAP artık sadece ERP çözümleri sunan bir firma olmanın çok ötesinde bir noktada duruyor. Cloud, Big Data, AI, Machine Learning, IoT gibi konularda da ya kendi geliştirdiği, ya da firma satın alarak devşirdiği çözümler sunuyor.

ABAP, SAP’nin ERP çözümlerinde ERP sunucusu üzerindeki geliştirmeleri yapmak için hala geçerli bir dil. SAP, R/3’e 2025 yılına kadar destek vereceğini açıkladı, 2025 yılı itibariyle ise müşterilerinin (yeni nesip ERP sistemi olan) S/4 Hana’ya geçiş yapmış olmasını talep ediyor.

Ancak; altyapısında klasi bir veritabanı yerine Hana altyapısı kullanması gibi bazı değişikliklere rağmen, S/4 Hana’nın da sunucu tarafı geliştirmeleri için hala ABAP kullanılıyor. Yani; SAP’nin ERP programlama dili olarak ABAP geçerliliğini daha uzun bir süre koruyacak gibi gözüküyor.

Eğer ERP programcısı olmayı düşünüyorsan, ABAP yatırımının boşa gitmeyeceğini düşünüyorum. Ancak; ABAP’ın üzerine Fiori gibi yeni nesil uygulamaları da eklemeyi planlamalısın. Zira SAP’yi dış dünyaya entegre etmenin modern yolu artık OData ve Fiori destekli Web / mobil uygulama ve servis geliştirmekten geçiyor. Bunun yanı sıra; SAP’nin ERP ailesindeki ürünler artık Cloud olarak da sunuluyor. Dolayısıyla Web ortamında geliştirme yapamayan bir programcının uzun vadede zorluk çekeceğini öngörüyorum.

Senin burada vermen gereken temel karar, ERP programcısı olmak veya olmamak üzerine olmalı. ERP yolunu seçeceksen; bu sektördeki en büyük isim olan SAP’yi takip etmen ve onun ERP geliştirme dili olan ABAP’ı (ve Fiori, Hana gibi modern araçlarını) öğrenmende bir kayıp öngörmüyorum.

Ancak; ERP’yi bir kenara bırakarak (mesela) Big Data üzerine yoğunlaşacaksan, Big Data konusundaki en iyi kariyer yolunun ne olduğuna bakıp ona göre ayrı bir karar vermen gerekir. Bu konudaki en iyi kariyer SAP çözümlerinde uzmanlaşmaktan mı geçiyor, onu ayrıca araştır.

Yok, AI ve Machine Learning ilgini çekiyorsa, yine o konulara ait geleceği olan bir kariyer yolu çizmelisin. SAP çözümleri bu sektörün neresinde duruyor iyi araştır. ERP’de lider diye AI konusunda senin en iyi kariyer seçeneğin SAP olmak zorunda değil.

How I Lost 16 KG

Let me start by telling you that I’m no nutrition expert. Before going on a diet, I strongly advise you to agree with your doctor and visit a competent nutritionist. If you continue reading this post, it means that you are taking full responsibility of anything that could happen to you in case you follow the methods mentioned.

OK, that was the boring part. Now, the fun part begins. Yes, I have lost 16KG (35 pounds) in a year. I would like to share how.

First of all, some math. 1 KG of fat approximately contains 7.500 calories. If you want to burn 1 KG off your body, you need to burn 7.500 calories. To lose 16 KG, I had to burn 120.000 calories without ignoring my nutrition needs.

This is a lot. Considering how efficient the human body is designed, it is much more than one can reasonably burn with sport. My short cardio practice would burn around 250 calories, so it was obvious that I needed to lower my input as well.

Therefore, I got to know my body. Considering my job, life style, gender, age, weight, etc; a test told me that I need 1.800 calories per day. If I eat 2.000 calories, the excess 200 calories will probably turn into fat (weight gain). If I eat 1.500 calories, 300 calories will be burned off my fat (weight loss).

However, I was also informed about my critical lower limit; which was 1.200 calories per day. If I go below that limit, my body would do unpredictable things (like turning *everything* into fat) or my overall health could be damaged.

Every person would have different calorie values, those were mine.

So the idea was to eat about 1.200 calories per day, and never exceed 1.800 calories (except some rare cheat days). In case I did sports one day and burned 250 calories, I allowed myself to eat +250 calories too – so that I don’t fall under the critical limit of 1.200.

Following that calculation means that I would burn 600 calories daily. Considering that 1 KG of fat is worth 7.500 calories, I would lose about 2 KG per month.

And this is exactly what I did. I basically modified my shopping and eating habits and started counting calories. Following the idea that whatever enters the kitchen eventually enters your stomach, I stopped buying junk food & snacks completely. It took some discipline and planning too: I had to think about not starving on lunch & dinner when I was having my breakfast. You get the idea.

It was also important to make a distinction between an empty stomach and hunger. They are not the same thing. Your stomach may not be as full as you are used to be, but if you got all the nutrition you need (not *desire*), you are good. Getting used to an empty stomach is part of the game.

I also used a helpful app called My Fitness Pal, which counts your calorie input & outputs and tells you how much more you can eat that day. It also shows you that a chocolate bar equals 3 plates of boiled vegetables, so you start to prefer eating more and feeling relatively full over eating junk and feeling hungry.

Well, it worked like a charm. I had cheat days, unfavourable weeks and whatnot; but at the end of the year, I burned 16 KGs. Losing weight over time also gives the body the necessary time to adjust.

I don’t know if this suits you or not, but that’s what I did.

Stay healthy!