Hi Y'all.

Another weekly update to keep you in the know. My four-track is completely broken, so I'm looking in to get a really cheap used one off of craiglist or something. Wrote some songs over the past week for guitar, I hope I can record them soon.

Work is going well, much harder than I anticipated but gaining some headway. If you are wondering what I'm doing, I'm doing research work to try and figure out what are some of the major problems artists face throughout their careers. The hope is to establish some concrete information to build and develop websites that help artists solve their problems and realistically attain their visions. Obviously not everything can be fixed, such as people's perceptions of artists, but at least we can hopefully empower artists to be able to make sound decisions and to build and find their own networks.

lost in the parking lot (not verified) says:

what's wrong with your four track? let me know - i've repaired mine about 3 times and taken it in for repairs about 3 times - it's still kickin', but a lot of the old 4 tracks have designs that wear out. check out the newer, smaller, more efficient four tracks around - and seriously consider stepping it up to 8, if you find a used one, but it HAS to be in good condition, or else you are just paying for a few weeks worth of recording.

keevstanbul (not verified) says:

so one thing i'm wondering about with yr summer research is how you'll define a "problem". For example, I bet a lot of artists would say that it's difficult to get health insurance or a good retirement plan and I'm almost certain that such considerations affect the work that the artist can perform/create...so how broad will the scope be and how will you be able to tease small-scope problems apart from big-scope ones? An ambitious question for an ambitious project (being performed by an ambitious person, of course).

Peace from Istanbul (and soon Greece),

zirafa says:

hello anonymous helper,

the problem with my fourtrack is the actual tape player itself. the motor inside seems kinda old and does not spin at a constant rate (how or when this happened I don't know) and I actually opened it up and figured out which motor it was and everything. I did some minor work on it but I would say the outstanding problem is that it simply does not record or playback at constant speeds, it warbles, etc...any help would be much appreciated! right now i'm looking at simply buying a used portastudio 424 mkII (my old one was the original 424)


zirafa says:

great question. a "problem" is defined as something that is directly related to a creative career that can be addressed or solved using the internet. this could be something like, "it's hard to find new fans", or "i want to find other artists like me so we can be friends or collaborate" or "i am looking to apply for such-and-such grant, award, or residency." Something like healthcare would not be included, although it is a concern, because it is not immediately obvious how to use the internet to solve this problem. However, it IS possible to use the internet to provide resources and reliable information regarding healthcare and retirement options. And actually there are some sites already out there that do this, such as the future of music coalition in DC. But not all artists know about it. Access to reliable information is non-existent.

Another point you could make is, "all artists are poor." This is indeed a problem, but we can't tackle this huge problem on such a large scale. We have to break down the problems and figure out which ones cause the most stress, are too time consuming, or may just seem impossible. A lot of artists work multiple jobs and don't have time to manage,produce,create art, research information etc etc. And as they say - "Time IS money." which is very true. Reducing the amount of time artists spend on non-creative activities is already by itself a huge benefit, because it means that time can be spent on creative endeavors.


lost in the parking lot (not verified) says:

if it doesn't playback at a constant speed, it is because the belt (the black thick rubber band) is probably worn or frayed. open that up and check it out - you can buy replacement belts. did you ever clean your cassette deck with rubbing alcohol? did you clean the capstan with it? that is mistake #1 - use 99% isoproproleyflhphealyhy alcohol on the head - but don't use it on the rubber parts - it'll dry 'em up.

farsheed_ (not verified) says:

hmmmm, no i remember checking out the belt and it was in premium condition. not worn looking at all, or frayed. i did use alcohol to clean the head, but not any rubber parts. but considering the price of 4 tracks these days, they certainly seem disposable. i was considering getting a digital/minidisc one but i've heard they crash - and besides, if i want to deal with digital i can always use a computer.

lost in the parking lot (not verified) says:

take off the belt, and run the player - if it is possible to do so. check if there is any flutter (or wow!) - when the motor is just turning. does the player run smoothly until you put a tape in? i had a clock radio that looked awesome when there was no tape in, but if you gave it a little bit of pressure to the spokey-dokes, it would freak out. the belt could look good, but still be off or weak when it is running. that's like a bike tire that looks good, but when you start spinning it, you can see that it is bent and wobbly.

3leet (not verified) says:

use an analog multimeter, this will tell you what's wrong. also, note that in the picture of the guy riding the bike, the chain and sprocket are on the "wrong" side of the bike, did you mirror it?