Any Musicians Here? -

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
I play guitar, bass, a little keyboards and percussion. Also sing and write my own material. Anyone else play? Feel free to post pictures of your instruments. If the thread goes anywhere, I'll post pics of my guitars and bass. I have a Stratocaster from 1984, one year younger than me. My live amp is older than I am, a 1978 Marshall 2150.
 

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
I play electric guitar, a Fender Strat Affinity. Also have a bass Fender Squire and have a Fender Performer 1000 amp.
The affinity line is actually pretty awesome. Squier does make some good equipment. All you sacrifice is a logo really. My Strat is a Squier, and my Jaguar is from their Vintage Modified line. Two questions for you:
1: do you sing too?
2: which do you play more, guitar or bass?
 

OBAMATRON

Commander in/or Chief
kiwifarms.net
I'm a shitty guitarist. I'll post pics of my sweet metal guitar once it gets here.
 

Dr. Meme

Hardworking Libertarian Trans Woman
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
yo i hit up the bass m8

I also play mandolin and violin, I'll post pics l8er
 

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
I'm a shitty guitarist. I'll post pics of my sweet \M/ETAL guitar once it gets here.
It's all good. I don't play lead, mostly because I've always played with someone who did. I sang because no one else did, so I focused on the song's structure and supporting the lead.
Anyhoozle, here's a picture of my Jaguar. Has none of the problems the old ones did, and a pair of humbuckers instead of single coils.
 

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Jackie Chin

The Man, the Myth, the Legend
kiwifarms.net
The affinity line is actually pretty awesome. Squier does make some good equipment. All you sacrifice is a logo really. My Strat is a Squier, and my Jaguar is from their Vintage Modified line. Two questions for you:
1: do you sing too?
2: which do you play more, guitar or bass?
I don't sing professionally, but I do like to sing along with songs. And I've been playing my guitar more than my bass.
 

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
I don't sing professionally, but I do like to sing along with songs. And I've been playing my guitar more than my bass.
I don't play professionally anymore...yet. I have played at open mic nights and other people's shows though. Never got more than free drinks from that. Most I've ever made was $70 for a show when I played with Tribe. Long boring story. Best part involves me being caught cheating on my girlfriend.
Edit: pro tip for tuning stability: get the bridge of your Strat fixed. I never use the wang bar, so it wasn't a loss for me having a blocked bridge.
Edit again: thanks for the like. I'm assuming it's for the guitar. Anyhoozle, I cheated on my bang friend with her sister, both of which were in the band. Rick James was right: cocaine IS a hell of a drug. Especially when you're, well, me.
 
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drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
Not trying to bump my own thread, but here are some sweet gear pictures. You bass players will dig this, since this is my bass and I love it. My SG bass. I play it through a solid state Hartke amp.
 

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drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
Any \M/ETAL nerds here? I have a legit Ampeg VH-140C.
There's a major upside to being a metal musician: less fretting hand technique needed. The punk/metal band I was in never tested my chord knowledge as much as my picking. Learn alternate picking and speed picking, and you're golden, yo.
That said, you have THAT Ampeg? My reaction is on par with how people responded when they knew I had my Marshall 2150 in my grandparents' basement. Keep playing, ok? Doesn't matter how good you are. Keep playing.
 
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drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
Lots of bass players up in here. In that case, I'll keep my opinion on Fender basses to myself.
 

Charlie's Chaplin

kiwifarms.net
I can play the piano fairly decently. I've been trying the Dear Esther soundtrack recently, to varying degrees of success... quite a lot need that guttural Orkney murmuring to compliment it.
 

Smokedaddy

Finer than frogs' hair
Deceased
Retired Staff
kiwifarms.net
Well, I did take piano lessons for more years than all of your ages put together. I double on sax and flute, and after getting out of college and moving to Los Angeles I got to play with people I'd heard of, which was kind of cool.. I had a major life-goal-sort-of-thing, and that was to play with Miles Davis -- a long shot, but his last keyboard player was a 17-year-old white kid, so hey. I worked in France for about a year during the '80s and came home one night, flipped on the TV, and shots of Miles playing were running under the closing credits of the nightly news. I thought "oh fuck, he died," which was the case. But that's OK! I still had my second place major-life-goal-sort-of-thing, and that was playing with Frank Zappa. Zappa always had A #1 whiz kids in his band and the auditions to get in were legendarily hard. Around '90-'92, I was a single gentleman, the ex- and I having finalized the splitup: I maintained my Day Job as a programmer (paychecks are nice) but to Meet Chicks™ and get some walkin' around money I moonlighted as a session player in Hollywood. Pro Tip: do not moonlight as a session player in Hollywood, because the people that hire you to play on their demo tapes rent the cheapest possible studio time, which means you're leaving Hollywood at 2 in the morning and spend a lot of time lying on the pavement saying "no, officer, I was working, not selling/using dope", because attempting to leave Hollywood at 2 AM in your new red convertible is probable cause for whatever they want, apparently. I got to know all the cops (never got busted for anything 'cause I never did anything wrong) so they eventually stopped messing with me, and I learned to keep the horns in the front seat to prop up my alibi -- but I digress. I got a one-half-line write up in the LA Weekly when they sent someone to report on a band that my band was opening for and the dude called me "the most dangerous doubler in Los Angeles," which was kind of funny and I wish I still had my copy. Their digital archives don't go back that far, so oh, well.

I eventually got to know a few people with connections to Zappa, and they must have talked me up or some shit, because just after starting at Activison I got a phone call from a woman who identified herself as Mr. Zappa's secretary, and would Monday two weeks from now be OK for an audition? Holy farts. I settled into a routine of a) practicing like a mad fish all day, b) programming like madmen do all night, and c) never sleeping nor eating. It was a great relief when she called back and said Mr. Zappa was ill, and the audition would have to be postponed two more weeks. It was not a relief when she called again and it was postponed indefinitely: shortly thereafter, the news of his terminal cancer hit the magazines. He put the fork to my dreams by selfishly dying. No one ever does the slightest little thing to oblige me.

I am not the only member of the CWCki forums to have played Carnegie Hall; Compy did too. However, I've never worked on a project where any other programmer can make that claim.

I have a baffling and esoteric collection of old weird analog synths. I had to sell my 3-cabinet Moog to pay some doctors, hospitals, and other greed-heads who failed to take the big, broad flexible view and wanted money, but in the closet is an Arp 2600, a Sequential Circuits Prophet T-8 (Google that thing, it's ridiculous), a Steiner Synthacon, and some other bizarre stuff. I have an original Steiner EVI (Nyle Steiner licensed his patents to Akai, that's where the Akai EVI and EWI came from) that's a windblown two-oscillator analog trumpet synthesizer, sort of. A trumpet has three valves, and as all of you geeks know, a valve can be up or down (one or zero) so the possible combinations are two to the third power, namely eight -- not enough to make a chromatic scale. Nyle added a fourth "valve" to make up the difference, baffling all the trumpet players who had to learn a different fingering. Not being a trumpet player myself, I had no such disadvantage, and I can make the thing walk and talk. Once my band was warming up for some other band that'd just got a Big Contract and had one of their tunes on a national TV show -- they had horns, and one of the trumpet players was notorious for his skill on the EVI. We opened, and I did my best with it. I waited to see what he could do with his during their set, but he never picked it up. In the bar later, I told him I'd wanted to hear him play and asked why he didn't, and he gave me a disgusted look and told me to fuck off. There was no way he was going to pull his out after I rolled him up and smoked him -- which I sincerely didn't mean to do and told him so. We ended up buying each other beers and got happily soused.

In my tiny computer room here are (lemme count) a flute, three saxophones, five keyboards, twenty-two channels of sound, two surround-sound systems, a pair of Genelec nearfield monitors that I stole from an outfit that stiffed me for $32,000 of programming I did for them (I found out those monitors are $3000 apiece about five years later, hee hee), two surround-sound rigs, the aforementioned old weird analogs, a couple of MIDI wind controllers, a buttload of microphones and enough cabling to strangle an entire herd of horses. Items kept elsewhere include my baby Steinway and more speakers than I care to imagine. There's some strange percussion crap scattered around too: nothing actually useful, but I have guiros and a vibraslap and some drumsticks that Benny Golson once played on when he came to the LA Jazz Workshop when I was there, plus more ancillary oddities.

I've mixed Guns N' Roses, the Ramones (they were alive at one time, believe it or not), a bunch of LA bands that you may or may not have heard of but it doesn't matter (bang tango, LA Guns, etc.), and did monitors for Stanley Jordan at the Hollywood House Of Blues one night. That dude is scary, in the "scary amazing" sense.

One of my horns is the absolute Stadivarius of saxophones. I lucked into it, really. I saved all my pennies for two years and sold my bicycle to buy the thing when I had the chance, and paid $512 for it new. The model was already out of production and I got one of the last remaining ones ever made. Subsequent models just didn't hold up in comparison. The Selmer company came to its senses decades later and is now building replicas of it -- $26,000 per. Ho ho. I will sell that thing the day I die.

Fourteen years after I bought it, a business trip took me to Paris for a couple of weeks. I was doing OK, money-wise, by then, and decided I was in the mood for a soprano sax. I went back to the same store I'd bought the alto in, and walked out with a lovely little thing I call Eterne. Yes, it's totally stupid to name your instruments, I concede the point. Three of my instruments have names: "Stormbringer" (the alto), "Terminus Est" (the tenor) and "Eterne." Everything else is "the flute" or "the Korg" or "that Alesis monster". (As a classically-trained rock n' roll piano person, I prefer the 88-key fully weighted action sort of synth, which is cool here at home but a stone bitch to lug up the narrow stairs to whatever stupid bar you're playing in tonight. Pro Tip: beer, in sufficient quantity, turns otherwise normal people into roadies.)

I could go on (looking at all the blather I just typed, it seems I have), but in sum: Everyone, when in their 20s, thinks they could be the baddest-assed person in the world at what they do, if the cared to take the time. Read Snow Crash and you'll see what I mean. I met people in LA who were so much better than me it wasn't funny, but I'd have no problem being that good if I played ten hours a day like them. You play that much, you get unbeatable chops in short order. I've done it a couple times, and you hit a point where if you miss a day it takes you two days to get back to where you were. Thing was, yeah, there were these amazing players, but they drove 1968 Oldsmobiles and made a tenth of what the flight simulator job paid me. One of the best bass players in the world told me the thing to do is make your money elsewhere, so you can play. He was totally right.

and I went outside, and smoked myself a J
then I went back in, and blew that room away


What you chase is what athletes call being In The Zone. It's exactly the same for musicians. I've been there twice, and the last time was oh, geez, twenty years ago or something. When you're in it, time stops (it sounds stupid, but it's more true than people realize) and you can pick and choose exactly what to do. Onceuponatime, my band was warming up for some other band that'd just been signed (story of my life) and our closing tune was a sad ballad about what a bitch life was in central Florida (the lead singer's background) and just before it got boring, the line was "gotta get myself up, get myself awaaaaay --

I'M GOING TO LA!"

and we would break into a fast walking-bass jazz progression (a strange thing to do in a rock club) upon which the piano player (me) would pick his flute up off the music stand (where it'd sat unseen by the populace) and begin noodling. That night, it totally startled the crowd (who was there to see another band, remember) and I recall the sound of glasses breaking when they were dropped and everyone jumped to their feet and started cheering until they cried. There's nothing you can do but ride that wave until you hit the beach.

(Then you lug the Rhodes, horns, etc. back to the car and drive to your house in Redondo Beach where the (then) wife is pissed that you weren't home to watch TV with her all night -- but I digress.)

My band of that time got a standing gig at The Central in Hollyweird (long since bought by Johnny Depp and turned into the Viper Room) warming up (story of my life, etc.) for Chuck E. Weiss and the Goddamn Liars. None of you punks remember Nicolette Larsen and her song "Chuck E.'s In Love", a hit from the '80s, and Google is hard, but it was that Chuck E. A dude in his band had an EVI also, and he wouldn't take his out either. Hello, mister!

Ahhh, the bad old days. Fuck all, this is way too long. I'm a left-handed piano player with an unfortunately semi-paralyzed and numb left hand from some fuck-all neural disease that surgery sort of helped but not really, and it's been kind of depressing at times. When it hit, I had the sheet music for a Rachmaninoff piano concerto open on the music stand. I can span a 12th if I try -- that's C to the F an octave above it for you no-play mofos -- so Sergei and I could have jammed up a storm if given a chance. My hands aren't big, really, but I can open 'em up, or I could until this neural-disease thing, and anyway I kept the music open on the music stand for a year, gathering dust, until I thought "fuck it" and put everything in the closet.

Everything is now out of the closet and fiddling around trying to get all this shit to work meant hitting a lot of notes on the keyboard while wondering why I wasn't hearing anything, then hitting more notes when I figured out I was an idiot and hadn't plugged it in right (or MIDI local control was off, or whatever) and without realizing it I started having fun, which led to still more notes being played and what the fuck, one day it penetrated my pea-sized brain that my hand was stronger than it'd been for years. The Rig is back together, and I'm playing again, and I feel like myself (which I didn't feel like for a long time, and didn't know I didn't, ifyougetmydrift) and, well, hey.

Oh, I left my latest wind controller in the wash with a bunch of blue clothes and it changed color. Kind of like having a shirt turn pink. Herein, find enclose a picture of the blue thing. (Actually a gentleman who makes "skins" for this device turned out to be a fan of a certain computer game, and I got a free skin and you didn't. Hee hee hee.)



You millenial types who think the '90s are ancient history are welcomed to Google for:
Bill Green
Supersax
Rob McConnell
Rick Helzer
Esther Wong

(Some were my teachers, some my employers, sort of.) And while you're at it, Google this name:
Jimmy Page

Has anyone here besides myself jammed with the gentleman? (Ho ho. I didn't think so. Trick question. It merely reinforces my theory that there are two kinds of people in the world: 1) me, and 2) those who wish they were. JUST KIDDING, put down those rocks.)

The rhythm section on that memorable afternoon (ok, that memorable two minutes) were an outfit that called themselves the Black Crowes who made the mistake of launching into "Kashmir" when Page walked into the room. (I begin to detect a pattern -- the Crowes were the warm-up band for Jimmy Page on that tour. Am I forever doomed to be the warm-up act for someone else? Probably.) He started to play along and it got really interesting. At one point there was a thermin than needed playing, and only one person in the room was idle unless you count "sitting on top of the bass amp" as doing something productive.. He pointed at me, and my only thoughts were "no one is ever going to believe this in a million fucking years," but wtf. See above note re: waves, beach.

Another tale I may or may not relate sometime is known as "The Night We Should Have Been Busted #2", involving Jimmy Page's guitar tech Binky, my ex-roomdog Drew, some rat in the next room who didn't like what he smelled, and the Washington, D.C. police. Unlike this extended blather, if I do tell the tale, I'll try to keep it under 300 pages.

Peace, all.

-s
 

Smokedaddy

Finer than frogs' hair
Deceased
Retired Staff
kiwifarms.net
Addenda and errata:
France was in the early '90s, not the '80s. I have two hilarious tales called "The Escape From France, Part One" and "The Escape From France, Part Two", which involve skipping out of multi-thousand-dollar hotel bills, pounding on airplane doors, traveling with Soviet expatriates sans passport, settling for a flight to the wrong airport in Paris, managing to connect to a flight to the wrong airport in London, and basically going as fast and as far as you can until somebody stops you or you hit Los Angeles, whichever comes first. Anything less would not have been Life On The Edge™, something we always strive for.

Another story that somehow involved warming up for a band that'd just been signed (sound familiar?) at a reeeeallly nice house in Hollyweird wound up with the crowd booing the main act away and wanting us to come back, which there was no fucking way I was going to do. I mean, really. That's bad taste. So I was sitting on the kitchen floor leaning against the wall when I heard someone blowing a saxophone that he obviously didn't have the chops for (aka Stormbringer, equipped with a stiffish reed and a wide mouthpiece) and then asking loudly if anyone had a neckstrap. (Yes, someone did. It was around his neck. No one had asked for permission to play his horn. No one was going to lend him their neckstrap.) An argument ensued. Rather than a neckstrap, he enjoyed handcuffs from the good Hollywood cops a few minutes later, and yeah, we played another set. No one including Stormbringer was hurt. I was terrified he was going to throw it down or something; swear to God I'd have killed him if he did.

The blue thing is a Yamaha WX5. They are normally grey, unless you leave them in the wash, etc. It's fun.


A sort-of bad pic of Eterne and the blue thing. The wallpaper is a screenshot of a L4D2 campaign known as "Handfat." Yes, that's a Minecraft post-it notepad. Sue me.


In this shot, you can discern the remains of one of my former enemies, now serving me as a candy dish and USB hub. Better than anything he did in life.
 

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
I skimmed through your posts (at work) and damn. Definitely reading them fully after work. Sorry to hear about your hand.
 

drtoboggan

Please, call me Mantis.
kiwifarms.net
Damn dude. That was a hell of a read. I'm curious as to when you were working with The Ramones. Sad to lose the chance to play with Miles and Zappa. I'm also a huge Jimmy Page fan, so the theremin story was awesome.
I'll have to talk some more on the other thread regarding your work on Mechwarrior 2. That game was nothing short of awesome.
 

Smokedaddy

Finer than frogs' hair
Deceased
Retired Staff
kiwifarms.net
Cheers, ears.

I can't say I worked with the Ramones, I just mixed them a couple of times. I was the Friday night sound man upstairs at Madam Wong's West in Santa Monica for a couple of years. It was long past its hayday but a few times a year (Halloween, New Years, someone's birthday, that sort of thing) there would be huge parties with real bands. The legal occupancy was 800, but for the big parties they'd beat that by a couple of thousand more people. The Police were signed there, and a lot of L.A. bands had paid their Wong's dues. The Ramones were notorious for graffiting up the dressing room, and when Esther Wong saw it she made them clean it all up before allowing them onstage. They played New Year's Evil a couple of times when I was sitting at the board, that's about it. It was cool, though -- the motherufcking Ramones are onstage and I'm twisting knobs, trying to look like I know what I'm doing.

Some people at the bar had some pretty deep ties to G&R. One SoundMan took over Axl's old west Hollywood apartment after Axl got rich and moved out, and the guy whose name I don't remember because we all knew him as Ogre (when I didn't feel like working, Ogre was always happy to take over my night) showed up at Halloween when they were going to play even though he wasn't supposed to be working, because "that skinny little fucker still owes me three hundred bucks." The last time I frobnicated for them Slash was too drunk to tune his guitar, and the employees were all laughing their asses off in a back hallway.

One of the most fun parts of Wong's was the hour and half between last soundcheck and when the doors opened. The upstairs room (the real room) had a mind-bogglingly powerful system (LA Weekly: "often too loud, but always great sound") that took a few minutes to switch on and off. The building would be utterly vacant except for a few souls in the office and whatnot; I'd leave it the rig on on and play my soprano at mind-warping volume with nobody around to hear it but me. That was fun.

My long-time roomdog Drew worked at the flight simulator company as an electronics tech; he was a long-haired fuck that'd been in the Air Force working on fighter jets before I met him when he got the simulator gig. We were quickly best friends, and he just loved doing sound. After the flight sim company dissolved, he got a couple jobs working for audio companies in LA until some production companies decided they really liked him, and he's been working for nobody except big names ever since. The Black Crowes really, really like him and he works every tour; that's how I came to be sitting on the bass amp in the basement of the Greek Theatre (in LA) when Jimmy Page walked in.

Page had so much fun that the next tour was "Jimmy Page with the Black Crowes on rhythm" doing nothing but Zeppelin covers. I was living in Baltimore at the time, and Drew called to say they were doing a show in D.C. He gets me the kindly backstage passes and such whenever they're around, naturally, but ho HO that couple of nights was one for the record books. Among other things, it involved bullshitting my way past five levels of security by waving an old video card at them and saying "I have to get this to the Crowes' sound man, otherwise there's no show tonight!" Which is what the crew told me to do the night before at dinner . . . then after the show they asked how the hell I got in, and I told them "with this thing, like you said" and everyone busted up laughing because they were just making it up and couldn't believe it really happened. I gave the video card to the front of house guy who drilled a hole in it and spent the rest of the tour with it hanging around his neck, telling anyone who hassled him this is the "access all areas" pass, so get out of my face.

Mechwarrior 2 was supposed to be a 2D isometric turn-based tiler. I had other ideas but it took some persuasion. I did get credit for the concept, design, tools, engine, and most of the code, but you have to dig deep into the online credits to find all that. Kind of like Ogre vs. Axl Rose, Bobby Kotick still owes me $300 except it's been so long and there's no way to penetrate the layers to actually get hold of the dude. I have no problem with Bobby; he's a businessman, and a good one, and always did right by me (except for the $300 thing); when Activision was tiny, everybody knew each other and I had his home phone number and he had mine. I like the dude. He gets a bad rap in the press -- it's semi-deserved because of the direction the company has taken (hell, I have no desire to play whatever iteration of whatever WWII game they're up to now) -- but business is business, and I can't fault his decision making in terms of making money. That's sort of what a business is supposed to be about. That doesn't mean that I won't cheer when Valve eats their lunch.

I haven't mentioned it much (if at all) on this board but there's a reason I haven't been heard from for years. I hate, hate, hate people that whine and complain about how sorry they feel for themselves on the Internet, and I try to never do it. This is the last thing I will utter on the subject, and I'm not answering questions so don't ask. OK? OK.

If anyone feels inclined to comment or reply about this, please to shut the fuck up. Thank you in advance.

A little more than ten years ago I fell seriously ill. Nothing infective, a chronic disorder brought on by genetics and diet and extremely bad luck. Through steely determination and an iron will, I beat it. In my youth, at age 8, I spent three days in a hospital for pneumonia, and was never in one again for a couple centuries, until ten years ago. Since, I've spent six weeks in intensive care and more than six months in the jug. Like I said, I beat it and became far too healthy to receive the organ transplants that I'm still technically on the list for (they only give them to sick people, and I don't qualify anymore), but it was the sort of thing that leaves echoes, and long after the original crisis was over shit still pops up now and again. It becomes tiresome -- just when I think I'm ready to go back in the trenches and show 'em what games are supposed to be like, I get knocked on the head from a fly ball in left field.

Secondary and tertiary and fourthuary etc. problems have included a savage brain disease (beat it), heart disease (beat it), type 2 diabetes (insulin is your friend), osteoporosis, arthritis, and a butt-ton of other irritations. I live where I do because helicopter rides from where I was to the local ivory tower hospital are twenty-five thousand bucks a pop, and a mere ambulance sets you back three grand. That, and when the call comes in that some generous person with your blood type has thoughtfully died and would like you to have their internal bits, you have three hours before some other mook gets them.

That's the reason for my sporadic absences from this board. I'll be feelin' most fine, then WHAP. I fell like I've let Champ and everyone else down, for which I sincerely apologize. Anyway, the S looks like it's about to H the F again for a bit, and I'm due over in radiology tomorrow morning so I'll be gone again for a few days. (Feeling like hammered shit right now, and there are zombies that need killin' before I have to leave in the morning. Responsibility is a bitch sometimes.)

(On the bright side, it was an easy, if not entirely pleasant, way to lose 160 pounds really fast. I should write a diet book or something.)

Hold the sympathy cards. Nothing else will be said about this shit by me or anyone on this board, or God help me, I will hunt you down and kill you all. Understood? Good. I will be fine, finethankyoufine. In a few years, start watching your local Internet for a game called Gravity Road, and buy several copies.

Res Ipsa Loquitor,
-s


PS: a very intimate picture of me. This is what I really look like, from a certain perspective.


Programmer art! (The best kind of art.) Concept fiddling for some game, mentioned above. Suitable for framing, or wrapping fish.
 

The Dude

My dad says that's for pussies.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Good to see you around @Smokedaddy. I'm insanely jealous that you got to see the Ramones live. They're my all-time favorite band. We still need to get together sometime. Hit me up when you're feeling up to it.
 
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