The Secret of Tuning Your Guitar

It’s always impressive when you see someone on stage quickly retune their guitar between songs; whenever I see that, I always think, “there is an experienced musician.” It is especially impressive if you, like most people who are new to the guitar, have to perform several iterations of plucking and tuning before even getting one string in tune.

You can get by without this skill, since tuners are cheap and plentiful. But, besides the advantage of not always being dependent on a tuner and being able to quickly re-tune if you go out of tune while playing live, is not having to deal with the nagging feeling, in the back of your mind, that you can’t tune well. It’s just another thing to make you feel like a beginner and diminish your confidence. As guitarists, the fewer things we have eating away at our confidence the better.

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Guitar Lessons: Musical Expression Starts from Within

Great guitar playing is more than playing riffs and licks; it’s about presenting your emotions and feelings in musical terms. That’s why it’s called it musical expression.

When I first started playing I was so concerned about hitting every note right. I’d spend hours practicing scales and chord forms and making sure that each note sounded perfect. After about two years of practice I knew everything in the world about making chord shapes and playing scale, and nothing about making music. I’d record myself and the listen to the playback and it sounded like a bored guitar student trying to play every note perfectly.

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Ammo Box Amps

Here’s an interesting item I found on digg:

Looking for a better guitar amp? So were we… Enter the original Ammo Box Amp… a hand-wired tube guitar head amplifier, designed by a naval nuclear-trained engineering officer and built to MIL-SPEC using NASA/military-grade components.

Personally, I would want to hear what it sounds like before sending $500 for one.

read more | digg story


Peterson StroboSoft Tuner

The StroboSoft tuner from Peterson is a software (PC or Mac) version of the strobe tuners for which Peterson is famous. If you don’t know what a strobe tuner is, it is a tuner that works by triggering a strobe light from the audio signal of the instrument you are tuning. The strobe light illuminates a rotating disk with markings that is spinning at a constant speed based on the pitch you are trying to tune to. This effect of this is that if your instrument is tuned to pitch, the disk will appear to not be spinning, if you are flat or sharp, the disk will appear to spin in one direction or the other at a speed proportional to how far off pitch you are. So when you are tuning, you see which way the disk appears to be spinning and adjust the tuning appropriately until the disk slows down and eventually stops.

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iGuitar from Brian Moore Guitars

This is an interesting video demonstrating the iGuitar from Brian Moore Guitars. I like this guitar because it connects directly to your PC via USB, so it is especially well suited to controlling software instruments.

If you want more information about the various iGuitar models you can find it at the manufacturer’s site. They have several models which range from $995 to $2000+.

This definately seems like a much cooler item than the Fender’s guitar that holds a tablet pc that I posted about previously. I love Fender. I love my Strat, I love my Hot Rod Deluxe, But I’m not too impressed by something where the major technological innovation is routing a big hole.


Reading Music: Part Two

This is the second part in what will probably turn out to be several posts about reading music. In my previous post about reading music, I talked about how becoming proficient at reading music seems to make the process of learning new music go much faster, allowing you to spend your practice time more productively. In this post I would like to examine what I think is another benefit: The process of learning to read develops your other guitar playing skils in a more synergistic manner than other methods.

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Return of the Robots.

Perhaps Evil Spud Boy was too hasty in saying farewell to QRIO and Aibo. A lot of speculation on the internet indicates that Google is up too something and I think we know what that is.

First, we see that Google is teaming up with Volkswagon and nVidia to create a new vehicle navigation system. Also we’ve heard that Google is working on a new operating system. Additionally, we’ve heard they are going to make their own internet and global computer mind.

So it comes as no surprise to me that Google will be purchasing Sony’s former robotics division.


Reading Music: Part One

Among guitarists, the subject of whether it is important to be able to read standard music notation seems to create a lot of controversy. With most other music instruments, there is usually no question, if you are going to learn to play, you will have to learn to read music. But with guitar, learning to read standard musical notation is more of an option. I think this is because there is so much material available in tablature format that you can learn a lot without having to read music.

In fact, many guitarists are very proud of the fact that they can’t read music. It’s like a badge of honor. I’ve read countless interviews with great guitarists who proudly declare that they can’t read a single note. On the other hand, those than can read are also usually very proud of that ability. Being a good guitarist is quite an accomplishment either way, so I definitely feel that both groups have reason to be proud of their abilities.

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