Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rooooaaarrrrr: Traynor YCX 12 Blue

I picked up my extension cab for my YCV50Blue amp yesterday afternoon when I got my new Les Paul. This thing rocks. I didn't have a chance to crank it so I went home for my lunch break and blasted it. Nice. It really fills in the sound. I drove back to work with my ears ringing. Check it out:

Monday, October 29, 2007

My First Gibson!

Wowowowowow. I went to try out a Gibson Studio because I wanted to upgrade from the Epiphone I just got to celebrate my new promotion and raise. I look up and see a Gibson Vintage White Classic Les Paul. My jaw drops. Check it out:

OK back to playing. I'll write more about it tomorrow. Woohooooo!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Guitar !!!! .... Already?

Yep, it is what it is. Didn't I just get a new guitar? Why yes I did, but I'm going to see tomorrow if I can return it and buy a real Gibson Les Paul. Why? Because I got a promotion and a nice raise last Friday.

I went to the guitar store and checked out the Les Paul Studio models. Sweet. I want the Alpine White one with gold hardware. I'm going to see if they can take it back, taxes and all, and give me a credit to buy the Gibson Model. It goes for $1200 US so I'll see how much they want for it. $1200US is about $1140 Canadian. I think I saw them at $1500, which is quite a spread. I'm following the exact same guitar on Ebay with the auction finishing in 24 hours. If I can get a good deal I might go that route.

Still practicing with the lesson I got off ebay that I mentioned yesterday. I did the Super Chops Workout #1 which covers alternate picking and Hammer on/Pull offs. It really is a workout. You start on the first string and alternate pick 1 2 3 4 then 2 3 4 5 up to the 12th ascending then descending. You do this for all 6 strings. Then there were things like 1 3 2 4 and 1 4 2 3 up and down the fretboard for all 6 strings. Then hammer on starting on the 6th string 1 2 3 4, then when you reach the first string pull off back to the start ... up and down the fretboard again.

My left hand is sore. Rock on!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ebay Guitar Lessons: Part II

I had a chance to check out both courses.

I popped in the DVD for the first one is the Jam Guitar DVD. Pretty much garbage. First off, the guy who does the video is a geeky dork. I think I'm like most other guitarist wanna-be's out there: "I wanna be that guy" is what I should feel. Euh not this one. The stuff he teaches is so basic that it's crazy, plus he just sits in front of some drape for a background. The production quality is in the crapper. He'll be showing the notes "This is C, D, E oops no this is E" I'm just gonna leave it with a rating of 1 1/2 sloppy strings out of 6. The only reason it gets 1/2 sloppy strings is that it might be usefull for a TOTAL beginner. Waste of money at $9.95. There are tons of better learning videos on Youtube.

The second video is called How I Got Killer Guitar Chops While I Was Still in High School: Confessions of a High School Shredder
Wow! What a title but what a package for $19.99! The course comes with 3 CD-ROMs: 1 e-book and 2 audio CDs for the exercises. The author taught himself a disciplined approach in high school to really improve quickly. He went on to go to University for music and and later write a bunch of books. The course contains a systematic approach to improving your guitar skills. He encourages you to use the Student Log to track your progress. The excercises are grouped under Alternate Picking, Hammer-Ons and Pull Offs, Stretching, Tapping, String Skipping, Sweep Picking, Scales, Arpeggios, Songs, Additional Areas of Study, Super Chops Work-outs (his own combination of stuff). You track your date, duration, and metronome tempo used for each exercises. I did the first two exercises of Alternate Picking which wasn't too bad because i had been practicing that a lot with scales, so I could get 200 beats per minute fairly easily. Then I tried two Hammer-on / Pull off exercises. I did each for 3 minutes with a tempo of 120 bpm. My hand cramped up.

I'm super stoked about this course. I had been looking at a way to give more structure to my learning and this fits the bill perfectly. I haven't gone through all of it but I will give it a tentative 5 sloppy strings out of 6 because I can truly see how this will help any guitarist improve dramatically by using a structured approach vs. going at it randomly. The only thing I'd like to see would be a bit of video thrown in for motivation, though I really don't mind the format it has been presented in.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ebay Guitar Lessons

I got two sets of CDs/DVDs in the mail today. I found them on Ebay and I'm going to check it out.

The first one is titled How I Got Killer Guitar Chops While I Was Still in High School: Confessions of a High School Shredder. This one seems pretty interesting. It came with 2 audio CDs and a CD with and e-book with hundreds of pages.

The second is called Jam Guitar DVD. I'm going to throw it in my DVD player and check it out right now. Apparently you can go to their website to download the tabs.

I'll write little reviews later.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Six String Bliss !

I've been listening to podcasts for about a year now. I find it's a great way to distract myself at work. I was looking for a great guitar podcast and I found it: Six String Bliss.

It's a weekly show produced by Pipes and PT. They typically do a Guitarist Of the Week (GOW) where one of the two picks a great guitarist to review. This is great because I've learned about guitarists I had never really paid attention to. It also inspires me to check out the guitar work on new albums. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

They also pick a song every week, usually from the Podsafe Music Network that highlights great guitar work .. very very very inspiring stuff. They review stuff they've tried, interview industry professionals, think up cool little contests and they're funny as heck to boot. They're just a pair of laid back guitarists who like to share their passion for guitars with the world.

I'm on a mini marathon, having listened to episodes 13 to 30 in the past two weeks and I plan on listening to all of them (84 episodes so far).

I also have to introduce myself in their forum section. Seems like a nice little community in there.

Check 'em out:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pedal Board II

I got two pedals this weekend. I'm cleaning out the basement and decided to sell most of my CDs and XBOX old school games since I didn't use any of them (I have the XBOX 360 now). I grabbed an Equalizer pedal because I know I'll be tweaking my sound a lot, and got a new Heavy Metal Pedal because my old one hums too much. I wanted to play with the settings, but being the lazy guy that I am, I decided to find a way to not have to bend down all the time. Eureka! Put the pedal board on a the wtf is that called? The thing that holds music sheets?

Now I can teak my sound on the comfort of my couch while watching Sunday Night Football.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Online Metronome!

I've been using a cheap electronic metronome to practice my scales. It sounds like beep beep beep BOOP, beep beep beep BOOP, which was getting pretty annoying so I decided to look online to see if I could find something that I can customize the tones. I came across this:

I also found this great Online Drum Machine if you want a custom beat to accompany chords or scales.

I'd like to find an online metronome where the tempo increases at whatever intervals you want. For example, you could set it to increase by 2 or 5 units of tempo every 4 notes. It would help me build up speeds in increments. I'll keep looking.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's heeeeere!

My guy at the music shop called during supper time to tell me that my new guitar was in. Woohooooo! So I grab my 4 year old son Sam and head for the store. He was trying to break everything in the store until I told him that we'd go play piano if he'd listen to me. Somehow it worked.

What a beauty! It's an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Alpine White. Epiphone is owned by Gibson USA. It pretty much felt the same in my hands as a real Les Paul in the store. It looks as hot as I thought it would.

Man my friggin' fingers hurt. I better take a break for the night before they fall off.

I got a few pedals today too but more about that tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Alternate Picking

The Master of Puppets intro (Metallica) was the first thing I wanted to learn when I started playing guitar a few weeks ago. I hadn't started working on Alternate Picking yet. I just played with downstrokes across all the notes and chords which slows down the execution big time. I have been working on scales with alternate picking. I use alternate picking to play all the new stuff I've learned , but the Master of Puppets bit is stuck in down picking only because that's how I learned it. Over the next day or two I want to play with alternate picking so I can speed it up to the same tempo Metallica uses.

I found this Great Exercise on Guitarists.net. What's nice with that lesson is that it showed me that I have to remember to be efficient with my picking. For example, on the first three notes I was doing Down, Up, then Down for the next string, when I should have been doing Down, Up, then Up again to the upper string. Works for me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I got my new amp yesterday! The guy from the music store called me at noon to tell me it was in . I picked it up at 2pm and went to bed because I had a huge headache from cleaning the house. I had to pick up the kids at 5:00 but I woke up at 4:30 and blasted the fucker. Hoooooly it rocks. It has two channels with each their volume knobs and a master volume knob. I gave it a good workout. It's an all-tube amp so it sounds amazing.
I sold 3 photography lenses on Ebay. The auctions ended at $1200 total, which was $200 more than I was hoping for. I'm also selling another lens to a friend for $300. That'll cover the amp, the extension cab, and my little Orange amp. I'll be keeping my main lenses and my Canon 20D camera because I still intend to do photography. I just haven't been using the other ones that much as of late. With the extra bucks I'm getting the YCXBlue which is two more 12" speakers. Why do I need the extra power? I don't, but I just can so screw off. I ordered it today.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pedal Board!

Woohoo! My NY Giants won their 4th game in a row (4-2 record). They really kicked butt tonight. They might make the playoffs after all. I started learning Black Dog by Led Zepplin while watching the game. I also did some noodling with scales I found on the web today.

Oh yeah, I cranked both my amps this morning. Kaabrrrriinnnnngggggggg! Even my little 10 Watt Orange Crush amp cranked it up. It's amazing how such a small amp can blast away. The 40W lender was great but I can't wait to the get the one I'm supposed to get: Traynor YCV50 Blue . The music shop said I'd get it by Friday but I doubt it.

I got tired of bringing my pedals to the basement living room when I watch football/tv so I decided to build a pedal pad. I bought a black shelf piece at home depot and stuck some industrial velcro on it: female end on the board and the male end on the pedals. Then I drilled two holes on top and created a handle with rope, cardboard and duct tape. It works great. The top part is raised with a foam tube I screwed to the shelf piece. I'll have room for a few more pedals.

I'm home alone tomorrow again so I'm going to blast the big amp some more playing Black Dog.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doing it Right.

Good times, good times. I've been playing quite a bit of guitar during the past two days.

When I started playing again a few weeks ago I decided to learn how to play it right. When I briefly played 20 years ago I just tried to figure out songs by myself. Play the song, rewind, try it on the guitar, rewind, try it again, get frustrated and try a new song. Repeat until bored.

I decided I'd use the web to learn guitar stuff. I googled "beginner guitar mistakes" to try to avoid common booboos. To my great surprise, I was holding the pick wrong. Rough start. I also realized that everyone was preaching the need to practice scales. Ew. So I tried a few scales I found HERE to learn how to use alternate picking (up, down, up, down, up, down) since I always only used downstrokes. I actually like practicing them now. Tonight I watched football while pratcicing the scales. I also learned that I should use a metronome while practicing scales, so I got one.

I also found an interesting site on short solos HERE. I noticed that I'm already getting faster at picking and moving from fret to fret.

Tomorrow is the big day : I'm on vacation and I have the house to myself. I'm going to crank my two new amps and see how they sound. Right now I'm using like 1/4 of the way to the 1 level on each. Poor neighbors tomorrow.

Well back to watching football and practicing my scales. I learned part of the intro solo of Fade to Black by Metallica over the last few days with the help of Guitar-Pro. I'll post a short video here so I can cringe later.

Tonight I' m going to look up For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica. That should be a fun song to play. Cheers Folx.

Friday, October 12, 2007


It's Friday at 2:30pm and I finally get the crap off my desk that needed to be done before I head out for a week of vacation. Woohoo.! First thing on the agenda: pick up my new 50W amp at the guitar store so I can rock out with my cock out. I'm pumped. It's a 50W Traynor all-tube amp:

I walk in and ask for the guy I dealt with yesterday. He tells me they rented the amp I had put on layaway ...


x'squeeze me. "Rented? Until when ?" "There was a mistake. ". "Euh dude, I'm on vacation all of next week and I need my friggin amp". "Sorry we can rent you a Marshall Stack for free, I'm so sorry" ...

Anyways, I ended getting the 40W model lower on the totem pole than the one I wanted. I didn't want to get the one above it (80W) because I'd end up buying it. That's the bad news ... the good news: that 40W amp friggin rocks! I'm still getting the 50W though. Apparently they'll get my amp by the end of next week.

I just have to figure how I can kick out the wife and kids so I can crank it and break some windows ...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rock Out!

Well well well. I'm 35 and I pretty much just picked up my guitar two weeks ago to play it for the first time since 1988.

It had been sitting in its case for almost all that time. I always wanted to start playing again after high school but I never got around to it. Actually I took it out late year when I set up my "Man Room" in my basement with my 46" LCD tv and mini fridge. I still didn't play it much. Two weeks ago I was listening to the White Stripes and I thought to myself: "I wanna play like him". So I pick up my guitar (Lado Hawk - pictures later, I'm sure, and my Peavey Studio Pro 40) and realize why I quit ... I had no idea how to play now or back then. A couple of power cords, that's it. It didn't stop me from forming a band in the 9th grade to play Crazy Train and a few other songs in the talent show. That's the last time I played in front of an audience. I formed a band in the 10th grade to play a few Anthrax, Metallica and Celtic Frost bass lines. That didn't last long. Then came the drinking, the girls, the high school graduation, the MBA, the job, the house and mortgage, the first kid, the second kid, the pot belly. Now here I am having decided to get into guitar again.

Back to the White Stripe thing. I knew about Guitar Pro, a software that shows the tabs. for the notes on the guitar fretboard. I learned the song Icky Thump and I was hooked ... bad. Real bad.
So last Saturday I went to our local music shop to take a look around, having decided that if I'd play until Christmas I'd get a new guitar. So I walk around the store and drool for about an hour, and fall in love with the Les Paul Guitar. I go online that night and start looking and drooling some more, so Tuesday at lunch time I order an Epiphone Alpine White Custom Les Paul:

Hmmm how do you get this thing to post a hyperlink with text and not an address? Beats me.

They had a black one but I really wanted the white one. The friendly salesman told me they'd get it in 10 to 20 days. I'm a big boy; I can wait. I also put a new amplifier on layaway because I didn't have the van with me. I'm going to trade in my Peavy Studio 40 for the amp tomorrow after work. It's an all tube 50 watt amp and sweeeeeeet. More about it tomorrow. In the meantime I got a small Orange 10W amp at lunch today to practice and carry around the house. I can't wait to starting cranking the new 50 watt tuber.