Saturday, November 24, 2007

Practice Time!

When I picked up the guitar in October I found this online course on Ebay: How I Got Killer Chops While Still in High School. I decided that I'd practice at least half an hour every night before learning songs or just noodling on the guitar. It basically consists of great exercises for alernate picking, hammer-ons / hammer-offs, finger stretching, tapping, scales, etc. Basically you start on the high E and do 1,2,3,4 , then 2,3,4,5 etc until you get to the 12th fret, then work your way back, all by using a metrnonome and timing yourself to track your progress in a Student Log. It beats the crap out of my fingers but I see progress all the time. Alternate picking is second nature to me now. I used to only use down picks, which limits your ability to do quick solos. I also had a hard time with pull-offs at first when I'd move to the lower strigs working up the strings from the high E, but now I can do pull-offs on every string and actually get notes!

I hope I keep this ritual because it'll help me progress a lot faster.

OK back to practicing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

POD Live XT 2 : Digging In

Last night, I had a chance to play with the free Line 6 Edit software that gives you a computer interface to edit the settings of the POD XT Live floorboard. It's a lot easier to figure out than trying to use the floorboard's tiny duotone LCD monitor, which I did the night before.
You can set what effects pedals you want, choose a wah pedal, add some extra effects, choose an amp with extension cabs etc. Once you're done editing, you can save it to one of the 128 channels. The channels are set up in 32 groups of A, B, C and D.
It's great to have all these variations at your disposal, for example using weird and wacky synth sounds, but gosh darn it, I just wanna play guitar! That's the exact feeling I had when I shut it off at midnight to hit the sack. I think it'll be fun to play with but I don't want become a slave of twiddling all these effects all night long instead of playing.
So far so good, I'll try some more settings tonight, but not before my regular 1/2 hour of finger exercises.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Got my Line 6 POD XTLive!

I got home and the unit was sitting on my front step. It wasn't stolen so I'm happy.

I was so pooped by the time my wife got home at 7:30. I get to be Mr Mom Monday and Tuesday nights. I went to bed for a "quick" nap which unfortunately lasted until 6:30 am this morning so I didn't get a chance to play with it. Hopefully tonight!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pimp My Axe

This is a photo of my first real guitar I got when I was in grade 9. My first guitar was a red Gisbon SG copy my parents bought me to see if I'd stick with it, then help me get a good one later.

It's a Hawk series by Lado. I can't find much about it on the Web but I know Lado is a Canadian guitar company. They are real high end guitars but mine is one of the Korean cheaper models. I bought it used at the guitar shop.

I wanted to get a black pick guard, but it got me thinking that I might try to just spray paint the pick guard since I know any new pick guard I'd get wouldn't fit perfectly plus I'd have to cut a big hole for the humbucker pick up the previous owner had installed. Then I thought maybe I could just take the pick guard off, trace it on wood or plastic and cut out the holes. I might even install a piece of plexi glass to show the guts. We'll see. I'll see what kind of materials I can find at the hardware store.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pedals, Pedals, Pedals ...

I've been looking at pedal modelling for the past few days since I wanted to get a delay pedal and thought this might be a solution instead of getting more pedals.

I currently have BOSS Equalizer, Chorus, Flanger, Heavy Metal, Fuzz and a Pro Tone Fuzz pedal and the Slash Wash pedal.

I decided to get a Line 6 XT Live pedalboard. This beast has all kinds of presets in it for all kinds of stompbox effects and amp modelling. I can also record with it since it has a USB in/out. I'll be able to to download oher effects that people share on the Web . I'm likely going to get rid of everything except my EQ, Heavy Metal, Pro Tone Fuzz. I might keep my flanger pedal because it's so sweet. We'll see.

My only concern is that it appears to be quite big. If it's a problem I'll just sell back on Ebay and get the Line 6 XT "bean" and get a smaller pedalboard to go with it.

It's all good. It seems like all I talk about on here is gear but I have been practising a lot. I'm picking up speed every week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Flight of the Bumble Bee

I've always been impressed by this song. One of my drinking buddies is an amazing shredder. We used to get sloshed every Fiday night during university. Back then I didn't play guitar but I'd always get him to play Flight of the Bumble Bee. It always tripped me out. His name is Conrad Simon. You have to check out his Myspace page to hear some of his amazingly clean and fast picking.
I'll never be able to play like him but I want to learn to play Flight of the Bumble Bee because it'll be a nice challenge for me.
Wish me luck! By the way, the photo here is one I took of a live bee with my macro lens and my 10D ditial SLR camera.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Slash: Part II

I'm about 200 pages into of the new Slash Autobiography. What a character. It starts with his life as a young hooligan, hanging out in the streets of Hollywood. He discovers the guitar at 15 then goes on to dedicate most of his time to playing.

I hope he's not one of those artists who are dead set against music piracy because they're pissed that their music gets stolen. He's stolen so many things from so many people and businesses, mostly music related stuff.

It tells of how Guns n' Roses got together and the crazy stuff they did. They were all broke, crashing out at different friends, screwing anything that moveD. I find out that Slash was a heroin addict ... maybe he still is? They took forever to find a producer and a manager for their band. Basically Slash was a friggin' mess when the band first got together. Drinking and doing drugs all the time. They'd smash anything their management group would provide them, such as apartments, equipment, rental vans, etc. It sure is an interesting read.

I have been looking at a wah pedals and settled for the Slash signature Cry Baby pedal. It looks sweet and I like Slash's sound. I got it off Ebay which was the cheapest I could find. The Canadian dollar increased significantly in value over the US dollar so it makes buying US stuff a no brainer. Five years ago a dollar Canadian would only get you $0.62 US. Now the Candian dollar will get you $1.07 US. Thank you George Dubayah Bush for fucking up the US economy and getting your currency devaluated.

I've been listening to some Guns n' Roses all week, and I must say that I'm impressed by the guitar work. Slash really has some sweet melodies to carry their music. G n R was never one of my favorite bands but now I've really come to appreciate their stuff. The Slash Bio gives a lot of background on the songs they prepared for their debut album Apetite for Destruction.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Slash !!!

I picked up Slash's new book yesterday afternoon after seeing it mentionned by Jman .

Mental note ... buy books online. The increase of the Canadian dollar over the US green back has not hit brick and mortar stores yet. I could have bought it a lot cheaper online. I don't mind because it's a great book.

I never really paid attention to Slash and his guitar playing, even though a lot of people see him as a guitar God. I listend to some Guns n' Roses last night again and listened to his guitar work. Wowsa. I love his style.

I've read about 50 pages of the book so far and I'm hooked. It starts off with his years as delinquent teenager, the result of a broken home. He discusses how he became a kleptomaniac, stealing complete catalogues of tapes of bands he liked. His passion was BMX until he discovered the guitar, which completely changed his focus in life. I look forward to hearing about his crazy stories as a rock star.

This should be a great read.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I'm going to be Eddie Van Halen!!!

OK, not really. I can skip the rehab, divorce, cancer, and dealing with David Lee Roth. I received a Van Halen Guitar Method DVD in the mail this week; I won it on Ebay and paid $10.50 plus $6 shipping. It has 50 Van Halen riffs including Eruption! The DVD has a .pdf file with tabelature for the 50 riffs. It's a simple concept ... the guy plays the riff full speed, then a close up of the riff played in (1/2?) reduced speed. It's great.

I already learned the first riff, now I'm working on the second one, which is part of Eruption. Eddie has always been my favorite guitarist so I'm super stoked about getting this. I'm using my second guitar, which is a Strat copy with a Floyd Rose system so I can go nuts like Eddie.

Rock on!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ugliest Guitars of 2007

I have no idea how I stumbled on this one but what a hoot!

Ugliest Guitars of 2007