Recently in Guitar Category

Welcome to the New Year

Been thinking a bunch over the last few days of what the new year is going to bring and more of what I would like it to bring. 2008 was definitely an up and down year for me, but I really want to try and make the best of 2009.


Last year was a banner year for me musically. At the beginning of the year, I set a personal goal for myself of being able to get up and play on stage with some of my friends at the various bars in Boston. This goal was set to try and get me playing my guitar more and really getting better at it.

I accomplished that goal many times over. I played at The Bell, Hennessey's (multiple times) and DJ's. I played with various bands and even solo once. This was great for me.

The other big thing that happened musically was that some friends and I started a band. It was rough going at first, but these days, we are really starting to get somewhere. We played at 2 parties at a friend's house, which were fun, but a bit of a mess at times (I've seen the video, so I know :). The big accomplishment was we actually played a real gig in a bar a few weeks ago. Huge deal for all of us, now we just gotta keep it going.

This year, I have a lot more plans for music. I really want to spend some time and perfect my sound, which means picking up a bunch of pedals, a pedal board, etc etc. I've got a bunch of ideas on what to get, now I just need to save up some cash and get it all set. I've already got one pedal coming this week and then it's going to be a game of ordering the rest of them.

In the same vain of the music geeking out, I also want to try and get some level of a home studio together. Nothing too major, mostly my mac and some other stuff. A keyboard/midi controller and some mics (instrument and vocal) are pretty much all I need here. Oh, and an external HD to save all the work I hope to do.

Once I get some of that stuff set, the big goal for this year is to "record an album". Now, I don't necessarily mean some great production, professional album, I just mean something for me. The goal is to write and record a song each month. The other part of that is that I want to work with a different friend each month, so it will end up being something fun and hopefully experimenting in a bunch of different types of music.

As for the band, I'd really like us to get good enough this year to be playing out regularly. This is a big goal in a lot of ways, but I think if we can really work hard, we will be able to do it. It would be great for a lot of reasons (not to mention a couple of extra bucks here and there), so I really hope we can accomplish it. I have the contacts, so I think if we can get up to speed, its something that's doable.

There are a couple of other things in the back of my mind musically as well. I'd like to take vocal lessons, but not sure if there will be the time or money for that. I'd also like to really learn a ton more songs and maybe get out and do a few solo gigs. Again, not sure if that will be possible, but you never know. Never bad to have some pie in the sky type goals.

Ok, this is already getting really long, so I guess I will continue this in some more parts over the next few days....

Goal #2: Wild Stringdom!

Back in the day, Dream Theater's guitar player John Petrucci used to write a column for one of the guitar magazines called Wild Stringdom, so I thought the name was appropriate.

My second goal for this year is to really get back in to playing music. I've always played a little guitar, but its always been a hobby that was never really fully realized. I would get in to playing for a bit but then would get busy and stop for a while. I never really got anywhere with my playing.

Considering how much time I spend around music and musicians, this really frustrates me. I have decided that this year I want to be able to get up and play with those guys and have them trust I will know what I am doing. It would be a lot of fun to be able to do this from time to time.

The other driving force behind this is that I recently found out a friend of mine has a full practice space at his apartment. The last few times we have been at his place for parties, we have jammed out a few tunes and it really felt good. I now am hoping we can turn that energy in to a regular jam session that will do two things. First it will help me get my chops up, second, it will help me get used to playing with other people, which is a skill I have not mastered in the least yet.

I have been really good the last few days in trying to get myself in to a routine of playing. I have a list (and an iTunes playlist) of about 40 songs I know or want to learn. I've also been really good about spending at least an hour each night playing some of that list. Now I just need to keep it up and push it even further.

The next big step is to spend some time with my books and magazines on guitar and music theory, which fits right in with another one of my goals which you will hear about later.

The Joy of Strings

I re-strung my acoustic guitar today for the first time in a while. I sure forgot how awesome this guitar sounds with new strings. Definitely need to get in the habit of doing this more often.

I'll Be The One guitar tablature

So, I'm a big fan of "I'll Be The One" from Gov't Mule / Warren Haynes (At least, I think its one of their originals). As I am still getting better at playing guitar and specifically ear training, I was wondering if anyone had some tablature for this. I can't seem to find any online at the moment :( Anybody?

Sweet Guitar

Lukas pointed out the Variax Acoustic 700 to me today. SWEET guitar. Check out the videos on the site of it in use.


Playing guitar for a few hours to start your day makes your fingers hurt.

The perfect article ...

for this blog:

Rockin' on without Microsoft

It's about both geeks and guitars!

Songs that everyone knows

I'm trying to get a list of songs together that everyone knows, so I can learn them on guitar. If you have any suggestions, post em!

The evolution of guitar playing

My guitar playing started a few months ago. Well, actually, it started many many years ago, but over the past 10 years or so, it has been rather sporadic. Usually I would play for a few days, not feel like I was making any progress and hide the guitars back under the bed.

This time, I tried to keep myself doing it. I devised a scheme. I decided to write a quick group of CGI programs to list songs I wanted to learn and update the progress of them as I went along. This has been working pretty well. I got a list of about 20 songs I wanted to learn, found the tablature and started practicing. I even made CDs of the songs I was working on.

Over the past few months I have gotten better and better at playing. Originally, I was psyched that I was playing again. I enjoyed that I was starting to have calluses on fingers, I loved that I learned some new songs, etc. Slowly I started to expand the songs I wanted to learn. Now I probaby have about 25ish songs that I know pretty well.

The next step for me at this point has been working on singing and playing at the same time. If you have never done this, it is VERY difficult. The reason it is so difficult is that you really need to play guitar on auto-pilot and think of the words to the song. For a while I could not do this to save the life of me. It totally screwed up my playing. Now, as I have gotten better and better at guitar, I can almost pull this off. I don't have the best voice in the world, but I can usually at least stay somewhat in tune :) This has been really nice for me. Even tonight, I was able to pretty much learn a song and be able to sing along with it in just a few attempts. The funniest part? I don't even own the CD, I was going on what I remembered from hearing many friends play it over and over.

The real next step for me is to go back and re-learn all the music theory and then apply it to guitar. I used to be very good at this (aced the class I took in college), but have forgotten most of it. The applying it to guitar is going to be even more difficult. I really need to learn the notes on the neck of the guitar MUCH better. Then, I will actually be able to solo some more :) Right now, I basically just play chords and some parts of songs, but actually jamming and being able to play along will be much more fun.

Hopefully I will work on this over the next couple of weeks. I think I am going to play with a buddy of mine on Sunday for a few songs. We'll see what happens. Should be interesting to see if I can pull off what I can do at home on a stage. Maybe I will even sing one or two ;)

If I can get the second half of this learning process and the get the music theory part down, it will really be fun to go down on Sunday and really be able to jam back and forth with my friend.


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