Archive for the 'Guitar' Category

Real Guitar Hero >> Fake Guitar Hero

So you won the Guitar Hero contest at your local GameStop? Oh, and what’s that? You can flawlessly execute Through the Fire and Flames? On expert difficulty, no less — wow.

Prepare for bubble-burstage.

Your skills are jack squat compared to Herman Li from the actual band — DragonForce. This inhuman freak shreds faster than a Cuisinart.

(Don’t miss the close-up insets at 3:22.)

I have officially begun growing my hair out.


Pitch-Correct Play Speed with MPlayer

This commmand will boost playback speed by 1.5x, without changing pitch (quite useful for lectures):

mplayer -speed 1.5 -af ladspa=tap_pitch:tap_pitch:0:-33:-90:0 foo.avi

This version will slow playback by half, again without affecting pitch. I find this helpful when learning guitar licks from video:

mplayer -speed 0.5 -af ladspa=tap_pitch:tap_pitch:0:100:-90:0 foo.avi

This requires the pitch shifter from Tom’s LADSPA Plugins (apt-get install tap-plugins).

John Mayer is Human

In all the gigabytes of live Mayer material I’ve collected, this (3:30 into the song) is the first time I’ve ever heard him screw up. I’m not one to rejoice in another’s failures, but I must admit that this gives me hope.


Drank a bottle of two-buck Chuck tonight and learned how to play Another Kind of Green. The verse is rather Hendrixy, I think. I’ve convinced myself that drugs are an essential ingredient for writing such incredible music. This is self-serving — I can’t write shit like that. Maybe I should shut up and smoke something.

Right now, if I could go back to being 8 years old, I’d mess with guitars instead of computers. Hell, a piano would do… Whatever. 750-something FICO scores are boring. I’d rather be broke and interesting.

Can I trade my curly-braces for a treble clef? Not anymore.

It’s not the perfect hand, but I don’t hit on nineteen.

Guitar Tabs Illegal?

Are guitar tabs illegal? The Music Publishers’ Association thinks so:

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed. He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the Internet but were “completely illegal”.

(Source: BBC News)

OK here’s the thing: I could argue that fan-contributed tabs are legal under US copyright law, but it would be moot. The only two facts that matter are:

  • Laws exist to serve the common good
  • The world thinks that sharing Tabs is OK

End of discussion. Seriously. Don’t empty your lobbyist piggy-bank for this one, Keiser. Its a lost cause. There’s a reason why your quote has spread like Internet wildfire: it betrays a point of view so jaw-droppingly out-of-sync with the rest of us, it’s laughable.


Just scored tickets to the John Mayer Trio show in Portland next month. I’m lucky. Practically the whole tour was already sold out.

My Thumb Hurts

I’ve recently (in the last year) joined the ranks of a whole slew of guitarists who use their thumbs to fret strings. Besides the obvious benefits of having an “extra” digit, I’ve discovered that many chords are more comfortable to play this way.

This is not one of them: 6x354x

The idea here is to wrap your thumb around the neck and use it to fret the 6th string @ the 6th fret. Once you add the other fingers, you’ll find that your pinky is still available for hammer-ons, etc. In this case “available” should be read “could be used except for the crippling pain shooting thru your thumb.”

Quite possibly the hardest chord I’ve ever tried to play.