Sunday, March 29, 2009

Various accessories

A friend (different friend) once told me that to get into any hobby would cost $1000. Didn't matter the hobby. That was his flat rate no matter what.

Well, it's been considerably less than that. I'm not under any kind of idea that doing music for a hobby is cheap. It can be VERY, VERY expensive. My thoughts are more wrapped around getting started in the hobby. My biggest issue is that this isn't the first time I've tried to do this. My first attempt was on an acoustic guitar my wife bought me for a birthday present many moons ago. It's in the house and has been gathering dust all this time. Taunting me and reminding her of my failed experiment. I had to go about it this time on the cheap to fly under the radar of watchful eyes and avoid the failed experiment demon again. For years and years, I had attempted to win electric guitars by entering online contests on a regular basis. The only fruits of my efforts being an email folder full of junk mail. So much so that I try to avoid that account at all costs nowadays.

However, my friend took pity on me and helped me with my cause by giving me a guitar. Introductory guitars can be had for around $200-$300 from what I've seen online.

The case itself I got for $40. I bought this one on recommendation. I bought the strap at about the same time for < $20.

Everyone has a PC nowadays. Instead of buying a full fledged amp, I bought a USB cable and an amp emulator. So far, I've been happy with the Guitar FX Box. It's $26 through their online site. The Lightsnake USB cable was $40 at Target. The medium picks I got there were < $10.

My "benefactor" has recommended an amp to me but I'm holding off on it. It was around $150. initial outlay so far is $136. I've been going with whatever free lessons I can find online and the generosity of pointers from my benefactor. He doesn't live close or else I would probably be at his house on a weekly basis looking for free lessons. I bet he thanks God every night for the distance between us at this point.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

the catalyst

So why more serious this time?

I was out in the yard watering. It's amazing how dry it's been in Colorado this year. I spent > 2 hours watering all the bushes and plants. Needless to say, standing there with a hose in your hand trying NOT to do your best Bill Murray with a hose between your legs impression ala Caddyshack can get a bit boring. I took my iPod out there with me and was playing this mental game of watering each bush/tree the length of whatever song I was listening to. I'm sure I looked like the grand dork to all the passersby tapping my leg to the beat of the song. Needless to say, there is a lot of good guitar music out there and I found myself over and over and over again wanting to play each song for real. I had to restrain myself from doing my best air guitar all honesty....air guitarists look like big dorks. Especially 40 year old ones.

That evening I jacked the guitar in and started working on various scales my "benefactor" gave me. It was great. I had fun. I have a goal.

The Gear

The Guitar:


This guitar was given to me by a very good friend (the same "real musician" mentioned before). I'm forever grateful at this point. He used it professionally in live shows during his early career including an appearance at "The Whisky" IIRC. It's got active pickups (EMG I think).

I don't have an amp. I'm using the Lightsnake USB cable that I found at Target of all places and the amp emulator software Guitar FX Box.

If I keep up my ideal of 15+ minutes a day and I do see improvement, I'll probably put an amp on my present list. My short term goal is to be able to be a rhythm guitarist on a selection of songs by Christmas time. Ideally playing with my benefactor.

Fits and starts

Back when I started this blog, I had all intentions of putting some serious effort into learning a real guitar. Of course, it is way harder than you would think, especially when trying to do it on your own and not paying for lessons. I've researched various online lessons and could never really settle on anything because to be honest, it's hard to throw money into this when I know I've failed at it in the past.

So where does that leave me. I made a resolution a few weeks ago to practice for at least 15 minutes each and every day. I've already broken the resolution with a few late nights of work but haven't missed 2 days in a row. I also found myself practicing for close to an hour.

Here's for a new found resolve. I've done pretty well for a couple weeks and I already see some return on my investment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Multiple Search Wijits -> Look Right

I'm a software developer for a company that does a Search Wijit for Blogs. You'll see 2 different instances that look like they should be installed to the right. The top one is the one for public consumption and should always work. The bottom one points to my development area and should probably look like some kind of html coding problem. It works from within the building but not in the outside world. I'm aware of it and it's intended. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.


I'm addicted to the various Rhythm games on the gaming consoles. The problem is, I've got this friend who is a real musician. He chastises me (in a good-natured friendly ribbing sort of way) about playing a real instrument so much that he actually gave me one.

This is going to be my blog about my transition from the fake plastic toy to the real thing. I started this transition a couple months ago so I'll be doing the back-pedal on my experiences so far.