Music and Guitars

A Journal of Composing and Recording

Getting things done; new tools

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”  Buddha

I have been using Nozbe to organize and plan my actions.  Everything from my at home “need to do” items  do to the step-by-steps things to do to write and record a new song.  It has been working  well so far.  I continually underestimate the time it will take to get something done. though I hope to shorten that time  by acting productively.

 I continue to curse Microsoft for believing they know better than I when it comes to installing upgrades.  I am still futzing around trying to get my studio functioning at the level it was back at the end of summer.   The latest was time wasted on registering Melodyne 4 so that I could tweak some vocals.  Melodyne was working before the last upgrade.  Took an email to Cakewalk to fix.  Time wasted: 4 hours.  Too bad we all can’t bill MS for lost time due to Windows upgrades.

When the music is Good!


Still fixing Microsoft caused problems. Woodshedding.

Wasted an hour of production time yesterday because Melodyne had to be re-download and installed after Microsoft’s last updates.  Grrrr!!!!

Found another another interesting teaching site.   It’s called JamPlay.  It’s a good site for various lessons at various levels from beginning to advanced.  At 20 bucks a month it’s worth the cash.  It’s Jam tracks are a great bonus and well done.  I opted for the monthly membership.   A yearly membership is even less at $13.00 a month.  There is plenty of material here for most guitarists.

JamPlay has a very active user support, which I like,  gives the sight a nice “we care how you are improving” feel.

Microsoft’s &@#$! “Anniversary” Update(ssssssssssssss…sss)

SEVENTY THREE!   That’s right, 73 friggin’ updates in the past nine days!   Our corporate giant, in all its wisdom, in its desire to force Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade, released its “Anniversary Update” in September.  It was for our “own good”.   Sure!  ($$$$).   Seventy three updates later, I hope to God it’s over.  And MS never warned me what was going to happen.

It’s almost enough to make me switch to…?   Apple?  While Apple is certainly the premier PC for the digital media arts,  I have way too much invested  software that I know works with Windows and I know Win 10 also has the drivers for my studio hardware.  Linux?  I can’t afford the time for the research into what software/hardware problems I might encounter in such a move, or what support if any I could expect.  Everyone supports MS and Apple-to an extent.

So, what am I complaining about?  First it took hours downloading and installing the updatessssss, during which time it hogged a great deal of my network bandwidth AND once it began installing the updates my PC was useless during the installation process.

Second and worse yet,  the install wiped the registration of most of my commercial software.   So nothing important worked after the update.  I had to manually log on to each software website and either download updates (more downtime) or run the registration keys again (after I located them).

Third, I discovered I could no longer keep that jackbooted Gestapo thug Cortana out of my home!  They took  the “OFF” switch out of the basic settings options.  For the uninitiated, Cortana is the  digital assistant All Pervasive Spy Microsoft built into Windows 10.  She watches everything you do, records every keystroke, and (if you use a microphone or use Microsoft on your cellphone) every spoken word!   Of course, all that data is only being used to make your life easier and more productive.   TRUST US!  We are the one of the largest, most ubiquitous corporations in the world!   I turned her (Cortana off when I first installed Win 10 Pro this summer using an easy off switch in settings.  MS removed that switch on the update.   So I had to do a little research:

You will use Cortana, Microsoft says

Fortunately, this site explains how to turn of Cortana using the “Group Policy Editor” if you have the Pro version of Win 10,  or edit the registry if you were happily, forcefully, upgraded from Win 7 to the “free” Win 10 version.  They both work as I have a PC with each on it.

Thank God for the free Internet!  Well, until yesterday it was free.  We’ll see.  Money talks.


Alan Van Wert A.I. Guitar Picking Program

This program is around $100.  Too much?  Not if it does as Alan claims.  He claims it will vastly improve my picking speed.  Considering that fact that I can pick straight 16th notes at 210 BPM or 14 notes per second I was intrigued.  It took me almost 2 weeks to pick my way through the 114 exercises the program has.  Then it told me what I needed to practice on.  A few I brought up to the programs goal speed on the first attempt.   The Artificial Intelligence come in as I hit new goals.  The program brought in other exercises I was slow in at my new average note-per-second speed.

My 2 weak spots are picking that involves string skips and mental blocks.   One mental area I have to work with is 16th note triplets that change strings on the 2nd or 3rd note of a group.  For example, picking 2 notes per string off of triplet or sextuplet rhythms.   Another area is playing certain string skip patterns like one-note per string but in this string order D-B-E (1ST STRING)-G-A-E(6TH STRING).  I have to slow way down so that I don’t lose track mentally, not because my right hand won’t pick accurately.

Anyway,   I hope to see so major progress over the next several weeks.

I have been decidedly unhappy with getting a good (let alone great) sound by trying to mic my amplifiers.  So last week I bought a used BOSS GT-001 Guitar Effect Processor/amp modeler off of eBay.  Got it Saturday.

I think it is going to work fine.  It has over 150 factory presets and patches for vocal and acoustic guitar.  Boss has a free tone studio which gives you a GUI on your computer monitor and even better control of this powerful processor.   Haven’t started recording with it yet, just playing with it right now.   More later.


The New Site is Finally Ready

I’ve completely redesigned My Guitar Sings and it looks great.   I spent most  of my time learning HTML so that I could make it do what I wanted, not what some program wanted.


Website Revamp, Benefit, Guitar Effects, and Other Stuff

Been away from this blog and my website for a over a week.  My time has been occupied by getting ready for the benefit gig Saturday Night, working on a friend’s 7-string,  and experimenting with guitar effects.  (Oh, and working on our deck.)   The guys I’m playing with Saturday want to practice 3 times this week.  works for me.

Having a good time messing around with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets.  Expression Web 4, while not Dreamweaver, is going to let me do more modern coding for my website.


Benefit gig, M.2 SSD, Mods to Furman Pedalboard, Expression Web 4

Been practicing with some others guys for a benefit gig at the end of the month.  Old rock.  My friend has two old tube head amps, a Laney and a Peavey that kick butt.  They’re a blast to play through.  He also has a Marshall 4×12 cab and another 4×12.

My M.2 SDD drive still hasn’t arrived.  I haven’t done much on HAL because, I intend to transfer Windows 10  and Sonar to it, once I have it installed.  Should have bought it off of Amazon, but I wanted to use some of my funds in Paypal.

I have always had problems using pedalboards playing live.  I sing a lot of songs while I am playing guitar and many of them require switching between effects during the song.   Tough to hit the right pedals when I have to keep singing in a microphone.  One solution that worked very well was a wireless headset, but I never liked singing through a headset mic.   Since I tend to used combo effects boards like the Boss ME-70 I came up with another option.  I bought an industrial double footswitch and wired it to the first 2 pedals on the ME-70 through a stereo phone jack I mounted on the side of the ME-70.   That works fairly well, since I can mount the footswitch to my right and it has a divider.

The other problem that a guitar player/singer has with pedal boards is that it requires the mic stands to always be set another 2 feet away from the singer.   Plus mounting the tripod legs so that the 3rd leg is pointing away from you so that the boom tends to overbalance even the heavier stands.

I opened my Furman board up.  There is a torroidal transformer mounted in the center top.   I am going to move it to the left.  That required removing one of the 3-prong AC outlets, but it will let me cut a 2″ gap in the center.  That will let me slide the third leg towards me across the board!

I’ve been spending my computer time researching html editors since Sharepoint Designer 2007 won’t let me add embedded mp3 or wave players.   I don’t want to shell out $300 for Dreamweaver, since I only have the one website.   Anyway,  I’ve started to learn to use Expression Web 4 which was Frontpage’s successor.   I cut my web teeth on Frontpage years ago.  And it has several media players.



Downloading software.

Entering day 2 of software installation.  There are pros and cons about CD-less software.  I see definite pros for the software companies:

  1.  No inventory
  2.  cuts CD production and mailing costs.

For the consumer I can think of:

  1. Instant access after purchase…no waiting on snailmail
  2.  I don’t have to remember where I stored the CDs.  🙂
  3.   You “should” get the latest upgrade with the installation.

I can’t see any cons for the company, but for the consumer there is a big one.   It sometimes takes hours and hours, and lots of bandwidth to get my software downloaded.

Anyway,  it has taken most of yesterday and I continue to download and install SONAR and its add-ons today.

When can I get back to the business of writing and producing music?


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