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Guitar Musician e-zine 08/23/2006
In This Issue:
| "When I started to play with my fingernails, it was not
just for volume. The most important thing was giving the guitar different
colors in its voices..."
- Andres Segovia
A guy shopping in a supermarket noticed a little old lady following him around. If he stopped, she stopped. Furthermore she kept staring at him.
She finally overtook him at the checkout, and she turned to him and said, "I hope I haven't made you feel ill at ease; it's just that you look so much like my late son."
He answered, "That's okay."
"I know it's silly, but if you'd call out "Good bye, Mom" as I leave the store, it would make me feel so happy."
She then went through the checkout ... and as she was on her way out of the store, the man called out, "Goodbye, Mother." The little old lady waved and smiled back at him.
Pleased that he had brought a little sunshine into someone's day, he went to pay for his groceries.
"That comes to $121.85," said the clerk.
"How come so much? I only bought 5 items."
The clerk replied, "Yeah, but your Mother said you'd pay for her things, too."
DO NOT TRUST LITTLE OLD LADIES!
A Lesson For The Learning
Interested in guitar lessons? - Be sure and check out the guitar lessons offered by Andrew Koblick at Amazing Guitar
GUITAR Q AND A
Choosing the Right Strings
Fred Hamilton; Augusta, GA
Q: I am a new player and need some advice on what gauge strings I should buy for my guitar. I have a Washburn Lyon electric guitar and the strings are getting rusty.
A: The gauge of your strings has a lot to do with the tone and the playability of your guitar.
If you use heavy-gauge strings you will get more tone in the string sound but because they are thicker you will get less flexibility. A lighter-gauge string tends to sound thinner but you will be able to move the string easier while bending notes.
I recommend that you start with a standard .009 gauge set of strings and then as you progress you can decide if you want to go up or down a gauge.
Yours in Music
Feature Paid Advertisement
TECH TIP - Portable Recording: Rock That Laptop
Yes, You Can Take It With You�Your Recording Studio, That Is
If you go through withdrawal when you're away from your studio, there's hope: Laptop computers have evolved into serious music-making tools. Not only can they operate as studios unto themselves, they make perfect "satellites" for your main studio. Best of all, today's laptops offer enough power for most types of remote recording, editing, and composing projects.
MAC OR WINDOWS?
Although hardcore partisans would likely disagree, I think it really doesn't matter. Many applications are cross-platform, and for those that aren't, roughly equivalent programs exist on both platforms. Mac PowerBooks are great for audio and video; a decent G4 will let you record/play back plenty of tracks, and ReWire connects multiple devices. While PowerBooks used to be much more expensive than Windows equivalents, the price differential continues to narrow.
Windows notebooks are now available in more media-savvy versions, and some companies (such as Alienware and Digital Audio Wave) make laptops designed specifically for audio. But even a standard laptop designed for business will usually do a decent job with multimedia.
Among others, Alienware makes media/music-friendly laptops.
THE SOFTWARE BLUES
A thornier issue is copy-protected software. If you're miles from home and need to insert a CD periodically for authorization . . . oops. Most software license agreements prohibit running programs on multiple machines; applications that tie protection into running on a specific hardware configuration are especially problematic, because you can't easily uninstall/reinstall every time you want to move from desktop to laptop.
There are a few workarounds. Morally, I have no problem with installing a program on both my desktop and laptop if it's possible. After all, I use only one machine at a time, so I don't feel that violates the spirit of the "only one machine" license. Sometimes you can call the software company, explain your situation, and get another install as long as you're a legit user. Companies don't want to upset paying customers; they just want to discourage the ones who aren't.
Dongles (hardware protection devices that usually plug into a spare USB port) may or may not be a good solution. Those who use only programs with iLok copy protection can stick all their authorizations on one dongle, bring their distribution media with them, and install wherever they like�desktop, laptop, or even when guesting at another studio. Multiple dongles are harder to manage; adding a USB hub reduces portability. In any event, for USB dongles buy a USB extension cord so the dongle doesn't plug directly into your machine. It's way too easy for a dongle to break off when you're on the road.
The hard drives inside most laptops spin slower than the ones in desktops, making it harder to run a zillion tracks. If you're into serious multitracking, make sure there are at least USB 2.0 or FireWire ports so you can add a fast external drive.
To boost drive performance, create separate partitions for program files and audio, and defragment often. Also note that USB memory sticks look like disk drives to the computer, so you can use them as your temporary or even main drive for audio files. However, this technique works best with USB 2.0 devices because of the higher speed compared to USB 1.1 devices. It's important to back up the contents to hard disk; also note that even solid-state memory requires periodic defragmentation.
For non-critical applications, onboard audio may be acceptable, particularly with laptops designed for music. But don't get your hopes up. You're much better adding a USB audio interface or something like the Echo Indigo, which inserts in the computer's card slot.
Buy a really rugged case and a quality CD wallet with heavy outside padding, as you'll likely be carrying valuable distribution and data disks. Throw an extension cord in your luggage, as outlets may not always be where you want them. Get the kind that accepts grounded plugs; not all extension cords do.
And don't forget cool software accessories - check out some of the downloads at www.propellerheads.se/Downloads/Reason/Reason Extras. You'll find QWERTY-to-keyboard applets so you can use the typewriter keys to trigger notes, programs that assign joystick motion to controllers, and so on.
Florian B�mers' Mouse Keyboard (Windows only) lets you trigger chords as well as notes, and includes virtual mod and pitch bend wheels you can control with a mouse's scroll wheel. It's a very useful accessory when you don't have a MIDI keyboard for note entry.
So go ahead and rock that laptop�they're not just for PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets anymore.
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