How They Work – NIN: Echoplex, Rehearsing Live with Lemur

NIN: Echoplex – Live at Rehearsals, July 2008 from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo. Jaymis at Create Digital Motion was admiring this video and watching the Lemur action at the beginning. It further inspires me to custom-install a touch overlay on my laptop, which isn’t terribly expensive – having touch in a live playing situation is really quite nice. But as I watched the video and its modular synth action and Novation gear, I actually found myself thinking about something else: why aren’t more bands this tight? Most importantly, why don’t more bands simply use in-ear monitors when they’re working? …

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Portable Guitar Travel Rig, from Kevin of The Nettles

Now having seen fold-up guitars in briefcases, here’s another approach to what to put in your portable guitar rig, from our friend Kevin Johnsrude of The Nettles. Kevin plays both bass and guitar, but he has a more portable rig so he can play music everywhere. Kevin writes: In the photo: The diagonal headless guitar is an old-school Traveler headless guitar minus the knee rest. The purple box is a Korg Pandora with tuner, multiple effects, crummy sampler/looper and drum tracks. I have a modified jazz guitar dialled-in for most of my practice and I use the drum tracks for …

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FretPet: Guitar Fret Tool, Chord, Pitch, Sequence Toy

At first, I thought FretPet was a virtual fret interface with MIDI output to your favorite soft synths. And so it is. But closer inspection reveals a lot more. This Mac tool, newly available for OS X with an expanded feature set, is a unique way of exploring pitch and chords. If you know nothing about theory, you could use it to adventure through pitches in new ways, just by fiddling with your guitar. If you are into theory, you can get deep into harmonic relationships and creating your own custom guitar tunings. As a composer who’s struggled a bit …

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Fender’s Keychain Pocket Tuner; Guitar Tuner Roundup

You’ve officially lost your excuse for being out of tune. Thanks to the wonders of modern science, you can now tune with your: iPod, via iRocker Mac/PC guitar effects software using tools like the built-in tuner included in Guitar Rig 4-track digital recorder thanks to Korg’s D4 Portable audio recorder using the built-in tuner included with Edirol’s R1 Widget using the Mac/PC Konfabulator widget Guitar Tuner Now, on top of all these options, you can pocket Fender’s new US$19.95 keychain guitar tuner, too. (You’ll be able to start up your El Camino and tune your guitar with a keychain. Plug …

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iRocker: Turn Your iPod Into a Guitar Tuner / Metronome / Practice Tool

The iRocker is a set of tools for guitarists you can load on your iPod. For beginners, iRocker includes a virtual chordbook with 200 chords and fingerings, plus a guide to scales. 5 different chord progressions / riffs are provided for playing along. More useful to most of the readers here, though: iRocker includes a set of guitar tuning recordings with a variety of tunings, and a basic 10-speed metronome. iRocker comes from Talking Panda, who brought us iBar (probably more my speed, history of whiskey and whatnot.) US$29.95; you’ll need a late-model iPod; Early models and Shuffles are unsupported.) …

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Use for Skype Voice Conference: Band Practice

From the Share Skype site comes an interesting application of voice conferencing: getting your band together. As a background, our band Liquid Playground is reuniting and performing for our 10 year college reunion at Princeton in May, but the problem is we haven’t seen or played with each other for 7 years. time heals most wounds and we are all happy to get back together for a reunion gig. Here is how we set it up: Three of us were in my garage in Redwood City, CA (drums, vocals, keyboards), the bass player was in Colorado, and the guitar player …

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Musical Widgets Pt. V: Circle of Fifths, Now in Clock Form (Mac)

Ever wished you could see the Circle of Fifths (aka Circle of Fourths) displayed on your clock? Well, now you can. And you can even click individual keys to see key signatures, just in case y— hey, wait a minute! Speaking as a sometimes-theory teacher, are you telling me you haven’t learned your keys yet? What are you going to do when your handy Dashboard clock isn’t handy? You’re not going to know your key signature for C# major, that’s what. Or maybe this is a new way of telling time, like, I’ll see you at half past G-flat? I’m …

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Alesis PlayMate Guitarist: CD Tempo Changer, FX

No, not that kind of playmate. (Sorry.) The killer feature of Alesis’ new PlayMate Guitarist is (really!) a CD player: pop in a CD of music and you can change the tempo without affecting pitch. Throw in 80 guitar effects and a helping of I/O, and this definitely makes a cool gadget bag addition for practicing guitarists. If you can find an excuse for the US$299 list price by coming up with something to do with the FX, even non-guitarists may want one for transcribing solos. (via Harmony Central) Vocalists, there’s a vocal version, too — because you can never …

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ThinAmp Portable Amp Fits in Laptop Bag

The ThinAmp from AXL, introduced in January at NAMM, is a portable amp packed into the size of a laptop: only 2" thick and just 5 lbs. (!) You can literally fit it into a laptop bag — in fact, you can probably fit it and your laptop into a laptop bag. The amp is geared at guitarists, but Synthtopia reviews it and finds it suitable for laptop, too. Of course, you can't expect a whole lot of sound out of a 2" amp; while it has EQ and DSP presets for reverb, vibrato, flanger, chorus, and the like, the …

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Free Tube Amp Plugin, Riff Transcriber (Win)

Polarity's new Tubester 1 is a freeware VST plugin combining preamp, EQ, and guitar speaker simulator. AmpliTube it ain't, but if you need a quick-and-dirty tube amp plug with low CPU overhead, this could be the trick. There's no custom UI; it uses whatever your host supplies. (via Harmony Central) While you're there, check out Riffster Lite, a free app for transcribing phrases from music, with variable tempos and phrase selection. The pro version is US$24.99 and adds more tempo options, EQ, instrument cancelling, CD lookup, and other features. Both are Windows-only.

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