Thursday 7 November 2013

Pure drumming

All too often I find ways to distract myself when I've intended to do some guitar practice. Recently I thought it would be nice to create some drum tracks to play with. "No problem!" You say, "Use Hydrogen." This is a start, but what if you don't know much about drumming and find clicking beats on a track comes out a bit flat? The first thing to come to mind was to try some MIDI pads, but that seemed like overkill, especially when something with buttons on it was much closer to hand—my Xbox 360 controller.

Friday 11 October 2013

MathJax posts

My posts on the string bend calculator used MathJax to display the equations used. But I ended up struggling a while to get them to work on mobile devices. The problem is this: typically MathJax loading needs to go into the document head, but that means editing your blog template.

Making the pitch - tuning

Guitar pitch pipes, Wikimedia
If you play guitar then you need to tune it from time to time, unless you're deeply in to experimental music.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Bending with Dojo part 1: Maths rock

One of the distinctive sounds of the guitar is bending notes, pushing or pulling the string sideways across the fretboard to raise its pitch. Santana's Samba Pa Ti and Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond have classic examples, but whether you're listening to BB King or Noel Gallagher it'll show up from time to time.
But guitar strings are steel, they can't stretch that much can they? Some people have trouble believing this and think there must be 'give' somewhere else, but a guitar string is thin and long and really can stretch, so I thought I'd put together a string bend calculator to show how. Using it should be self explanatory, this series of posts is about what's happening under the hood.

Bending with Dojo part 2: Stretching in the Dojo

Following on from Part 1, I wanted to make an interactive way to explore the mechanics of string bending. A spreadsheet is the simplest way to do that, but it needs users to download a file and open it up with the right program. A web-app only needs a browser and internet access to use, but takes a bit more assembly. To cut down the amount of DIY needed it's common to use a framework. JQuery is probably the most commonly used, but without built-in support for plots, so I went for the slight more complex Dojo.
I tried to make the maths background in Part 1 understandable for a general audience, but this Dojo section is going to have to assume you know a few programming terms. If that doesn't sound like your thing, then maybe you're just looking for the string bend calculator.

Bending with Dojo part 3: Slight return

This is the last of three posts about building the string bend calculator and maybe the most interesting to anyone other than me. Part 1 dealt with the basic physics and Part 2 with building the Javascript app. All that's left is to wonder what it all means.

Saturday 25 May 2013

...And the Gods Made Guitars

A while ago, after spending far too much time on guitar forums, I decided to try building one myself. There are a number of ways to do this, the most adventurous involves finding an axe and a likely tree, but you don't have to go to those lengths.

Monday 20 May 2013

Steam powered guitars

Vaughn and Sean Saball's Steampunk heart
Even if you haven't heard of steampunk you've probably seen it, recently I found myself wondering what a steampunk guitar might look like.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Fedora, Living the Jam

Fedora 18 was released on 15th January, and anyone eagerly awaiting Jam might be wondering how to get it. Fedora Jam was ready for the Fedora 18 release, but it didn't make it into the official release discs, you can instead get a preview of Fedora 19 Jam by following the instructions at the Jam wiki page. After a month and a half, how is the Jam looking? Here is a quick look at the Jam and a few tips for getting the best out of it.

Monday 11 February 2013

Back to the old school...

Lately I've been going through a bit of a quiet period on the guitar front. Since I haven't been playing long I'm very aware I need to keep practising to improve, but how do you move forwards when you find yourself aimlessly noodling and repeating things you already know? Well of course you try and change your routine, so the book that's on my music stand now is Mel Bay's Deluxe Enyclopedia of Guitar Chord Progressions.