You Rock Guitar MIDI Controller

February 8th, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Gear, Instruments, MIDI 1 Comment »

If you’re looking for a MIDI Controller guitar you should definitely consider the “You Rock Guitar.” I love mine and at about $200 it seems like a really good deal considering all that it is capable of.

It may look look like a video game controller (and it can actually be used as one) but it really works quite well. If you’ve got some sweet VSTi synthesizers (and/or samplers – even drum machines!) then you can plug this thing up via USB and control them. I use mine with REAPER but I believe it works well with any software that has MIDI input.

I’ve been very impressed with how responsive it is so far. I wasn’t really expecting it to work as well as it does. Nice surprise. Yes I have had some dropped notes with finger style playing but I think that may just be a matter of adjusting the settings and how I play it (you have to be a bit more precise with a MIDI guitar than you do with a real guitar.)

On the other hand, this guitar is much easier to fret than a real guitar as there are no strings to hold down (the only strings are for the picking hand.)

It’s got all kinds of on board features and sounds but to be honest most of them seem really cheesy to me, I say skip all of that silliness and use it as a MIDI controller that’s where it’s true awesomeness lies.

I plan on sharing some samples of the kind of things you can do with the You Rock Guitar as a MIDI controller in the future, in fact I may just edit them into this post (after I put them up on YouTube.)

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Ukulele Fun

January 31st, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Instruments No Comments »

I bought a Lanikai Tenor Ukelele (with a pickup) on Amazon.com last year and lately I’ve been playing it quite a bit. It’s really a lot of fun to play and I find it to be a great instrument for songwriting for some reason. I seem to come up with some pretty cool melodies while strumming it.

I also got a cool ukelele songbook called “‘60s Uke-In” which I highly recommend to any fan of ’60s classics (particularly The Beatles, their songs dominate the book.) It has a handy chord chart too.

So what makes playing the uke so fun? Maybe it’s because it’s so incredibly easy to play. Unlike a guitar there’s no struggle with holding down the strings for a beginner (the strings are very soft) and the chord fingerings in some keys (particularly G and C) are very easy to get down. You can really pick up a uke for the first time and be playing songs within minutes.

In fact I would highly recommend the ukulele as a first instrument for a kid. It’s really perfect as it’s the right size (a guitar is way too big for a small kid) and it’s easy to hold down the strings and unlike those crappy cheap kids guitars you find at Wal-Mart or Target it’s actually a real instrument (not just a crappy toy) that can stay in tune and sound good if played well.

The electric pickup is a pretty sweet bonus. I could have got a cheaper model without the pickup but I wanted the option of being able to run my uke through my distortion, delay, and wah pedals!

I’m glad I went the electric route (for an extra $40) because it’s ridiculously fun to jam on it while using my wah pedal and my delay pedal. I think I may be in the process of creating some kind of new genre. Hawaiian space rock?

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How To Tune A Floyd Rose Guitar

October 6th, 2009 Jonny Kaine Posted in Instruments 2 Comments »

I recently purchased my first Floyd Rose style guitar and at first I was a bit lost as to how to tune it. I actually got a bit frustrated and regretted my purchase of it at first. But after some research and some trial & error I figured it out and I’m now very pleased with the guitar (it’s a Jackson.)

It seems like a good idea to share what I’ve learned about how to tune a Floyd Rose guitar what follows are some step by step directions on tuning such a guitar as the steps are a bit different than with a “normal” guitar.

1. Make sure all of the fine tuning screws are about half way up (so that you can adjust either way if you need to.)

2. Loosen (unlock) the nut.

3. Use the tuning keys to tune the strings (I recommend tuning them slightly sharp as they tend to go a bit flat at first.) There’s a specific way you should tune the strings. Start with the low (bass) E then go to the high (treble) E then go to the B then the A then the G and then finally the D. Then you start again at the low E and continue this process until it’s staying in tune.

This will take awhile at first and you need to have some patience. But it’s worth it in the long run so stick with it.

4. Once you’ve got it staying pretty well in tune you should tighten the nut (lock it.) Don’t screw it closed too tight.

5. Fine tune with the fine tune screws. This is how you’ll be tuning the guitar from now on unless it goes very far out of tune or you have to restring (in which case you’ll have to start this process over again.) The big positive is that Floyd Rose guitars tend to stay in tune more so than others do once you get them set. That’s what I’ve been experiencing with mine.

Changing The Strings

Speaking of changing the strings. You should change them one at a time. Because of the way you string a Floyd Rose guitar, that’s easier to do with other guitars. If you try to change them all at once you could run into some irritating problems with the bridge.

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Epiphone Casino Electric Guitar – An Affordable Beatles Guitar

August 13th, 2009 Jonny Kaine Posted in Instruments 4 Comments »

I’m not much of a “gear head” when it comes to guitars. My theory is pretty much that if it stays in tune, it’s a good guitar.

I’m definitely not of the mind that you need to buy some extremely expensive model guitar in order to have a “good guitar.” I think the proof that’s true comes from the fact that all of guitarists of The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison) played Epiphone Casino guitars (Epiphone being Gibson’s less expensive brand) on recordings and during tours.

If they were good enough to record Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, & The White Album with then they are certainly good enough to record whatever I’m working on.

Buy An Epiphone Casino Guitar Online

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