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Old 01-15-2019, 09:22 AM
MileHighJC MileHighJC is offline
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Default Beginner/Intermediate Tools

I realize that this thread may be a little rudimentary for most of the members, but Im hoping that I can pick your brains, and that this may resonate with any others that are where I am...

I am looking for suggestions for tools/apps that people use to accelerate the learning process, both technique, and qualitatively. Specifically, I think I am in the market for a looper (more on that later).

I little background first... I am an old dog trying to learn new tricks... Bought my first guitar and started to learn in Sept of 2017. Wound up having to take about 5 months off due to a health issue, but have been getting some quality time practicing lately. My "practice" consists of playing along with a playlist of music (currently 23 with varying levels of complexity of styles, mostly strumming, and a little finger style). Probably not enough, but Ill mix in some scales, but that isnt as much fun of course.

So far I have the following:
  • Taylor Academy 10E
  • Powerwerks PW50 Portable PA (two line or MIC inputs, one AUX input)
  • iOS app:GuitarToolkit (use for a tuner sometimes, Chord Forms). Also supoprts Metronome, and scales.
  • iOS app:Amazing Slowdowner. Lets me slow down any of my playlist for learning. Very useful.
  • MIDI Keyboard - Yamaha PSR500. The thing is ancient, but it has been well cared for, still works, and sounds good (for what it is anyway).

I am to the point where I would like to progress to a "next step". Im thinking that a loop pedal might be a great tool to add to the box - I would love to start layering up some music... maybe first by strumming a loop while playing the rhythm guitar line against the a backing track (original artist recording), then layering on a MIDI percussion line from my keyboard, then a keyboard and or lead line, a vocal...

The example Im thinking about at the moment from my current playlist is "Wish you were here". Im somewhat proficient with the acoustic line (at least I dont have to stop in the middle of it). I would like to learn the solos. I would love to be able to do the entire song.

So... with that: what tools have you found that helped you, or you think might help me? If the looper is a good idea, any suggestions that might let me do the above would be more than welcome.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:35 AM
psax psax is offline
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Hello,

I'm not an expert - I'm a trained musician but a relative beginner with the guitar. I found Garageband very useful for making songs, loops and recording generally. I don't know the PC side but there should be something you could use (I started with Cubase, mostly using MIDI to try to compose "classical" music - GB gives you midi along with sounds you can trigger with your keyboard.

If you already have a computer it's some work setting it up (figuring out the program and getting whatever hardware you'll need to get sound in and out) but you can import loops, record your own loops and play along with them, record songs, do a bit of mastering (for me twisting knobs until it sounds better...), exporting recordings as sound files (which used to be difficult but now it's easy to email yourself or friends your "song," and a lot more if you'd like.

Good luck!
Phil
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:54 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is online now
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You probably already know about this, but the tool I’ve found most helpful for learning new stuff now is totally free. YouTube now has the capability for controlling playback speed without changing the pitch, and doing a reasonable job at maintaining the sound quality. And of course, you can pause, rewind, etc.

You can use this to slow down the songs you’re trying to learn to as low as 25%. A lot of people who put covers on YouTube shoot the videos so you can see their hands, which makes the slowdown feature even more useful for learning.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:57 AM
beninma beninma is offline
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You could do a lot worse than purchasing the following:

- An amp (You already have this)
- A looper (TC Ditto is the one for me, dead simple so less to learn)
- Something like a Beat Buddy Mini

You don't have to plug your guitar into the Amp necessarily if you just want to have something to play drums/metronome for you, but the looper with an acoustic will let you lay down a part to play with.

An amazing practice tool setup. My setup is with the Beat Buddy before the looper, I typically record the Beatbuddy + rhythm track into the looper and then turn off the beat buddy.

I have a ton of iOS apps that can do rhythm stuff but I kind of feel like they all suck compared to the Beat Buddy. The Beatbuddy is super no-nonsense and works really well. The majority of the iOS rhythm apps don't do any time signatures except 4/4 without swing which is highly annoying. (I think the target market is probably EDM) Another thing that drives me nuts is a lot of iOS apps will just stop playing when power saving kicks in.

The only thing I wish the Ditto had was a line in to pump backing tracks through the amp. But my AMP doesn't have that. If your amp has a line-in you're set, although I still think it's better when the looper has it, as you can then loop any music as a backing track. I previously had a Digitech Jamman that did have a line in but that looper was stupendously overcomplicated and so I traded it for the ditto.

Smartphone music playback apps are horrible about letting you loop an A-B section too which is really annoying, a looper with a line in will let you bypass that completely. The one app I have on my iPhone that will do an A-B loop is the Yamaha THR app, it's a very useful app that doesn't really have anything to do with the THR, but even then it will only let you A-B loop songs that you have purchased from the Apple iTunes store. It doesn't help you at all if you bought the music elsewhere or have a streaming music subscription.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:59 AM
guitar george guitar george is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
You probably already know about this, but the tool I’ve found most helpful for learning new stuff now is totally free. YouTube now has the capability for controlling playback speed without changing the pitch, and doing a reasonable job at maintaining the sound quality. And of course, you can pause, rewind, etc.

You can use this to slow down the songs you’re trying to learn to as low as 25%. A lot of people who put covers on YouTube shoot the videos so you can see their hands, which makes the slowdown feature even more useful for learning.
Thanks for pointing this out. Sounds like a great learning tool!
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:08 AM
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Blueser100 Blueser100 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighJC View Post
I realize that this thread may be a little rudimentary for most of the members, but Im hoping that I can pick your brains, and that this may resonate with any others that are where I am...

I am looking for suggestions for tools/apps that people use to accelerate the learning process, both technique, and qualitatively. Specifically, I think I am in the market for a looper (more on that later).

I little background first... I am an old dog trying to learn new tricks... Bought my first guitar and started to learn in Sept of 2017. Wound up having to take about 5 months off due to a health issue, but have been getting some quality time practicing lately. My "practice" consists of playing along with a playlist of music (currently 23 with varying levels of complexity of styles, mostly strumming, and a little finger style). Probably not enough, but Ill mix in some scales, but that isnt as much fun of course.

So far I have the following:
  • Taylor Academy 10E
  • Powerwerks PW50 Portable PA (two line or MIC inputs, one AUX input)
  • iOS app:GuitarToolkit (use for a tuner sometimes, Chord Forms). Also supoprts Metronome, and scales.
  • iOS app:Amazing Slowdowner. Lets me slow down any of my playlist for learning. Very useful.
  • MIDI Keyboard - Yamaha PSR500. The thing is ancient, but it has been well cared for, still works, and sounds good (for what it is anyway).

I am to the point where I would like to progress to a "next step". Im thinking that a loop pedal might be a great tool to add to the box - I would love to start layering up some music... maybe first by strumming a loop while playing the rhythm guitar line against the a backing track (original artist recording), then layering on a MIDI percussion line from my keyboard, then a keyboard and or lead line, a vocal...

The example Im thinking about at the moment from my current playlist is "Wish you were here". Im somewhat proficient with the acoustic line (at least I dont have to stop in the middle of it). I would like to learn the solos. I would love to be able to do the entire song.

So... with that: what tools have you found that helped you, or you think might help me? If the looper is a good idea, any suggestions that might let me do the above would be more than welcome.
Welcome to the forum! Lots of nice people around here.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:09 AM
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Blueser100 Blueser100 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psax View Post
Hello,

I'm not an expert - I'm a trained musician but a relative beginner with the guitar. I found Garageband very useful for making songs, loops and recording generally. I don't know the PC side but there should be something you could use (I started with Cubase, mostly using MIDI to try to compose "classical" music - GB gives you midi along with sounds you can trigger with your keyboard.

If you already have a computer it's some work setting it up (figuring out the program and getting whatever hardware you'll need to get sound in and out) but you can import loops, record your own loops and play along with them, record songs, do a bit of mastering (for me twisting knobs until it sounds better...), exporting recordings as sound files (which used to be difficult but now it's easy to email yourself or friends your "song," and a lot more if you'd like.

Good luck!
Phil
Welcome to the forum psax! Pull up a chair, introduce yourself . . .
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:10 AM
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MHC MHC is offline
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Honestly, the #1 tool that helped me get from beginner to intermediate, and to play with consistency is a metronome. I know, it ain’t sexy, but practicing with it really helps. You already have one.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:11 AM
mlazare mlazare is offline
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I recently bought the Digitech Trio Plus. It is a looper and a complete bass and drum creator. It is SIMPLE to use and is hands down been more valuable to my growth as a guitar player than every lesson, you tube video. In two weeks my timing, rhythym, ear training, solo skills, songwriting all improved more than they did in the ten years I have been playing. And to top it off is FUN !! For a beginner/intermediate I can't give anything a better recommendation.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:34 AM
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TBman TBman is offline
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I used to use an online tab source called songsterr. (For finger style)

Google it. It has tabs/notation with a play feature. It will play the tune, slow it down and also loop sections.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:53 AM
Osage Osage is offline
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Although not always easy or even possible, the single best thing you can do to improve your playing is to play with others. Maybe find someone whose been playing about as long as you have and get together to jam or show each other things. Playing with someone else really pushes you to both play your best and to take it to the next level. A million years ago when I learned to play, I had a friend who was also learning. We would spend hours playing together. He was better than me and it was such a huge push to have him to play with. Even now, I learn the most when I'm playing with others. In one of the bands I'm in, the other guitarist is just amazing. Playing with him has really pushed me to bring my playing up a notch and it's been great.
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:26 PM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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I'm pretty rudimentary. I have a guitar & 3 ring binders. But it's all scanned and stored as PDF on my PC.
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2019, 02:35 PM
Lkristians Lkristians is offline
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Default Guitar Tricks

There's a website called Guitar Tricks that is reasonably priced (around $100 per year) that caters to beginners, intermediate and advanced and has a huge portfolio of songs and styles. You can mess around with some of the basic stuff for free. Check it out. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:09 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Here's a recent topic where I posted my looper recommendations:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=534400

There are lots of different things you can do to encourage "practicing", and my barebones looper setup has been a lot of fun. Investigate exactly what you want to accomplish with a looper; it's very easy to pick out something that might not mesh well with how you intend on using one.

Do note my recommendation for a dedicated stop switch. The single button loopers are difficult for most folks to use well.

I initially put a toe in the water by purchasing a Zoom G1on multi-effects pedal. This $60 multi-effects unit has a built-in headphone amp, nice built-in drums, and a rudimentary looper, but only good for 30 seconds. If the G1on had a decent loop length it would be an IDEAL practice aid. I loved using it, but the 30 second loop time was too restrictive, so I opted for the dedicated looper shown in the photo on the linked topic.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:11 PM
MileHighJC MileHighJC is offline
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Wow! Thanks for the input so far all! Lots of good ideas... and ways to spend money (as if I needed any other excuses).


Quote:
Originally Posted by beninma View Post
You could do a lot worse than purchasing the following:

- An amp (You already have this)
- A looper (TC Ditto is the one for me, dead simple so less to learn)
- Something like a Beat Buddy Mini

You don't have to plug your guitar into the Amp necessarily if you just want to have something to play drums/metronome for you, but the looper with an acoustic will let you lay down a part to play with.

An amazing practice tool setup. My setup is with the Beat Buddy before the looper, I typically record the Beatbuddy + rhythm track into the looper and then turn off the beat buddy.

I have a ton of iOS apps that can do rhythm stuff but I kind of feel like they all suck compared to the Beat Buddy. The Beatbuddy is super no-nonsense and works really well. The majority of the iOS rhythm apps don't do any time signatures except 4/4 without swing which is highly annoying. (I think the target market is probably EDM) Another thing that drives me nuts is a lot of iOS apps will just stop playing when power saving kicks in.

The only thing I wish the Ditto had was a line in to pump backing tracks through the amp. But my AMP doesn't have that. If your amp has a line-in you're set, although I still think it's better when the looper has it, as you can then loop any music as a backing track. I previously had a Digitech Jamman that did have a line in but that looper was stupendously overcomplicated and so I traded it for the ditto.
I really had not thought of a dedicated drum backer... I was thinking that I might try to feed a drum track in from my MIDI keyboard, but the beat buddy sounds like a WHOLE lot easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osage View Post
Although not always easy or even possible, the single best thing you can do to improve your playing is to play with others. Maybe find someone whose been playing about as long as you have and get together to jam or show each other things. Playing with someone else really pushes you to both play your best and to take it to the next level.
Im a "social" kind of guy, so I am hoping to get good enough to not outright embarass myself when I try that. I do have one neighbor who is at at similar point in the journey, and another one that I think had gigged a little bit. I also have a reasonably close friend who is an EXCEPTIONAL blues guitar guy. With a little work, I might be able to play along with the first two. I would love to be able to play along with the last guy, but that is going to take a lot more work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Here's a recent topic where I posted my looper recommendations:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=534400

There are lots of different things you can do to encourage "practicing", and my barebones looper setup has been a lot of fun. Investigate exactly what you want to accomplish with a looper; it's very easy to pick out something that might not mesh well with how you intend on using one.

Do note my recommendation for a dedicated stop switch. The single button loopers are difficult for most folks to use well.

I initially put a toe in the water by purchasing a Zoom G1on multi-effects pedal. This $60 multi-effects unit has a built-in headphone amp, nice built-in drums, and a rudimentary looper, but only good for 30 seconds. If the G1on had a decent loop length it would be an IDEAL practice aid. I loved using it, but the 30 second loop time was too restrictive, so I opted for the dedicated looper shown in the photo on the linked topic.
You have my attention on the dedicated stop switch. I am naturally a klutz, already struggling trying to sing while playing (Grumble, generally doesnt work for me), so getting the double tap sounds like another source of frustration.

Based upon what I am reading here, I am pretty close to picking up a beat buddy mini 2, and a Ditto X2 (to get the dedicated button). Looks like the beat buddy has an optional external double switch (looks a lot like what you built). Im handy enough I might try building one... doesnt look hard, but I definitely dont understand the operating principle behind it yet, but Im sure a little google research would yield that answer.

If I were to go for this it sounds like the set up is guitar into the beat buddy, fed into the looper, then to the PA on one input, a mike on the other input, and perhaps the iPhone music feed over the aux to the PA. Does that sound right?
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