Shredding 6 Strings

April, 2011

How To String Your Guitar

This is a video tutorial on how to string your guitar. It is a step-by-step process from taking off the old strings, adding new ones, and finally tuning your guitar. I used Ernie Ball coated phosphor bronze acoustic strings in the video on my Martin guitar. Enjoy!

Roland Micro Cube


              The Roland Micro Cube amplifier is no bigger than the lunch box you brought everyday to elementary school. The power output is only two watts and the speaker is only five inches in diameter.

               Yet this tiny amplifier packs quite a punch for how small it is. Many of the reviews left on (a review site for instruments and equipment) and other sites like it, describe how the sound of the Micro Cube is just as loud as its 20-watt or 30-watt competitors.

            The amp is also portable, meaning it runs on batteries (6 AA). If a guitarist wants to bring his or her electric guitar out to a bonfire in the middle of the woods, the Micro Cube will work to bring the sound to the great outdoors.

            One Micro Cube amp has seven completely different settings and sounds. These settings range from a simple acoustic setting to more distorted, heavy rock sound. The seven are:


-JC Clean

-Black Panel

-Brit Combo

-Classic Stack



             Along with the different settings, the amp also has six BOSS effects to choose from. There is chorus, flanger, phaser and a tremolo effect. A separate delay/reverb processor allows for long delays and heavy reverb.

              The Micro Cube also has a digital tuning fork, making tuning your guitar a breeze. In addition, there is also an auxiliary input and a recording/headphones output on the back of the amp.

              Roland has been a trusted name in amplifiers for many years and the quality of their products can be seen clearly in the Micro Cube. The amp is a perfect practice or small gig amp for guitarists at any level. The Micro Cube is small, durable and has a great sound.

Fretlight Guitars


            Learning guitar can be a very complicated thing. Your hands hurt from pressing the strings and contorting in ways that you are not used to. Hours of practice when you first start out can seem like nothing more than running in circles and that you not getting any better.

             Having your own private teacher can get expensive after only a few lessons. There are many things stacked up against you when you want to learn or get better on the instrument.

            The Fretlight Company attempts to easy some of these tensions and provides you with your very own tutor. Fretlight guitars use software on your computer and a unique fret board that lights up, illuminating where to play and what notes to hit next. It is almost like guitar hero with a real guitar.

            On each fret, there are six tiny LED lights (one for each string) which light up and tell the guitarist when to play a certain note. Once you download the software onto your computer and plug the guitar into the USB drive with a special cable, you are ready for a guitar lesson to begin.

            You can pick any number of songs to learn from the massive library that Fretlight has and play along to it. First the song will play with the guitar part in it, so that you can get used to how it sounds and the feel of the song.

            Then the background music will continue to play when you want to play along, but the guitar part will cut out and you will follow along with the song, being guided by the LED lights that flicker on and off. You can adjust the tempo of the song if it is too fast for you and slow it down to something more manageable.

            There are numerous types of software that you can download from the company to suit the style you want to play. If you just want to learn chords, there is software which teaches only chords.

            There is also software for how to get better at improvising, soloing, using different scales, and finger picking. The sound of your guitar plays through the speakers of your computer along with the background drums, bass and other elements.

             Fretlight guitars are perfect if you are just starting out and want to get used to playing simple notes and holding down the strings. The guitars are also great for guitarists how have been playing a long time and want to get better at a certain style. The guitars are also well made and sound great to play even when you are not using the teaching functions.

The EBow

Have you ever wondered how to make your guitar sound like a violin, or if you could play with a bow? Well, the EBow is a tool for guitarist that combines some of these concepts and ideas. The EBow is a hand-held electronic device for changing the sound of the guitar. Instead of using a pick to pluck the notes, the guitarist holds the EBow in his or her hand and is able to mimic the sound of strings and woodwinds with insane accuracy. The EBow can only be used while a guitarist has a guitar amped up. The EBow differs from plug in effects in that the sound is created from interaction with the strings.  According to a website selling EBows, the device was invented by Greg Heet in 1969. There is an internal pickup within the device that works like a regular guitar pickup. The signal goes through the amplifier and drives the other coils, which amplifies string vibrations.

Many great guitarists have used the EBow to create a unique and different sound. Billy Corgan, Zakk Wylde, Eddie Vedder, and Peter Frampton have all used the EBow on at least one of their records. Two of the most notable companies that specialize in making the EBow are Gizmotron and Moog Guitars. The price of the EBow ranges from $50 to about $100.

One of the most recent bands to use the EBow is a band by the name of Sigur Ros. Georg Holm is the bassist for the Icelandic post-rock group and often uses a EBow during songs. The band has both classical and simplistic elements. They are known for their ethereal sound, which is a subgenre of dark wave music or more simply a gothic style. A video example of how to use an EBow is below.

Interview: Scott’s Thoughts on Guitar

This is an interview with Scott Williams, a local guitar enthusiast, on his passion for the instrument, why he began playing and advice for beginner guitarists. The song that he plays at the end of the interview is called “Jolene” by Ray Lamontagne.

Interview: Scott’s Thoughts on Guitar by tstritt1

Guitar Shops Near Toledo

Here are 10 guitar shops near the Bowling Green and Toledo area. Some of the shops specialize in repairs while others are great places to get a new guitar and any guitar accessories, like amps and effect pedals. Some of the shops give lessons and others have a wide range of instruments to choose from.

View Guitar Shops Near Toledo in a larger map

Guitar Photos

Here are some photos of guitars taken by my roomate Scott. His photo blog is called Man-Bear.  

The Civil Wars “Poison and Wine”

This is the video for The Civil Wars song “Poison and Wine.” It is off their first full-length studio album Barton Hollow. They are a folk band that have elements of bluegrass in their sound.

The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow

There is a somber and minimalistic style to The Civil Wars’ first full-length studio album Barton Hollow. The simplicity of the album allows for a focus on the harmonies created by singers Joy Williams and John Paul White. Together, the folk duo provides a full, rich blend of tones that is simply pleasing for listeners. The finger picking White provides on his acoustic guitar does not blow you away like the licks of 50s blues guitarists, yet it provides the perfect complement to the nostalgic airiness of the duos’ voices.

The most important elements of The Civil Wars style are clearly evident to the listener. There are no distractions, nothing to take away from the lyrics and soft strumming reminiscent of midnight lullabies.

            The track “I’ve Got this Friend” takes you back to the bashful uncertainty of the first person you fell headlong into love with. Not as innocent as the first girl or guy that caught your eye on the playground; this song follows more mature yet just as hopeless romantics searching for something more than a surface level relationship. The guitar riff in the verses is deep and almost bass-like to provide a contrast to the higher pitched belting of Williams and White.

            The album turns to more honest account of love with the song “Poison and Wine.” The lovers in this song have been together for years and one can almost taste the half empty bottle of rich red wine which saturates and fills the living room where the couple explains that “I don’t love you but I always will.” There is no sugar coating of feelings in this song. Yet while there is undeniable strife, the listener can rest assured that this couple will stick it out till the end.

The guitar sound is muddied and it is difficult to distinguish tone which is distinctly different than the light piano which slowly moves the song forward.

The title track “Barton Hollow” and “Forget me not” are perhaps the greatest departures from the rest of the album. The Civil Wars show a diversity of sounds on these two tracks and never allow the reader to get to comfortable with one sound throughout the whole album. “Barton Hollow” is a very upbeat and driving song which carries with it a great passion and emotion that is a change from the other tracks. “Forget me not” has a bluegrass feel from the very beginning, opening with a fiddle that would fit right into the film Oh, Brother where art Thou. White also uses swells to give the song that old time feel of the prohibition era.

In Barton Hollow there is a sense of unity to the album, a clear distinction that The Civil Wars intended it to progress from one track to the next. Barton Hollow cannot be taken apart track by track and examined individually; the album is a complete piece and should be listened to as such. The Civil Wars provide a younger generation with the simple and passionate lyrics of the folk of old. The group is like watching a classic black and white movie that has been re-mastered; there is still the vintage feel yet the work appeals to a new, younger audience. Barton Hollow is simply a success.