Easy Guitar Chord Tools?


So, every once in a while, these gadgets pop up on Facebook guitar discussion groups.  You get a lot of people poking fun, you get some support.  I had to break it all down.  It’s easy to hate, but some of these may ignite a spark and only be training wheels.  Some of these may enable people with physical or mental disabilities to play some music.  Who should be denied artistic creativity?

 

Chord Buddy, ChorDelia, E-Z Chord, Ez-Fret, WESOLO

Guitar Chord Assistance / Learning Systems

 

Check out all the stats I could find & compile on the Chord Buddy, E-Z Chord, Ez-Fret, & WESOLO Guitar Learning System.

Check out all the details, embedded below:

 

 

Or, check out the full sheet here.  I have websites, prices, lists of chords, and even videos where I could find them.

There is a wide variety of options.  If you can fill in any of the blanks, that would be killer.  If you know of any other similar systems, I could certainly add them.

This doesn’t even touch the Guitar Barre or Hammer Jammer.

 

♪♫♬ 🎸 ♪♫♬

 

On a personal blogging note or two;  I need to update my guitar wish list (and the older list).  The wife got me a BOHO for my birthday!  I have been drawing more mazes.  I may have more time to blog coming up.  I should post some of the mazes.  Someone named Hope recently posted a solution to an old maze in the comments! That makes me super happy.  I’m glad someone enjoys them!

I know I have been bad at blogging.  Life got crazy busy as it does.  I do hope to blog more, not sure if many people read it… but it is fun.  Hopefully if you feel the need, you can keep up with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 

Free Swag From Guitar Center!


So, did you read the last post about the Guitalele & Guitar Center’s price match guarantee?  The whole thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a musician and you actively purchase gear.  It’s worth checking out, so click that link.

Once you’ve read that, this will make sense:

The gig bag & the stand are a perfect fit!  Thanks again to Luke for the excellent customer service, and to YaJagoff for sparking it!

Guitar Center does me a solid, and I didn’t even initiate it.


On the Saturday before Christmas, we were headed to a family gathering & gift exchange.  On the way, we stopped at Guitar Center in Monroeville so I could pick up a book of Christmas Carols that I had seen at the Guitar Center in Robinson.  I didn’t find the same book, but was pleased with two that I did find.

Guitalele GL1

Guitalele GL1 (Photo credit: matsuyuki)

Usually, I’m the one who lollygags in guitar stores, but the wife has taken up the ukulele, and over the past few years she’s the one that lingers near the ever-growing uke section at music stores.  In Monroeville’s Guitar Center, the ukes were right by the music books, so we both started looking.  Bethany was the first to spot our newest acquisition… The Yamaha GL1 “Guitalele“.  We both were fascinated by it, and I played with it a little as she asked “Do you want this as an early Birthday present?”

At first, I said no and went to hang it back up, but flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $99.99.  She gave me the “just get it” look, so we both new I just landed an early birthday present.  I do enjoy the wife’s ukulele, but the GCEA tuning did always mess with me.  Now I can play the ukulele without having to play the ukulele.  Although, if tuned “properly” the guitalele should be ADGCEA.  Of course, I dropped it to E because I didn’t like pretending it was a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.  Although, I may have to get thicker strings or just suck it up & put it back in the A tuning.  They’re sort of like rubber-bands at this point.

Well, that’s just the first part of the story.  The second part stems from some interactions on Twitter.  I’ll try to post it all here as it happened, thanks to @YaJagoff and Luke from Guitar Center.

A simple question.  I gave the easy, flippant, and predictable answer.  Rock musicians are supposed to rail against the establishment and big business, right?  Well, Guitar Center proves to be awesome here…

These are the links I sent to Luke at Yourvoice@guitarcenter.com:

I only half-jokingly asked “Any chance I could get a gig bag or stand for free?”  I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

I was met with a response saying I was getting both of them for free!  We discussed shipping details & the right size gig bag in a few more email exchanges… but they’re now on the way to me via UPS.

I’ve written to companies before, but I’ve never had any of them seek me out on a social media platform in a conversation that wasn’t even addressed to them.  It’s pretty cool that Guitar Center believes in their price guarantee so much that they actively go after any perceived detraction.  It’s also cool that they’ll not only go up against brick-and-mortar stores, but online retailers too.

That being said, the “little guys” could argue that they have no way to compete.  They can’t buy in quantities & therefore probably not at such a low price… so there’s no way they can pass on such savings.  Free enterprise, supply & demand, competition, it’s all very interesting & a continually evolving battle.

At any rate, I win out here… with a free gig bag & stand.  So, thanks to Ya Jagoff!!! & Luke for helping to set the whole thing into motion!  I’ll post some photos of the gig bag & stand as soon as I have them.

So, does the Guitalele count as a guitar in my “13 Guitars in 2013” goal?

Camp Song Books


I’ve had a task in mind and in progress for a few years now, I need to make new camp song books.  It’s for a church camp where I participate several weekends out of the year as well as a full week during the summer.

I’d like the books to be usable by other groups if they want ’em, and have even thought about scrapping the book idea entirely and just using something to feed the projector that the camp has… but then you deal with the whole song being too much for a screen, and someone’s got to “flip pages”… could turn into a mess.  I’ve also thought about putting them all on an easel… but I’ve amassed a collection of ridiculous proportions.  Also, neither of these are practical at night around a campfire which is my favorite camp song setting.

There’s also the “what to include” trap.  We have a book with a lot of songs that are (to me) traditional, I’d like to add some newer ones, and have even entertained the idea of writing some of my own.  Some of the songs that I like, or that people want to sing, I really don’t have good chord progressions to back them up… and I need to get those.  Some songs, I have 3 or 4 different chord progressions and they all sound off or terrible.  I try to dumb it all down and change the key so I’m playing G, C, D, Am, & Em mostly.  Some songs have the dreaded Bm.  B, Bm, & Bm7, how I hate you.  I’m not a great guitar player by any means, but if you can strum through some chord changes… you should be able to play anything in the book.  Yeah, the songs can be corny or goofy, but I feel that it’s an important group fellowship dynamic to have that sing-along time.  It’s also a memorable part of the whole camp experience.

There’s also the alternate lyrics/verses issue.  People really take liberties with hymns, and it’s always been that way.  With some songs, I have a plethora of verses.  Some songs have alternate melodies or arrangements.  Some songs have lines changed or have been lanced with inclusive language.  (On a side issue, I know I’m UCC and on the whole it’s an incredibly liberal organization as far as Christian Churches go… but I don’t understand who’s so offended by gender-specific pronouns and why they need to change old hymns – Just write new ones and don’t mess with the words people have been singing for decades, or don’t sing the songs that you don’t like.)

I guess I generally like things to be more fluid than final, and I never have a “perfect” book idea in mind… but I need to get one done.  Here are some ideas that I’ve had…

  • A song book with a lo-fi companion CD of how exactly the songs go would be pretty cool.  (Maybe even two tracks each, one w/ vocals, one w/o so you can campfire karaoke.)
  • Mini 3-ring binders?  Would make adding songs awesome… but could get costly, and perhaps it’d make it too easy for pages to fall out?
  • Chord progressions, not just lyrics in the song books.  Lots of campers and counselors can play… so having all of the song books be the “master” would be good.
  • No page numbers.  Just look for the title of the song.  (We’re plagued by 2 or 3 different “editions” of the same song book with songs being on different pages and what-not.)  Then again, a song book without an index would be ridiculous…  maybe.

I’d appreciate the thoughts of any other camp song people, songwriters, guitar players, or any other musicians out there… or anyone who’s interested in becoming one.