Archive for the ‘guitar’ Category

White Christmas

It’s been 10 years since I did a guitar arrangement of this song, and it’s been a while since I last recorded anything. So finally here’s the “official” recording done by yours truly, 32Kbps low bitrate version since I want to save bandwidth. This is played on my electric, which I still can’t get the hang of (I very much prefer the feel of nylon strings). I recorded this to minidisk first, then recorded in Ubuntu, using Kristal over Wine, but there are some skips due to buffer underruns. I remember there are some tweaks I’m supposed to do but I think they were lost with the last OS upgrade. This is the one thing I missed from Windows. Anyway, enjoy and merry christmas!


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chordcalc.py – initial release

I finally wrote that program to generate chord fingerings for any fretted instrument. It’s written in Python and meant to be run at the command-line. It’s quite a pleasure writing this in Python – I was surprised to finish writing the core algorithm in just one morning.

Why another chord generation program when there are so many of them on the web already? Well, a variety of reasons: there doesn’t seem to one in Python yet, I want a command-line version (it’s more efficient in some ways), and I want to be able to fine-tune the algorithms. I can slap on a GUI later. Python’s list manipulation capabilities means that I can support instruments of any number of strings, and in any tuning.

I wrote it on my Ubuntu box, but it should work for any platform that Python runs on. It’s written in Python 2.5. I’m still unsure about moving on to Python 3.0.

Interested folks can download the initial release here: chordcalc.py

Let me know if you find any errors e.g. in the chord definitions.

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Spent the entire afternoon sanding down a new saddle to install in my new classical guitar, a nice German spruce top with rosewood back and sides. It’s my first time making my own saddle, I suspect the sandpaper I got is still not rough enough. It took such a long time… My thumbs are now aching from all that abrasive action…

I got the guitar second-hand, but the action needs to be lowered. So I took the opportunity to get a Tusq saddle as I heard it’s better than bone. Anyway, I broke the old saddle while trying to pry it out – hmm, it doesn’t seem to be bone. 😛 The Tusq saddle has string compensation built in already, so at least I don’t really have to shape the top. Alas, it’s a bit too fat for the slot so sanding it down took a long time. I then drew my target line and patiently sanded it down, checking it every now and then by putting in back in the slot.

Turns out for some reason, I can’t lower the action too much after all. It ended up having more or less the same action as my old guitar, and that’s as far as it can go. Oh well, but then I installed Savarez strings on it and I was amazed at the results. It’s another first try – I was using D’Addarios all these while. I got the Savarez Corum Alliance high tension set – looks like nylon but it’s actually some composite material. I don’t know if it’s the Tusq material or the strings, but the guitar sounds much better than before. I finally got the trebles I was searching for, hurray! And interestingly the high tension Savarez feels softer than my D’Addarios mediums, at least for now. They are still stretching and hardening, but they do seem easier to play.

I’m thinking of getting more Tusq saddles for my other guitars, but I must let my thumbs heal first. Ouch!

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Solo mandolin transcriptions

Uploaded my transcriptions of various classical mandolin pieces today, and here they are:

I hope I got all the notes right. Now all I have to do is to actually learn how to play them. 😛

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Scores from Japan

Just received the music scores I ordered from Amazon Japan. First time I tried ordering stuff from Japan. Amazon Japan has an English interface, but knowing Japanese helps a lot. The delivery was fast, very fast actually. I was used to waiting for almost a month for stuff from Amazon US to get to this part of world, I thought it would take at least a couple of weeks for Japan. In fact, I only got the shipping email yesterday. It apparently came by air. I guess going by sea is probably not worth it considering the distance.

I got 2 ukulele scores (fun!) and Andrew York’s Best collection. The Andrew York collection as far as I know is only available in this Japanese edition. It comes wth tab, which is useful, although the purist in me would’ve preferred staff notation only. The print is a little small though – the Japanese must have really good eyesight! Anyway, I hope they can compile another collection in future, as this doesn’t have all the pieces I wanted though. The cost of collecting individual scores are a tad too much for me.

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Scratched my guitar…

Arggh! Scratched the top of my flamenco guitar today while changing strings…stupid string slipped at the bridge under tension and whipped the top near the bridge along the way. Luckily it’s not my classical, but I still feel heart pain…oh well, what’s done is done. *sigh* Lesson learnt. Next time I’ll make sure I protect the bridge area first, and perhaps try melting the ends of the nylon strings with a lighter.

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DADGAD tuning is cool!

Enuf said. ^_^

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