Archive for December, 2011

December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It’s hard to believe it’ll be 2012 here in Chicago in a little more than twelve hours.  2011 was a big year for this little blog.  I started it last January on a bit of a whim.  I was upset that there weren’t more places to learn about and read interviews with women who wield guitars, so I decided to get all DIY about it and make my own place.  I ended up learning a lot myself, and getting interviews with many amazing women.  (If you missed any interviews, you can always see them by going to the “interviews” category in the sidebar.)  Readership has grown steadily over the months.  I’m hoping to grow even more in 2012 — more posts, more interviews, more reviews.  More, more, more!

This year was personally a good year for me.  I got a dog.  I learned to play much better.  Carrie Brownstein split my lip.  It was a weird year too.  The political climate was weird, frightening at times.  The economy sucked.  I got sick a lot.  I worked too much.  But overall, it was a great year, and I’m glad I could share it with you.

Thanks for a wonderful 2011, everyone.

December 30, 2011

Rocksmith For 360 – Initial Impressions

We got Rocksmith for ourselves for Christmas.  If you don’t know what Rocksmith is, it’s basically guitar hero.  But instead of playing a plastic toy with square buttons, you plug in an actual electric guitar.  The experience ends up being something in between playing the guitar and playing a video game.

Interesting to note — they’ve got a woman in one of their new commercials.  (Not unlike the World of Warcraft video featuring Aubrey Plaza.)  It seems that video game designers are really trying to get more women to play video games.

Here’s the commercial I’m talking about.

I wish I had access to all the guitars she’s using!

We’ve only had the game for a few days.  I’ve played three of the songs, and done two of the technique challenges.  Here’s my initial impression — it will sort of teach you how to play guitar.  The technique challenges are pretty good.  Right away, they teach you the difference between sustaining a note and stopping it.  You learn hammer-ons, shifting position, string bending.  So you will definitely learn techniques right away.  And… you will learn how to play a version of the songs that are on the game.

That said, it’s not going to teach you how to read music at all.  Not chords, not tab, and not standard notation.  At least it’s not going to teach you that as quickly as you could teach yourself.  It doesn’t teach you the name of the strings, using a color-coding system instead.  (Instead of E, A, D, G, B, and E, you learn red, yellow, blue, etc.)

So basically if you are really good at playing guitar, it will probably feel much more like playing a video game than playing guitar.  If you’re intermediate, it will feel sort of like playing guitar, and will help you with some of your techniques.  If you’re a beginner, it might be a helpful teaching aid, but you are probably better off going to a class, or private lessons, or getting a decent book.  Or watching lessons on Youtube.

I will write more when we’ve had it a bit longer and have a better idea of what the more complex lessons entail.

December 26, 2011

Kaki King On Electric Ukulele

I spent a bunch of time playing my cheap little Mahalo Ukulele this weekend.  (Quite frankly, it is a lot easier to haul around than my guitar.)

I did a lot of internet surfing and what-not to learn more about ukes, and I stumbled on this gem of a video.  It’s guitarist Kaki King doing an improvisation on her electric tenor ukulele.  There’s banter at the beginning, so if you want to go straight to the ukulele jam it’s at about 1:37.

December 25, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown! Nanci Griffith On Grafton Street

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!  This song is so pretty.  But I don’t think Nanci Griffith has ever written anything that’s not exquisite.  Enjoy it.  (I’m done with presents and stuffing my face.  We’re relaxing and watching The Wrath of Khan, and enjoying Ricardo Montalban’s lovely accent, while our dog stinks up the place with his turkey farts.  Heaven, really. :))

December 24, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown! Joan Jett Takes On Little Drummer Boy!

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy fifth day of Hanukkah!!!!


Honestly?  I’m feeling a little Bah-humbug.  My S.O. has a bad cold, my dog is unhappy about sleeping away from home, my guitar is several hundred miles away…  But I am going to shrug it off!  We are generally healthy, happy, and employed, so who cares if December is one of the more stressful, consumerist, and drunken months of the year, right?  Right?

You know what does not make me feel Bah Humbug?  Joan Jett.  In fact, listening to this tune makes me want to learn the Little Drummer Boy.  This video is just one of those stills of an album cover, but the song is worth it.  Enjoy.

December 23, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown! Tracy Chapman’s O Holy Night

This is a really beautiful version of the tune from the queen of sad singing.

December 22, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown! The Pretenders – 2000 Miles

I’m from Ohio, and me and the S.O. were planning on eating at Chrissie Hynde’s restaurant during our holiday visit.  But it closed this past spring – boo!  Maybe I should haunt the streets of Akron looking for Hynde anyway…

December 21, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown! Dolly Parton – I’d Like To Spend Christmas With Santa

I really love Dolly Parton more than most people this side of the Ohio River should.  But there you go.  I love the woman.  And this Christmas video is one of the most adorable things you’re gonna see outside of puppies wearing santa caps.

Plus, check out her nails!  How in the hell is she playing with those crazy things?  It looks like a nylon string guitar, but still!  And why is only that one kid looking sad?  And who is the creepy guy in the photo album?

December 20, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown Day 2! Evil Beaver’s Blue Christmas

In another life I was a radio DJ. We had a format at that station, and during Christmas we were encouraged to play holiday tunes. Evil Beaver’s Smells Like Christmas Spirit was my go-to disc.

Unfortunately, the only track I was able to find playable on the internet was Blue Christmas, which you’ll see below available from the Youtubes. It’s a great song, but there are a lot of other good ones on the album I’m sad I can’t share on here. Anyway, Evil Beaver’s site is here, and copies of Still Smells Like Christmas Spirit are still available via Amazon.

December 19, 2011

Guitareste Holiday Countdown!!! Give The Jew Girl Toys – Sarah Silverman

Let’s do a holiday countdown, shall we? I was talking with a co-worker about The Waitresses, and their song, Christmas Wrapping, which I really love. Now, as far as I know, none of the women in The Waitresses played the guitar. But there quite a few lovely ladies who do play the guitar. They’ve written holiday songs, so let’s listen to them.

This first one is in honor of Hanukkah, which begins tomorrow! Sarah Silverman isn’t playing the guitar in this particular song, but she does in several others, so we’ll just give her a pass! This is one of the better holiday songs I’ve heard in recent years.

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