Posts Tagged Stringed
This is a continuation of the previous post, Setting Up The New Machine, and concludes the installation of the music software, and device drivers for my music hardware. The music software is a qualified completion, I suspect that I’ll be learning what I really need, and loading add-on’s for some time to come.
The installation of the device drivers for the music hardware was a smooth process. There were no “hiccups” in that process. The installation of Sonar and Guitar Tracks Pro is was a mostly painless process. There were a couple of notable low lights though.
After making the point in my previous bog post that Windows Update can introduce consequential update dependencies. I forgot my wise advice. Upgrade to Windows Ultimate did leave a number of Windows Updates which needed applying, and those updates did need to be applied from multiple invocations of Windows Update. That’s right update A installed some “stuff”, and then that “stuff” also had updates. The chain of consequential updates resulted in the need for subsequent invocations of Windows Update to get all of the elements of the Windows OS up to date.
This did cause some issues. Let me hasten to say that most of the issues were with Guitar Rig 3, rather than Guitar Pro. There is a side issue with Guitar Pro, which is that Guitar Rig only installs from the Guitar Pro Install, rather than “landing” somewhere where you can install, or reinstall, Guitar Rig. I could have “peered under the covers” and located the install for Guitar Rig, but it was getting late into the night, and rerunning the install was simpler.
Guitar Rig Issue
This is an issue I struck with the licence number part of Guitar Rig. If I applied my licence number straight after installing Guitar Pro, Guitar Rig would start in “demo mode”, seem to not recognise the licence number, even though the “Service Centre” acknowledges that the licence number has been applied.
Guitar Rig Solution
The way that I found to solve the problem, was to restart the machine after installing Guitar Pro, and Guitar Rig as part of the install. Then after the machine has rebooted, I applied the licence number. This “solved” the problem, and my copy of Guitar Rig was licenced, and Guitar Rig not started in normal mode, rather than “demo” mode.
Windows has a “bad habit” of keeping some system changes in a “pending pile” until the machine is restarted cleanly (not a crash restart). You see this sometimes with the “installing things x % done, please do not turn off the machine” massage when you shut down a machine. I guess, or suspicion points to, that something in Guitar Rig was in the windows “pending pile” until the machine was restarted.
The Sonar X1 Install
This one went smoothly as well.
There is a question early on in the install asking if you want the 32 or 64 bit version. I’ve opted for the 64 bit version. I’ve no idea whether this will prove to be the “wisest” choice. I guess that I’ll find out as I learn how to do things with Sonar.
The end of the process on a late night was a welcome relief. All seems to be up and running OK.
I now start crawling up the Sonar learning curve. These thing are “big” pieces of software. Finding ones way around, and learning how to do the things I want to do will not be a simple process. A 1800+ page Reference Guide gives some idea of the size of the product.
I set out today to find a piece of software which make neat prints of guitar chords. This turned into a long winded process of downloading trial version of software and seeing what they would do. In the end I think I found what I was looking for (well almost).
The main screen is shown across. The “Show Toolbox” button only becomes available with the paid version. The Tool Box is where the fun starts, and where the software starts “ticking the boxes” I had as far as requirement.
The other point in the software which “ticked my boxes” I’ll cover then the rest of this blog post.
This is the first part of the match up between my requirements and the product. The ability to select the symbol (and I prefer dots, or circles in black).
There are other symbology’s which I may come to understand one day, but for now, black circles is what I wanted.
The “Decoration Color” is another element which comes together to help make this do what I want. The decoration colour of Black draws the dots, the decoration colour of white is what puts the fingering umbers into the dots.
This is the next part of the jigsaw which helps this product do what I wanted. The “Fret Text” lets me put the fingering number into the “black circles”.
You need to “right click” the dot to get the “Fret Text” box to pop up. But once there it is easy to enter the fingering number into the dot.
This is the next to last function in the product which really made the choice of it easy. Why, because many of the products I looked at would not let me do just this, copy a chord into the windows clipboard. Such a simple feature, but without it how do you set up a chord sheet for a song? You end up resorting to all sorts of windows tricks to do it. That was not where I wanted to go, I want simple when doing things like this.
There is one option which makes making chord diagrams a snack. This is the clipboard size option. Initially, it set a 87 (if I remember correctly), I’ve upped it to 120 which makes readable chord diagrams.
What this magic little parameter is is the y size of the bitmap image that this tool places onto the clipboard. Increasing this value get the product making bigger images.
- I’d love the ability to enter the chord name and get a diagram.
- I’d love the ability for the product to put the fingering in by default.
I’ve been using the Boss JS 8 eBand as a guitar practice and training tool for many months now. I have nothing but good things to says about the unit. It is truly an amazing little gadget for the guitar player. The power of the unit comes from a truly wicked combination of the following features:
- BOSS effects. There are a bucket load of effects in the eBand. The flexibility of combining, and a degree of control which is great.
- the COSM amplifier modelling which is again great. There is really an audible difference between the amp models.
- the 100+ pre-set effect and amplifier combinations. These again are great. They also save a lot of time sorting out how to achieve a sound when there is already one which is in the box. It also saves a lot of $’s buying peddles, trying to get a combination which gives a sound your after.
- the song list feature. The eBand allows you to load via a PC (or Mac), songs and backing tracks (there are a bucket load of these for the eBand at this Boss site eTracks For eBand). This along with the “slow it down”, and loop the playback (and A point in track to point B in the song loop), song repeat, make learning how to play a song a pleasure.
- there is a Phrase Loop feature in there as well. I’ve yet to play with that one, but the day is approaching when I will.
- plus a record feature. The difference between the Phrase Loop and record feature are:
- the Phrase Loop is 40 seconds in duration,
- the record is unlimited (limited by the amount of memory in the unit).
- the Phrase Loop can be repeatable overdubbed,
- the record is just the sound you play.
The “Doh! Missed the start again”
There is one feature of the eBand which has “annoyed” me. That is if you are playing along to something you need to take your hand off the guitar, and press the play. This “feature” is blatantly obvious if you think about it. But, until you get to the “Doh! I missed the start again” moments, solving it will not occur to you.
Luckily, the designers of this little box of tricks were thinking clearly when they put the machine together. There is a solution which the machine will accommodate, a footswitch. A Boss footswitch at that! What would you expect from Boss. The eBand is designed to use Boss footswitches to start and stop playback, control the Phrase Loop, and lots more (I’d have to read the manual to find all of the things it will control).
Recommendations: If You’re Thinking About Buying A eBand
There are a couple of thing I’ve learnt about using eBand which could be worthwhile thinking about, when you “stump up the cash” for one. The things I’ve learnt include:
- If you want to be “loud”, or to use it as an MP3 player (which it does do). Think about buying a Keyboard Amplifier, which are usually stereo (guitar amplifiers usually being monaural), and have a clean channel (you get all the effects you want from the eBand).
- If you think you’ll be using it for playing along to songs, or using the Phrase Loop function, consider getting a FS 6 at the same time. This will let you keep you hands on the guitar, when you doing things.
- New amps and effects units outed by Roland (gizmag.com)