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Archive for March, 2010
Recently, I started taking guitar lessons. One of the benefits of learning how to play the guitar is that you finally have something to do to entertain people when they visit. The downside of playing guitar is that you have to maintain the thing, which most of the time just means learning how to tune it. Luckily, there are numerous websites that offer the guitar tuning tones you need to get your guitar sounding perfect again.
In my search for the best sites, I came across some pretty simple ones and some that are fairly unique. Ultimately, the function is really simple – you press a button and the computer should play the right note for that string. What I discovered is that a majority of the sites that offer guitar tuning tones play tones that aren’t quite ‘right’ or at least they aren’t very clear.
So, if you want a quick tool to tune your guitar as quickly as possible, and you left your convenient electronic tuner at home, here are 5 awesome websites that will do the trick.
A Guitar Tuning Tone For Each String
The premise of these five sites is very simple. They just play the guitar tuning tone for that string. While the tone is playing, you just play the string and turn the tuning key until the sound of the string matches the computer tone.
The first online tool I’d like to cover is the Gieson tuner, because it appears to be the most popular. This is probably because the tool also offers an embed code where people can place the guitar tuner right on their website or blog.
The front panel is creative. The little device features the five guitar strings, but you can choose to hear the sound as a tone instead (the tone option didn’t work on my computer though.) You can manually flip each switch by clicking on it, and the sound of the guitar string for that note will repeat. When you’re done, turn off that switch and flip the next.
If you’re very fast at tuning, you can flip the ‘Auto Advance’ switch, and the device will play the sound for each string a few times before moving on to the next note automatically. This allows for hands-free operation so you can focus on tuning your guitar.
The next guitar tuner is offered by ChordBook. This well-designed guitar tuner provides a variety of options to customize the tuner depending on the type of guitar you’re working with.
There are a lot of features here. You can turn the tuning keys to adjust each note depending on how you want to tune your guitar, like turning D into D Minor, or E into E minor. Or, select one of the common alternative tunings from the list if you want to use something other than the standard. When you’re ready to tune, click on the ‘R’ next to each key and the tone for that key will repeat until you’re done.
HotFrets offers a stylish little online guitar tuner app that isn’t quite as feature-filled as the first two listed above, but it does have some entertaining animation.
Just click on each string and the note will play. Alternately, you can just press the number for that string and it’ll play as well. There aren’t any nifty features with this one, it’s just the standard tuning and what you see is what you get.
The next site with guitar tuning tones is actually one of the favorites, only because the designers used a unique style for the thing. It’s offered by Tune My Bass.
The presets tab lets you choose what type of guitar you’re tuning, such as a 5 string bass or a 7 string guitar, and custom tuning lets you choose your sound types and also save your presets to a file on your PC. When you’re ready to tune, just hover the mouse over the string and as the tone plays it also displays the note. While you’re busy tuning, the app plays all sorts of animation for you. Yes, those are underpants flying in from the right side of the screen.
The last site that I’d like to cover is aptly called Online Guitar Tuner. At this website, the first thing you’ll want to do is select the type of tuning that you require from the menu list on the right side of the main page.
In my case, I’m going to go for the Open G Tuning. Once you click on the tuner type, the next screen opens up with the strings and the tuner keys displayed graphically.
Just click on the note, and the tone plays in clear, crisp audio from your computer speakers. The only drawback with this tool is that the sound doesn’t keep playing automatically. You have to keep clicking on the button to hear the tone. If you are somewhat slow at tuning your guitar, this could become annoying – so you might want to consider using one of the online tuners above that offers a more hands-free approach.
Sometimes it’s nice to connect to your computer remotely. Hardcore Ubuntu users typically see SSH as their remote connection tool of choice, but if you prefer graphics to the command line don’t worry: Ubuntu provides an option for you as well.
Using Ubuntu Remote Desktop you can have total control over your desktop from any other computer: Linux, Mac or Windows. You’ll see what’s on that screen and be able to move the mouse and even type. Best of all, the feature is built into the operating system by default, so you won’t have to install a thing.
Let’s check it out!
Turning Ubuntu Remote Desktop On
Simply put, turning on Ubuntu’s version of Remote Desktop could not be easier. You don’t need to install a thing: everything you need is built in. Simply click ‘Settings,’ then ‘Preferences,’ then ‘Remote Desktop.’ You’ll be presented with a simple window of options.
Just check the ‘Allow other users to view your desktop’ button. If you want other users to be able to control your computer, also click the ‘Allow other users to control your desktop’ button.
This window also provides you with a couple of security options. It’s highly recommended that you enable a password, but at the very least you should set it so that anyone connecting to your machine needs your permission before continuing.
As soon as you enable remote connection you’ll be told your IP address on the local network. Write this down.
Ubuntu’s remote desktop technology is based on the existing VNC standard. This means you can connect to a Ubuntu remote desktop using any VNC client. There are more than a few VNC clients around, so if you have a favorite on any platform you can use that to connect to Ubuntu already.
If you don’t have a favorite keep reading; you’ll find one by the time you’re done.
Connecting From Ubuntu/Linux
Ubuntu, and most Linux distributions, comes with an excellent VNC-compatible remote desktop viewer by default: Vinagre. You can find this program by clicking ‘Applications,’ then ‘Internet,’ then ‘Remote Desktop Viewer.’ Open this up and you’ll see all the desktops you can open on your current network. If not, you can always enter the IP you want to connect to directly.
Use this tool to connect to other Ubuntu desktops on your network and you’ll be controlling your computer remotely. Nifty, right? The tool can also be used to control any computer with a VNC client installed.
Connecting From Windows
Want to control your Ubuntu computer from a Windows computer? Don’t worry; it’s more than possible. You’ll just need to install a VNC client, such as TightVNC, on your Windows computer. Then you can connect to your Ubuntu machine just by entering your IP address. Varun wrote all about this in his article about establishing a remote desktop connection to Ubuntu from Windows.
Connecting From Mac
Mac users wanting to connect to their Ubuntu machines should check out Chicken of the VNC. Again, connecting to your Ubuntu machine is a simple matter of entering your IP address, but if you’re looking for some in-depth information about using VNC on a Mac you should check out Jackson’s article on easy remote desktop support on the Mac.
Away From Home
Want to connect to your Ubuntu machine while away from work? This is a little more tricky, but not totally impossible. You’re going to need a static IP, or a dynamic address from a service such as DynDNS. I could get into it here, but I’ve already written an article about using DynDNS to connect to your computer from anywhere with more than enough information to get you started. Best of all, that article already deals with VNC in a couple of examples.
There you have it: everything you wanted to know about Ubuntu’s remote desktop feature but were afraid to ask. Do these tricks work for you? Do you have a preferred VNC client that I failed to touch on? Do you have any tips to share with the crew? Don’t be shy; comment away!
In this article, I’m going to outline some of the top resources that I use to find guitar chords for songs that I want to learn how to play. Recently, I decided that I needed a way to relax and get rid of stress – something that is somehow unconnected with the computer.
I remembered playing around with my mother’s old guitar when I was a kid, and realized that I’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar. My daughter was already taking piano lessons from a local older couple who give lessons, so I decided to take guitar lessons while waiting for my daughter to finish her piano lessons.
Within three lessons, I found myself playing a John Denver song using just three chords. Of course, I was immediately hooked. Practicing every night, I’ve mastered the song in about a month. However, once I was able to play the one song, I wondered how many others I could learn that use just those three or four chords.
So, a hobby that I took on in order to get off of the computer and take a break from the Internet, ended up bringing me back to the Internet in search of guitar chords for songs that I really want to learn how to play. I’ve found a few excellent websites that do a tremendous job in cataloging the correct chords for the most popular traditional and contemporary songs. Today, I’d like to share those discoveries with other guitar players out there.
Chordie – A Massive Library Of Accurate & Inaccurate Chords
I think Chordie has to be one of the largest collections of guitar chords and tabs that I’ve ever found. I’ve yet to think of a song that doesn’t have a corresponding Chordie listing. At Chordie, you can search for either song or artist listings that are organized in a long alphabetical collection. This way, if you don’t know the title of a song, you can search for the guitar chords by the artist name instead.
Chordie is actually a huge community of guitar players who love music so much that they spend time trying to figure out the chords to music, and then list their findings on Chordie. Most of the time, you’ll discover that the chords listed here are actually pretty accurate – and you’ll be playing the coolest songs in no time.
If you can’t find guitar chords for songs that you’re looking for anywhere else, then I’d suggest going to Chordie as your last resort. Why as a last resort? Because at least half the time, you’ll also discover that members posted chords or lyrics that are just totally wrong.
For example, one of the first songs I tried to learn on my own was Losing My Religion, by R.E.M. I found that the chords seem correct, but the lyrics are completely messed up. Some sentences are completely wrong, and others are just plain silly. This is only representative of about a third of Chordie chord listings from members – most of them are pretty accurate. The best part of Chordie listings is that the chord is displayed at the upper right hand corner, so you don’t have to go flipping through your guitar book to remind yourself how to play an ‘F’.
Ultimate Guitar – The Ultimate Resource
Although I started out using Chordie, I got frustrated looking for accurate contemporary songs, so I was very pleased to stumble across Ultimate Guitar. The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive is that the layout is very clean and very cool. There’s music news, reviews, articles and interviews. You’ll find a forum and a full community of guitar playing music lovers just like you.
This is seriously a huge community where you can not only discover the guitar chords for songs, but you can absolutely immerse yourself into the world of music as you’re learning to play new songs.
My favorite section of the site is the Top 100, where you’ll discover some of the greatest songs that you hear on the radio and wish that you could learn how to play.
I was very happy to discover the song Hey There Delilah, by the Plain White T’s – it’s a song I really want to learn how to play. Unfortunately, this page brought the discovery that it requires both F minor and B minor – two chords I’ve yet to master yet. Maybe some day soon…
Another thing I like about this site is that in most cases you’ll find both the chords and the tabs. Many self-taught guitar players like tabs because it shows which string and which fret to play for each strum. However, taking lessons I’ve learned the chords, so really prefer just the lyrics with the chord changes listed above. Luckily, at Ultimate Guitar you’ll find both.
E-Chords – An Online Application For Learning Guitar Chords
While my favorite online sport for popular guitar chords is Ultimate Guitar, E-Chords is a very close second. I love how functional the site is. From the main page, you’ll discover that you can search for songs by artists, albums, composers, song titles and even using just part of the lyrics, which is very useful when you just can’t remember the title of a song.
This site isn’t so much as community as it is an awesome online application that helps you learn how to play any song using whatever format you’re most comfortable with. The coolest part of e-chords is how you can customize the display of the song and the associated chords with a click of the mouse.
The guitar chords for songs that you’ll find here are displayed exactly how I like them – the lyrics with the required chord listed above them. The menu bar on the left offers all kinds of cool features, including auto-scroll (really nice when you’re trying to play and need to scroll down for the lyrics!), increase or decrease the font size, hide chords, play simpler chords (if available) and even switch the chord display from the letter to the chord drawings (awesome for beginners).
Overall, I’d have to say that guitar chords for songs that I want are at e-chords, then this is where I prefer playing them because it’s so convenient and easy to use.
Heartwood Guitar Instruction – Chords For Learning Guitar
While Heartwood Guitar isn’t a giant library of thousands of guitar chords for songs, it is a place that you’ll want to go for some amazing free resources to learn how to play the guitar – with a hundred or so great classic songs, including the chords you’ll need to know to play them. Major kudos to Rob Hampton of Seattle for creating this impressive and useful online resource. To find the chords, from his main site just click on Chord Charts. You’ll find hundreds of great songs listed alphabetically.
These chord listings are nicely laid out with strum and rhythm information noted throughout in some spots. Now, while the chord listings are really fun to go through and play, I have to say that my favorite part of this website are the guitar lessons that Rob has written up and that he offers for absolutely free on his blog.
On his blog, he’ll show you tips and techniques on how to strum, tuning your guitar, fingerpicking and much more – often including images and always including detailed and clear instruction. It’s obvious that this is one instructor who is an excellent teacher, and that he really loves the art of guitar playing.
We’ve discussed numerous methods for making a cup from a glass bottle, but I don’t recall seeing anyone use the neck before. Brookelynn from CRAFT has us covered, though, with this guitar slide made from a wine bottle:
One interesting historical example of upcycled crafting is the bottleneck guitar- or as it is now widely known, slide guitar. The unique resonant sound of slide guitar was originally formed by playing with a glass bottleneck over one finger and running the slide up and down the strings. While the materials for making slides have evolved, bottles are still a popular choice of material. We were given one, and as it has been used over the years, the piece has developed some lovely scratches that give the glass beautiful character. Slideplayer.com has two great ideas for making your own, including a ‘Burning Twine’ method that sounds really cool (and drunkenly dangerous).
(Via MAKE Magazine.)