Monday, August 29, 2011

How To Watch a Show in Araneta Coliseum

With lots of big music artists coming to the Philippines this year, I would like to share some tips I learned, based from experience, from watching concerts at Araneta Coliseum. Most are common sense in nature, but just in case:

*image from Araneta Coliseum's website

1. If you don't have reserved seats, be there for at least 2 hours before the show. This will at least give you a chance to get a good spot.

2. Don't be shy to ask if you're in the proper line for your ticket. This will save a lot of pain.

3. Outside food is not allowed in Araneta Coliseum. Unless you plan to buy from the food stalls inside(which is a bit pricey), make sure you've had a good meal before going in. This will serve as your fuel so you could dance and cheer all night long 'til the last song.

4. Wear comfortable shoes. Chances are you will be standing the entire show.

5. If you don't have reserved seats and you and your friends plan to meet inside the Coliseum instead, you could use the Ad banners at the top sides as guide so your friends will know more or less where you're seated.

6. You could use your mobile phone as a flashlight when walking through dark aisles. Be careful though with your stuff when in dark places and don't forget to set your phone to silent mode while inside the venue.

7. And lastly, have fun! Leave all your worries behind while you're inside Araneta. You have all the time in the world to deal with them after the show.

Araneta Coliseum
Araneta Center Cubao Quezon City, Philippines
URL: Araneta Coliseum's Website

Thursday, June 16, 2011

All by Myself: The Digitech RP155 Guitar Multi-Effects

In all honesty, I've never been a fan of Guitar Multi-effects. I mean, yeah they do have great modulation effects (chorus, phaser, flanger, delay, etc.) but usually their overdrives/distortions suck big time! They sound so processed and so fake that it makes you just wanna run to the mountains and throw the damn pedal all the way down(harsh, I know, hahaha)! Usually, I say to my peers, "I'd rather have one good overdrive pedal than have a crappy sounding multi-effects on gigs".

And for years, I've been this way with guitar multi-effects pedals. I never really looked at another one, not until I realized that I was gonna be playing alone most of the time at home again since most of my bandmates were either busy or just doing their own thing. I suddenly needed a device that would let me feel that I'm playing with other musicians. Something that has a looper, a drum machine, different guitar effects and headphone output(for quiet playing).

And this is when I gave the guitar multi-effects another chance and got my hands on the Digitech RP155 Guitar Multi-effects pedal. And boy was I missing out!

DigiTech RP155 Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

For some reason, the amp models and distortions/overdrives on this unit are very usable. They're quite good, actually. The modulations are just the way they should be: beautiful. It has a 20 second looper, a built-in tuner, drum machine/metronome, a headphone output jack and a USB recording interface. It even came with a power adapter! I got all of this for only Php5,200(around $110)! Visit Digitech's website to learn more about the RP155.

It's the perfect thing to have when you're home, alone and you're looking to rock out or practice with your guitar! It even allowed me to jam with one of friends virtually! Checkout our video below:

Cool device, isn't it? Now, I don't feel so alone anymore.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Foo Fighters' Back and Forth Documentary

The Foo Fighters are back with a new album and they're better than ever! For those who don't know, the Foo Fighters is an american rock band formed by ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. But in this band, Dave writes the songs, sings them and even plays the guitar too.

Wasting Light

I remember when I heard the 1st Foo Fighter's album back in '95, I was really surprised that Dave, being a drummer of a big rock band before, could write good tunes and even sing them. I was also amazed that he played all the instruments in that first album. Amazing!

Foo Fighters

Anyway, I wanna talk a bit about the documentary the band released recently entitled "Back and Forth". I watched it with my wife a few weeks back, and what could I say, I could really relate to it.

I was really impressed by their honesty throughout the video. They talked about their experiences when they were first starting out. The conflicts, the struggles, the wins and losses and everything else that every band goes through.

But it was on the latter part that made me say, "wow, this is what I want!". I just saw in front of me how I want my life to look like when I turn 40 something: Being in a loving family and yet still seriously rocking it out with my band. Oh yeah, that's what I want and these guys are living it! It was really touching to see them make their latest album at Dave's place, each of them bringing in their own families, kids and all of them just having fun together.

Foo Fighters: Back And Forth

I believe any serious musician would want to watch this documentary. Specially those with kids. Check out the video trailer below:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happiness: Tips on Getting Some

Life is full of ups and downs. Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong? When after all your planning and efforts, everything just crumbles right before your eyes. Well, you're not alone. I'm pretty sure all of us in this world had his/her share of gloomy days.

For this post, I'll be sharing with you the things I do when those rainy days come. I learned these from reading books and attending seminars. Some might work for you, some might not but these tips are so simple you just gotta try them.

Tips on Being Happy:
1. Count your Blessings. A lot of people tend to focus on the bad the things that happen to them so much that they forget the beautiful things in their lives. It may sound like cliché but believe me, it works. So get a pen and a paper and write down the good things in your life right now. Be as simple as you can. Here are some of mine:

a. I have eyes and I could see my beautiful wife and kid.
b. I sleep on a comfortable bed in the safety of my home.
c. I have ears that work and I could listen to all the music I want.

*Liam smiling

Write as many as you can and keep this list somewhere you could easily read it whenever you feel sad. Also, try to add to it everyday.

2. Go out. Nothing refreshes the mind better than exercise. Play your favorite sport. Go ride a bike. Take a walk around town. Make sure you appreciate the little simple things around you like the clouds, the big trees etc as you go around.
*with my family at Boracay

3. Stay away from negative things. And this includes negative people. If you truly wanna be happy, you gotta stay stay away from people and things that make you sad. Don't watch the bad news on tv, watch a funny movie or sitcom instead. Don't read the bad news on paper, read the funny comics section instead or find a good book. Don't listen to sad music. Honestly, I threw away all my cds with those old "sentimental" songs. Don't hang out with people who have nothing good to say, they'll just ruin your day. Instead, invite one of your positive good friends for a movie, coffee or dinner.

4. Eat some bananas! This may sound weird but yes they do work. Try it out :)

Remember, life is too short to be so sad. You create your life, so enjoy it as much as you can.

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guitar Tip #4: Change your Electric Guitar Strings regularly!

Using good quality electric guitar strings is essential if you want to have a good tone. Electric guitar strings are usually made of Nickel Roundwound although other materials may also be used.

In choosing electric guitar strings, make sure you choose the right type for the kind of guitar you're going to use it on. Acoustic guitars strings are usually made of Phosphor Bronze so be careful with these. Guitar strings also come in different gauges. Rule of thumb is "the thicker the strings, the better the tone". But then, the thicker your strings are, the harder it is to play. Guitar shredders often use .009s string gauge for ease of playing fast runs. But I strongly suggest you don't go any lower than this. My guitar string gauge of choice is .010s.

Common mistake made by guitarists is that they wait for their string to break before changing them. Remember, serious guitar players change their guitar strings at least every month! And also, when you change guitar strings, make sure you change them all. New guitar strings usually sound brighter and livelier than old ones.

Of all these guitar strings available on the market today, my preferred brand would be the Snarling Dogs Electric guitar strings. I chose this because of it's affordable and is of good quality. These can be bought at Lazer Music Store for only P220 per set.

1. When buying guitar strings, make sure that the strings inside the pack are complete and are of the right gauges. Also, check if all the strings have ball-ends.
2. Use a string winder.

Here's a good video tutorial from D' Addario on how to change your guitar strings.

Have fun!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guitar Tip #3: Buy Good Quality Guitar Cables

Like the Guitar Tuner, another item that is often overlooked by guitar players is the Guitar Cable. The Guitar cable is the wire you use to connect your guitar to your different stomp boxes and amplifier.

*my custom made guitar cables (klotz and neutrik plugs)

A lot of guitar players just use any guitar cable they could get their hands on. Most buy the cheap thin no brand cables which easily break. Honestly, I was guilty of this before and I could still remember the many times these cheap, crap cables has failed me.

Imagine playing on a gig then suddenly losing your guitar sound in the middle of your solo. Imagine plugging your guitar then all you hear is buzzing and humming. Imagine jamming with your friends and you spending 75% of the time trying to make your guitar cables work. Imagine having to buy guitar cables almost every month. That sucks doesn't it?

I just got tired of all of it and decided to invest on good quality guitar cables. My guitar cable of choice is the Klotz instrument cable. I use Neutrik professional phone plugs with these. I bought these custom made in Audiophile at Robinson's Pioneer Mandaluyong for around 700php($16) for 6 meters.

Some Useful Tips:
a. I strongly suggest you use a right angled(L-type) plug on one end of your guitar cable and a straight plug on the other. You'll never know when you'll need these.

b. Avoid going over 6 meters(20ft.) when buying a guitar cable. The longer the cable the more signal you lose.

I've been using these for 3 years now and it hasn't let me down. So if you're serious about playing music, please use quality guitar cables.

Some of the more popular brands of guitar cables include: Lava Cables, Klotz, Planet Waves, George L's among others.

The Bottom Line: Buying good quality guitar cables will save you a lot of cash and headaches in the long run.

What guitar cables are you using?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Experience Freedom with Ubuntu Linux

I wanna share with you something I've been enjoying for quite some time now. If you are someone who:

a. just bought a brand new laptop computer that didn't come with an Operating System
b. is stuck with a old/pirated Operating Software because of budget concerns
c. is tired of being hassled by viruses infecting and destroying your computer
d. loves Freebies!

then I believe this Tech related post would be of benefit to you!

Today, I'm gonna talk about Ubuntu Linux.

So what's Ubuntu Linux? Well, first off, Ubuntu Linux is an Operating System. An operating system, OS, is the software you use to run your computers. Windows is an example of an OS.

Now why should you consider installing Ubuntu Linux? For starters, it is secure, fast and so easy to use! It could run on your desktop, laptop, netbook and even on servers. And did I mention that it is FREE?! Yes, it is FREE! And it will always be so.

Since there are very few viruses on Linux, virus problems will be a thing of the past when you use Ubuntu Linux. Also, Ubuntu Linux comes with thousands of Free Software. Imagine not spending a dime on quality software. Almost all Windows based software have a Free alternative on Ubuntu Linux. There are also lots of communities that provide support for first time Ubuntu users. one such forum I'm currently using is Ubuntu Forums. You just post a question on one of these forums and expect solutions in no time.

I've been using Ubuntu Linux since 2007. And I could honestly say that it's one of the best decisions of my Life! So go and download Ubuntu Linux from the Ubuntu Website and experience freedom for yourself. If you're having second thoughts, you could even try it out without installing it to your computer just by burning it on a blank cd.

*my ubuntu desktop
And lastly, I'll be more than happy to assist you should you need help. :)

Have fun!

By the way, a new version of Ubuntu Linux will be out on April 28, 2011. Watch out for it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Close Your Eyes: Switchfoot Live in Manila Philippines 2011

Switchfoot, one of the more popular alternative rock bands in the world today, is coming to the Philippines! This is in support of their latest effort entitled "Hello Hurricane".

Hello Hurricane

If you haven't heard of them, I'm pretty sure you've heard their of hit song "Only Hope" as covered by Mandy Moore (yes, it's a cover and Switchfoot is the original artist).

By the way, it's Switchfoot's 2nd time to play here in the Philippines and I'm sure glad they're coming back. The concert will be held at Phil Sports Arena (formerly ULTRA) in Pasig on April 30, 2011 7:30pm. My wife and I are already very excited!

And if you haven't heard, their guitar player, Jerome Fontamillas, is a Pinoy! Doesn't that makes you proud to be a Filipino?!

So, will I be seeing you there? Hope I do! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bright Side of Life: Reggae Music by Rebelution

One band I listen to when I wanna hear some good Reggae music is Rebelution. This band hails from California, USA and is composed of:

Eric Rachmany - Guitars, Vocals
Marley D. Williams - Bass
Rory Carey - Keyboards
Wesley Finley - Drums

Their music has the same Reggae feel of their Jamaican influences but Rebelution puts in their own flavor which, for me, makes it more exciting to the ears. Listen to the track "Bright Side of Life" to know what I mean.

Bright Side of Life (Dig)
*click the album cover for some audio samples

The album of the same name, "Bright Side of Light", is what I'm currently listening now and it's perfect for the summer season! I could already hear the waves of the ocean as I lie down here in my bed and listen to their songs. I especially enjoyed the song "Lazy Afternoon". It's just perfect for the "laid-back" person that I am!:)

Their previous album entitled "Courage to Grow" was released back in 2007 and is another one Reggae album you should have! I'll talk about this album in one of my future posts.

Courage To Grow

So if you're looking for a different Reggae band to listen to, check them out! Visit the Official Rebelution website for more info on the band. Definitely a must when going to the beach or for bumming out.

Have fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guitar Tip #2: Buy a Guitar Tuner

The next item you should have after buying your guitar (acoustic or electric) and amp is a guitar tuner! A lot of guitar players overlook this, saying they'd rather spend their money on guitar effects and other stuff. Well for me, if you're serious about music, you should definitely get one of these. It' not expensive and it's very useful!

*my Korg CA-30 Chromatic Tuner

Guitar players nowadays are so lucky 'coz there are so many kinds of guitar tuners in the market today. There are pocket sized tuners operated by batteries, pedal type tuners operated by an AC power source or batteries, clip-on tuners, tuners with built in mics for acoustic guitars or input jacks for electric guitars, tuners with displays that are either an actual needle, an LCD with a digital needle, LEDs. Some of the more trusted brands include: Korg, Boss and Peterson.

*my Korg Pedal Tuner

If you have cash to spend, get a Strobe Tuner. They are the most accurate type of tuners though they're a bit pricey.

As for me, I highly recommend that you get a chromatic tuner instead of the regular one. A chromatic tuner allows you to tune your guitar to any note. Also, if you play in a band, it's best if you and your bandmates use the same brand/kind of tuners.

So do yourself and your audience a favor, go out and buy a guitar tuner now!

And for those who can't go out now and buy one, and have an iPhone or iPad, you could download a free guitar tuner app from the Gibson guitar's website. Though I still recommend that you get a real guitar tuner, but hey, it's better than no guitar tuner at all, right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Daddy Tip: Protect your child's head with a Thudguard!

Spending time with my little boy Liam is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life as a dad. I would never exchange it for anything else in this world.

My day usually starts with him often waking my wife and I up at around 7 in the morning either by pushing us or sometimes by opening our eyes with his little fingers. One time he even inserted one of his fingers up my nose just to wake me up! Imagine what that felt like! hahaha! Anyway, regardless of his preferred "wake up method" for the day, I really look forward to our activity time together.

Usually, my wife and I give Liam a chance to practice his walking skills by bringing him up the roof deck of our condo and letting him play there 'til he gets tired. Other times we take him out to the mall to let him play in one the children's play area there. And since he's still learning to walk, he walks like a guy who drank 12 bottles of beer and a bottle of vodka! So you could just imagine our fear whenever he falls down. Thank goodness we received a Thudguard helmet from my parents and sisters on his first birthday! Now whenever he walks, as long as he's wearing it, we just let him do his thing. The Thudguard helmet not only saved our little boy from lots of bad bumps in the head, it looks good on him too!

*I took these pictures from my wife's makeup blog hehehe

So if you have a kid who's still learning to walk, I strongly recommend you get him/her one! It's definitely worth it! Checkout the Thudguard Asia Website to learn more.

P.S. Guess what, our little boy is included in Thudguard Asia's Baby Models for April 2011! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Tip on Guitar Picks

Today I'm gonna share a little tip on guitar picks. A guitar pick is an essential item in a guitar player's life. It is used to strum or pluck the strings of the guitar( you could still use your fingers, of course) It comes in several sizes, thickness and is made of different materials like plastic, rubber among others. It is lightweight and usually triangular in shape.

*picture taken from Dunlop's website.

The material and thickness(gauge) of the guitar pick will affect your overall guitar sound. A thick pick usually produces a brighter tone. I suggest you try different kinds of picks and decide which one is for you. As for me, since I easily tend to lose my picks when I play gigs, I prefer to use Fernando guitar picks from JB Music.

It only costs 8 pesos each($0.18) and it plays really nice. It feels good in my hands. And since it's really affordable(great for dads like me!), losing guitar picks hurt less now. Another good guitar pick I like is the Dunlop Tortex 1.00mm guitar pick (the blue ones) which were the ones I used before.

Now it's time for guitar practice! Happy Guitar Weekend everyone! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Me Listening to Country Music?

To be honest with you, I'm not really a big fan of country music. I still prefer to listen to alternative rock, pop rock, and a little of metal, rap and hip-hop. I remember when I was young, the only country song I knew was "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus(yep, he's the father of Miley Cyrus).

But then recently, I heard the solo album of Aaron Lewis and things opened up for me. As most of rock fans know, Aaron Lewis is the lead singer of the band Staind which is one the more popular rock bands back then. I'm a fan of Staind and I like their songs(more about them in my future posts).

1996-2006 The Singles

So you could just imagine my surprise when I learned that their vocalist, Aaron, would release a solo country album entitled "Town Line". I was really hesitant at first 'coz this is really new to me. But heck, "what have I got to lose?", I thought to myself, so I gave it a spin.

Town Line

And I'm sure glad I did! Not only was I impressed with the songs, the album is now one of my favorites. The music and lyrics of Aaron Lewis are very honest and heartfelt. It's not everyday that I get to hear songs like these.

My favorite songs on the album are: Massachusetts, Country Boy and Tangled Up in You. These songs would be perfect when I just want to relax and just enjoy the time passing by.

How I wish I could write songs like these. This guy is amazing! I suggest you give it a chance and see for yourself. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Music Album Recommendation: The Hampdens - The Last Party

When I first heard the music of the band, The Hampdens, I just felt that I had to write about them and tell the world about their music. They have this beautiful sound that just makes me feel so good. It's really sweet to the ears! Just telling you about them me excited already! Anyway, a little background on the band first:

They're composed of: Susannah Legge (vocals), Gavin Crawcour (guitar/bass) and Jules Hewitt (keys). They hail from Perth, Western Australia. Their music is categorized as Indie Pop which I think is just about right.

Here's a photo from their MySpace page:

Expect relaxing music with very beautiful melodies. This is the kind of music that I'd listen to while going on a long drive or maybe while lying down on the beach. I think this is also perfect in the evenings after a very busy day.

My favorite tracks on the album are: Belljar, Croupier and Asleep on the Lawn.

So do yourself a favor and listen to this fantastic band! I'm sure you'll thank me later. They have some songs up on their MySpace page. And if you like what you hear, you could go checkout the whole album on Amazon below:

The Last Party

Finished listening to their songs already? So, what do you think? :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mr. Big Live in Manila, Philippines 2011

For my first ever music post, I would like to talk about the concert I'm really looking forward to this May 2011, it's Mr. Big Live in Manila! Oh yeah! And I thought I'd never see the classic lineup perform live.

It's happening on May 10, 2011 8:30Pm at the Araneta Colosseum and I'm definitely there! :)

Anyway, ever since I was a kid, I've always liked Mr. Big. I remember back in high school, I bought cassette tapes of their albums (click the album pictures below to listen to their songs) "Lean into It"
Lean Into It

and "Bump Ahead"
Bump Ahead

If you haven't heard of them before, they're the band behind hits like "To be with you" and "Wild World". Their guitar player, Paul Gilbert, is one of my idols and inspired me in a lot of ways. My favorite Mr Big song is "Green Tinted Sixties Mind". The guitar parts on that song are really awesome! I remember trying to play the intro sequence back then and getting really frustrated coz I just can't nail it. Well things have changed now my friend and I'll never stop practicing the guitar 'til I have the chops of Paul Gilbert. I'll talk in detail about Mr. Gilbert in my next music post.

Anyway, Mr. Big has a new album out titled "What If" and I really hope you do check it out:

What If

Lots of nice songs in it, I specially liked "Undertow" and "All the Way Up". Check out the video for "Undertow" below:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Day to start a New Blog

Since I've got lots of time in my hands lately, I finally decided to start a blog that talks about music, guitar gear and the thrills(and challenges) of being a dad.

Expect to see reviews on the music I'm listening to lately, live Concerts I'm looking forward to and some pictures of my lovely guitar gear. There'll also be a lot of tips, life stories and lessons that I'll share here that I've learned as a husband and dad to a cute one year old kid named Liam.

'Til my next post! :)

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