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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