Avon Guitar Teacher Paul Howard's Music Tip of the Week #3

Have you ever tried to figure out songs by ear from CDs or MP3s?

Tip of the Week #3

Have you ever tried to figure out songs by ear from CDs or MP3s on your computer? Have you ever tried to play along with a song that you have the TAB for but everything just goes by too fast to keep up? Bet you wished you could slow the whole thing down and try to keep up. Back in the day with vinyl and tape it was possible to slow down recordings by changing the tape or turntable speed. The only problem was if you slowed it down by half, the pitch also dropped an octave. This made everything sound pretty weird and messed up the timbre of what strings things were played on and other clues that helped one to figure out what was going on.

Well, there is a product out there that can be used to study music right on your computer. It is called the Amazing Slow Downer. It is a piece of software developed by a Swedish company called Roni Music. Their website is www.ronimusic.com. They have a few other music products as well. The beauty of ASD is that you are able to slow the music down by percentages to any speed you wish without changing the pitch or sound of the music at all. You can also change pitch in small increments that allow you to "tune" an out of tune recording to you instead of having to retune your guitar to the recording. This is especially valuable when working on old recordings whose pitch has changed because of tape speed fluctuations caused by transfers and for other reasons. 

The ASD also allows you to select a region to play over and over again so you can learn a particular solo or phrase in a solo. There is also an EQ function that helps to mask certain sounds while you try to figure out hard to hear parts of a mix like a quiet rhythm guitar or background part.

The ASD is the coolest device I have found in a long time, the controls are very easy and intuitive, it's like a little CD player that sits on your computer screen. I use it as my main playback device for music when working with students or in my own studies.

So, check it out and slow down those tracks so you can learn to play along with your favorite stuff. 70% or 80% speed can be a great place to play along until you can get it up to speed. Of course, for harder and faster things you can slow it down as much as you want. Happy transcribing!!

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Mike Haller December 01, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hey Paul, Do you do guitar set ups at your shop? If so, what do you charge? I usually have my guitars done at The Music Shop in Southington. I'd love to not have to drive all the way over there. Thanks, Mike in Avon


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