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Riff Master Pro

Riff Master Pro Review

The biggest problem when you’re trying to learn a new guitar solo is that you’re not Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or Eric Clapton, or whoever’s solo it is that you’re trying to play. Even if you’ve got the guitar tab in front of you, you just can’t get it right.

If you’re learning the solo from guitar tab, you’re playing the right notes but it still doesn’t sound right when you’re playing along to the music. If you’re learning to play it by ear, you just can’t seem to pick out all the notes, especially if it’s one of those lightning fast guitar solos.

Riff Master Pro is software that you install on your computer and it lets you slow down music without changing the pitch so that you can play along to it, perfect it, and speed it up gradually, until you’ve got it mastered at full speed.

If you’re as old as me and tried doing this with vinyl records you’ll know it doesn’t work too well. You can slow down a 45 rpm single to 33 1/3 rpm but the pitch changes. I could even slow down 33 1/3 long play records to 16 rpm (not that I’ve ever seen a 16 rpm record).

With Riff Master Pro, you can slow down a whole song, or just part of it, and the pitch stays the same. You can get the timing of all the notes right and then speed it up until you can play along at full speed. You can even change the pitch if you want to learn the song in a different key.

Slowing the song down but keeping the pitch correct will help you transcribe or tab tunes if you learn them by ear. It will also help you get them spot on if you learn them from tabs or sheet music. It doesn’t just work for the guitar, you can use this for any instrument.

Riff Master Pro has a 10 day free trial – well worth trying it out.

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Audacity

Best Guitar Software Programs – Audacity

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It’s main features are:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

As a guitar player, you will probably use Audacity most to record live audio but you will find being able to change the speed or pitch of recordings useful too.

Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidiscs. With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.

  • Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.
  • Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
  • Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).
  • Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.

To record your guitar playing, you can either use a microphone or use a line input.

I use a DigiTech RP155 Modeling Guitar Processor. This is just another name for a multi effects guitar pedal. This box has the advantage of having a USB socket so you can connect it directly to your computer. It then becomes a MIDI device that you can use to record directly to your computer, cutting out any background noise you might get using a microphone.

This is what the DigiTech RP155 looks like:

DigiTech RP155

This is how I connect my guitar to the RP155 and the RP155 to the computer, except I use headphones plugged into the back of the RP155:

RP155 Connection

Another useful feature of Audacity is that you can dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings. It’s easy to record one guitar part and play it back and at the same time record another guitar part.

You will need the Lame MP3 Encoder to export your recordings to MP3. Like Audacity, it’s free and is a plugin that works from within Audacity itself.

Another free plugin is available for importing MP3 files. This is libmad.

The effects you get with Audacity include:

  • Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.
  • Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
  • Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.
  • Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.
  • Other built-in effects include:
    • Echo
    • Phaser
    • Wahwah
    • Reverse

For a guitar player, being able to change the tempo is very useful for learning new songs, or parts of songs that are tricky.

This is one of the best programs I’ve used for recording my guitar playing. It’s probably the best software for recording any type of audio. It’s also one of best pieces of free guitar software you will find.

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Metronome

Learn How To Play Guitar Software

This is one of my favourite guitar related software programs I have on my computer that I use regularly.

Metronome

Using a metronome is one of the best ways to practice scales. Regular scale practice with the metronome will improve your scale knowledge, speed, timing, improvisation skills, finger strength, and dexterity. Start off at a slow speed and gradually increase the speed as you improve. The free one I use is quite a few years old but more than adequate. The speed can be adjusted from 40 BPM to 208 BPM and the beats can be multiplied by one, two, or four.

Download it here:

etMetro

Here’s one simple exercise using the G Minor Pentatonic scale. Start off with the metronome set to 60 BPM to start off. Using quarter notes, this is one note a second. Play this repeatedly until you are comfortable with it and then increase the speed of the metronome. At 120 BPM, you’re playing two notes a second. At 180 BPM, three notes a second. And 240 BPM, four notes a second.

G Minor Pentatonic Scale

This next exercise uses the A Minor Pentatonic scale. With eighth notes, it will be twice as fast as the previous exercise and you will be playing two notes a second at 60 BPM. Do the same as before, practice it over and over until you can do it without making any mistakes and increase the speed of the metronome.

A Minor Pentatonic Scale

We’re now using sixteenth notes and the C Minor Pentatonic scale. This is again twice as fast as the previous example. You’re playing four notes each beat or sixteen notes each bar. At 60 BPM, you’re playing four notes a second and might be too fast for you to play comfortably. If this is the case, slow down the metronome and start off at a speed you can manage.

C Minor Pentatonic Scale

This final example uses the B Minor Pentatonic scale and triplets, or three notes a beat.

B Minor Pentatonic Scale

The tab diagrams are screenshots from Power Tab Editor and can be downloaded from Power Tab Editor Website.

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Power Tab Editor

Learn Guitar Software

This is another old program but is one I’m still using and it’s still free.

Power Tab Editor

What is the Power Tab Editor?

Power Tab Editor is a tablature authoring tool for the Windows operating system. It is intended to be used to create guitar sheet music, more commonly known to musicians as guitar tablature and bass tablature. (aka guitar tab/bass tab). The program provides the most commonly used symbols in tablature, including chord names, chord diagrams, rhythm slashes, bends, slides, hammer-ons/pull-offs, harmonics and palm muting. A useful piece of software for people who want to learn how to play guitar, and for experienced guitarists who want to transcribe their own music and/or guitar lessons. The software can be used by both acoustic and electric guitar players alike.

What is tablature?

Tablature, or tab for short, is a special form of sheet music used to indicate the fingering patterns used by an instrument. It is most commonly used to notate guitar and bass guitar parts.

Power Tab Editor can also be used to learn songs that have been transcribed by other guitarists.

Some of the other features of Power Tab Editor include:

  • Print power tab scores
  • Export power tab score to PDF
  • Export power tab score to BMP

One of the problems with the export to BMP feature is that it only exports a section at a time, either to a file or to the clipboard. You then have to combine the sections in your graphics software. One way around this, if the score that you want to export fits onto one screen, is to press the Print Screen key on the keyboard and then paste it into your graphics software.

One undocumented but useful feature is the ability to slow down the playback of the tab. All you need to do is change the tempo marker. This can be set to 40-300 BPM. This allows you to learn songs, or tricky parts of songs, at a slower speed.

Power Tab Editor Screenshot

Power Tab Editor Screenshot

Power Tab Editor Website

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Best Guitar Software

Learn How To Play Guitar Software

These are some of my favourite guitar related software programs I have on my computer that I use regularly.

Riff Master Pro

Riff Master Pro is software that you install on your computer and it lets you slow down music without changing the pitch so that you can play along to it, perfect it, and speed it up gradually, until you’ve got it mastered at full speed.

Read more here:

Riff Master Pro

Metronome

Using a metronome is one of the best ways to practice scales. Regular scale practice with the metronome will improve your scale knowledge, speed, timing, improvisation skills, finger strength, and dexterity.

Read more here:

Metronome

Power Tab Editor

This is another old program but is one I’m still using and it’s still free.

Power Tab Editor is a tablature authoring tool for the Windows operating system. It is intended to be used to create guitar sheet music, more commonly known to musicians as guitar tablature and bass tablature. (aka guitar tab/bass tab).

Read more here:

Power Tab Editor

Audacity

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It can be used to record live audio; convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs; edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files; cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together; and change the speed or pitch of a recording.

Read more here:

Audacity