Posts Tagged ‘guitar site’

Jam Center

Wow! Amazing what taking a few days off can do! I spent last weekend in Las Vegas deflating from the rigors of everyday life, and when I came back, made a conscious effort to play as little guitar or writing as possible. Sometimes you just need to take a break. But I’m back now, refreshed, restored, and fully recovered.

So yesterday, not feeling like writing any music – actually not feeling very creative at all – I just picked up my guitar and started noodling. Within a few minutes, I wanted to play to something, so I did a search on “jam tracks” and the first search result was a link to a place called Jam Center. Intrigued, I clicked the link and was taken to the site.

There really wasn’t much there; just a navigation bar on the left that listed “Jam Machine Keys.” I clicked the Key of A, the page reloaded and the following “machine” appeared on the page:


Cool, I thought, this looks really promising. I clicked on “COOL” and was rewarded with a nicely produced jam track. I slung my guitar and started playing… Two hours later, I still hadn’t gone through all the keys and all the jam tracks, I was enjoying myself so much!

Yeah, there are lots of different sites offering jam tracks out there, but what I like about this particular site is that instead of just playing MP3s in another tab or window that eventually end, the jam tracks are arranged in a loop, and not only that, many of the jam tracks have two different “feels” to them. Usually, the first part of a track will have a mellower feel, then jumping into the second half of the track, the feel gets more intense. Having this type of variation makes you play differently. So not only can you practice your technique, you can practice changing your tones and attack. What I found very useful with having two different feels to a track was it allowed me to practice switching pedals and pickup selections. How cool is that!

One thing I forgot to mention was that when you click on a style on the machine, text appears on the machine suggesting the type of scale to play like “A Harmonic Minor” or “E Blues.” It’s a small thing yes, but it’s cool to have a starting place. For instance, in one of the tracks, the suggestion came up with “A Mixolydian.” I’ve never been that much into modes and such, even though I’ve studied them, but as an interesting and added value, the site has some great graphic examples of the different modes.

I looked up “A Mixolydian” and was greeted with the pattern, and started playing the pattern over the jam track. That was really cool; a way to immediately use a mode over a piece of music, as opposed to having to intellectualize. What that sparked was using different modes starting with different tonics or root notes over the different keys. Some didn’t work at all, but it sure helped me understand how modes can open up a whole different world when jamming.

Anyway, check this site out. It’s a great tool!

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Guitar AffairActually, GuitarAffair.com has been around for a few months now, but I discovered it when it was still pretty new back in January of this year. GuitarAffair.com is a great take on “try before you buy” with high-end guitars. Owned and operated by Jim Basara (yes, that’s the same Jim Basara who does reviews for Guitar Jam Daily), the site is set up to let people rent high-end guitars for a period of time – but they can keep them if they like them (of course, they have to pay for them). Here’s an excerpt from Jim in an e-mail he sent to me:

There are two parts to my business.  One model is to rent  guitars to business travelers who are guitar enthusiasts and never get to play  because they travel a lot (I used to be one of these guys).  The other  is, of course, to sell guitars.  By targeting business travelers, my goal  is to get boutique instruments into the hands of people with the means to buy  them.  I ship all over the country, so it’s a fairly large pool.  For  the sales piece, if someone rents a guitar and then purchases one, I rebate the rental fee.  This turns the business into kind of a demo program for  those manufacturers I am a dealer for.  And on that note, as a custom  builder, you may be interested in what I’m doing for Gigliotti Guitars…   …for people who are interested in purchasing a Gigliotti,  but want to play one [before buying one outright], I send them a Gigliotti and three  additional necks with the more popular neck profiles.  Each of those  necks is fretted with three different sized fretwire.  This way, the  buyer gets to play the Gigliotti but also feel more comfortable about picking  the neck carve and fret wire…  …I’ve also had interest  from some tier-2 pros who don’t like the hassle of taking their guitars on  commercial planes all the time.

While Jim targets business travelers, the business is pretty much open to anyone who wants to try a guitar out before buying it – or just wants to be able to play some great guitars! Check out the site! It is very cool!

On a personal note, GuitarAffair is one of those ideas I wish I had come up with… I dig it when people latch on to a great idea and expand on it to make living out of their passion. That’s exactly what Jim hopes to do with GuitarAffair.com.

A note about Jim…

Jim BasaraJim has a long history with vintage guitars, having established himself as a vintage gear guru and technician, having learned the ins and outs of guitar tech at Fretworks. He has also been writing reviews for Guitar Jam Daily since day one, which is how I first encountered him. An avid player himself, he has played for several years, and loves to play so much taken guitars with him on trips the world over! The dude knows his stuff!

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