Get Your Studio Together
If you're going to get the most out of your guitar, putting together a complete practice studio is a must. There is no better way to get great at guitar than recording your playing and listening to it back.
Of course, there is a whole bunch of valuable resources you can use to supercharge your playing. I will list here what software you will want to get for your studio to make great use of your practice time. I should mention that if you use the links here, it will not cost you extra, but I do get an affiliate payment :)
Guitar SightReader Toolbox - the total guitar gym.
I used to spend years drawing diagrams of scales, chords and studying to get any way near the resources contained within this solution. Scales, Chords, Theory, recording and playback, metronomes, practices schedulers, ear-training, mp3 setlist collections and of course sight-reading tools are all available at your fingertips. There are so many tools in this software that will save you time practicing and studying. This is essential for your guitar practice studio. Of course I know that I make this - but I made it really so that I can use it too!
As soon as I get payment and I check the email, I will generate your license and reply to let you know that your licenses are ready to activate (no key needed)
$50.00 USD (10 day free trial)
A computer. This will be your digital hub for your studio. You will need a DAW (digital Audio Workstation). If you are using a Mac, you can use Logic or even GarageBand. Protools or Ableton are favourites for Windows users. I am using Studio One right now! You will need to plan your directories so you can find projects quickly. I have a folder called sessions where I have folders for artists that I produce tracks for.
An Audio interface. I use a Focusrite Scarlet Audio interface. You plug it in and it just works. I have 2 main inputs for me and my guitar students. These are cheaper and cheaper all the time. This, with your DAW will enable you to record your guitar or voice or anything else. I recommend using generation 3 or later.
A Mic - not essential unless you want to record vocals or mic your guitar cabinet. If you have some guitar effects, you can usually go straight into your audio interface.
A Midi Keyboard. You use this to input drums, keys and everything else into your tracks. Generally, you will use the sounds in your DAW for this. You do not need to be some great pianist - trial and error will help you figure it out pretty quickly.
Guitar effects. There a couple of ways you can go here... Plugins (which are software guitar amp solutions) or actual hardware.
Plugins that you could check out are Positive Grid, STL, Amplitude, Guitar Rig and others. You will need to choose carefully as this could be pricey, and some are better than others. You also are confined to the computer realm and not for playing live. I use Tonex (IK multimedia) for recording. There is a free version but i use Tonex Max. The tonex pedal is great as you can take your preset live!
Hardware is a great solution these days and getting great guitar sounds are easier than ever. I myself use Fractal Audio (FM3 + FC-6 into a Headrush 112). There are so many option for modellers out there including Line6 (Helix, HX Stomp), Headrush, Nueral DSP Quad Cortix, Kemper profiler, Boss GT-1000. However, you may want to spend the money on amps and tube ones are the best. You will need to mic the cab with these and your wallet, your neighbours and your ears may suffer as a result.
You'll want to use some external monitor speakers. Don't not use your computer speakers for this. A cheap solution maybe to buy a stereo system and often with 2 jacks to a 3.5mm plug, you can use this as a monitoring solution. I used to use that until I got 2 of the speakers below. I almost fell off my chair when I played my DAW electric keyboard through them!
I hope that this will help you get your studio together. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
This is a fantastic tab app that is a great compliment to Guitar SightReader Toolbox. If you need tab, just type in your search engine the name of the song and "Guitar Pro" and you will find it somewhere on the first page. If you are playing in a covers band, this will save you a load of time. This is such a great tool for transcribing your favourite licks!
This piece of software does one thing incredibly well. It will slow down music to any speed and retain the quality of the recording. You can retune the recording (great if your learning song tuned to Eb, add markers and it's great for transcribing everything.