Last year was full of changes for me: The first half of the 2004, I flew over 150,000 miles working with clients in India and Australia; The second half, I spent managing internal projects largely from my house in Northern California. With the change in jobs and travel patterns, I have reclaimed a large portion of my non-work life and I have been busy figured out things to do with it.
So this year, I have finally resolved to do some of the things that I have always wanted to. One of these was to learn to play the guitar. Although I have no musical experience (nor really any obvious talent), I decided to spend some time of this. Luckily, my mother has helped me out by buying me a Kramer Focus (VT-211S Fatboy) for Christmas.
I've thrown myself into the learning process, buying and watching two DVDs on guitar playing ("Learn Rock Guitar" and "Fender's Getting Started On Electric Guitar") and a cool book called Learn To Play Guitar With Metallica. Needless to say, I am not studying the classics - It is purely a metal thing for me.
Of course, the real reason that I wanted to get started playing was the computer angle: Apple's Garageband has peaked my interest. The old version (version 1.1) lets you record, arrange and sequence software (midi) and real instruments (like my guitar). I just plug my Kramer into the iBook with a cheap $40 USB digitizer (line level input) and then use one of Garageband's built-in guitar amplifier (I like "Arena Rock") to simulate an actual amplifier. It about 10 minutes, I can record a few licks directly to my hard drive, add a backing drum beat or bass line, sweeten the tones and push it out to MP3. Now, of course, that depends on me actually playing something recognizable on my guitar.
I'll have more on my guitar progress when I produce something that's actually presentable. I am also slated to get the Garageband 2.0 upgrade sometime later this week, so I'll report on that too.