User login

The Print Jam

(October 2013) posted on Thu Oct 24, 2013

The prediction is we will have a 3D printer in every home within a few years.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Andy MacDougall

I recently picked up the guitar again after an 11-year break. Nothing serious, more like Willie and the Wheelchairs—just a group of guys getting together. In the old days, as a youngster, I used to wear out records, playing a part over and over again, lifting the needle arm and dropping it, writing down lyrics, chord progressions, or trying to work out a lick. Most everyone, from Elvis on, seems to have learned to play rock this way.

Through the years, I progressed through using tape—which was a big improvement over gouging records, except it was never in tune—and then CDs, which were not only in tune, but also even easier to back up or fast forward to hear a part. That’s about where I stopped with ‘Learn that Song’ technology in 2002, when I quit my last band and packed the instruments away in their cases.

It’s way different now. The bass player or singer or drummer puts the tune in Dropbox, and it is instantly available to all band members. Almost every song has a digital version online to listen to, along with words, chord charts, and even tab charts for the licks and melodies. It makes the learning part a lot easier for sure—truly amazing when you compare it to how it was done only a few years ago.

But a funny thing. We get to rehearsal and actually start playing, and the members still need to use analog methods to do the real work. Pen and paper. Face-to-face talking to fix a mistake, or keep track of ideas that come up as we are working. We rely on memory of the song, our skills honed over the years practicing and playing, and the instruments we play with our hands to create the music. Sure, I could get a computer involved, and add backing tracks or loops to the sound with a few keypad strokes, but call me old school. At a certain point, my rock and roll needs to be played, not processed.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.