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Everything you ever wanted to know about electric guitar strings

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Does choice of string change the sound of the guitar?

Yes, but not for the reasons most players think they do.

► Read the full article

How to add MP3 album art, and notes on easy band promo

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've noticed I've started adding free MP3s to my mp3 page. Before I started doing this, I wanted to make sure my MP3 files had all the necessary information in them along with appropriate album art. After doing some searching around, I found Mp3tag. Great software, easy-to-use, free and there's basically nothing better that I could find. Watch the above video to see it in action.

Are MP3s still relevant in today's music world?

Yes, absolutely.

I'll totally admit that MP3 is old; it's an audio file format that's been around for close to 20 years (the format was originally released in 1995 if you can believe it.)

I mention the FLAC format in the video and MP4, both of which are much better formats compared to MP3 - but not necessarily easier.

FLAC is a pain in the ass to use. Yeah, there are tools that are somewhat easy, but you have to be a bit nerdy to figure them out.

MP4 is not-so much of a pain in the ass because of Handbrake, which is far and above better than any FLAC utility as far as ease-of-use is concerned.

There are two problems with FLAC and MP4. First is recognition, or should I say lack of recognition. You say "MP3" and everyone knows what that is. You say "MP4" and people are like, "Is that, like... an 'enhanced' MP3?"; they don't get it. And if you say "FLAC," nobody outside of nerdy audiophiles even knows what that is.

So yes, MP3, even though it's inferior compared to FLAC and MP4, is the one to use because it's easy to create them and people know what they are.

And if you're of the opinion, "If people don't know what a FLAC or MP4 is, screw 'em", you're actually screwing yourself, because you have to use the stuff that people know, otherwise you're just making it more difficult for people to hear your songs.

Should bands give away MP3s?

Yes.

If you want an easy way to outdo other bands in one simple step, give your music away on the internet for free. You will totally kick other band's asses and do so with no problem at all because your music is accessible and free while theirs isn't.

"How do I make money then?"

You can't even think about selling anything until you have an audience first. Just because you made an album or even a single does not mean anyone is inclined to buy it - and they won't.

Getting an audience (as in a following) is the first priority. To do that, giving away free MP3s of your songs helps out a lot. Once someone downloads your songs into their player or computer or smartphone or whatever, it usually stays there. And if people want to share out your songs with others, let them.

What you have to do is make sure people know where to go to find out more about you or your band, which is why the tags in MP3 files are so important. Without those tags, you will be quickly forgotten. But with those tags, every time you song is played, the information you put in there pops up, so it's totally worth your time to do it.

Making money from your music requires that you do more than just song sales and shows. For example, I've seen some bands that not only do music but also draw comics and/or do animated cartoons. That's what Metalocalypse is all about, and it did so well that Gibson put out the "Thunderhorse Explorer" just because of that cartoon.

You can make cash with music, if you don't limit yourself to just the music.

"Distance" song plus notes about Dunlop guitar strings

I decided to give Dunlop guitar strings a try (specifically, model DEN0942); they certainly have a different "character" about them, which is difficult to describe in words...

...so I wrote a quick song instead. 🙂 I purposely did it "acoustically," which is to say I used nothing but "clean" tone. The guitar used was my Squier Bullet Strat.

What I can say about these strings so far is that yes, they break in faster and yes they project better compared to the D'Addario EXL120 sets I was using. Will I switch over to Dunlop? I just might, because so far they've proven to sound and feel very good - but - I just installed them.

Will they be able to survive a month (I change strings out at least once a month) without snapping and still sound good? I'll know in a month. 🙂

The song above is available as a free MP3 download on my tunes page, so go ahead and grab it from there if you like.

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