Monthly Archives: February 2009

Playing the charango

The charango is a small, rounded back guitar like instrument popular in the music of Peruvian Andes region. Kate Hathaway explains it all in the video below. Ms Hathaway forms half of a brother sister duo (the other half being James). You can learn more about this enterprising duo at their website and blog. They also have a number of videos on Youtube.

Update: This is a great song they wrote and play, called “Wait for Me,” being performed recently in a club in Peru:


In the comments section for this post, there’s a video of the Dromedary Quartet, featuring the charango, with guitar, bass and drums.

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Cold Play VS guitarist Joe Satriani

Probably nothing in the world, whether in music or literature or even science, is truly original anymore. With so much music and written language concoctions floating about everything creative probably contains something of  one or more of the others. Sometimes it’s coincidence; sometimes deliberate. The plagiarism aspect of a complaint can only be maintained if the “copying” is sustained (as I humbly see it). From a cursory listening it sounds like Cold Play made the entire theme of their song, Viva La Vida, from a 70 second thematic section of Satriani’s If I Could Fly. The theme in question is clearly the main theme of  Satriani’s song, though it’s development is  supplemented by variated  riffs. The main difference between the two themes is that while Satriani’s is melodically guitar based Cold Play’s is orchestrated. Anyway, there’s a much better analysis below. Hey, we report, you decide (sound familiar?)…

The comparison of a key part.

Joe Satriani playing If I Could Fly. The controversy stems from approximately the 50 second mark to the 120 (this interwoven theme phrasing comes in later too during  the variated riffs).

Here’s Cold Play’s Viva La Vida

Here’s Part 1 of a technical analysis by Creative Guitar Studio

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Electric guitar VS fish

Can a guitar be played so loud it makes fish jump? Er, yes, yes it can. The proof, of course, is in the police report–but did anyone actually see the fish jump?

“A man made so much noise in his Colonial Drive apartment that he made his downstairs neighbor’s fish leap, the neighbor told sheriff’s deputies. It was a Monday night and the noisy man had been “playing his electric guitar and making loud drumming noises loud enough to cause the complainant’s fish to jump…” Read rest of story here.


Ironically, here’s a guitar that is a fish:


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Heavy Metal guitarists from Iraq

“Acrassicauda had been through hell as a rock band in wartime Baghdad. Its practice space was bombed. Its members were branded Satan worshipers and received death threats for making Western-style music. Then they suffered through two purgatorial years as refugees in Syria and Turkey, killing time and dreaming of rocking out in the land of the free…two days after the last of the band’s four members was resettled in the United States, they enjoyed what any metal fan would have to call heaven: bearhugs and “Wow, dude” heart-to-hearts backstage with Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark. It probably wasn’t necessary for James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, to surprise them after the show by handing over one of his guitars, a black ESP, and signing it “Welcome to America”; their minds were already blown…” Read article here.

From the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad, released in June 08

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Is this REALLY awesome guitar playing?

Supposedly this is “awesome guitar playing.” To each his own I guess.

Vancouver’s Fear Zero guitarist playing Octane

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We’ve always heard that the Stradivarius had the finest sound of any wood instrument. Perhaps it does, but why? Is it the age of the wood? The wood itself? The construction procedure? Well it turns out, at least to scientists who have studied this phenomenon for years, the superior tone is  actually due to a chemical preservative that had been used to deter the worms 300 years ago. There you have it.

Note: I’d love to do a blind test someday: Several makes from expensive, including a Stradivarius or two, to the cheapest, played all the same–the same phrasing, the same volume, etc. Would the Stradivarius win resoundingly? I have my doubts. I’ve been through this with classical guitars. Some much cheaper models sounded as good or even better, to my ear anyway, than the more expensive.

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