Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

What do you think about my Guitar Computer?

It's great
I'm going to borrow some ideas from it in my own setup
I'm going to "clone" it
No votes
Too hardcore for me
 #1717  by ycomp
 Fri May 27, 2005 9:14 pm
I finally got my guitar computer to the point where it is not a "work-in-progress" anymore. It was a lot of work so I made a blog to record how it is set up, in case it crashes completely.

But I thought it might be useful to other people also, so I wrote it with that in mind.

My guitar computer does things like:

- like automatically downloads and unzips shows and puts the new shows in winamp automagically.

- lets me play along with any song

- lets me quickly seach for all occurences of a song with the show it is from listed in the search results

- no need to "add shows" to winamp. Directories are scanned automatically and each show is preserved in it's "show form". (I use the Dynamic Library plugin for winamp, winamp's Media Library is no good for shows)

- automatically records whatever I've been playing (as well as whatever I was playing along to)

- right click a song in winamp and have it ready to analyze jerry's solos in the song. Displays the notes and lets you slow down the song and pause it on any note. Works very well.

- Displays a web page for the current song in winamp with links to the page for the show, the rukind chords for that song, lyrics, links to search for all shows containing the song, etc.

Anyhow, feel free to check it out:

 #1718  by hirsh39
 Sat May 28, 2005 6:47 am
i have no idea what in the fucks you're talking about

 #1719  by ebick
 Sat May 28, 2005 7:43 am
I 2nd that......but it sounds interesting. Especially this:

- right click a song in winamp and have it ready to analyze jerry's solos in the song. Displays the notes and lets you slow down the song and pause it on any note. Works very well.

Can you please elaborate with some detailed background.....and go slowly for us old folks. :-?

 #1720  by ycomp
 Sat May 28, 2005 7:51 am
Yeah... I guess I didn't explain in the post very well what my Guitar Computer is for:

The purpose of my Guitar Computer is to make it easy to play guitar along with my Grateful Dead mp3s and to help me analyze jerry's playing by slowing him down and looking at the notes.

And also to make it really easy to download shows so that I don't have to do all the tedious work of manually unzipping them or getting them organized in winamp.

It is ok to do it manually if you download one or 2 shows once in a while. But I like to look at a list of say all the 74 shows at and then pick 10 or more to download. This way I just click on them and they are ready to download. After being downloaded they are extracted and added to winamp automatically.

And my "song dashboard" web page is useful if you want to access info like chords, lyrics, the song's show at, etc. for the current song being played.

I did a lot of testing of many different software programs to get ones that work well. For instance, I tried many many tuner programs. But the AP Tuner 3 is the best one to look at guitar notes when you are slowing down a tune because it has a clean interface and updates the notes fast enough. Other tuners are just way to confusing to use in "real time". But they are only meant for tuning anyhow and I'm sure are great for that purpose.
Last edited by ycomp on Sat May 28, 2005 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

 #1721  by ycomp
 Sat May 28, 2005 8:03 am
ok, say you are playing a song in winamp. You would right click it and choose the following item from the menu.

See: (click on the small pics on these pages to get big screenshots) ... ction.html

Now, after doing so, the following programs are up and loaded. ... wn-in.html

Then you can slow down jerry or any other guitar being played and analyze the guitar note by note. You will see the note being played in the tuner. You can pause it on the note by pressing (H) in amazing slow downer and it will repeat just that note (sounds like a cd skipping) so you can see exactly what it is, even for the very fast notes. AP Tuner is also great because it always displays the last note identified. So if you pause it completely (i.e. no sound) it will still show that note.

Also you will soon know where notes like C4 are on your fretboard, provided you have a bit of an understanding of the fretboard already, after a bit of playing around. You can just play a C on your guitar and the tuner will show if it is C4 or C5 or whatever. Then it is easy to follow what jerry is playing.

Even on those very fast eyes. Of course, the faster the song, the harder it is. But it still is not difficult.

The reason this works is that tuners track the most prominent note only. They ignore all the other "noise" notes.

I did rig something up before which did it a different way, it semi-automatically wrote tab from what jerry was playing. But this "slow me down" method is superior because it works for every song.

My auto-tab transcribing method, which is not posted here or on the blog, worked maybe 50% of the time.

That was not good enough for me. But it was interesting nonetheless. I set the EQ so that the guitar was more or less isolated during solos. The bass and the high cymbals were largely ignored by the EQ. Then I had software called wtune convert the notes being played into midi. This works better than all that wav to midi software since those softwares make multitracks, they try to track all the instruments. Whereas tuners track only the most prominent note. Then I would save it as a midi file and load it into some other software. I think it was called tab transcriber, which would convert it in an "optimized" fashion into tab. Meaning the notes were in a more playable position. But still it didn't always work. When it "failed", it meant the notes were in a position I didn't like. Like first frets and open strings. Or high frets. I like the middle frets. This is why I prefer my "slow me down" method since I can choose where the note is on the fretboard.

If anyone knows of any software that can limit the tabbing from midi files to a certain range of frets, then my auto-tab transcribing method will work like a gem! So let please me know if such software exists.
Last edited by ycomp on Sun May 29, 2005 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

 #1722  by ycomp
 Sat May 28, 2005 9:41 am
Here is an example of the first part of the Dire Wolf Intro from 6/28/83 Poplar Music Creek Theatre. I tabbed it by slowing down the song using Amazing Slow Downer and viewing the notes in the AP Tuner software.

I made this using the rukind tab creator. I didn't know how to add any advanced elements. So it is just the notes. Any mistakes are due to my lack of skills as a guitarist, not limitations of the AP Tuner + Amazing Slow Downer (or PaceMaker Plugin) technique.


Here is the show on, where you can listen to the dire wolf. ... beok.flacf

 #1729  by hirsh39
 Tue May 31, 2005 7:43 pm
but what sort of program is this My Guitar Computer?

 #1732  by ycomp
 Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:10 pm
no.. it's not a program. It's literally "my guitar computer". It is just how I set up the computer that sits on the edge of my couch.

here's a pic: ... -view.html

what I have described is a bunch of good software that I have strung together to perform certain tasks like slowing down the current song i'm listening to and isolating the guitar and seeing the notes played in slow motion of jerry's solos this way.

most of it is probably too complicated for non-computer people but there are some interesting things in there that people might want to try out.

most of it is centered around winamp because that's what I listen to my shows from. So there are various extensions to winamp that I have configured to do these things, including my "song dashboard" which is a web page that displays the current song being played with quick links to the chords for the song, lyrics, that show at, etc.

unfortunately about 1/2 of the software described is not free. There are no good free alternatives for most of them that I could find. But aside from the money, they do work well.

 #1735  by strumminsix
 Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:24 am
First of all, this sounds great. I gave ya tops in the poll. Let me make sure I really understand what this DEADicated PC is doing...

Simple steps:
1. Grap an MP3 off the archive
2. Plays it automatically w/ WINAMP.
3. Use a feature to pull up the RUKIND chord sheet
4. Use a feature to slow down Jerry's leads
5. Use a tuner to figure out which notes are played
6. Use tab creator to store the info


+ How does the tuner only recognize Jerry?
+ Have you thought about using (there is a free one with sharing abilitities)?

 #1736  by ycomp
 Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:53 am
Simple steps:
1. Grap an MP3 off the archive

yes... you click the vbr mp3 zip file of the show to download and it will download it and unzip it and winamp will be ready to play it. It will show up as, say, gd74-02-24 in the Dynamic Library (think Winamp Media Library but better)

You can use Dynamic Library to search for many cool things also like all shows for that year by typing 74- in the search box. Or all shows with "Jack Straw" on your HD. (with associated date and venue info in the search results)

2. Plays it automatically w/ WINAMP.

see above.

3. Use a feature to pull up the RUKIND chord sheet

yes, my "song dashboard". A web page that does much more than that. Also lyrics, search the show again in (so you can read reviews, etc.), search for occurences of the song, e.g. Franklin's, in This tends to show the top rated shows on the site that contain franklin's at the top of the results.

all this with a click or 2. no typing anything. I can add more features later I'm sure. I just whipped that dashboard up quickly.

4. Use a feature to slow down Jerry's leads

yes. slows down the song, including jerry's leads which is what we are after. there are a few ways to do this. the best is Amazing Slow Downer which costs money though, but there is a trial for the first 25% of the song. There is a free winamp plugin also that don't slow it down as much but are free. It's shareware I think with a nag screen at startup but that's it. It doesn't seem like you have to buy that software.

5. Use a tuner to figure out which notes are played

yes. I tried many. Unfortunately only AP Tuner is fast enough to accurately display the notes. It has a clean interface. and unlike sliding LED type tuners, the note stays until it hears the next note. So if you pause the song the note is still displayed.

6. Use tab creator to store the info

If you want. You can also just memorize what you learned. I had some auto-thing rigged up that would actually transcribe automatically jerry's notes. And it worked, with a bit of noise (but those notes were obviously not him) but the problem is that it would tab it to parts of the guitar I didn't want to play. Like the 20+ frets or the open strings. But when it worked it was amazing. But only about 50% of the time. So I like the tuner + slow down method better.


+ How does the tuner only recognize Jerry?

you set the e.q. either in winamp or the Amazing Slow Downer progam to isolate the guitar frequencies. The bass is dropped off and so are the high cymbals mostly.

When you are listening to a solo, the band is generally quiet anyhow. So most of the notes are Jerry. And when 2 notes are played at the same time, Jerry's is always prevalent. Since it is a tuner it only is trying to decipher the most promiment note. So everything else is ignored. Unlike those wav2midi type softwares, which try to transcribe everything.

AP Tuner is fast so it updates quickly. Amazing Slow Downer slows down jerry, even his fast solos, so you get it down to a manageable speed without changing pitch.

AP Tuner also has great "preset" features that allow you to save up to 10 loops from any song. And it remembers the last songs you were analyzing. So you can go back to other solos from other songs really quickly later.

As you get used to it you get faster at reading the tuner. Noise notes from other instruments when they slip through are not a problem since you can hear jerry. I mean if jerry is silent then you just ignore the notes displayed on the AP Tuner. But they don't appear as "strong" as jerry anyhow due to the EQ settings.

The tuner DOES NOT display only Jerry. But IT IS PRETTY MUCH OBVIOUS which notes are Jerry. It works very well.

If you have your guitar plugged in then when song is paused you can play a G on your guitar and see if that G is a G4 or G4 or G5 or whatnot. This helps get your bearings at first when learning to read the tuner (which displays notes in that fashion. G3, G4, G5, etc.)

+ Have you thought about using (there is a free one with sharing abilitities)?

I tested it for the auto-transcription but I haven't really evaluated tab editors for transcribing by hand. I want to find one like the rukind one which continues to display the notes you pressed. Also it must show the note (e.g. "F") when you are hovering over it. I'll check out tabledit again later. And of course have a fretboard. Some tab editors for windows don't seem to have one.
 #1737  by ycomp
 Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:01 am
also the point of this computer is to let me to jam along to jerry and the boys.

I can make mp3s of whatever dead song I'm listening to plus me overtop mixed in, no problem.

You can use free wav recording software for that to record whatever your mixer is spitting out*.

But for convenience I use a program called Loop Recorder. It is not free though. I'm not sure if there are any free ones. It uses almost no system resources and it records the last 10 mins, hour or whatever of the mixer output*. So every note you play is always recorded. Think video security system.

Then if you like something you just edit the wav that was being recorded and convert it to mp3 to save it.

* = as long as your mixer's rec setting is set to "what u hear" or something similar. My creative mixer for my Audigy 2 ZS does that. I guess most should. But I just wanted to point that out.

 #1739  by ycomp
 Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:08 am
when you isolate jerry in the EQ properly, the sound is best described as tinny... or "tin can"

 #1740  by ycomp
 Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:07 am
Note: you have to set the AP Tuner analysis quality to "fast (less accurate)".

 #1763  by Dupree's Diamond
 Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:11 pm
It does sound really cool, but complicated. About how much time and money have you invested?

Can you record over Jerry's lead and have a live version with your lead over top?
 #1764  by LazyLightnin
 Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:00 pm