I’ve had Spotify Premium for a couple of years, and since I became an unemployed layabout started a new career as a freelancer gave up on the rat race and became a housewife spend more time at home these days, I have Spotify playing most of the time when I’m here on my own and am free to indulge my terrible taste in music.

I pay a tenner a month for Spotify Premium, and I think it’s worth it. As their library expands the greater my chances of finding that song I’m suddenly in the mood to hear. If I can’t do anything else in a day without hearing the theme tune to The Littlest Hobo Spotify is there to indulge me.

Are you a Spotify user? Do have a dig around my main “Zen” playlist (one with everything). Chances are you’ll find something you like, but it’s equally likely you’ll find something that makes you think “Holy cow! Are you trying to kill your ears?”.

Confession – I just rickrolled myself. Yes, this playlist is that bad. But in among the Rick Astleys and the Monkees lie a few Ramones, a bit of Radiohead and even a bit of Velvet Underground.

And, of course, I have an entire playlist devoted to Slash.

It’s worth a try if you don’t already have it. There is a very limited free version with adverts and other restrictions. More information can be found here.

For those without Spotify who I’ve just afflicted with the urge to hear the Littlest Hobo theme, here you go:

Sound of 2009 – The sound of being middle-aged

Just having a listen to the acts the beeb are tipping as contenders for the ‘Sound of 2009′ with colourful, teasing descriptions of what to expect..

… gritty beats, droning guitars, abstract effects and dreamy vocals to create a soundscape that is arty yet tuneful.
… cerebral electronica, combining layers of sunny vocals, warped samples, glitchy beats and euphoric effects with a sturdy rhythmic backbone.
… high-energy robopop in which fast neon beats jump out of ’80s-tinged tunes.

Out of the fifteen, only one track sounded remotely appealing. The others, I just didn’t get… which got me thinking about how I used to religiously watch the charts, and how I’d know every word to every song in the top ten. Nowadays I don’t have a clue who’s number one, and I don’t particularly care since all modern artists sound the same and you can’t make out what half of them are singing anyway.


They don’t make ‘em like they used to. But I tell you what… the oldies stations… now they rock. But if you fancy chancing your ears with the music the young ‘uns are all listening to, you can check it out here:

Guitar Tips

Latest Update: linking to a step by step guide on how to change the strings.

A collection of tips for those keen strummers out there.

Playing Guitar

  • Guitar Noise think they have the Best Way to Learn Guitar. They mix in real music notation along with the tab, which I always find a little offputting, and there doesn’t seem to be much on scales, but there are some very good lessons in the form of learning actual songs. If you want to be able to play a song or two reasonably quickly, or you’re more interested in rhythm guitar than lead, there’s plenty here. (Via Lifehacker, and as usual, there’s more tips from their readers in the comments.)
  • ActoGuitar – a whole mass of online lessons. Nicely written, and includes some videos too. Could do with a few more diagrams, but a bit of searching can soon fill in that sort of thing elsewhere. Great stuff. Yes, obviously it was thanks to Gary again.
  • Guitar Solo – Scales, Licks etc – A good resource of tutorials. Thanks again to Gary!
  • Fingerpicking Guitar Lessons from Eltjo Haselhoff – Starting from the basics, like not cutting your fingers, but soon moves on. You’d probably want to suplement this with some other stuff, but there’s certainly quite a bit of useful info here. Thanks to Gary for finding this one.
  • Guitar GAS – Things every beginner guitarist should have – Essential basic equipment for anyone starting out. The last one on their list is often the hardest one to find. ;)
  • GuitarGAS Tips and Cheats #1 – Barre Chord Avoidance. Perfect for those of us not blessed with long, slender, neck-friendly fingers.
  • GuitarGAS Tips and Cheats #2 – Chord Sequences for Songwriters. Good advice on what chords work well together.
  • GuitarGAS Tips and Cheats #3 – Knowing the whole neck. A guide to the CAGED system.
  • GuitarGAS Tips and Cheats #4 – Another easy visual way of remembering chord shapes.
  • The Zen Guitar Dojo – Learning and jamming with a zen approach. Thanks, Blue!

Modifying Guitars

Guitar Maintenance

  • Changing Strings – it’s a stinker of a job but every guitar player has to do it (unless, of course, you have a guy to do it for you). Here Simon Lees offers a step by step photo guide on how to change strings. Thanks to Black River Blues guitar legend Gary for spotting that!

Guitar Accessories

Fun Stuff

  • God of Guitar’s Guide to Poses – How to pose when playing guitar. Follow these tips and you might just make next year’s Men With Guitars List – though you’ll need better wigs than these guys. Thanks go to the God of Steel Wheels, Darren Beniston, for this corker.

Tips from Sam’s favourite Man With Guitar.

>RULE 3 >Invest in a good, big hat. Wear it.

>…A Les Paul Standard will sting you for a good £2,200, while a couple of Alnico II Pro humbuckers will cost about £90 apiece. Admittedly, Slash did have a signature model created for him – but only 5- were ever made, of which Slash had two (one of which was nicked) and another recently went for $7000 at auction. Stop daydreaming, pal – it ain’t gonna happen.