Author Archives: Ilse Niessen

Tips & tricks for tuning your guitar

It really doesn’t matter how good you are, no one sounds good on an out of tune guitar. But if you’ve just started playing, tuning your guitar isn’t always the easiest part and it can feel like an annoying chore if you just want to play. However, it is very important to tune your instrument regularly, not just for yourself but also for your neighbors! So here’s a few tips and tricks.

There are many ways of tuning, but for now, we’ll focus on the standard way. That means, going from low E string to high E string: E-A-D-G-B-E. You can easily remember this by the sentence: “Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie.” You can make the strings sound lower and higher by turning the pegs at the top of the guitar. It’s best to start with the lowest string (the thickest one) and then working your way up.

Why is it so important to tune regularly?

Not every string detunes equally quickly, but playing a lot and differences in temperature are some of the reasons why your guitar can go out of tune. It’s easy to think that your guitar doesn’t have to sound perfect all the time. Perhaps you just want to play a song and not go through the trouble of tuning? That’s not a very good idea however, because if you’ve just started playing, you might be making life difficult for yourself.

When you’re playing, you’re not just training your fingers to go where they should, you’re also training your ear. And because of that, it’s very important that you know what notes, chords and strings should sound like. If you get used to playing out of tune, you’re training your ears to hear the wrong thing and after a while, notes that are out of tune will sound fine to you. And you don’t want that.

So it’s better to prevent the problem before it’s too late. It’s much easier to be able to tune your own guitar instead of waiting for someone to do it for you. Also you never know when someone else might need a tuner!

Tuning devices

The easiest way to tune your guitar is with a tuning device. For example, you can use a ‘clip-on tuner’ for an acoustic guitar. This is a device with a little display that you clip onto the top of your guitar. The tuner will measure the frequency of the strings and tell you the pitch. You can also use these for electric guitars too, of course.

For electric guitars, you also have tuners that directly measure the signal of the guitar. The most common is a little device that you can plug your guitar cable into. But when you’re performing on stage, this tuner is far from ideal, because you don’t want to to keep plugging the cable in and out of the amplifier every time you tune your strings. That’s why most professional musicians use a tuning pedal.

Tuning by ear

There will be times when you won’t have a tuning device on you, so you’ll have to rely on your ears. The easiest thing to do is to tune your guitar with a piano or keyboard nearby, starting at the lower E string and working your way up. Or use this video.

Another thing you can do, is tune the lower E string and then tune the other strings from there. The 5th fret of the E string is an A, so you want your A string to sound like the 5th fret on your E string. The 5th fret on the A string is a D, and so on, but keep in mind that G string is an exception, where the next string is on the 4th fret instead of the 5th. On the B string the next string (E) is back on the 5th fret. You will have to play the strings one at a time after each other and adjust the pegs until the notes are the same.

Tuning new strings

Our last is tip is definitely not the least important. It is important to remember that when you get new strings, you’ll have to tune your guitar more often. Boxfresh strings can still stretch out a little before they settle down on your trusty axe. One trick to make it a little easier: each time you put a new string, grip it in the middle and carefully pull it upwards and then tighten it further. If you repeat this a couple of times, your strings will have stretched a bit more and won’t untune as quickly.

Our biggest tip is simply to tune every time you get your guitar out. The better it sounds, the more you’ll enjoy playing. And the more you enjoy playing, the better you’ll get! Happy jamming!

Capo: that mysterious clamp explained

You’ve probably seen people use that mysterious clamp on the guitar or ukulele and wondered what it does. Simply put, the capo (pronounced ‘cap-oh’ or ‘cape-oh’) changes the pitch or key of the chords you play. It might be a little difficult to wrap your head around at first, but whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a capo can be a great tool to make playing chords a little easier, make it easier to sing along or to experiment with cool sounds.

How it works

Without diving too deep into music theory, a capo basically shortens the length of your strings, making them sound higher. All the “open” strings now play in higher pitches than they do without the capo.

Here’s how that works. If you put your capo on the first fret, every chord you play has now moved up a half step. So if you play an E major chord, it would now be an F. And let’s say you put your capo on the second fret and play a G major. Because you’re two half steps up, the G chord becomes an A chord, and an A becomes a B.

For beginners

If you’re just starting out and don’t know a lot about chords yet, your brain may start to hurt a little when reading this… No biggie, let’s give you an example. Have you tried playing the F and B chords yet and failed miserably, fingers all cramped up? Those are called barre chords and they’re the most difficult basic chords to play, because your index finger has to cover all six strings.

A capo basically does the hard work for you in the case of barre chords and lets you play a lot more songs without using those nasty chords. When you put the capo on the first fret and play an E major, you’re actually playing the dreaded F major.

Still having trouble wrapping your head around it? Let’s take the ultimate campfire song Wonderwall by Oasis. The intro chords (in the key you hear on the recording) are F#m, A, E and B. That’s pretty tricky, so that’s why many people (Oasis’ Noel Gallagher included) put a capo on the second fret, so you’ll play it using much easier chords: E minor, G, D and A.


Play along with ‘Oasis – Wonderwall’

Singing along

The most common reason people use a capo is to change the key of a song on the fly when you or someone else is singing along. That’s because sometimes the key of a particular song is too low or too high for your vocal range.

Changing the key with your capo is a super easy way to do that, because you’re still basically playing the same chords and shapes as you normally would. Without the capo, it’s just a lot of hassle figuring out the new chords and shapes.

Changing the sound. Alone or together with friends

If you’re a more experienced player, using a capo will open up a whole new range of possibilities for experimenting with your sound. Not just in the way chords sound, but also your actual sound. If you want to give your guitar more of a mandolin sound, try putting the capo on the 7th fret. Sounds pretty cool, right? That’s also what George Harrison though when he wrote Here Comes the Sun. That unique sound? All capo!


George Harrison – Here Comes The Sun

If you’re playing with a friend, having two guitars doing the same thing can sometimes muddy up the sound, or is just a little boring. Why not spice things up a little? If one of you straps on a capo, the chords you both play (one higher, one lower) will create a very cool, complementing sound. It might take some time finding the sweet spot, but it’s definitely worth the try.

Also, we’ve had a cool Facebook live video with Chordify CEO Bas de Haas showing you the ins & outs of the mighty capo. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, so you won’t miss any livestreams!

Jake Paul, Khalid and Luis Fonsi in the Top 5 intensely practiced songs in August 2017

The scores are in, ladies and gents! Digging through heaps of data and metrics has resulted in a new top 5 of the most intensely practiced songs in August, per continent. Find out what people have been playing pole to pole, Atlantic to Pacific.

Lois Fonsi’s big summer hit is still topping the chart in Europe, so no surprise there. YouTube celebrity Jake Paul is sneaking up the charts though. Want to check out some more gems of the musical kind? Go check out the list!

Top 5 Europe

1. Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft Daddy Yankee
2. Mick Konstantin – There’s Only One Conor McGregor
3. KADEBOSTANY – Mind if I Stay
4. Matt Maltese – Even if it’s a Lie
5. Mikael Gabriel – Riippumatto

Mikael Gabriel – Riippumatto

Top 5 North America

1. Jake Paul – It’s Every Day Bro
2. Khalid – Angels
3. Matt Maltese – Even if it’s a Lie
4. Micah Tyler – Different
5. Billie Eilish – Party Favor

Jake Paul – It’s Every Day Bro

Top 5 Asia

1. กลับมาได้ไหม – EZIOEZ FT. KT Long Flowing
2. Aryo Waskito Faturrachman – Persija menyatukan kita semua bung ferry
3. KZ Tandigan – Two Less Lonely People in the World
4. Rindu Sendiri ( OST DILAN ) – Iqbaal dhiafakhri
5. Caleb Santos – I Need You More Today

KZ Tandigan – Two Less Lonely People In The World

Top 5 Oceania

1. Jessica Mauboy – Fallin’
2. Jake Paul – It’s Every Day Bro
3. Mick Konstantin – There’s Only One Conor McGregor
4. Khalid – Angels
5. Dean Lewis – Waves

Khalid – Angels

Top 5 Africa

1. Travis Greene – You Waited
2. Bok van Blerk – Lemoene
3. Ricus Nel, Adam Tas, Bok van Blerk, Refentse – Hardekole
4. Sinach – Way Maker
5. Davido – If

Travis Greene – You Waited

Top 5 South America

1. Cammilla Gallardo – Un Poco Mas de Frio
2. Rombai – Besarte
3. Los Insolentes – Fiebre (Ella no se controla)
4. Muerdo – Claridad
5. Danny Ocean – Me Rehuso

Rombai – Besarte

A final note for those who are worried about privacy or possibly somewhat ashamed of their guilty pleasures: it’s all big data, not individual results. If you secretly want to learn to play the entire Frozen soundtrack, don’t worry, we can’t trace it back to you!

It’s bigger, it’s better, it’s our iOS app 2.0

Just a few weeks back, we released the latest version of our iOS app. It took about six months of developing and coding and 895 gallons of that super delicious hot beverage called coffee to complete.

So what would be the fruits of all that backbreaking labor? It still has the look you love, but the biggest game changer here, is the addition of all the Premium features of the web app. That sounds easy enough, but really it wasn’t.

Such Premiumz, many awesome

Developer Sjoerd Tieleman is the brains and brawn behind the new version. He wrote the code and did all the programming legwork. “The biggest challenge was finding the right form for the Premium features. You have limited space to work with and of course users need to be able to find and use all those features.”

Sjoerd is also co-founder & product developer at Hiro, a multi-platform product design and consultancy company. They’ve worked on a truckload of projects for a whole range of companies, but we consider them our personal app wizards and development partners in crime. In fact, we share our office with them and they made our app from scratch.

 


Sjoerd Tieleman, Co-founder and product developer at Hiro

 

A little makeover

Even though the 2.0 version is jam packed with cool new features, you won’t be able to edit chords just yet. “We have to prioritize of course”, Sjoerd explains. “And adding those Premium features was the biggest priority. When you have a Premium subscription, you want to have premium features on both the web app and the iOS app.”

The transpose feature also got a little makeover. “I’m actually pretty proud of that one, because the difference between using a capo and transposing was not always very clear. So in order to improve that feature, we really had to put it under a magnifying glass.”

As for making sure all the data is merged, like your library and our song catalogue, that was a joint effort, according to Sjoerd. “Tijmen wrote an API to make sure the whole process goes smoothly and everything syncs the way it’s supposed to.”

Something Android comes this way

So there’s iOS, but what about Android? “We’re working hard on that one too and hopefully, we’ll be able to release it this year”, Sjoerd says. “It’s still a little early to give an exact date, but initially, it will be a lot like the first iOS version we released. That means Android users will have an app that looks great and is easy to use. But just like in the first version of the iOS app, you won’t be able to use the Premium features just yet.

 Ain’t got yer grubby hands on the funtastic iOS app yet? Go on, get it.

The Top 5 most intensely practiced songs in March

Once again, we’ve been busy compiling a list of the songs you’ve all been playing, and created the Chordify Continental Top 5 of most intensely practiced songs.

Want to know who’s the new number one on your side of the pond? The scores are on the doors…. Check it out!

Europe
1. Ed Sheeran – Galway Girl
2. The Flash – Running Home to You
3. Ofenbach – Be Mine
4. Dave x J Hus – Samantha
5. LASERY – Wracam

Ed Sheeran – Galway Girl

North America
1. The Flash – Running Home to You
2. Future – Mask Off
3. Dan Stevens – Evermore
4. Lorde – Liability
5. Khalid – Coaster

The Flash Running home to you Chordify chordsThe Flash – Running home to you

South America
1. Manuel Turizo – Una Lady Como Tu
2. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Save My Soul
3. Danny Ocean – Me Rehuso
4. La Fe De María – Son By Four
5. Muerdo – Claridad

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Save my soul Chordify chordsBig Bad Voodoo Daddy – Save my sould

Oceania
1. Mura Masa – Lovesick
2. Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers
3. The Flash – Running Home to You
4. Ziggy Alberts – Runaway
5. Amy Shark – Adore

Mura Masa Chordify chordsMura Masa – Lovesick

Asia
1. I’ll Find You – Kunto Aji Full Version
2. Hey Joe Show – My Morena Girl
3. TJ MONTERDE Ft. KZ TANDINGAN – Ikaw At Ako Pa Rin
4. The Flash – Running Home to You
5. Angelina – Rendy Pandugo – Hampir Sempurna

I'll find you Kunto Aji Chordify chordsI’ll find you – Kunti Aji

Africa
1. Sinach – He did it Again
2. Nathaniel Bassey – Casting Crowns
3. Ricus Nel, Adam Tas, Bok van Blerk, Refentse – Hardekole
4. Khaya, Never settle for less
5. Lebo Sekgobela – Lion of Judah

Nathaniel Bassey Casting crowns Chordify chordsNathaniel Bassey – Casting crowns

A final note for those who are worried about privacy or possibly somewhat ashamed of their guilty pleasures: it’s all big data, not individual results. If you secretly want to learn to play the entire Frozen soundtrack, don’t worry, we can’t trace it back to you!

Chordify Backstage: Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein

Forty years ago, something unholy spawned in a small town in New Jersey. It was 1977, and punk music was on the rise but nothing looked or sounded like the horror-themed style of the Misfits. In 1980, guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, aged 16, joined the band while simultaneously starting his own band, simply called Doyle.

Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein chordify chords

Misfits reunited late last year, and there are rumors of a new album. And though this new album is still uncertain, fans do have a little something to look forward to. Doyle announced that his band will be releasing an album, called As We Die. It’ll come out in Spring 2017 via EMP, the label owned by Megadeth bassist David Ellefson.

Doyle sat down with us to talk about his musical influences, approach to songwriting and why he doesn’t give a shit about shredding.

Which song inspired you to pick up an instrument?
Once I learned that I wasn’t gonna be an NFL star (laughs), I picked up the guitar and learned, of course, what you learn first, which was Smoke on the Water. They actually teach you that in school now by the way – they taught it to my daughter. She came home, showed me and said “I had a guitar lesson in school!” She started playing and I was like “Holy Shit… “ (laughs)

I first got a guitar for my 8th grade graduation. My brother Jerry bought me a guitar; it was a nice ’55 Les Paul. Like a Jr. or something like that. I learned how to play a bit, and Glenn [Danzig] showed me these bar chords, you know the two bar chords: the one on the E and the A strings. Jerry showed me the notes, and within months I was rehearsing with the guys.

Their guitar player wouldn’t show up half the time, because he lived in the city and it was hard for him to get out there. So we were just jamming all the time and I was in the studio with them recording the 3 Hits From Hell 45, but for the Walk Among Us Record. I brought my guitar and amps and it sounded better than the other guitar player, and he never showed up! So Glenn just turned to me – I was 15 – he goes, “You play it”. I was like “Fuck yeah, I’ll play it!!” (laughs) This was 1980.

Is there any particular tune that you’ve written that has challenged you technically, or pushed your abilities to the edge?
The only thing that challenges my abilities is the shit I’m playing now. You know, if I write something that’s too hard for me to play live, and it’s gonna give me a panic attack when that part’s coming up – which is pretty much every solo I write – I’ll throw it in the garbage. I won’t even fuck with it, you know? I’ll try and dumb it down if I can, but mostly I’ll throw it in the garbage and forget I even wrote it.

What’s your favorite chord?
I know two chords. They’re both bar chords. My favorite trick is just bending the neck so I can dive-bomb without a whammy (laughs). As far as chords go, I don’t know a G clef from an arpeggio, or whatever that shit is. Basically, whatever is comfortable for my hands to move to, works.

When did you start writing your own songs?
After the Misfits broke up the first time, my cousin had come over wearing a Van Halen shirt and I’m like “Who the fuck is that?”, he’s like “You don’t know who the fuck this is?” (laughs)

So he gave me Van Halen 1 on cassette and said “Listen to this.” So I started listening to it in my car. I was retired from music at that point and fine with that, until I listened to Van Halen and I was like “Oh my God, this makes me wanna fuckin’ play – it’s insane!”
Then I got into Iron Maiden, at the same time when Run To The Hills was out, and The Trooper was on TV. I went out and I bought that shit and I was like, “If I wrote songs, that’s what the fuck they would sound like.” And that’s what started me writing, really. My cousin got me playing again actually, just with that cassette.

Favorite song you’ve written?
From the Michael Graves Misfits era, probably Helena or maybe something from my new record that we haven’t mixed yet; Kiss Me As We Die and Night Of Sin are two of my favorites.

Do you still play songs written by other artists?
I’m blown away by great musicians playing great songs. But if you’re a great musician and you’re just wanking around, you know, playing all these scales, I don’t give a shit about that.

It’s like that 10 year old kid on youtube playing Eruption. Woop-dee-doo… Go out and write it, then I’m impressed. But worse than that, you’re not creating your own style, it’s somebody else’s, and you’re not making yourself into yourself, you know?

People ask me, “What do you listen to when you write?” I don’t listen to anything! If I’m listening to something I’m not writing.

Any advice for aspiring rock stars to inspire them to keep on playing?
Don’t sit in your room your whole fucking childhood and learn how to fucking shred, and learn everybody else’s songs. Learn how to write songs, and get a good singer. You could be the most sorry sap fucking musician in the world – such as myself – and play great songs, that’s all you need.

And you gotta be able to perform once you get up there. You gotta be able to bring it. All that shredding shit? I keep thinking I wanna learn that shit you know. I see those guys from Arch Enemy and I’m like, I wanna take lessons from them. But then I think: “You know what? I’m gonna use brute force. I’m not gonna sit there and learn all that shit.” (laughs)

I just did the Metal Allegiance. Those guys were rehearsing, and they’re all really great players. You’ve got Alex Skolnick there and Gary Holt along with Dave Ellefson. These guys are great players, and we went to do my song Last Caress, and they were blown away by the way I was playing and most said they couldn’t play it. And I’m like “Holy Shit; this is a whole different world”, ya know? I can’t play what they’re playin’, but they can’t play what I play either. So it’s crazy.

They were like, “Oh my God, your right hand!” And we’re playin’ the shit at half-speed, I’m like, “Whaddya mean, my right hand?” (laughs)

But ya know, if I knew what I was doin’, I’d be doin’ really great right now. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doin’. (laughs)

The key is to get people around you that can do things better than you. When I was writing the Abominator music, I’m like, “I suck at writing vocal melodies. Let me get somebody who’s better at it than me.” So I got one of my favorite guys to do it; he’s so into it and he’s great at it, so I just let him do it. We just did the drums with our new drummer; I gave him the skeleton – just the kick patterns I came up with – and I said: “You’ll know which roles to play, just make this your own.” He just fuckin’ blew it out of the water. It’s so fuckin’ insane. He did a great job. You also need good management. You need someone who knows what the fuck’s goin’ on. If you don’t have that, you’re fucked!