Php Lucene Search Developer

Do not apply unless you can do this job swiftly and without fuss
My auction website www.thedeadskunk.com search engine needs improving. As an example I wish it to work in the same manner as say ebay search engine does, showing the same results.
I had a programmer work on the internal search engine, but parted ways with them, as they were not giving my search engine project the correct and proper attention.
If you are a php wizard who knows how to sort out the boolean search functions for my site, so all is picked up and displayed as per ebay.WITHOUT nasty horizontal page expansions and the loss of other functions, than let me know.Payment will only be made on completion of work.

1) That does require you install SOLR in your server,build an entire indexing / search engine that will make the search 500% faster the site really is slow right now because we are using Mysql instead of SOLR-Lucene indexes for search

2) After that go in and index your existing products database.


3) Make all actions for add/remove/update of your products be in sync with the search index.

4) Integrate the UI for the new search engine where it brings up relevant results in just microseconds.

5) Integrate UI for autosuggest and so forth.

6) When listing, users upload images or pictures to their listings.Sometimes these images are too large in size and the users receive an error message regarding this.I would like the site to work as such, when a user uploads images which are too large, these images are automatically reduced on the fly to a permitted size without any extra load the server and zero image degradation. Also would like all images which are on site to open-up/enlarge upon mouse over without the surfer/searcher/browser having to click on any image in order to get it to enlarge.
If you go here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RANGE-ROVER-VOGUE-V8-SUPERCHARGE-4-2-05-NOW-SOLD-/280411291657?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item4149d0c009

7) Fix the search function so the search indexes correctly when it you drill down contextually.

8)Look for “dead people” in the code you already have because it seems to be like it’s not somehow 1000% robust

9)Also the “wanted ad” section needs fixing, as if you wish to place a wanted ad and click on Category>modify or additional category>modify the site just freezes as it takes an age to load said categories.Your original suggestion regarding access to root on server and additions to may solve this.

Top Php Developer Lucene Solr

I’ve been let down twice oh here with this project, so third and last time posting.

My auction website www.thedeadskunk.com search engine needs improving. As an example I wish it to work in the same manner as say ebay search engine does, showing the same results.
I had a programmer work on the internal search engine, but parted ways with them, as they were not giving my search engine project the correct and proper attention.
If you are a php wizard who knows how to sort out the boolean search functions for my site, so all is picked up and displayed as per ebay.WITHOUT nasty horizontal page expansions and the loss of other functions, than let me know.Payment will only be made on completion of work.

1) That does require you install SOLR in your server,build an entire indexing / search engine that will make the search 500% faster the site really is slow right now because we are using Mysql instead of SOLR-Lucene indexes for search

2) After that go in and index your existing products database.


3) Make all actions for add/remove/update of your products be in sync with the search index.

4) Integrate the UI for the new search engine where it brings up relevant results in just microseconds.

5) Integrate UI for autosuggest and so forth.

6) When listing, users upload images or pictures to their listings.Sometimes these images are too large in size and the users receive an error message regarding this.I would like the site to work as such, when a user uploads images which are too large, these images are automatically reduced on the fly to a permitted size without any extra load the server and zero image degradation. Also would like all images which are on site to open-up/enlarge upon mouse over without the surfer/searcher/browser having to click on any image in order to get it to enlarge.
If you go here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RANGE-ROVER-VOGUE-V8-SUPERCHARGE-4-2-05-NOW-SOLD-/280411291657?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item4149d0c009

7) Fix the search function so the search indexes correctly when it you drill down contextually.

8)Look for “dead people” in the code you already have because it seems to be like it’s not somehow 1000% robust

9)Also the “wanted ad” section needs fixing, as if you wish to place a wanted ad and click on Category>modify or additional category>modify the site just freezes as it takes an age to load said categories.Your original suggestion regarding access to root on server and additions to may solve this.

The Best of Tuts+ – June 2010

June was a stellar month for Tuts+. Mobiletuts+ had recently launched and started off with some great iPhone and Andriod development tutorials. Creative Sessions focused on Digital Illustration this month and started gearing up for July’s Interface Design session. During June a survey was run across all of Tuts+ to give our readers the opportunity to provide some feedback, over 7000 people participated and one was lucky enough to win a $250 Amazon Voucher. Here’s a small sample of the best from Tuts+ this month!

Activetuts+ – Flash, Flex and Actionscript Tutorials

  • Personal Portfolio Flash Template – Active Premium

    It’s time for some more Active Premium goodies, exclusively available to Premium members. This time, an XML-based Flash Personal Portfolio template is waiting for you to download; read on to check out the demo and find out more about subscribing to Active Premium!

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  • Advanced Character Customization for Flash Games

    In this tutorial, we’ll delve into Flash game character customization. The result can be used to provide players with the ability to create a unique character, beyond the basic dress-up options of most games. We’ll learn how to let the user add custom colors to different parts of our character, how to add hand-drawn designs to the character’s clothing, and how to modify a basic walking animation that uses the player’s changes.

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  • Interview with Chris Gross, Plus (Winner Announced) SourceMate License Giveaway!

    SourceMate is a new plugin for FlashBuilder which promises to add a lot of “missing” features some of us have taken for granted in other IDEs.Read on to hear SourceMate Architect Chris Gross answer some questions about the product, plus find out how you can win a free license!

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Aetuts+ – Adobe After Effects Tutorials

  • Create A Growing Text Animation – Quick Tip

    This is a quick tutorial showing an animation idea if you ever need to animate lots of photos with tag lines. I’ll touch on “Beam” and “Auto-Trace” within After Effect and get you started on creating your own beautiful project!

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  • Fluidic Designs Using Particular

    This tutorial is based on the Hyundai i45 tv commercial. The effect is rain falling in the shape of various designs, onto a vehichle. The tvc uses a real-world rain rig with a computer driven water delivery system, however we will be showing you how to create the same effect using only After Effects and Particular.

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  • 41 MORE Killer Typography Works

    I know, I know, I am a day late, but I have quite a good reason… Thank you all for the well wishes, and since I love our readers so much, I was able to finish up this week’s article just for you guys. It’s another roundup of some amazing works of typographical art, that I really think that you are gonna like! You might see that I included one from the comments of last week, so if you have something that you think is worthy… stick it in the comments!

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Audiotuts+ – Audio and Production Tutorials

  • How to Make the Synth Sound from Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”

    In this tutorial we are going to cover how to create Lady Gaga’s famous synth sound from “Just Dance”. Despite all the advancements in sound synthesis, sometimes the best sounds are the ones that are most simple. In fact the basis for the entire sound is one simple square wave!

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  • Open Mic: Tell Us About the Tuts You’d Like to See on Audiotuts+

    What specific topics would you like to see covered in tutorials? Do you prefer written tuts, screencasts, or a mix? And what general areas would you like to see covered: DAW techniques, music theory, how to play an instrument, how to create specific sounds, how to make money with music, something different? Do you have any other suggestions? What can we do to keep you happy and make your day?

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  • So You Think You’ve Finished Mixing? A Guide to Preparing Your Mix for Mastering

    You know what it feels like to finish a mix. Having spent hours, possibly days, perfecting your track to the nth degree, it feels great to finally have a song to be proud of after all the hard work and effort. But what if you took your mix just that little bit further. Before the crucial mastering stage, there are some very simple, and often overlooked, practices and techniques which can be applied to your mix in order to make sure your track stands out from the crowd and better yet, your final master is as good as it possibly can be.

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Cgtuts+ – CG and 3D Tutorials

  • Model and Texture a Water Tower in 3ds Max – Day 1

    In the first part of this tutorial, the modeling and texturing process is covered in detail, starting with the creation of a proxy model inside of 3ds max. During this stage we will block out the tower structure using simple geometry and then go through the process of adding resolution and detail, creating an aged weathered look. We’ll make use of some simple poly modeling techniques as well as Max’s paint deformation tools to create the desired effect.

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  • The Cgtuts+ E3 Games Roundup!

    Being in the CG realm of creativity, I know a lot of you are probably really into games, and probably even have worked on a few of them. I decided to make a nice list of a lot of the games mentioned or announced this past week at the E3 conference, so you can stay up to date, whether or not you followed it.

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  • Composite a 3D object into video footage with Boujou, Maya and After Effects

    Matchmoving is a visual effects technique that allows the insertion of computer graphics into video footage. In this tutorial we’ll start by taking a look at how we can track our footage using Boujou. We’ll then jump into Maya and use that tracking information, along with a custom HDR image, to create and render a 3D object which we can insert into the scene. We’ll then use After Effects to composite the 3D object into the original video. The techniques used in this tutorial can be applied to almost almost all of your 3D integration shots.

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Mobiletuts+ – iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry Mobile Development Tutorials

  • Introduction to iPhone SDK Development

    Mobiletuts+ will be covering all major mobile platforms – iPhone, Windows, Android and Blackberry. This tutorial looks at development with the iPhone SDK. You will learn information about the iPhone platform, how to setup and configure your development environment, and the steps necessary to create a simple fortune cookie application!

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  • Introduction to Android Development

    Mobiletuts+ will be covering all major mobile platforms – iPhone, Windows, Android and Blackberry. Today we’ll be taking a look at Android development: explaining why people have choosen to work with Android and providing an overview of the Eclipse IDE and its Java, DDMS and debugging perspectives. Finally, you’ll learn how to get started making your first Android app!

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  • HTML5 Apps: Positioning with Geolocation

    At the heart of every location-based application is positioning and geolocation. In this tutorial you will learn the geolocation capabilities of HTML5 and the basic principles needed to take advantage of them in your next HTML5 app!

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Nettuts+ – Web Development Tutorials

  • The 10 HTML Tags Beginners Aren’t Using

    Let’s go back to the basics for this one. Everyone reading this at least knows what HTML is. I believe that, no matter what experience level someone has, reviewing the foundation can help increase knowledge. It also helps to hone skills, especially with the constantly evolving technologies that drives the Internet.

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  • Inspiration: 40 Unique Footer Designs

    For this week’s stream of inspiration, we’ve collected forty fantastically creative and unique footer designs.

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  • How to Authenticate Users With Facebook Connect

    Lately, there’s been quite a fuzz about lazy registration. It turns out that the less the user has to think, the higher the conversion rates are! What a thought! If everybody seems to have a Facebook profile, why not add a one-click user registration? I’ll show you how to do that today.

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Phototuts+ – Photography and post-processing Tutorials

  • 7 Items You Never Thought to Bring to a Shoot

    Today, we’re taking a look at some of the less-obvious items that you may not consider bringing to a photo shoot. Some are tiny things, others are big – all of them will help to make any photography shoot go far smoother!

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  • The Ultimate Beginner’s Introduction to Exposure

    Today we’ll be walking through the concept of exposure, right from the beginning. This article won’t befuddle you with complicated numbers and jargon, but it will help you feel more confident with your photography and understand a core concept that’s a vital piece of the photography jigsaw.

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  • DIY: How To Make a Professional Softbox for Under $2

    Nowadays a softbox needn’t be all that expensive – you can get nice results for $100 or even less. But what if there’s a way of making it much cheaper, with the same results? That’s what we’ll be explaining in this DIY tutorial; how to make a softbox with professional results for less than $20.

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Psdtuts+ – Adobe Photoshop Tutorials

  • Create a Cosmic Love Goddess With Photoshop CS5

    Photoshop CS5 includes several new features to help improve your workflow. In today’s tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a cosmic love goddess using some of Photoshop CS5?s new tools including the Refine Edge Feature which really helps to streamline the process of masking and removing objects from their background.

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  • Design a Multimedia Website Layout in Photoshop

    First impressions do count! Stunning our viewers with a visually compelling portfolio is one of the most important things that a designer can do to court a new client. Today we will demonstrate how to use photos, brushes, and textures, and 3D objects to design a creative multimedia website layout in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

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  • More Than 620 Bokeh Background Textures

    As I’m sure you already know, textures can come in very handy; whether you’re using them to subtly add interest to your work, or in full-blown, award-winning photo manipulations. Bokeh is the term used to explain the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur in photography, and is usually seen in good quality macro shots, in the areas that lay outside the depth of field.

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Vectortuts+ – Adobe Illustrator and Vector Tutorials

  • Create a Detailed, Vector-based iPhone Illustration, Part 1

    In this tutorial you will learn how to create a photo-realistic iPhone illustration and every single icon you can find on the iPhone touch screen. That’s 18 icons! With so many fantastic tips and tricks we’ve broken the tutorial into two parts, in part two you will learn how to make the remainder of the icons and finish your illustration. Let’s get started!

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  • Quick Tip: A Simple Way to Create Vector Fog

    In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a simple yet effective smoke-like illustration. Using this technique you can make smoke, fog and clouds in just a few easy steps. Let’s get started!

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  • Inspiration: 35 Amazing Vector Landscapes

    Landscapes aren’t necessarily the first thing that come to mind when one thinks of vector artwork. After all, landscapes are often very nuanced and hold a wide variety of shapes, colors, and patterns that can be difficult to mimic in a vector image. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some incredibly talented vector artists out there creating beautiful landscapes, some of which are almost photo-realistic (especially if viewed from a distance).

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Creative Sessions

  • Realistic Vecyor Motorcycle Portaits

    Every semester, in my Illustrator classes, my students always want to know how I create the Motorcycle Portraits I am known for. I often give them a brief explanation, but I have never really sat down and described the process in detail…until now. My approach to getting a “realistic” look in my work is a bit tedious, but I think you will agree that the end results are well worth it. Enjoy!

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  • The Making of Lost – Part 1

    A key to succeed in following this tutorial series is to experiment. I will be teaching the basic techniques but in order to create a strong composition and attractive shapes, you will need to alter the settings, change/redo splines and experiment with other effects. Patience and determination are mandatory skills for any artist. So let’s get started!

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  • Scratching your Niche Market

    As opposed to discussing just the specific techniques used to target a precise niche market, I would like to start off with a few overarching thoughts. I will cover some basic, yet very useful principles to keep in mind for the bigger picture (Get it? ‘Bigger picture,’ like your career – hehe), and then supply a case study of how I have used them in my work.

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FreelanceSwitch – Freelance Jobs & Freelancer Directory

  • 18 Smokin’ Hot Business Card Designs

    A good business card design is an essential tool in any freelancer’s arsenal. When you’re at a function networking, meeting new clients, or your work comes up in a conversation, your card is the anchor to make sure the discussion doesn’t come to nothing.

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  • 5 Ways to Fire A Client

    There are just some clients who you no longer want to work with. It could be that the client in question is difficult to work with or it could be more a matter that you’ve moved on from the type of work you’ve been doing for that client. Whether you’ve only done a little work for the client or you’ve been together a long time, it’s never easy to fire a client. Not only do you have to get past the freelancer’s natural reluctance to give up money, but you’ve got to make the break in such a way that the client will still speak positively about you to other prospective clients.

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  • 15 Inspiring Home Offices

    Is there such a thing as the perfect home office? From my personal opinion, I’d say that your own office is the perfect one. Then again, this all depends on what we have, what we use and if we’re pleased with it. I’m not even close to satisfied with my office yet, but I’m working on it.

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Create a Sporty Tennis Girl Using Gradient Mesh


In this tutorial you will learn how to use the Gradient Mesh tool for character design. We will begin with a sketch and build the character using different shapes and gradients to achieve a smooth, almost 3D finish. The final outcome may appear to be difficult to achieve, I assure you it’s simple once you begin.

Continue reading “Create a Sporty Tennis Girl Using Gradient Mesh”

10 Essential Principles for Learning Guitar

The guitar is a great instrument. It’s fairly portable, relatively inexpensive, easy enough to learn the basics – and you can take your playing as far as you want. Lots of people – from kids to grandparents – learn the guitar every day. And if you’re one of them, here are ten things you need to know.

On a recent Open Mic we asked the question, “What advice would you offer someone considering learning the guitar?” Lots of you answered, and your main points are included in this article alongside my own thoughts. And please feel free to add even more advice in the comments. Thousands of learners will appreciate it.


1. Practice!

This might seem obvious, but it never stopped anyone giving this advice when I started learning.

I started learning music when I was 20 – keyboard first, then guitar later. I was keen and enthusiastic, and constantly asked every musician I met for advice about the best and fastest way to learn. Every person gave me just one word of advice: “Practice!” It drove me crazy as hell – I wanted more – but it was good advice.

A big part of learning to play the guitar (and any instrument) is finger memory – motor skills. Your fingers need to know what to do without your brain needing to tell them. And that comes just one way – practice.

How much do you need to practice? I still stand by the advice I was given at the time: half an hour a day, or an hour a day if your really serious about learning. And the daily part is important – practice every day. One three hour session a week just isn’t going to cut it. Remember we are trying to develop finger memory, and that comes by regular, constant practice.

Most of you agree. Here is the advice you gave in the Open Mic:

  • “Practice, practice, practice. There’s no substitute for actually playing music.” (vladh)
  • “Practice practice practice.” (lisote)
  • “Be prepared for hard work, playing the guitar is hard at first and requires patience, determination and above all time. If you are prepared to practice half an hour a day you will start to get results within a month or two and you will be playing your favourite songs which is when the fun really begins.” (Jon)
  • “Persistence. To begin with your fingers won’t like it & it can be frustrating, but with regular practice (said countless times, 10/20mins a day is better than a 4hour practice once a week) it will suddenly click & feel very natural, almost so that you’ll find it hard remembering what it was like in the beginning.” (Simon)

2. Find a Way to Stay Motivated

Learning to play the guitar won’t be easy. To begin with you will sound terrible and feel totally uncoordinated. Your finger tips will suffer daily pain until you develop callouses. After countless hours of practice you will feel like you are not getting anywhere. Although your family may encourage you on the first day, their words may not be so complimentary after a week or so of daily practice. (Actually, it’s better to practice where you won’t annoy anyone if you can manage it.)

You feel good about learning the guitar now, but what can you do to keep that motivation when for a month or two if you feel like you’re wasting your time?

You might want to set small short-term goals that won’t take so long to accomplish. You might want to visualize yourself onstage playing with a band. You might want to reward yourself somehow after each practice. You might want to find a guitar buddy who is also learning, and cry on one another’s shoulder. You might want to remind yourself that most people find learning very difficult to begin with. However you do it, maintaining motivation is essential, or you might just give up.

Here are your comments from the Open Mic:

  • “Don’t let anyone dishearten you. If they’re a musician they’re being an ar**hole because they would have gone through the same thing and if they’re not a musician then your doing something they probably wish they were. Although you should find that most people will encourage you, everyone loves to be serenaded or when you kick out a song they can bellow out to.” (Simon)
  • “Don’t be put off if things don’t sound right at first.” (Chris Blizzard)

3. Learn the Basic Skills the Right Way

Playing guitar involves a combination of basic skills. Take time to learn those skills, and learn them properly.

Some people have a very narrow musical education. Toby Pitman told me about one of his students who impressed the class with an amazing lead guitar solo. Toby then asked him to play a G chord, and the guy stared back blankly. A guy I went to uni with impressed me with a classical piece. I assumed he was an amazing player until he told me that was all he could play.

So make sure you learn all of the basic skills. Get a book or teacher or online course to make sure. Learn notes and learn chords. Learn rhythm and learn lead. Learn strumming and learn picking. And don’t be in so much of a hurry that you skip lessons.

And learn those skills properly. Be fussy. You will sound terrible to begin with, but don’t be satisfied with it! Work at it until you sound better. When you play a chord, check every string to make sure it sounds clearly, and one of your fingers aren’t leaning on it giving it a muted sound. Make sure you use the correct fingers when playing chords and playing scales. Make sure the way you hold the guitar, the angle of the guitar, your right-hand grip and left-hand wrist action are correct.

This isn’t to say that there is one and only one way to do everything – personal preference and comfort certainly come into it – but that you shouldn’t be satisfied with being sloppy, and that you should be concerned to do things in the most efficient and effective way. Remember you are learning motor skills, and if you teach your fingers a bad habit, it will be very difficult to break.

Here is some advice from the Open Mic:

  • “Two things – learn the notes, chords and fingerings in general. That’s not too much fun, though (for me).” (Zach)
  • “Learn Rock Grip now. It will make your life easier.” (thomasfedb) Another commenter and I are not sure what Rock Grip is. Would someone please explain in the comments? But Thomas points out that learning the correct grip earlier rather than later is better.
  • “Learn chords – it’ll sound like a song sooner than if you concentrate on notes and scales exclusively.” (Todd Cumpston)

4. Play in Time

My 14 year old son has just started learning the guitar. Youtube is his teacher, and he spends most of his time learning chords and putting them together. But I can hear something he can’t – often when he is changing chords there is a slight pause. Without realising, he is stopping his rhythm to get his fingering right.

While I’m glad he cares about correct fingering, learning to play in time is also important. Play regularly with a metronome. Playing along with a CD or other person is also helpful. Practice playing slow, and practice playing fast. If you don’t have a metronome, use the free one over at www.metronomeonline.com.

A few of you commented about metronomes on the Open Mic:

  • “Whatever you are going to play, play it with a metronome.” (Omar)
  • “Practice practice practice and of course, as Omar said, with metronome.” (losote)

5. Learn to Listen

Listening is a highly under-rated skill. More than just about anything else it will help you become a great player.

Listen to others playing, both live and on albums. What sort of guitar are they playing? Are they strumming, picking, or playing single notes? What sort of tone are they achieving, and how?

Carefully listen to yourself as you practice. Can you hear when you do something wrong? Is your guitar out of tune? Are all of the strings sounding clearly? Do the notes and chords you are playing sound even? How can you improve your tone?

And listening is most important once you are playing in a band. What are the other instruments playing? What can you play to compliment them? Should you play more or less to fit in with the sound of the band? What rhythm are the drums and other guitars playing? What can you play to enhance the groove?

Here is some advice about listening from the Open Mic:

  • “Learn to *listen* to music. Learn to recognize intervals, learn to recognize how different chords sound and what feeling they carry. Try to imitate your favorite recordings to train your ear. This will greatly improve your playing and musical feel, and will give you five steps ahead when learning any instrument.” (wwwald)
  • “Learn songs by ear. It’s great to be able to read music, but learning to deconstruct what you’re hearing and play it without any tablature or sheet music is a great way to develop critical listening skills, build repertoire, learn a range of techniques, and develop your ability to quickly digest and apply new material (for example, when learning repertoire of a band). What’s more, it’s fun!” (Glynn)

6. Learn Some Music Theory

When I was at school a lot of kids complained about math. “How am I going to use this in the real world?” they asked. I loved math and didn’t understand the question.

Music theory is the same. Some love it and some hate it. But it always helps to know some. Especially when you can see how it improves your playing.

Consider learning some sort of music notation. Every guitarist should be able to read a chord chart. And the Internet is full of guitar tabs, so you may want to learn how to read it, especially if you’d like to learn riffs and melodies.

You should know the note names of each string. It is worth learning the notes for each fret along each string. You might want to learn scales and how chords work.

Guitarists have varying feelings about music theory, and this came out in the Open Mic:

  • “Be able to sight read SHEET music (tabs are useless in a recording environment) . Understand chord charts. and metronome metronome metronome! Also, don’t get caught up in playing leads. Become a strong rhythm player first. You wouldn’t believe how many people I have recorded that can’t play simple upstroke patterns or lack the understanding of basic time signatures.” (Deems)
  • “I’m afraid I’ve got to disagree with this. Maybe sight reading sheet music will help you if you want to eventually become a session player, but most people DON’T become session players. Play what you want to play, the way you want to play it. BUT remember that sheet music does offer more than tab ever will, so it is worth learning. You may have found that from recording people, I’ve found whilst teaching people bass, that they don’t want to sit and learn how to site read, it puts them off. better to let them tell you a song they want to play, you listen and figure out techniques required, teach them those, and then teach them the song. then pick another song, teach new techniques required for the song, teach them the song…” (Chris Blizzard)
  • “Don’t learn theory in isolation. Whatever you learn – a new scale, chord, the name of an interval you like the sound of, a technique like bends or hammer-ons – apply it to something musical. There is value in simply repeating exercises, scales, etc., but to get these things into your vocabulary, do it in a musically meaningful way: improvise some melodies with a scale, play a riff you already know and add in those hammer-ons, etc. Again, this is fun!” (Glynn)

7. Buy a Guitar

In the Open Mic, one commenter said, “Buy a guitar.” They signed the comment “Doh”, possibly because the comment is so obvious. Another commenter, Chris Blizzard, adds, “Don’t worry too much about having the best equipment.”

It’s hard to practice regulary unless you own a guitar. I recommend that you buy the best guitar you can afford, keeping in mind that you can always buy a better one down the track as you improve. And obviously if you are learning electric guitar buy an amp as well.

What you want is a guitar that sounds good when you play good, and sounds bad when you play bad. Some people have guitars that sound bad no matter what they do. I can’t imagine they will improve very quickly. For the same reason, make sure that you keep your guitar in tune, or it will sound like you are playing something wrong even when you aren’t.


8. Put Variety In Your Routine

Regular practice can become boring without variety. Your fingers learn better with consistent routine, but keep your mind happy too by adding something interesting and enjoyable.

Try something challenging from time to time, even if there isn’t a chance in hell you can do it right. Play songs that you enjoy. Sing along. Play with friends. Enjoy the portability of the guitar and play in different locations – get out of the house!

Here are some suggestions from the Open Mic that will add variety to your musical life:

  • “Play along with your favorite artists and apply what you’ve learned!” (Zach)
  • “For total beginners: Print out some chords/lyrics for songs you *love*. It’ll sound stilted at first, but being able to play a song you’ve always loved is an attractive enough goal to keep you practicing until your fingers ‘learn’ the chords.” (Neil)
  • “The other thing to do is find people to play with, even if you all suck it is way more fun than being locked up in your bedroom and your playing will improve so much more playing in a band.” (Jon)
  • “And learn songs that you like.” (Todd Cumpston)

9. Stay Healthy

In the Open Mic, Jake gives this advice: “Protect your hearing. Tinnitus sucks.” It’s true – guitar playing can be a health hazzard!

When learning anything new, it’s always a good idea to become aware of the risks. And Jake points out the biggest risk: Playing at excessive volume can damage your hearing. I know, I live with ringing in my ears every day – probably caused by listening to music too loud in headphones.

Of course, there is minimal risk of this unless you are playing your guitar through an amp, or listening with headphones.

If you’d like tinnitus and other health concerns, Guitarsite.com have some helpful links on their Health & Safety page.


10. Have Fun!

And finally, remember why you are learning the guitar. You are learning it for your own enjoyment, so remember to have fun!

  • “Most of all though remember to have fun, if you have a teacher and they are not making learning fun find someone else to teach you.” (Jon)
  • “Importantly, as Jon said, remember to have fun. Pick up a chord book, learn you favourite tunes or make up your own & rock out! Then knock it to 11 & rock some more!” (Simon)
  • “Rule 1: Have Fun. Rule 2: Have Fun.” (Chris Blizzard)

One last piece of advice that I will give you is to keep your eyes on Audiotuts for upcoming guitar tutorials. I’m expecting them to start flooding in this month and next. We’ll have Basix tuts and advanced. If there is something particular you’d like us to teach you, let us know in the comments.


3 Useful FL Studio Tools

In my experience with music software I’ve come to the conclusion that FL Studio (despite being disapproved by most of the music producers) is an excellent software for composing and arranging. With Fruity Loops you can create musical pieces in genres, ranging from house and industrial to epic soundtracks and the one thing that you need is a gentle bit of creativity!

Recently I’ve been doing a job for a studio and I had to create a great deal of music for a short period of time. This was really useful for me because I learned how to use some of the great tools that were integrated in FL Studio – and therefore I saved much time for mixing, editing and finishing the products.

1. The Randomizer Tool

Perhaps some of you would think that using a randomizing tool would destroy much of the process of creativity. That is not quite true.

Now, let’s examine the panel of “Randomize”. First, load an instrument in your step sequencer and then open the “Piano roll” (right click on the VST (or sample), then “Piano roll”). Now, when you are looking on the virtual partiture (score) look in the settings panel of the piano roll. They are in the top left corner.

Click on the wrench icon and then examine the drop-down menu. You will see a lots of tools and “Randomize” being right above the last one. Remember that you can use ALT+R to trigger the tool – it really saves time!

The main idea of the “Randomizer” is to create random notes in a specific key or chord but this is not what I will be talking about. This tool can also be linked to some parametres and controls like velocity, panning, pitch, modx and mody. This is the ideal decision for putting some realism in your tracks, especially if you use sample-layered software (for example East West Quantum Leap Gold, Virtual grand pianos or Ezdrummer).

You can save your time when you have staccatto violins that repeatedly play the same passage for over a minute. The simple decision is to make slight dynamic changes and therefore create an illusion of live performance. It would be painful if you do this note by note; still, you can use “Randomizer” for your own comfort.

Download audio file (violins_notedited.mp3)
Download audio file (violins_edited.mp3)

You can listen to some demos of first violins, playing staccato (VST used – EWQL Gold)

In the next example I will show you some drums treatment. Tired of all those computerized hi-hats and tired of editing note velocity by hand? Here is a simple solution for you:

Download audio file (hats_notedited.mp3)

Download audio file (hats_edited.mp3)

And final example – how the slight use of “Randomizer” effects the whole song:

Download audio file (track_notedited.mp3)

Download audio file (track_edited.mp3)

Of course this tool can’t be of any use when editing the velocity of an instrument that is playing solo at the moment. I suggest making the velocity changes by hand with a lots of listening… or recording the melody live.

2. Ghost Channels

When you work on tough projects (for example MIDI orchestration) you can sometimes ask yourself: “What was the chord, that’s playing on this bar?” Also, you may want to check the melodic line of the violas, before writing the violins section. The ghost channels (I call them “ghost notes”) can help you see what the other instruments on the same pattern are playing in that exact moment.

Here you can see that I am working on a rhode organ melody (in green), while I can see the bass-line and some gentle piano chords (in gray).

You can turn this function on and off by clicking on the piano roll options, then “Helpers” and “Ghost channels” (or simply press ALT+V).

3. Quick Quantize

If you work mostly with a MIDI keyboard and a low-quality sound card, you probably had had experiences with latency (or maybe you just didn’t play that melody rhythmically). Therefore your piano melodie is not synchronized with the beat and needs to be edited.

Everyone have heard of the “Quantizer” tool, which helps you re-arrange notes in a certain manner after making some specifications.

Download audio file (organ_not_quantized.mp3)

Download audio file (organ_quantized.mp3)

The “Quick quantize” tool (CTRL+Q), though, makes an immediate quantize taking one specification only – “Snap”. You can edit the snap settings from the piano roll itself or from the top panels. Of course, quick quantizing can also ruin your recorded material, but most of the time it saves a lot of time – so use it wisely!


Exclusive Freebie Pack – Eloquence! Icon Set


There are very few design elements with more uses than icons. Icons can be used in just about every type of project, from software applications to website designs. Today, our friends from Icon Nebula have released a really nice set of 75 free icons exclusively to the readers of Psdtuts.


Exclusive Freebie Pack – Eloquence! Icon Set

This pack includes seventy-five 32 x 32 pixel icons in PNG format that you can use for personal and professional projects. See the download file for more information regarding licensing. Below is an example of the icons included in this pack.

sample

This exclusive set of icons was created by Supratim Nayak of Icon Nebula. We are very excited to partner up with him on the release of this set.

pack