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August 2005
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October 2005

Treasures of Hard Rock Cafe


I've always been fascinated by the guitars and memorabilia at Hard Rock Cafes.  There seem to be around 100 items at most stores and given that they've got thousands of locations worldwide, well, that's a lot of guitars up on walls.  Some are obviously crap bottom-of-the-line guitars (I'm sure Eric Clapton didn't spend a lot of time playing some of these signed Squiers.) 

At any rate, there is an interesting story behind the gold records, guitars, cymbals etc.  Hard Rock created a comprehensive book that covers the story of the gear and also showcases with high quality photos and descriptions.  For $30, it's a great coffee table book for any aspiring guitar player.  (Or suffering guitar widow.)

Hugh Cornwell: Multitude of Sins


Hugh Cornwell, ex-frontman for the Stranglers, has always been one of my favorite punk guitar players.  He left the Stranglers back in 1990 after 14 years of ups and downs and went on to have a passable solo career.  Cornwell's written two books, both of which are highly interesting to Stranglers fans.  The first "Stranglers: Song by Song" logs every Strangler song and describes how it was written, what it's about, and what was going on at the time.  His second book, "Multitude of Sins" is a more straightforward biography covering life before, during, and after the Stranglers.  Some might not enjoy the non-linear approach Cornwell took with the book, but I found it to be a good read.  If you want stories of rock & roll excess from a Telecaster guitar guru, you won't be disappointed!

Power Tab Editor


Ok, the above picture is for a different kind of "power tabs."  What I've found fascinating recently is the community thas has sprung up in support of Brad Larson's incredible Power Tab Editor software for Windows.  This is free software that you can download and load from thousands of tab files in the Power Tab (PTB) file format.  If you're so inclined you can create or edit your own Power Tab files, but even without that, the software is outstanding.  What's most handy is that you can play back tablature scores in MIDI so you can hear what the guitar is supposed to sound like.  And as it's playing back, it highlights the tablature so you can play along.  (Ok, you may need to slow it down sometimes!)  You can also save Power Tab files as PDFs producing professional looking lead sheets. 

The software is not perfect (it crashes occasionally on Windows XP) and I hope Larson will update it some time soon.  But by all means, check it out.