The Amazing Slow Downer
This blog is for everyone who plays an instrument and who stands in awe of the great players. I play guitar and appreciate great guitar music in many styles and genres. I am awed by masters of the craft like Phil Keaggy, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Brad Paisley, Brent Mason, Stanley Jordan and so many other guitar greats.
How many times have we heard a new sound or a riff that defies the rules of nature as we knew them up to that moment? Learning the riffs of guitar greats can be quite a chore when their “normal driving speed” is 120 mph and yours is 55.
I know that, with practice, I can get there… the challenge is how to break apart the amazing riff and teach my fingers how to work up to the speed of light. Back in the turntable days, whether we were trying to decipher Les Paul or Eric Clapton or Dicky Betts, we could put a thumb on the 45 or the LP to separate the notes. The pitch would drop ridiculously, of course, and there was the risk of ruining the record by gouging the needle across the grooves. When music moved to tape and then to CD, we lost even the thumb trick.
Enter “The Amazing Slow Downer” by Roni Music on the Mac and PC and “Slowblast!” by PG Music for the PC. Both “The Amazing Slow Downer” and “Slowblast!” let you take a digital music file and slow it down, maintaining the key of the music even at the slower rate. They also let you loop a section of the music, enabling you to work on that one special riff over and over and over. There’s also an open source solution called “Audacity”, available at http://audacity.sourceforge.net, packs in many features including the ability to slow down a song. It’s great to have a tireless teacher at your side.
Isn’t it great that the wonders of digital media now extend beyond the pure listening enjoyment of music to software that can help you grow in your own personal pursuit of the craft? I’d love to hear of any software discoveries you have made that are enabling you to learn and grow as an artist.