WordPress Theme Club

I have been working with WordPress since about 2009 in its’ earlier form. I have designed many themes as well as having seen many design fads come and go.

For beautiful and professional looking themes, I recommend is Elegant Themes. They have so many themes and the low annual membership price of just $39 stays the same no matter how many themes are added.

With 80 themes currently in stock the price is less than $0.50 cents per theme.

I use these themes for client web sites, minisites, squeeze pages and even online stores. They have a specialized theme for nearly any type of site, each with its own unique features and shortcodes.

Along with the included features these themes also allow for easy customization of background images, logos, custom colors and font selection.

Elegant Themes offer great support and an awesome community as well.

Excellent for designers, developers and business owners. A must-have for those who offer WordPress setup and customization services.




Leaf Trombone: First Massively Multi-player, Musical Game for the iPhone

The makers of Ocarina, a highly popular and successful wind instrument app for the iPhone, presented a sneak peek of the Leaf Trombone World Stage at Apple’s iPhone 3.0 event last month.  As the name suggests, anyone can perform a tune on the Leaf Trombone before a global audience.  Here are some YouTube videos of what it does:

When the Saints…

A player can also request a panel of self-appointed judges, randomly selected from anywhere in the world, providing an instant critique of the performance, using a combination of emoticons and text.  Judges can reward a performance or veto it mid-note.

The World Stage will separate the Music Gods from the Wannabes. “People can play at home, alone, as badly as they want.  It’s like singing in the shower.  Where’s the challenge? The thrill?” asks Smule CTO and co-founder Dr. Ge Wang.  “We are inviting people to abandon their egos and put it all out there, before a global audience and a potentially merciless tribunal.”

Inspired by traditional Chinese leaf instruments, Smule’s Leaf Trombone is ideally suited to both the iPhone and iPod touch platform.  Users move the slide up and down to change pitch, and, with iPhones, blow into the microphone to create sound.  Leaf Trombone ships with a group of songs already loaded, so users can immediately begin learning how to play the instrument.  A music box provides accompaniment, and floating leaves show beginners where to place the slide to achieve the correct note.   Once users have mastered a song, they’re ready to perform on the World Stage.

“Leaf Trombone was developed to unleash people’s creativity and their inner rock star.” said Wang.  “Now, with the Leaf Trombone, anyone can perform on the World Stage.”

Electric guitar pickups – Single coils and humbuckers

Single coil pickups and humbucking pickups

high output single coil pickups

Among many other variables, two things that affect the sound of the guitar are the type of wood used and the pickup system that the guitar is fitted with. Two popular choices are single coil pickups and humbucking pickups. Single coils (like the pickups fitted on most Stratocasters) tend to produce a bright and more articulate sound that doesn’t take up a lot of space in a mix, where Humbuckers produce a thicker sound that can overpower other mid-range instrument sounds or even other guitars. hi gain humbuckers

Humbuckers are typically the type of pickups used to get the ‘wall of guitar’ sound used in a lot of heavy metal music. Single coil pickups play nice with a guitar amp’s overdrive channel and are what gives the Fender stratocaster its’ distinctive ‘quack’ in blues music.

Although with their respective tones aside, these pickups serve two very different functions. Single coil pickups are more succeptable to electromagnetic interference while humbuckers are designed to reject these types of interference. This gives a more noiseless guitar signal especially when using a really thick distortion and the heavier tone is an afterthought. They can also go a long way towards helping control feedback (I say control because they can be used in your favor to both generate and eliminate feedback).

The Beatles: Rock Band

Yes. It is here. Well…okay it’s not actually here right now, but the point is that it is coming. And that date is 09.09.09. I don’t know why people like to release on dates where all the numbers line up, but well we only have three more years that we can do that for so whatever.

Anyway, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, and Giles Martin have gotten together to decide that it is time to spread the awesome fatal musical mastery of the Beatles to the world through the genious of video games. Apple Corps Ltd., Harmonix and MTV have some have now broken the power struggle between Guitar Hero and Rockband because everyone knew that whoever gets the Beatles, beats the game. As John Drake put it, Apple Corps Ltd. “respected and appreciated what Harmonix does creatively for rhythm games”. And yes, that quote is from Wikipedia, there are just very limited sources on the matter.

Initially, I was all for Guitar Hero III even when Rock Band had first come out with its fancy drum kit, but once the next wave had come out, Rock Band 2 with its all of its community support, gameplay features and large DLC library had just demolished Guitar Hero: World Tour even with its nifty new drumset and the fact that it had Hendrix’s songs.

As for now, the waiting is the longest part. Five months to go, but if you can’t wait, I’m sure you can always just pre-order like I plan to.

Fender VS Gibson part II – Strat takes on the Les Paul

The Fender Strat beat the Gibson SG hands down in our previous poll. Although it was a close race (the Stratocaster won by a %55 majority) the comments indicated the stratocaster to be a favourite early on.

I decided to continue on and see how the Strat does up against another one of its’ major competitors, the Gibson Les Paul. We only recieved 85 votes in the previous poll so I’m hoping to see a lot more voters this time around. You don’t need to register or be logged in to vote in this poll so go ahead and share your opinion with us.

Fender Strat VS. Gibson Les Paul
( surveys)

I found it interesting that so many people found the Les Paul to be a more suitable competitor for the Fender Stratocaster when it comes to Gibson VS Fender. As I stated in the last poll the SG was actually introduced by Gibson to be a direct competitor to the Fender Strat which was then outselling the Les Paul.

The Epiphone inspection process


Epiphone posted an interesting look at their inspection and quality control process today. It allows you to see the tedious work that goes into inspecting each and every guitar before it goes into stores. Each and every instrument that leaves Epiphone’s Asia factory undergoes a rigorous 15 point inspection before hitting stores in the U.S. and now Epiphone is allowing us a candid look at the process.

I wonder if this is the guy who handled my Epi Dot model before I purchased it at Jett Landry music in Sudbury, Ontario.

The talent switch

Have you ever heard the phrase “Turn down the suck”? I once had a friend say to me in the midst of a brutal hangover the morning after a particularily bad gig, “Boy, you really had the suck knob cranked to 11 last night, huh?”

The funniest thing I’ve ever heard a sound tech say in a sound check was “Whoops! Must have forgot to turn on the talent switch.” I laughed so hard I nearly busted a gut (or a guitar string).

Many would-be musicians like to believe that there is some magical talent knob that is used in professional studio recordings to make horrible musicians sound like guitar gods, and Rossanne Arnold sound like Britney Spears (vocoder anyone). Though it is true that certain types of effects and tweaks can be used to allow amatuer musicians and vocalists to sound better, there is no such thing as studio magic in real life.

Although we can’t make bad musicians sound good, we can apparently make them look smart. Here is the closest example of real life studio magic.

Dumb Blonde Mic Check – Watch more Funny Videos
photo found via femaleleadguitarist

Ibanez Roadstar RS 230 Rd

ibanez roadstar

This is my little gem of a guitar from the 80′s. Long before the Ibanez 7 string joined the ranks of ‘skid guitars’ popularized by oh-so-lame Nu-Metal bands I lucked out at a hock shop and picked up my Ibanez Roadstar II RS 230 RD for around $250 as a quick replacement around 2002. I didn’t know at the time what a classic electric guitar this was. The Roadstar II is considered to be one of the most well made and reliable guitars ever built.

The thing that drew me to it in the first place was the three v7t single coil pickups which were unlike any electric guitar pickups I had ever seen. The looked like tiny little rails across the shape of a normal guitar pickup. They sound amazing.  The Ibanez Roadstar guitars were initially introduced as ‘hot-rod’ strat copies but mine has a distinctive ‘telecaster’ type of tone in my opinion.

The photo above is obviously not my guitar, mine has a few scratches and love marks. It is also covered with stickers as I decided the Roadstar II was the definitive punk-rock guitar a few years back and laid almost every sticker I own onto it. Currently mine is non-operational. When I bought it the pickups were not wired properly and one of my “I can fix anything” moments lead to its’ untimely demise. Still, if I had the money I would have it fixed. There have been many nights I laid in bed awake thinking of what I could sell in order to afford its’ refurbishing, but there just doesn’t seem to be any gear I can part with.