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Song Surgeon Review – Slow Down Music Easily!

Have you ever wanted to slow down music so you could actually figure out what was going on? 

Song Surgeon does exactly that for you – just like a surgeon, it allows you to slice and dice and manipulate any audio file in almost any way you want.

4 Reasons Why You'd Want To Slow Down Music Or Change Pitch

There are a few common reasons I can think of why one might want to slow down music, or alter its pitch:

To learn a new riff that’s too fast in the original.
Let’s face it, some great sounding riffs simply have to be learned at a slower pace, and then brought up to tempo through practice. It’s difficult to really decipher exactly what is being played without being able to slow things down to the point where you can identify individual changes. Song Surgeon allows you to do this – without distorting or changing the pitch of the song. This means you can play along at half the speed, or even a quarter of the speed of the original, but still in the same key.

To bring an older recording into standard pitch.
Some of the older recordings, especially those done on tape, were edited so many times that the end result was slightly sped up, or slowed down from the way things were played. Due to lack of technology at the time, this actually changed the pitch of the recording, putting it out of tune if you tried to play along with it. With Song Surgeon, you can make those adjustments to bring the song back into tune with your guitar. Some artists even sped the tapes up on purpose, just for kicks! Song Surgeon makes it easy to learn from these types of recordings.

To shift a song from Eb or another key into E standard.
Ever tried to play along with a song, only to find it is in Eb? That means you have to tune your whole guitar down a half step, which takes time. Maybe the next song you wanted to practice with is in standard tuning. Then you have to re-tune again, or, have two separate guitars. Song Surgeon allows you to simply change the pitch of the song you’re playing with to where you want it to be.

To change a song to a different key so you can sing along.
Want to sing or perform a song, but can’t do it in the same range as the original, due to your own vocal range? The easy answer is to change the key you play the song in. But which key works best? Song Surgeon let’s you quickly change keys so you can sing along to find out which one works best with your vocal range. Once you know which key you’re working with, then you can transpose the chords. Why go to all that work before you know which key you want to end up in?

I have experimented with Song Surgeon, and found it to be quite powerful and easy to use for all the above situations. I’m sure there are other uses for it as well, I just need time to find more problems to solve with this software!

What Else Can Song Surgeon Do?

  • Analyze the key, tempo, and chord changes and display all that on-screen for you. Yes, it overlays a visual chord chart on top of your song! 
  • Allows you to export the chords to a text file. 
  • Can slow the audio to as little as 10% of the original speed, all without changing the pitch so you can figure out what's being played. Audio quality is not affected at all. 
  • check
    Can transpose the song to a different key with 1 click (this is great if you want to learn a song in a different key to match your voice better)
  • check
    Easily create loops, so you can practice a riff or a portion of a song over and over without interruption. 


Song Surgeon is a powerful piece of software, there’s no doubt about it. The presets on the Tempo and Pitch sections are incredibly handy, and the layout is intuitive and easy to learn, and the sound quality is great. Creating easy-to-work-with loops is child's play. 

It’s true, there are free ways of performing some of these tasks, however for anyone that does this kind of thing on a regular basis, it makes sense to have a tool that is designed specifically for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Song Surgeon offers a free trial download, so if you’re unsure, or even just curious, I recommend downloading it and giving it a try. You don’t need a credit card or anything to get started, simply download the software to your computer, fire it up, load in a song you want to learn, and start using it. You’ll find out pretty quickly how cool it is.

Bottom line: If you learn a lot of songs or portions of songs from recordings, then this software will make your life easier. There’s no two ways about it.


Review: Ditto Looper by TC Electronics

I recently bought a Ditto Looper pedal made by TC Electronics. The official site for the pedal, with all the technical info can be found here.

Jonathan has recently been explaining how the use of Jam Tracks can help improve your playing. Hard to debate that one for sure.

Yet, as another complementary and fun way to improve your playing, the new Ditto Looper is a great way to go for anyone that doesn’t want to delve into the challenges and complexities that many looping devices come with. This looper is NOT for everyone, but it is a great practice and/or live performance tool for either aspiring, beginning, or advanced musicians that just want to quickly compose or create a looped 5 minute track that can be easily captured and played back with the exact sound quality and ease at which you recorded a guitar or other rhythm track with a quick click of a button.


I’ve found using this looping device to be totally simple and blissful, and it’s helped improve my playing, creativity, timing, and all aspects of my playing and enjoyment of the guitar. It is a great way to quickly develop ideas and new riffs and learn how to accompany your own created tracks… and, it’s always right there when you need it.

The device is most intuitive, solidly built, and only requires the correct 9-volt adapter plug. So for under $150 or less, you can be jammin’ away, and that’s quite a value for such a well constructed and easy-to-use device – at least from my perspective. The Ditto Looper is available at most music retail stores and almost anywhere online that sells guitars and related accessories. Click here to find one on Amazon.com.

So, check it out, and practice in a really fun way that doesn’t make refining your guitar skills seem painful. I look forward to using my looper almost every day. It has true by-pass, so that your guitar to amp or PA signal sounds the same when playing through it but not using it. It can easily be hooked up in a chain if you’re using a DI box or other pedals, as well. It’s great for creating intuitive contemporaneous improvisational music ‘on the fly’. Don’t over-think it, if this little device appeals to you. Just try one out or buy it, and you’ll never regret the decision. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity here. It’s not going to satisfy those that want to create and store hours and hours of looped music. There are many pedals for that approach. Yet, as a quick and simple means to record your playing and use as your own personal jamming track… this is a phenomenal way to go.

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Hessen RiffAbout the Author: Hessen Riff and all of his related music sites are easily found on his website: www.hessenriff.com


Learn And Master Guitar Course Review

Learn and Master Guitar Course ReviewOverview

Learn and Master Guitar is billed as “the world’s most complete video instruction course for guitar.” Steve Krenz, the author, has a degree in music, along with a ton of practical experience playing for quite a few big name bands, in multiple musical styles. Any course making such an impressive claim ought to be evaluated by a third party, so I wanted to get my hands on a copy of this course and judge for myself its true value. Following is my review of Learn and Master Guitar.

The Package

Learn and Master Guitar is a physical course – there is no download option – and the first thing you notice when you open the shipping box is how nicely it is presented. Clearly, some work has gone into the packaging, for what that’s worth! Inside the box you’ll find a 107 page lesson book, as well as 20 DVDs and 5 CDs. All the material is presented very professionally, as one would expect from a market leading guitar course.

* Please note: the product photos on this page are from the previous version of Learn & Master Guitar; they’ve since partnered with Gibson and updated the course. The updated course is what you will get if you order via the links; this review is still relevant for the new course.

Inside Peak (Watch my video review)

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Disclaimer: If you purchase through links on this page, I will receive some compensation.

The Lessons

Learn and Master Guitar is geared towards beginner players (and also intermediate players who need a better grounding in the fundamentals), and is intended to give one a solid and broad foundation to build on. Styles that are touched on include: acoustic, electric, fingerstyle, blues, jazz, country, R&B, and funk.

There are 20 sessions in the book, and each one corresponds to a DVD. More info on the topics covered is available here. Each lesson consists of three parts: playing along, video tips, and a practice workshop. Nice large chord charts at the beginning of each lesson show you what you’ll be working with, and every example is notated in both musical notation and guitar tablature (tab). Each session has an assignments section, sometimes giving you a quiz on the musical theory you’ve just learned, and always assigning some playing to do.

Guitar Learning System - Order NowIf you don’t know how to read music or tab, don’t worry, that is one of the first things covered.

The entire Learn and Master Guitar course is designed to be worked through at your own pace, however depending on your current ability, in my opinion it would take you between six months to a year to work through all the material. A highly dedicated student could get through it in three months. Each session does have an “Estimated Time To Learn These Concepts” so you know roughly how much time you should be spending on each topic. That said, you shouldn’t allow yourself to progress until you’ve properly mastered each section.

One thing about Learn and Master is that it is laid out very logically and methodically. Although it is a large course (book, 20 DVDs and 5 CDs) everything is integrated together very well, so you’ll never feel like you’re lost in a sea of material. The book is a clear road map of where you’re going, and it will queue you as to when and what else you need to refer to.

Support & Guarantee

Learn and Master Guitar comes with a 60 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. That means you have two full months to evaluate the course, and if you don’t like it, you can send it back and get a full refund. No questions asked.

Customers get unlimited access to the Student Support Site, which is basically an active forum where students can ask questions, get answers, and share their progress with each other.

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The Good

  • Learn and Master Guitar is packed full of song examples, each of which is notated in music, tab, on video, and of course with play along jam tracks.
  • The Jam Along CDs have all the song examples in two or three speeds, so you can play along regardless of your ability. In my opinion, jamming along with something, whether it be a live band, or a backing track, is one of the surest and quickest ways to learning guitar, so these CDs are a valuable component of the course.
  • The course is thorough, methodical, and logically laid out.
  • It starts right at the beginning (though quickly moves on), and is therefore newbie-friendly.
  • It gets right into learning songs (first song is on p. 14).
  • Broad selection of musical styles and techniques are covered: acoustic, electric, fingerstyle, blues, jazz, country, R&B, and funk.
  • It’s Flexible: you can view this on your computer, or on a TV with a DVD/CD player.
  • Strong satisfaction guarantee, backed up by a strong industry reputation.
  • Top marks for presentation – all materials are professionally laid out and easy to use.

The Bad (Minor)

  • No download option. Many courses these days have cheaper versions that offer ‘online only’ editions. This one doesn’t.
  • The book doesn’t lie flat. A ring binder would solve this, but currently you kind of have to bend it backwards to get it flexible, or put something on top of the pages to weigh them down.


This course deals with musical theory in a much better way than Jamorama, one of the other most popular beginner guitar courses online today. (Click here for my Jamorama review). I believe it is safe to say that if two people went through these two courses at the same time (Learn and Master and Jamorama) the Learn and Master student would have a much stronger knowledge of the guitar, as well as a more robust understanding of the music behind it.

So what about this claim that Learn and Master is the world’s most complete course? Well, I guess so far I would have to agree, but that needs to be qualified. Learn and Master Guitar is definitely a comprehensive guitar course – no doubt about that. However, I think the statement is a little misleading. You need to be aware that if you buy Learn and Master, as with any guitar course – at some point you will complete the material and go on to need more instruction. This course can only take you so far. It will give you a very strong base, and will bring you from newbie to intermediate, however in a year you’ll need to invest in something else in order to keep learning. That should be expected!

If you’re serious about learning guitar, it will be a lifelong pursuit, and you need to expect to invest in that.

Learn and Master is one of the more expensive courses out there, however it is very comprehensive – more so than other courses – and if you compare it to the cost of one year of one on one instruction, then you’re coming out way ahead. (Minimum cost of a guitar tutor would be around $30/week – for a half hour lesson – each week all year – or $1560)

Bottom Line

If you’re a beginner guitar player, this course is a good choice. By beginner I mean either you’ve never played before, or you’re comfortable with a few chords but need to take it to the next level. Learn and Master Guitar will introduce you to music, tab, scales and give you the basics of soloing, as well as several different styles of playing.

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