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Over the past 3 months, I have really been getting into playing the guitar.  This was never easy for me because to get into playing the guitar, I would first have to own a guitar.  I can't just go out and borrow a buddy's guitar because I don't know any Left-Handed players.  So I had to drop a couple hundred dollars to see if I could play music. 

The Squier Stratocaster

SquierStratocaster I started with a Squier Stratocaster from Musician's Friend (warehouse located in Kansas City) and began my music career :D.  Jerod was gracious enough to start me down a path of learning and I will always be grateful for his teaching.  The day I got the guitar we were going to meet in the office for our Thursday night meeting and Jerod was at home, up north in Kansas City for most of the day.  I some how convinced him that he needed to stop by Musician's Friend and pick me and my wife up matching guitars for Valentines Day and he was willing.  Michelle's guitar was red and mine was black and very much resembles the Rock Band Stratocaster.

The Les Paul

LesPaulStockPhoto Well here she is, my new guitar.  I must say I really enjoy the sound of this guitar.  No this is not a Gibson, it is an Epiphone, but I am a beginner and don't want to go from a $200 guitar to a $2000 guitar. 

The main issue I had with the Squier is it sounded very very tinny.  It was missing that rich sound a better made guitar has.  That sound where you don't even need an amp to be able to recognize a song because the sound is coming right out of the guitar.  The Squier did not have anywhere near that sound, but the Les Paul definitely does.

The Les Paul is also a lot more comfortable to play for me.   It could be the shape or the fact that the pickup switch is no longer there where on the Squier it was right at the base of my hand and I often hit it causing a different sound.  I am sure many of you have done this on Rock Band.  Instead the Les Paul has a tone switch to go between Rhythm and Treble.  It works by ... well I don't know, it just works.  Rob, will you please fill us in on that.

Guitar Center Experience

As you can see from this link, you don't have a lot of selection when it comes to Left-Handed Les Paul guitars.  There are a few more than the ones shown, but they are in the $2000-5000 range and I will get one of those when I play the Sprint Arena or record my first gold record (not anytime soon).

For our anniversary, we decided to give each other money for a big gift since we haven't done that in a long time, so Michelle decided to keep hers around for after the baby is born and I decided to spend all of mine, but $21 dollars in about 2 hours.  I forget who's idea it was to give money to each other, but it was a brilliant idea :D.

I walked in to Guitar Center and one of the kids there just looked at me and thought I was not going to buy anything, and walked off.  The older gentleman next to him saw the sparkle in my eyes and knew I wanted a guitar today.  I ask him, in a room that was Wall-To-Wall guitars, where are your left-handed guitars.  He said, "You're a lefty, we have a bunch of those over here, let me show you."  So we walked over to a support beam turned into a product display with 6 guitars on it.  This was the left-handed selection.  Ahhh the joys of being left-handed.  Standing there with at least 200 guitars around me and I get six to pick from and that wasn't due to my budget, but rather, this is all the had.  If you want to experience what it is like to be a left-handed person, go into your sporting goods store and ask to see the left-handed baseball gloves.  If they have any, you should be able to pick from 2-4 while being surrounded by 50 different types of right-handed gloves.

So there she sat, the Les Paul I was looking for!  I asked if I could play and he said of course and took me over to an amplifier.  They must not get a lot of guitar sales because at first he was just selling me on the amp.  I wanted the guitar.  So I began to play with no pick and I never do that and could barely get a note out of it while sitting there, but the ones I could sounded just like I wanted them to in a guitar.  So he asked, "Do you want to really hear this guitar?  I have played for 20 years and can't play a note left-handed, but I can get the same guitar in the right-handed model and play it for you."  I said, "Ahhh, yes please."

So the gentleman begins to school me in the ways of rock and made that guitar scream.  I was sold after the first 10 seconds, but he was nice enough to give me a 10 minute demonstration playing different styles to show me what it could do.

Needless to say, this is my guitar now and I am really enjoying having it as a new member of the family :D.

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Next Steps

  1. Must learn more chords. 
  2. Need to master bar chords. 
  3. Need to callus my fingers so have to play more.
  4. Need to get professional weekly lessons.
  5. A better strap would be nice

That is my journey with the guitar.  Is it hard to pick up a guitar and play, absolutely.  Can you make baby steps and learn as an adult, oh yeah!  If you are interested (and not left-handed) you have many avenues to get a guitar cheaply and start playing.  If you are a lefty like me, then sit on eBay, Craigslist, or somewhere else waiting to find one or do what I did and start with a nice cheap guitar to see if you like the craft.


Here is the permanent link to the video.  As you can tell everyone was excited.



Coders 4 Charities is kicking off and it has been far more successful than we expected.  Doug and I both asked if we thought anyone would show up as we have had registration open for 2 months.  We have 29 people here who have given up their weekend and 5 charities that are getting excellent software that will help them run their organizations better after the weekend

The Crew Early In The Morning

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Rock Band Rooms (208 & 207)

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Tonight is the Rock  Band contest at 11:00pm, I will definitely have video for that on YouTube!



I decided to clean off my Zune and resync the files with my computer.  I do this from time to time as my Zune seems to keep albums on it that I don't have on my host.  When clicked sync now, I received the following issues.


And each item shows this message


I have been listening to this album for a few months now on a regular rotation.  In my high school/college years I was really big into the band Superdrag.  I have however started listening to Christian music for the past 6 months and I recently found that John Davis, the lead singer of Superdrag, has created some independent albums that are Christian.  So needless to say, my excitement was off the charts when I discovered this fact. 

As a paying Zune pass member since the day I got my Zune, I wondered why I couldn't sync.  I visited the Zune Marketplace and saw this!


WHAT?!?!  NOT AVAILABLE?!  Did I mention this is my favorite album right now and it is gone? 

I don't really know what the next steps are, the album was once there and now it is gone.  I guess I will have to buy a real disc and rip it in to have this music again.  Annoyed!



I just wanted to send out a friendly reminder to those who registered for Coders 4 Charities that the event starts tomorrow.  Doug, John, and myself are extremely excited to host this event and work with the developers are we attempt to help these charities and non-profits with applications that will benefit them immensely.

If you are in the area of the weekend and want to check out the event or just help the devs with some questions, please feel free to join us.  See you all tomorrow!

Here is a list of all the sponsors that helped make this possible:

AJI/Software CentriqMicrosoft Tek Systems

Tricom Modis TradeBot SystemsCommunityCredit


D'Arcy and Chris are now closely competing for King of the Mountain on  Because I am interested in this fight, I created some charts to demonstrate the battle over the time these guys have been blogging.  Enjoy.


Total Blogging Over Time


Post Frequency Per Month


Cory Smith was nice enough to give me a lift to the campus this morning.  Why is he my hero?  The picture says it all.



38197-spam As some of you may have seen from our Newsletter Announcement or from your blog that we have had a spammer loose on the site while I am travel in Seattle.  Normally, I could do a better job of stopping this, but I don't have the tools I need to do more than remove the comments. 

Please bear with me while I try to stop these messages that some might come through, but they will be removed.  Thanks.

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Jeff Julian Presenting Clint Edmunson Presenting Rock Band! The Parking Lot

Becky Chatting Getting Registered Hanging Out Hanging Out

The event was a lot of fun.  The audience was prepared with tons of questions and the presenters had some great topics.  Clint Edmonson mentioned the idea of doing a MOSS Camp in Kansas City, and I think we will definitely look into it after Coders 4 Charities

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images Just wanted to chime in a to say Jerod and I are on the road, had to stop to get some gas, Taco Bell, and surf the web with my bluetooth and MacBook.  I love technology.  We will be in St. Louis in about 2 hours.


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