There's another way besides certain popular video games to emulate your favorite guitar heroes--have them teach you themselves.
An Atlanta-based start-up is launching iVideosongs.com on Tuesday at the Demo Conference in Palm Springs, Calif. Users can pay to download videos of famous guitarists and expert music teachers giving detailed musical instruction in high definition.
For $9.99 each, artists such as Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special, and Alex Lifeson of Rush, spend time demonstrating how to play all the different parts of some of their most famous songs. The lessons are presented in chapters--introduction, verse, chorus, bridge, outro--and titles can be sorted by skill level and genre. For $4.99, professional instructors will demonstrate a variety of songs, and basic instrument tutorials are available for free.
It's not only for guitarists however. There are videos instructing aspiring drummers, keyboard players, and more. But the site is heavily geared toward the guitar, which also happens to be the instrument of choice of the site's founder and Grammy Award nominee Tim Huffman.
Huffman started to take guitar lessons from an instructor as a kid, but became bored learning to read sheet music. "So I set out to learn popular songs by connecting with local musicians who were better than me," he explained in an interview. He kept at it, eventually cutting his college career short to go pro, and in 1984 was nominated for a Grammy. Now after 25 years in the music business, Huffman says he sees a need for connecting artists to aspiring musicians.
"It struck me, how could we take the best people and make them available to people everywhere, anywhere, anytime from a learning perspective," he said.
But it wasn't an easy or a quick process. Huffman said he spent several years getting the company's legal ducks in a row. Now iVideosongs.com has master licensing agreements with five of the biggest music publishers in the world. Both artists and publishers get a direct royalty payment for each video downloaded, according to Huffman. Also, there's no DRM on any of the songs. They can be downloaded to any device.
Though there are currently about 50 songs (60 percent are taught by instructors, the rest by the original artists) in the database, there are 300 lined up and ready to go. They will be released in small batches, and by the end of the year Huffman says he expects the catalog to reach 1,000 songs.