It’s a great time to be a guitar player… 

I know it sounds like me being old, but “back in the old days” the idea of being able to slow down sections, loop them without having to take your hands off the guitar, and generally doing everything you can to a track to make it easier to work with… well those ideas were just that, ideas!

I never imagined the day would come where I wouldn’t wear out tape decks every 6 months from hitting “rewind” and “play” without hitting “stop” first 🙂

Recently I’ve been playing around with some new technology, so I made a video with a couple of options, free and paid.

Regardless of which option you choose, and there’s no reason to debate the value of it, either it is valuable to you or not – take some time to watch the video and add this to your practice routine by whatever means you can.


And as for my recommendations – Song Surgeon or VLC (both will open in a new window.)

    21 replies to "Better Practicing With Technology."

    • David Waterbury

      The Song Surgeon website is no longer active! Does anybody know what happened or where to get Song Surgeon?

    • Blue

      Thank you Griff. I’ll try that one out. Looks pretty good.

    • Michael Chappell

      Song Surgeon looks great, I have saved the details for later.

      Thanks Griff.

      Michael-Sydney Australia Sept 2017.

    • bogie

      Oh I almost forgot… after you are finished.. make sure to the same procedure
      so settings…. speed… but change it from 0.5 back to normal or you videos
      will all playback at 1/2 speed.
      you can even practice a song at slower settings by using 0.75
      that setting is kinda 1/2 way between normal and 0.5..
      so you can play along with the video with your guitar to learn the lick at a slower speed.

      Its not as great as song surgeon, but its free and no need to download extra

    • bogie

      I have a great free hack that requires that is free and legal.
      You don’t have to worry about downloading any software that can mess with any
      of your programs. There is only one catch… you have to be on youtube.
      It does not have to be a music video.. it can be just a song from a album
      someone posts on youtube.

      Every video posted on youtube has to be played through a youtube player.
      When you hover over a video… on the bottom right hand corner of the video
      is a settings icon.. it looks like a bicyle spocket to me. here is the procedure
      click settings… then speed.. click on 0.5… now play back the video
      and it will be at 1/2 speed … but the pitch remains the same…
      0.5 is the slowest speed it will playback…. 0.25 will give you no sound.

    • Ian Robins

      Fascinating! Thanks, Griff!

    • TK

      Thanks for the walk through! I have Video Surgeon, I like it but for me only the YouTube sniffer works. Troubleshooting it required standing down my firewall and all my anti virus and Anti-Malware software, which still didnt let the main sniffer work anywhere except in the single VS test video. Same with Song Surgeon. Also my version doesn’t reliably save what I’ve downloaded, so I usually export the video as well as save it as a future project so I don’t have to hunt it up again. Whatever I downloaded would be in the folder, but then when I closed it and opened it back up the next time, all my downloaded songs would be gone.

      I also have the trial version of Song Surgeon and VLC. So far VLC is easier to use. I think SS may have a better audio quality, but I haven’t done a side by side.

      • PAUL


    • Glenn

      I’ve been using Anytune Pro+ …15 bucks….in the App Store…does pretty much everything SS does, runs on IOS devices and on my iPad Pro I can use the split screen feature and pull up lyrics from the web….or chords, tab whatever ( haven’t tried a video yet🤔)…..and have it open as well when trying to learn new songs (I put the iPad on music stand, so I can sit anywhere….even on the porch)..
      There is a free less robust version, as well……

      I use about 1% of its capabilities and still find it worth every penny.

    • MikeS

      Just FYI, RiffMaster Pro does everything you mentioned EXCEPT the speed trainer.
      With RMP, your songs and settings are automatically saved and there is a list of every song you have loaded in the lower portion of the screen (nice to not have to “open” a menu to get to your songs).
      I think setting loops, changing key or tempo might be a bit easier in RMP too.
      That said I’ll probably pick up Song Surgeon and play around with it.

    • Jim

      I downloaded the free trial version of Song Sugrgeon a few years ago, based on Griff’s recommendation.
      I’ve only used it sparingly, but it works great (I really like the YouTube “sniffer” feature!). I’ve also been impressed with the company’s efforts to keep improving…looks like the product just keeps getting better! Great tool. Good stuff, Griff! Thanks!

    • Gary Palmer

      Hey Griff, pretty cool, but rather than looping the sound track, I usually loop the video so I can see how something is being played while I listen to it. Can either of these softwares loop videos? That would be really useful, I think.

      • Blue

        Try “Transcribe!”. Transcribe not only loops videos and soundfiles, but it also has the opportunity to slow down both TO ANY VALUE down to 20%. Here is the link:

        • Blue

          b.t.w. It’s 39$ for one copy.

    • DaveyJoe

      Very cool Griff! You know I gotta check this out!

    • Gary

      VLC has been around a long long time it’s beyond awesome open source software.

    • Tim Happel

      I’ve had song surgeon for several years now. It is fantastic. Id does a lot of things very very well and is relatively inexpensive. I play in a church band and this tool, let’s me change the key to whatever key we’re doing the song in. And the sound quality is fantastic.


    • Mark d.

      Looks like I’ll be getting a computer soon!. This is what I’ve been wishing for. It’s such a pain to stop playing to rewind what your learning! Something new to learn, oh boy B-)!

    • CHR

      Audacity is a great recording and sound editing program. It is free to download and used by many professional recording engineers. Super easy to use. It comes with a lot of effects including of course loops and change tempo Try it before you spend money.

    • David Edwards

      Hi Griff, Interesting video on Song Surgeon. I have been using this tool for a while. I sometimes download a video or backing track from YouTube using a downloader. If I click on the video using Song Surgeon the audio will load in Song Surgeon. This can be worked on then exported as an MP3 and played on any other device.
      David Edwards.

    • ChrisP

      Brilliant, so useful, thanks Griff

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