Fret Zeppelin makes guitar easy with LED lights as your teacher

Fret Zeppelin is a new company that wants to help you learn guitar with lights guiding you as you play and improve.

Learning guitar isn’t easy and the biggest learning curve is at the beginning, working out which string does what, where the frets are and how the notes work together. Fret Zeppelin hopes to be your digital teacher, guiding your playing with LED lights dotted up and down your guitar.

With Fret Zeppelin you don’t need to buy a whole new instrument as the lights will fit onto any regular, full-sized guitar. Once you’ve dotted your LEDs up and down your fretboard you can use the Fret Zeppelin mobile app to choose a song and start learning. Once you’ve chosen your song the lights will light up to show you what to play whilst the app listens to hear if you’re playing it right.

On their Kickstarter page, where they’ve already quadrupled their aim already with $233,877 pledged out of a $48,000 goal, Fret Zeppelin say:

Pushing the gas pedal on learning guitar. Many want to learn to play, but don’t ever get there due to time constraints, cost of lessons, and struggling to learn proper technique on their own. Fret Zeppelin replaces frustration with fun, giving players a digital training tool right on the neck of their guitar.

The upcoming app itself isn’t just a tool for the lights but features scrolling tablature for songs, guides to various chords and scales, tuning abilities and more. Fret Zeppelin say that they will “continuously be improving to make the best guitar learning environment on the market.”

Fret Zeppelin isn’t just for amateurs however, as it provides a unique way to learn new songs as well as being able to put on a light show on your fretboard so you immediately become 10x cooler when playing. Additionally you don’t have to worry about sounding rubbish as the LEDs don’t come on a manufactured guitar but are added to the guitar of your choice.

learn guitar Fret Zeppelin kickstarter teach teaching app

The lights have been designed so that they don’t interfere with fretting either, sized at under half the height of a regular fret. Fret Zeppelin has been in development since 2012 but the team have had to wait until now for the 144 LEDs included on each Fret Zeppelin to be affordable enough for production.

Fret Zeppelin are still raising money on Kickstarter where you can get your hands on one for $199 at the cheapest. They expect to start delivering in October this year.

Lost Bob Marley tapes restored after 40 years will “send shivers down your spine”

A bunch of recordings by Bob Marley have been found after over 40 years of accruing damp and damage, but have been restored thanks to some talented people.

The tapes have been referred to by super fans as “the lost masters” and were assumed lost forever, until businessman and Marley fan Joe Gatt rescued them from the rubbish. Gatt received a phone call from a friend saying he’d found some lost Marley recordings and if he’d like to save them, to which Gatt obviously responded ecstatically.

The tapes were 13 reel-to-reel, analogue master tapes were discovered in cardboard boxes in a run-down hotel in north-west London where Bob Marley and the Wailers had often stayed during European tours in the 70s. Gatt said of his friend’s discovery: “He was doing a building refuse clearance that included some discarded two-inch tapes from the 1970s. I couldn’t just stand by and let these objects, damaged or not, be destroyed so I asked him not to throw them away.”

The tapes were apparently in a dire condition with dirt and damage that they thought would not be possible to recover from. Gatt passed them over to his business partner and jazz singer Louis Hoover, who said: “I was speechless, to be honest. It was quite comical, looking back now, as Joe was so cool and matter of fact about rescuing these global artefacts that I actually had to stop the car to check that I had heard him correctly.

“When I saw the labels and footnotes on the tapes, I could not believe my eyes, but then I saw how severely water damaged they were. There was literally plasticised gunk oozing from every inch and, in truth, saving the sound quality of the recordings, looked like it was going to be a hopeless task.” Hoover added that the discovery “made the hair on the back of our necks stand up and genuine shivers ran up our spines with joy”.

They were eventually handed over to sound technician specialist Martin Nichols of White House studios to attempt to restore the tapes. Before they could be played they required major maintenance, as Nichols said that had they been played in the condition they were found they would be lost forever.

Nichols said: “They really were in such an appalling condition they should have been binned, but I spent hours on hours, inch by inch, painstakingly cleaning all the gunge off until they were ready for a process called ‘baking’, to allow them to be played safely.

“The end result has really surprised me, because they are now in a digital format and are very high quality. It shows the original recordings were very professionally made. From the current find of 13 tapes, 10 were restored, two were blank and one was damaged beyond repair.”

All in all the restoration cost roughly £25,000 but should mean that we get to hear some new Marley recordings soon, 36 years after his death. Nichols ended, saying: “The experience was comparable to, say, finding Van Gogh’s easel, paint pallet and paints in an old room somewhere, then Vincent emerges through a secret door to paint 26 of his finest masterpieces… purely for us.”

Spotify join the US tech companies fighting against Trump’s ban

As Tech companies across the US unite to fight President Trump’s immigration ban Spotify are the latest to come out to help fight the ban.

Whilst Spotify have refused to comment publicly on the new Trump administration’s early decision to ban certain immigrants they have pledged their allegiance to the numerous companies lobbying against Trump’s executive order.

Spotify join over 120 companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Snap, Microsoft, and Tesla, that have filed an amicus brief in the US Court of Appeals. Spotify are the only fully streaming service to currently have joined the brief however companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft have their own subsidiary streamers.

Whilst other streamers haven’t committed themselves to the brief, Pandora’s CEO Tim Westergren wrote to staff: “Immigration is not only core to our strength as a nation, it is central to everything we do as a company… Diversity makes us stronger. And the world of music is made richer by it.”

Indie music store Bandcamp also pledged their share of sales from last friday to the ACLU, but have not joined the brief. Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond said: “Last week’s executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral it violates the very spirit and foundation of America.” Thanks to Bandcamp’s pledge their sales went up 550% compared to a regular Friday with fans buying more than $1 million.

The brief says: “Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies. America has long recognised the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants – through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country”


Netflix sign their music publishing rights exclusively to BMG

Netflix have signed up their music publishing rights from original shows like Stranger Things exclusively to BMG for publishing rights outside of the US.

The new deal between BMG and Netflix will cover the publishing rights for the music used in Netflix’s exclusive, original series and films. The deal will put BMG in charge of looking after Netflix’s original scores, transition cues, themes, and feature songs for all of their own-developed content.

BMG’s US president of repertoire and marketing, Zach Katz said: “It is an understatement to say we are excited to be working with Netflix. This agreement is a significant endorsement of the BMG team and platform from one of the most forward-thinking and innovative entertainment companies in the world. It also highlights the particular strength of Keith Hauprich [Deputy General Counsel, BMG US] and his film and TV publishing team.”

Hauprich added: “Partnering with Netflix is an incredible endorsement for our film and TV department. We look forward to extending the BMG service to the fast growing catalog of Netflix.”

With over 93 million subscribers across more than 190 countries Netflix are world dominator’s of on-demand video streaming, making this deal a massive one for BMG. As well it shows just how vast Netflix is getting, in particular with their increasingly eclectic selection of original programming which will now have it’s original audio rights fully protected and managed.

Netflix’s director of music licensing, Dominic Houston said: “After a long process of selecting the right partner for Netflix, we are delighted to be able to announce this new partnership with BMG and look forward to getting started with the team there. We were particularly impressed by the commercial and technology expertise of BMG, and are excited to see what opportunities we can develop together.”

First 100 year old to release an album, Dame Vera Lynn celebrates her centenary

Dame Vera Lynn is celebrating her 100th birthday by releasing a new album featuring Alexander Armstrong and Aled Jones, the first centenarian to launch an album.

The Second World War’s “Forces’ Sweetheart”, Dame Vera Lynn has announced a new album coming from her later this year to celebrate and mark her 100th birthday. She’ll be breaking her own world record with the release, her 2014 album ‘National Treasure – The Ultimate Collection’ making her the oldest person to release an album when she was 97.

Dame Vera Lynn’s new album won’t just break the record for the oldest person but also make her the first person aged 100 or over to release a record. The album ‘Vera Lynn 100’ will feature some of her classics re-recorded using her original vocals with features from some of Britain’s top singers, including Alfie Boe, Alexander Armstrong and Aled Jones.

Dame Vera Lynn music 100 centenary centennial album years
Bing Crosby and Dame Vera Lynn in 1975

Dame Vera Lynn music 100 centenary centennial album yearsSpeaking on the upcoming record, Dame Vera Lynn said: “It’s truly humbling that people still enjoy these songs from so many years ago, reliving the emotions of that time – I was after all just doing my job as a singer – and it’s so wonderful for me to hear my songs again so beautifully presented in a completely new way.”

The album will also feature an unreleased cover of Rod Stewart’s ‘Sailing’. Her centenary birthday will also be celebrated with a charity concert at the London Palladium on the 18th of March to raise money for Dame Vera Lynn’s children’s charity.

‘Vera Lynn 100’ will release 3 days before her birthday on the 17th March. She said that turning 100 has been “an incredible adventure of song, dance and friendship”.