Frequently Asked Questions

How long have you been playing?

I started playing when I was 15, so I have been playing for roughly 14 years. However, most of my skill was developed during my first 3 years of playing, and to be honest I haven't improved a whole lot since then. I have improved my ability somewhat during the past 2 years though by learning a bunch of songs for my YouTube cover videos.

How did you learn?

Please refer to the Playing History article.

Where do you get your tabs?

I learn most songs by ear, i.e. I write my own tabulature. However, sometimes I do look for an accurate transcription of a song before I start learning it. I usually go to to search for such tabs. Sometimes decent tabs are available, but rarely are the existing tabs close to 100% accurate.

How do you record your audio and video for your YouTube videos?

Please refer to the Recording Method For Covers section.

How do you record your original songs?

I plan to cover this in more detail in my article Recording: Originals section in the near future. To put it very simply, I record to my PC using my Line 6 POD X3 as an external audio interface (this is different from how I recorded my covers). I use a host program called REAPER to record and arrange all the tracks. I have used a couple of different drum machine programs to create the drum tracks (see question below).

How do you create the drum tracks for your original songs?

I used drum machine software to create the drum tracks for my original songs. For "Arrival", I used Acoustica Beatcraft, which is a standalone program that allowed me to export WAV files and then import them into my recording project in REAPER. However, I have since switched to Toontrack EZdrummer with Drumkit From Hell. This program functions as a plug-in to a host program such as REAPER, Cubase, Logic, etc. It is NOT a standalone program. I plan to write more about the drum programs in the "Recording: Originals" section in the near future.

How do you create the bass lines for your original songs?

I recorded clean guitar parts (single-note strumming) in my REAPER projects, and then applied a pitch-shifting effect to the track. Shifting the pitch down 12 semitones (1 full octave) achieves a sound similar to a bass guitar, although it doesn't sound nearly as good as a real bass.

How did you get so many views, comments, and subscribers on YouTube?

I started posting videos over 3 years ago when YouTube was just starting to take off in popularity. There were far fewer guitar players recording cover videos of metal songs at that time. I chose songs that hadn't been covered very well (or at all) by anyone else and I attempted to play them very accurately. My videos also had good sound quality at a time when the vast majority of people were just using their camera microphones. As a result, my videos stood apart from most of the others at the time. If you're trying to get more exposure on YouTube, you have to ask yourself: "What makes my videos stand out from the thousands of others on YouTube?". If you have trouble answering that question, then it's no surprise you're struggling to get views. Remember, there are thousands of other people trying to do exactly what you're doing. Your best bet is to choose songs that haven't been covered by anyone else, and try to perfect them. Also make sure you have good audio and video quality. If you can pull this off, people will start to recognize that your videos are a notch above the rest.

Why did you choose the alias 'KillrBuckeye'?

During my sophomore year at Ohio State, I became addicted to the PC game Starcraft. KillrBuckeye was my gamer tag, and it was chosen so I could show my support for The Ohio State Buckeyes. The tag stuck with me as I moved on to other games, internet message boards, and finally YouTube.

What are some easy songs I can learn as a beginner?

It's unrealistic to expect to be able to play most of the songs I've covered on YouTube if you're a beginner. I would estimate that you would need to have at least 2 years of solid practice (2-3 hours a day most days) before you could play most of those songs accurately. I'm not saying that you couldn't play bits and pieces at a slower tempo, but to really nail those songs it will take some time. I learned a lot of older Metallica songs (from Kill 'Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice For All albums) when I was a beginner. I got the "easy series" tab books for these albums and learned the rhythm riffs to many of those songs. Most of the songs aren't terribly difficult, so they're a good place to start for the aspiring metal guitarist. As far as the songs I've covered on YouTube up to this point, these are some of the easier ones: Trivium - Dying in Your Arms, BFMV - All These Things I Hate, BFMV - Tears Don't Fall, BFMV - Room 409.

What type of guitar / amp / effects / strings / picks do you use?

You can read all about my equipment in the about my gear section.

Why did you use your Yamaha Pacifica 112 (Strat copy) for your BFMV covers when you could have used one of your better guitars?

First of all, the Yamaha Pacifica 112 is a great guitar. In my opinion it is much better than similarly-priced guitars from ESP LTD, Ibanez, Jackson, etc. It's unfair to discount the guitar because it doesn't look like a traditional metal guitar and has two single coils. However the main reason I used it for all of my BFMV covers is because I like to keep my guitars in different tunings so I can play along to many different bands on a whim. At the time I recorded those BFMV covers, I had my ESP KH-2 tuned to either E standard, drop D, or D standard. Further, I didn't yet have my Washburn X50 Pro FE. On any guitar with a floating bridge (which includes the Yamaha), it is no simple matter to make a drastic tuning change. Usually adjustments must be made to the guitar to keep it playable.

Do you play any other styles of music?

Not really. I have always been into metal and hard rock, and it's pretty much all I know how to play. However, I have written some rock ballad style songs (think Metallica - Nothing Else Matters).

Do you or did you ever play in a band?

I am not currently playing in a band, but I have played in several bands in the past. You can read about them and listen to some of our old songs in the Playing History section.

Do you write any original music?

Yes. Check out my original songs on YouTube ("Arrival" and "The Rising"). I also wrote lots of original material back when I was playing in bands. You can listen to some of it in the Playing History section.

Are you interested in jamming or collaborating on a project together?

I'm always open to ideas, but the reality is that I have very little spare time these days, and I like to be able to do my own thing during that time. I don't expect that it will be changing anytime soon (in fact it will probably be getting much worse!).

Why don't you have a career in music?

I've always had a very pragmatic view of my career options. It is not easy to make a good living in the music industry. It takes a lot of dedication, sacrifice, and luck, and I thought it wiser to attend college and pursue an engineering degree. There's no reason one can't still pursue music on the side, but there's only so much time in the day. I'm happy with the role music plays in my life right now. If it ever develops into something more than a hobby, that's great, but I'm not holding my breath.

Why don't you cover more challenging songs?

The songs I cover are plenty challenging for me! I am not trying to show off my skills and prove that I'm a great guitar player. There are hundreds of more talented players on YouTube. I cover these songs for a variety of reasons: because I enjoy listening to and playing the songs, to keep my skills sharp and continue improving, and to demonstrate to other guitar players (and aspiring players) how these songs can be played. I try to choose songs that haven't been covered well (or at all).

What made you first start recording videos for YouTube?

An important part of playing guitar for me is performing for an audience. I had almost given up playing guitar for a 3-year period after moving away from Columbus and leaving my old band behind, because I had no one to play for. Then one day I discovered YouTube and saw people absolutely butchering cover songs on the guitar, and I knew I could demonstrate the proper way to play the songs. When I realized just how many people were watching and commenting on my videos, it rekindled my love for the instrument. Nearly 2 years and 22 videos later, here I am!

Why do you hold the pick differently now compared to how you did in your earlier videos?

I learned to play guitar using a closed fist grip on the pick. While it did look a bit funny and people were criticizing me for it in my video comments, the real reason I switched to a more traditional grip with fingers extended was to gain better control of my alternate picking. I feel like I can keep a better rhythm when I have my fingers extended, although it could just be in my head.

Why haven't you responded to my cover request?

As I mention on the main page, I don't really take requests. I pick my songs based on what I am listening to at the time, and whether I think I can play them very accurately. Also, if there are some other pretty good covers of a song on YouTube, I probably won't choose that song. (For example, I usually wouldn't cover a song that Finn Maxwell (musicman1066) has performed).

How did you make this website?

I used Adobe Dreamweaver CS3. I had never used the software before starting on this site, but it's amazing what you can accomplish by using Google search and having a little patience. I had to play around with the software for a good 8 hours before I got a handle on it, and I'm still no expert, but I'm happy with how it turned out. The website is hosted on an old computer in my home running Ubuntu Linux (another learning experience from about 2 years ago).

How are you picking during the chorus riff to "The Sound of Truth" by As I Lay Dying?

I play all the higher notes on the 3rd string with down strokes, and all the open 4th string doublets with a downstroke followed by an upstroke. I think this is the easiest way, but it still might take a bit of practice depending on your skill level. Play it at a slower tempo and gradually increase your speed if it gives you trouble.

What if I have a question that's not answered here?

Please send me a message on YouTube if you have a question that hasn't been answered here. If I don't respond within in a week or so, please send it again! (Sorry, sometimes I get behind in responding to my messages and your message might get buried behind a bunch of new ones).