If you are a heavy metal guitar fan and also frequent YouTube, chances are high that you are aware of the SWOLA riff challenge that Ola Englund started with the second entry in his long-running Sunday With Ola (SWOLA) series. If you’re not aware, I recommend checking the SWOLA videos out.
If you haven’t checked out the link I just provided, let me summarise the SWOLA riff challenge for you. Every Sunday, Ola Englund starts his SWOLA video with some excellent guitar riffing (or chugging as it’s known in Ola’s realm). In the video description area of each video, Ola provides a link to download the drums that he was riffing (or chugging) over.
With these free drum tracks, any YouTuber can then create their own riff/s and upload their unique creation to their very own YouTube channel. Fast forward one week and one day—this would be a Monday for those playing at home—and Ola searches for the contributions to the previous week’s challenge and plays them in a live stream to all of his fans on his second YouTube channel.
This is a great motivator to all of Ola’s guitar-playing fans and has also created what appears to be a very supportive community of avid guitar players/fans.
So, after several polite prods from one of the participants that I also follow on Instagram, I’ve started uploading my own contributions to the SWOLA riff challenge each week. So far, I’m four entries in and loving it. See my first contribution to the SWOLA riff challenge below.
SWOLA riff challenge contribution example #1
The experiment for me has also allowed for some experimentation in video recording, lighting, and video/audio editing. I’m still not where I’d like to be on all of those fronts, but I am not letting progress get in the way of perfection. Each week I feel like I’m improving on something. Now I just need to improve on my actual guitar playing ?
As I write this post, I am fairly happy with my video framing and I am very happy with the colour grading that I’ve applied to my videos. I’m also impressed that I’ve managed to incorporate my Guitar Fascination branding (colours) into my video thumbnails. Go me!
Also, after the first two videos, I finally started to investigate my new camera’s settings. It’s because of that investigative piece of work that I am now producing videos that are much crisper and potentially even 4K. Who knew?!
The difference in video quality can hopefully be seen in my fourth video submission (which at the time of writing is my latest video submission). The guitar playing … well, that’s still what I’d possibly call ‘old school groove metal’.
I’m fairly sure that’s a real genre. If it’s not, then it should be.
SWOLA riff challenge contribution example #2
The final thing that I’ll mention is that I’ve also been creating my own additional goals with each submission I make to the SWOLA riff challenge video series. These goals are;
- Use a different guitar each week until all of my guitars have been included in a video.
- Attempt to use a different amplifier simulation (also known as an amp sim) every week.
- Wear as many self-designed T-shirts as possible (I have quite a few of those).
There you have it. Challenges within challenges. Who knows, each week may also bring me that one step closer to developing the courage to create more of my own video content which in turn helps me create more written content for this website I created.
Everybody wins! Well, hopefully, I win. I am doing this for me after all.