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Talk about the passion

No matter how consumed you might think you are by a band, there’s always someone who’s far more afflicted than you. And they’re on the Internet somewhere.

No matter how crazed, fascinated, or consumed you might think you are by a band, there’s always someone who’s far more afflicted than you. And they’re on the Internet somewhere.

That’s good news, because odds are, that person is devoted enough to either run or regularly participate in a discussion group about his or her musical passion of choice.

As with most topics, the best way to start looking for music-related discussion groups is by poking through the various rec.music newsgroups hosted by such search pages as Google and Yahoo. To cite one example, rec.music.beatles routinely has dozens of lively (if unmoderated, and therefore frequently off-topic) discussions going at once.

But there are some interesting offshoot discussion boards that are exclusive to the Internet and don’t fall under the rec.music banner. One example (since we’re talking about the Fab Four) is SurfBeatles. The traffic here isn’t as heavy as on some Beatle boards, but it’s a great-looking site with lots of intriguing sub-boards discussing Beatle tribute bands, and “Fab Gear”–a dissection of the Beatles’ instruments.

Speaking of instruments, there’s also a place to find discussions on every little key, knob, and wire of every instrument you can imagine. A particularly fertile discussion board in this vein is Bassdogs. Whether you want to sing the praises of bass guitar legends like Jaco Pastorius, discuss technique, sell some old equipment, or swap secrets (did you know bass players boil their strings to keep them sounding fresh?) this is the place to go.

For nuts-and-bolts discussion about all areas of digital music, try MidiMusic. A recent visit showed threads about such wide-ranging topics as MP3 encoding tips, comparisons of digital music formats, creating and using MIDI files, debates about the best pay-download sites, and how to shop for the best digital microphone.

For discussion of old-school rock acts who didn’t quite scale the heights reached by the Beatles (and I guess that’s just about everyone), try Oldies Music. Topics range from serious discussions about often overlooked artists to requests for help in jogging a bit of trivia from the corners of someone’s memory (turns out the answer to the question “Who sang ‘Stranded in the Jungle’ in 1956?” isn’t that simple–several groups did).

Most bulletin boards devoted to a certain genre of music are restricted only to discussions of content, but RapDogs is more hands-on than that. It allows (encourages, actually) users to post poetry, rhymes, and sound files of their own making for other users to critique. It also includes threads about hip-hop artists, news, and musical equipment.

If there’s a musical topic that everyone seems to have an opinion about these days, it’s file sharing. At Zeropaid you’ll find discussions of the most reliable peer-to-peer networks, up-and-coming P2P technology, legal and legislative issues related to file sharing, and lots more.

Some more sites worth checking on: Austin 360, a board about Texas’s most vibrant musical city; Zentao Guitar Forum, a moderated public forum for guitarists of all skill levels; Suffering in Extacy (sic), a board “for those interested in brutal death metal”; Jazz and Orchestral Musicians, for players and listeners of woodwind, brass and strings in jazz and orchestral music; and Songwriting Lounge, a weekly live discussion (often with guest speakers) about songwriting.

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