Tips – 4/11 – Musical Gear

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Buying Musical Equpiment

For some people – such as as acoustic guitar owners – having equipment to fit your instrument is not a major challenge. You might have one guitar pick, for example, as well as a tuner. You can pack both away in your guitar case without thinking twice about it. Another instrument, like an electronic keyboard, is a simple case of plug in and play. You might additionally wear headphones, but those can be had easily in many households.

But what if you have a “diva” instrument, an instrument that requires a more considerable investment in order to play to its fullest? What if you need all sorts of amps and devices in order to make your electric guitar play? Is it a pain? Is it really expensive? How much investment does it require in terms of both time and money? Well, it all depends on the kind of instrument you get, and the amount of equipment that instrument might require. If you’re thinking of taking up a musical instrument, the extra equipment necessary to play it is something you’ll need to consider.

Start With Research

It all starts with your own independent research. Reading this article is the first step, but since we don’t know which instrument you’re thinking of taking up, there’s not a whole lot more we can do for you except point you in the right direction. Just do some basic research about the typical equipment you’ll need when you buy an instrument like an electric guitar.

One important tip: try to avoid getting this information from salespeople. You should walk into a music store with knowledge, not go in there hoping to find some. When you walk in there with knowledge, you won’t only know what you’re looking for, but you’ll have the confidence of someone who did his homework. You will be less likely to be swindled by a sales clerk or simply given bad advice by someone who doesn’t really know what they’re talking about.

To start your research, you can begin with a simple Google search – there are probably a lot of other people across the world who have dreamed up similar questions to the ones you have. If that doesn’t satisfy, start reading more about your instrument directly and pay special attention to anything you might read that suggests what type of equipment to buy.

Another good way to research is to enter in a search for specific product reviews. When you read a product review, many web pages will typically list all of the features of an instrument and the equipment also required to play it. Just be sure not to find some biased reviews that are only looking to sell you an instrument: remember to take anything you read online with a grain of salt. Yes, even this article.

Follow Up With Diligence

Take out a piece of paper and write down the observations you find in your research. In one column, put down a type of equipment you’ll need – such as an guitar amp – and in the next column, write down its purpose. You may find that you don’t need all of the equipment that you’ve seen recommended. That’s fine! Just make sure to put it all down on paper: that’s part of the due diligence that will be required of you if you want to make really informed purchasing decisions.

Once you understand which equipment you need to buy, you can start with your money-saving tactics. Check out sites like Craigslist or eBay.com to find discounts on used equipment and you might be able to afford more musical equipment than you thought you could. Of course, that’s no reason to go on a spending spree! Buy only what you need and what you can afford.

Musical Solo's

 

Throughout the history of music, there have been a number of solos.

Mozart, who perfected the piano concerto, would frequently feature the piano, allowing the piano player to show off his abilities, despite the presence of an orchestra that was ready to back him or her up.

In Jazz, solos are often part of the nature of a song, with each section focusing on allowing one particular player to “go crazy” in his her or own way.

In modern music, the guitar solo is almost considered standard fare. So which instrument is really the best for a solo, and if you’re thinking about taking up a musical instrument, should this effect the choice in instrument you make?

Well, that choice is always up to you, but we’re going to take a look at some modern instruments that might be associated with solos and see if they’re really what they’re cracked up to be. So let’s tackle them one at a time.

The guitar

If we’re talking about solos in this day and age, we have to start with the guitar solo. Ever since the mini-renaissance in music that took place during the 60’s and 70’s, the guitar is considered probably the most iconic instrument for indulging in a solo. You can impress your friends with a true solo in which you’re actually alone, or you can allow your guitar skills to momentarily stand out in your band’s song. The guitar goes well with other popular instruments today, such as the bass guitar, the piano, and the drums, and its high range and cutting sound make for an ideal solo instrument.

The drums

Although drums are pure percussion and don’t feature recognizable pitches, the drum solo can always be an impressive event. The Beatles’ famous drummer, Ringo Starr, apparently disliked drum solos but finally engages in one in the Abbey Road track “The End” – near the end of the Beatles’ career. The unusual highlighting of the drum set sets an interesting tone for the album, and any good composer should recognize that there are a lot of sounds that can come out of drums that can be put to good use. Drummers should be able to perform solo, stretching the boundaries of their usual “timekeeping” duties and becoming a fully active part of the band. During the development of Jazz, Jazz drummers were able to take percussion to new levels and explore new sounds.

The piano

The idea of a piano solo has not been popular as of late – many times the piano is a simple accompaniment, such as the introductory instrument during a power ballad. But the piano still has an amazing range and if you’re a good piano player, you can make any piano solo exciting.

Bass or bass guitar

Bass guitar is often a classic “backup” instrument, providing the grounding bassline that allows the other instruments to soar high above. But the bass guitar has such a unique sound that it can work as a solo instrument – and bass guitar players who have the chops can really squeeze some interesting sounds out of the bass guitar. If you’re interested in taking up bass, realize that you don’t only have to be a background musician. You can really work to create a unique bass sound that might include a solo here and there.

Which instrument is best for a solo? These days, a guitar is the only choice. But that’s no reason you should choose the guitar over the other instruments, unless you’re only interested in solos. And if that’s the case, we have to ask: hey, why can’t you blend in with the background occasionally?

Music Lessons

Although some parents would like to believe otherwise, not every child is born with inherent musical gifts.

While some children can pick up the violin at the age of four and take to the instrument right away, other children struggle or display no interest in playing music whatsoever.

Even though some children may struggle, it doesn’t mean that they “aren’t cut out” to play music. It just means that now is not the right time for them to start.

This of course begs the question: “When is the right time?”

Since we didn’t know the answer we decided to put the question to the teachers who use our site to promote their lessons, and came up with a good set of guidelines to follow when considering giving your kids music lessons:

1. Pay attention to your child’s interest in music

In order for a young child to be receptive to music lessons it’s important to determine if they’re interested in music in the first place. If your child spends half the day singing or just appears to listen to music attentively, chances are they’d be very receptive to music lessons.

2. Let them try out different instruments

Even if your child displays an interest in playing music, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a natural violin or piano player. Oftentimes it takes a lot of trial and error to find and instrument that they enjoy playing. Give them a chance to try the violin, the piano, the drums and see what they take to.  By giving your child room to make their own decisions regarding what they want to practice, you’ll motivate them to practice more.

3. Exposure first, lessons later

Get your child to go group singing events and children’s concerts. Have them participate in music classes by giving them a simple instrument to play so that they can get a good feel of what it’s like participating in the music.  Technique and formal lessons can come later. Let your children have fun with music first.

4. Let the music teachers decide

Instead of pushing lessons on your children, bring your child to a music teacher and let them help you decide if they’re ready to start playing an instrument. Teachers know the motor skills, attention span and temperament that a child needs in order to start learning how to play an instrument.  Trust their judgment.

Every child is different, and just because one child is ready to play at four years of age and another child isn’t ready until they’re ten doesn’t mean that the latter child isn’t a less gifted musician. Many kids who start learning in their early to late teens can often pick up an instrument much more quickly than very young children can.  What’s important is that they learn at their own pace.

This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, written with the help of the TeachStreet community.  TeachStreet is a website dedicated to providing local and online lessons as well as piano lessons and violin lessons

Gibson SG Guitar

 

A classic electric guitar, the Gibson SG, has turned 50 today.

Considered a rock and roll classic, the Gibson SG Series has been well known and sought after since it’s release way back in 1961.

Made popular by such artists as Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton & Robby Krieger (The Doors) , many people have falled in love with the double cutaway, smooth and slimlined mahogany body, & two Gibson humbucking pickups that gave it a clean, sharp, but meaty punch.

The Gibson SG was born from design experiments, involving a double cutaway modification of the Gibson Junior, Special & TV models. The modification was innovative, and guitarists the world over discovered new ways of playing simply because the Gibson SG offered accessibility to notes higher up on the neck from both top and bottom. The guitar helped shape the sound of Eric Clapton’s Cream Album, and contributed the the evolution of The Door’s revolutionary musical soundscapes.

The Les Paul name stayed on the original design until 1963 when the ‘Les Paul’ endorsement contract ended, and Gibson reclaimed it back. Interestingly, the SG Name comes from ‘Solid Guitar’, not ‘Satan’s Guitar’, as some people would believe from the guitars horny shape.

The SG’s shape slowly evolved though time, with technological additions such as a floating pickguard & optional tremelo in 1971, andactive pickups in 1981. Some of these design improvements only lasted for a short while, with Gibson back pedalling and releasing newer models with the previous design. However, some of the innovative changes have been re-released!

If you’re interested in Gibson SG prices, or buying the Gibson SG Guitar, have a browse of the eBay auctions below.



GIBSON SG 61 REISSUE SATIN WORN CHERRY

EUR 950,00


EPIPHONE SG GIBSON OPEN BOOK GOTOH SCHAL…

EUR 320,00


GIBSON SG STARD 2016 T HERITAGE CHERRY 2…

EUR 875,00





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Learning Acoustic Guitar

 

Whether or not you already know a musical instrument, you might be thinking about taking one up. Perhaps you want to enhance your musical skills and take on a new challenge, and perhaps you simply want to get involved in the world of music in some (even limited) way. If you’re at either of these stages, you might be considering a number of instruments, but the chances are good that you’re considering a popular one, like guitar, piano, and drums.

While there are many types of keyboard instruments just as there are guitars, we might suggest that the acoustic guitar can make an excellent choice. Why? Well, we’re about to get into that. Here are four reasons you might want to make an acoustic guitar the next instrument on your to-do list.

Reason #1: Guitars are very handy.

No, an acoustic guitar is not a good tool to hammer in that nail so you can hang a picture up, but as far as musical instruments go, an acoustic guitar can be quite handy. They’re usually light and easy to carry around, and it only takes a bit of tuning to make sure that the guitar is ready to play. In most cases, you can pack your guitar along with you and bring it out quickly if you want to entertain your friends with a song around the campfire. Even though acoustic guitars look kind of large, they’re hollow, which means they’re not as difficult to bring or pack as you might think. With a good amount of skill on the acoustic guitar, you can also play a variety of different songs – in fact, many songs these days are actually written for the acoustic guitar.

Reason #2: No plugs required.

The electric guitar produces such a dynamic sound that it often blows an acoustic guitar out of the water, but that sound comes with a price: equipment and setup time. An electric guitar can sound great on a stage or in a studio, but if you simply want to bring your instrument with you and bring it out at any given time, then you’re going to want to stick with an acoustic guitar. There’s also the fact that buying less equipment means you’ll have more money left over to spend on other things – like guitar lessons, if you’re feeling ambitious. There are indeed electric acoustic guitars that allow you to “plug in” acoustics, but generally an acoustic guitar means just that – it’s playing its own sounds. No wind up, no plug-ins, no batteries.

Reason #3: Cool factor.

In many cases, taking out the acoustic guitar and playing it in public can actually make you look a little…well, try-hard. As in, trying too hard to impress people. Why is this? It’s because you can’t deny the “cool factor” of an acoustic guitar: you’re playing an instrument that produces a bright, bold sound, and you’re doing it by picking up a piece of wood attached to some strings. That’s pretty cool. It’s so cool that it’s becoming a bit of a cliche. You can look cool, however, with an acoustic guitar without having to become a try-hard. Just play it when you enjoy it and you won’t ever be one of those “try-hards.”

Reason #4: It’s easy to learn.

The acoustic guitar can require a lot of skill, but it doesn’t take long for you to learn some basic chord progressions and play simpler songs. You don’t have to be an expert to start sounding like you really know what you’re doing, and that’s what’s great about an acoustic guitar: it can be a highly accessible instrument. You’ll want to learn music theory, of course, but you can get some more immediate rewards for practicing your guitar by focusing on some basic chord strumming.

Learning Music Theory

If you want to learn music theory, one of the best instruments to take up is the piano – or even just an electronic keyboard. The piano is great because you can see all of the notes in front of you and learn how to use two hands at once, playing independent notes. You can learn all types of ways of playing the piano, as well, including classical style and jazz style. But is there another way to learn music theory if you don’t want to become a piano player right away?

Absolutely: you can buy yourself an inexpensive acoustic guitar and learn all about scales, chord progressions, and the relationships between notes. If you already own an acoustic guitar but don’t know how to play it, and don’t really understand music theory, this article will help you get off on the right foot. Or, in this case, on the right finger.

How to Learn the Basics

One of the first things you’ll want to do is actually buy a metronome. A metronome is that annoying little device that you set in order to hear a constant tempo. Why do you want to play with one right away? Can’t you learn rhythm and tempo independent of learning other music theory? Well, you can, but practicing with a metronome right away is vitally important because you might not realize how far off your internal sense of rhythm and timing is. You can play the metronome slowly at first, in order to make things more accommodating for you as a beginner. Once that gets easy, you’ll know you’re ready to kick the tempo up a notch and practice playing your music with a more difficult and faster beat.

You’ll also want to focus on basic music theory you’ll find in any beginner’s music book: learn about major and minor scales. Be sure to pay special attention to the relationship between notes in these scales, because once you understand how these relationships work, you’ll be able to essentially understand these scales no matter what the “root” note is. For example, playing a “C major” scale on guitar should be just as easy as playing a “G major” scale. On the piano, this might be a little trickier because of the difference between white and black notes, but on guitar, you know how easy it is to move up a half and whole step.

Putting Together Chords

Once you have the basics down, you can move on to ideas like chord progressions. The I-IV-V chord progression and its variables are one of the best ways to get started: you can play a variety of songs out of that chord progression, and even improvise your own melodies quite easily. When you start to see the relationships between chords, you’ll get a better understanding of how a song is constructed, and how one chord might be used in order to “set up” the next. There are a lot of different elements that go into constructing a song, but once you know how to play basic chord progressions on guitar, you’ll feel like you’ve really improved a lot.

Strumming and Picking

Strumming and picking are essential skills on the guitar, and you’ll want to learn how to use both of them. If you memorize a specific finger-picking pattern, for example, you will be able to produce a sound out of your guitar that sounds like two people are playing: it’s a great way to sound more “advanced.” Strumming the guitar is an essential skill, as well: if you can strum a guitar with clarity and authority, you can really start to play.

There are a lot of other elements at play when you learn music with the guitar, but these basics should hopefully give you an idea of what to expect.

Learning Musical Instruments

Whether you live in an apartment or are young enough to still be with your parents, there are a lot of things to consider when you take up a musical instrument.

Living in an apartment, you’ll have to worry about how much of a nuisance your practice sessions might be to the neighbors.

Living at home with others, you’ll have to deal with the constant presence of other people who would prefer not to hear “that racket.” In short, finding a musical instrument that suits your living situation might be one major key for determining how much you’re able to practice.

But there’s good news. You can take up the piano without buying a grand piano and moving it into your dorm room. And you can learn guitar without getting the people in the apartment above to keep knocking on their floor to shut you up. Let’s take a look at some musical instruments that might allow you to practice right where you are.

Electronic Keyboards

Electronic keyboards are one of the best ways to learn music, period. Why? Because learning a keyboard teaches you all about the notes and chords you’ll be playing across a range of instruments: you can see an entire song be played right in front of you. There’s no mystery about how sounds are produced when you’re at a keyboard. Another reason: you’ll find keyboards which light up the right keys for you to play when you’re in practice mode. With a nice pair of headphones, you can easily keep your sounds to yourself: you can be smashing the “piano” like Franz Liszt and no one would be the wiser.

Learning the keyboard is also a handy way to build the ambidexterity you often need to play musical instruments. Playing with both the left and right hand, you learn how to get your hands to make independent movements at the same time, which allows you to become a much more dynamic musician. And since most keyboards are relatively easy to store away in the closet, you keep keyboards in a small space like a dorm room or in your house basement – it doesn’t really matter.

Guitars

Guitars can feel a little bulky at times, but they’re easy to store and don’t create a massive sound that will disturb the people who live with you. Just shutting your door is probably enough sound-proofing you need to do if you’re using an acoustic guitar. Sure, electric guitars are capable of producing much more dynamic, piercing sounds, but if you stick with learning an acoustic for now, you’ll be able to practice the night away without getting yelled at. If you live with a lot of other people or in a small dorm room or apartment, this makes the guitar almost ideal.

The guitar is also an iconic instrument that will allow you to play just about any type of song you want. Packing flexibility in with a relatively small package makes it great for just about any living situation.

Electronic Drums

If you have to learn drums, you can do it without waking up the entire neighborhood: electronic drums allow you to wear headphones and play softly while you produce big sounds for you – and only you. Electronic drum sets can be quite expensive, but then again, many “acoustic” drum sets can be, too. If you can’t afford them now, you might want to consider saving for the long-term.

Any of these instruments are great for learning instruments even in tight living situations – and if you learned them all, you could put together your own band! Just make sure to keep the volume low or the headphones on.

Which Musical Instruments Work Best In Your Home?

Article Description:

You may have a lot of reasons to take up certain musical instruments, but if your instrument isn’t a good fit in your home, your musical development will be an uphill battle.

Article:

Whether you live in an apartment or are young enough to still be with your parents, there are a lot of things to consider when you take up a musical instrument. Living in an apartment, you’ll have to worry about how much of a nuisance your practice sessions might be to the neighbors. Living at home with others, you’ll have to deal with the constant presence of other people who would prefer not to hear “that racket.” In short, finding a musical instrument that suits your living situation might be one major key for determining how much you’re able to practice.

But there’s good news. You can take up the piano without buying a grand piano and moving it into your dorm room. And you can learn guitar without getting the people in the apartment above to keep knocking on their floor to shut you up. Let’s take a look at some musical instruments that might allow you to practice right where you are.

Electronic Keyboards

Electronic keyboards are one of the best ways to learn music, period. Why? Because learning a keyboard teaches you all about the notes and chords you’ll be playing across a range of instruments: you can see an entire song be played right in front of you. There’s no mystery about how sounds are produced when you’re at a keyboard. Another reason: you’ll find keyboards like this Casio, which light up the right keys for you to play when you’re in practice mode. With a nice pair of headphones, you can easily keep your sounds to yourself: you can be smashing the “piano” like Franz Liszt and no one would be the wiser.

Learning the keyboard is also a handy way to build the ambidexterity you often need to play musical instruments. Playing with both the left and right hand, you learn how to get your hands to make independent movements at the same time, which allows you to become a much more dynamic musician. And since most keyboards are relatively easy to store away in the closet, you keep keyboards in a small space like a dorm room or in your house basement – it doesn’t really matter.

Guitars

Guitars can feel a little bulky at times, but they’re easy to store and don’t create a massive sound that will disturb the people who live with you. Just shutting your door is probably enough sound-proofing you need to do if you’re using an acoustic guitar like this one. Sure, electric guitars are capable of producing much more dynamic, piercing sounds, but if you stick with learning an acoustic for now, you’ll be able to practice the night away without getting yelled at. If you live with a lot of other people or in a small dorm room or apartment, this makes the guitar almost ideal.

The guitar is also an iconic instrument that will allow you to play just about any type of song you want. Packing flexibility in with a relatively small package makes it great for just about any living situation.

Electronic Drums

If you have to learn drums, you can do it without waking up the entire neighborhood: electronic drums allow you to wear headphones and play softly while you produce big sounds for you – and only you. Electronic drum sets can be quite expensive, but then again, many “acoustic” drum sets can be, too. If you can’t afford them now, you might want to consider saving for the long-term.

Any of these instruments are great for learning instruments even in tight living situations – and if you learned them all, you could put together your own band! Just make sure to keep the volume low or the headphones on.

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