Monday, October 20, 2008
Decide which type of harmonica is right for you. There are three styles of harmonica: diatonic, tremolo and chromatic. For a better understanding of each of these, check out this website. Suzuki has good descriptions of each kind. For beginners, the diatonic harmonica is highly recommended. A diatonic has ten holes and is a fairly easy instrument on which to learn.
Friday, October 17, 2008
The Roland Boss DR-880 is a rhythm-producing powerhouse for the performing guitarist. This hard to classify device is part drum machine, part bass guitar synthesizer, part guitarist effects package, and part backing band. All in all, Roland has packed the DR-880 with realistic sounds and a wide-variety of features, including:
- Clean, realistic drum and bass-guitar sounds
- Direct input connection for guitar
- Audio-out ports for amp, P/A, or headphones (can also be used for analog computer input)
- Built-in COSM Drive/Amp models
- Effects such as chorus, delay, reverb, wah, crunch, and more
- Built-in drum patterns you can edit
- Composition function for drum and bass sounds
- Touch tempo metronome
- Play-pad for real-time drum or bass sounds
- Built-in chromatic tuner
A drum machine is nice, but what can this box do for the average guitarist? Quite a bit, actually. Connection is a breeze. Simply plug any electric or acoustic-electric guitar 1/4-inch cable into the clearly labeled input port on the front of the unit. Multiple outputs allow you to choose between headphones, mono or stereo output through 1/4" or RCA sockets. The output signal from the 1/4" socket is perfect for either a P/A system or an amplifier (the output signal strength is determined with a custom setting), and the RCA socket works great with stereo systems or dedicated monitors.
Backing Band In A Box
The DR-880 provides several ways to create backing percussion and bass sounds:
- Use E-Z Compose to quickly build a pattern with high-hat, snare, percussion, and bass guitar.
- Use the touch-pad to play (or record) drum or bass sounds in real-time.
- Modify and save one of the 500 pre-build patterns.
- Build a pattern from scratch in the Compose Editor.
- Load the machine with MIDI from your keyboard or PC.
I used the DR-880 for several months to act as a bass guitarist and drummer for our small church band. It never missed a practice, and never missed a beat. The ability to mix guitar, bass, and drum through separate volume controls was key to balancing the DR-880 with the rest of the group.
The instruction manual was difficult to follow, but after you've spent enough time with the unit it all begins to make sense. Many users strongly recommend the instructional video to quickly understand how to program the unit and understand some of the built-in shortcuts.
Nothing's perfect, and you may not agree with some of what I classify as blemishes, but it's only fair that I tell you of what I view as weaknesses of the DR-880. You can backup the data on the DR-880 (a plus), but you can only back it up as a bulk file. There's no way to export a set of patterns, for example, edit them on your PC, then reload the updates for playback. By far, the greatest limitation is the lack of expandable memory. Fewer and fewer recordable devices are fixed memory, but the Dr. Rhythm is one of them. Perhaps even worse, there's no way to know if you're about to exhaust available memory. When you hit the max, the machine simply says "Memory Full." Time to clear memory and restart from backup.
I recommend the Boss DR-880. The drum and bass sounds are great, the built-in features for the guitarist provide a variety of sounds to experiment with, and features such as tap-tempo, recording, and beat-by-beat editing give you complete control over over playback and on-stage accompaniment.
Requires continuously vibrating lips and the employment of a special breathing technique known as circular breathing - taking in air through the nose whilst breathing out using the tongue and cheeks – to create the typical drone sound.
Widely considered to be the most challenging instrument to master in an orchestra. The French horn requires breath to be controlled through up to 20 feet of narrow tubing using valves controlled by the left hand, and adjusting the position of the lips on the mouthpiece to control pitch. The right hand is moved inside the bell to lower the pitch.
The first musical instrument to be played without being touched, the Theremin requires a steady hand to control pitch: two antennae sense the position of the player’s hands to control frequency with one hand and volume with the other.
Built over two years for jazz artist Pat Methany, the Pikasso consists of 42 strings, three necks and two sound holes.
Discovered by a satyr in Greek Mythology, the aulos was so difficult to play the musician’s cheeks were fastened with a leather strap to prevent them from bursting.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
You've heard those great acoustic guitar tunes and you've decided you must become an acoustic guitarist. However, you know you are not even started if you do not have your own guitar. You want to be a great acoustic guitarist so you want to get the best guitar for you. Here are steps that will guarantee you get what's best for you...
1) Make sure the neck is comfortable. Feel it. Is it too small or too big? Pick one that suits your hand. You shouldn't be struggling with the neck of your guitar. Remember that's where most of the actions will come from.
The Numark TTXUSB turntable is an improved, USB-capable version of the industry standard, Numark TTX professional turntable. TTXUSB is a unique industrial-grade performance turntable that also makes digitizing your vinyl record collection a breeze by harnessing USB plug and play compatibility for both PC and Macintosh personal computers.
- interchangeable use of S-Shaped or straight tone arms
- variable torque
- battle or club style configuration- adjustable anti-skating control for increased stereo balance
- support for both 33, 45 and 78 RPM playback speeds
- adjustable pitch control (± 8%, 10%, 25%, and 50%)
- switched Line/Phono output connectors for connection to a receiver or amplifier
- keylock feature included to allow DJs to adjust tempo without changing pitch
Numark's TTXUSB Turntable package includes the turntable, a USB cable for interconnecting with a computer, an RCA cable for patching into a stereo system, an adapter for 45 RPM recordings, and EZ Vinyl Converter by MixMeister (a new program available exclusively to Numark that quickly converts vinyl tracks directly to iTunes).
Free Numark TTUSB Turntable
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
When it comes to buying microphones, there is a certain basic level of expertise that should be employed. Here are the three main things to keep in mind when buying a microphone of any type.
One of the first things to consider when buying a microphone is the type of usage that will be incurred by the microphone. Not all microphones are made for use in a wide variety of situations. For example, there is a big difference between the purchase of mikes that are going to be used in a secure environment, such as a sound proofed room, and those that are intended for use on a concert stage. Buy understanding how the microphone will be employed, it is easier to focus on the right types of microphones and not waste time looking at models that will not perform well in that situation.
Second, determine what level of sound quality will be acceptable for your new mike. Check onthe frequency response and the clarity of the transmission when buying a microphone. If at all possible run a quick test with a demonstration model, and make sure the unit will do what you need it to do in the way of sound capture and transmission. If the level of quality is not sufficient for your purposes, then check out other brands.
A third factor to keep in mind when buying a microphone is how compatible the new microphone will be with your existing equipment. While you may find a brand and product that is just great, there is no point in buying a microphone that cannot be easily miked to the sound equipment you already have in hand. Even if there are adapters that you could pick up, it may be a good idea to buy a microphone that is ready made to interact with your components.
The good thing is that many types of microphones are not all that expensive. That means you can find units that will work well in just about any situation without laying out a lot of money. Generally, basic microphones that will work with off the shelf recorders will start in the range of $25.00 US Dollars (USD). Even microphones that are intended for use with stage work can be purchased for less than $300.00 USD and still get reliable quality and performance. Because the prices are so reasonable, you may want to consider the possibility of covering your bases, by buying a microphone for use now, and then a second one to keep on hand for unexpected emergencies.
Many vendors offer a wide variety of pickups for all types of guitars. Some of the main types of pickups are single-coil, humbuckers and acoustic. The single-coil picks are usually seen on the popular Fender Stratocaster. The Stratocaster is not the only guitar that carries this style of pickup. Thousands of other guitars use these as well. The one main difference between a Stratocaster and another guitar using single-coil pickups is the company that manufactures them. Fender offers top quality single-coil pickups to purchase even if your "Strat" did not come equipped with the ones you were wishing for. It is probably best to try out different guitars on the same amp to see what the best sound is for you. The single-coil pickups usually have a vintage tone, with more noticeable feedback. Fender does offer pickups that have less feedback though. Some guitars use up to three different pickups at once.
If you are searching for a more powerful tone, grabbing some humbucking pickups is the best choice. Such companies as "Seymour Duncan" and "Dimarzio" offer pickups for a wide range of guitarists. There are humbuckers for anything from a blues sound to a heavy crunch sound. These manufacturers have descriptions on whether the pickups produce a high pitch tone, or a warm, bass sound. To obtain these sounds, the pickups are loaded with different magnets, screws and wires. There are vintage sounding humbuckers as well, usually seen on the "Les Paul" style guitars by Gibson.
Acoustic guitars only require one small pickup and the variety is not as wide. Acoustic guitars don't have nearly as many pickup choices due to the fact you are just trying to amplify the sound of the acoustic guitar and not change the acoustic tone. The three major types of acoustic pickups are soundhole pickups, soundboard transducers and undersaddle transducers. The soundhole pickups generally make your acoustic guitar sound and look more like an electric guitar. These soundhole style pickups normally sound less like the unplugged acoustic. Soundboard transducers are the most natural sounding of the three. Although they are more prone to feedback problems, they give you the more authentic sound. That just leaves the undersaddle transducers, which are less visible than the other types. The undersaddle style has a more natural sound than the soundhole pickup but is used for finger picking and light to moderate strumming. Strumming too hard, or using a heavy pick can cause the undersaddle transducer to produce an awkward sound.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There’s nothing quite like watching a sloppy, beer-induced rendition of a classic tune. Some liquid courage is all that most men need to stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and belt out semi-faithful covers of their favorite songs.
The combination of men, alcohol and a microphone has long been a dangerous one, and nothing has suffered the consequences more than these top 10 karaoke songs for guys.
No.10 - "Born in the U.S.A."
Bruce SpringsteenNever mind the political nature of this one, Bruce Springsteen's “Born in the U.S.A.” is a common karaoke song for guys thanks to its anthemic chorus and that recognizable opening keyboard. This is a good choice among the tone-deaf, as it’ll sound just fine if you’re more likely to scream it than sing it.
No.9 - "You Shook Me All Night Long"
AC/DCSinging any AC/DC song could leave you without a voice for a few days afterwards, but it could be worth it. Trying to duplicate the vocals of Brian Johnson basically forces you to give it 100% -- closed eyes, white-knuckle grip on the microphone and beet red in the face -- so this is usually a great choice.
No.8 - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The Rolling StonesIf just singing isn’t enough to satisfy your karaoke lust, why not take the opportunity to flop around like Mick Jagger? Many a karaoke night have turned into a Mick Jagger dance-off, and what better place to start than with the karaoke song for guys, “Satisfaction”?
No.7 - "Sweet Caroline"
Neil DiamondFor guys who want to show off their crooning sensitive side, there’s no better way than a soulful rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” This’ll also give you a chance to show off your skills as a roaming lounge singer; you get extra points for crowd participation.
No.6 - "Livin' on a Prayer"
Bon JoviFeeling a little bit more ambitious? This Bon Jovi tune always seems like a good idea right up until you get to the chorus, where you have no choice but to try to reach that ungodly note -- “Whoa-HO!” Ninety-nine percent of guys can’t even come close, but it doesn’t stop them from trying.
No.5 - "Sweet Home Alabama"
Lynyrd SkynyrdNothing makes for better karaoke than the fake southern drawl required to pull this karaoke song for guys off. The opening riff should be enough to perk up the crowd and get them on your side too. If costumes are required, a sleeveless flannel shirt and torn jeans should do the trick.
No.4 - "Friends in Low Places"
Garth BrooksSomehow, this sad-sack tune about a scorned lover made its way to being a karaoke favorite -- then again, any song that sings directly about drinking yourself into a stupor is obvious karaoke fodder. The best part is that the loop-de-loop melody in the chorus is actually easier to sing under the influence.
No.3 - "Cecilia"
Simon & GarfunkelFor guys who head to karaoke nights in an attempt to pick up, this catchy Simon & Garfunkel ditty is a must. It offers a chance to show off the pipes, and sing a little heartbroken love song at the same time. Of course, if you don’t pull it off, chances are you’re heading home alone.
No.2 - "Don't Stop Believing"
JourneyAfter experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to The Sopranos and The Family Guy, chances are you’ll catch this tune more than once on any given karaoke night. Hell, you’ll even find some people with choreographed routines. The song provides ample opportunities for rock star leg kicks and intense finger-pointing, so it’s sure to bring out the performer in just about anyone who has the guts to try to match Steve Perry’s vocal range.
No.1 - "Born to Be Wild"
SteppenwolfIt’s repetitive, it doesn’t require a lot of work, and most men associate it with Easy Rider. “Born to Be Wild” is without a doubt the song you’re most likely to see performed by a 45-year-old man wearing aviator shades and a leather vest.
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Monday, October 13, 2008
Although CDs are the most popular format these days, older recordings might still only be available on LPs (or even 78s). Also, records are a must for you amateur party DJs. These instructions are for buying a basic turntable.
As inexpensive turntables made by Japanese manufacturers have noise-inducing plastic bases and plinths, consider buying a used turntable.
Buy a belt-drive turntable if possible, as they cost less and provide greater tonal accuracy and isolation from motor noise than direct-drive turntables.
Choose between manual, automatic (starts and stops the tonearm) and semi-automatic (lifts the tonearm at the end of the record) operation. Automatic operation offers convenience, while manual operation provides better sound quality.
Make sure a model that interests you includes the features you want. These might include the ability to play 78 rpm records, a 45 rpm adapter, a dust cover, a clamp or a strobe.
Friday, October 10, 2008
With Steinberg, the only thing virtual is the name and the delivery. Every sound is a real sound recorded with utmost care to faithfully capture the full experience with the performances played by trained and talented studio musicians. When a note decays, it's real decay. And each note is recorded at multiple (up to 16) velocities, so when you play a little softer or a little harder, you hear a natural note, not a modulated one. From those samples expansive sound libraries are built and designed to stream off your hard disk for more detailed and expressive play. Steinberg practically wrote the book on software instruments with cool interfaces. Their interfaces are designed by an award-winning team of programmers and musicians to deliver a unique and satisfying experience that's fun, powerful, and intuitive all in one sweep.
If you're a beginner or hobbyist who wants to play in a band or jam with your friends, a 4-piece drum set consisting of a snare drum, bass drum, single mounted tom, and floor tom provides you with all the basic sounds. Ringo Starr made this configuration famous with The Beatles. A 4-piece set takes up a minimum of space, is easily portable, and has a sound well suited to jazz, blues, and rock styles.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Image Line recently updated FL Studio to v8.0.2.
-Fixed rare crash when loading new project while playlist is visible.
-Added preview to Edison & Slicex tools.
-Added knob for note release in step sequencer & piano roll randomizer tool.
-Implemented new audio clipboard format to counter Windows' inability to handle long bits of audio.
-Can now download the new LoopMasters RX2 content.
-Fixed VST rendering if a plugin reports zero programs.
-Fixed window resize (window kept getting bigger).
-Fixed memory leak when loading external banks.
-Create Temp folder before import of external banks.
-Browser is refreshed when the lib path changes.
-Fixed crash when importing samples with long filenames (longer than 31 characters).
-Fixed a mouse capture issue.
-Fixed bug exporting waves for VSTi programs that start or end with spaces.
-Fixed some small visual glitches.
-Fixed filename extension extraction bug.
-Increased browser button size.
-Removed mouse wheel velocity sensitivity.
-Added tablet pc / stylus option for controls.
-Fixed crash when sample is used normal and reversed.
-Doesn't load the MIDI loop into the pianoroll anymore when changing preset.
-Fixed glitch when changing "bottom toolbar" setting.
-"Send pitch bend range" is now off by default.
-Fixed buffer size communication bug on plugin initialization.
The Epiphone Les Pauls look, sound, and feel like their more expensive Gibson cousins. Why do they cost less?
First, Epiphones are made overseas where labor costs are low, while Gibsons are made in Nashville, TN. Next, Epiphone Les Pauls are made of common mahogany varieties; Gibsons use rare Honduran mahogany. Gibson also uses an intensive finish process; Epiphone uses a more cost-effective catalyzed finish. Just because Epiphones are made overseas, doesn’t mean they’re low quality.
For example, Les Paul pickups are made to Epiphone’s exacting specs. They are double- dipped in wax and quality-tested by Epi-phone engineers at every stage of development. It is this attention to detail that sets Epiphone apart. And it is these very details that provide the incredibly rich, creamy tone that makes this guitar a favorite of jazz, blues, and rock players. Epiphone’s dedication to music is reflected by a limited lifetime warranty on all of its models, regardless of price.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Step 1. Prepare water bath.
Begin by preparing your mold for a water bath. A water bath will be needed in this project. In preparation for the water bath, attach weights to your mold. Also, prepare a water vessel with the appropriate amount of water.
Step 2. Melt wax.
We are using a high melting point wax. The melting point of the wax used here is about 163 degrees F.
Step 3. Pour wax into mold.
With the temperature of your wax at 185-190 degrees F, fill your mold.
Step 4. Submerge photo into wax.
Insert your photo into the wax-filled mold. Fully submerge your photo and allow it to sit for a moment or two. It will soak up wax and displace any air that is within the paper. If there are bubbles still sticking to the photo, try to move the photo around a bit to dislodge as many of the bubbles as possible (chopsticks are handy). Having no bubbles is ideal, but not always practical, so don’t waste too much time on this step. Also, lightly tap the sides of your mold with a blunt instrument to free up any bubbles that may be lurking there.
Step 5. Position Photo using a spoon and wet cloth.
Using the utensil of your choice, position your photo against the sidewall of the mold. A wooden spoon was used here that was pre-heated in the hot wax. If the spoon were cold, the photo would have stuck to it on contact. With the photo in place, take a wet washcloth, wet kitchen towel, or wet paper towels and apply it to the exterior of the mold at the location of the photo.
Step 6. Place mold in water bath.
Place the mold into the water bath. The entire interior will frost right away.
When your shell is as thick as you’d like it, remove the mold from the water bath. 3/8 to ½ of an inch is a good target thickness.
Step 7. Pour out inner wax.
With the mold removed from the water bath, wipe off any excess water from the exterior surface of your mold. If needed, slice open the top with a paring knife. Pour the core wax back into your pouring pitcher. Many times, the surface will not need to be sliced open, as no wax will have solidified on top.
Step 8. Level the top.
Once the shell is removed from the mold, place a cookie sheet on top of a pot of simmering water. The heated cookie sheet can then be used to melt away some of the wax on the top rim of the hurricane shell. Level the top to provide a clean appearance. If you have an electric griddle, you may wish to use that in a similar manner on low heat.
Step 9. Insert Votive
Insert a votive holder containing a votive candle inside your finished shell. Enjoy.
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Monday, October 6, 2008
2. Brush off any excess crumbs from the cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to "set" the rest, then apply the final frosting and/or decorations.
3. Use paste food coloring to get the most vivid colors. Gradually add color to frosting with a toothpick.
4. Stand narrow end of decorating bag in measuring cup or drinking glass when filling. Fill bag halfway with frosting for easier handling. (Note: A sturdy self-sealing plastic bag makes a good substitute for a decorating bag.)
5. Hold decorating tip close to the surface of your cake and squeeze bag with even pressure. Use your other hand to keep bag steady.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The best websites to discover a new hobby are:
4. Internet hobbies
5. Hobby Town USA
You can also check out Hobby Lobby and get a $200 gift card for free!