Information

Acoustic Guitar Information

 

Guitar Woods

Wood is one of the largest determining factors on a guitar’s sound and longevity. Specific woods used to build guitars, acoustic and electric are called tone woods. Tone woods have resonant properties that other woods do not. For example, oak is a beautiful and strong wood, but it has no resonant properties, so it would not work for guitar building. 
 

Nato
Nato wood, also known as Eastern Mahogany, is a reliable, strong wood used on guitar necks. It is a value-priced wood used more for beginner instruments. However, it still embodies all of the properties of more commonly used mahogany. 
 

Spruce
Spruce is a the most commonly used wood on acoustic guitar soundboards. The soundboards on acoustics are generally made of tightly grained spruce. Naturally yellow in color; spruce is a light wood that has a very high degree of resonance, so it is a perfect match for acoustic guitars.
 

Mahogany
Mahogany is a moderately dense and very durable wood. It is commonly used for the backs, sides and necks of acoustic guitar. It is sometimes, used on electric guitar bodies and necks. Because it is very sonorous and durable, mahogany is also used in banjos, resonator, ukuleles and acoustic guitar soundboards. It is lighter than maple and specifically provides acoustic guitar with great sustain. Mahogany also provides great weight balance between the neck and body of a acoustic. It is reddish-brown in color and is incredibly strong and resonant giving the guitar big and beautiful tone. 
 

Solid Spruce
Solid spruce refers less to a difference in th wood than to how it is actually cut for the guitar. Laminate spruce soundboards are built as layers of cross-grained wood glued to each other. Solid spruce soundboards consist of one piece of wood running all the way thoroughly. This gives the guitar a richer sound because the solid wood soundboard can vibrate more freely and thoroughly. 
 

What is a dovetail neck joint?
The dovetail is a common woodworking joint that is used in furniture as well as musical instruments. The dovetail is considered one of the strongest wood joints. With musical instruments it is still debated as to whether the neck joint improves the sound, but everyone agrees that the dovetail gives the guitar the most stable neck angle. 
 

Canadian Sitka Spruce
Canadian Sitka Spruce is a harder to find, more expensive type of spruce. It has a light yellow color and is also used for acoustic guitar soundboards. It gives guitars a bigger, more resonant sound, flush with crisp highs. It also improves with age more than other type of spruce. 

 

- Information sourced from The Music Link Inc.

Electric Guitar Information

Why is alder our preferred wood?
We find that alder has the richest tone, characterized by lots of fat low-end and well define mids. Alder is a light wood, which makes it more comfortable for long gis, and it has a slot of sustain. It is one of the original woods used for solid body guitars. Although other woods like poplar and basswood are used by othewr manufacturers, they are considered alder substitutes.
 

Why use a humbucker?
Humbuckers are designed with opposing polarities. This gives them a noise (hum) canceling effect, thus called “hum-bucking” or humbuckers. Humbuckers are generally known for having a thicker sound than a single coil pickup. They are equally good for both clean, low-volume playing and ear-splitting distortion. 
 

Maple
Maple is a strong and extremely dense, heavy wood. It is exellent for guitar necks and bodies because it chan handle an inordinate amount of string tension. Maple ihas a bright and crisp tone and is used on flamenco guitars as well as some electrics. It has a wide variety of exotic grains that show up quite well in finishes. Flamed maple is a very popular and brilliant looking exotic type of maple. “Flamed” refers to the rippling, or curls of the grain of wood that run across the body. Flame maple is generally “bookmatched,” which means that the body is made of two half pieces of a single cut piece of maple. This gives the guiat even weight, look and tone throughout the body.
 

Solid Alder
Alder is a fairly light and incredible resilient wood that is a favorite amongst electric guitar makers. It is a close grained wood that has a natural light tan color to it. Alder is used mostly for electric guitar body building because of its density and its full sound. It is a porous wood that takes quite well to a variety of finishes. Alder gives guitars a very full sound sand great sustain with emphasis on the midrange of wood running all the way through. This gives the guitar a richer because the solid wood soundboard can vibrate more freely and thoroughly.
 

What is the difference between “active” and “passive” pickups?
Simply put, active pickups are those that have circuit that require battery power, whereas passive pickups don’t require any additional power to operate. However, this simple difference can mean a lot to your guitar’s tone and overall output.
 

Passive pickups send a low output, raw signal to the amp that can only be affected by the volume and tone controls on the instrument itself. Passive pickups tend to lose the extremes of high and low frequencies, but still give a very even and punchy tone. This is because passive pickups tend to push out more midrange frequencies. While passive pickups might give players less dynamic control, their smooth sound is still very unique and desirable.

Active Pickups have preamps that are built into the pickup housing, so they can drive the signal to the amp themselves. This preamp must be powered by a source other than the amp, so active pickups require a separate battery to operate. This allows the pickup to send a higher output signal, producing a more complete , full-range, sound than most passive pickup systems and giving players more control of instrument dynamics, projection and tone.

How to change intonation on electric guitars

Most electric guitars have adjustable saddles,. You can easily chang the intonation of each stin using only a screwdriver. If the 12th fret is flat(compared to the harmonic) you should turn the saddle screw conterclockwise, to make the sttring shorter and high in pitch. You will need to retune after each adjustment of the screw to recheck the intonation. If the 12th fret is sharp you should turn the screw clockwise to make the string longer . After you’ve completed this for every string your guitar should be in tune.

- Information sourced from The Music Link Inc.

String Instrument Information
(Violin, Viola, Cello, Upright Bass, Fiddle)

How to tune a violin
A violin is tuned in perfect 5ths to GDAE. The fourth string (the thickest) being tuned to the “G” that is a 5th above middle “C” on a piano. We’ve found the best way for students to tune is using a violin pitch pipe, because it helps build ear training. 
 

Daily maintenance and cleaning of a violin instrument.
The life span of a violin family instrument directly correlates to how well it is taken care of. The daily ritual of cleaning and the proper storage of an instrument are crucial to its longevity and playability. Always wipe down an instrument’s string with a soft, dry cloth after it is played. There will be rosin from the bow left on the strings and rosin dust underneath the strings on the body. This will build up and degrade th integrity and resonance of the strings if not wiped down, as well as leave a nasty buildup on the body. Also, always loosen the tension on the bow after use. Not doing this could cause the bow to warp or break over time. 
 

How to polish a violin
Violins are much more sensitive than other stringed instruments and as such the need a bit more care. We recommend polishing a violin not more than once or twice a year. Polishing the violin will only help it to look better; it will not enhance the playability or sound. Otherwise, just keep the violin dry and dust free with a soft cloth. Use violin polish when ready but be careful NOT to get any polish on the strings or the bow. Getting polish on either of these will damage the items. 
 

How to tune a viola
A viola is tuned in perfect 5th’s to CGDA. The fourth string (the thickest) being tuned to the “C” that is the same as middle “C” on a piano. It is easy for students to tune their viola, and build ear training, by using Palatino pitch pipes. 
 

How to change a fine tuner tailpiece and tailpiece hanger
Changing a fine tuner tailpiece is an easy job for our violin family instruments. First, remove the strings on the violin and simply remove the existing tailpiece and tailpiece hanger. Line up the end of our new fine tuner tailpiece to the bottom of the saddle. Thread the ends of the tailpiece hanger, or tailgut, through the hole at the bottom of the tailpiece. Fasten the screws and collars to the hanger ends and adjust evenly. Then fit the tailpiece hanger around the endpin groove. The lower saddle bears the weight of the tailpiece so adjust the screws so that the saddle is high enough for the tailpiece to clear the belly of th instrument. Now the violin is ready to be restrung and enjoyed. In just a few simple steps you are on your way to playing again!
 

How to tune a cello
The cello is tuned to CGDA, with the “A” being just below middle “C”. We offer cello pitch pipes that makes it easier for students to tune their instrument, while developing ear training.
 

How to tune a bass
The bass is tuned to EADG, like the bottom four strings of a guitar. We offer a quartz tuner for bass that will help students to tune their instruments while further developing ear training skills.
 

Storing a violin
Humidity and temperature are arch-enemies of violins. A good balance between the two is important for good violin health. Dry weather might cause cracking in the wood and finish whereas extreme humidity and heat could cause the varnish to bubble. It is best to keep the instrument indoors in an air-conditioned room. If you don’t have the luxury of AC, interesting trick is to keep a wet paper towel in a punctured plastic bag in the violin case. This will act a s humidifier and keep the violin safe. Never leave a violin in a car., as the heat will be devastating to it. Because it is easy to damage a violin, keep the instrument in a closed case after it has been played. Violins are delicate instruments that can be greatly injured by the slightest mishap. Following these simple rules can keep a violin around for a lifetime or longer. 
 

Getting the correct size violin for students
Violin - With arm extended, measure the length from the left side of the middle of the neck (where you would take a pulse) to the middle of the palm on the left hand. 

14 1/8" - 16 7/8"1/16 Size Violin

16 7/8" - 18 ½"1/8 Size Violin

18 ½" - 20 3/8"1/4 Size Violin

20 3/8" - 22 1/4½ Size Violin

22 1/4" - 23 3/4"3/4 Size Violin

23 3/4" & UpFull Size Violin

 

Viola 
The hand should be able to cup the scroll while the instrument is in playing position. 

Cello
While sitting straight in a chair, feet on the floor, with the end pin partially extended, rest the cello against the chest at a slight angle. The C-string should be near the left ear, and the top of the cello body should be in contact with the breast bone. The left hand should be able to run the length of the fingerboard. The knees should comfortably hug either side of the instrument.

Bass
Stand in the playing position with the instrument. The nut should be near eye level. The right hand should be able to run the length of the bow across the strings comfortably. The left hand should be able to finger all the strings. 
 

How to apply rosin to a bow
Before applying rosin to a violin bow, be sure that th rosin cake has some powder on the surface. If there isn’t any powder on th surface. Scrape a coin along the surface to give texture to the cake. Making sure that the bow hair is taught, rub the rosin gently along the bow hair from th frog to th top of the bow. Do this 25+ times if the bow is new, 4+ times if it is not. Be carful not to touch the bow hair with your hands when putting rosin on, as the oils in your hand will damage it. Put the bow to the strings and play a few open strings. If there is any slippage with the bow, or if little sound is being produced, it needs more rosin. A properly rosined bow will bring a very clear, expressive tone from the violin.
 

What is the difference between ebony, ebonized, and ebonite?

Ebony: Is one of the most dense woods available, It is a preferred wood for violin fittings.

Ebonized: Most commonly used to describe a hard wood that is dyed or stained dark black to give it the look of ebony. It is sometimes mistakenly used for woods that are painted black, an inferior way of treating the wood. 

Ebonite: A hard rubber or plastic that resembles ebony.
 

What is a soundpost and what does it do?
The soundpost is a small piece of wood that is inserted in a violin behind the bridge. The exact placement of a soundpost is critical in giving your violin the best sound possible. This is because the role of the soundpost is to transmit the vibrations of the top and back of the violin through the body. It acts in conjunction with the bass bar to project a rich an even tone. The soundpost is not glued into place, it is simply held in place by its position between the op and back of the violin. Slight adjustments of the soundpost can have a dramatic effect on a instruments sound. The suggested placement of the soundpost is jut behind the right foot of the bridge on the opposite side of the bass bar. A soundpost setter will be needed to place your soundpost properly.

 

- Information sourced from The Music Link Inc.

Wind Instrument Information

Why do wind instruments have a note in front of the name?
The note signifies which pitch is sounded when a musician plays a written C. For example, a Bb clarinet will sound an actual Bb pitch when the musician plays a written C from his score. Instruments that sound a different pitch than th written note are called “transposing instruments.” Transposing instruments wer used to avoid too many accidents before the mechanical systems on these instruments were perfected. In the past, a clarinet player would switch among several clainets, depending on the key of the piece. With this transposing system, the player would have to learn only one set of fingerings in order to play clarinets in any key. The only exceptions to this transposing rule are low brass. Trombones, baritones, and tubas are instruments that sound Bb when playing a written Bb. They are “non-transposing” instruments.
 

How to setup a trumpet
 

Oiling and Cleaning the Valves
The first step in setting up a trumpet is to clean and oil the valves. To do this, unscrew the top cap of the first valve. Then carefully remove the piston inside and place it off to the side on a soft towel. Unscrew the bottom cap of the first valve and place it on the towel as well. Repeat with the second and third valves. Remove the main tuning slide and the tuning slides for each individual valve. Then place these slides off to th side on the towel. Rinse the trumpet body with mildly soapy distilled water (not tap water), making especially sure to thoroughly clean inside the valve casing to remove any residual metal fillings from manufacturing. Rinse away the soap with regular distilled water.
 

Dry the outside of the trumpet by patting it down with a a soft towel and then polish away any water marks with a soft, dry cloth. Next wash the silver pistons, bottom valve caps, and tuning slides (inside and outside) with soapy distilled water. Avoid getting th felt and/or cork on the finger buttons wet. Rinse with regular distilled water and allow the valves, tuning slides, and inside of th trumpet to completely air-dry before reassembly. When all the pars are dry, screw the bottom valve caps back on. Apply several drops of valve oil to the inside valve casing and piston valve. Return the piston to the casing by lining up the notch inside the valve casing with the plastic runner at the bottom of the spring on the piston. If necessary, loly turn the valve until it clicks into place. Replace and tighten the valve cap. Repeat these steps with the two other valves and pistons but be sue put them back in their regular places. The trumpet will not play correctly if the valve aren’t in their original positions. 
 

Inserting the mouthpiece
Before the trumpet is ready to play the mouthpiece must first be installed. This is a simple step but make sure to GENTLY slide the mouthpiece into the receiver. Then twist it lightly to the right to make sure it is seated correctly. Do not force the mouthpiece in with a palm or fist as it will make the mouthpiece stick and very difficult to remove. You will want to take the mouthpiece out for daily cleaning as well as storing the trumpet in its case. 
 

Tuning
Trumpets are normally built a bit sharp when it comes to tuning. To get the trumpet to be tuned correctly, pull out the largest of the three tuning slides about a 1/4 to a ½ of an inch. The trumpet can be fine tuned further by slightly pushing or pulling this same tuning slide to match other instruments in group situations.
 

 

- Information sourced from The Music Link Inc.

 

Harmonica Cross Harp Key Guide

Cross Harp Key Guide
Since being introduced in the United States in the 1860s, the harmonica has become a staple instruments in all forms of music. From classical and jazz, to blues, country and rock, these forms of music are as varied as the harmonicas used to accompany them. However, the primary method of placing harmonica in rock, blues and country is called playing “Second Position” or “Cross -Harp.” Even without a degree in music theory, this very simple cross-harp chart will help you determine which harmonica is best suited.

 

 

- Information sourced from The Music Link Inc.

Band Plays In Key of

F# 

Ab 

Bb 

Db 

Eb 

Cross-Harp Key Is

A

Bb

B

C

Db

D

Eb

E

F

Gb

G

Ab

Live Sound / PA (Professional Audio) Information

What is RMS?
RMS stands for “Root Mean Square”, which is a fancy mathematical formula for finding the average amount of power an amplifier can continuously produce. There is no legal standard for calculating RMS watts for an amplifier, but our amplifiers are tested by the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) to obtain a true RMS power rating.
 

“Phantom Power,” “Headroom?”: What are they talking about?
Though Phantom Power might sound like a superhero’s catch phrase, it isn’t. Phantom power simply powerst the preamp of a condenser microphone. Many powered misers feature phantom power so users won’t need to rely on addiitional batteries or power

sources. While phantom power functions ideally on condenser mics, and unbalanced dynamic mic can be damged. So, do not turn phantom power on unless a mic that needs it is connected to the mixer. 
 

Headroom is a concept that refers toa system’;s (amp, mixer, etc.) dynamic range, or nmormal working volume. Headroom refers to an average (in decibels)between the normal volume of a system and the volume at which it starts to distort. Basically that means if you have a system that sounds good at +6db and distorts at 18dB, that system has a headroom of +12dB. Knowing how much headroom your sytem has will allow you to use to its full capacity without damaging it.
 

What is impedance and whay does it matter?
In very simple terms, impedance is the ability to resist electrical power. Impedance is measured in Ohms. The lower the impedance, the more power the system will accept (because the resistance is low). Speaker cabinets are generally rated at 8 Ohms. If you plug them in to each other the Ohms are cut in half, and become 4Ohms. This is because two speakers resist power half as much as one speaker. Power amps are sometimes rated at 4 Ohms, because it is expected that you will use two 8 ohm speaker cabinets. A 100 watt (@ 4 ohm) amp will give each speaker about 50 watts. But , what if you only plug in only one (8ohm) speaker., will it get all 100 watts? No, because the impedance is double then the watts are cut in half, the single speaker will only get 50 watts. Never go below the minimum impedance of an amplifier. It can cause serious damage to the amplifier. So, don’t try to plug 8 speakers into your 100 watt amp to get more power, because it’s a trick you can only try once.
 

Hi-Z versus Lo-Z cables
Microphone cables are often available as Lo-Z or Hi-Z and each type is used in different circumstances. Lo-Z cables have a female and male XLR connector while Hi-Z have a female XLR and a 1/4" connector. Lo-Z cables are used for most microphones and newer electronic devices. Hi-Z cables are used for older equipment and electronics with high impedance. Additionally, Lo-Z cables are typically used for microphones with less than 600 ohms of output impedance. Hi-Z cables are used for devices with 5,000 ohms or more output impedance.
 

What’s the difference between speaker and instrument cables?
Instrument and speaker cables often look the same, but have a few things that make them very different. The basic difference between th two is that an instrument cable has extra insulation and shielding that you do not find a speaker cable. The extra shielding keeps other signals from interfering with the sound of the guitar. These signals include anything from radio signals to static electricity. Because the signal coming from your guitar is not strong , these small signals could have a big effect on the sound. Speaker cable delivers a very strong signal from the amplifier. This signal overpowers any radio wave and does not need the extra shielding. Because the signal is so strong, the speaker cable needs thicker copper wire to handle the excess energy. Below is the recommended speaker gauge that corresponds with the wattage of an amp.