Questions about an instrument itself, rather than how to play it.

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2
votes
5answers
768 views

Silent, extremely portable instrument to learn music

I am currently off work for more or less a month, so I decided it could be a great time to learn an instrument and how to compose some simple tunes. I am 29, never played anything meaningful in my ...
9
votes
2answers
624 views

Can I split guitar string gauges?

I want to know if I can split guitar string gauges, ie. using 12s on the bottom and 10s on the top, both for standard and drop tunings.
0
votes
1answer
103 views

How many drop tunings can I use with one set of strings?

I want to know how many drop tunings I can reasonably use with one set of strings. Ex. can I go from E standard to drop C on 11s? For a given size string, how many tunings will be useable, given that ...
5
votes
3answers
308 views

English Horn Etymology

Why is the English Horn called a horn when it is a woodwind instrument, basically a lower oboe? When compared to other horns, such as the French Horn and the Flugelhorn, it seems to be a misnomer.
1
vote
1answer
272 views

What is the “buzzing” instrument in this song from Eluveitie, “A Rose for Epona”? [closed]

In the opening of the song a few instruments can be heard. The opening one is (I think) a harp, followed by a fiddle. Together with the fiddle, a rather "buzzing" instrument is also present, but I ...
7
votes
1answer
144 views

How to remove a rusted or stuck mouthpiece?

I have an old WWI US Army-issue bugle with the mouthpiece rusted onto the body. what it the best way to get the mouthpiece off without hurting the rest of the instrument?
4
votes
1answer
364 views

Jazz mouthpiece for flugelhorn?

What are some good options for a jazz flugelhorn mouthpiece? I have the Yamaha Bobby Shew and a nice 3C equivalent (for wind ensemble playing), but I want something that will help my range a bit.
3
votes
1answer
619 views

What is the quality of the Ryoji Matsuoka M30 Classical Guitar

I am curious about Ryoji Matsuoka classical guitars, particularly the M30 model. Is this make intended for beginners, intermediate players, or professionals? Are there any known unique qualities or ...
5
votes
3answers
947 views

Saxophone sometimes out of tune by nearly a fourth

Our band's saxophonist has a bizzare intermittent fault with his soprano sax (so normally uses his tenor or alto sax). Sometimes it's fine and sings beautifully, but other times it'll be out of tune ...
5
votes
3answers
383 views

Why do trumpet valves shift down and not up?

I understand how trumpets work - valves open to force the air through crooks, which lengthens the pathway the air must travel, thus decreasing the resonant frequency. The question is, why are ...
1
vote
1answer
215 views

Guidance in buying a tenor saxophone

I want to buy a tenor saxophone. The thing is that I used to play a bit on a very old (& nasty) one and now I want to make an upgrade. I was thinking of buying it from the thoman superstore ...
4
votes
1answer
396 views

What kind of bandoneon or concertina is appropriate for playing tango music?

I really love the sound of tango and I'd like to buy a bandoneon. With the relationship but seeming distinct existence from the Concertina, I don't know how to identify which kind of ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Do weighted keys on a keyboard lead to more expressive playing?

I use an acoustic piano to learn/play classical music. I use a midi keyboard to record/produce own music. My piano has weighted keys while my midi keyboard has a very light touch. I find that I am ...
13
votes
7answers
482 views

What kind of effect does practicing on difficult to play instruments have?

To clarify the title, I'm not asking if it helps your mandolin skills to play violin (or vice versa, whichever you feel is "more difficult"). Let's say you are a guitarist: Does it help or hurt to ...
4
votes
2answers
591 views

What should I look for in a metal bass guitar?

I am playing bass in a humorous metal band. The idea is to make parody out of metal using as many cliches as possible (at the same time respecting the scene and having fun, of course). We have some ...
4
votes
1answer
326 views

Spectrum of brass tones of same fingering

On valve brass instruments, a single fingering may be used to play different notes. For example on the trumpet, leaving all valves open (up) allows the player to play the following notes: C - G - C - ...
8
votes
4answers
301 views

Acoustic pianos with weighted keys

I'm currently trying to build up my finger strength, and have found that the exercises I do are more effective if I am practising on a piano with a heavier touch, as the keys require more force to ...
6
votes
4answers
434 views

What instrument is this?

I thought it was a tuba, and it sounds like one, but looking around for pictures it seems the tuba is a smaller instrument. Is this an unusual type of tuba, or what?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a transposing instrument?

I've read this term many times. However, I'm not quite sure of what it exactly is. What is a transposing instrument? What would be an example of one?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Starting piano - which instrument to choose?

I've been playing guitar for a couple of years now, and I want to try my hand at piano - so to speak. I'm a little stumped as to what the best instrument for me to choose is, as I've been looking at ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How does the piano middle pedal work? Is there a standard symbol for it?

What are the mechanics behind the middle piano pedal? I have been using the middle pedal for a variety of music, it is wonderful, but I can't figure out how it works (I mean the mechanical process). ...
11
votes
6answers
13k views

Is the sound of a semi-hollowbody guitar significantly different from that of an equivalent solid body?

I'm wondering if the sound of a semi-hollowbody electric guitar (i.e. one that looks hollow but in fact has a solid central block) really differs that much from an equivalent solid-body guitar with ...
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Identify the solo wind instrument in OMD's “Talking Loud and Clear”

I'd like to know what type of wind instrument is used for the solo part in Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "Talking Loud and Clear"? I'm guessing it's some sort of wood instrument.
2
votes
3answers
212 views

How to produce the sound at the beginning of this song?

I'm interested in using the wind-like sound heard during the first few seconds of "Seven Devil" by Florence + The Machine, but I have no idea how it's produced. How can I reproduce this sound?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What should I look for when buying a used trombone?

I am looking to buy a used trombone, from Craigslist or similar. I'd prefer not to spend much more than $200 on it. I want to learn to play the trombone, but I know absolutely nothing about the ...
9
votes
1answer
375 views

Why does closing a recorder bell raise the pitch sometimes and lower the pitch other times?

I have been playing recorder for two years now and have recently been using this chart, http://www.dolmetsch.com/efingeringchart.pdf for third octave soprano fingerings. Playing the D or the F# ...
2
votes
2answers
326 views

Switching from a short-scale bass to a 'normal' one - Tips please?

I've been playing bass in my bedroom for a while now. I have a pretty but pretty crappy 1970s Yamaha semi-acoustic (SA70, I think). I've been thinking of branching out into some new styles and ...
0
votes
2answers
757 views

What electronic instruments does Oh Land use?

I've seen this Oh Land live video on YouTube and wondered: What are these electronic instruments that Oh Land and the guy on her right play? I'd love to check them out. ...
9
votes
3answers
424 views

Is a very cheap drum kit an impediment to learning?

A national discount chain is offering an adult drumkit for £50 (about US$80). I've often fancied getting my hand in as a drummer. I don't ever expect drums to be my main instrument, but I would like ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

How can I tab by ear a song played on another instrument to guitar?

Is it theoretically possible to tab any song/piece from another instrument to the guitar? For example, this song I want to tab("A Kiss From An Old Flame" by Mercury Rev) uses 'flamenco', I think. I ...
30
votes
16answers
16k views

What instruments are inexpensive, portable and not too loud?

I'm a college student, and I'd really like to start playing an instrument. But I want to find something that is: Inexpensive Small / portable in a backpack Quiet enough to practice in my dorm room ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Realistic Virtual Piano

I recently started playing around with my MIDI keyboard and Garageband. However, I noticed the default "Grand Piano" etc. in Garageband have very poor sound and expression capability. Is there a free ...
7
votes
2answers
872 views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. ...
6
votes
2answers
321 views

What factors to consider when inventing a new (lab) instrument?

I have the idea for a new instrument which doesn't work with wind/blowing, hitting, or keystroked, but rather pressure. What factors should an instrument have? Is there a checklist that I can check ...
4
votes
5answers
172 views

Is it better to tune an instrument by procedure, or while playing?

I'm an amateur Guitar player. When I want to tune my Guitar, I follow this formula: Use a diapason to tune the A note on the third string, second fret Tune the second string by help of the B on the ...
4
votes
1answer
229 views

Bass Clarinet: Rubber vs Plastic Mouthpiece?

I play Bass Clarinet for a school band, and may have to buy my own mouthpiece. I'm wondering what the difference in tone quality is between a plastic and rubber mouthpiece, and if a rubber one is more ...
2
votes
1answer
985 views

What are the pros/cons of the “tuning-in-slide” method of trombone design?

Almost all American-made trombones are tuned using a tuning slide in the crook of the bell section. However, some European instrument makers sell trombones designed with a one-piece crook and a ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What are some qualities to consider when purchasing a cello?

My wife is a Suzuki-method violinist but wants to dabble with some cello pieces. I'm a rock guitarist--so I have absolutely no clue what to look for in a cello. It's clearly not a Les Paul so any ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What defines the loudness of an acoustic guitar?

I would like a loud sound without any amplification (purely acoustic sound). Which guitar traits affect it? Do you recommend any particular styles or brands of guitar? I assume that guitars with ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too low, and need correcting by pulling the 1st of 3rd valve. My first understanding was that the distance between tones in the lower register is larger than between ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any difference between a soprano trombone and a slide trumpet?

Occasionally, I will see people arguing about whether an instrument should be called a "soprano trombone" or a "slide trumpet" yet I have never seen any instrument designated as one as being any ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the distance between a pickup and strings do for the sound?

What does the distance between a pickup and strings do for the sound? Should active and passive pickups be treated differently?
8
votes
4answers
411 views

Do cold/hot drinks have any effect on woodwinds and brass performers?

Hey, I saw this question and I immediately remembered one or two teachers that kept saying that drinking cold/hot drinks before and/or during playing any woodwind or brass instrument was a bad thing, ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do standard modern pianos have 88 keys?

I know that the piano contains 7 octaves plus a 4th. I also know that it accommodates the full circle of fifths (from C and back to C). But since a fifth contains 7 semitones, it only "needs" 7X12 = ...
11
votes
3answers
639 views

Will my wind instrument be damaged if I leave it assembled?

Almost every teacher, expert, and book has informed me that I should disassemble my (clarinet / recorder / saxophone) each time after I practice. However, it is difficult for me to see how this would ...
7
votes
1answer
297 views

Naming convention for trumpet mouthpiece size

Different brands of mouthpiece manufacturers have different ways of naming the size of their mouthpieces. Is there some kind of common convention, like letters being the depth, small numbers meaning ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Building an electric guitar from scratch

I want to make an electric guitar by myself from scratch. How can I do this?
5
votes
3answers
281 views

How do I assess the value of a guitar when I'm preparing to sell it?

How do I go about researching the value of my instrument before I put it up for sale? I'd like to feel like I've done a proper amount of due diligence before I put it on the used market so I can both ...
2
votes
3answers
93 views

Information about selling my guitars [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I assess the value of a guitar when I'm preparing to sell it? So I have three guitars that I want to sell. After this, I want to buy a pretty nice acoustic to ...
7
votes
2answers
277 views

What is this guitar?

A few years back, I came across a guitar in the staging area of a pawn shop. I saw it, played it briefly, and bought it immediately after. I know nothing about it, but I'm hoping to gain some more ...