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

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6
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7answers
941 views

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop callouses?

This is a common problem and solving it will ultimately lead to a much higher success rate for beginning guitar students. So I wanted to share the information here on Music and Theory. Many of my ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is a guitar body made out of mahogany generally lighter than a body made out of alder ?

I know that each piece of wood is different and two similar pieces of a same essence will have different weight. But in general, for the same body shape and size which wood essence will tend to give ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the touch-pad things that the guitarist and bassist of Muse use?

In concert video footage of Muse, I've seen both the guitarist and bassist use touch-pad devices integrated with their instruments. What are these devices, and what are they designed to do?
6
votes
3answers
5k views

What is causing this weird distortion coming from my amp?

Here is the sound I'm talking about. I get this sound, unless I strum ridiculously lightly, on different amp volume settings, with no gain, but is seems to become ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
271 views

Why are there transposing instruments that transpose by octave?

Some instruments (for example the guitar, the bass guitar, and the xylophone) have written music in a typical clef, however the note written and the note played are an octave lower or higher depending ...
6
votes
2answers
405 views

Differences between trumpet mouth pieces

How much difference does having a specific mouthpiece have? I have an 11B4. I understand what the different names mean but what difference does a deeper mouthpiece for example have on ...
6
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
535 views

Does the type of wood on a solid body electric guitar affect its tone or sound?

I know that on an acoustic guitar the sound is produced by the strings vibrating the top or soundboard and that the type wood used on the soundboard and body of an acoustic guitar will be the ...
5
votes
5answers
197 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
207 views

Accessible Instruments While Away From Home

I am a musician spending a few months away my home. I fear that I may lose a good chunk of skill if I am unable to practice my instrument during this time. It is completely unfeasible for me to buy ...
5
votes
2answers
747 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
544 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.
5
votes
3answers
834 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
561 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
270 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Record Label Instrumentals

Does anyone know if record labels keep a copy of every instrumental of every song produced by their producers? I know that there are places online that have regenerated or reproduced instrumentals of ...
5
votes
2answers
131 views

Is there a more specific name for this instrument than “PVC instrument”?

After hearing a number of covers performed on instruments like the one below, I was wondering if someone has come up with a better name for this instrument than "PVC instrument".
5
votes
1answer
742 views

Yamaha 300 series v. Aulos 500 series

I'm considering getting a new plastic soprano recorder (a wooden one is a bit out of my budget). I've narrowed it down to the YRS 302b and the Aulos 503b. I realize they are both great plastic ...
5
votes
1answer
702 views

Examples of acoustic instruments producing sounds very close to pure square, triangle or sawtooth waves

I've been able to find plenty of info about acoustic instruments that create sounds close to sine-waves, and I understand that sounds approximating square, triangle and sawtooth waves are produced by ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do F#6 and higher notes ring more than F6 and lower notes?

I learned Overworld Theme 2 from Super Mario Bros. 3 a few years ago, which features the nice bright high notes of A6, G6, and F6: I noticed on my 80 year old upright piano that the A and G rang ...
4
votes
5answers
507 views

Ambidextrous instruments

Looking at a recent question, my thoughts turned to instruments which can be played left- or right-handed, without alteration. Given that approx. 85% of us are right-handed, it's hardly surprising ...
4
votes
5answers
398 views

Alternative ways to classify Instruments

In Western music there are four classifications of instruments strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. This classification works on most instruments, but there are many different instruments around ...
4
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
357 views

Are there limits for the possible pieces for different violins?

I don't know anything about violins. No, actually, I don't know anything about music, so this is rather basic: Despite it looking terribly hard, I decided to learn to play the violin nonetheless. I ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Are certain instruments “arpeggio friendly”?

I've been listening to Philip Glass today. So my question might be slightly funny. :) Are there certain instruments that are arpeggio friendly? This might seem arbitrary or subject to opinion but ...
4
votes
3answers
140 views

Getting my Daughter Started in Music

My daughter is currently 3, she has a very keen interest in music. She sings a lot and "composes" her own little "songs" to her own tunes. She has apparently has a keen ear for music, she inserts her ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

How to evaluate the quality of sound of a piano?

While looking for a new piano I was wondering how to evaluate the quality of tone and sound of a piano as an instrument? What makes the difference between a good and an even better instrument? What ...
4
votes
1answer
712 views

Where/When did the modern guitar originate?

I keep thinking of Greeks playing Lyres - there had to be a point where someone added strings and the modern shape...
4
votes
1answer
466 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 - ...
4
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
298 views

Are there any other common names for what I've heard called a “Crossover Guitar”

That is to say, a nylon (or gut, I guess) guitar that has certain features usually associated with a steel stringed acoustic. I'm talking about Spanish guitars with a thin neck, often with an ...
4
votes
2answers
424 views

Do vintage guitars really sound better with age? Or is this perception affected by selection bias?

Guitars are often said to sound better with age. How much of it is due to worse-sounding guitars being discarded before they reach vintage age?
4
votes
2answers
141 views

How to identify good tin whistles?

I am planning to buy a tin whistle. However I do not know whether it is a proper. I would like to know how I can identify whether a tin whistle is faulty or not. What are the characteristics of a good ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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
2answers
240 views

Harp - “Half Pedal”

I know from the Kurt Stone's book; Music Notation in Twentieth Century: Hold pedal halfway between two notches to allow the string to vibrate against the tuning gear. So, how exactly half ...
4
votes
1answer
107 views

Is “harpvox” an existing musical instrument?

My digital piano has a "harpvox" voice setting that sounds rather interesting with broad echo and low overtones feeling even for the the middle or high notes. Is it a real instrument or an invention ...
4
votes
1answer
331 views

Information about Mercury hammer blow tenor sax

I bought a very nice playing upper level saxophone. It's says Mercury Design in USA. The seller told me the parts came from Korea and it was assembled in usa. Seller said: Double arms on all claps ...
4
votes
1answer
512 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.
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Curved windway of a recorder - what is the use for it?

What is the use of curved windway of a recorder? After my first Yamaha YRS-23 I bought YRS-302B and I'm still puzzled about that difference. It feels like the blowing into 302 gives slightly more ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Worth it to restore an old electric guitar?

During a recent trip to visit my wife's family, she pointed out an old an electric guitar she'd saved up for as a teenager. It was a Hamer Slammer Diablo (this is not a picture of it; hers was in much ...
3
votes
2answers
406 views

What should I think about when acquiring a triangle (percussion)?

What should I consider when buying a triangle to use for recording popular music percussion? For example: What are the differences between cheap and expensive ones (the price range is enormous)? ...
3
votes
3answers
357 views

Acoustic Yamaha U1: One key sounds too loud

I recently got a Yamaha U1 acoustic piano. It sounds great except the E below middle C (E3) is much too loud. Whenever I play a chord with that key it really stands out and dominates the sound. No ...
3
votes
4answers
378 views

Really Silent Piano

Does anyone have experience with "silent" pianos and knows whether or not there is a properly silent, i.e. neighbor-friendly, piano on the market? Background: for practicing without disturbing the ...
3
votes
3answers
241 views

When to start Vibrato (on any instrument)

As a bassist, I spent a lot of time with music teachers who told me I took too long to start vibrating. The example they gave (Jeff Bradetich, UNT) was of opera singers who begin vibrating ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Whose idea was it to put three pedals on a piano?

Who ever decided to put foot pedals on a piano? Do we know who did it, or do we only know the general period that this happened? I would like to know who did this and when did it happen?
3
votes
2answers
755 views

Instrument Register tone and quality chart

I have been looking for some time now, for a chart of all the different register tone qualities of all the instruments played in an orchestra. If you have a hard time understanding what I mean by ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Does valve oil in the lead pipe of a trumpet prevent tarnishing?

Sometimes I've gotten the advice to drip a few drops of valve oil in my trumpet's leadpipe before putting on the mouthpiece and start playing. Allegedly this would help to prevent tarnishing and ...
3
votes
1answer
34 views

Unstable lowest note on Yamaha YRS-302B

I'm trying to learn playing recorder using plastic Yamaha YRS-302B - and there is a somewhat annoying thing: lowest notes C and D are somewhat unstable - they sound properly only when I blow very ...