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

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4answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
6k 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?
7
votes
2answers
606 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 - ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. (blade perpendicular strokes) (Tom Ridenour's Tools + ...
7
votes
1answer
404 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?
7
votes
2answers
362 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

What are the distinguishing features of metalcore?

I'd like to know if there is a common metalcore approach (like the rules between drum kick and bass, bass and guitar, breakdown) in details.
7
votes
2answers
355 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
517 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
5answers
258 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
168 views

Piano Maintenance

What should be done to maintain an upright piano? I am not asking about tuning it, but what can be done so it does not have to be tuned as often? I heard someone once say about a particular piano ...
6
votes
2answers
501 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
10k 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
338 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
716 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
4k 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
679 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
4answers
1k views

In classical music scores we often find French horns of different pitches. Why is that?

For example, in many pieces, there are two horns in F and two in E flat. What is the reason? Divide the horns to be able to give each group the better matching parts concerning intonation? For pitch ...
5
votes
5answers
632 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
251 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
911 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
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
432 views

Floyd Rose spring setup

This is a pretty basic question, but I'm struggling to find a concrete answer. I have this tremolo springs setup: However, I have seen many different setups like this one: What is the advantage ...
5
votes
3answers
767 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.
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votes
3answers
2k 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
1answer
407 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
313 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
74 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
1answer
1k 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
215 views

What is this trumpet attachment called?

Last night, I was watching a television special featuring American music. I noticed that a trumpet player in the band had something attached to her instrument. It appears that the valves of the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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
3k 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 ...
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5answers
619 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
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5answers
2k 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
3answers
306 views

Are certain instruments “arpeggio friendly”?

Are there certain instruments that are arpeggio friendly? This might seem arbitrary or subject to opinion but I can imagine a test where musicians of various instrument are asked to play arpeggios of ...
4
votes
3answers
215 views

Why are there no instruments made from rocks?

Sorry if this is a silly question, but I happened to notice that while there are instruments made out of wood and/or metal and even plastic or glass, there are no rock-based instruments. It seems that ...
4
votes
5answers
429 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
602 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)? ...
4
votes
3answers
150 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
3answers
668 views

Can I play a 12 string like a 6 string guitar?

I have a cheap 6-string guitar. I want to get a new one and am considering a 12-string guitar. What are the differences between 12- and 6-string guitars? Can I use a 12-string like a 6-string? Will ...
4
votes
2answers
410 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
797 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
6answers
8k 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
2answers
2k 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
1answer
89 views

It's there a diference between a MIDI instrument and an analogue one?

I'm new to music recordings, and I would love to get a simple midi keyboard for practicing and composing basic stuff. I guess a MIDI keyboard is much better than using the computer keyboard, but I've ...
4
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
230 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
2k 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 ...