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

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8
votes
2answers
15k views

How to compare clavinova models from different years?

I am looking into buying a used clavinova CLP. A used one because I don't need all the new features and the clavinova models already had a high quality standard in the past years. So for the same ...
8
votes
2answers
618 views

Curved v. straight windway

Besides physical structure, what is the difference between a curved and a straight windway in a recorder? I understand that a curved windway increases air resistance, but how does the sound quality ...
7
votes
9answers
2k views

What instrument can an old guy learn if the main goal is to write music

At this old age I began, two years ago learning to write music. I write it using Sibelius and let the computer play it for me. I have been strongly recommended to learn to play an instrument. I have ...
7
votes
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
2answers
633 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 + DVD)...
7
votes
1answer
418 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
370 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
93 views

Why do almost all modern Classical Guitars use a slotted headstock?

The benefits of a slotted headstock (left picture) over an unslotted one with vertically arranged tuning posts (right picture) seem to be largely subjective (The biggest advantage is problably that ...
7
votes
1answer
217 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
359 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
522 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
263 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
169 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
3answers
963 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 Concertina/...
6
votes
2answers
556 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 ...
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
4answers
11k 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
355 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
781 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 tone/resonance?...
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
696 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
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 ...
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
652 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
261 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
3answers
5k 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
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
813 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
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
415 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
315 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
2answers
200 views

How do you choose which acoustic piano to buy?

Which things should one keep in mind when thinking about buying an acoustic piano? Age, wood, brand? What things are high quality or bad quality? What to watch out for?
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
260 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
5answers
651 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
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
320 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
219 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
442 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
652 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
153 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
462 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
807 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
74 views

What am I doing wrong with my new alto recorder?

I just got a Yamaha YRA-28BIII recorder. I also got a Yamaha YRS24B Soprano Recorder. I have very limited experience using a recorder. on the Soprano recorder I blow fairly strongly without it ...
4
votes
1answer
79 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 ...