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

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2
votes
3answers
467 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

“Easiest to sound ok” small non-reed woodwinds to learn

Of all the small woodwinds from any culture, which ones are known for having the SHORTEST learning curve (for a veteran of any common woodwind) to achieve clean, controlled tones from 90% of playable ...
12
votes
4answers
6k 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?
3
votes
3answers
509 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Do music theory books differ per instrument?

I'm an amateur Spanish guitar player, I know Solfège and how to read music sheets (not expert though). I'm looking for a book that teaches me music theory to gain more understanding and maybe try to ...
11
votes
3answers
3k 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.
3
votes
4answers
639 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
691 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
213 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.
6
votes
3answers
353 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
779 views

What are the difficulties of playing a musical saw?

I'm interested in playing around with a musical saw, like the theme from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Looking around and watching a few tutorial videos, it looks like a very easy instrument to ...
4
votes
2answers
236 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Sturdy, pocket, nice sounding Ocarina

I am a keyboard player. Lately I was looking for a small, sturdy instrument that I could keep all day in my pocket and play a tune whenever I like. The 4 hole ocarina seems a good fit. I want to buy ...
16
votes
7answers
11k views

What are the objective differences between the guitar and the piano?

The guitar and the piano are two of the most popular instruments which allow multiple notes to be played simultaneously. The acoustic quality of the two instruments are, of course, different, but ...
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 ...
13
votes
7answers
792 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
360 views

Basic notes of Tanpura

Tanpura has 4 strings which play : Pa/Ma/Ni(1), Sa(2), Sa(3), Sa(4); want to know more about these notes. Such as, "Pa/Ma/Ni" being played on Tanpura are of Mandra or Madhya Saptak, then following "Sa ...
2
votes
2answers
273 views

Suggestions on setting up a practice room

We are setting up a simple practice room in our house, the room is quiet small approximately 30 square meters. Here's the layout. As you can see their is no amps because of space constraints, ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
434 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How to technically differentiate between wind instrument types (definition)

What is the official way to differentiate between a woodwind and a brass instrument? I know it's not about the material that they are made of, but how the sound is produced.
5
votes
5answers
639 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
607 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k 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). ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Do instruments get out of tune when you place them near a radiator?

Do instruments get out of tune when you place them near a radiator when the radiator is hot? If so, why? Also, is there anything else that happens when you place an instrument near a hot radiator?
3
votes
3answers
315 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 ...
36
votes
16answers
41k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
844 views

How should I inspect a used piano prior to purchase?

I am considering finding a used grand (or baby grand) piano to purchase. This will be a standard acoustic piano, not an electronic version that "looks like" a grand piano. I am an experienced ...
4
votes
2answers
307 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
412 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?
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
270 views

How should I choose a Ukulele?

I am planning to buy a ukulele tomorrow, and I am a bit lost. I did manage to figure out the differences between a Soprano Ukulele and a Concert Ukulele, so I have chosen an Concert Ukulele, which I ...
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

Where to download music covers for songs (without lyrics)? [duplicate]

I don't know if the title of my question is correct, feel free to edit it. This video: a guy plays if tomorrow never comes on harmonica, while a musical cover for the song is playing in the ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is a violin's shape (particularly the f-holes) necessary or is it just for aesthetics?

Violins have a rather beautiful design. ... is such design necessary? Is a violin's natural sound only achieved when it has this specific shape? I have a particular interest in the f-holes. Are they ...
10
votes
3answers
479 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
151 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
277 views

creating a simple instrument tuned to a specific frequency

I would like to create a very simple percussion instrument that would match the resonant frequency of an echo-y cave I occasionally visit. Currently I am thinking of using a metal bar, but I don't ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
795 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
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
203 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?
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 ...
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 + ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

Learning another instrument?

I have been taking piano for about 6 years, euphonium for 4, and trombone for 1. I tried saxophone but it didn't work out. I am looking to expand my ability in brass instruments instead. Does anyone ...
17
votes
2answers
498 views

Could B♭ instruments be built in C? Why are they in B♭ in the first place?

Why did the clarinet and trumpet get made to 'be' in B♭? Could they have been made to produce concert pitch C? This would make a composer's life so much easier when physically writing scores. ...