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

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6
votes
1answer
3k 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?
4
votes
3answers
3k 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
3k 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). ...
12
votes
7answers
22k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
239 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?
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
487 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
3answers
385 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
899 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. ...
10
votes
3answers
449 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
112 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 ...
33
votes
16answers
26k 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
6k 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
1k views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. ...
6
votes
2answers
384 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
192 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
256 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
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k 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
2k 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
2k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too high, 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
681 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
5k 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
563 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, ...
16
votes
4answers
2k 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 = ...
13
votes
3answers
1k 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
2answers
328 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
2k 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
526 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
100 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
328 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
54k views

What is the Difference between Maple and Rosewood Fretboards

Is there a difference that's based on feel or sound - why are they the two most widely used choices?
4
votes
1answer
689 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...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between the “smooth” strings and the “rough” strings?

On my acoustic, the first 4 strings are "rough" - that is they are covered in a type of metal corkscrew. The last 2 strings though are completely smooth, and don't have a corkscrew finish. Why are ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

How do Pre War Martin Guitars Differ From Modern Ones?

Pre-war Martin guitars are revered because of their sound. What differences are there between the construction of pre-war Martin guitars, and Martin guitars made now. And are there any companies ...