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

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18
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
5k 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 = ...
8
votes
1answer
7k 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?
18
votes
2answers
515 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. ...
37
votes
16answers
42k 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 ...
16
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 ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

Do weighted keys on a keyboard lead to more expressive playing?

I use an acoustic piano to learn/play classical music. I use a midi keyboard to record/produce own music. My piano has weighted keys while my midi keyboard has a very light touch. I find that I am ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
665 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
6k views

Is my Yamaha guitar counterfeit?

I bought a new Yamaha Guitar and When you look inside the guitar hole it looks like the model number is written by hand. Can you please tell me if this one is a fake one or not? The number written on ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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
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)...
16
votes
17answers
2k views

Instruments that challenge your ear

About a year ago I was curious about how the trumpet works, how could it play the chromatic scale over many octaves with only these three valves!? So I made some research to understand how it works, ...
15
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
507 views

Acoustic pianos with weighted keys

I'm currently trying to build up my finger strength, and have found that the exercises I do are more effective if I am practising on a piano with a heavier touch, as the keys require more force to ...
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 ...
6
votes
5answers
267 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
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
194 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 ...
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.
8
votes
2answers
628 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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
2answers
264 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
3answers
321 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 immediately....
2
votes
3answers
76 views

Is it possible to combine a guitar with a theremin cello in the same neck?

For reference, a theremin cello is similar to the classic thermin of 50s sci-fi sound effects fame, but packaged with a neck and played like a cello with the left hand selecting pitch along the neck, ...