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21

Interesting question, although my answer might be more historical than you'd like ;-) One answer is that it gives you all the notes of the diatonic scale on the white keys, so by transposing to C major you can play any major-key melody that doesn't modulate using only the white keys. Another way of saying this: assume that you are working in our musical ...


19

Maple boards are typically placed on Swamp Ash or brighter wood bodies and it lends a snap to the tone of the guitar. Rosewood is known to be much mellower, and usually makes it's way on mahogany bodies and necks. They definitely feel different too. A maple neck is harder and feels very smooth under your fingers, while rosewood has some sponginess to it due ...


14

The fatter bass strings move a lot more air when they're hit with the hammers in the piano, so they produce more volume of sound. The short thin strings at the top do not, so having more of them compensates. Also, they sound richer when more are played. Think of an orchestra - not many double basses, but quite a few violins. With one thin string or ten, ...


13

Tone pots are absolutely not useless. I used to think the same because I never used them, then I plugged my telecaster set to the bridge pickup into a new Vox AC-30 and experienced a shrill piercing nasty noise that somewhat resembled my favorite axe. Tone pots to the rescue! Albeit subtle, the effect you get from your guitars tone potentiometer is useful ...


12

The main advantage of neck-through construction is better sustain, achieved through greater stiffness. It's all about maintaining the string's energy as long as possible. Why does a guitar string lose its sustain? Why doesn't it keep vibrating forever? When you pluck a string, you impart energy to the string, and that energy keeps it vibrating. But some ...


12

The others have already said yes and then listed time and money, I'll say yes but also tell you that it's actually not that hard if you take a different approach. First, I'll say that nothing comes close to a true rotating speaker in the room. Chorus is nice. Emulators are nice, especially if you can run them in stereo, but the Doppler effect can't be had ...


12

When converting a fretted instrument to fret less you have a couple of options if you want to DIY: Modify the current fingerboard in some way. This includes purchasing a fret-puller like @ekaj suggests, pulling out all the fretwires, and filling in all the fret slots with wood putty. Unfortunately you will suffer from the issues that @Alex mentions in that ...


12

Birdseye maple is a cut of wood from one of several types of hard maple, most commonly Acer Saccharum. The only real difference between birdseye and regular hard maple is the figure, which doesn't really do anything to the tone of the wood. It's still as bright as any other type of maple. Scientists really have no clue as to why the figure occurs, but we ...


12

There are two different ways that the middle pedal on American pianos works. This pedal is called the "Sostenuto" pedal and, unlike the Sustain pedal, does not sustain every note on the piano. This website gives great videos and explanations of each piano pedal. On higher end pianos, the middle pedal (Sostenuto pedal), sustains only those notes which are ...


10

With one of the early guitars I built, I used the 2nd tone selector (for the neck pickup - so I never used it) as the input to a small wah wah I built into the body. I could hook my little finger around it and use it as a fairly extreme tone selector or as a full on wah.


9

I think the key is going to be two fold: Play, play, play. You've got to play a couple of guitars from the luthier. While the guitar almost certinaly won't be what you are looking for, you want to look at build quality. Check out the neck, ask to look at the electronics, etc. If his other guitars are good, the chances that yours will be are good too. Talk ...


9

The lines illustrate the bracing... Special made wooden braces glued on the top and bottom of the guitar, inside the body of the guitar. Without bracing, the construction would not be strong enough for the tension of the strings and various forces/impacts from everyday useage. The bracing has an effect on how the top and bottom of the guitar vibrate in ...


8

As far as I'm concerned, there are two requirements for musical instruments: It must generate sound. That sound must be controllable by a human being (or equivalent). I actually really like this question, though it is based on some premises that I believe are too easily jumped to. I use a generalized definition of music as "organized sound," therefore, ...


8

The diatonic scale, as well as the 12-tone chromatic scale, are both by-products of overtones. If one examines the harmonic series, the first six pitches created from a fundamental (initial) tone outline a major chord. Arnold Schoenberg goes into great detail about this subject in his book The Theory of Harmony. Pitches from a diatonic scale being played ...


7

Mahogany guitars are generally heavier, with alder being quite light. Because of this, alder gives a light bright sound, and Mahogany gives a deeper Les-Paulier sound. Of course it depends what sort of guitar the wood is used in. Semi-hollowbodies and semi-acoustics are generally a bit lighter than solid-body guitars.


7

A few years ago I asked this exact question to the archetier who made my bow. According to him, bow weight and flexibility are the things to have in mind when having a bow built. These are the things that make a difference in a bow. Now about it being round or octagonal, it was a purely aesthetic decision. The bow can be heavier or lighter, jumpy or ...


7

I would strongly advice getting a book for this, as there are many steps and you will want a complete thorough step by step guide. I would suggest reading through the book before starting the project. This way you wont get any nasty surprises in the middle of building. I don't think you will find a good enough source online (at least for free) to make a ...


6

Take a look at this page. It provides some decent background technical information. Source It sounds like a fairly interesting DIY project, considering as real ones go for over £70-80! Hope this helps.


6

I have made a couple and it isn't that difficult...but in saying that it does depend on exactly what you want to build. Acoustic guitars - really hard work, as every decision will have impact on tone, so I'll just talk about electrics:-) We have discussed winding your own pickups - doable, but probably not a good use of your time. Necks - can be very ...


6

The simple answer from a historical perspective is that valves on brass instruments were an addition to simple coiled horns like the bugle and hunting horn. It's kind of counterintuitive to add something in order to take away something; why not add something that adds something? Add the valve, and add its pipe; with the valve not depressed, the instrument is ...


6

I am not a drummer and I'm not affiliated with these folks, so if you down-vote, please tell me why in the comments so that I can improve my answers to this forum. Here's a site that tells you how to build drum shells either ply or stave. You'll have to have some woodworking chops however: http://pdgood.us/drumshed/buildmethods.html A ply drum shell is ...


5

This is a really subjective question, so you aren't going to get any straight answers--it will all be opinion. What you should do is Google "Telecaster Pickups" and find some sound clips to listen to. It's what I did when I needed some new pickups for my Telecaster. Some decent companies to consider: Loller Guitars: My favorite--I have two sets of ...


5

I am not positive about this, but I think cutting the bow as an octagonal might make the bow a little bit stiffer. So bow makers might do it if they feel that particular cut of wood could benefit from a little more stiffness. However, as I said, I am not sure about this. As far as which to select, I think there is no reason to chose one or the other. The ...


5

I replaced one of the two tone pots in my Strat with a five-position rotary pickup-selector switch (I then re-wired the second tone pot to be a master tone control for the whole guitar). In combination with the stock five-way selector, the rotary switch allows for pickup combinations that the five-way selector by itself doesn't allow, such as Tele-style ...


5

Short answer: for an electric cello, there is no basic difficulty in playing left-handed apart from the bridge and the nut, if you have already learned the cello left-handed. Most electric cellos feature a wood bridge, and its arc shape and groves correspond to the fingerboard's shape and string gauges. The main custom thing you will need is the bridge but ...


5

(Edit: Note that I'm treating the question as "What characteristics would a new instrument ideally have?" rather than "What does my instrument minimally need to count as an instrument?" Both are IMO worth asking, although as I've spent time working with new instruments I notice a lot of them run into the same limitations. Hence my list here: ) You should be ...


5

In addition to Tim's answer, a correctly tuned piano actually de-tunes the group of strings on each note a teensy bit. This leads to resonant energy transfer back and forth among the strings, which improves sustain as well as sounding more pleasing to (most) ears. Keep in mind that "volume of air moved" does not translate linearly to "volume of sound," ...


4

After a little research I have found these diagrams and some info. A little quote regarding the pickup volumes in 'vintage' Les Paul wiring: In the original Les Paul circuit both pickups influence each other in the middle position of the pickup selector (both pickups together). When you roll back the volume on one pickup just a little bit, the other ...


4

There's been a lot of advice to buy a ready made neck, and if your woodworking skills aren't top notch that is a very good plan to begin with, but if you want to get a little more adventurous you can buy pre-slotted fretboards from some places like stewmac which takes a big part of the pain out of the equation, especially if you want to do something ...



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