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27

There are actually quite major differences: The Xylophone has a series of wooden bars, tuned to the relevant notes The marimba has similar wooden bars with resonators (originally gourds, now tubes) underneath The Vibraphone is a variant of the marimba, often with metal bars, but with a spinning butterfly at the top of the resonator giving a ...


21

If a customer hasn't made his decision after an hour, etiquette dictates you offer him a cup of coffee, not ask him to leave. I've had a lot of experience buying instruments, though mostly pianos, and have found 15 minutes of play time not to be nearly enough to purchase something in that price range. In fact, especially if the store has a wide selection, ...


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 ...


19

The theremin is played by moving your hands near or far from two antennas (one for pitch, one for dynamics). On ondes Martenot, one can play either with a keyboard or by moving a ring along a ribbon. A washtub bass has you play with the tension you put on the string to change the pitch. Accordions, especially when equipped with buttons, have various ...


18

Over the years, Fender has refined the design of its guitars in ways which it feels make a better product for modern tastes. Modern bridges have more sustain, better resonance, more reliable and fluid tremolo mechanisms. Their current standard fretboard has a higher circumference - that is, it's flatter. Because of modern materials they can make the neck ...


17

The distance from the pickup to the strings determines - in simple terms - the strength of the magnetic field acting on the strings. Since a standard magnetic pickup (active or passive) is an electromagnetic transducer, the output voltage is generated when a string vibrates in a magnetic field. So far so good, what of the pickup height? The stronger the ...


17

Yup, probably. A few reasons I say this: In my experience, the biggest strength of Yamaha musical instruments is consistency -- to see something that looks handwritten is a pretty big red flag. You haven't mentioned a serial number at all. I assume that if there was one, you would include it. One aspect of that consistency is that every single genuine ...


16

I'm not really a brass player, though I used to be a band director and have some idea about brass acoustics. The issue with multiple-valve combinations being too sharp is that the valve system is a compromise. Pretend for a moment that you have a straight trumpet with no valves (so, pretty much a bugle). Of course, you can play pitches in the harmonic ...


16

I'd suggest the piano. While it takes many years to master, the piano is one of the easiest instruments to begin playing. Learning to play even the simplest chords or melodies on other instruments can take weeks, but a complete novice can use a keyboard. The piano also lends itself well to composition because it has a wide range and it is easy to play ...


14

An attempt to synthesise the various answers given, while giving some opinions of my own. Portability 'Portable' is a bit of a vague requirement. Some instruments fit in your pocket. Some instruments fit in a small backpack. Some instruments fit in a large backpack. Loudness I'm not sure what's too loud for a dorm room. It depends on your neighbour's ...


14

A transposing instrument is one for which the standard practice is to write music in a key different from the sounding pitch of that instrument. For example, a non-transposing instrument is something like a piano (anything with a keyboard, really)--when you read a C on the staff, you play a C and it sounds a concert pitch C. Most pitched percussion ...


14

When you practice playing an instrument, you are practicing playing that particular instrument. If you were a brass player, for example, you would NEVER want to spend all of your time practicing on a crappy instrument with wonky tuning and then do the gig on your $3,000 horn. Even if you sound pretty good on the crap instrument, you would be changing too ...


14

In the British Brass Band Tradition, the Baritone is a member of the Saxhorn family, whereas the Euphonium is a member of the Tuba family. The Euphonium has a wider bore and a more conical flare over more of the instrument's length, compared to the smaller, shorter Baritone flare. Generally, most Reasonable Euphoniums in the UK will have 4 Valves, arranged ...


13

The basics of music theory are the same across instruments. Notes, scales, chords, transposition, harmony, etc. are all intrument-independent at the theory level. I would not worry about finding a guitar-specific book until you have mastered the basics.


13

The black and white bits are the same, except you will probably only get 49/61 of them instead of the 88 you're probably used to. The action will be rather different, too. No matter how loudly or quietly you try to play, the volume will remain the same. There is no sustain pedal, so that will be different, too. You'll have to acclimatise yourself to playing ...


12

The reason we have wound strings is due to the physics of the string's vibration. A heavier string vibrates more slowly, causing a lower pitch. The wound strings could be solid wires, and achieve the pitch we need, however getting it to bend correctly across the bridge and nut, be easily fretted, AND be tunable, would be difficult. Imagine trying to do a ...


12

All of your points are good; one of the reasons guitar became so popular in western culture in the early days, is because its portable. So its sort of a travelling minstrels piano. During the late 19th/early20th centuries in America(post emancipation act), there were lots of travelling musicians who couldn't afford a piano; and even if they could, they ...


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 ...


12

Looks like a Sousaphone to me. :)


12

Well, I think the harmonica is a good one. The arrangement of notes is somewhat linear, but some notes are blown, others are drawn, and only drawn notes can be 'bent'. You need to practice producing single notes, not just blowing chords the whole time. You can experiment with different grips, and mouth shapes... they're affordable and very portable!


11

If your wife is a violinist there are many things than can be transposed from violin to cello in the search for quality. Don't forget the bow. There are so many things... I will try to make a real answer in the coming hours and days by editing this one, I feel I have not yet touched 1/10th of what should be given. But first, have you considered renting? ...


11

It's obvious when you think about it, but the biggest difference between an organ and a piano is the way their sounds decay. A piano is a hammer hitting a string. The loudest sound is right at the beginning, and from there on the sound decays organically as the string returns to rest. If you let the dampers do their thing, the decay is shortened, but it's ...


10

You could look at portable guitars - either something like the Hohner G3T (I love mine when travelling) or even folding guitars. Electric guitars are very quiet without amplification, and can be very portable. Connect one through a headphone amp and you can play without disturbing others, or hook one up to an amp and you can still get a big satisfying sound ...


10

Sure, you can, but there are some considerations you should be aware of. String sets are designed to have more-or-less the same string tension across all six strings in standard tuning. If you mix string sets and tune them to standard pitch, the string tension will be uneven, which may cause neck twisting. This isn't an issue if you down-tune the heavier ...


10

Those are x-y MIDI controllers more commonly referred to as Kaoss Pads. If you are familiar with a modulation wheel on a MIDI keyboard, you know you can assign that wheel to control any number of aspects of the instrument, from pitch bend, to volume, to vibrato, an LFO, or perhaps a filter. The x-y pad gives you two of those on a plane, with which you can ...


10

It depends on the instrument. Digital electronic instruments are probably OK. String instruments, especially those with steel strings, will be seriously affected: Heat causes metal strings to expand - dropping the pitch. Heat causes other metal components, like truss rods, to expand and bend Materials other than metal also expand in heat (but to a lesser ...


10

All instruments denoted "brass" require flapping lips (no jokes pls :-) ) to produce the acoustic frequency. Woodwinds do not. <-- So it's not so much being a reed instrument, rather that the instrument contains the oscillating element. Flutes and recorders (aka blockflote, whereas flutes are "querflotes") use an air chamber of one shape or another to ...


10

I own a musical saw. I have found it very difficult to get started, and gave up before being able to play a simple tune with any kind of fluency. The first challenge is to coax a clean note out of the saw. You must bend the saw into an 'S' shape, and bow at the resonant position. If you bow in the wrong place, you'll get an ugly scrape. If you bow in just ...


9

Well, the piano started out with only about 60 keys, same as the harpsichord – in fact it WAS a harpsichord, except that the harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (try saying that 10 times fast!) got the bright idea of putting hammers on one (to HIT the strings) instead of plectra (to PLUCK the strings). So the piano was invented – ...



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