677 reputation
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location Illinois
age 44
visits member for 1 year, 9 months
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2h
comment When tuning a guitar, why is it only in tune for a moment?
A rather nice demo is to hang a piece of string so it hangs between two points with a slight sag in the middle, tie another piece of string to the midpoint of the first, and hang a small weight from the second, and start it spinning in a circle. The rotation will subside as the weight shifts toward swinging in a diagonal line, then the rotation will reverse, then the weight will swing on the other diagonal, etc. Something similar can happen on the guitar since the ends don't restrict vertical and horizontal movements quite the same way.
2h
comment Playing guitar with webbed fingers
I use a tuning which makes it possible to play almost all chords on five or six strings using three fingers, and without having to have any fingers cross over the sounding portions of strings. Normally I use four fingers, assigning a finger per fret on four consecutive frets (index finger bars 3-6 strings) but I can play with any three.
2h
comment What kind of a guitar can I play without thumbs?
How do the length of your left ring finger and index finger compare? With my preferred tuning, I can play almost any chord using any combination of three fingers on the left hand, or play behind my back, or do many other such things; depending upon the lengths of your fingers, it might also work for you.
2d
comment Can turning on an amplifier without a connected load (cab) cause damage?
Transistor amplifiers drive more power into low-impedance loads than high-impedance loads, while tubes do the opposite (a short is zero impedance; an open is infinite impedance). Curiously, I seldom see any mention of this phenomenon in discussions of "tube sound", even though the impedance of a typical speaker will vary with frequency, and the way tubes interact with that varying impedance is very different from the way transistors interact.
Oct
19
comment Does a chord need to include its root?
YMMV means Your Mileage May Vary. At least in the US, when automakers advertise their vehicles, they include government estimates of fuel economy but then add a disclaimer that "actual mileage may vary". The expression "Your mileage may vary" derives from that.
Oct
18
comment Is “16va” proper notation?
@NReilingh: I wonder what Italians think of the usage? I have seen some scores where there wouldn't be much distance between an octave-down marking on the upper score and an octave-up marking on the lower score, so having different markings may be helpful, but brackets could probably do just as much to clarify things as would using 8vb.
Oct
18
comment Is “16va” proper notation?
I find 8vb and 15mb somewhat curious; why keep the "v" and "m" but drop the "a"? That would seem like writing "8th" or "15th" above something to raise it an octave or two, and "8tb" or "15tb" to lower it likewise.
Oct
16
comment Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor
@NReilingh: Imagine "Little Drummer Boy" with G as the key note, written without sharps or flats. Would a performer who didn't know the song be more or less likely to sing the F natural correctly than if the piece were written with one sharp in the key signature, and a natural sign printed before the F? Note that if there were a natural sign before the F, but no F# in the key signature, the singer might not know whether the natural was suggesting that the note should be higher or lower than it would otherwise be.
Oct
16
comment Do accidentals override key signature?
@CarlWitthoft: I would suggest that the biggest reason for adding "cautionary accidentals" in other octaves would be to make it clear that a lack of an accidental was deliberate; they should not be included in cases where the lack of an accidental would be "obvious" [e.g. in D major, if an E7 chord is followed by an A7 whose G is in a different octave from the preceding G#, I would see no need for a natural sign on the G.]
Oct
16
comment Do accidentals override key signature?
Because alterations are not additive, it is possible in some rare cases for a sharp sign to actually lower a note's pitch (if the note was double-sharped earlier in the measure) or for a flat sign to raise it (if the note was double-flatted).
Oct
16
comment Flat symbol in key signature and bar
@Tim: ...clear that the composer intended that. Such a situation might especially apply if e.g. octave jumps on the B natural became a motif (with low and high B's both marked natural) but then in one place the high B didn't have the natural sign. I've certainly seen some editors go overboard with "cautionary" accidentals, but it would probably be better to throw in a flat sign than an asterisk and a footnote "* In measure 73, the third note for the tenors is a Bb".
Oct
16
comment Flat symbol in key signature and bar
@Tim: An accidental only affects the staff line or space where it appears, but there are some situations which performers are likely to misread in the absence of an accidental, or where people reading the score might believe that a marking was "accidentally" omitted. If the score for a piece in F major is marked with a low B natural followed by a high B which is marked with a flat, there can be no doubt but that the composer intended a B natural and a Bb. In the absence of the flat, it would still be clear that what was specified was a B natural and a Bb, but in some cases it might not be...
Oct
16
comment Flat symbol in key signature and bar
...by a B flat in another octave, there isn't any technical reason why a flat should be necessary, but in the absence of such a symbol a singer might recognize the interval as an octave and (incorrectly) sing it as a perfect octave rather than an augmented or diminished one.
Oct
16
comment Flat symbol in key signature and bar
@Tim: There are some contexts where it is useful, and others where it is less so. For example, in a key signature with a Bb, if a B natural (marked with a "natural" sign) is tied from one measure to the next, and the next note in that measure is supposed to be a Bb, someone reading the music in the absence of a marking might expect that a "B" without a marking would be at the same pitch as the previous "B" in that measure (i.e. the last portion of the tied note). It isn't "technically" necessary to mark the "Bb", but it's helpful. Similarly, if a B natural in one octave is directly followed...
Oct
13
comment Position of white dots in guitar fretboard
The twelfth fret marks off 1/2 the length of the string. The seventh fret marks off about 1/3 of the length of the string, and the fifth fret marks off about 1/4. If one decides to put dots at those places, and wants every fret to either have a dot or be next to one, the 3/5/7/9/12/15/17/19/21/24 pattern would seem the most regular.
Oct
11
comment Do distortion pedals work well with tube amps? Or should I use a tube screamer?
I would think push-pull amplifiers would tend to have symmetric distortion, which would emphasize odd harmonics and be less grating than asymmetric distortion. I think some of your statements are backward. On the flip-side, push-pull amplifiers sometimes have a certain amount of crossover distortion which actually decreases with volume. Crossover distortion usually makes quiet sounds quieter but more harmonically rich (if it doesn't mute them altogether) but in some amplifier designs it may make them louder instead, effectively imposing a minimum volume level.
Oct
7
comment (1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?
...it's not hard to imagine how transcendental ratios, if played accurately, could lead to interesting patterns where one voice sometimes seems to lead the other and sometimes trail it.
Oct
7
comment (1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?
Even if metronomes were only accurate to +/- 10%, the ratio between the tempos of two parts might be meaningfully expressed much more accurately. Although ratios like 3:2 or 2:1 would be more common, an irrational tempo ratio, if played accurately, would denote rather specific timing; a change of 0.03% in the tempo ratio would by the end of a five-minute piece represent a very audible (90ms) difference in timing. I think using two unrelated irrational numbers in the ratio was probably overly pretentious, but...
Sep
29
comment Why do notes have multiple names?
@MatthewRead: A major scale starting on B would contain the notes B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B. Since the first/last note is B, the note before needs to be some kind of "A"; since it's only a half-step below "B", that means it must be A#.
Sep
29
comment Is True Bypass better than Buffered Bypass? Is it possible to be neither?
The big problem with buffering amps isn't that they're not clean, but that they shelter a guitar from any downstream impedance effects that could influence the signal that the guitar is putting out. If the impedance effects are seen as a bad thing, sheltering the guitar from them is good. If a guitarist likes what the impedance effects do to his sound, however, such sheltering would lose their benefit.