I have a confession to make. The first time I went camping as an adult was two summers ago. Before that, I was seven and my parents shipped me off for the weekend with my Brownie troupe to learn all sorts of life skills and earn all sorts of badges. I cried the whole time. But when one of my closest friends convinced me to join her annual camping trip—which meant no electricity, no WiFi, and no plumbing—I decided to put my tiara away for a few days and suck it up; and as it turns out, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
When it comes to playing blues guitar, the Fender brand is almost synonymous with the genre. From the Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Stratocaster to Muddy Water’s Telecaster, the Fender guitar is as a part of the sound of modern blues as the techniques currently employed by Fender players like John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt . The guitar isn’t alone either as Fender amplifiers have long been a part of this history. The Fender Champ, Twin, Bassman, Super Reverb, and Deluxe reverb are all in the Pantheon of blues amplification and are saving a spot for the all tube Fender Blues Junior which will be looked at in this blog.
With a plethora of guitar effects pedal manufacturers producing an increasing number of beautiful looking and sounding pedals, the average pedal board has little real estate to accommodate all that you may want. Hotone Audio has responded with some very aesthetically appealing and fun sounding pedals that are priced friendly and take up about 1/3 of the space that your average stompbox requires. This blog will look at the EKO (delay), Grass (overdrive), and OCTA (Octave effect) from the company’s Skyline product line.
on 05-25-201504:22 PM - last edited on 06-23-201512:02 PM by BBYMartin
The price-performance ratio is hard to beat on this piano—you really can’t go wrong. It is a solid product with a good feature set that will enable the beginner or intermediate player to really enjoy the instrument. If you’ve been wanting to take up piano or you’ve been looking for a reason to buy a piano and cost has been a factor, check out the CDP-130CS at Best Buy Canada.
The Fender FA-300CE Acoustic-Electric guitar package bundles together everything that you need to produce a great acoustic tone in a live setting and in a recorded format. The FA-300CE is a solid acoustic guitar with great tone and playability for those wanting to learn the guitar, just starting to learn, and also for those intermediate players wanting to take the next step. The included Slide interface and accompanying software makes it incredibly easy to learn thanks to the Rock Prodigy software and to record and edit your music via the AmpliTtube software.
on 05-07-201501:58 PM - last edited on 06-23-201512:18 PM by BBYMartin
The Yeti is a rich sounding, flexible USB microphone that sonically stands on its own against some heavy hitters in the microphone world, but its large size makes it inconvenient for portable applications.
2015 is a very exciting year in the guitar geek and gear-head musical community: Fender announced at NAMM 2015 that it will be releasing extremely limited editions of unique-looking and unique-sounding electric guitars. And the "best" news? Best Buy will carry some of those beauties! Let’s take a closer look.
The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is more than just a 20 watt practice amp with an 8” speaker and a load of tones and flexibility, it is also a guitarist’s entrance into the online world of social connectivity. The Fender Mustang 1 V.2 is a potent little amplifier that offers you a myriad of sounds and the ability to tweak to your heart's content, but it also connects to your computer, connects you with other musicians, and connects you with your inner music producer.
IK Multimedia has taken already compact and portable recording technologies and made them even more compact and more portable. All of this without significantly restricting what or how you can record and what you can ultimately produce. In this blog I am going to look at two different IK Multimedia products. First is the iRig Pro, which was released in late 2013. I will then look at the brand new iRig2 and explain what each can do for you so that you might have a better idea which unit will meet your needs.
on 04-21-201510:16 PM - last edited on 04-21-201510:30 PM by BBYMartin
The M-Audio Producer USB was one of the first USB microphones to hit the market a few years ago - ushering in an era of minimalistic mobile recording solutions. You no longer needed a host of middleware hardware to deliver decent audio into your computer or mobile device. USB microphones allow you to plug directly into your computers USB port and start recording. As a solid, professional-looking microphone that’s simple to setup and use, the M-Audio Producer USB is a decent choice in this category of microphones.
Here’s the American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar by Fender. This beauty had the privilege of spending some time in my studio for a little routine check. And what a ride it was! For some rock chords, blues riffs, funky rhythms and lots of modern jazz, this Strat is a versatile, high-end guitar. The American Standard I personally tried is equipped with three single coil pickups, features a black body finish with a classic white pickguard. The sexy curves of this solid body (it has contours that fit the musician’s arms) makes this guitar a gem of modern electric instrument manufacturing. The Stratocaster model, with its two asymmetrical horns continues to be the most imitated guitar body amongst all lesser brands of electric guitars. Thousands of timeless albums feature the tones of this american musical giant. Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie (and many more) used the Strat as their main instrument. We shouldn’t take this lightly!
When it comes to guitar effects pedals, or “stomp boxes” as they are often referred, the Boss brand pedals are certainly among the most ubiquitous on a guitarist’s pedal board. The BOSS OD-1X—BOSS’ newest Overdrive offering—The BOSS BD-2w Blues driver, and the BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo are among the newest effect pedal offering from the revered company. The 3 pedals on review here all have their own little nuances and tones to offer and it ultimately will depend on what you are looking for in your pedal that will determine which you will want to purchase and add to your pedal board.
The Roland CUBE GX20 is a compact 20 watt guitar amplifier with an 8” speaker and an attitude that aggressively snarls in your face metal. It features independent Clean, Lead, and Solo channels as well as modelling for 6 different amp types. This ensures that whether you’re sitting in your room shredding or running a line out from your GX20 to do some home recording, your needs are met with this lightweight, solidly constructed, and versatile bad boy.
The age old adage that "bigger is better!" can finally be put to rest once and for all. Roland's mighty might of an acoustic guitar—and more—amplifier, the AC-40 is versatile enough to fill many different needs and wishes.
You've got your guitar, and a tune in your head. But you also imagine a particular tone you'd like your skull crushing rock epic to sound like. Your guitar is certainly a part of that overall sound, and your playing styles and techniques will certainly contribute. Ultimately, though, your amplifier is what will define your tone. The number of amplifier options and technologies involved seem endless, and can be confusing. How do you even begin looking? I'll try to help you find the amp that will deliver the sound you want.
on 02-05-201511:58 AM - last edited on 02-05-201501:27 PM by BBYMartin
When my children were younger, I remember my wife and I contemplating questions like: when is my child ready for music? and How can I make sure they’ll like it? Even though we’re both classically trained pianists and I write and produce music for a living, we STILL grappled with these questions! Well I'm going to try to give all parents some answers. In addition to my own perspective on this subject, I bounced a few ideas off Jennifer Gasoi (2014 Grammy Award Winner- Best Children’s Album). She obviously has some fantastic insights and tips. You’ll see her perspective liberally peppered throughout this post.
on 01-25-201503:30 PM - last edited on 01-26-201511:52 AM by BBYMartin
Another NAMM show has come to a close and while all the exhibitors contemplate packing up their booths, I'm reflecting on all that I've seen over the past few days. There weren't any show-stopping standout announcements this year, but there was a lot to see!
on 01-25-201501:41 PM - last edited on 01-26-201511:58 AM by BBYMartin
Like most of you in the home and project studio game, I like to read the trade magazines and gear review sites frequently. I'm a firm believer in the "it's-not-about-the-gear" mantra, but hey, if money weren't an object...
on 01-25-201512:00 PM - last edited on 01-26-201512:03 PM by BBYMartin
Akai terms their Advance line of controllers as "unprecedented" plug-in control. The 49-note version that I played with came pretty close to the mark. I can see its potential as a studio and live situation controller that, once you adjust your workflow, will help you organize, recall and control all of your software synths and effects.
on 01-25-201511:15 AM - last edited on 01-26-201504:31 PM by BBYMartin
Don't be intimidated by the long, complicated name of this product, it should just be called "fun". The Korg Kaoss line of X-Y instruments and controllers has been around for over a decade and they've all been noteworthy tools in electronic music production. This is the smallest version I've seen and it has a lot going for it.
on 01-25-201510:21 AM - last edited on 01-26-201504:05 PM by BBYMartin
In the crowded market of digital pianos, it's hard to stand out. The Casio PX-760 seems to accomplish just that feat with a feature-rich package that impresses but at the same time, doesn't intimidate.
on 01-24-201511:56 PM - last edited on 01-26-201504:36 PM by BBYMartin
Saturday is always the busiest day (and night) at NAMM - as you can see by the crowd waiting to get in. The weekend brings out a lot of local people who couldn't make it the last two days and/or folks looking to spot artists roaming the floors. We didn't have any specific appointments to hit today, so I took the opportunity to just walk around and see what I could find.
on 01-24-201506:00 PM - last edited on 01-26-201504:41 PM by BBYMartin
Saturday was a-buzz with artist endorsement and demonstrations. That came with the obvious lines and crowds huddled around the booths to the displeasure of convention centre security. NAMM sometimes becomes a game of "Do I know him/her?".
on 01-24-201504:40 PM - last edited on 01-26-201504:48 PM by BBYMartin
It wasn't really until today that I saw something that made me literally stop and backup.
Zildjian is famous for its cymbals and has an artist endorsement list that goes on forever. These cymbals not only look different, but the display also encouraged you to listen to them through headphones.
on 01-24-201502:28 PM - last edited on 01-26-201504:49 PM by BBYMartin
The XW-J1 DJ Controller for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is ideally suited to mixing music and videos. The controller is equipped with the latest functions and a number of effects, so even beginners can use it intuitively for successful performances.
As the controller is compatible with iOS, Mac and Windows, the product offers functions that are coordinated with the popular djay and vjay app from Algoriddim and Deckadance from Image-Line.
on 01-24-201511:00 AM - last edited on 01-26-201504:53 PM by BBYMartin
Shure has introduced a line of products for the portable or desktop recordist who doesn't want to deal with lots of gear with bells and whistles. The new MOTIV line microphone solutions aren't just re-issues of existing products, they've designed new products that have a cool retro feel and a feature-set that is just right.
on 01-24-201510:15 AM - last edited on 01-26-201505:05 PM by BBYMartin
Yamaha introduces a new category of mixers with their AG line. The AG03 and AG06 are hybrid mixing consoles and USB audio interfaces for web/podcasting, gaming audio, and music production. This new approach to mixers eliminates the need for software by putting all the control at your fingertips.
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