• If you’ve got a valve guitar amp, you’re no doubt well aware that the specific valves inside it largely determine your sound. You might also know that there are roughly 25 different valves used for guitar amplifiers, four of which you’ll bump into all the time. What you might not know, however, is that there’s a very specific valve that kick-started what we now call ‘vintage’ sound way back when: the rectifier valve. And guess what? It’s regaining popularity again!

  • Made it through our previous article on the CAGED system and want to learn more? Great! By the end of this one, you’ll have five major and five minor chord shapes at your disposal that you can move up and down the fretboard of your guitar.

  • Can you imagine? You’re about to perform on stage and suddenly your signal drops out because the cable broke. Fortunately, every gigging musician’s worst nightmare can be easily avoided. Here’s five tips for preventing cable breakage.

  • While most people play a musical instrument because they simply love making music, it’s worth pointing out that starting out at a young age has several positive side-effects on the brain. In other words, that starter kit that you got your kid for Christmas last year might yield some unexpected results in the long run!

  • Acoustic drum kits are often configured to match a specific style, which is why rock-based drummers usually opt for a rock-configured kit, while jazz drummers are more likely to go for a little bebop kit. That said, there’s no reason why you can’t lay down jazz patterns with a rock kit or vice versa. Besides, a good drummer will always make sure that the sound of their kit matches the style of music, no matter how the kit is configured. Want to pull a more jazzy sound out of your kit? Read on for a few tips and tricks.

  • If you like going for a walk with your headphones on, the first thing that you probably do every time you step out of the door is turn the volume up to drown out the sound of traffic. But if you’re doing this regularly, you actually run the risk of causing hearing loss or worse. Thankfully, technology has paved the way for noise-cancelling headphones and noise-cancelling in-ears, which actually eliminate the need to turn the volume up to max. Time for a closer look.

  • Re-amping is a studio recording technique that’s been picking up more and more speed. Compared to recording electric guitars, guitar amps, drums and other instruments the traditional way, re-amping offers a number of benefits which I’ll tell you all about by using guitarists, who re-amp the most out of all musicians, to illustrate the idea.

  • If you’ve already read my other blog on FM synthesis, then you’re ready for part two: an extensive tutorial on how to design sounds using FM synthesis. To give ambitious beginners a helping hand, I’ll be covering terms like operator, carrier, modulator, envelope, scaling and feedback, giving you all the basic knowledge you need to use either FM-based hardware such as real synthesizers, or FM-based software such as the Native Instruments FM8 virtual synth (included with Komplete) to sculpt your own sounds.

  • Just to be clear, this blog is about traditional music composition, meaning it’s not going to deal with modern EDM-style workflows involving arpeggiators, drum loops, Ableton tools, and so on. So, if you know your way around a piano and want to start writing your own pieces, by all means, dig in!

  • Given the infinite list of plug-ins you can add to your DAW these days, it’s easy to forget that, back in the day, every single effect was a separate bit of kit that needed to be hooked up. Not only that, parts could break and spilling a cup of tea was a serious job hazard. That being said, hardware-based effects are still made to this very day.

  • If you just treated yourself to your first guitar, digital piano, drum kit, DJ controller or music production software, then chances are you’re already dreaming of performing on a stage one day. To get there though, you’re going to need a good way to hone your skills. Nowadays, there’s plenty of wisdom to be found online, ranging from tutorials on YouTube to free courses, which raises the question: how does self-teaching stack up against going for lessons with a real teacher?

  • Our guitar specialists could probably spit out a thousand-and-one facts about acoustic guitars but, since no one’s got all day, we’ll stick to just five!

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