My Horn Isn’t Pretty, Does That Make It Bad?

We’ve all seen a professional musician playing on a beautiful instrument, one that is most likely way out of our budgets. Sometimes we start to look down on an instrument because it’s not “pretty,” and I think that’s a stigma we should break.

Your horn doesn’t have to be pretty to play well. It’s just a fact. Many of us receive our instruments as hand-me-downs, or maybe the ones we bought used have some finish imperfections and don’t look new or shiny. This is totally okay! Many professional players got famous on instruments that aren’t the best looking, and that’s because it’s about the sound of your instrument. Sure, it’s nice to have your instrument look super sparkly all the time, but not necessary.

I like to bring up the example of Louis Armstrong’s first cornet. It’s currently on display in the museum that was his home growing up, but that horn has a lot of issues, from an aesthetic and a repair standpoint.

https://acloserwalknola.com/places/louis-armstrongs-birthplace/
Louis Armstrong’s First Cornet

Obviously there are certain things we must consider; if there is an aesthetic “boo-boo” that disrupts the playing ability/functioning of the instrument, it’s time to take action, but most aesthetic issues don’t affect the instrument in that way.

What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t be discouraged if your horn doesn’t look awesome. If you enjoy playing it and it sounds good to you, that’s the baseline for what matters. If you’re concerned about the way your horn looks, bring it on in for me to take a look at! We can see if what’s going on has anything to do with structural integrity, or playability. We can discuss aesthetic-improving options. See you soon!

 

How Does an Electric Guitar Pickup Even Work?

You’ve probably heard an electric guitar unplugged from an amp, and it’s not that exciting. We know we need amplifiers to hear them well, but what’s creating the sound we hear through the amp? What makes and electric guitar electric? Let’s dive in a little and learn!

What Is A Pickup?

At their most basic, pickups are magnets. These magnets have a certain magnetic field in which our signal is picked up (hence the name). 

What are The Pickups Picking Up?

Our strings can be made out of many things, but all strings are magnetic alloys. When we introduce them into the magnetic field, when not moving, they do nothing. But, once we strum we are disrupting that magnetic field at a given frequency. The frequency (or note) that’s appearing in the magnetic field can be changed by us fretting the strings at different points on the neck.

So, That’s What I’m Hearing?

Of course there are many types of pickups; single-coil, humbucker, P90, warm, bright, metallic–the list goes on for awhile–but at their core pickups are magnetic fields that “hear” different frequencies, and put them through our electronics, into our amp, and out for our ears to hear. In an acoustic guitar you’re hearing the amplified vibration of the strings, but on an electric you’re hearing the frequencies that travel through the pickups and our tone/volume circuits. 

I want to go even further…

For more questions about shaping your personal sound via pickups or tone circuits, come on in and talk to me or John! We would love to share our experiences, educate you, and even do some research with you. Creating your electric sound profile is a ton of fun, and a great learning experience. 

For a more scientific dive into how pickups work, checkout Hank Wallace’s post on Atlantic Quality Design’s website.

Hosa Edge Series Cables

One of our brands with the most in-store inventory consistently is Hosa Cables. If you’ve tried any of their cables, you know why we love them; great quality at a price that almost anyone can afford. Although we commonly stock the “Pro” line of cables from them, you may have noticed a few from a different line of theirs–the “Edge” line.

Image result for hosa cables logo

What makes Hosa’s “Edge” line cables different from other cables? Let’s dive in.

  • 20 AWG Oxygen-free copper
  • 6-Layer cord for protection and longevity
  • Neutrix AG connectors

With an oxygen-free environment we reduce the risk of oxidization in your cable immensely. A beefy cable, and solid, lightweight, tough connectors pair together to make the Hose “Edge” cables great for the studio or on the road. To checkout their cool diagrams, or to learn more about the “Edge” line, click here!

 

Capos, Capos, Capos!

Kyser, NS Tri-Action, Shubb, NS Pro

Whether you pronounce it kay-poe, or kah-poe, capos are an important tool in making music. If you’ve been into the store you may have seen our wall of capos, and maybe you’re wondering why we have so many. I’m here to tell you why. For sake of discussion, let’s talk about a six-string, steel-string guitar

When we put a capo on our guitar we are bending our strings, bringing them out of tune. There are two main categories capos fall into; top-closing and bottom-closing.

When we use a top-closing capo, we are putting string 6 (Low E) under more tension than string 1 (High E). Although this snap-on, snap-off action is desirable, it puts our strings out of tune unevenly across the fingerboard.

When we use a bottom-closing capo, strings 6 through 1 are all under the same amount of tension, allowing them to remain in tune with each other. The only downside is that these bottom-closing capos can sometimes take more than a few seconds to put on and off. But! We have a solution for this. We have a few models of capos that are bottom-closing and fast acting.

Come on in for an in-person demonstration of our capos, to try them out yourself, and to learn even more. Oh yeah.