Pros and Cons of Laminated Woods for Guitarists

Perhaps you already have a particular type of wood in mind for your new guitar. Whether that wood is solid or laminated will make a tremendous difference in the sound that you will hear. Solid wood is exactly what the words imply. Pieces of solid wood are carved into the necessary shape for a guitar….

Pick Punch

Here’s a fun gadget every flatpicking guitarist will love! The Pick Punch lets you make your very own guitar picks out of any suitable plastic. Put those old credit cards and gift cards to use to make one-of-a-kind picks! Using the sturdy Pick Punch is super easy: Feed your plastic into the punch. Punch out…

Why Cowboys Sang

The singing cowboy is by no means a Hollywood invention. History records the fact that cowboys always sang, starting back when cattle trails began. At first, there were no true “cowboy songs.” Most cowboys just sang the good old folk songs that they had grown up with, ranging from mountain fiddle tunes like “Old Dan…

How to Play Minor Chords on a Dobro

The Dobro or resonator guitar has a unique feature that can be a great help or hindrance, depending on how you look at it: It is tuned to an open G chord. This means that if you strum all of the strings you will produce a G major chord instead of some kind of discordant…

8 Reasons to Memorize Scales

Memorize those scales. How many times have beginning musicians heard this advice, no matter what instrument or genre they are playing? Drilling scales may seem boring when you are anxious to learn new songs, but this discipline has its worth. Here are a few reasons to consider memorizing some scales: Improve your coordination. As a…

Sharpen Your Skills—Record Your Music

Looking for an effective way to improve your musical ability in a relatively short period of time? There is a simple tool that can work these wonders for you. This tool is a microphone. There is nothing quite like recording and playback to evaluate your progress. As we run through our songs, we get used…

Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo

Lessons from a pro! Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo is a great way for a beginning banjo player to pick up important tips on best practices, but it can also be useful for the intermediate player seeking to brush up on key skills. Either way, foundational technique is the focus. Topics covered…

Understanding Musical Keys: Identifying and Using

Identifying Keys There are two ways to identify a key: Look at the key signature. Analyze the chords of the song. If you happen to be playing from music written in standard notation, such as a songbook or hymnal, the easiest way to identify the key is to look at the key signature—the number of…

Understanding Musical Keys: Characteristics

Early on in your musical practice, you will be introduced to the concept of musical keys. Keys are important to understand because every key has a distinct sound created by a hallmark set of notes. Every key is based on a scale. If you play a C major scale on any instrument, you have just…

Music Practice

Don’t be fooled by the price.  Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional by David Dumais is not a cheesy little booklet full of half-baked ideas with no meat on their bones.  It’s a concise but thorough look at how to make the most of your practice time,…