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All about semi-acoustic guitars
All about semi-acoustic guitars

In today's article, we're going to talk about semi-acoustic guitars and everything related to them.

How to choose an electric guitar
How to choose an electric guitar

A guide to choosing your first electric guitar

What's up? :) Decided to become a part of the electric guitar world? I remember when I was choosing my first electric guitar... a lot of different pickups, pickups, software, things sticking out of it, so how do I figure it out? Well, that's what you're here for! Want to jam with your friends? Carve riffs like Angus Young? Romantically play fusion stuff with a looper? This is the place for you:) Make some tea, and we'll get to the bottom of it! 

Let's start with the matrix. I'm sure you've noticed that there are a lot of different kinds of guitars. Different setups, different shapes, what goes where, what is it for? Don't worry :) Give or take, all guitars have the same structure. Head, neck, body - go. The differences start with the customization.

Electric guitar - the basics

As you can see in the "scheme" the guitar usually has 6 strings :) The standard system is EADGBe. E-L-A-Re-Solo-See-Mi. From 6 (thick) to 1 (thin). Of course, there are 7, 8, 12 and more-string guitars, and the number of alternative strings... wow. But now let's talk about the standard, okay?) Let's not get into the thick and thin.

Wood
You can argue endlessly about whether wood has a big impact on the sound of a guitar. Believe me, it does. And it's a super important part of choosing a guitar. Because if pickups, action, tremolo, etc can be changed over time, upgraded, then the wood is everything :). Only if you're going to change your guitar. I should tell straight away that if you are going to play heavy metal or any kind of heavy music, it's not so important. But if you're going to play clean sound, jazz and all that - be very careful with your choice. Here's the chart I drew: 

Mahogon (mahogany).

Gibson, ESP, and many other manufacturers use mahogany as the "body" of their guitars. Some use it just for the fingerboard of the guitar to balance the tone of the guitar, to make it softer. Usually used on guitars made for blues, rock and metal. Has a soft and pleasant sound :) + great balance

Alder

Probably the most neutral kind of wood in terms of sound. Not too bright, not too warm. Perfect for those who want a more or less universal instrument. On most Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters the body is made of alder :)

Ash 

Depending on the type of ash, your sound will either be very close to alder, or a little brighter. If the same fender isn't made of alder, it's probably ash :) No change. A great tone for those who want to use the instrument for all genres of music. 

Maple

Although maple is not often used for guitar bodies, it can be found in guitar assemblies. For example, in a hollow or semi-hollow body. It is usually used on larger guitars. The tone is very bright. A little dirty :)

American basswood.

This type of wood is the hero of discussions on the Internet :) Many people consider it of low quality only because of its low cost. Of course this is not the case. Not always so. Many cool manufacturers use linden because of its lightness and brightness. This wood is usually found on guitars designed for beginners. Usually! Not always! 

Corina

Though rare, corina was once heralded as the future of electric guitars. Lighter than mahogany. It is sometimes called "Super Mahogany." If you like the tone of mahogany, you will also like corina :)

BODY
The material of the body is taken care of :) Now the shape of the body. The most aesthetically pleasing thing about choosing an electric guitar! I am sure there is a shape you like already. Maybe a Les Paul, or a Strat like the classics. Or Tele? Or a more sophisticated one? Reverb? Okay, let's see:

Hollow, semi-hollow, solid body.
The three whales of electric guitar building. Bodies come in hollow, half-hollow, and full body. This already categorically affects the tone and sound of the guitar. Pay close attention :)

Hollow-body guitars (slang for cans) are mostly used by jazz and blues guitarists. It's connected with the fact, that the big hollow body inside makes a sound of an instrument very specific. A lot of low frequencies. But keep in mind, that such guitars like to wind up when you play into an amplifier. Such a ringing begins) Delphinium. In a nutshell - classic jazz :)

Half hollow guitars are already used everywhere. From blues to hard rock. Jazz players like them a lot, too. If you properly set up your amp, all the feedback problems disappear (dolphin ringing). 

And solid body guitars. The most popular. They can be found everywhere. Musicians playing soft blues or death-metal fans. Have no feedback problems. Work perfectly for most styles of music :) In a nutshell, a classic among electric guitars.

GRIF
Another important thing to do when choosing your next guitar :) Just like when choosing a body - it's mostly a matter of taste and personal preference. Only here the main role comes down to comfort and feel rather than tone and sound. Different materials, shapes and widths. Ideally, you have to try it out, but you can choose remotely. 

Some fingerboards are thin and narrow, for those who want to play fast and sporty :) Some are wide and thick, if you have big hands and like to play complex chords comfortably. 

Again, it's all personal preference. For example, some musicians, well, can't play on a narrow fingerboard :)

That's all about the shape. Now the materials :) Just the neck. Not the fingerboard. 


Maple

It is a light wood. Due to its rigidity and stability it is used on thin fingerboard. You can find it on almost all fenders :)

Mahogany

Mahogany. Heavy and powerful :) Great for medium to thick fingerboards. On most Gibson guitars it is. 

Rosewood

A very dark color :) Occurs rarely, but many like it because of its very beautiful texture. 

Bubinga

Even more rare than rosewood) Very fast bass response. Perfect for 7,8 and even 9-string guitars!

Multi-layered

A multi-layered fingerboard can give the best sound from each wood. You want a maple fingerboard, but plan to play in lower strings with thicker strings, there will be inserts like bubinga :) Ibanez are very fond of layered fingerboards.

The fingerboard linings
Maple - Bright sound with great attack :) Light. The same Fender is fond of maple fingerboard.

Rosewood is the most popular pad material. Dark! Requires some care (treat with lemon oil). Great for workhorses.

Ebony- Gibson you still like ebony :) Very dense texture. This kind of pad will last for generations of guitar players. Les Paul - Usually with ebony. 

Tek Ebony - A material that has been heavily used on guitars lately. Those Gibson's are using it a lot right now. It has a dense texture and doesn't shrink. It is connected with the problems of supplying ebony and rosewood. There is a taboo on them now 

Sound pickups
There are three main types: singles, humbuckers, and p90s.


Singles are a single channel cartridge. They are loved for their bright sound. Used mostly for clean sound. Sometimes with a bit of grunge. Noisy! But there are noisles where there is no extraneous noise. But this is a vintage:) high. Just imagine how many songs recorded on singles you've heard? Thousands!

Humbuckers - These are probably the most popular pickups :) Because of their versatility and quiet operation. They are great for a wide variety of styles from blues, rock, jazz, and more.

P90 - Has a different coil arrangement than the single, although also single channel. The difference in tone is that the p90 has a more pronounced middle. 

You will most likely have a pickup next to the bridge and next to the fingerboard. Sometimes there are 3 of them, bridge, middle, fingerboard. You can also use different combinations, like s-s-s (single-single-single) or s-s-h (two singles and a humbucker), on Gibsons it is usually H-H (two humbuckers).

You can switch between them, use both or just one. Whatever you like :)

The best electric guitars for beginners

To recap :) We've got a bunch of different guitar sets here. Finding the one that's right for you is a challenge. Remember that music loves experimentation! Everything except the body and the neck can be changed, upgraded and all that. You can also change the fingerboard, of course, but it's not so easy.

Ideally you want something that's affordable, reliable, versatile and easy to use. A lot of brands make guitars that are aimed at beginners, offering convenience and sound. That's the main thing :)

Types of vocal microphones
Types of vocal microphones

There are five basic varieties. Each is adapted to its own tasks. Let's list these types:

dynamic;
capacitor;
tape;
wireless;
USB microphones.

Dynamic
The so-called dynamic reel-to-reel vocal microphones are designed primarily for performing at concerts. They are also used for recording vocals at home and in the studio. Sometimes this is done on purpose in order to make the recording sound like a concert voice. They are used to record live concerts.

Features:
Durable, sturdy. Withstand falls, shaking. Withstands heat, cold, high humidity.
Resistant to high SPL, i.e. loud sounds, overload. They sound a concert hall, a stadium, a gymnasium.
Not very good at conveying the nuances of sound.
Usually have an uneven frequency response.
They do not require additional phantom power. Need a preamplifier.
As a group as a whole - relatively inexpensive.
If you don't need to actively move around the stage during performances and rehearsals, a wired dynamic microphone is fine. It's stable in use. It won't let you down. It's inexpensive and will last a long time.

Condenser
Ideal for studio vocals. Subject to quality sound isolation. Condenser vocal microphones are acoustically demanding due to their high sensitivity. But in a good recording studio your beautiful timbre will not be clogged by reflections.

Condenser transducers are also great for vocals on stage. They are used at performances on a par with dynamic ones. However, unlike the latter, they are more demanding for good equipment and need a competent sound engineer.

Features:

Do not tolerate careless handling. Unlike its dynamic "brother", the condenser one will sound worse or even break after a few drops.
They are fastidious in operation. They require skilful use. Otherwise the sensitivity will result in the high noise level.
Require a pop filter. It reduces sound interference from the vocalist's breathing, explosive "B-P" consonants, whistles from "S" and "F". Protects your device from saliva: it contains salts that are harmful to the equipment. Thus prolongs the service life.
Usually have an even frequency response.
Transmits high frequencies in detail.
Condenser omni-microphones excel at transmitting low frequencies.
Fast attacks sound bright and clear.
Requires phantom power.
Costs more than dynamic microphones.

Ribbon
Used to record vocals in the studio. They have a high sensitivity. A kind of dynamic tape. However, unlike concert reels, they are very fragile. And, perhaps, the most capricious in use. Require a professional approach. And they are valued for their quality deep sound.

Features:

Need to be used with extreme care. Otherwise they break easily.
Good low midrange, low frequencies. Excellent for low male voices: baritone, bass.
They have a slight sinking in the upper frequencies. No big deal: it is compensated with EQ.
Phantom power is necessary.
They are expensive.

Wireless (radio microphones).
Consists of a microphone, radio transmitter and radio receiving station. Used only as a concert microphone. Wireless microphones for vocals are not found in studios: they are not suitable for sound recording because of the reduced frequency spectrum.

What's good to know about radio microphones:

They give you the freedom to move around on stage. That's their biggest advantage. If you're actively moving around during performances, communicating with the audience or working with backup dancers, no wire is just what you need.
They have a range limit. The more powerful the transmitter, the more distance the artist can work. However, the power increases with the price.
For greater reliability of the radio system, choose models with a diversity antenna.
There are restrictions on the use of radio frequencies.
Depend on batteries or rechargeable batteries. And they run out quickly. For example, one battery lasts only 1.5 hours. The equipment can shut down suddenly. It is possible that at the most inopportune moment.
They do not transmit high frequencies very well.
When buying immediately calculate how many microphones you need: each base works only with a certain number of devices.
Need a competent connection and setup to avoid unpleasant surprises on stage.
Require careful use. Repairs are expensive and not always justified.
Expensive.

USB Vocal Microphones
Have low to medium sound quality. Therefore, they are used only for home demo recording, streaming, and training. Even the highest quality USB-microphone is no substitute for a professional microphone for vocals.

Features:

Convenient. Connects via USB cable to computer port.
Requires no phantom power, acoustic cord, other equipment.
Portable. Easy to take with you when you visit.
When working at home it is desirable to use an acoustic screen, so that extraneous noise is not picked up.
Relatively inexpensive.

The magic of smoke: all about smoke machines
The magic of smoke: all about smoke machines

A smoke generator (or smoke machine) is a device that produces smoke or fog and disperses it. A smoke machine is mainly used to reduce the transparency of the air, as a result of which light and laser beams can be read well, becoming more spectacular. In this way smoke enhances other visual effects such as lasers, scanners, strobes and gives them new and unique colors.

The principle of most smoke machines is as follows: a special liquid is pumped into the thermocouple, heats up, evaporates, and then exits through the nozzle of the atomizer. Coming in contact with air particles, the liquid cools, turns into an aerosol and creates a smoke or fog effect. It's simple enough, but there is a danger of under or overheating the liquid. If the liquid is not heated enough before leaving the machine, you will get what is called "wet smoke" at the output, which will settle in the form of condensation on the surface of the stage and equipment, which can lead to damage. If on the contrary, if you overheat the liquid in the thermocouple, the device can simply burn out. Therefore, the choice of a smoke machine and its liquids should be taken seriously.

Most modern smoke generators have a remote control that allows you to adjust the intensity of smoke from a distance. Many models also have a built-in timer, which allows you to set the time interval after which the generator will release a new batch of smoke.

According to the properties of the produced smoke and the principle of operation, modern smoke machines are divided into three main types:

 Light smoke generators

Heavy smoke generators

Mist generators.

Each type has its own design and functional features, and differs in scope of application. Let's consider them in detail.

 

Light smoke generators
Light smoke generators are the most common due to their versatility of use and low cost. Light smoke fills the entire volume of the room and does not settle for a long time, allowing the effect and unique color of the whole show to remain longer, when the colored beams of light effects appear very clearly. Smoke machines of this type are most often used in discotheques, clubs and even at home.

The principle of operation of light smoke generators: A pump supplies a special liquid to the thermocouple, which is transformed by heating or chemical reaction into an aerosol and released into the air through a nozzle.

Heavy smoke generators
Heavy smoke generators are usually used for decorating professional venues: at almost any concert you can see clouds of heavy smoke billowing at the feet of musicians. Heavy smoke gets its name from its ability to billow on the ground without rising up. To get a similar effect, smoke generators are equipped with refrigerators. Heavy smoke allows you to add new accents to the usual special effects, to create a charming, magical atmosphere, and also helps to hide some of the defects of the interior.

The principle of heavy smoke generators: after evaporation, the aerosol is cooled to a temperature below that of the air in the room, so the density of the smoke is higher than that of the air. Such machines cool the smoke to a temperature slightly above zero. The cloud-like, dense smoke usually does not rise higher than 10-15 cm from the floor. To keep the smoke moving, special fans are installed to create a wind effect. Such generators of heavy smoke are the most convenient in operation, since they use only special liquid, but the smoke they produce is not always "heavy" enough and can rise to a height of more than a meter before it dissipates. Sometimes the smoke can be too dense, reducing the expressiveness of light and laser beams. Also, such generators can form condensation. Another disadvantage of this type of generators is that they can cause fire alarms to go off.

You can also get the effect of heavy smoke by using frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice). Such generators are the most inexpensive and easy to use, as they are a "box" filled with dry ice. This "box" takes the smoke from a conventional smoke machine, cools it by passing through pieces of dry ice, and then enters the room. The temperature of the dry ice is -78.5°C, which allows for dense and heavy smoke. The disadvantages of this type of machine include the need to purchase and store ice prior to the performance.

Based on the above, heavy smoke, obtained by mixing the smoke from a conventional smoke machine with carbon dioxide, can be called the most optimal. The air temperature in the working area of the cold smoke generator can drop to -5°C. This machine uses liquid smoke and carbon dioxide cylinders, and the smoke it produces does not rise above a person's knees. This device allows you to create very spectacular dynamic jets of white smoke, which appear and disappear almost instantly.

Fog generators
Mist generators (hazers) keep the space of the room quite transparent, but create a light haze in which the light and laser beams can be clearly read. Such generators are notable for the absence of a heating element, as well as being economical and efficient.

Principle of operation of fog generators: a powerful compressor sprays a special liquid under high pressure.

According to the scope of application, smoke generators can also be divided into three types:

Mini smoke machines, which are distinguished by their compact size and correspondingly small tank (no more than three liters). Such devices usually throw jets of smoke at a distance not exceeding three meters.  They are designed for small rooms and short events, as well as for home parties.

Semi-professional smoke generators have a larger tank and can "deliver" smoke at a distance of 4-6 m. They are designed for club events, discos, concerts in small halls.

Professional smoke machines can boast a strong smoke generation with economical use of liquid, as well as quick warm-up.

Choosing the right liquid for your smoke machine
The choice of liquid determines the effect of the smoke machine whether it is a light dispersed smoke or a dense, thick smoke with slow dispersal. The composition of the liquid smoke does not cause allergies and smoke does not release moisture and quickly evaporates in the presence of active air movement (wind or ventilation hood).

Several types of liquids are used for smoke production. Usually it is a mixture of distilled water and alcohols based on glycerine or from atomized mineral oils (to create a dense smoke). Sometimes dyes and flavorings are added to the liquid. Depending on the desired effect, fast, medium and long-spread smoke liquids are used.

In the very beginning of their existence, smoke machines used mineral oil based fluids, which was dangerous to both machinery and human health. Today's composition of liquids is absolutely safe, but you should be very careful in making your choice between one substance or another. The liquid used for the smoke machine must have a safety certificate, so the use of the generator is allowed in absolutely any room.

Smoke clouds are able to turn any room into a fairy-tale space that has little in common with reality. That is the main task of the generator - to allow people to get a little distracted from reality and create a special world full of colors, illusions and magical effects. Choose proven manufacturers and create your own unique show!

How and what guitar to choose a beginner
How and what guitar to choose a beginner

The first serious question that aspiring guitarists and guitarists face when they come to a music store is: "Which guitar to choose and what are the differences?" Often this situation makes you seriously reconsider buying a guitar and spend another couple of weeks on the internet looking for the right instrument. To save your precious time, in this article we will provide all the necessary information on how to choose a guitar for a beginner.

Guitar Types

The first thing you need to know is what guitars come in. Otherwise, what is there to choose from? J

Guitars are divided into 3 kinds:

classical;
acoustic (pop, western, folk, concert);
and the electric guitar.
If the difference between electric and acoustic is immediately clear, the question, "What is the difference between the first two?" causes confusion among beginners. "After all, they both have six strings and look the same!"

Well, they look very different, you can see that in the photo below. As you can see, the bodies are different. The classic has a rounder and smaller body.

Besides, only nylon strings are put on the classical guitar, which is convenient for still delicate fingers of beginners, besides the fingerboard is wider and shorter than the acoustic one, which makes it easier to learn. Combining these factors (body size, string material) we get a completely different timbre and purpose of the guitar.

Acoustic Guitar
The acoustic guitar has metal strings, which makes it have a tinkling, rich timbre and loud sound. If your goal is to learn to accompany yourself on songs, acoustic is ideal. The metal strings are great for playing with a plectrum, and the narrow fingerboard makes it much easier to play barre chords.

Of course, "strumming chords" is not the only purpose of an acoustic guitar. Thanks to its sonorous and rich sound, it is good for jazz, blues, rock, pop music, chanson, etc. In fact, the instrument is versatile and you can play anything on it with the exception of classical pieces and flamenco. So, if you see yourself as a performer or performer of pop genres - feel free to buy an acoustic guitar.

But keep in mind that it's much harder and sometimes even painful for untrained hands of beginners to learn finger techniques (i.e. without a pick) on acoustic guitar. That's why many professionals think that it's better to learn classical first and then acoustic.

Classic
With its wide fingerboard and soft nylon strings, the Classica is ideal for beginners:

It's comfortable to strum;
Fingers get used to nylon more easily.