All posts by Danny Trent

Is TrueFire the Best Guitar Instruction Website?

Is TrueFire the Best Guitar Instruction Website?

I really struggle with online guitar instruction websites.

Not in any technical sense – I know how to use a website! But even as somebody who has developed their career online, I struggle with the idea that this is the best solution.

There’s a good chance that I’m just showing my age. I come from the generation of guitarists that wanted to be the next Noel Gallagher, had a few lessons from a local guitar teacher, and off I went doing my own thing, none of which led to being the next Noel Gallagher.

The internet wasn’t really a viable resource when I was learning. I remember the owner of the local guitar shop saying “have you got the internet at home?” – I have it right in my pocket, all the time now, but it was a perfectly legitimate question back then.

But now, we live in the future, and there’s an onslaught of websites claiming to help you learn! And obviously, each one is claiming to be better than the other.

Here, we’ll take a look at one called TrueFire.

Core features and specs

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Like many online guitar instruction sites, TrueFire tries to cram an awful lot of stuff in. I appreciate why they do that – they want to offer more stuff than their competitors – but it makes cynical guys like me immediately think “Is this a jack-of-all-trades, master of none scenario?”

Let me take you through the stuff they offer.

  • Instructional video lessons
  • Discounts on instruction books
  • One-on-one lessons
  • Backing tracks for you to play along with
  • Apps for you to follow courses when you’re out and about
  • Video jam tracks where you control the mix

I’ll be honest they might have more stuff – as I say, they’re trying to cram quite a bit in here, so it’s easy to miss things.

This will work well for…

online private guitar lessons

This is a difficult one to answer – I feel like it’s got something for everyone!

I would say this would get the most use from beginners and intermediate players, but there does seem to be quite a bit on offer for experienced players too.

In saying that, it will depend on the experienced player in question. Some experienced players will be like “Lol, I know I’m great, I don’t need to a stinking computer telling me what to do.”

Whereas others might be inclined to feel like you can never stop learning, or can never know enough, or might want to find out some more about another style or have some point of their playing they feel a little polishing on.

It will also – and this is probably very obvious – work well for those who are comfortable learning from a screen. That isn’t everybody.

Another possibly excessively obvious point is that even if you go through all levels of lessons on this, it’s lessons, it’s based on other people’s work, and it’s incredibly prescriptive.

This may not work so well if you favor more experimental guitar sounds like maybe Tom Morello or Jack White.

Pricing options

So, the thing with TrueFire, unlike other online guitar instruction platforms, is that you pay for what you use.

It’s completely free to sign up and register an account with them, and then the cost can vary wildly depending on what you want to do. One-to-one tuition can go as high or as low as the tutor themselves want to charge.

This will be a weird compromise between what level of skill they’re offering to teach you, and how much you’re willing to pay. The lower the level it is that’s being taught, the less it’s likely to cost.

Think of it this way: if a teacher charges $10 for a beginner lesson, and has 100 students, that’s $1,000. If only 25 of those 100 beginner students keep with the guitar until they become experienced, that’s a massive drop in that teacher’s income.

The self-instruction courses might suit some learners better. These vary pretty wildly. Some of them got up to $30 or $40, but there’s usually a sale to be found so you don’t end up paying quite that much.

Other things you can pay for as you go along.

Features

online teaching sessions

The instructions and ability to take lessons online are cool if that’s how you like to learn.

For me, one of my favorite features is the jam tracks. I guess this feature is pretty squarely aimed at intermediate and experienced guitarists.

Straight off, you get 200 backing tracks of various styles, tempos, and keys for you to jam along to. For $19.95, you’re allowed to download those tracks. I find that an odd one, but I guess there’s some kind of demand for it. In an era of Spotify and other streaming sites, do people even download MP3s anymore?

It has a blog which seems to primarily focus on lesson related listicles. It looks like it’s updated regularly too – that’s nice to see.

It has a forum, where I guess you can chat with other users about progress, queries, sharing ideas about technique and gear, and complain about things. You know, usual forum stuff!

It seems fairly hidden away, which I find odd, but one of the things that TrueFire has that I thought would have been front and center of its promotion, is the big name teachers that it has. I haven’t been able to work out if they’re exclusive video lesson to TrueFire, but they have stuff from Steve Vai, Larry Carlton, and Tommy Emmanuel.

Usability

I generally consider the usability of a product in terms of its life cycle: how long will a customer want to use this for.

And I’m honestly struggling to figure that out for TrueFire!

In terms of actual use, if you can navigate any other website, you can find your way around this one.

Like, sure, it’s free to sign up, and it has a limited number of free stuff to do. But after that, things can look a little pricey, especially if you’re a kid looking to spend your pocket money.

But, in saying that, you can find some pretty great deals, plus, once you’ve spent the money, it should keep you busy for a few weeks, meaning it’ll likely work out much cheaper than going to an actual local guitar tutor.

There’s also the issue of any self-learning platform: student discipline. You really have to commit to it, and designate time for it every day or week, or whatever you can or want. If you can’t manage that, you can’t blame TrueFire!

It’s probably a good idea to try the free lessons before handing over cash, even if it’s way below your ability level, just to make sure this learning style is something that will keep you engaged.

Pros Cons
  • A more affordable alternative to in-person guitar instruction
  • Ideal for those who don’t have access to local guitar lessons
  • All the standard styles are there, like rock and blues
  • The free lessons are useful for getting a feel for the platform
  • The jam tracks are cool, especially the videos
  • It may not be the best learning method for everyone
  • Self-discipline is very much required!
  • It can look pricey to a young beginner


In Conclusion

Learning Paths

I was so incredibly skeptical of TrueFire when I started this review, and I feel bad for that now.

If getting to lessons is a pain, and you really have the commitment to learning, I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t get a great deal out of this website.

I think the most important thing for it is a commitment, and that’s on you, not on TrueFire. It really is the sort of thing you need to just sit and do – a difficult task when you have a day job and family. When I’m doing something like that, I try and just get 20 minutes per day at it, which is still a challenge.

But I would definitely recommend checking out TrueFire, whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced player who wants to focus on one aspect of their playing.

Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Review

The Ultimate Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Review You’ll Love

Even if you hardly know anything about music, you know that Yamaha is a company that produces guitars- they’re just that famous.

Yamaha Guitars are pretty well known for producing acoustic guitars, but what a lot of people don’t seem to know is that Yamaha provides beginners with an excellent option for classical guitars.The Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar is a full-sized classical guitar that has been built with beginning guitarists in mind.

If you’re an advanced guitarist, I would suggest that you find a different classical guitar to look at. On the other hand, if you’re a beginning musician, the Yamaha C40 is perfect for you. If you are an experienced musician looking for a quality guitar with a low price tag, look
somewhere else.

The Yamaha C40 isn’t professional level quality, but I’m completing this review at the point of view as someone who has never owned a guitar before. The Yamaha C40 is the perfect guitar for anyone who is on an incredibly tight budget and doesn’t want to invest big bucks into an instrument they’re not sure they’re going to continue playing.

The Yamaha C40 is one of the least expensive full-sized classical guitars on the market today; if you’re especially keen to learn how to play classical, this guitar will give you everything you need as a beginner.

Core Features of the Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar

The Yamaha C40 is comprised of a spruce wood top, which is common to find on guitars at this price range. The sides and back of this guitar are made from Meranti; all the wood on this guitar is laminate, which does not have the same quality of projection as a solid wood guitar.

However, this is a beginner guitar, so there are some cuts that companies have to make in order to make this instrument affordable.

Like most classical guitars, the neck on this instrument is wide and is sporting a Nato wood with a rose wood fret board. This guitar comes with nineteen frets and a scale length of
25.9 inches.

If you are someone who has smaller sized hands or are purchasing this instrument for a child, the neck is going to be a bit difficult to play, because it is so wide, since it’s a
classical guitar.

The headstock is round, which is what you should expect to see on a typical classical guitar. The head stock has six chrome YTM-01 tuning pegs on it.

As for the sound the Yamaha C40 produces, this guitar comes with a high action that is adjustable, in case you don’t like a high action guitar. The original strings aren’t great quality, but the tuners are in great shape, which helps to provide incredible stability and intonation.

Best Genres to Play the C40 with

Since this is a classical guitar, the only genre that this guitar would be best to play with is flamenco and over finger style genres.

Does the Yamaha C40 work as advertised?

Yes, the Yamaha C40 does work as advertised; this is a beginner’s guitar and the C40 works exactly as any other beginner guitar does. The sound that the C40 produces lays a great foundation for future playing, as it serves as an instrument that’s sufficient enough to
practice on.

If you have been playing guitar for a long time and have more of a professional ear on you, you will notice that this guitar sounds more muted and doesn’t project as well as some guitars.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Name brand

Cons:

  •  – High action
  • – Muted sound

Alternative guitars to consider:

Ibanez AEG10NII – Did you know that Ibanez offers more than just bass guitars and electric guitars? Yes, they do! TheIbanez AEG10NII is a classical nylon stringed guitar that’s meant to really perform.

The body of the AEG10NII shares the same exact body as the AEG10II, which is a steel-stringed acoustic guitar. The AEG10NII has a slender feel and a very traditional look with a 2.75-inch body depth and a single cutaway.

Ibanez chose to use spruce as the top for this guitar and mahogany for the sides and back as their choice of tone woods. There are two color options that customers can choose from and both of these colors come with a high gloss finish.

The neck is comprised of mahogany and has a satin finish, with a rosewood fret board, and twenty-one fret. The neck itself is lightweight but feels very solid and comfortable to play when in your hand.

This is an electric acoustic guitar that comes with the Ibanez’s AEQ-SP1 preamp and a Fishman Sonicore pickup. The combo of these two electric devices really allows musicians versatility when it comes to live stage performances.

All of the controls on this guitar are very simple; treble, middle, and bass have their own knobs, as well as a phase reserve switch and a volume control knob. The phase reserve switch is for players to use to reduce feed back when their guitar is plugged in.

The AEG10NII has a very balance sound that’s nice and crisp, without being too deep. The EQ and other controls on the guitar allow you to adjust the sound to how you would want it to be in order to achieve in effect or tone that you are looking for, which makes this guitar
extremely versatile.

Ibanez AW54CE- The Ibanez AW54CE is a guitar that is from the Art wood series; Ibanez made sure that this instrument not only was affordable to players of all financial backgrounds, but that it also had a performance that even famous professionals would be impressed with.

The body and neck of this beauty, the AW54CE has a classical dreadnought shaped body that has a 25.6 inch scale length, as well as a single cut away.

When this beauty is unplugged, it has a rich tone that’s absolutely stunning. Due to the shape of this guitar’s body as well as the combo of the solid mahogany top, the AW54CE has a lot of natural projection and resonance to provide in a performance.

While that may scare some people, there is also X bracing in this guitar, which allows players who are looking for a more articulate sound to receive that. Not much changes when this guitar is plugged in; everything sounds the same, but there is a slight limitation on your controls.

Conclusion

The Yamaha C40 is one of the best choices any beginning classical guitarist can buy into.  There are a lot of amazing qualities to this guitar that make it a truly incredible guitar, especially considering the low price tag on the instrument.

I highly recommend this guitar to any first time beginner who is looking to learn classical guitar. Even though this is a name brand guitar, it’s very affordable, and is a lot better quality than any guitar you can find online that doesn’t have a brand name attached.

Personally, I believed that the strings need to be replaced because the original strings sound very muted. Once you have had time to learn your guitar, you’ll probably want to replace your strings, but you shouldn’t feel the need to right away. This will be a great guitar to use just as a practice guitar, even after you’ve learned to play.

Gibson Learn and Master Guitar Review

Gibson Learn and Master Guitar Lessons: My Comprehensive Review

If you’re interested in purchasing a DVD course for learning the guitar, you’ve come to the right place. Out of all of the DVD instruction classes that I’ve purchased, the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar was the best one that I’ve ever purchased.

I often recommend these DVDs to my students who are looking to learn some extra work while they’re not having their private lessons. I can always tell which students have practiced with the Gibson Learn and Master review because I can physically see and hear the difference in their playing capabilities.

With your purchase of the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar, you will receive:

  • Twenty DVDs
  • Five Jam Along Audio CDs
  • 108 Page Work Book
  • Forty Hours of Instruction

Each lesson is divided into three different parts; some lessons have video tip sections, practice sections, and play along sections. Below, I have a list of some of the topics that the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar talks about:

  • Reading Music
  • Chords
  • Strumming
  • How to read tablature
  • Finger picking
  • Bending
  • Tapping
  • Slides
  • Ear training
  • Styles
  • Scales
  • The Basics
  • Solo playing
  • How to play Classical, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Funk, and Country

Personally, I believe that this course would be perfect for any beginning guitarist to take. Each lesson allows you to learn at your own pace, which is critical for beginning guitarists. All of the basics are covered with these DVDs and each lesson goes into thorough detail.

However, I also believe that this course would be a great brush up course for an intermediate or advanced player, especially if you don’t know how to read music, don’t know any music theory, or don’t know your scales.

The DVDs

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Each DVD is taught by the same guitar teacher, Steve. Steve does an incredible job of keeping a steady progressive rhythm with the DVDs; they don’t go too fast or too slow.

At the beginning of each lesson, Steve will introduce a new topic or lesson, talk about some of the common questions that are associated with this new topic, and show you how to properly execute each lesson.

There is an up-close view of Steve playing the guitar; one camera is focused on his left hand, while the other camera is focused on his right. This allows beginners to be able to understand how Steve is executing the new lesson that is being taught.

After the lesson, Steve will give you as an assignment for the next session. He takes time after the lesson to go over the most important details and points that you should practice before you go onto the next lesson.

There is also a work shop section in the DVDs that allow you to practice the assignment material along with Steve, which allows beginners to hear and see the exercises that they
are practicing.

There are ten guitar lesson DVDs that educate beginners on core guitar subjects. However, there are also ten additional work shop DVDs that have more bonus material in them. On these ten disks, there are twenty sessions of extra practice material that allow you to truly master the lessons and concepts you were taught on the first ten DVDs.

The CDs

Along with your purchase of the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar course, you will also receive five Jam Along CDs that you can use to help you practice; all of the exercises that are in the book that you receive are played at three different speeds (slow, medium, and fast) to help
you learn.

The Book

The Gibson Learn and Master Guitar also comes with a 108 paged book that discuses all of the lessons and exercises that you learned on the DVDs. The book has been divided into sessions that correlate to the DVD’s lessons, which gives the book a very clear lay out that is very easy to follow and read.

Is it worth it?

If you are beginning guitar player, yes! If you’ve never learned how to read tablature, sheet music, or don’t know much about musical notation, I would also suggest this course for you. However, if you are an intermediate or advanced player who knows how to read tab or sheet music, I would suggest that you look for a different course.

Th Gibson Learn and Master Guitar course really does a thorough job of teaching the fundamentals of playing guitar and Gibson thoroughly focuses on reading your standard music notation. If for some strange reason, you don’t want to learn how to read tablature or sheet music, this is also not the course for you.

I also want to warn beginners who are thinking about purchasing this course that just like all other courses, the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar course is more of a summary of playing guitar and doesn’t go into deep, direct detail of specific techniques or lessons.

This course is not going to teach you everything about playing guitar, in other words. Think of this course to be more of a crash course of learning how to play different music styles, such as Finger style, Jazz, and Rock.

My biggest complaint about the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar course is the price. I believe that this course is a bit pricey, especially for beginners.

This is not a budget guitar learning course, but if you think about the quality of the lessons you’re learning, as well as all of the learning materials you’re receiving, it’s pretty affordable. The cost of this course is equivalent to what a month of private lessons would cost a beginner.

With that said, this course is often on sale. Even if you decide to not purchase it while it’s on sale, Gibson does offers customers to break up the payment and pay for the course over a period of four months.

If you’re totally unhappy with the course, Gibson offers a No Risk Guarantee, which will allow beginners to return the course after 60 days in order to receive a full refund of the original purchasing price.

Another Alternative to Consider

Jamplay Guitar Lessons-

JamPlay is another course that offers online lessons that are similar to the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar program. However, JamPlay was created with the idea of more than just a beginners needs in mind.

JamPlay has lessons for guitarists of all different levels in their program, as well as offering a lot of different choices for musicians to pick from, such as what genres to learn, who you want your instructor to be, and much more!

Conclusion

All in all, I personally think that the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar is a quality learning system with lessons that really put a lot of focus into reading music and music theory. I believe that a lot of the learning systems that are out in today’s market don’t focus enough on music theory or reading music, which sets u- a lot of guitarists for failure in the future.

If you’re a beginner or intermediate guitarist, or even an advanced player who doesn’t know how to read music, I think that this course would do you extremely beneficial. If you are an experienced guitar player who can read music, I would suggest that you look into a different lesson program.

The biggest complaint that I have about the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar is that I wish there were more features on the guitar. When I used this program, I looked through it with the eyes of a beginner and I wished that there had been a separate chord library and a separate
scale library.

It would have been very helpful to have a chart to go back to that had all of the scales and chords listed on it.

That’s it for this review of the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar. I hope you’ve enjoyed
today’s article!

Search Is Jamorama Worth Your Time and Effort?

Is Jamorama Worth Your Time and Effort?

I like to be honest in reviews, so let me say straight off that I had never heard of Jamorama before I needed to review it. I have to say, approaching it, I was a mixed mindset of intrigued and skeptical.

This predominantly came from the way it labels itself as a social network for guitarists. I don’t know why that would even be a thing. I’m a guitarist and I use the usual social networks, and never felt the need for one just for my playing.

Reading more, I saw that it was designed to help guitarist learn, and set points in their progress that could be regarded as achievements. I thought that was interesting, and thought that would be a more valuable attribute than a social network.

Core features and specs

The main thing that Jamorama focuses on is community, and learning as others learn.  I guess I can see how some new guitarists might like that. When I was learning to play it was all about dial-up and videos were barely feasible!

Jamorama themselves identify their key benefits to guitarists as follows:

  • Profile achievements
  • Messages for you to chat privately with other users
  • Course introduction video to set you in the right mindset for what you’re about to do
  • Discussion forums so you can chat openly with other users
  • Activity posts so you can share what you’re up to
  • A list of other learners who are online
Jamorama has a free version and a paid version. The paid version is a one-off fee of $99.95, and includes additional lessons, backing tracks and supplementary learning materials. The free version seems to be only for acoustic guitar, while the paid version includes more electric-orientated stuff, such as speed picking and blues classes.

There are also a few video lessons for specific songs.

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This will work well for…

Just considering the basic, free version, it’s definitely aimed at beginners, and despite my own misgivings, I can see how a lot of newbie guitarists would benefit from what’s on offer here.

If somebody is set on learning on guitar, but live somewhere without a teacher, or a good teacher, or if it’s too far or too difficult to travel, or for any other reason that the can’t take an actual class, the free version of Jamorama will easily get them up and running.

The fact that it’s free could even be an alternative to paying for lessons. Considering what’s on offer in that context, a quick look through Craigslist shows that guitar lessons are really expensive. Granted, I’m in New York where everything is expensive – I feel like I should pay $20 just for waking up in the morning.

Obviously, the cost of a lesson every week varies wildly depending on location, quality of tuition, length of class, number of other students, but just shy of $100 for a one off fee is going to be pretty hard to beat.

Pricing options

As mentioned, Jamorama has two options: a free one, for which you’ll never have to pay anything, and a paid version with a one-off fee of $99.95.

I feel like this is quite a jump, especially for kids without much money. I can’t help but feel like a freemium model, with gradual increases to more content, or at least a pay monthly option would be more appropriate. In saying that, I’d question the life cycle of the additional features available for the paid version. I’m not convinced that it would keep a budding guitarist busy for even a year.

Features

 

jamorama-guitar

The main feature of Jamorama is the lessons they have available. They start with pretty basic stuff like chords, and some basic guitar maintenance.

Each course is split into a number of parts, labelled as weeks, with the idea that you should complete one section per week to complete that course. For example, the first course is called Beginner Guitar Method – Stage 1. It provides materials for you to take over five weeks. The course materials are a combination of instructional videos, and PDFs for you to download or print.

It includes a blog section, but this doesn’t require membership. Blog posts are categorized into lessons, gear, artists and news. Firstly, this somewhat devalues the blog for paid members, and secondly, it hasn’t been updated since 2016.

The song lessons available are limited, but have a simple version and advanced version: all acoustic interpretations, aimed at getting beginners playing popular songs that they might be familiar with, but equally, stuff that’s ready available on YouTube anyway.  It also has a forum section for you to say hi and chat with other learners.

Usability

Jamarama is trying to do a lot of little things. It’s certainly an ambitious approach, and I really can’t fault the navigability of its interface. Everything is easy to find – if you’ve used the internet, you can use this.

The instructional videos are helpful, and the advice they provide is absolutely solid. I mean, solid as in guitar playing is so old, with so many different types of player, there are a million opinions on how things should be done, so nobody is ever really right, but the advice provided on Jamorama is definitely a good base point.

The one thing that may hinder the usability is the limited content that I mentioned earlier. Like, it surely won’t take much longer than a year to complete the courses they have listed in the free and aid versions? I’m not sure that kind of limited life cycle makes it a sustainable option.

I mean, what do you do when you’ve spent your $100 and you finish all the courses? Chat with others on the forum? There are plenty of places you can do that for free.

Conclusion

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I understand the intention behind Jamorama, I really do.  Unfortunately, I’m far from convinced that it’s necessary, especially when you part with $100 for it.

It ties together video lessons and written instructions, a forum, a blog, and all kind of resources. But these are all things that are available elsewhere. On separate sites, sure, but mostly dedicated to what they do, meaning you get players of all levels, from all kinds of experiences.

With Jamorama, because it’s aimed at beginners, I feel like the pool of knowledge is going to be limited, and given the inexperience of the target audience, more likely to be have incorrect information.

Further, it’s not encouraging that the blog hasn’t been updated since last year, and even then, updates seemed sporadic at best.

I do like the gamification of it, where you can achieve certain things. But, as you decide yourself when you’ve played something well enough to move on, does that even count? It’s like ticking a box to say you’re older than you really are when you’re going onto some websites – there’s nobody that can check!

In saying that, I see how it might benefit somebody who does not have access to lessons with an actual guitar teacher, and I would recommend them to at least try it, and see how they get on. But this website is not going to create the next Van Halen.

I feel like listening to great guitarists, aspiring to sound like them, practicing until you do, then making it your own, is a decades old route to guitar mastery that isn’t going to be replaced by any website anytime soon.

Best Guitar Tuner Apps for Apple IOS Systems 

Best Guitar Tuner Apps for iPhones That You’ll Love

If you are a guitarist who is working with a tight budget, you’re probably not able to afford a high-quality professional tuner that’s going to last you years and years.

That’s totally okay, too! Since smartphones have such a heavy influence in our lives, some companies have decided to take their market to the whole new level. Some companies have decided to introduce guitar tuners to smartphones, making a professional quality guitar tuner available at the touch of a few buttons (and free to download)!

Guitar Tuna 

 

Guitar Tuna claims to be the number one tuning app in the world and we can’t blame them for claiming that title. Not only does Guitar Tuna have a beautiful setup, but it also functions very well. The actual interface of Guitar Tuna is very visually accurate, but what we should be really talking about is how accurate this tuner is.

If you’re a beginner who is looking to develop your aural training, Guitar Tuna also has a training mode to help you develop that skill. There are some additional purchases that you can make inside the app, but to download Guitar Tuna, you won’t need to spend a single penny. Also, there are additional tuners for bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, and twelve string guitar on Guitar Tuna.

Clear Tune

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If you’re an experienced guitarist who is looking for a chromatic tuner, you’ve come to the right place. Clear Tune is a chromatic tuner that comes with a pitch pipe that’s been built in. Also, Clear Tune has a meter that helps you to fine tune you or your instrument to find the perfect pitch or tune.

There are several features that are built in with Clear Tuner and those features are: Adjustable calibration, solfege notations, transposition (which is really helpful if you’re playing in a band that has instruments that play in a different key), and custom temperaments.

Not to mention, you can any instrument that has the ability to sustain a note with Clear Tune- any woodwinds, piano, any brass, tablas, bowed strings, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, and even vocals. Clear Tune was designed with the wants and needs of professional musicians in mind, but this app is simple enough to be used by beginner musicians.

Pano Tuner

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Pano Tuner is one of the most commonly used tuners on both Android and Apple devices. This easy to use app provides users with consistent tuning.

Users also talk about how much they like how Pano Tuner allows players to customize their settings; Pano Tuner allows players to dial in on creating precise settings for both live performances, close jam sessions with your guitar friends, and practice sessions with just yourself.

Despite all of the positive reviews that people have left the Pano Tuner, it does come with its fair share of complaints. The biggest complaint that people had about this app is that the advertisements got annoying, but Pano Tuner allows you to upgrade to the pro version for a $1.99 to not only receive additional tones, but to use the app ad free.

Tune O Rama

tuneorama-app

 

Tune O Rama doesn’t have a lot of extra features installed in it, but for what it lacks in features, it makes up in accuracy. For $2.99 you can purchase yourself an incredibly accurate tuner for very little money. This tuner has been specifically designed for bass and guitar.

While Tune O Rama does have a built-in chromatic tuner, the automatic tuner is what is impressive about this app. The automatic tuner users a four tier detection algorithm that really helps to provide users with an increased sensitivity, as well as accuracy.

Gibson Learn and Master Guitar with Studio Share

Gibson-Learn-Master-w-StudioShare

Gibson partnered with Legacy Learning Systems to provide beginning guitar players with the only guitar tuner that they will ever need. This essential guitar tuner comes with a chord library, a guitar tuner, and a metronome, as well as a handful of full-length guitar lessons that are completely free.

These lessons are from Gibson’s Famous Learn and Master Guitar course; the best part of this app, that you can get all of this, for free!

IStroboSoft

IStroboSoft is one of the most accurate guitar tuners in the App Store and that is because of the strobe displays that are known for their incredibly accurate tuning.

If you’re looking to fine tune your tuning even further, you can purchase an adaptor cable from Peterson Tuners to provide yourself with a direct line in access, that also provides with you a mini capsule microphone that helps to greatly increase the accuracy of

best prime day guitar deals

Best Amazon Prime Day Guitar Deals – Prime Day Deals on Musical Instruments

Prime Day is here again for 2017. No doubt, this is great. But the deals can be overwhelming.

I’ve created this page to track and curate the top deals that I find during the Prime Day event. Last year, there were some great deals on guitars but they were easy to miss… hence this page!

Be sure to bookmark this page and check back frequently as I’ll be updating as the deals go live.

Best Prime Day Guitar Deals

These are the best deals specifically for guitar enthusiasts, including quality guitar accessories.

  1. Epiphone Les Paul Special Deal: Check out this live deal to save 50% here – Live Spotlight Deal
  2. Yamaha Solid Top Acoustic Deal: Save 20% here now – Live Spotlight Deal
  3. Protege Cordoba Concert Ukulele Deal: See this live deal here and save 38% – Live Spotlight Deal
  4. Donner Concert Ukulele Deal: Watch this listing to track the TBA deal on this Ukulele – Live at 9:00 PM EDT [MONDAY]
  5. Donnet DT-1 Guitar Tuner Pedal: Watch this listing to follow this TBA deal here – Live at 9:00 PM EDT [MONDAY]
  6. M Y Fly Ukulele Deal: Watch this listing to save on the TBA deal – Live at 8:14 PM EDT

Prime Day Deals on Other Musical Instruments

For other deals on Instruments, here are some to watch.

  1. Yamaha REFACE CS Portable Synthesizer Deal: Check out this live deal to save 30% – Live Spotlight Deal
  2. Yamaha REFACE DX Portable Synthesizer Deal: Check out this live deal and save 30% – Live Spotlight Deal

 

Prime Day 2017 Details

Here’s a video overview of the event:

 

How to Spot a Genuinely Good Prime Day Deal

While lots of items will be discounted, not every deal is equally good. Watch for knock off brands that you haven’t heard of before, but are close to what you want. Stick to trusted names at strong discounts (ideally over 15% off).

How Long do Prime Day Deals Last?

The overall event runs for 30 hours, starting on July 10th at 9PM EDT / 6PM PDT. The individual deals – however – can go in a matter of minutes, if they are popular. The majority of the deals will be “lightning deals”, only lasting as long as supplies last and for a limited time (whichever expires first). The “Deals of the Day” will stick around for the entire event, but are less common and sometimes not as steeply discounted.

Best Tuner Applications for Android Devices

Back when smartphones were first released to the market, musicians used the microphone on their smartphone to tune their guitars. This type of tuning was great to use if you were in a pinch and needed to tune quickly, but it didn’t give you spot on results.

Since technology has improved, the guitar tuner apps on smartphones are much better than they used to be. Today, I’ve created a list of the best tuner apps for Android devices for string instruments.

Chromatic Guitar Tuner

I enjoy using this tuner because unlike other tuners that we’ll talk about here, this tuner has a digital tuning fork; I find that these tuning forks really allow you to get your tuning accurate, within an exact cent. Chromatic Guitar Tuner is a simple tuner that has a really attractive interface, too. The biggest complaint that many people have with this guitar tuner is that it has live ads ever so often.

Cifra Club Tuner

Out of all of the tuners that we have listed, the Cifra Club Tuner is the simplest tuner on our whole list. It’s completely free and does a great job of tuning quickly. The Cifra Club Tuner is compatible with ukulele, bass, banjo, acoustic, and electric guitars. This is a quick and simple chromatic tuner that’s free in the app store; if you’re looking for a tuner that’s a bit more complex, you can pay for additional features.

Da Tuner

If you’re looking for a simple tuner, download the free version of Da Tuner. However, just pay $2.93 and you’ll unlock a tuner that will really open up your world. When your instrument is properly in tune, the whole screen will light up green, which makes it a lot easier to see how well you’re in tune, rather than looking at a dial or a fork. Also, if you’re really not that into technology, this tuning app still works on older Android devices.

Pro Guitar Tuner

Some guitarists aren’t looking for a tuner app that has a whole bunch of bells and whistles. The Pro Guitar Tuner was created with pro guitar players in mind; the version that you download from the Google Play store is free. Personally, I was happy with the free version. The upgraded, pro version was pretty expensive, so if you’re just looking for a tuner that doesn’t have a whole lot of extras in it, I would just tell you to stick with the free version! Also, this app allows you to tune your instrument as it supports many stringed instruments, but it also allows you to pitch check your guitar.

Pano Tuner

Pano Tuner is another tuner that I used all throughout high school, but I used this for my wind instruments. Whenever I was in a pinch and needed to tune my guitar in a couple of seconds, I would use Pano Tuner. This tuner is an extremely simple tuning application that has a dial style tuner. I enjoyed used this app because it allows you to adjust the sensitivity of your microphone, supports non-standard tuning, and allows you to adjust the concert frequency. You can use this for any string or wind instrument, not to mention that it’s completely free.

G Strings Tuner

This is one of the older guitar tuners that’s still on the market today. You can control the theme of this tuner, as well as the microphone sensitivity. This is another simple guitar tuner that doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles, but still has the most important features that a musician needs.

Smart Chords and Tools

If you’re looking for a tuner app that’s a bit more complex compared to other tuners on the Google Play Store, Smart Chords and Tools is an app that works with most stringed instruments, along with a few other bonuses too. Smart Chords and Tools is an app that is completely free to download but does have the ability to purchase extra items within the apps. In addition to tuning your struggled instrument, this app also has two hundred pre-defined tunings, over two hundred and twenty chords all stacked away in a chord library, and different level settings for those with different experience levels.

There’s a lot of information that’s stashed away in this app that would make any guitar players life easier, but Smart Chords and Tools is an excellent app for anybody to use who are looking for a tuner.

Guitar Tuna        

All throughout high school, this was the application that I used to tune my guitar. Originally, I only downloaded this app because it was free, but after downloading it, I realized it was much more than just a guitar tuner. After using the app for a little while, I discovered that it was developed by Yousician, which I thought was very interesting. Guitar Tuna comes with a tuner that’s worth of professional quality, a very simple interface, a built-in metronome, and several other features that made learning guitar much easier.

Pitch Lab Guitar Tuner

Technically, this Pitch Lab Guitar Tuner is completely free to download from the app store; you will receive the free version of this app that does have some really nice qualities to it, but I personally liked the upgraded version much better. For $2.99, you can upgrade Pitch Lab Guitar Tuner to the premium version, which will give you access to a stage tuner, a chord matrix, a pitch spectrogram, a polyphonic tuner, and many other options. There are a lot of special features locked away in the upgraded version, o this app makes something great for any musician who is looking for something a bit special. As for the interface of this app, the entire thing is a dial style tuning that offers several virtualization options.

Conclusion

It may take some time for you to find the best app for your needs, but there are plenty of free options on the Android market that you can choose from. It can become a bit frustrating trying to find the best guitar tuners to use on your smartphone, but I hope this list of the best guitar tuners for Android devices has helped you!

Tremolo vs Vibrato– What’s the Difference on These Two Techniques?

In the music industry, tremolo and vibrato are often confused by not only musicians but manufacturers as well. For example, many manufacturers have guitars that have been labeled with a tremolo arm, when in fact, it’s actually a vibrato arm. Both vibrato and tremolo produce a similar movement and rhythm, which explains why is it so easily confused, but the way that these two techniques are produced are completely different.

Vibrato and tremolo are both musical notations that can be used with a wide variety of instruments, both wind, and strings. You’ll be more likely to hear wind musicians talk about vibrato, as producing vibrato on a wind instrument is an action that helps to maintain consistent tuning in longer notes. It’s not very common to find tremolo markings on wind instruments, as producing a tremolo effect on wind instruments is a bit more difficult.

Vibrato

Vibrato is a palpitating sound effect that is created from small rapid changes in the frequency (also known as pitch) of a note. Vibrato has been used for centuries in musical compositions, as a way to add color and expression to music. Vibrato is expressed through two different parameters; through speed (how quickly the pitch is changed) and through depth (the amount of change in the pitch).

In other words, vibrato is a change in signal of the pitch, which makes the note bend up and down. Vibrato effect gives players a ‘warbly’ effect as if the sound is almost underwater.  The thing about having a whammy bar on your guitar, but in the form of a pedal. A whammy bar forces the bridge of the guitar to put more or less pressure on the strings in order to change the pitch of the strings. Some manufacturers produce vibrato pedals, which operate very similarly to whammy bars; the vibrato pedals change the pitch of your strings. Vibrato is all about pitch.

If you’re a guitarist who isn’t feeling too confident in your musical notation abilities, a vibrato pedal is a way to go. There are two main types of vibrato pedals on the market- digital vibrato pedals and analog vibrato pedals. A vibrato pedal is especially helpful to use if you’re worried about not being able to maintain a consistent tempo while producing the effect. By using the pedal, all you have to do is press down and you’ll have the vibrato effect created.

As for the analog vibrato pedal and the digital vibrato pedal, analog pedals are the more popular choice among the two. This is because analog pedals produce a bit of warmth when the shift occurs, as well as being more precise in a change of pitch compared to digital vibrato pedals.

Tremolo

On the other hand, tremolo is where a musician creates rapid changes in the volume of a note; when doing more research, you may also find articles that say that tremolo changes the amplitude of a note- amplitude is another word for volume. All tremolo does it change the volume or a pitch.

Tremolo can either be created mechanically or manually; manual vibrato is also called finger vibrato or hand vibrato. Finger Vibrato is a technique in which a guitarist uses their fingers or hands to bend the string up and down; by moving the strings and up down, the guitarist produces a small alteration in the pitch, which vibrato is correctly defined.

Ever since the late 1900s, guitars have been equipped developed and produced with vibrato systems that are operated mechanically, most commonly found in a hand lever. This is where the confusion really begins! The Stratocaster guitar by Fender was produced in 1954 and was produced with a mechanical bridge mechanism that allowed players to bend strings from subtle movements to large bends, all while keeping accurate intonation.

Tremolo is great to use if you are looking to create a pulsating effect or any other type of percussive effect. If you’re not very comfortable with manually performing tremolo, tremolo effects can be found on stomp boxes, amps, and effect devices.

Again, if you are worried about applying the tremolo technique to your music and not being able to maintain a consistent tempo, there are tremolo pedals on the market that allow you to produce a tremolo effect by pressing down on the pedal. These pedals work very similarly to vibrato pedals, but instead of producing a vibrato effect, tremolo pedals produce a wavy or choppy effect, depending on which option you select.

When testing out and comparing the tremolo pedal and the vibrato pedal, a lot of people commented that the tremolo pedal sounded a lot more artificial than the vibrato pedal. The effect that the tremolo pedal produces is a lot more obvious compared to the vibrato pedal.

Conclusion

Vibrato and tremolo are both techniques that have the ability to really add emotion to your music or allow you to change a bridge in a song. Both of these techniques really allow musicians to add expression to their music, which makes the difference between a decent song and a memorable masterpiece. If you’re struggling with applying the manual techniques, try looking into purchasing a vibrato or tremolo pedal to help you on your way to more emotional piece. Vibrato is always about the pitch, while tremolo is always about volume.

Top Ten Best Ibanez Guitars On The Market Today

If you’ve done a little bit of guitar research about what instrument you want to purchase, you’ve probably run into a brand that name is Ibanez. Ibanez has a whole selection of bass guitars, electric guitars, classical guitars, and acoustic guitars. But, if you’re a beginning guitar player, how do you know which guitar you should purchase from Ibanez?

That’s why I’ve created this article! Today, we are going to talk about the top ten best Ibanez guitars on the market. I will go over the best bass guitars, electric guitars, and even talk about their best classical guitar. The guitars that I’m reviewing range in price, but they all do a superb job. I hope you enjoy reading!

Ibanez Talman TCY10

The Ibanez Talman TCY10 is an electro-acoustic guitar that really has the ability to impress performers of all genres, even electric guitar players! There are several models of the Talman that are available, but the TCY10 is all laminate, which makes it one of the most affordable guitars that Ibanez produces.

Personally, I believe that this is one of the best guitars that Ibanez produces that is under $300, as it truly does offer a solid value. The biggest complaint that I had about this electric acoustic guitar was that the sound was a little bit thin, especially when compared to other guitars in this price range, but the TCY10 has a really relaxed manner to it, which makes it a real winner with whatever you play.

As for the physical make up of the body for this guitar, the TCY10 is a steel stringed acoustic that has a double cutaway design, a laminated spruce top that has an X bracing, 25.5 inch scale length, laminated mahogany sides and back, a high gloss finish, and an ivory binding. While this description of the body may sound very physically appealing, there is so much more to this guitar. This guitar truly has the same feeling that playing an electric guitar gives and I would say that that is mostly because of the neck- the neck is very easy to play on and allows easy access to the highest frets on the fret board.

The controls on this guitar aren’t extremely versatile; you really only have your treble, bass, and volume controls. The electronics that come with the TCY10 are the Ibanez’s AEQ2T battery powered preamp system that has an under saddle pickup. Besides the lack of versatility in the controls and the electronics, all of the other hardware on this guitar is affordable and sturdy.

While all of the woods that have been used on this guitar are laminated, the combination of the mahogany and spruce provide this instrument with a smooth, well-balanced tone. When plugged in, musicians have no problem with the power or resonation that this guitar provides.

Ibanez SR405EQM Bass Guitar

The tonewood that Ibanez chose for the SR405EQM was mahogany that is accented by a quality maple top. The finish on top of the SR line is flawless and really adds to the overall beauty of the line. The neck is an SR5 five piece maple and rosewood that also has a rosewood finger board.

The hardware in the SR405EQM is absolutely outstanding; the bridge is an Accu Cast B305 that has a set of adjustable saddles. Visually, this bridge isn’t too different from a standard vintage bridge, but it does handle sustain a lot better. The tuning pegs that are installed in this bass guitar are solid enough to ensure that the strings can hold loads of sustain, which means that you can really go to town on this bass guitar.

The electronics in this bass guitar aren’t anything too complex; there’s a set of Power Span dual coil pickups where one is at the end and the other pick up it at the neck position. This set is wired into a circuity that also includes a Power Tap switch and a three band EQ. The Power Tap switch allows players to choose between a standard series setting and two types of tap options. Even though this may seem like there’s a lot of control options, players still have the opportunity to truly bend and shape the sound and tone that they are looking for. Even though this bass guitar is affordable, the sound that this instrument produces makes it sound like a million dollars. The humbucker’s range allows you to choose whatever tone you may please.

Ibanez AEG10NII

Did you know that Ibanez offers more than just bass guitars and electric guitars? Yes, they do! The Ibanez AEG10NII is a classical nylon stringed guitar that’s meant to really perform. The body of the AEG10NII shres the same exact body as the AEG10II, which is a steel stringed acoustic guitar. The AEG10NII has a slender feel and a very traditional look with a 2.75 inch body depth and a single cut away.

Ibanez chose to use spruce as the top for this guitar and mahogany for the sides and back as their choice of tone woods. There are two color options that customers can choose from and both of these colors come with a high gloss finish. The neck is comprised of mahogany and has a satin finish, with a rose wood fret board, and twenty one fret. The neck itself is light weight, but feels very solid and comfortable to play when in your hand.

This is an electric acoustic guitar that comes with the Ibanez’s AEQ-SP1 preamp and a Fishman Sonicore pickup. The combo of these two electric devices really allow musicians versatility when it comes to live stage performances. All of the controls on this guitar are very simple; treble, middle, and bass have their own knobs, as well as a phase reserve switch and a volume control knob. The phase reserve switch is for players to use to reduce feed back when their guitar is plugged in.

The AEG10NII has a very balance sound that’s nice and crisp, without being too deep. The EQ and other controls on the guitar allow you to adjust the sound to how you would want it to be in order to achieve in effect or tone that you are looking for, which makes this guitar extremely versatile.

Ibanez SR800 Bass Guitar

The shape of the SR800 is really no different than any other Ibanez design. However, Ibanez decided to change the pace up their the body of the SR800 bass and use a mahogany tone wood that has a layer of poplar burl on top. There are two options for finish, but both look equally as attractive. As for the neck, there are five pieces of rose wood fret board connected together to copy the Jatoba design; there are twenty four medium frets.

The hardware in this guitar isn’t too fancy; you’re looking at an Accu-cast B30 bridge and a set of tuning pegs that are pretty quality. The bridge had a small amount of adjustments made to it so that it looks and performs similarly to a vintage style unit; this variation increases the sustain of this guitar, but not by a whole lot. If used regularly, tuning and intonation will stay equal and consistent.

The electronics on this bass guitar are a little confusing, but very interesting. The SR800 has two Bartolini MK1 passive pups that have been wired to an Ibanez Custom Electronics three band EQ. This unique combination really gives players a whole range of versatility and methods to add expression to their music. There is also a three-way mid frequency selector knob ob the guitar which allows you to choose between 250Hz, 450Hz, and 700Hz settings.

If you’ve ever played bass guitar, take a listen to the SR800 and you’ll hear the HD sound that this bass produces. The sound has so much clarity, definition, and sustain- it’s almost too much to take in at once. If you love slapping bass or are looking to hit the lower end of the frequency range, you’ll have a lot of fun playing this guitar.

Ibanez AW54CE

The Ibanez AW54CE is a guitar that is from the Art Wood series; Ibanez made sure that this instrument not only was affordable to players of all financial backgrounds, but that it also had a performance that even famous professionals would be impressed with. For a nice gesture, Ibanez through in some premium touches in with this guitar, which is very impressive to find in a guitar that costs under $300. Check out the latest prices here.

As for the body and neck of this beauty, the AW54CE has a classical dreadnought shaped body that has a 25.6 inch scale length, as well as a single cut away. The body of the AW54CE is dark brown; this model has a solid mahogany top with laminated sides and back, which helps to make the instrument more affordable.

The entire body is covered with an open pore finish, which really gives this guitar a real aesthetical finish; however, this finish doesn’t really add or take away any of the sound. The neck connects to the body at the 14th fret, is also made from mahogany, with a classic rose wood fret board. There are twenty frets in total on this model, with simple dot inlays covering the fret board. The finish on the neck is an ultra smooth satin finish, which really allows your hands to slide up and down the neck with ease. Another cosmetic detail that Ibanez added to this model was the tortoise shell pick, which adds an amazing vintage appeal to this instrument.

While the cosmetic appearance of this instrument may be incredible, the actual performance of the AW54CE is even better. The AW54CE is jam packed with technology to truly add to the overall sound quality of the instrument. For example, Ibanez used the Fishman Sonicore pickup as well as the Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp to combine together to really add some extra umph behind this guitar. The AEQ10TF system that Ibanez installed into this guitar has a comprising treble, volume, bass, and on board tuner and it’s completely battery powdered.

Moving on to the head stock, the AW54CE has six chrome die-cast Grover tuners, a bone saddle, and a bone nut all on the rose wood bridge; Ibanez installed Ibanez Advantage bridge pins into this guitar, which makes changing strings a lot easier to change out to maintain consistent placement of the strings.

When this beauty is unplugged, it has a rich tone that’s absolutely stunning. Due to the shape of this guitar’s body as well as the combo of the solid mahogany top, the AW54CE has a lot of natural projection and resonance to provide in a performance. While that may scare some people, there is also X bracing in this guitar, which allows players who are looking for a more articulate sound to receive that. Not much changes when this guitar is plugged in; everything sounds the same, but there is a slight limitation on your controls.

Overall, for $300, the Ibanez AW54CE really is worth the money, as it’s very impressive, just talking about the sound alone. The cosmetic appearance of the instrument has a very vintage appeal to it, but doesn’t lack in electronics or sound performance. This is an amazing guitar to purchase, no matter what your skill level is.

Ibanez S Prestige Series S5570Q

If you’re looking to purchase yourself an electric guitar that fits perfectly into the world of metal music, you’ve found yourself the right guitar. More than likely, if you’ve done any research before reading this article, you have read or heard a lot of people talking about how Ibanez makes the best electric guitars for metal. Depending on your budget, there are several electric guitars that you can choose from that all have an amazing quality to them. However, the S Prestige Series S5570Q is the electric guitar that we’re going to talk about right now!

Ibanez’s electric guitars are famous for their smooth necks, as they are very east to play on. The neck on the S5570Q is really amazing, as it’s thin enough for metal guitarists to shred on the neck, but has enough girth to the neck that makes playing heavy riffs or complex chords easy. The body of this instrument is comprised of mahogany, which is great for anyone who is looking to play in the rock or metal industry, since mahogany produces sound with high levels or resonance. The finger board is just your classic rose wood and has twenty-four jumbo-sized frets.

For the whammy bar, this electric guitar has a Lo-Pro edge  bride on display; this whammy bar does an incredible job of keeping proper tuning and intonation on the instrument. The jumbo frets are truly high quality and do not produce any fuzz or extra distortion. However, in my personal belief, the strongest section of the S5570Q is the pickup section, as the S Prestige S5570Q has a single coil Short Tracer 2, high output Hot Grinder 2, and a Hot Grinder 1; each of these pickups provide the guitar with the ability to produce completely different effects and vibes. This electric guitar truly gives you an unlimited amount of choices when trying to decide on what type of audio configurations you’re looking for.

Ibanez SRFF805 Bass Guitar

The body shape of the SRFF805 is very similar to the other bass guitars that Ibanez produces. For tone wood, Ibanez chose to use ash and only provide a Black Stained finish. The entire bass has a chilling vibe, which is very interesting to find in a medium priced bass guitar. The neck is a five piece Jatoba design with a fret board that has been adjusted for multiple scales as well as medium frets.

Since this bass is fanned (which means that the bass has been adjusted for medium frets and multiple scales), there is a special bridge that has been installed on this guitar. This bridge is the mono-rail V Bridge that comes with five adjustable saddles that are all for different scale lengths. You will also find a set of five Ibanez tuning pegs that help to maintain quality and performance.

As for the electronics in the SRFF805, you get two Bartolini BH1 pick ups that have been adjusted for a fanned layout. You also receive control over the Master volume, three-band EQ, and blend, as well as an EQ bypass for a three-way mid frequency selector. All of these options really allow you to shape the tone of your bass, which really adds to the versatility of the instrument.

This bass guitar can truly adapt to any sound that you put it in; there is only one signature feature that this bass guitar produces and that is a high output vibe that is present, which is always present with all active bass guitars. The sound this guitar produces has a lot of definition to it and can easily adjusted along with the frequency range. In terms of tonal production and tone control, the SRFF805 is simply incredible.

Ibanez Paul Stanley Signature PS120SP

If you’re interested in purchasing a guitar that’s really going to make you stand out from the crows, this is it. There’s an extreme look to this guitar with its distinctive exaggerated teardrop shape and a large single cut away fish hook. The design on this body really gives this guitar that rock-n-roll glam look and it comes with a sparkling silver finish.

With a maple top, a solid mahogany body, and a 24.7 inch scale length, the Paul Stanley PS120SP guitar is really going to rock your world. The neck is a three-piece mahogany neck that is set into the guitar and has a thin profile, especially when compared to the rest of the body of this guitar. Since the neck is so thin, guitarists really have the ability to play fast on this neck. On top of the neck Ibanez installed a bound ebony fret board that has stunning abalone and acrylic block inlays with twenty-two medium frets.

While the PS120SP may have all the looks, that isn’t the only thing that’s amazing about this guitar. It’s very clear that this guitar was made for performance with it’s solid chrome components. On the head stock of the guitar, you will find six chrome tuners that really help to provide this guitar with a stable tuning. There is also a Quick Change III tail piece that makes changing strings to be smooth, while also providing the instrument with good stability and sustain.

Ibanex installed two Seymour Duncan passive covered humbuckers that truly add an amazing classic rock sound to this guitar. There are three types controls on this guitar that are simple, but really do add to the overall sound production of this instrument. Those controls are: a master tone control, three responsive top hat tuners, and two volume controls that individually tend to each pick up. There is also a placed three way pick up selector switch, while allows you to choose your pick up. No matter what classic rock song you’re looking to produce or play, this guitar is one of the best classic rock instruments you can purchase.

Ibanez SR370 Bass Guitar

Providing musicians with entry level bass guitars is something Ibanez is well known for. Since they have had decades to work on building bass guitars, the Japanese based company produces quality bass guitars for beginning guitarists. The Ibanez SR370 bass guitar is one of Ibanez’s oldest guitars in their bass collection and is often recommended to any beginning bass guitarists because of the price tag and quality.

The SR370 bass guitar has the typical SR shape that many models in the bass guitar family sport. Ibanez used maple as their choice of tone wood, which really helps to add to the overall quality of this instrument. There are several different finishes that are offered when you go to purchase this instrument, but that’s not the most interesting part of the whole instrument. The neck is very intriguing, especially because it is comprised of a five piece design that has been developed from rosewood and maple sections. The fret board on the SR370 is rosewood and has the typical standard dot inlays.

As for the hardware of the Ibanez SR370, there are several components that went into creating this masterpiece. Ibanez used the Accu-Cast B120 bridge mainly because the bridge was carefully designed to be able to withstand the use of a variety of string gauges and still maintain a solid intonation. Also, the B120 bridge has saddles that are completely adjustable, which is another great way that string retention is maintained on this bass guitar. The electronics in this bass guitar are a set of humbuckers that are incredibly versatile.

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that will give you options with your flexibility or range, the SR370 is certainly not going to disappoint you, even if you need sharp sounding treble! No matter where you want to go with your bass guitar sound, the SR370 has an incredible set up that truly is versatile.

Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Short Scale Bass Guitar

For over several years, the GSRM20 Mikro Short-Scale Bass guitar has been one of Ibanez’s best selling guitar, especially because it’s marketed to be an extremely versatile bass guitar. If you’re interested in purchasing a short scale bass guitar that provides the same sound and effects as a regular sized bass guitar, you’ve come to the right place.

Everything about the GSRM20 is exactly the same to any of the other bass guitars in the GSR lines, except for the sizing! The tonewood that Ibanez chose for this guitar is Agathis and there are several different options for users to choose from when it comes to finishes. The neck is where users start to begin seeing noticeable differences; the neck is 28.6-inch scale, which is a lot smaller compared to the average bass. However, that’s the most noticeable difference; the neck still displays a rosewood fret board and has pearl dot inlays.

When it comes to looking at the most affordable bass guitars, most manufacturers choose to go with the most basic hardware that they can and you shouldn’t expect anything different with the GSRM20; it has a standard bridge that comes with fully adjustable saddles and die cast tuning pegs.

As for the electronic set up of the GSMR20, the setup just has an additional coil in the bridge position, which is what helps to make this bass guitar so affordable. Your standard tone, bridge pickup volume, neck pickup volume knobs are all controlled by the Std. J pickup (which is located at the neck of the bass) and by the Std. J (which is located at the bridge).

Even though this may be a smaller sized guitar, you shouldn’t expect a small sound out of it. My favorite part of this entire bass guitar is the incredible amount of sound that it’s able to produce, with both muddy and clear tone settings. The whole bass sounds very smooth on the scale and there’s the perfect amount of tension on the strings that really help to make the bass notes stable. If you’re looking for a quality entry level bass guitar that’s affordable and has all the right features, the Ibanez GSRM20 is a bass guitar that you should truly take some time to look at.

Conclusion

As you can tell from this article, Ibanez offers a large variety of guitars that are all high quality and most of them affordable. Try going to your local guitar shop to try out an Ibanez before making any final decisions on your purchase.

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Can a Cheap Guitar Like the Fender FA-100 Be Any Good?

Do you see the price of this guitar? As guitars go, that’s practically nothing!

I find it a little bit odd that Fender even has a guitar at this price. As a general rule of thumb, their intermediate to professional level instruments carries the Fender name, whereas their cheaper guitars, aimed at beginners have the Squier brand slapped on the headstock.

Fender FA-100 | MSRP: $149.99

 

I did little checking, and found that I some places the Squier beginner pack is being sold for more than this!

Fender has never seemed as precious about their acoustic offerings, so I guess it’s easier to lump this in with the Fender brand name. I’d love to see the research and boardroom reasoning behind it! In saying that, there have been a few electric models coming from China in the past few years. They must have performed well!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the actual guitar!

Core Features and Specs

As you can probably guess, at this price, the FA-100 doesn’t have much in terms of specs that makes it fancy at all.

In fact, even on Fender’s own marketing materials, the things they highlight are so ordinary. IT seems the biggest selling point for the FA-100 is just how ordinary it is.

Style Dreadnought
Body material Sitka spruce top and basswood back and sides
Neck Maple
Fingerboard Rosewood
Frets 20
Pickup None

Yeah, definitely nothing too exciting there. Probably the most interesting part is the basswood back and sides. Basswood is best known for its use in electric guitars, typically Superstrat-style ones.

Probably the stand out thing with this guitar is that you’re not just buying the guitar. It’s sold as a pack which also includes a padded gig bag, a few picks, a strap, and a tuner.

This will work well for…

I can think of two markets for whom this would appeal to.

Firstly, and probably most obviously, is beginners. Fender is a well-known brand that even beginners who have never held a guitar in their life will be familiar with. It’s the sort of things where if you say “Jimi Hendrix used to play Fender,” you invoke images of rock stardom. That’s half the sell right there.

Add in the pack status of this product, and it is pointing squarely at beginners.

The other candidate for owning the FA-100 is intermediate or professional guitarists. Players who have a few guitars in their collection, but just need something for knocking around, either for the living room or bringing to the beach or on road trips. Essentially they’ll be looking for something that’s not expensive, but that won’t be completely awful to play either.

Does it do what it should?

As with a lot of Eastern-made guitars at the cheaper end of the market, the parts of the FA-100 are all unbranded.

What does this mean? Well, as with most guitar companies, production practices in relation to location are kept pretty vague, so I can’t tell you for definite. But, there a good chance this is mass produced, with Fender, or any other company who wants, able to buy the guitars, and put whatever logo they want on the headstock.

Eek, that sounds a little negative. But, if that keeps costs down when you’re looking for a cheap guitar, well, you’re  not really in a position to complain, but it may be worth thinking about how much of the FA-100’s price tag you might be spending just on having Fender printed on the headstock.

It’s also worth remembering that, as one of the leading instrument manufacturing brands in the world, Fender will likely pay a little bit more attention to quality control, more so than a lot of brands. Even if these are being churned out of a factory, I’d wager 50 American dollars on them keeping an eye on what they’re putting their name on.

Construction

Despite some misgivings about the parts used in constructing this guitar, it’s actually a fine instrument.

I mean, not “fine” as in “a work of art that’ll replace the Mona Lisa at the Louvre,” but fine as “it’ll do fine.”

I’ll go over key points that should be looked at on any guitar.

Firstly, looking at the neck joint, and it really is a very tidy piece of work. I’m very impressed by it. It’s better than neck joints of seen on premium Fenders from its dark days in the seventies, that’s for sure! There are no scratches or globs of excess glue, and nothing looks forced. Good job!

The rest of the parts share this level of build quality. The machineheads seem good and tight, with no concerning rattles. Looking down the neck, the fingerboard looks as even as you’d like. Taking a closer look at the frets, and it’s as good as can be. In line with the rest of the instrument, it’s fine. No alarm bells anywhere.

The body has been finished with a black binding. It’s fine, but I’m not sure it adds anything to the guitar, visually. But in saying that, I do have a personal bias towards favoring a nice white or cream binding.

Tones

I’m reviewing this guitar in what I would describe as an average sized living room area. It’s got carpeted floor and curtains, and the usual soft furnishings, as well as harder furniture.

Why do you care what my living room is like? I honestly hope you don’t, but I wanted to give you an idea of the room I’m reviewing from, because that will influence the sound, especially on acoustic guitars, which don’t have distorted amps to hide behind.

The room I’ve just described should give you an indication that it’s really a dull sounding room from the carpet and soft furnishings, but not completely dead. There’s no danger of any kind of reverb affecting the sound.

I went straight into this playing a few chords: mid-tempo, and a relatively relaxed strum. No more than my comments on the build of the guitar, it was fine. It’s far from the brightest or most resonant guitar I’ve played. While the higher strings rang out fine, the overall tone is definitely geared towards a mid-to-low sound.

If you’re after an instrument with sustain that’ll ring out for four days, it probably won’t come as a surprise that this $150 guitar isn’t it.

It’s not a bad sound if you just need drunken strums around a campfire where nobody knows what a Martin D-28 sounds like, this will make relevant noise to keep people happy.

Playability

I find that in terms of playability, cheaper guitars are more of a fight if that makes sense. The action is rarely particularly low. The FA-100 is no exception.

For an inexperienced player, this is actually a good thing. Having to press that bit harder will strengthen your fingers, and get you used to play with a bit of effort and precision. If you learn to on a guitar with a bit of fight, any guitar after that will seem easy.

The other thing I noticed playing through the FA-100 is that it doesn’t seem as finished as other instruments. It come with a gloss polyurethane finish, which is fairly standard, but I don’t know if it’s that it hasn’t been given many coats or whether it’s a thinner coat than more expensive instruments.

I’ll chalk that up to being one of the cost cutting measures that keeps the cost of this guitar nice and low. It’s not that it creates any discomfort when you’re playing or anything, but it is noticeable.

If you’re an intermediate or professional guitarist, who has been used to playing better finished guitars with lower action, this might be a bit uncomfortable, but it’ll remind you of the importance of getting back to basics in your playing.

Pros Cons
  • So cheap!
  • Everything you need to get started in the pack
  • A decent instrument for beginners to learn on
  • It’s not an exciting guitar
  • Seasoned players might find the feel and action to be a challenge

Alternatives to try

Epiphone PR-150

Never in a million years will Gibson produce a new guitar as cheap as this. Their Eastern-made Epiphone’s brand is renowned for exceptional quality at affordable prices. They are a common choice for beginners and intermediate players on a budget.

The PR-150 is a straight up brand equivalent of the FA-100. On surface-level, the only noticeable difference is the name on the headstock. The Epi comes with mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck. Ordinarily, mahogany is a more expensive tonewood to use, but at this price, you can guess that it’s not going to be any kind of exceptionally high-end stuff.

Yamaha F335

If you’re looking for something a little bit different but in a similar budget, the Yamaha F335 might be an option. Rather than the classic natural finish, you can get one of these in a high gloss black finish, with gold hardware.

Its top is regular old spruce, but its back and sides are made from a wood called Meranti. It’s called Philippine mahogany but isn’t actually mahogany at all, but it does look like it.

Conclusion

If you’re a beginner but want to take comfort in the familiarity of a well-known brand, the FA-100 from Fender is an excellent option. As it’s a pack, it comes with the few extra bits you need to get you up and running.

It would probably be an OK choice for intermediate guitarists as a backup guitar for messing around with, but personally, I’d spend a few dollars getting the action lowered.

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