• Buyers Guides, Drums, For Parents, Purchasing an Instrument, Ryan Casperson 31.01.2011 Comments Off on Drum Buyer’s Guide

    So you are looking to buy a set a drums but you don’t know what to get? If you’ve done an online search for drums, you’ve probably seen that there are thousands of parts and accessories! What’s the most important things to have first? We are here to help guide you through the basics.

    If you aren’t sure whether you want to invest in a full set, you can at least buy a practice pad.
    These are small pads that don’t make much noise, but let you get used to the feel of hitting a drum. Great for practicing drum rudiments and working on stick skills. Even if you have a full set already, this is a great, portable way to practice. The Vic Firth Single-Sided/Divided Practice Pad is a quality product. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Vic-Firth-Single-Sided-Divided-Practice-Pad-447607-i1139989.gc

    For younger drummers (age 4-8), a junior drum set is just what Dr. Rhythm ordered!
    Let’s face it, if your feet can’t reach the pedal you are going to have a hard time keeping a solid beat. While the junior sets are smaller and cheaper than the full sets, you can still expect to spend between $100 and $300 for a well made kit. Sound percussion has a great, low priced kit, and Ludwig offers a higher quality and more expensive set. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Sound-Percussion-Deluxe-Jr–3-Piece-Drum-Set-108081902-i2556147.gc#customer-reviews

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ludwig-Junior-Outfit-Drum-Set-103999561-i1140093.gc

    For full sized kits, you’ll find that most are priced without the cymbals
    (and the cymbals are pretty important), so don’t be fooled by low prices on one given kit. One of the most economical sets is the Sound Percussion Pro 5-Piece (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Sound-Percussion-Pro-5-Piece-Drum-Set-with-Chrome-Hardware-581099-i1455915.gc). While it may say Pro in the title, this isn’t really professional quality, but it has what you need to get drumming! For higher quality sets, turn to the names you can trust in percussion. Pearl, Yamaha, Ludwig, Gretsch and DDrum. Expect a basic shell set (minus the cymbals) to cost between $300 and $700. Top quality sets will probably start at around $1000. It’s worth noting that putting new drum heads on a basic kit can dramatically improve its sound and only cost between $40 and $100.

    Cymbals (that usually aren’t included in the drum kits) are necessary!
    But you don’t need them all at once. A hi-hat is absolutely essential. What you’ll need is a hi-hat stand (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Yamaha-650-Hi-Hat-Cymbal-Stand-483425-i1421818.gc) and a hi-hat cymbal set (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Sabian-sbr-Hi-Hats-424112-i1527815.gc). After that, you can start adding various types of crash and ride cymbals to complete your set. Sabian and Zildjian are both high quality cymbal makers.

    If you are concerned about noise in the house, electronic drums can save your sanity!
    Don’t get me wrong, if you need volume, you can plug into an electronic drum amp and bam! you are making serious noise. But for when you don’t need to be loud, you can put headphones on and lose yourself in a little drumming world. We prefer Roland electronic drums. Their quality seems to far surpass their competitors in this field. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Roland-TD-11K-S-V-Compact-Series-Electronic-V-Drum-Kit-H82854-i2468066.gc

    Hopefully this has answered some questions for you. Good luck on your drum buying journey. Remember, your drum teacher is a great resource for ideas as well! Happy Drumming from 4/4 School of Music!

  • Guitar, Practice, Ryan Casperson, Tools 27.01.2011 Comments Off on Top 4 Tools For Practicing Guitar!

    In the olden days, the only high tech tools people had to learn their favorites songs on guitar was their record player and their ear. Today, the options for guitar players are endless! Here are my top 4 choices.

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    1) Guitar Pro 6 is a Guitar Tab player for Windows/Mac/ and Linux that boasts being "A tablature editor, score player and backing band all in one." When you download GuitarPro song files (from sites like Ultimate-Guitar.com), you usually are given music for all the parts of the song, including melody, drums and bass! You can speed up or slow the playback so you can practice at slower speeds while you are learning the new tune. While its price tag of $59 may seem a bit high, the accuracy of its transcriptions and the massive song library online more than makes up for it. And the songs you download (after you bought the software) are all free. This is really helpful for guitar students! Visit their website to learn more: http://www.guitar-pro.com/en/index.php

    2) Power Tab is a free tablature editor and score player that is very similar to Guitar Pro. You really can’t beat free! However, while Power Tab also has a very extensive online song catalog, the accuracy isn’t quite as consistent as Guitar Pro. Luckily you can listen to the tab’s playback and hear if its right before you invest time studying it. There often are several different versions for the same song, so try the ones rated best first. Power Tab also is an older program and I haven’t seen any updates for it in years but the good news is that it’s already a solid program and doesn’t need any extra frills. You can learn more or download for free here: http://www.power-tab.net/

    3) The Tab ToolKit from Agile Partners is perhaps my favorite app for the iPad, iTouch and iPhone. This app lets you open Guitar Pro and Power tab song files right onto your device! I don’t usually practice in front of my computer, but my phone is always with me. The price tag of $9.99 seemed high to me at first for an app, but when you compare it to the $59 you would pay for Guitar Pro, it is almost a no-brainer! The only drawback is if you only have WiFi internet, you can only access new songs when you are at a hotspot (or on your home wireless network). But once you download a song, its there until you erase it. So you can quickly build an impressive tab library right on your device. Learn more here:  http://www.agilepartners.com/apps/tabtoolkit/

    4) The Tascam CD-GT2 allows you to slow down difficult songs, loop sections or eliminate unwanted parts that are getting in your way. What I love about the CD-GT2 is that it focuses on a musicians most powerful tool: their ear! It can feel overwhelming to sit down with a song and try to figure it out on your own and that is where slowing and looping can really help. Take something that sounds relatively simple, loop it, slow it, and have patience! Figure out small parts. This is how so many guitar masters have learned their craft. Have your teacher help get you started. It’s extremely satisfying when you figure out a part on your own. You can learn more here:   http://tascam.com/product/cd-gt2/

    Have fun and practice hard!

  • Drums 26.01.2011 Comments Off on Amazing Young Drummers!

    Wow!  These two young drummers are hot!  All of you drum students that think you need a full band to rock should definitely check out this video of two awesome drummers playing together as a duo.

  • Health, Singers, Voice 17.01.2011 Comments Off on Singing Makes You Healthier!

    Most of us love to sing even if it is just in the shower.  Did you know that singing can actually improve your heath?  Check out this great article I found here. It’s never too late to take voice lessons.  If you play guitar or piano already then you have a big head-start! Most people don’t realize that learning to sing well usually doesn’t take as long as learning to play an instrument well. What are you waiting for?

  • Apps, Guitar 14.01.2011 Comments Off on The Gibson Learn & Master Guitar App is awesome and FREE!

    This free app for for iPhone and Touch users has a tuner, metronome, chord dictionary and videos.  More details at Gibson or download it here on iTunes

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    Take Guitar Lessons in Seattle at 4/4 School of Music!

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  • iPhone Apps 13.01.2011 Comments Off on Transcribe Fast Guitar Solos with Capo

    Guitar players and other soloists will love this app!  It lets you slow down the speed of a song or solo on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch without changing the pitch.  Back in the old days we would have to slow our records down to 16 speed and the guitar solo would sound like a bass solo.  You kids have it so easy these days Smile Rock on!

    iTunes link Capo 

    Full review at AppCraver.com

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    Take Guitar Lessons in Seattle at 4/4 School of Music!

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