Tone vs. Portability: Is there a Middle Ground?

Tone vs. Portability: Is there a Middle Ground?

October 16, 2018

In the quest for perfect tone, many musicians have found all-tube amplifiers to be an ideal fit. After all, nothing compares to the heft, warmth, and richness of a good tube amp. However, there is one glaring drawback - weight. All those tubes and heavy transformers really add up to take a toll on your back. Spend a few months or even a few weeks moving a heavy tube amp up stairs or squeezing it into the back of a packed van and you’ll likely start to wonder if the tone is worth it, or if a similar tone is available in a more portable package.

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FDR60 Direct Box Demo Video

October 10, 2018

Carvin Audio FDR60 Direct Box Demo Video

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Why You Need a Good DI Box

Why You Need a Good DI Box

October 10, 2018 2 Comments

When the sound tech needs to connect an instrument-level source (such as a bass guitar or keyboard) to the PA system, they will typically reach for a direct injection box (DI box). At first thought, this might seem counter-intuitive, since most mixers have 1/4" inputs and enough gain to match a wide range of signal levels. So, what are DI boxes, and why are they used? 

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Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: Bonus Skills

Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: Bonus Skills

October 05, 2018

As we have explored some essential music theory for non-reading musicians in these past few articles, you may have wondered at some point, "What does this have to do with playing by ear in a band?" We did see how a little theory makes it easier to invent new chords, and we learned how each key signature represents a family of notes and chords that naturally fit together. We also discovered that knowing how to subdivide the bar and the ability to read rhythm notation can be essential regardless of whether you're playing by ear or reading a chart. In the process of learning these basic skills, you have also acquired some new skills that you never had before. Your investment in learning some theory now puts some incredibly useful musical tools at your disposal. 

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Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: Put it to Work

Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: Guitar Chords

September 26, 2018 1 Comment

As we have outlined music theory for non-reading musicians in our previous article, you have learned your key signatures and the diatonic scales and chords that comprise them. In this article, we will use that knowledge to find our way around the fretboard, creating new chords from scratch in seconds. Let's get started!

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Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: All About Keys

Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: All About Keys

August 24, 2018 2 Comments

Even if your band plays exclusively by ear, you won't last long if you don't understand Key theory. The first step is understanding there are twelve keys in Western music (plus three enharmonic keys that are sonically identical to one of the twelve). Each of these keys can be understood as a group of notes that share a common tonality. Can you say, "Plays well with others?" In order to have any idea which notes to play in a given piece of music, you need to know the diatonic scales and chords that make up that particular key. But how do we determine which scales and chords belong together? With the road map that follows, you will be well equipped to navigate without ending up in the wrong key.

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Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read - Counting Time

Music Theory You Need, Especially if You Don't Read: Counting Time

August 17, 2018 2 Comments

Learning to read music isn't especially difficult when compared with the skill, knowledge, and nuances required to play a musical instrument. Primarily it is a skill developed by practice and repetition, accompanied by a knowledge of the necessary music theory to understand it. Nevertheless, there are vast cohorts of musicians that eschew reading, preferring to play by ear. Depending on your style and background, you may be one of the many great musicians who have learned to play entirely by ear or who use written music as a transcription and study tool, but not during live performance. But having an understanding of the underlying theory is essential to communicating with other musicians in all styles. This series will cover the basic essential music theory you will need to function with competence even if you never learn to read music.

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Five Simple Studio Tips

Five Simple Studio Tips

August 02, 2018 5 Comments

The recording studio is a different beast than the stage in many ways. You are often paying for your time there, and as such, and are expected to come prepared and work efficiently (unless, of course, you have a home studio or your label is paying for your album to be made).  But whether you are a studio veteran or a new musician, there are certain things to keep in mind to help your studio experience go as smoothly as possible.

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How to Keep Your Gig: Eleven Secrets

Eleven Secrets to Keeping Your Gig

July 18, 2018 1 Comment

In our recently concluded series, "How to Get a Gig," we learned a systematic approach to building and marketing a band. We saw how to win gigs by relationship building even if you aren't a born salesman. But what happens when you get the gig? We have all heard how competitive the music business is, but what can we do to stay on the winning side of that competition? What are the secrets that the longest-lived working bands know about staying relevant? This week, we will look at Eleven Secrets to Keeping Your Gig.

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How to Get a Gig: Getting Started, Part 6

How to Get a Gig: Getting Started, Part 6

July 09, 2018

A lot of preparation has led up to this moment. Now you are going to ask for the gig. You know the band is tight. You have the right songs and format. You've been hanging out at the other bands' shows and you know the regulars (and how busy the bar gets). And not only have you established personal relationships with the management and employees, you have also asked the manager how they run their business, what they expect from their entertainment, what they've been doing, and how well it's working. You have the right product to fulfill their needs. But the fact is, now it is time to sell or they will never know that.

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How to Get a Gig: Getting Started, Part 5

How to Get a Gig: Getting Started, Part 5

July 03, 2018 1 Comment

You've done your research, identified your targets, created a professional-quality product tailored to their needs, established a marketing plan and online presence, and assembled first-rate promo with which to sell your band. You know your product and your market inside and out. Now it is time to learn about your customer's product and your customer's market. You can tell the booking agent how great your band is all day long, but the whole time he is thinking, "What does all this have to do with me?"

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How to Get a More Consistent Live Sound

How to Get a More Consistent Live Sound

June 30, 2018 4 Comments

Many tone-minded musicians spend a significant amount of time in the rehearsal studio turning knobs on their amps and pedals, figuring out how to get a better sound for the next gig. However, what often happens is that a rig that is perfectly dialed in in the studio sounds completely different at a show. This can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have a soundcheck or have limited time to set up your sound. Each gig is a different beast with its own set of variables.

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