Category Archives: List

Five of the best Taylor acoustic guitars

They’re the guitar of choice for modern artists like Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz and have a very American history which dates back to the 1970s. So it’s no wonder Taylor guitars are considered the supreme of the string world.

Their inventory is wide-ranging. To help you navigate it, here’s a list of their five most popular instruments.

GS Mini 

First among the guitars it promotes on its website, the GS Mini is a solid go-to acoustic guitar. Its at the lower end of Taylor’s cost range at $499 and is adored by artists for its playability and portability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Shoreline Music giving it a whirl in store.

 

 

Baby Taylor 

The Baby Taylor is a 3/4 size guitar so is perfect for travel and spontaneous practice. It’s cheaper than the GS at $329 but still boasts the same deep bellied sound the brand is famous for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a sample of the Baby range from Wildwood Guitars.

Big Baby Taylor 

The clue’s in the name with the Big Baby Taylor – it’s the Baby, but bigger. Add on another $70, this acoustic guitar comes in at $399. It graduates past being the travel guitar category given its extra size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious about the difference? Watch this Battle of the Babies to find out.

 

214 CE

The 214ce is a 25 and a half inch beast. It’s more expensive, at $999, but guitarists love its rosewood finish. It’s considered the ‘gateway’ into the brand’s more expensive instruments. The Taylor sound thats common throughout the range is also elevated when plugged in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoreline brings it life in this video.

 

Grand deluxe auditorium

PS16CE 

At a jaw-dropping $8,000, the PS16CE sits at the top of the Taylor range and is part of its Presentation Series. Its designed for performance and comes under the category of Grand Symphony limited edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its sides are a dark, Macassar ebony and the body is Spruce. All in all, it’s a show-stopping guitar with a rumbling belly of sound. Its bells and whistles include  Gotoh Gold tuners, a bone nut and saddle, a Florentine cutaway, and Taylor Expression System 2 electronics.

To hear it roar, check out this review from Acoustic Letter.

Five of the best resources for music teachers

Music education in schools isn’t what it used to be. With seemingly endless cuts to funding for teacher programs, many parents are opting to get their kid’s music education outside of school through private lessons. Even if you teach music in a school, there is a good chance that you supplement your income by teaching private lessons outside of the school.

Teaching privately is interesting because there is no set standard for curriculum like there is in the schools. You can teach each student differently based on their individual talents and their overall goals. Every great teacher is looking for new resources to help them better their teaching style and their own skills as a musician. Here are five of the best resources for music teachers to help you.

Virtual education

 

Video chat apps like Skype have made it easier to communicate over long distances. Video chat has made it easier than ever for teachers to reach students. Your student-base is now the entire world instead of just your immediate area. It also gives students the ability as a teacher to seek out specific teachers they want to work with.

Outside of real time interaction, another benefit of online lessons is that you can pre-record lessons and put them online. Once online, they can be downloaded and watched over and over again by students, meaning you can be teaching multiple lessons at the same time. A great way to get started is to upload a couple of simple lessons to YouTube to help create interest.  Tablets like Amazon’s Fire HD make these easily digestible for students and allow you to film from anywhere.

Books

 

Traditionally, books have been the music teacher’s greatest aid. Their education value is the same when consumed in digital form and, if you’re teaching kids, you’re more likely to captivate a tech-savvy student’s attention by pointing them to an online version.

Almost every hard copy book is also available in Kindle format or through another device.

Mobile Apps

 

There is a mobile application for just about everything, including music education. Whether you use an Amazon Kindle, an iOS, or an Android device, there are hundreds of apps available to help you educate you students more effectively. The best part is that many of these application are available at no cost

Among the most popular is iReal book which contains an online catalogue of  thousands of jazz standards. Amazon’s Echo series – which includes the Echo, Dot and Echo Show, also come with built in guitar tuners and metronomes.

There’s more on how to use the Echo as a musician or teacher here.

Speak to other teachers

 

There’s a lot to be said for reaching out to the community of music teachers near you or beyond to find out how they’re aiding their careers. Whether you’re considering teaching a new instrument or if you need advice, there are a number of great forums like the National Association for Music Education where you can turn to for tips.

The Music Teacher Chatboard on teacher.net also provides a safe place for teachers to trade advice or thoughts.

Recording Devices

 

Whether it be a full on recording studio or just an HD camera set up in the corner, it is a good idea to have a way to record the lessons you are teaching.

You can give these recordings to your students and they can review them later. Doing this makes it easier for them to remember everything you went over in the lesson. On top of that, you can review the recordings to see how you can improve as a teacher.  Just as athletes review game tapes, it can sometimes make the difference between a student progressing past a difficult obstacle or staying stuck behind it.  If you don’t want to tape something on camera, recording it on a voice recorder might be a suitable and cheaper alternative. Click on the highlighted words for great options on both.

Have you considered an Amazon Echo? Check out our post on using an Amazon Echo to practice Music.

 

10 best bass guitars of 2017

When it comes to choosing a bass guitar, the options can seem endless. Acoustic vs electric? Fretless or fretted? There are thousands of ways to go, just like with most other string instruments. 

To try to help narrow down your search, here’s a list of the ten best bass guitars of 2017 as voted by beginners and pros. If you’re still stuck by the end, check out the bassist at the bottom of the article as he compares a $100 instrument to a $10,000 one and see if you can hear the difference. 

1. Goplus Electric Bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This full-size electric bass guitar comes with a rosewood fingerboard, a high performance-to-cost ratio, ships fast, and is teacher-approved for beginner bassists. Owners say it plays well and is lightweight so easy to carry around. Not bad a bad option for anyone thinking of taking up the instrument, it’ll only set you back $69.99.

 

2. Full-Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This full-size electric bass comes with an amp case and cable. It’s finished in a sleek black sheen and is teacher-approved to be an outstanding starter bass. It’s available for $129.95.

3. Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bad boy has a 34-inch maple wood neck and rosewood fretboard with abalone fret dot inlays. The passive dean soap bar pickup delivers both volume and treble control. Vintage styling, adjustable intonation, and die-cast tuners make this a complete package for $136.85

 

4. Fender Vintage SS Modified Squire Special Jaguar Bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

This candy apple red classic design features an Agathis body, maple wood, medium jumbo frets, and a precision bass pickup. It is equipped with a single coil Jazz Bass pickup, master tone, and double volume control. Plus it boasts the iconic Fender name. It is available for $199.99.

5. Ibanez GSR200SM 4-String Electric Bass Guitar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This offering from Ibanez is finished with a natural-wood grey-burst veneer. It has a spalted maple top and a mahogany body. Musicians love how light this bass is. They also vouch for its playability and the deep palette of sounds it can produce. The Ibanez and its 22 rosewood frets are available for $249.99.

6. Fender Vintage Modified Squire Jaguar Special Short Scale Bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This silvered champion comes in an Agathis body type, with c shape maple neck in a 9.5 radius and 20 medium jumbo frets. It is equipped with a single coil Jazz Bass pickup, master tone, and double volume control. It is available for $199.99 and also comes in the famous Fender candy-apple red. Beginners love its short scale which makes it easier to learn upon and some even prefer it to more expensive guitars from other brands, namely Ibanez.

 

7. Silvertone LB11 Bass Guitar

This liquid-black finish bass guitar from Silvertone comes complete with everything you need to get started including an instructional DVD, amp, a carrying case and all the connective equipment. It is available for $199.00 and is billed as a beginner’s product so seasoned bass players shouldn’t expect any miracles from it.

 

8. Fender Squire Bronco Bass

 

 

 

A classic black and white body style, die-cast tuning pegs, Agathis body, and c-shape maple neck. It also features a 2-saddle chrome bridge, volume and tone control, and a specially designed single coil pickup. It is available for $149.99. Popular among non-serious players and pros alike!

9. Dean Acoustic-Electric Bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

This classic black bass guitar comes with a 34-inch mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard and pearl dot inlays. It also features a passive Dean preamp with treble and volume controls. It starts at  $179.00. Musicians love the smooth acoustic tones the Dean achieves and appreciate its size.

 

10. Fender Squire Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV String

 

 

 

 

 

 

This top of the line beginner’s bass guitar is sleek in all black. It features a basswood body with a polyurethane gloss. It is available for $349.99.

As you can see, there are more than a few options. Still stuck? Check out this bassist as he compares a $100 bass to one which costs $10,000.

 

Ten best violins for beginners

They say that everyone should learn to play a musical instrument at some time in their life, even if it’s just a simple one like the harmonica or ukulele. But if you are interested in playing beautiful classical tracks, you need a classical instrument- and you could hardly do better than to choose to learn to play the violin. The violin is a versatile and time-tested musical instrument that can play anything from whimsical folk tunes to awe inspiring classical compositions. Here’s a survey of the ten best violins for beginners.

  1. Mendini 4/4 MV300 Solid Wood Satin Antique Violin with Hard Case

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This 4/4 (full size) antique style violin features a hand carved top of solid spruce with maple sides and back. The maple fingerboard pegs, chin rest, and alloy tail make this violin a great choice at $59.99.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Windsor MI-1006 Full Size Violin with Case

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This spruce top violin with ebony colored fingerboards and tuning pegs comes complete with its own carrying case, rosin and horsehair bow. It is a great bargain at $39.00, a price low enough to trust with young learners.

 

 

2. Mendini 4/4 MV500+92D Flamed 1-Piece Back Solid Wood Violin

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A relatively upscale item, this full sized Mendini features a solid, carved-by-hand maple back, spruce top, and inlaid purfling. It comes with a string tuner and metronome, and 2 wood bows made with unbleached Mongolian horsehair for $139.99.

 

 

 

 

4. Cecilio CVN-300 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Violin

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This full sized Cecilio violin features an ebony fingerboard, tail-piece, chin rest, and 4 detachable nickel plated tuners. It comes with a chromatic tuner, hard case, lesson book and 2 bows made with unbleached Mongolian horsehair for just $129.99.

 

 

 

5. Mendini 4/4 MV400 Ebony Fitted Solid Wood Violin with Hard Case

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This full sized 4/4 violin features a maple back and sides with a spruce top and a beautiful varnish and inlaid purfling. This high quality product can be yours for just $89.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Bunnel Basic Clearance Violin

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Don’t be fooled by the name of this high quality violin- the Bunnel Basic is an excellent violin at a fair price. It is among the highest rated violins on Amazon and comes with a full 45-day guarantee of satisfaction. It comes fully assembled and ready to play after unboxing at a price of $199.99.

 

 

 

7. Ohuhu Full Size 4/4 Natural Acoustic Violin Fiddle

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An excellent starter’s violin made from quality composite wood and a hand carved glossy finish. It comes with a black carrying case and is suitable for persons of any size. It is available for just $39.99.

 

 

 

 

8. Stentor 1500 4/4 Violin

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This high quality journeyman’s violin is fully hand crafted with a solid spruce face, a solid maple back and sides and full ebony fittings. It also comes with a professional hard case. This high quality classical instrument is $186.49.

 

 

9. TMS 4/4 Full Size Natural Acoustic Violin Fiddle with Case

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A top quality young beginner’s violin, the TMS is well crafted and full size with natural color and a beautiful varnish finish. Specially crafted composite wood makes this violin inexpensive to produce and therefore inexpensive to own- making it ideal for young learners who want the look and feel of a high quality instrument- without the responsibility. The case is hard on the outside and soft on the inside to protect the instrument during travel and storage. It is available for just $39.95.

 

10. Cecilio CVN-200 Solidwood Violin with D’Addario Prelude Strings

 

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This full sized solid wood violin strikes a resonant tone with its solid wood construction, maple back, sides and neck, all natural varnish, and inlaid purfling. It features a maple fingerboard, chin rest, and four nickel plated tuners that are completely detachable. It is available for just $99.99,