Category Archives: String Instruments

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.

Best Taylor Guitars

 

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.

Tayor-GS-Mini

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.

Baby-Taylor

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.

Big-Baby-Taylor

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.

Taylor 214 CE

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.

 

Taylor-PS16CE

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.

Guitar not your thing? Try check out there  beginner Drumsets!

 

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

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Goplus Electric Bass Guitar Here <<

2. Full-Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - Full-Size-Electric-Bass-Guitar-Starter-Beginner-Pack-with-Amp-Case-Strap-Black-Package-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Full-Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack Here <<

3. Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar

 

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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

>> Get a Great Deal on the Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar Here <<

4. Fender Vintage SS Modified Squire Special Jaguar Bass

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Fender Vintage SS Modified Squire Special Jaguar Bass Guitar Here <<

5. Ibanez GSR200SM 4-String Electric Bass Guitar

 

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Ibanez GSR200SM 4-String Electric Bass Guitar Here <<

6. Fender Vintage Modified Squire Jaguar Special Short Scale Bass

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Fender Vintage Modified Squire Jaguar Special Short Scale Bass Guitar Here <<

7. Silvertone LB11 Bass Guitar

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Silvertone LB11 Bass Guitar Here <<

  8. Fender Squire Bronco Bass

 

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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!

>> Get a Great Deal on the Fender Squire Bronco Bass Guitar Here <<

9. Dean Acoustic-Electric Bass

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

>> Get a Great Deal on the Dean Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar Here <<

10. Fender Squire Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV String

 

Best Bass Guitars of 2017 - 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.

Get a Great Deal on the Fender Squire Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV String Guitar Here <<

 

> Check out 10 Best Bass Amps of 2017<<

 

Not a guitar person? Check out some Beginner Drumsets

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

1

 

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

2

 

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

3

 

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

4

 

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

5

 

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

71e9CzMH1AL._SL1080_

 

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

7

 

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

8 (2)

 

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

9 (2)

 

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

 

10

 

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,

Interview with an artist: Brandon Mills

Brandon Mills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all musicians forge their careers out of unbridled ambition. For some, the road to a full-time job in the industry happens by accident, chance or fate.

New York-based folk pop artist Brandon Mills didn’t always have his sights set on it. For him, it took tours of Afghanistan and Iraq in one of the deadliest divisions of the Marine Corps to discover his calling.

Today he lives with two roommates in a four-bedroom apartment in Harlem and is about to launch his third album, the first he has ever shared with anyone. It is the product of a bluegrass-infused upbringing in Kentucky, solemn solitude with his guitar in the chaplain of army base camps and a reluctant, years-long struggle with PTSD.

‘I’ve found a lot of healing and empowerment through music,’ Brandon tells Music Education Madness.

After a brief childhood fling with the saxophone, the now 32-year-old had a casual relationship with the guitar until 2004, when he was deployed to Afghanistan with an infantry unit. Three years later, he was in Iraq with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, a revered Special Forces unit. It was there, between his field missions, that Brandon would sneak into the chapel to play a lonely guitar that had been left out after prayer services.

‘It was a distraction and it was equally an important to use as a tool to process what was going on. Things that I couldn’t say to anybody, things that I couldn’t even express vocally, I could put in songs. It was the war, loss, life and all the challenges of war that are hard to talk about.’

He played and wrote alone, occasionally watching the permanent administrative staff on the ground pick up the prized guitar for a light-hearted jam session.

‘The military looks at any vulnerability as weakness and there’s a functionality to that, so I get it. [But] it meant I didn’t share my feelings or talk about much of anything. The guys that were on base all the time, they were just practising and having a good time [when they played]. I didn’t know them very well but it seemed like a different thing.’

In 2008, Brandon left the Marines and was suddenly aimless. He traveled the world with charities in an attempt to occupy himself, all-the-while trying frantically to keep the creeping clutches of post traumatic stress disorder at bay.

‘I was in complete denial that I had PTSD. I was stubborn and hard-headed, hard-hearted and hyper vigilant once I got out. It was a part of my brain that I couldn’t turn off. It’s a hard thing – we have a mission and we’re good, gifted at it and then we get out and there’s no more mission and we’re at a loss.’

He settled in Hawaii in 2010, taking a well-paying job as a private contractor. It was this, with its six-figure salary and easy-lifestyle, which finally laid bare his crisis.

‘I had a lot of money but not a lot to do. I thought it was everything I’d ever want but I wasn’t happy, so I prayed. I had to experience that financial security to realise how empty it was, for me,’ he says. emphatically.

A year later, he ditched it to move to Harlem and start courses in audio engineering, music production and sound design at the City College of New York – ‘an amazing program’.

Now, Brandon plays small gigs at independent venues across the city and subsidises his life by with bar-tending  and catering (‘I actually love it. I love serving people’.) Last year, he opened for Jason Derulo at Times Square. When he can afford to pay them, he likes having support on stage in the form of other musicians. Otherwise, it’s just him, his Martin D- 28  and a harmonica which he uses nostalgically to inject the soul of that Kentucky childhood into performances.

As he prepares for the launch of his third album, he is grateful for his winding path to full-time music.

‘The freedom I have is remarkable. To do what I love and get paid for it…’ he tails off.

In addition to shopping around for a label, Brandon hopes to kick-start a music program to support other vets through PTSD.

For more about Brandon’s music, visit his website here

 

Related: BEING BLUE PART 1 – A STORY ABOUT GROWING UP TO DRUM FOR THE BLUE MAN GROUP

Learn more about a career in Music Therapy Here