Tag Archives: beginners

Using Amazon Echo as a musician or music teacher

There’s been a lot of noise around Amazon’s latest tech product, the $179 Echo. Most of the excitement is focused on how it can improve the user’s home life by performing voice-activated functions.  But there are a handful of ways the Echo can boost productivity for musicians.

Here’s a list of all the ways the device can help with your music career.

 

Amazon-Echo

**You can get a great deal on an Echo here.**

Listening

 

This one may sound obvious, but the benefit of having voice-controlled stop and start functions when listening back is revolutionary for musicians.

Musicians don’t just listen to music for enjoyment. They sometimes need to study music to get ready for a gig or analyze something for a student. Think about it, one of the hardest things about learning a tune is having to constantly put down the instrument or interrupt your work flow to set the tune up and run it again.

The Echo completely streamlines this clunky process. Simply instruct Alexa, the AI assistant which performs all of the Echo functions, to stop and start when yore ready or you want to move on to another tune. The Echo even has a search function, so you can even search through YouTube for tunes you need work on without getting up from your instrument.

 

Recording

 

If you are a performing or composing musician, you understand the importance of documenting ideas and using them later. Amazon Echo has the ability to record your voice, or whatever instrument you may be playing, so you can save it for later when you are ready to develop the idea further. Both the microphone and the speakers on this device are surprisingly effective considering the size of the device.

 

Tuning

 

One of the most impressive features of the Echo is its implementation of Alexa Skills. Alexa, the robot which carries out all the functions and takes her queues from the voice-over, has a range of built-in functions which lie in a drop down menu on the Alexa app.

Among the skills is a guitar tuner. From the other side of the room, the musician can demand to hear a perfect A from the speaker, just as they would from a guitarist in a band. It’ll be right every time too.

Here it is being used by someone for the first time. After instructing Alexa to enable the tuner, the user can be heard demanding what note he wants to hear. The Echo returns it four times.

 

My Metronome

 

My Metronome is another built-in Alexa skill. It keeps the tempo for musicians, holding from 10 to 300 beats a minute. To activate it, just tell her what you need by shouting: ‘Alexa, start My Metronome and 80 beats per minute,’ for example.

Of course, if you’d rather use your own, there are some great options here and here.

 

Lessons

 

One of the coolest things about Alexa is her ability to teach you how to play an instrument. There is even a built in app designed to help you learn how to play the piano. It is very simple, making it a great device for those who are beginners to playing music and children who have very little experience learning an instrument. It starts you off by teaching you simple notes and showing you where they are. Eventually, you will work your way to being able to play a duet with Alexa! The songs are pretty simple and mostly consist of nursery rhymes, but they can be a great primer for a student who is interested in taking piano lessons who’s parents are not sure if they are really going to be into it.

 

 

The Echo also has a built in function that will play back any note that you ask and can even play a series of notes, providing students with a reference point for a pitch when they are practicing. This means you can test out ideas ahead of time or even use the device as a means to improve your ear training by trying to sing the pitch before the Echo plays it. There is even a quiz on the Echo that you can use to work on your ear. It will play a note and you will try to guess what it is. This may seem like a skill you are either born with or not but the ear is something you can develop over time and, with enough work, you can almost give yourself perfect pitch.

Play-a-longs

 

If you are an improvising musician, you know one of the best ways to practice is to simply improvise. Of course, you can’t always call your friends to have them come over and play some tunes with you, so you need a solution. One way you can use the Amazon Echo to practice is to utilize play a longs. A play along is a recording of music that has your part taken out, so you can play as if you are playing with a band in a live situation. One popular version of these for jazz musicians is the Jamey Aebersold series. He has recorded thousands of tunes that students can practice over ranging from jazz to funk and RnB classics. Download them to your Echo and get started today.

Here’s an idea of the sound quality you can expect

 

Amazon Dot: A cheaper version of the Echo

 

The Echo sits a stop a cylinder speaker which is powerful enough to be used alone. But if $179 is too steep a price tag, the Dot is a great alternative. At $49, it’s considerably less expensive and performs pretty much all of the same functions as the larger Echo.

The only major difference is the lack of speaker. So if you have your own already, the dot may be the way to go.

Amazon-Dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Echo Show: The Echo with a touchscreen

A huge hook of the Echo is its voice-controlled function. In commercials it plays out very smoothly and it appeals to a lazier, Siri-obsessed generation. But some people would still like to have the option to control the device by hand.

 

Amazon-Echo-show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To accommodate them, Amazon recently released the Echo Show which combines the Echo with a touch screen for easy use. It’s the most expensive device in the range at $229. In essence, it looks like an iPad with a speaker attached at the bottom.

It can however be a great tool for musicians who are trying to learn lyrics. The Echo Show will display the words on screen. It’s also a great way to pull up sheet music to play along to with a tune running in the background for support

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

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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,

The best ukuleles for beginners

If you’re looking for a musical instrument that’s fun, versatile, inexpensive and relatively easy to learn then a ukulele just might be the thing for you. Ukuleles can be serious or comical and have been used by comedians and professional musicians with equal success. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of recommended best ukuleles for beginners to help you put fingers to strings. 

Kala Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit

Kala

This great little beginner’s kit comes with a tote bag, a getting started guide and a special tuning kit to help you get the hang of maintaining its proper tones. It comes with a nice wood finish and free lessons through the available app. 

Price: $59.99


Martin Smith UK-212

martin ukulele

The Martin Smith UK-212  features some of the finest quality tuning gears that you’re likely to find on a ukulele. The oversized tuning knobs  make the job even easier. It also comes with a carrying case and two months free access to live and local instruction.

Price: $19.99


 ADM 21

ADM 21

This item is specially designed for ease of play and durability. It comes with a waterproof nylon bag, an electronic LED lit tuner, extra picks and a strap. The body is also handsomely stained with a redwood finish that makes it look like a professional grade ukulele.

Price: $35.99

 



Diamond Head DU-150 Soprano Ukulele

 diamond head 2

This traditionally shaped ukulele has a full sized body for a nice resonant sound that you don’t get with many others.  It comes with an easy to follow three-chord chart which will kick off your playing quite rapidly and a gig bag that has everything you need to start serenading.

Price: $34.08


Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano

kala mahogany

Made entirely from mahogany, this beginner’s ukulele has a professional look and feel that will make you love to play. It features 12 brass frets on the rosewood fingerboard for greater resonance and looks great. The satin finish and geared tuners make this ukulele tough to beat.

Price: $59.99


Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele 

Hola!

Choose from an array of handsome color schemes when you select this festive ukulele. Made from maple and rosewood, the Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele  is going to feel as good in your hands as it sounds. 12 nickel frets round out the look and sound of this item nicely.

Price: $32.95


Concert Size Ukulele Bundle from Lohanu

Bundle

 

This is a great package for anyone who wants to learn to play and start entertaining as soon as possible. It comes with a case, a strap, a tuning device, three extra picks and one of the finest wood finishes you’re likely to find. It also comes with one of the highest quality stock  carrying cases available. 

Price: $89.99


Donner Concert Ukulele

Donner

This traditional concert ukulele is made from mahogany and comes strung with advanced carbon strings for longer lasting play. With its exceptionally fine finish, this ukulele plays smoothly and easily. The 18 brass frets enable you to hit more notes than an ordinary ukulele making it perfect for ambitious players.

Price: $65.00


Kala Makala Shark Soprano

Makala

With its lime and wood tone color scheme, the Makala Shark will stand out in any setting. It comes in a range of colors if lime is too much for you and the Agathis top offers the same quality of mahogany for less. It features 12 brass frets, geared tuners and comes with a lightweight nylon carrying bag.

Price: $47.99


Trendy Traditional and Painted Economy Hawaiian Soprano Ukulele Starter Pack

trendy

Beautifully made and a great bargain with lots of extras, this is an excellent starter pack for any beginner ukulele player. It features brass frets, finger position markers, chrome plating and a high-quality finish. Choose from a range of colors and stow it in the included carrier gig bag.

Price: Starting from $30.07