Tag: Guitar

How to Choose a Guitar for Beginners

In the world of music, there are three main types of guitars, and picking a guitar from one of the three categories is dependent on the style you choose to play. To break it down simply for beginners, it’s important to decide whether you are looking to purchase an acoustic or an electric guitar.

Pyle PGA44 6 String Acoustic Guitar

The Pyle PGA44 6 String Acoustic Guitar is a great inexpensive choice for beginner guitarists

Steel string Acoustic and classical guitars look very identical, but both feel and sound completely different. While both types are technically acoustic guitars, steel string guitar strings are obviously made of steel, and produce a big, bright, brash tone. One the other hand classical strings are nylon and sound mellow. If you want to play acoustic rock, such as Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds, etc. you’ll most likely want to look into purchasing a steel string guitar. If you want to play more of a Spanish style or traditional type of music then you’ll want to look into the classical guitar. Steel string guitar necks are narrower and longer than classical guitar necks which means that it’s a little easier to fingerpick on a classical guitar and easier to play common chords on the steel string.

Fender G-5-3TS Stratocaster Powered by Roland COSM Technology

Electric guitars come in types depending on the pickups they have. Pickups are like microphones that literally “pick up” string vibrations when you are playing. Pickups are the bar shapes under the strings in the area where you strum the guitar. Two types are single-coil pickups and humbuckers. Single-coil pickups are the narrow, and tend to have a brighter tone generally considered to be the best-sounding pickups for clean guitar playing. Humbuckers sound great with distortion, so they are the pickups of choice for the hard rocker style. But also keep in mind, when you are purchasing an electric guitar you will also need to purchase an amplifier as well.

Last but certainly not least, you also want to make sure you purchase a guitar that is the right size for you or whoever will be playing it. Guitars that are too big feel awkward when you place your strumming arm over the top of the body. If purchasing a guitar for a younger child there are ½ and ¾ sized guitars available, it may be a good idea to have them test it out before purchasing the guitar just to make sure it feels right for them.

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Roland G5 V-Guitar Review: Fender Stratocaster with Built-In Modeling

Two giants of music have teamed up to create what could be one of the most innovative electric guitar creations: the G-5 V-Guitar. In one hand, Roland takes its legendary COSM guitar modeling technology and integrates it into a traditional Fender Stratocaster. Signaling the on-board VG engine through a separate pickup, the the G-5 can instantly go from a sounding like a 12-string electric guitar to an exotic sitar or even a Telecaster all with the flip or turn of a knob. Nonetheless, two good things combined don’t always yield an equally good or greater result and it is this logic that often leaves consumers wondering  whether the mash-up is worth the trouble or the price. In an attempt to clarify some of the questions and skepticism surrounding the Roland G5 V-Guitar, we will review and evaluate its various features and characteristics.

What Makes it Different?

Conceptually, the idea is alluring: What could be better for a modern musician than stuffing an array of effects directly into a guitar all while making toggling through various options simple and even intuitive. While the idea for an effects laden guitar has surely been a fantasy of many musicians for years, it takes an advanced degree of technical sophistication to successfully materialize such a dream. Although the Fender/Roland mash up hasn’t been the first attempt at integrating a variety of effects into a single guitar, it is one of the best executed.

The Separate Roland Pickup and Controls

The greatest distinction between the G5 and other electric guitars with on-board effects, is the superior build quality of the instrument itself and the approach of the on-board processors. The G5 is a comfortable, full quality Fender Stratocaster and gives players everything they have come to expect from the manufacturer. Moreover, the technology behind the G-5 is impressively well developed and features Roland’s revered COSM technology. The divided pickup individually signals each string to the VG engine while allowing the 3 single-coil pickups to work their magic.

Unlike other guitars with on-board processors that attempt to give musicians an array of effects such as various distortions, reverbs, and phasing. Instead of focusing on effects, the G-5 gives users different instruments making this particular guitar far more musical. The G-5 won’t give you all of the flashy effects, but it will give you what essentially amounts to at least 6 different guitars including a Standard Stratocaster, a Modeled Stratocaster, a Telecaster, Humbucking Pickups, Steel String Acoustic, Twelve-String Guitar, Nylon String Guitar and a Sitar (an anachronism I’m still trying to make sense of).

The benefit of modeling different guitars and instruments is that the tones can then be run through individual effects pedals or boards than individuals can tailor to their own liking. This option allows musicians to explore different tones rather than being stuck with a single guitar that may not sound great but has a ton of preset effects. Essentially, the G-5 is like buying a house with multiple rooms, each of which can be used and decorated differently, over buying a single bedroom apartment decorated with different wallpapers chosen by your landlord.

Are Two Heads Really Better than One?

The V-Guitar G-5is an instrument that will spark the desire of some and ignite repugnance in others. Those predisposed to feel the latter sentiment are likely to be guitar purists. Their argument will often claim that no amount of modeling will ever capture the true sound of a Telecaster or a 12-string. To their credit, it is true that modeling can only hope to approximate the sound of a dedicated Telecaster or 12-string but to compare an

approximation to the real thing is an unfair comparison at the onset. Viewed on its own terms and compared to other on-board modeling devices, the Roland COSM engine does (for the most part) convincingly well. Overall I could imagine the Roland G-5 V-Guitar as the ideal studio guitarist on a budget. With its broad range of tones and instant tuning options, this will prove to be a versatile, useful, and entertaining instrument.

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Favorite Boss Effects Pedals

Few other musical instruments have the allure and mystique of the electric guitar. Since its electrification and early use in the late 40’s by innovators like T-Bone Walker and Les Paul, the electric guitar, with its broad range of tonal and stylistic possibilities, has defined the careers of hundreds of musicians and the distinct sound of generations. For modern guitarists, the legendary sounds of the past are made available at the stomp of a box. Among my personal favorite Boss effects pedals are the Boss 63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver, and the RC-3 Loop Station. Whether used in combination, individually, or with other effects pedals, these three are sure to allow your creativity to explore new territories.

’63 Fender Reverb

My foremost favorite of these pedals is the ’63 Fender Reverbwhich accurately and convincingly captures the legendary tone of a vintage Fender spring reverb amp. Whether you are trying to go for a vintage country twang, classic surf-style riffs, or a warm and nuanced tone, the ’63 Fender Reverb offers an authentically reproduced tube amp sound.

Classic Fender Tube Amp Reverb

For those daring to push the boundaries, the ’63 Fender Reverb is open to experimentation and works well with other pedals for a completely personalized sound. My favorite way to use this pedal is by adding a little overdrive, rolling the tone about 75% and then kicking the Mixer and Dwell settings back to less than 50%. With your guitar at its neck pickup with the volume all the way up, this setting gives the guitar a bright and ringing character with a plenty of bite and attitude. Overall, this pedal delivers a great blend of vintage tones with the versatility to be used with other effects and styles for broad experimentation. For a pedal offering overdrive with the a similar tube amp sound signature, the solution may be none other than the famous Boss Blues Driver

A Boss Classic: The Blues Driver

You don’t have to have the blues to enjoy the range and tube-like overdrive of this reliable and tested pedal.  While the Blues Driverwill certainly deliver the traditional blues tones reminiscent of players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, this effects pedal can also deliver rich and refined warm tones. Perhaps most notably, the Blues Driver can deliver a tone that is full of mellow warmth with enough gain to remain punchy and full of attitude. Like the ’63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver is versatile enough for experimentation and will fit well with just about any genre or musical vision. My personal favorite way to use this pedal is in trying to emulate the mellow and over-driven style of B.B. King that can go from sounding clean to biting in seconds.

RC-3 Loop Station

Lastly, the RC-3 Loop Station offers perhaps the most versatility and the best use as a device for experimentation. With 99 separate on-board memory banks, the Loop Station has enough capacity to store tons of riffs and jam tracks. Moreover, the Loop Station affords users up to 3 hours of recording time for even the most intense and epic jam or recording sessions. Aside from its immense capacity, the Loop Station can be used to layer different recorded tracks allowing you to build harmonically rich tracks. While I use the RC-3 for practice and for layer tracks as mentioned earlier, the RC-3 can be used for just about any musical idea you may have. Plenty of artists use the RC-3 to create thick and complex atmospheres using various other effects.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Each of these pedals offer you a little piece of music history and allows you to mix and combine them into something totally new and personal: the ’63 Fender Reverb can take you back to the early days of rock-n-roll, or drive you to new and hypnotic sounds; the Blues Drivers will let you tap into raw energy or smooth things out, while the Loop Station can take you just about anywhere. Whatever your musical tastes or ideals, these stomp boxes can do it all.

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Defy Mediocrity With Roland’s “CAPTURE” Series

Roland UA-11 DUO-CAPTURE     Roland UA-33 TRI-CAPTURE     Roland UA-55 QUAD-CAPTURE     Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE

I’m currently wearing a shirt with the following words printed on it: “The future of music and art must not belong to the mediocre.” With any of Roland’s CAPTURE Series audio interfaces, and with your artistic input, you can give form to your creative vision(s); you can create something unique for future generations to enjoy for generations to come.

Octopus

4 out of 5 octopi recommend the OCTA-CAPTURE:

Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE

Put plainly, these audio interfaces are phenomenal. The OCTA-CAPTURE in particular is a real beast. With exquisite recording resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz, Roland’s proprietary VS Streaming low latency driver technology, and the inclusion of Cakewalk’s powerful SONAR X1 LE (not to mention a current promotion that enables users to download SONAR X1 Studio for free), it’s difficult to overstate the awesomeness of this baby.

 

Discover duality with Roland’s DUO-CAPTURE:

Roland UA-11 DUO-CAPTURE

For those of you out there who might not need that much awesomeness; those of you who can do a lot with a little, Roland also makes the beautifully affordable DUO-CAPTURE audio interface. The DUO-CAPTURE USB audio interface comes equipped with two audio inputs and outputs along with dual headphone outputs (which are great for musician/engineer production sessions). It also comes with high-stability, low-latency drivers for both Mac and PC operating systems (although SONAR X1 LE is solely for Windows). With its unique, slim-line design and stable performance, the DUO-CAPTURE is the perfect audio interface for recording musicians on the go.

 

TRI-CAPTURE demonstrates the power of three!

Roland UA-33 TRI-CAPTURE

For anyone who needs a little more bang for their buck, such as an XLR input and/or a S/PDIF out, the Roland TRI-CAPTURE is right up your alley. The TRI-CAPTURE has a feature called “loop back,” which enables users to record along with music that’s being played back from the computer. It also has more detailed knobs, buttons and LEDs for greater control over your recordings. It supports phantom power for condenser mics and has a Hi-Z switch for guitarists. Additionally, like all other interfaces in this series, it too comes with a copy of Cakewalk’s SONAR X1 LE.

 

QUAD-CAPTURE = pro performance for portable productions

UA-55

The enthusiasm of our aforementioned cephalopod friends for the OCTA-CAPTURE aside, the QUAD-CAPTURE performs spectacularly well next to its brother. It has 24-bit/192kHz recording resolution, VS Streaming technology, AUTO-SENS automatic level adjustment, and VS Preamps just like the OCTA-CAPTURE. This interface is one of the best you’ll find in its price range, in this blogger’s opinion. This one is geared towards musicians and engineers who certainly take their craft seriously, but who might not need (or be able to afford) the flagship of the CAPTURE series, the OCTA-CAPTURE.

 
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let octopi have all the fun! Pick up your Roland CAPTURE Series audio interface today, and be sure to grab the complimentary, comprehensive 178-page PDF guide to the SONAR DAW behind the links at the bottom of the product pages.

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Roland Pro Audio Gear – Coming Soon to Sonic Electronix!

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Roland is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary and Sonic Electronix couldn’t be happier for them! To help celebrate, we will soon be carrying a comprehensive line of Roland, Boss and Cakewalk pro audio gear. Roland was founded by Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka, Japan in April of 1972. Today, Roland has factories in the U.S., Italy, Japan and Taiwan. For any out there who might have just recently emerged from under a rock, Roland is one of the most ubiquitous and reputable names in professional audio equipment. From instruments like synthesizers, electronic drum sets and dance/DJ gear to amplifiers, guitar pedals and recording products, Roland will no doubt continue to expand its catalog throughout the professional audio world.

Where It All Began

Roland’s first product was the Roland Rhythm 77 (TR-77), a drum machine housed in a flat wooden case that had a stand for holding scorebooks. It was designed for rhythm accompaniment to organs, pianos, synths and such. It was one of a trio of drum machines (TR-33 & TR-55) with slightly different features between them. In 2011, Roland has unveiled products such as the BC-2 Combo Drive guitar pedal, a complete DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) known as Sonar X1, and the globally unique SPD-SX sampling pad among several others. Truly, each of these products could warrant a blog of their own, and maybe we’ll see one or some of those here someday as Sonic Electronix continues to grow.

Where It’s Going

We at Sonic Electronix are clearly taking our expansion into the professional audio realm very seriously with the addition of the Roland product line. We’re tirelessly working to get these products up and available on our site so that you can take advantage of Sonic’s great deals and integrate the Roland name into your life. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Life is what you make it.” With nary a shred of doubt, I think just about anyone reading this would agree that music can make life pretty spectacular. Between your enthusiasm for music and the legendary quality of the Roland name, the possibilities are infinite. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news on this topic, as we will soon be shouting it from the rooftops… and blogging about it from our cubicles, of course.

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