The 7-String Guitar: How to Navigate That Extra String

7 String GuitarIf you’ve already mastered guitar chords and guitar chord transitions on your normal, 6-string guitar, why not take it up a notch?  Experimenting with a 7-string guitar can be a great way to enhance your skills and try something new, once you’ve been taking guitar lessons for a while.

However, even though it’s just one more string, the transition can be tricky for some. To help you get started with the 7-string guitar, here’s a great article by Tom Hess, featuring some great tips for navigating that extra string:


Are you struggling with musical creativity on 7 string guitar? If so, don’t worry. …This is actually a very common issue for most 7 string guitarists. This is especially the case if the majority of your time has been spent playing on a 6 string guitar. Even though there are many similarities between 7 and 6 string guitar, 7 string guitar brings many new things to the table in terms of its physical feel and potential for creative musical expression.

To become an excellent 7 string guitar player, you will need to fully understand how to overcome any challenges that arise with your new instrument. It is also necessary for you to become aware of all the new guitar playing possibilities that will help you express yourself better in your music. As you continue reading the rest of this article, I will show you many new ideas to help you express yourself creatively in your 7 string guitar playing.

Integrate The Low B String Into Your Lead Guitar Playing
Since a 7 string guitar essentially adds a bass string onto the guitar, many guitarists consider the instrument to be primarily used for rhythm. However, this is only a single piece of the puzzle. In fact, 7 string guitar is unique because it gives you a great opportunity to extend your lead guitar playing into the lower range as well. To get the most from this instrument, extend the scale and arpeggio patterns you know from 6 string guitar onto the low B string. This will help you to expand the pitch range of your lead guitar phrases to make it more similar to piano. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, find a guitar teacher who knows how to effectively teach these 7 string guitar playing concepts.

Discover And Build Unique Chord Patterns
The 7 string guitar can be used to create many interesting chords that are not possible on a 6 string guitar. In most cases, musicians will use the 7 string guitar to play in a metal style; however, you are not limited to this style alone. The 7 string guitar can be played in a wide variety of different musical genres. With the addition of the extra seventh string, you can give basic guitar chords a much more interesting sound. The coolest part of this is that you can use the low B string to essentially play standard guitar and bass guitar simultaneously!

To demonstrate this, I am going to show you an exercise. First, turn off any distortion settings you have and play through a clean channel on your amp. For this exercise, you will be experimenting with various guitar chords that you may have already learned on 6 string guitar. First, create some chords using only the fifth, fourth, and third strings. Then, combine these chords with the low B string. Next, try this same idea, but use the third, second, and first strings. While you are experimenting with this exercise, pay attention to how different it feels when you are playing the strings closer (in pitch) vs. the strings that are farther apart in pitch. Which one of these do you think sounds more pleasing overall? Once you have decided this, you can begin using this idea in your own 7 string guitar music.

Learn To Use The Entire Range Of The Instrument
In most cases, guitarists are introduced to 7 string guitar through heavy metal riffs played by their favorite bands. This influences them to purchase a 7 string guitar for themselves. As soon as they pick up this instrument, they focus all their energy into creating heavy riffs or rhythms on the low B string. This is certainly one of the most unique features that a 7 string guitar has to offer, however if you spend too much time on the same string, your music will quickly become stale and uninteresting.

For instance, let’s say that you are going to create a song. In this song, you have a wide variety of instruments to choose from such as guitar, piano, bass, keyboard, drums, etc. However, while writing this composition, you decide to create the music by ONLY using the lowest pitch ranges that can be played on each instrument for the entire duration of the song! I’m willing to bet that your listeners will become bored after the first 30 seconds. After this amount of time, your audience would likely be listening to the music while saying to themselves: Are you going to ever play some higher notes??

This is exactly what happens when many people play 7 string guitar. By spending all your time on the low B string, your guitar playing will lack variety. In order to fix this, focus on incorporating the other strings into your rhythm guitar playing. This will balance things out, and keep your music more interesting.

If you would like to be more creative on 7 string guitar, it is essential that you understand and apply this concept. When I show my own guitar students how to compose songs, I train them how to master this idea of balance in their music. To find out more about balancing pitch range on 7 string guitar, check out this lesson for improving 7 string guitar playing.

Combine Rhythm Guitar Chords With Lead Guitar Melodies
One of the signs that you are becoming a truly great 7 string guitar player is when you are able to cleanly and accurately shift between rhythm and lead guitar parts while still playing in time. When playing 7 string guitar, this skill becomes more challenging due to the wider guitar neck that makes it harder to jump from lower range notes to higher range notes.

To get better at combining rhythm and lead guitar together, you will need to not only be able to play both parts flawlessly on their own, but you also must practice the specific moment of transition from one part to the next. To make quick improvement in this area of your guitar playing, focus on playing each part without mistakes (and with good timing), then slowly integrate the two. For additional help, record yourself playing these parts together. By recording yourself, you will be able to hear any mistakes you make with much more clarity.

Minimize All Unwanted String Noises

For most guitar players, it is very tough in the beginning to eliminate excess guitar noise coming from any strings that are not being played. This is due in part to the significant change in the physical feel of a 7 string guitar compared to 6 string guitar. This change comes not only from the additional string, but also from a wider guitar neck. This will take some time for you to get used to. If you want to make your guitar playing cleaner, you need to make it a priority to fix any string noise problems in your technique. Listen closely as you play guitar so that you can hear any extra noise that occurs. Then, use guitar string muting techniques to minimize the noise until only the notes you want to hear remain. To get more help with cleaning up your guitar playing, read this article on how to eliminate guitar string noise. If you have a lot of trouble playing guitar cleanly, seek out a great guitar teacher who can help you effectively solve this problem.

Final Thoughts
Most likely you have not found the ideas in this article to be too difficult to understand. Unfortunately, most 7 string guitar players do not take ACTION to use these ideas for improving their guitar playing. As a result, their progress is very slow. By simply focusing on mastering the ideas described above, you will be able to get much more from playing a 7 string guitar as well as greatly enhance your musical creativity in a shorter period of time.

Learn how to play 7 string guitar more creatively in this lesson about improving 7 string guitar playing.

Learn how to clean up your guitar playing in this article about how to eliminate guitar string noise.

 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains musicians to reach their guitar playing goals in his rock guitar lessons online. Visit his website, tomhess.net to read more articles about guitar playing, get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of prescreened teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for safe, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Photo by germanium.

It’s Not You, It’s Me: What If I Need to Switch Teachers?

The connection between student and teacher is important – especially for a one-on-one environment (as in private lessons), as opposed to in a classroom setting. And this applies for any subject you’re learning, from music to dance to languages! If your teacher isn’t explaining things in a way you understand, or perhaps isn’t providing the encouragement you need,  it can make the learning process much more difficult.  Finding the perfect teacher – even if that means switching teachers at some point – is incredibly important to your success.

If you’re feeling frustrated, or just plain “stuck,” we encourage you to speak with your current instructor first.  Communication is key – and the more your instructor knows, the better he or she can help you progress!  Sometimes, it’s as simple as adjusting what you’re working on.  Good teachers are open to feedback and will work with you to make sure you’re getting what you need out of your lessons.

But other times, it’s simply not a good match.

The good news?  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t make you a bad student, and it doesn’t mean you should give up your goal of learning and mastering a new skill.  Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding the teacher you click with the best.  Every instructor is different in terms of teaching style, communication style, and experience, and you may very well mesh with one over another.

Here are some common examples of times when you may want to consider switching teachers:

  • You or your child has special needs, and your current teacher is not comfortable adjusting to them.
  • Your child is having trouble focusing, or your instructor isn’t used to teaching kids (it takes a lot of patience to handle an antsy child!).
  • You’d like to learn a specific technique or music genre that your current teacher isn’t able to teach you.
  • You’ve reached a level that your instructor isn’t comfortable teaching.
  • You’ve been working with one teacher for a very long time, and you no longer feel challenged or motivated.
  • You have a very strict schedule or time frame that your teacher cannot accommodate.

With the TakeLessons program, students are free to switch teachers when the need arises – let us know your feedback, and we’ll work with you to find a new teacher who better suits your needs, goals, and interests. The most important thing to remember is to be honest with the teacher you’re parting with, and also be honest with yourself and what you (or your child) need.

When you’ve found the right teacher, you’ll notice a difference – sometimes right off the bat.  And that’s what we’re here for!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

Photo by Poetprince

5 Tips to Instantly Improve Violin Tone

violin tone
There are several key ways to improve your violin tone. A violin teacher can help you learn the basics, but outside of private lessons, it’s up to you to practice proper technique.

For starters, mastering correct bowing will improve your tone dramatically. Check out the video below for a few quick tips to work on your bowing skills.

Now without further ado, here are 5 more important things to consider that can make a huge impact on your violin tone:


1. Pressure of the Bow

This can affect tonal quality,  so experiment with adding slight pressure and increasing it as you draw the bow.

The first finger of your bowing hand is where most of the pressure is applied. You’ll want to work with a qualified teacher on this, since bowing technique is such a critical aspect of learning to play well.


2. Where the Bow is Applied is on the Strings

You’ll find there’s a “sweet spot” where the strings are the most responsive to the drawing of the bow without any harshness in tone. Every violin is different, so you’ll want to experiment with yours.

Many times this might be directly between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge. If you play above the fingerboard, you’ll notice the violin loses presence and volume. (Keep in mind, though, that some songs call for this mellow tone.)


3. Keeping Your Bow Straight

As you draw the bow over the strings, you’ll want to focus on keeping the bow as straight as possible. Try practicing this technique by drawing the bow from the lowest part to the tip of the bow.

As you draw the bow its entire length, carefully observe the angle you’re playing at, and make sure that you’re drawing a straight line across the strings.

Keep the speed of the bow consistent, and be careful to allow the bow to exert its own pressure against the string with natural gravity.


4. The Amount of Rosin You Apply

If you have too much rosin, there will be a scratchy sound as you draw the bow. With too little, the tone will seem to disappear as you draw the bow.

If you find that you’ve applied too much rosin, do not attempt to clean the hair. Cleaners and oils can ruin the capability of the hair to grab the string and create a clear pitch. It’s best to play until the rosin slowly dissipates.


5. Your Grip on the Bow

A few things to consider include: do not grip your bow too tightly, do not add unnecessary pressure to the bow, be sure to rest your little finger on the top of the bow, and keep your entire bowing arm and hand as relaxed as possible.

Playing without added tension will also help you to prevent discomfort and injury. Check out this guide to playing pain free for more tips.

Looking for a violin teacher near you? Find your perfect teacher here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of prescreened teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for safe, affordable private lessons today!

 

Maintenance 101: Caring For Your Drum Set Cymbals

Drum Set CymbalsTaking special precautions and caring for your instrument is important for all musicians – just taking a few minutes to clean your guitar, for example, can ensure a longer life of strumming and jamming.

Similarly, taking good care of your drum set is an important habit to keep up.  Too many drummers forget the importance of keeping their drum set clean, and tend to pack up their equipment carelessly.  Cymbals, especially, are easily forgotten during this process.  Taking a few minutes to clean cymbals and give them a little TLC can make a big impact on retaining their tone and sound.

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind for caring for and cleaning your drum set cymbals, as noted on the Rock Drumming Underground website:

Cleaning Your Cymbals
The number one source of dirt on your cymbals is finger prints. Although your fingers may look clean, they are covered with oils that will eventually harm your cymbals. Every time you touch or transport your cymbals, you are covering them with finger prints. Fortunately, there are many products out there for cymbal cleaning. Groove Juice is a spray on cleaner that polishes well and will only cost you around 10 bucks. Be sure to be careful with the polish you use, though – most are corrosive and can irritate your skin and/or damage your clothes.

Wing Nut Tension On Your Cymbal Stand
Wing nut tension is usually overlooked by drummers. This is the screw that you tighten over the felt on your cymbal stand. First, make sure you have 2 felt pieces on each stand – one underneath and one on top of the cymbal. This is very crucial, as it will act as a cushion and absorb a lot of energy that usually harms the cymbal. With this in mind, you do not want to tighten your wing nuts too much. Cymbals emit their sound by vibrations, and if you have it on too tight, you will restrict its movement. On the flip side, too loose a wing nut will allow too much movement, which can shorten the life of a cymbal drastically.

Transporting and Storing Your Cymbals
Whether you’re traveling to a gig or storing your cymbals, remember a few basic rules. Never leave them standing upright. Cymbals that are left leaning upright will put a lot of gravitational force on the bottom, and will eventually cause warpage. Always store them laying down on a padded surface. If you are storing more than one, do not place them on top of each other unless you have a cloth-like material between them. Also, cymbal bags are a must for any traveling drummer. The investment is well worth the safety for your cymbals!

Comments, questions, suggestions?  Leave a comment below – and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook to join the community! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.

 

 

You might also like…
How to Play Drums Without a Drum Set

Photo by Tim Waclawski.

Beyond the Piano Tie: 5 Absurdly Cool Pianos

If you’ll be in Los Angeles between now and May 3rd, keep your eyes open for the latest public art installation – 30 pianos, designed and decorated by local artists and community organizations, with one simple instruction: “Play Me, I’m Yours”!  The art celebrates conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane’s 15th anniversary as music director for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Similar Street Pianos have been featured in several US cities over the past 5 years, including Birmingham in 2008, New York in 2010 and Austin in 2011. Check out their official website to download a map of the piano locations and find out more information.  You can also upload your own photos, videos and stories to be featured on the website.  Just a look through their library shows just how creative artists can get with a seemingly simple piano.

We’ve shared photos of crazy guitar designs here before, but what about pianos?  Here are a 5 absurdly cool piano designs that caught our eye:

 

Chichi, Rocking Piano1. Chichi, the “Rocking Piano”:
This piano really rocks – back and forth, that is.  UK designer Sarah Davenport crafted this idea around a standard baby grand from the 1900s and literally rocks the player as a way of strengthening the relationship between the pianist and the piano.

 

 

Burning piano2. Burning Piano:
Ok, not really a piano design, but a unique performance nonetheless.  In 2008, Japanese pianist Yosuke Yamashita donned a fireproof suit to play a piece as the piano enveloped in flames.  Believe it or not, it was actually the second time he performed the stunt.

 

 

Piano table3. Piano Table:
Would you love to have a piano in your home, but the space is too limiting?  Georg Bohle’s Piano Table design works double-duty – just don’t get any crumbs between the keys!  The electric keyboard is made out of oak wood and is completely hidden when the lid is down.  All yours for the retail price of $6,000.

 

Hydra Piano4.  Hydra Piano:
This other-worldly design by Macedonian designer Apostol Tnokovski was reportedly inspired by a Lady Gaga performance.  The concept is also heavily influenced by Hydra, the mythological 7-headed sea monster, hence the name.

 

Schimmel Pegasus5. Schimmel Pegasus:
Italian designer Luigi Colani takes us to another dimension with this unique look. The Pegasus offers an ergonomic keyboard, over 200 strings, and 7 1/4 octaves. Its curved soundboard also results in a highly-efficient resonance system.  Reportedly Lenny Kravitz and Prince each own one of these pianos.

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of prescreened teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for safe, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource


Tips for Singing with Allergies: How Do You Cope?

Singing with allergiesSpring is in full swing now, and for many, allergy season came right along with it.  Allergies can wreak havoc on your tone, breathing and vocal cord strength – and just like you should take special care when singing with a cold, taking extra precautions if you have allergies is just as vital.

Allergy symptoms can vary person to person, but common woes include itchy, puffy eyes, sinus issues, a scratchy throat, and an itchy upper palate (roof of your mouth).  If you suffer from severe allergies, it’s best to go to an allergy specialist to help you combat the symptoms (make sure to mention that you’re a singer).  But even if your symptoms aren’t severe, they can still be frustrating when you need to practice or if you have a performance coming up.

So what’s a singer to do?  Here are a few great tips from ForeverSinging.com that may help:

Take Medicine
If you are having trouble with your allergies, or perceive that you will have trouble with allergies in the future, be proactive! Start taking allergy medicine as soon as you feel an attack coming along.  Allergy medicines dry up your sinuses, allowing you to sing without have to worry about mucous covering your vocal cords and hindering you from singing to your full potential.

Precautionary Warning: Drink plenty of water after taking the medicine. Not drinking water after taking allergy medicine can be just as bad as singing with allergies. If you find that medicine dries you out too much, you may want to forgo the medicine route and use a more organic medicinal approach to relieving allergies, such as taking Vitamin C pills.

Drink Herbal Teas
Herbal teas have a wonderful way of clearing out your throat of any excess mucous. Add a touch of honey to your favorite herbal tea to enhance the experience. Teas can soothe your vocal cords and allow you to approach singing without a fear of cracking or breaking.

Take A Shower
If all else fails, take a long and hot shower. This will get your sinuses flowing and hopefully release all the excess drainage from your system. Drink some water after the shower (or even your favorite herbal tea) to remove any leftover drainage on your vocal cords.

Proper training and breathing exercises can also help, so don’t be afraid to speak with your voice teacher to get additional ideas! Of course, if you’re really feeling the strain, take a day off. The voice is an incredibly delicate instrument, and unnecessary stress may cause problems that will follow you for the rest of your life.  As the saying goes, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

Photo by Mr. T in DC.

5 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Guitar Playing

Guitar exercisesThese days, there are so many ways to go about learning the guitar – YouTube videos, e-books, regular books,  iPad tutorials, DVDs, audio lessons and more.

Although it might sound easier, learning to play guitar without the trained eye of a teacher can leave you with a higher chance of learning bad habits and poor technique.  And the longer you play with those bad habits, the longer it may take to progress.  In order to combat these beginner guitar mistakes, the best thing to do is work with a private teacher who can help you identify them.   Many of these simple mistakes have less to do with specific techniques, so they’re often overlooked.

There are however, some “quick fixes” you can start working on to instantly improve your playing.  Here are a few to start working on before it’s too late, as featured on Guitarnoise.com:

1. Worry more about posture than looking cool.
Playing well starts with paying attention to the basics. And nothing is more basic than how you hold the guitar, whether you’re sitting or standing while playing. Whenever you’re having trouble playing a chord cleanly or making a switch from one chord to another, you can often correct this by simply correcting your posture or position while holding your guitar.

2. Strum with the wrist, not the whole arm.
Keeping the beat and playing steady, confident rhythms is essential for any guitarist, even those who only want to play leads and solos. But most beginners, especially those who’ve only seen guitarists on videos, think that strumming involves an incredible amount of energy and a wild flailing of the arms. Nothing could be further from the truth.

3. Get rid of your chord charts as soon as you can.
The sooner you memorize your basic major and minor chords, the sooner you can dispense with chord charts and as soon as you do that you’ll find that you have more time to enjoy playing! There will always be new chords to learn, but do your best to memorize all the chords you’ve played as soon as possible. And the best way to do that is to practice chord transitions.

4. Use your ears instead of your eyes.
Music is aural, not visual. Professional musicians will invariably tell you that listening and ear training is the most important talent for any player to develop. Rhythm is something you feel and hear. Relying on your eyes to tell you when a chord change occurs will almost always put you behind and off the beat. Work on first using, and then trusting and developing your ears, and leaving your eyes behind for a while. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to make more progress.

5. Learn whole songs.
What would you say about a cover band that only played the first few bars of every tune they started? Would you pay to see Neil Young play just the start of “Cinnamon Girl”? Or imagine going to see Metallica and having them play only the introduction of “Enter Sandman”. People listen to musicians to hear songs, whole songs. So while it can certainly be satisfying to learn a particularly difficult introduction or guitar fill or solo, don’t settle for learning just one part of any song. The art of making music comes from playing the whole piece.

Readers: what other “simple” changes have helped your guitar playing?  Leave a comment below or stop by our Facebook page and share your thoughts! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.

 

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

 

You might also like…
Guitar Lessons for Beginners: Where Should You Start?
Watch Now: How to Tune a Guitar
5 Killer Tips for Mastering Guitar Chords

Photo by MarVinMe.

Earth Day and Music: Are You A “Green” Musician?

To celebrate Earth Day today, we encourage you to think about the following question: Are you a “green” musician?

These days, many in the music industry are doing their part to help the environment.  Growing lists of artists are “going green”: making sure tours are as eco-friendly as possible, heading up environmental campaigns, and taking the time to educate their employees, fans, and venues. Music festivals like Seattle’s Bumbershoot offer hydration stations to reduce the use of plastic water bottles and fill the grounds with recycling bins.  Solar-powered recording studios are gaining momentum, and the band Cake even completed their 2011 album, “Showroom of Compassion,” using 100% solar energy.

So what can students and teachers do?  You may not be traveling the country with fuel-guzzling tour buses, but there are still ways to ensure you’re doing your part.  Here are a few Earth Day ideas for musicians:

– If you download sheet music, print on both sides of the paper when possible.
– All that sheet music you don’t ever look at?  Pass it along to other students who may want it, or at the very least, recycle it.
– iPad users: consider downloading sheet music directly to your device to save on paper.
– Turn off amps, recording equipment and other electronics when not in use.
– Buy music online, as opposed to driving to the store and buying a packaged and shipped CD
– Recycle the CDs you no longer listen to, instead of throwing them away. (Check out the CD Recycling Center of America to learn more.)
– Heading to a concert or festival?  Carpool there, and bring your own reusable water bottle instead of purchasing a plastic bottle.
– Support green musicians!  Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews and Missy Higgins are just a few musicians who are outspoken with environmental initiatives.
– Make your own instruments.  Reuse tin cans, pots & pans, or other household items to encourage children to play music.  (Or try using vegetables like the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, if you’re so inclined.)

Now it’s your turn: how do you play a part in staying “green” when it comes to your love for music?  Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook!

, TakeLessons staff member and blogger

 

 

You might also like…
How to Organize a Charity Concert
5 Non-Profits That Support Music Education
Sick of Celebrity Gossip?  Check Out These Music Stars Who Are Actually Making a Difference

A Beginner’s Guide to Violin Bows: 4 Details to Consider

violin bowSelecting a violin bow, much like choosing a guitar, can be a very subjective process.  To the uninitiated, it’s “just a violin bow.”  They’re all the same, right?  Wrong.  To the seasoned violinist, the perfect bow will depend on the player’s technique, playing style and overall personal preference.  There are several factors that can affect the sound of the bow on the strings, including strength, shape, and age of the bow.

Most beginner violins come with bows that are perfectly fine, but as you progress in your playing, selecting a better bow can make a huge difference.  It may take some time to select the perfect one, but the process is well worth it.

Your violin teacher will be able to give you pointers and suggestions to help you choose a good bow, so speak with him or her if you’re thinking about upgrading your bow. Read on to learn about a few of the details that you and your teacher should consider, as noted on All Things Strings:

1. Type of Material: Choices include Brazilwood (prices usually seen between $50 and $200), Pernambuco (priced anywhere from $100 to $10,000 or more), carbon fiber (priced anywhere between $50 and several thousand dollars) and fiberglass (usually the lowest-priced option).

2. Sound: Look for a bow that will give both a smooth, broad sound and at the same time possesses great clarity of focus and the quickness of response that comes from a stronger, stiffer bow.

3. Weight and Balance: Look for a bow that feels right in your hand. To test the weight, pick up a bow and hold it at a 45-degree angle. It should feel natural in the hand – well balanced from tip to frog with equal weight throughout.

4. Shape: Round or octagonal? With two bows made from the same wood, the octagonal shaft will be stiffer. Some octagonal bows are quite stiff, creating a hard, one-dimensional tone. Some of the German commercial-bow producers make round and octagonal versions of the same bow, the octagonal being a bit more expensive. This has added to the myth that octagonal bows are better.

You’ll want to bring your own bow and instrument along when you’re shopping, because each bow may perform differently.  The overall goal here is to find the bow that best compliments your violin.  As you try out each bow, you’ll start noticing the differences.

Need help finding a violin teacher in your area?  Click here to browse teacher profiles near you! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.


 

Photo by mbevis.

How to Play Drums Without a Drum Set

Have you ever thought about the infinite possibilities for making music? Particularly as a drummer, you can tap on pretty much anything to create a sound and establish a rhythm. As you progress in your musical studies, you’ll start noticing all of the possibilities around you, and learn how to use it to your advantage. Even when you’re not sitting at your drum set, opportunities abound for ear training, improving your internal metronome, and more.

One of the best ways to train your ears is to listen to the “music” of everyday life.  By that, we don’t mean the music playing through your earbuds.  Instead, listen to nature.  Listen to crowds of people. And for drummers (and in fact, any beginner musician), this carries over into listening to the rhythm behind everything.

Next, you can practice those rhythms on pretty much anything.  If you’re not near your drum set, tap rhythms on a desk, table, phonebook, or whatever you can find.  Parents or roommates asking you to be quiet?  Drum on a pillow.  Whatever gets your hands moving and your feet tapping – do it, and don’t be afraid to look silly.  Carry your sticks with you, and you’ll always have the freedom to practice when you have a spare moment.  Most drummers do this anyway – ever found yourself tapping your foot without even noticing?  Yeah, we thought so! Now put these strategies to work, and you can practice your drumming anytime, anywhere.

Drummers: how do you practice rhythms when you don’t have access to your drum set?  Leave a comment below or head on over to our Facebook page and share with the community! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.

 

 

You might also like…
How to: Practice the Drums When Time is Limited
Just Breathe: Breathing Techniques for ALL Instruments
Exercises for Improving Rhythm

 

Photo by ByEPhotos.