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How To Archives - Page 4

Selecting a Direct Box
Ask Damian Erskine

Selecting a Direct Box

Q: I’m looking to upgrade my setup a little… shrink down my 4×10 cab to a equal power 2×10 and maybe buy a DI box for a live PA setting and a studio recording setting. In looking through the number of DI boxes, it’s hard to see what exactly makes a pedal a “Direct Box” as I’ve seen many so-called...

The Reading Hurdle and How to Jump It
Ask Damian Erskine

The Reading Hurdle and How to Jump It

Q: I’m working on being a more fluent sight-reader. I can read notes and their values but it takes me a while to transfer that to the instrument. Any advice on how to most effectively improve? A: Good for you for devoting time to this worthwhile endeavor! Learning to read music is much like learning to read a spoken language....

Chops vs. Groove
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Chops vs. Groove

A while back, someone asked me to discuss the concept of “Chops vs. Groove.” The reader didn’t elaborate very much, but the impression I got was they felt having, or perhaps displaying, “chops” and the ability to groove were somehow mutually exclusive. Although someone can groove pretty hard with only a moderate level of technique, it doesn’t take much investigation...

Tips for Memorizing Music
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Tips for Memorizing Music

I have trouble memorizing. Do you have any suggestions? —–Gina D. In general, if we have played a piece enough times, we often find we have memorized it without trying. However, some pieces (and styles of music) are more difficult to memorize than others and may require special attention. Also, on occasion, we may also find that we don’t have...

Approaches to Music Arranging
Ask Damian Erskine

Approaches to Music Arranging

Q: How do you go about making your song arrangements? Do you have a plan from the beginning for the different instruments, or do you let the other musicians fill in the gaps based on their experience/ideas? I imagine that the distance between what you intend to create vs. what you actually create is much larger when other musicians are...

Making the Shift: from 4- to 6-String Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Making the Shift: from 4- to 6-String Bass

Q: Do you have any advice for those looking to make the leap from a 4 string to a 6 string bass? A: I made the leap directly from a 4 to a 6 string bass, and had the advantage of making the switch while I was attending music school, at Berklee. This is an advantage because you are 1)...

Essential Accessories for Your First Upright
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Essential Accessories for Your First Upright

For many people, buying an upright bass is a financial transaction that requires some planning. Nearly everyone wants the highest quality instrument they can afford and, as a result, many spend their last available dollar (or more!) on the instrument itself. This is completely understandable, and laudable. However, if it’s your first upright you should also consider obtaining a few...

Choosing an Amp
Ask Damian Erskine

Choosing an Amp

Q: I have a question regarding power amps and cabinets. There are so many choices out there, and even more when you consider every amp available online (but probably won’t see in a store). How do you go about choosing an amp without just throwing a dart at the board and taking a huge financial chance? A: Unfortunately, there is...

Past the Point of Unknowing
Ask Damian Erskine

Past the Point of Unknowing

Q: I tend to hit a wall while practicing over a tune, where I don’t know what else to play. I know you’ve explained some chordal exercises and other ways to expand one’s vocabulary, but do you have any other thoughts about what to play when you just don’t know what to play? A: Actually, yes. We all hit a...

Rockin’ Your Stage Sound: A Musician’s Guide to Professional Live Audio
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Rockin’ Your Stage Sound: A Musician’s Guide to Professional Live Audio

Hal Leonard’s latest book in their Music Pro Guides series is Rockin’ Your Stage Sound: A Musician’s Guide to Professional Live Audio, a step-by-step guide to improving your stage sound. The book, penned by professional live-sound engineer Rob Gainey, features over 170 stage tips, including 100 tops from players in nationally recognized acts. Topics including microphones and miking technique, monitor...