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Apr 19th

Tone Change

By Gear In The Mail

 

Most beginning guitar players start with a rather inexpensive instrument. They usually have a mass production clone of a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul. The most popular clones are made overseas by Gibson and Fender themselves through the Epiphone and Squier lines. These are built to the same specs as the American made models. They are decent instruments in their own right but they can be improved greatly with just a pickup replacement. As long as the neck is straight and the tuning pegs are fairly tight, this is often all you need to upgrade to a pro sound. Iv'e modified several Mexican made Stratocasters and I'll take you through the process. The first thing you want to decide on is what kind of sound you're looking for. Replacement pickups are available with a lot of variety in sound output. I like to use Seymour Duncan pickups because they have proven to be of high quality and reliability. They also have a good selection and have a CD of sound samples you can listen to. Most dealers have the CD's and you can also listen to the samples online. Choose your replacement pickups and you're ready to upgrade. You'll need several things for the job. A good stable workbench or table, with plenty of room to lay your tools out, makes things much easier. Here's a list of what you need: 1.screwdriver set, both flat head and philips 2.soldering iron 3.solder 4.new set of strings 5.wire cutters/strippers The first thing you need to do is remove your guitar strings. I usually leave the low E-string on to keep a little tension on the neck. Next remove the pickguard cover. Make sure you save all the screws in a cup as they are small and get lost easily. After you remove the screws you should be able to lift up on it and slide it off under the E-string. You should now see your three pickups and the wiring thats attached to them. The new pickups come with a wiring diagram that is color coded but take a good look at each pickup before you replace it in case something isn't quite right with the color code. It's important that you replace one pickup at a time so as not to mix up the bridge, middle and neck pickups. Heat up your soldering iron. Remove the first pickup. I usually start with the neck pickup. Cut and strip the wires according to the instructions and solder the wires to the new ones. Repeat the process for the other two. Not too bad, huh? When you replace the cover/pickguard, be careful not to overtighten the screws or they might get stripped. Now would be a good time to clean the guitar before you put the new strings on. Replace and tune the strings and plug in. You'll be pleased with the results. I have several of these upgraded strats for the price of one expensive one and more versatilty with different pickup sounds. You can do the same thing with an Epiphone Les Paul to produce a sound that rivals the Gibson for about a third of the price. Now you can spend more money on all the cool effects gadgets. Have fun and keep practicing.

Feb 8th

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Feb 8th

The Ultimate Social Media Plan

By Mind Coup

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Jan 28th

10 Must know songwriting tips

By Mind Coup
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#10 Song Contrast: Give your song different colours and shapes. Well defined parts will create dynamics in your song. Don't let the first 1:30 sound the same as the last 1:30.

#9 Stay True: Pick song topics that are true to you. Writing on topics you relate with will help most people connect with you on the topic. The more real it is to you the better the experience for the listener.

#8 Tell a Story: Have a beginning, an event, and a resolution in the song. Good stories make great songs.

 #7 Image: What would your song look like as a picture? Imagine it and focus the feeling and energy of the song to create a song image. Is the song fit for belly dance instructor Mariella to dance to? Fitting an image to a song genre is a great way to connect with fans in a song.

#6 Melody: Lead guitar and drum solos are great but the melody is what people will hum to themselves after hearing your song. Create a great catchy melody to start your song. Using an inexpensive program like BTV can help you stay on time or can even be used in the studio

  #5 Bridge Builder: Use bridges, builds or drops, in your song.  This short part of the song is what gives power to other song parts. It can also be a used as an intro riff. You might want to look at Jamie Lewis.  His music software and website allows for inexpensive ways to create and download samples. Great tool for trying out new possibilities.

 #4 Creative Rhymes: Kid sid did lid, try and break up rhyming words. Creative rhymes will set your song apart. Don't overuse phrasing and try to be intriguing. Learn vocal tricks to help enunciate words so they come across clearly when you sing. Learn from a on- on-one vocal coach or with a system like member Aaron Anastasi.

#3 - 3:20: A radio ready song is 3:20 long, over that and your song might be cut down or overlooked by mass radio. Mind Coup Radio might play your 6 min song but that is unusual.

 #2 Great Name: The wrong name and it is all over. It needs to be fun, catchy, and people need to find it in search results. Google and iTunes are great to search and see if you have an orginal song name.

#1 The Hook:  Halfway through the first time a person hears your song, you want them to be singing the words with you. Having a hit song is having people singing along days after they played your song. The hook will get your song played over and over again. Make your fans sing along and your a star!  Experiment with other languages for true international stardom.  Study up and add international song lyrics. Jason Oxenham offers easy-to-follow language courses, or try you luck with google! I hope you enjoyed these tips I have found out. 


Please comment with some of your tips with us let us know what helps you write songs.


Join The Songwriters Workshop

 
Nov 16th

History And Use Of The Bass Guitar

By Mind Coup


The bass guitar has been derived from the double bass, which was used in the late 1950's. Having 4 strings, these instruments add the lower tones to a musical performance. Experimentation with the bass had started as early as the 1920's. It wasn't until the 50's however, that a proper bass instrument was formed.

In the mid 20th century jazz became popular. As double bass's were used those days, they were often not heard due to the lack of amplification. The drums, banjos and other instruments in the band drowned out the sound of the bass. Until the 1950 when the first electric bass came into existence with modern amplification techniques.

The bass guitar is played like all guitars with the player holding it close to his body in a horizontal position. The strings are plucked with hand or with the plectrum. In the 1970's, the slapping technique became popular.

Today, the bass guitar ranges from 4 strings up to 11 strings. The 5, 6 and 7 strings providing the mid range while the 11 string starts from a lower than human hearing going up to a very high active. Electric bass guitar players use various configurations. These changes are made by using preamplifiers and speaker sets. Signal processors are also varied to provide new soundscapes.

In night clubs, combo amplifiers are used. These amplifiers are fixed with single loud speakers to make them portable and effective.

The body of the instrument can be of wood or graphite. A wide range of finishing is applied to make it look good. IT can be colored or simply clear white. The work done on the body is fine engineering and delicate balances have to be maintained.

A hot debate rages on what to call this instrument. For non musicians, the term bass guitar is common, while hard core players like to call it electric bass or simple electric bass. Slowly but surely however, this instrument has gathered a large following which likes to use its own jargon.

The electric bass is a part of modern country music, post 1970 jazz and funk. Used mainly to provide backing, it adds a depth to the music. This instrument has added a whole new color to our musical pleasure. In sole music particularly, the bass guitar is effective.

Are sound effects used? Well, yes and no. As the bass guitar sets the tone for the rest of the band, sound effects are not often used, unlike electric guitars. Modern bands however have started experimenting with distortion units to add a new flavor to the bass and low key that they provide behind the music.

As we go into a new century, electric bass's become more and more popular. All bands use it today to add a subtle background. Many groups like U2 even use it to give a haunted feeling increasing emotional attachment with the music. Newer techniques have made this instrument a crucial part of any musical group today.

Nov 15th

Guitar History

By Mind Coup

References to the guitar more or less in its modern form date back to the 14th century. In its infancy it had four courses of double strings and a rounded body like a gourd or a pumpkin. Its mother would not recognize it today!

Around the sixteenth century the guitar was a popular musical instrument amongst the middle and lower classes of Europe, and as it increased in popularity it began to undergo a change of shape. Luthiers began making instruments with single strings instead of courses and experimented with its form until, by the 19th century, the body of the guitar was made wider, and flattened out. In the twentieth century the wooden tuning pegs which adjusted the tension of the strings were replaced by metal machine heads. Now we have the shape that the modern electric guitar is based on.

The first electric guitars were made in the 1930's in response to a demand from guitarists in bands whose rhythmic stylings could not be heard above the other instruments. The main problem with these electric guitars was that feedback was coming through the amplifier from the vibration of the guitar's body. This challenge began the evolutionary process  of the solid body electric guitar.

The early electric guitars had sound holes in the body that were smaller than the sound holes of conventional guitars. In 1924 Lloyd Loar, an engineer with the Gibson factory, used a magnet to change guitar string vibrations into electrical signals, which could be amplified through a speaker. Now it was possible to build guitars that did not possess sound holes but could be heard clearly through an amplifier. Amateur guitar players were able to get their hands on electric guitars through the efforts of Paul Barth, George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker who founded the Electro String Company in 1931. Their guitars resembled steel guitars, and were played in the guitarist's lap using a slide.

Modern electric guitars are made of many thin layers of wood glued together. The top layer is often a more attractive wood to give the guitar a pleasing appearance, and the other layers are of a wood which gives a good tone such as poplar or ash. The use of laminates endows the instrument with the robust body and tonal quality that would be impossible in one piece of wood. The original solid body guitar was however, made from one piece of wood. In 1941 Les Paul turned a railway sleeper into an amplified stringed instrument. He called it "The Log". When production of his instrument began he stayed with the conventional guitar shape to give his market a familiar image to relate to. Les Paul's invention marketed as the Gibson Les Paul is still extremely popular.

In the 1940's, the Fender Broadcaster Electric guitar came into the world. Nobody really noticed until Arthur Smith used a Broadcaster to record "Guitar Boogie" in 1949. After being renamed the Telecaster, it was put on the market in 1950. Another Fender model, the Stratocaster, caught guitarists' attention with its distinctive tone and light weight. It's still the second most popular guitar in the world.

Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith, ESP, BC Rich and my favorite Parker have made solid body electric guitars with original designs, distinctive shapes and new materials mixed with modern technologies to produce more efficient and versatile electric guitars. Today's electric guitars produce tones varying between futuristic music or quasi-acoustic sounds.
In the 1960's, effects boxes introduced fuzz, delay, echo and the wah-wah sound to the arsenal of sounds available to the modern guitarist. A pedal operated by the guitar player's foot turns the effects on or off. Now guitars contain software that lets guitars sound like other types of guitars or reproduce the sound of other musical instruments. With developments like the latest self-tuning guitars, maybe the old joke about a guitarist "phoning in" a solo will become a reality!

Nov 13th

Bass Guitar Players Who Changed The World

By Mind Coup

Some people think that if you want to change the world you don't become a bass player, but go into something more challenging and stimulating like the Post Office. But does this myth portray how bass players really are? Let's step back from our habitual way of seeing bass guitar players as necessary but boring members of the group. Like accountants. Sure we acknowledge the fine contribution they make to their bands by supplying the bass lines and paying for the beer, but do they actually do anything really creative? This brief listing of some prominent men (and woman) of bass will allow you to see that this apparently self effacing member of a musical group could be the creative powerhouse.

Let's start with the leather jacketed but overpoweringly feminine Suzi Quatro. A vocalist and bass player who had a bunch of hits in Australia and Europe in the early seventies, her popularity in the USA stemmed from her role as Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days.

John Entwistle pioneered the use of the electric bass guitar as an instrument for soloists. His aggressive approach to the bass guitar influenced many other bassists.

Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers impressed a lot of musicians with his popping and slapping technique which was originally invented by Larry Graham of Sly And The Family Stone. Flea's innovative use of effects pedals has also influenced many bass players.

Jack Bruce wrote most of supergroup Cream's hit songs. Among his other achievements are fighting constantly with Cream's drummer, Ginger Baker and surviving a liver transplant.

Greg Lake is another artist of the early seventies who played with a number of innovators from the glam rock era. Lake is best known for his vocals, bass and guitar work with Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Rob Bailey is a bassist who plays loud and aggressive. His bass playing is an important element in the music of AC/DC.

Benny Rietveld, a Dutch musician who went to college in Hawaii, is admired for his musical and individualistic style of playing. He worked with Barney Kessell, Sheila E, Huey Lewis and Miles Davis. He has also made an album featuring Carlos Santana. Talk about diverse.

Paul McCartney played bass with The Beatles. Many bass players say he's quite good, but he changed the world with his romantic song lyrics.

Considered by some to be the king of bass players, Stanley Clarke employs a variation of the pop and slap technique to produce some truly innovative bass guitar music. His 1976 album, School Days, is acclaimed by many critics as one of the greatest bass albums ever.

A true bass lead guitar player, Billy Sheehan has won Guitar Player Magazine's "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll five times. Why a "bass lead guitar player"? Because Billy plays bass as if he were playing lead.

So if you are not familiar with bass guitar players I hope this article has whetted your appetite. Why not spend your next rainy Sunday watching some of their work on YouTube?

Nov 12th

5 Top Social Media Tools

By Mind Coup

 

Managing your social media presence can be a very complex task if you are doing everything on your own. Fortunately, there are social media tools that you can use to manage your accounts easily. The following are some of those tools.

HootSuite

There is so much that you can do with HootSuite on your social media sites, for instance viewing streams of multiple social channels in a single place, publishing more on the sites, getting detailed analytics on the performance of the sites using charts and graphs and so on. It is a tool of choice for many social media professionals as well as small businesses. There is a free version that is suitable for one user and up to five social media profiles. To be able to use it for unlimited social profiles and benefit from other premium features, you will need to get HootSuite Pro.

Buffer

This tool allows you to schedule posts throughout the day. You will like its simplicity and streamlined interface. It allows you to compose updates and publish them on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or you can also use it to publish the updates on all these social media platforms at once. You can also use it to view analytics and get insights on the performance of your social profiles.

Mention

If you would like to monitor the web as well as performance of your social medial channels, Mention is the tool you need. With it, you will be able to pick up important conversations that are worth responding to. It allows you to get the most comprehensive understanding of what your customers are saying about the products and services you are offering in your business.

Feedly

Feedly allows you to easily organize and view the blogs that you follow. You can use it to read through posts that have been published on different blogs. It also lets you comment and interact with different people and communities that you follow online efficiently. You can easily use it to find and add feeds that you are interested in and are relevant to your business. By so doing, you will be able to generate greater awareness about the products and services that you are offering.

Tweepi

This tool is very important when it comes to managing your Twitter account. It makes it very easy for you to find new and interesting people to follow. It helps you grow your Twitter presence with quality individuals that can relate to the products and services that you are offering. It also allows you to know the people that are no longer worth connecting with so that you can unfollow them if you want.

 

Check out our ebook tab for more great social media info

Nov 11th

The beginner acoustic guitar student

By Mind Coup

Music Lessons

Lesson One - What kind of guitar are you going to buy? If you have a rough idea of what kind of music you want to play, the next step is to find yourself a guitar. Let's start with the basics - nylon string or steel string. A nylon string guitar was made to play classical and folk music. Acoustic guitars make their music by sending the vibration of the strings to the soundboard. The vibrations are then amplified in the body of the guitar. Nylon string guitars make a mellow tone; steel string guitars make a brighter, more metallic sound. One of the main things that will influence you in deciding what kind of sound you want is the guitar your favorite performer plays. If you are just starting out you will not need a top of the range guitar but it is best to get the nicest one in your price range. A cheap, poorly made guitar will be an uphill battle to play. A good instrument will make your practice sessions something to look forward to. Try different guitars. See how the neck feels. Check out if one neck feels more comfortable to play than others. Another consideration is the distance of the strings from the fret board which is called the "action". Low action is easier to play but if you are planning on strumming enthusiastically or picking loudly the guitar may have a tendency to buzz.

Lesson Two - Go ahead and learn. The very first step toward learning to play acoustic guitar is to develop confidence and to overcome your natural reluctance to try new things. Lack of money, lack of time, or lack of a good teacher are three big obstacles to your guitar learning progress. The other three big obstacles are all you. You may be your own worst enemy. How do you react to a challenge? Challenges are your friends. If you find yourself getting frustrated, and not wanting to continue your practice, it might be time to downsize your goal, at least for a while. If you have two chords that you have trouble with, work on the first one alone for a while. Once you have improved a little, go to the next one.

Lesson Three - Daily Practice As far as your daily practice goes look at starting with half an hour a day. If you can do more, great, you'll become a guitarist faster. The way you carry out your practice is crucial. Putting in the time isn't the only requirement. If you rush or try to fit too much in, then you're working against yourself. Err on the side of too little material at first. If you really are accomplishing what you set out to do in less than thirty minutes, then add a little more.

Lesson Four - Tuning Your Guitar You can find online guitar tuners to help you get your acoustic guitar in tune. Take a day or two of your practice time to get the knack of tuning. When you start to develop an ear for tuning, try tuning the guitar without the tuner. Lesson Five - Holding Your Acoustic Guitar Long hours of practice can take their toll. Learning how to sit and play your acoustic guitar is an art in itself. There are places on the internet that have illustrations showing you how to sit when you're playing, but it would be good to find somebody with experience to show you. But don't just go with the way one person plays. If he's self-taught, then you don't want to pick up his bad habits!

Nov 10th

An Alternative Way To Adjust Your Guitar Nut

By Mind Coup

Most new guitars arrive from the factory with the nut just barely playable. Older guitars may have the nut filed or worn down so much that fret buzz cannot be eliminated by neck or string height adjustment. If you have a new guitar, or you are replacing the nut with a new one, here is an alternative method to file and adjust the nut material to make your guitar play like the professionals guitars play.

Before adjusting anything, make sure your guitar is strung up correctly and that your neck is straight and not bowed or warped. If your neck is bowed you first need to adjust the truss rod. If your neck is warped it will require a more extensive repair. For the lowest possible action or to avoid fret buzz all across your finger board it may be necessary to have your frets leveled and crowned first.

You will need a set of nut files (available from Stewart MacDonald), and a good set of feeler gauges as well. Different grades of sandpaper are very useful too.

Fret each string individually, starting with the High E, between the second and third fret, use your feeler gauge to check the amount of space between the bottom of the string and the first fret. You should have approximately .005" of space between each one, with the string barely touching the second fret. If this measurement is close or dead on then move on to the next string right up to the Low E string. You may want to record the gap on a scrap piece of paper as you move across the fret board, to see the nut slot's height in relation to the fret board as you do so.

For most players a string height (also known in guitar slang as "action") of 3/64" of an inch is considered normal. Some players choose a higher sting height such as 4/64" of an inch while players which tend to have a light touch and want the fastest action possible strive to lower the action as close as possible to 2/64" which in many case's is very hard to setup and maintain without fret buzzing somewhere on the finger board.

Of course, you can use the traditional method to set your string height in relation to the nut, by using multiple feeler gauges below the nut, and filing down to the factory depth and width. However, I have found this method to provide a better and more consistent feel while playing near the nut.

 

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