In the 40 years that I have been teaching all styles of guitar to every type of student, there have been a few questions that come up over and over which seem to be the cause of great concern and anxiety.
The Best Semi Acoustic Guitar In Santa Clara
High on the list is “Am I too old to learn guitar in Los Altos Hills ?I have been anxiously asked this question by a 28 year old student, a 38 year old, a 46 year old, and let’s see…off the top of my head, I can remember students at age 52, 65, 77, and finally, good old Frank who was 84! I have had plenty of experience with this question, and more importantly, with the answer
.I am going to tell you the answer right up front to set your mind at ease, just in case you are one of those guitar students desperately attempting to remain hopeful about your chances of success. Yes, anyone can learn to play the guitar at any age, period and any place in Santa Clara
Jump to navigation Jump to search Mesa-Boogie "Mark IV", a guitar combo amplifier A guitar amplifier (or amp) is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier (and preamplifier) circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance. Guitar amplifiers can also modify the instrument's tone by emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies, using equalizer controls, which function the same way as the bass and treble knobs on a home hi-fi stereo, and by adding electronic effects; distortion (also called "overdrive") and reverb are commonly available as built-in features. The input of modern guitar amplifiers is a 1/4" jack, which is fed a signal from an electro-magnetic pickup (from an electric guitar) or a piezoelectric pickup (usually from an acoustic guitar) using a patch cord, or a wireless transmitter. For electric guitar players, their choice of guitar amp and the settings they use on the amplifier are a key part of their signature tone or sound. Some guitar players are longtime users of a specific amp brand or model. Guitarists may also use external effects pedals to alter the sound of their tone before the signal reaches the amplifier. A 1940s-era Valvo combo amp. Fender Deluxe 1953 In the 1920s, it was very hard for a musician playing a pickup-equipped guitar to find an amplifier and speaker to make their instrument louder as the only speakers that could be bought were "radio horns of limited frequency range and low acoustic output". The cone speaker, widely used in 2000s-era amp cabinets, was not offered for sale until 1925. The first amplifiers and speakers could only be powered with large batteries, which made them heavy and hard to carry around. When engineers developed the first AC mains-powered amplifiers, they were soon used to make musical instruments louder. Engineers invented the first loud, powerful amplifier and speaker systems for public address systems and movie theaters. These large PA systems and movie theatre sound systems were very large and very expensive, and so they could not be used by most touring musicians. After 1927, smaller, portable AC mains-powered PA systems that could be plugged into a regular wall socket "quickly became popular with musicians"; indeed, "...Leon McAuliffe (with Bob Wills) still used a carbon mic and a portable PA as late as 1935." During the late 1920s to mid-1930s, small portable PA systems and guitar combo amplifiers were fairly similar. These early amps had a "single volume control and one or two input jacks, field coil speakers" and thin wooden cabinets; remarkably, these early amps did not have tone controls or even an on-off switch. In 1928, the Stromberg-Voisinet firm was the first company to sell an electric stringed instrument and amplifier package. However, musicians found that the amps had an "unsatisfactory tone and volume, [and] dependability problems", so the product did not sell well. Even though the Stromberg-Voisinet amp did not sell well, it still launched a new idea: a portable electric instrument amp with a speaker, all in an easily transported wooden cabinet. In 1929, Vega electrics launched a portable banjo amplifier. In 1932, Electro String Instruments and amplifier (this is not the same company as Stromberg Electro Instruments) introduced a guitar amp with "high output" and a "string driven magnetic pickup". Electro set out the standard template for combo amps: a wooden cabinet with the electronic amplifier mounted inside, and a convenient carrying handle to facilitate transporting the cabinet. In 1933, Vivi-Tone amp set-ups were used for live performances and radio shows. In 1934, Rickenbacker launched a similar combo amp that added metal corner protectors to keep the corners in good condition during transportation. In 1933, Dobro released an electric guitar and amp package. The combo amp had "two 8″ Lansing speakers and a five-tube chassis. Dobro made a two speaker combo amp that was on the market over 12 years before Fender launched its two-speaker "Dual Professional/Super" combo amp. In 1933, Audio-Vox was founded by Paul Tutmarc, the inventor of the first electric bass (Tutmarc's instrument did not achieve market success until Leo Fender's launched the Precision Bass). In 1933, Vega sold a pickup and amplifier set for musicians to use with existing guitars. In that same year, the Los Angeles-based Volu-Tone company also sold a pickup/amplifier set. Volu-Tone used "high voltage current" to sense the string vibration, a potentially dangerous approach that did not become popular. In 1934 Dobro released a guitar amp with a vacuum tube rectifier and two power tubes. By 1935, Dobro and National began selling combo amps for Hawaiian guitar. In 1934, Gibson had developed prototype combo amps, but never them. By 1935, Electro/Rickenbacher had sold more amps and electric guitars than all the amps and electrified or electric guitars that had been made from 1928 through the end of 1934. The first electric instrument amplifiers were not intended for electric guitars, but were portable PA systems. These appeared in the early 1930s when the introduction of electrolytic capacitors and rectifier tubes enabled economical built-in power supplies that could plug into wall sockets. Previously, amplifiers required heavy multiple battery packs. People used these amplifiers to amplify acoustic guitar, but electronic amplification of guitar first became widely poplular in the 1930s and 1940s craze for Hawaiian music, which extensively used amplified lap steel guitars. In the 1920s, the earliest combo amplifiers had no tone controls. The first tone controls were simple, mainly providing treble adjustment. The limited controls, the early loudspeakers, and the low amplifier power (typically 15 watts or less prior to the mid-1950s) gave poor high treble and bass output. Some models also provided effects such as an electronic tremolo unit. In confusion over nomenclature, Fender labeled early amplifier tremolo as "vibrato" and called the vibrato arm of the Stratocaster guitar a "tremolo bar" (see vibrato unit, electric guitar, and tremolo). Some later amplifier models included an onboard spring reverb effect, one of the first being the Ampeg Reverberocket amp. Gibson Lancer GA-35 (mid-1960s) guitar amplifier In the 1950s, several guitarists experimented with producing distortion by deliberately overdriving amplifiers. These included Goree Carter, Joe Hill Louis, Elmore James, Ike Turner, Willie Johnson, Pat Hare, Guitar Slim, Chuck Berry, Johnny Burnette, and Link Wray. In the early 1960s, surf rock guitarist Dick Dale worked closely with Fender to produce custom made amplifiers, including the first 100-watt guitar amplifier. He pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop new equipment that was capable of producing "thick, clearly defined tones" at "previously undreamed-of volumes." U2 guitarist The Edge's 1964 Vox AC30 combo amp. Distortion became more popular from the mid-1960s, when The Kinks guitarist Dave Davies produced distortion effects by connecting the already distorted output of one amplifier into the input of another. Later, most guitar amps were provided with preamplifier distortion controls, and "fuzz boxes" and other effects units were engineered to safely and reliably produce these sounds. In the 2000s, overdrive and distortion has become an integral part of many styles of electric guitar playing, ranging from blues rock to heavy metal and hardcore punk. Guitar combo amplifiers were at first used with bass guitars and electric pianos, but these instruments produce a wider frequency range and need a full-range speaker system. Much more amplifier power is required to reproduce low-frequency sound, especially at high volume. Reproducing low frequencies also requires a suitable woofer or subwoofer speaker and enclosure, with bass cabinets often being larger in size than a cabinet for mid-range or high-range sounds. As well, the open-back cabinets used on many electric guitar amps, while effective for electric guitar, do not have good bass reproduction. Woofer enclosures must be larger and more sturdily built than cabinets for mid-range or high-frequency (tweeter) speakers. As such, in the 1950s, when Ampeg introduced bass amplifier and speaker systems, bass guitarists began to use them. Similarly, Hammond organ players used a specialized keyboard combo amplifier, the Leslie speaker cabinet, which contains a woofer for the low frequencies and a horn for the high frequencies. The Leslie horns rotate and a baffle around the woofer rotates as well, producing a rich tremolo and chorus effect. A Fender Bassman amp head with a 15" speaker cabinet. Typically, guitar amplifiers have two amplifying circuit stages and in addition frequently have tone-shaping electric circuits, which usually include at least bass and treble controls, which function similarly to the equivalent controls on a home hi-fi system. More expensive amplifiers typically have more controls for other frequency ranges, such as one or two "midrange" controls and a "presence" control for high frequencies. Some guitar amplifiers have a graphic equalizer, which uses vertical faders to control multiple frequency bands. Some more expensive bass amps have a parametric equalizer, which enables precise control of tone. The first amplifier stage is a preamplifier. It amplifies the audio signal to a level that can drive the power stage. The preamplifier also changes the tone of the signal; high preamp settings add overdrive. The power amplifier produces a high current signal to drive a loudspeaker and produce sound. Various types of tone stages may affect the guitar signal: Tone stages may also provide electronic effects—such as equalization, compression, distortion, chorus, or reverb. Amplifiers may use vacuum tubes (called valves in Britain), solid-state (transistor) devices, or both. The two common guitar amplifier configurations are: a combination ("combo") amplifier that includes an amplifier and one or more speakers in a single cabinet, and a standalone amplifier (often called a "head" or "amp head"), which passes the amplified signal via a speaker cable to one or more external speaker cabinets. A wide range of speaker configurations are available in guitar cabinets—from cabinets with a single speaker (e.g., 1×10" or 1×12") or multiple speakers (e.g., 2×10", 4×10" or 8x10"). Guitar amplifiers vary widely in price and quality. Many music equipment companies import small, low-powered practice amplifiers for students and beginners that sell for less than $50 USD. Other companies produce expensive custom-made amplifiers for professional musicians, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars (USD). Most combo amplifiers have a carrying handle, and many combo amplifiers and cabinets have metal or plastic-reinforced corners to protect the amp during transportation. Control knobs and buttons are typically on the front of the cabinet or chassis, though in some cases, the knobs are on a recessed panel at the back of the top of the amplifier. The most basic amps only have a few knobs, which typically control volume, bass and treble. More expensive amps may have a number of knobs that control pre-amp volume (or "gain"), distortion or overdrive, volume, bass, mid and treble, and reverb. Some older amps (and their re-issued versions) have a knob that controls a vibrato or tremolo effect. The 1/4" input jack is typically mounted on the front of the amplifier. In the simplest, least expensive amplifiers, this 1/4" jack is the only jack on the amplifier. More expensive amplifiers may have a patch bay for multiple inputs and outputs, such as a pre-amp out (for sending to another guitar amplifier), a second low gain input, to use with active basses, an in jack to create an effects loop (when used with the pre-amp out jack), an external speaker output (for powering an additional speaker cabinet), and stereo RCA jacks or an 1/8" jack, for connecting a CD player or MP3 player so that a player can practice along with recorded music. Some amps have a 1/4" jack for connecting a pedal to turn the amp's onboard overdrive and reverb on and off or to switch between channels. Some amps have an XLR jack for a microphone, either for the guitar amp to be used for singing (in effect as a mini-PA system, or, for acoustic guitar, to mix a mic signal with a pickup signal. The vast majority of guitar amps can only be powered by AC mains power (plugging into a wall outlet); however, a small number of practice amps designed for buskers also have battery power so they can be used for street performances. Kustom 200 bass amp – amp head and speakers, 100 watts RMS, two channels, two 15" speakers, 1971 A combo amp contains the amplifier and one or more speakers in a single cabinet. In a "head and speaker cabinet" configuration, the amplifier and speaker each have their own cabinet. The amplifier (head) may drive one or more speaker cabinets. In the 1920s, guitarists played through public address amplifiers, but by the 1940s, this was uncommon. A rare exception in the 1990s was grunge guitarist Kurt Cobain, who used four 800 watt PA amplifiers in his early guitar set-up. Besides instrument inputs and speaker outputs (typically via 1/4" jacks), an amp may have other inputs and outputs. These can include an auxiliary input jack (sometimes with its own level control, for a drum machine), "send" and "return" jacks to create an effects loop, a “line out” jack and an extension speaker jack. Practice amps sometimes have a 1/4" headphone jack, or stereo RCA or mini jacks for connecting a CD player, portable media player or other sound source. Some guitar amps have an XLR input so that a microphone can be plugged in for singing. Guitar amps that include a mic input are in effect small, portable PA systems. Some amps, typically bass amps, have an XLR connector to provide a balanced output from the preamp section to go into a PA system or recording input. Instrument amplifiers are available in a wide range of price, quality, and performance levels. Some are designed for beginners, such as small, low-wattage practice amps, which typically have a single 8" speaker and about 10 watts, or smaller "combo" amps with relatively low wattage (15 to 20 watts) and a single 10" speaker. Mid- to large-size "combo" amps with 30 to 50 watts and one 12" speaker or four 10" speakers are best for high-volume situations, such as band rehearsals and onstage performances. For large venues, such as outdoor music festivals, guitarists may use one or more 100 watt (or several hundred watt) heads with one or more 8x10” cabinets. Some guitar amps are strongly associated with specific instruments or genres, such as the Marshall amps, which are widely used in heavy metal music. Gjika Gold Amp ("Shawn Lane Amp) 1989 - Class A single-ended high-power 8-EL34 tube guitar amplifier that was used on Shawn Lane's Powers of Ten. Main article: Valve amplifier The glow from four "Electro Harmonix KT88" brand power tubes lights up the inside of a Traynor YBA-200 bass guitar amplifier Vacuum tubes (called "valves" in British English) were by far the dominant active electronic components in most instrument amplifier applications until the 1970s, when solid-state semiconductors (transistors) started taking over. Transistor amplifiers are less expensive to build and maintain, reduce the weight and heat of an amplifier, and tend to be more reliable and more shock-resistant. Tubes are fragile and they must be replaced and maintained periodically. As well, serious problems with the tubes can render an amplifier inoperable until the issue is resolved. In the 2000s, high-end tube instrument amplifiers (along with a small number of hi-fi power amplifiers used by audiophiles and high-end studio microphone preamplifiers) survive as the few exceptions, because of their perceived sound quality. Tube enthusiasts believe that tube amps produce a "warmer" sound and a more natural "overdrive" sound. Typically, tube amps use one or more dual triodes in the preamplifier section to provide sufficient voltage gain to offset tone control losses and drive the power amplifier section. While tube technology is, in many ways, outdated, tube amps remain popular since many guitarists prefer their sound. Rear view of a tube (valve) combo guitar amplifier. Visible are two glass output tubes, six smaller preamp tubes in their metal tube retainers, and both the power transformer and the output transformer. Since the 1980s, most inexpensive and mid-priced guitar amplifiers are based on transistor or semiconductor (solid-state) circuits. Some designs incorporate tubes in the preamp stage for their subjectively warmer overdrive sound—see "Hybrid amplifiers", below. Solid-state amplifiers are much cheaper to produce and more reliable, and they are usually much lighter than tube amplifiers. Solid state amps are less fragile than tube amps. High-end solid-state amplifiers are less common, since many professional guitarists tend to favor vacuum tubes. Some jazz guitarists, however, tend to favor the "cleaner" sound of solid-state amplifiers; only a few solid-state amps have enduring attraction, such as the Roland Jazz Chorus. Solid-state amplifiers vary in output power, functionality, size, price, and sound quality in a wide range, from practice amplifiers to combos suitable for gigging to professional models intended for session musicians who do studio recording work. A hybrid amplifier involves one of two combinations of tube and solid-state amplification. It may have a tube power amp fed by a solid-state pre-amp circuit, as in most of the original MusicMan Amps, later amplifier models from Alamo Electronics, the Fender Super Champ XD, and the Roland Bolt amplifier. Randall Amplifiers V2 and T2 use hybrid amp technology. Alternatively, a tube pre-amp can feed a solid-state output stage, as in models from Kustom, Hartke, SWR and Vox. This approach dispenses with the need for an output transformer and easily achieves modern power levels. A modeling amplifier, shown from above. Note the various amplifier and speaker emulations selectable via the rotary knob on the left. Microprocessor technology allows the use of digital onboard effects in guitar amps to create numerous different sounds and tones that simulate the sound of a range of tube amplifiers and different sized speaker cabinets, all using the same amplifier and speaker. These are known as modeling amplifiers, and can be programmed with simulated characteristic tones of different existing amplifier models (and speaker cabinets—even microphone type or placement), or dialed in to the user's taste. Many amps of this type are also programmable by way of USB connection to a home computer or laptop. Line 6 is generally credited with bringing modeling amplification to the market. Modeling amplifiers and stompbox pedals, rackmount units, and software that models specific amplifiers, speakers cabinets, and microphones can provide a large number of sounds and tones. Players can get a reasonable facsimile of the sound of tube amplifiers, vintage combo amplifiers, and huge 8x10” speaker stacks without bringing all that heavy equipment to the studio or stage. The use of "full range, flat response" (FRFR) amplification systems by electric guitarists has received an extra impetus from modeling amplifiers. Before widespread availability of modeling, guitarists did not commonly plug electric guitars straight into PA systems or powered speakers, because most genres relied on the tonal coloration of a regular guitar amplifier setup—from the preamplifier, equalization filters, power amp, guitar speakers, and cabinet design. The FRFR approach assumes the tone is shaped by sound processors in the signal chain before the amplifier and speaker stage, so it strives to not add further coloration. or dedicated combo-style amplifiers with a broad frequency range. Such processors can be traditional guitar effects, a modeling amplifier (without power amplifier), or a computer running tone-shaping software. Using a modeling amp or a multi effects pedal used with line level output, a guitarist can plug in the guitar into a flat response mic input or into a keyboard amplifier. Acoustic amplifiers are intended for acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments, especially for the way these instruments are used in relatively quiet genres such as folk and bluegrass. They are similar to keyboard amplifiers, in that they have a relatively flat frequency response with minimal coloration. To produce this relatively "clean" sound, these amplifiers often have powerful amplifiers (providing up to 800 watts RMS), to provide additional "Headroom" and prevent unwanted distortion. Since an 800 watt amplifier built with standard Class AB technology is heavy, some acoustic amplifier manufacturers use lightweight Class D amplifiers, which are also called "switching amplifiers." Acoustic amplifiers produce an uncolored, "acoustic" sound when used with acoustic instruments with built-in transducer pickups or microphones. The amplifiers often come with a simple mixer, so that the signals from a pickup and condenser microphone can be blended. Since the early 2000s, it has become increasingly common for acoustic amplifiers to provide a range of digital effects, such as reverb and compression. As well, these amplifiers often contain feedback-suppressing devices, such as notch filters or parametric equalizers. Main article: Vintage musical equipment Vintage guitar amps are guitar amplifier "heads", speaker cabinets and combo amp/speaker cabinets from the past which guitarists, record producers and bandleaders seek out for their unique tone. Some recording studios have a selection of the most popular vintage guitar combo amps, amp heads and speaker stacks, so that performers can get a retro sound. During the 1980s, when most guitar amps being manufactured used "solid state" semiconductor technology, many musicians seeking an older style of sound (for blues, roots rock, etc.) favored older amps that used vacuum tubes (called "valves" in the UK). Popular vintage models include the Fender Showman, Bassman and Vibroverb amps, and older models made by Ampeg, Gibson, Marshall, and Vox, as well as other smaller companies such as Valco, Danelectro, and Premier. Orange amplifier and cabinet from the 2000s with a look and design approach reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s. Vintage amplifiers can be very costly, due to their rarity. A less costly alternative is "reissued" vintage amplifiers. By the 1990s, many of these vintage amplifiers had become so popular and sought after, that manufacturers began to reissue some models, while newer, smaller companies built newly made amps that boasted a "vintage sound". The degree to which a "reissued" or "vintage style" guitar amp can recreate its historical equivalent varies from manufacturer and often also depends on the price point of the product. A relatively inexpensive "reissue" amp aimed at amateur guitarists will probably have less strict attention to historical detail than a high-priced reissue aimed at professional session musicians. Metal guitarist Klaus Eichstadt in front of his Marshall stack. A 3×6 stack of mock Marshall guitar cabinets for Jeff Hanneman of Slayer An amplifier stack consists of an amplifier head atop a speaker cabinet—a head on top of one cabinet is commonly called a half stack, a head atop two cabinets a full stack. The cabinet that the head sits on often has an angled top in front, while the lower cabinet of a full stack has a straight front. The first version of the Marshall stack was an amp head on an 8×12 cabinet, meaning a single speaker cabinet containing eight 12" guitar speakers. After six of these cabinets were made, the cabinet arrangement was changed to an amp head on two 4×12 (four 12" speakers) cabinets to make the cabinets more transportable. Some touring metal and rock bands have used a large array of guitar speaker cabinets for their impressive appearance. Some of these arrangements include only the fronts of speaker cabinets mounted on a large frame. There are many varieties of speaker combinations used in guitar speaker cabinets, including one 12" speaker, one 15" speaker (this is more common for bass amplifiers than for electric guitar cabinets), two 10" speakers, four 10" speakers, four 12" speakers, or eight 10" speakers. Less commonly, guitar cabinets may contain different sizes of speaker in the same cabinet. Cabinets with eight 10" speakers are large and heavy, and they are often equipped with wheels and a "towel bar"-style handle for transport. Some cabinets use mixed speaker types, such as one 15" speaker and two 10" speakers. Combo guitar amplifier cabinets and guitar speaker cabinets use several different designs, including the "open back" cabinet, the closed back cabinet (a sealed box), and, less commonly, bass reflex designs, which use a closed back with a vent or port cut into the cabinet. With guitar amps, most "open back" amp cabinets are not fully open; part of the back is enclosed with panels. Combo guitar amp cabinets and standalone speaker cabinets are often made of plywood. Some are made of MDF or particle board—especially in low-budget models. Cabinet size and depth, material types, assembly methods, type and thickness of the baffle material (the wood panel that holds the speaker), and the way the baffle attaches to the cabinet all affect tone. When two or more speakers are used in the same cabinet, or when two cabinets are used together, the speakers can be wired in parallel or in series, or in a combination of the two (e.g., two 2x10" cabinets, with the two speakers wired in series, can be connected together in parallel). Whether speakers are wired in parallel or in series affects the impedance of the system. Two 8 ohm speakers wired in parallel have 4 ohm impedance. Guitarists who connect multiple cabinets to an amplifier must consider the amp's minimum impedance. Parallel vs. series also affects tone and sound. Speakers wired in parallel slightly dampen[s] and restrain[s] them, giving what some describe as "tighter response" and "smoother breakup". Some describe speakers wired in series (usually no more than two) as sounding "...looser, giving a slightly more raw, open and edgy sound." A Marshall JCM 900's knobs for equalization, gain, reverb and volume. The relationship between power output in watts and perceived volume is not immediately obvious. The human ear perceives a 5-watt amplifier as half as loud as a 50-watt amplifier (a tenfold increase in power), and a half-watt amplifier is a quarter as loud as a 50-watt amp. Doubling the output power of an amplifier results in a "just noticeable" increase in volume, so a 100-watt amplifier is only just noticeably louder than a 50-watt amplifier. Such generalizations are also subject to the human ear's tendency to behave as a natural compressor at high volumes. For electric guitar amplifiers, there is often[vague] a distinction between "practice" or "recording studio" guitar amps, with output power ratings of less than one watt to 20 watts, and "performance" or "stage" amps of 30 watts or higher. Traditionally,[according to whom?] these have been fixed-power amplifiers,[jargon] with some models having a half-power switch to slightly reduce the listening volume while preserving power-tube distortion. Power attenuation[when defined as?] can be used with either low-power or high-power amplifiers, resulting in variable-power amplifiers. A high-power amplifier with power attenuation can produce power-tube distortion through a range of listening volumes, but with a decrease in high power distortion. Other technologies, such as dual rectifiers and the sag circuit[jargon]—which should not be confused with attenuation—allow high power amplifiers to produce low power volume while preserving high power distortion. Speaker efficiency is also a major factor affecting a tube amplifier's maximum volume. For bass instruments, higher-power amplifiers are needed to reproduce low-frequency sounds. While an electric guitarist would be able to play at a small club with a 50-watt amplifier, a bass player performing in the same venue would probably need an amplifier with 200 or more watts. Marshall is a popular amplifier manufacturer for metal and hard rock. Pictured is the MG15DFX guitar amplifier. Distortion is a feature available on many guitar amplifiers that is not typically found on keyboard or bass guitar amplifiers. Tube guitar amplifiers can produce distortion through pre-distortion equalization, preamp tube distortion, post-distortion EQ, power-tube distortion, tube rectifier compression, output transformer distortion, guitar speaker distortion, and guitar speaker and cabinet frequency response. Because many factors beyond preamp distortion contribute to a particular guitarist's sound, recording engineers and PA system techs typically put a microphone in front of the guitar speaker, rather than only use the guitar amp's pre-amp out signal. A sound engineer or music producer may send the DI out signal from the pickups to a separate track at the same time, so they can re-amp the signal later. In contrast, it is fairly common to use a DI box with electric bass. Distortion sound or "texture" from guitar amplifiers is further shaped or processed through the frequency response and distortion factors in the microphones (their response, placement, and multi-microphone comb filtering effects), microphone preamps, mixer channel equalization, and compression. Additionally, the basic sound produced by the guitar amplifier can be changed and shaped by adding distortion and/or equalization effect pedals before the amp's input jack, in the effects loop just before the tube power amp, or after the power tubes. Power-tube distortion is required for amp sounds in some genres. In a standard master-volume guitar amp, as the amp's final or master volume is increased beyond the full power of the amplifier, power tube distortion is produced. The "power soak" approach places the attenuation between the power tubes and the guitar speaker. In the re-amped or "dummy load" approach, the tube power amp drives a mostly resistive dummy load while an additional low power amp drives the guitar speaker. In the isolation box approach, the guitar amplifier is used with a guitar speaker in a separate cabinet. A soundproofed isolation cabinet, isolation box, isolation booth, or isolation room can be used. Even in the 2010s, the vintage Fender Bandmaster remains a sought-after amp by guitarists. Note the four inputs, two for regular sound and two that run through the on-board "vibrato" (tremolo) effect unit. The amp pictured is a 1968 model. A variety of labels are used for level attenuation potentiometers (knobs) in a guitar amplifier and other guitar equipment. Electric guitars and basses have a volume control on the instrument that attenuates the signal from selected pickups. There may be two volume controls on an electric guitar or bass, wired in parallel to mix the signal levels from the neck and bridge pickups. Rolling back the guitar's volume control also changes the pickup's equalization or frequency response, which can provide pre-distortion equalization. The simplest guitar amplifiers, such as some vintage amps and modern practice amps, have only a single volume control. Most have two volume controls: a first volume control called "preamplifier" or "gain" and a master volume control. The preamp or gain control works differently on different guitar amp designs. On an amp designed for acoustic guitar, turning up the preamp knob pre-amplifies the signal—but even at its maximum setting, the preamp control is unlikely to produce much overdrive. However, with amps designed for electric guitarists playing blues, hard rock and heavy metal music, turning up the preamp or gain knob usually produces overdrive distortion. Some electric guitar amps have three controls in the volume section: pre-amplifier, distortion and master control. Turning up the preamp and distortion knobs in varying combinations can create a range of overdrive tones, from a gentle, warm growling overdrive suitable for a traditional blues show or a rockabilly band to the extreme distortion used in hardcore punk and death metal. On some electric guitar amps, the "gain" knob is equivalent to the distortion control on a distortion pedal, and similarly may have a side-effect of changing the proportion of bass and treble sent to the next stage. The patch bay at the rear panel of this Line 6 Flextone guitar amp provides a number of additional inputs and outputs, including stereo XLR DI unit outputs. A simple, inexpensive amplifier may have only two tone controls, a passive bass and treble control. In some better quality amps, one or more midrange controls are provided. On the most expensive amps, there may be shelving equalizers for bass and treble, a number of mid-range controls (e.g., low mid, mid and high mid), and a graphic equalizer or parametric equalizer. The amplifier's master volume control restricts the amount of signal permitted through to the driver stage and the power amplifier. When using a power attenuator with a tube amplifier, the master volume no longer acts as the master volume control. Instead, the power attenuator's attenuation control controls the power delivered to the speaker, and the amplifier's master volume control determines the amount of power-tube distortion. Power-supply based power reduction is controlled by a knob on the tube power amp, variously labeled "wattage", "power", "scale", "power scale", or "power dampening".
Jump to navigation Jump to search Slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle genre of guitar music that originated in Hawaii. Its name refers to its characteristic open tunings: the English term is a translation of the Hawaiian kī hōʻalu, which means "loosen the [tuning] key". Most slack-key tunings can be achieved by starting with a guitar in standard tuning and detuning or "slacking" one or more of the strings until the six strings form a single chord, frequently G major. In the oral-history account, the style originated from Mexican cowboys in the late 19th century. These paniolo (a Hawaiianization of españoles—"Spaniards") provided guitars, taught the Hawaiians the rudiments of playing, and then left, allowing the Hawaiians to develop the style on their own. Musicologists and historians suggest that the story is more complicated, but this is the version that is most often offered by Hawaiian musicians. Slack-key guitar adapted to accompany the rhythms of Hawaiian dancing and the harmonic structures of Hawaiian music. The style of Hawaiian music that was promoted as a matter of national pride under the reign of King David Kalākaua in the late 19th century combined rhythms from traditional dance meters with imported European forms (for example, military marches), and drew its melodies from chant (mele and oli), hula, Christian hymns (hīmeni), and the popular music brought in by the various peoples who came to the Islands: English-speaking North Americans, Mexicans, Portuguese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Tahitians, and Samoans. The music did not develop a mainland audience during the Hawaiian music craze of the early 20th century, during which Hawaiian music came to be identified outside Islands with the steel guitar and the ukulele. Slack key remained private and family entertainment, and it was not even recorded until 1946–47, when Gabby Pahinui cut a series of records that brought the tradition into public view. During the 1960s and particularly during the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance of the 1970s, slack key experienced a surge in popularity and came to be seen as one of the most genuine expressions of Hawaiian spirit, principally thanks to Gabby Pahinui, Atta Isaacs, Leonard Kwan, Sonny Chillingworth, Raymond Kāne, and the more modern styles of younger players such as Keola Beamer, his brother Kapono Beamer, Peter Moon, and Haunani Apoliona. During this period, luthiers such as the Guitar and Lute Workshop in Honolulu specialized in the development and manufacture of guitars custom made to order for slack-key performance. Many currently prominent Hawaiʻi-based players got their starts during the Cultural Renaissance years: Cindy Combs, Ledward Kaapana, George Kahumoku, Jr., his brother Moses Kahumoku, Dennis Kamakahi, Ozzie Kotani, three Pahinui brothers (Bla, Cyril, and Martin), the Emerson Brothers and Owana Salazar. These artists, and slack key in general, have become well known outside Hawaiʻi largely through George Winston's Dancing Cat Records record label, which has most often showcased the music in solo settings. One indication of slack key's increasing visibility beyond the Islands is that the first four winners of the Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album were slack key collections: Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2 in 2005, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1 in 2006, Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar—Live from Maui and "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar – Live in Concert from Maui." Players from outside Hawaiʻi have also taken up the tradition, for example, Chet Atkins (who included slack key pieces on two of his albums), Yuki Yamauchi (a student of Raymond Kāne's and an advocate of Hawaiian music in Japan), pianist George Winston, and Canadian Jim "Kimo" West (perhaps better known as guitarist with "Weird Al" Yankovic). Kī hōʻalu is often characterized by the use of an alternating-bass pattern, usually played by the thumb on the lower two or three strings of the guitar, while the melody is played on the three or four highest strings, using any number of fingers. Many kī hōʻalu players incorporate various embellishments such as harmonics (chimes), the hammer-on, the pull-off, slides, and damping. Slack key compositions exhibit characteristics from indigenous Hawaiian and imported musical traditions. The vamp or turnaround (a repeated figure, usually at the end of a verse) is descended from the hula tradition, and other harmonic and structural features are descended from hīmeni and from the hula kuʻi encouraged by King David Kalakaua. Nearly all slack key requires retuning the guitar strings from the standard EADGBE, and this usually means lowering or "slacking" several strings. The result is most often a major chord, although it can also be a major-seventh chord, a sixth, or (rarely) a minor. There are examples of slack key played in standard tuning, but the overwhelming majority of recorded examples use altered tunings. The most common slack key tuning, called "taro patch," makes a G major chord. Starting from the standard EADGBE, the high and low E strings are lowered or "slacked" to D and the fifth string from A down to G, so the notes become DGDGBD. As the chart below shows, there are also major-chord tunings based on C, F, and D. Another important group of tunings, based on major-seventh chords, is called "wahine". G wahine, for example, starts with taro patch and lowers the third string from G to F♯, making DGDF♯BD. Wahine tunings have their own characteristic vamps (as in, for example, Raymond Kāne's "Punahele" or Gabby Pahinui's 1946 "Hula Medley") and require fretting one or two strings to form a major chord. A third significant group is Mauna Loa tunings, in which the highest pair of strings are a fifth apart: Gabby Pahinui often played in C Mauna Loa, CGEGAE. George Winston has identified fifty slack key tunings Some are only commonly used for a single song, or by particular players. Mike McClellan and George Winston have developed similar schemes that organize the tunings by key and type. The chart below follows their categories and naming conventions. ^ For example, Elizabeth Tatar, "Slack Key Guitar", in Hawaiian Music and Musicians, ed. George S. Kanahele, University Press of Hawaii, 350–360. ISBN 0-8248-0578-X ^ See updated and corrected liner notes to the compilation CD History of Slack Key Guitar, by Harry Soria, Jr., Jay Junker, and George Winston. ^ "Slack key wins first Hawaiian Grammy", by Tim Ryan, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 14, 2005 ^ "'Masters' of the Grammy", by John Burger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 9, 2006 ^ Derek Pavia (February 12, 2007). "Slack Key Snags Third Hawaiian Grammy". Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. ^ Tatar, "The Technique" and "The Chant Tradition" sections of "Slack Key Guitar" in Hawaiian Music and Musicians ^  George Winston's on-line Short History of Slack Key Guitar, "Chart of Recorded Tunings" ^ "Bio". Kawika. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
Jump to navigation Jump to search Guitar Center is an American music retailer chain. It is the largest company of its kind in the United States, with 269 locations. Its headquarters is in Westlake Village, California. Guitar Center oversees various subsidiaries including Music & Arts, GuitarCenter.com, LMI, Giardinelli, Musician.com, Private Reserve Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind, Music 123, and used to own Harmony Central until its April 2015 sale to Gibson. Founded in Hollywood by Wayne Mitchell in 1959 as The Organ Center, a retailer of electronic organs for home and church use, it became a major seller of Vox electric guitars and guitar amplifiers, changing its name to The Vox Center in 1964. Toward the end of the 1960s, Vox—whose sales derived largely from its association with The Beatles, who made extensive use of its amplifiers—fell in popularity as Marshall amplifier users Eric Clapton and others captured musicians' imaginations. Accordingly, Mitchell once again changed the name, this time to Guitar Center. Guitar Center West LA, Pico & Westwood, Los Angeles The popularity of rock and roll in the 1970s allowed Mitchell to open stores in San Francisco and San Diego, as well as several suburbs of Los Angeles. Ray Scherr, previously the general manager of the San Francisco store, purchased the company from Mitchell in the late 1970s. Scherr owned and operated it until 1996 from its Westlake Village headquarters. Although synthesizer-driven disco and new wave pop sapped rock's audience in the late 1970s, the 1980s "guitar rock" revival led by Van Halen and a concurrent influx of Japanese-produced instruments brought guitar sales to unprecedented levels. Guitar Center took full advantage of this sales bonanza, and by the end of the decade began an ambitious program of expansion across the entire United States. Using its size as leverage over the musical instrument business, it developed into the largest musical instrument retailer in the country, and made an initial public offering of stock in 1997. In 2005, Guitar Center, Inc., started The Fender Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports music education. Activision partnered with Guitar Center in 2006; all purchases made during game play of Guitar Hero, beginning with the second installment, are made in a virtual Guitar Center store. On June 27, 2007, Guitar Center agreed to a $1.9 billion buyout from Bain Capital, totaling $2.1 billion including debt. The deal was led by Goldman Sachs and amounted to a per-share price of $63, or a 26% premium on the June 26 closing price. The deal was approved by shareholders on September 18, 2007, and closed October 9, 2007. In mid-2009 Guitar Center opened the first of its rehearsal and lessons studio facility in Woodland Hills, California. The eight studios with full backline range in size from 350-550 square feet. Guitar Center also hosts annual events such as the Drum Off, King of the Blues, contests, and artist appearances throughout the nation. In 2011, Guitar Center added equipment rentals to the store in San Diego, California. Since, Guitar Center has opened rental departments in ten other existing locations and plans to offer rental services in various other stores across the country. In May 2013, Standard & Poor's cut its debt rating on Bain Capital-owned Guitar Center Holdings Inc to "junk bond" status, citing struggles with "weak operating trends." The corporate credit rating on the company dropped from 'B-' to 'CCC+'. In April 2014, Ares Management took a controlling stake in Guitar Center. Bain Capital, Guitar Center's former owner, retained partial ownership of the company, along with representation on the board. According to Mike Pratt, the retailer's previous chief executive, the deal will reduce Guitar Center's total debt and provide it with the resources to expand its footprint and invest in its business. In August 2014, Guitar Center opened a new 28,000 square foot flagship location in the heart of Times Square in New York City. The grand opening included a celebratory concert featuring the band The Roots. The Guitar Center Times Square location is now the permanent home of Eric Clapton's Blackie Fender Stratocaster, which Guitar Center purchased at a Christie's Crossroads Centre auction in 2004 for $959,000. In April, 2017, Moody's Investors Services revised the outlook on Guitar Center's B2 rating to negative, meaning it could downgrade the rating further into junk territory in the medium tern. The concern is that Guitar Center may be overwhelmed by its $1 billion debt in the face of flat sales in the musical instrument industry as a whole. First debuting in 2010, each episode of Guitar Center Sessions showcases exclusive live performances by noteworthy artists captured in hi-definition at Guitar Center's iconic Hollywood, CA location. Some past guests have included Linkin Park, Saint Motel, Wiz Khalifa, Billy Idol, The 1975, Sum 41, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Peter Gabriel, Alanis Morissette, 311, Megadeth, Snoop Dogg, Soundgarden, Seether, The Cult, CAKE, Jakob Dylan, Blondie, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Bush, Ben Folds Five, Korn, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, Skylar Grey, Peter Frampton, Frank Turner, Coheed and Cambria, and Jane’s Addiction. Guitar Center Sessions is hosted by Nic Harcourt, and was created, developed and produced by Guitar Center exclusively on DirecTV. Guitar Center Sessions has won several awards, including a Lumiere Award from the International 3D Society for the episodes featuring Jane's Addiction and Peter Gabriel. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Guitar Center asked Linkin Park to play a show on October 24, 2014; the performance first aired on DirecTV on December 5, 2014. The At: Guitar Center web series (formerly At: Guitar Center podcast) features interviews and intimate performances with some of the biggest names in music. Some past guests have included Travis Barker, Sevendust, T-Pain, Joe Bonamassa, The Crystal Method, Buddy Guy, Daughtry, Jimmy Cliff, Meiko, Rza, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Brandi Carlile, and Minus the Bear, The podcasts are available on the iTunes, Zune and BlackBerry networks and on the Guitar Center website. The show is hosted by Nic Harcourt. Connections Made by Guitar Center, a collaboration between 88.5 KCSN Los Angeles and Guitar Center, was a weekly one-hour radio program featuring fresh, new music from across the globe and musical spectrum. Signed or unsigned, the show offered an electric mix of progressive and innovative artists. The show was hosted by radio host and taste maker, Nic Harcourt. The “Guitar Center Legends Collection” consists of four classic guitars made famous by music legends Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and U2’s The Edge. Guitar Center purchased Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster, his vintage Gibson “ES-335,” and Vaughan’s “Lenny” Stratocaster for over $2.4 million from the Clapton Crossroads Centre charity auction at Christie's New York in 2004. They added The Edge’s cream white Gibson Les Paul Custom after purchasing it for $240,000 at the Music Rising Charity Auction in 2007. Over the years, the collection has been exhibited in one-of-a-kind, “Legends’ Collection” display cases, which provide high level protection and climate control as the instruments tour prestigious musical events and key Guitar Center locations, such as “Guitar Center Road to Crossroads” held at Madison Square Garden in conjunction with Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in April 2013. In August 2014, Clapton’s Blackie and ES-335 were moved to their new permanent location at Guitar Center’s Times Square flagship location. Clapton's “Blackie” was purchased by Guitar Center for $959,500. Clapton’s Cherry Red Gibson “335,” purchased for $847,500, was used to record Cream’s versions of “Badge” and “Crossroads (from their final live performance in November 1968),” as well as many other historical performances, during his 40 years of ownership. Steve Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny,” which was purchased for $623,500, was used to record his classic love songs including “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.” All of the proceeds from these three guitars purchased by Guitar Center were for the benefit of Clapton’s Crossroads Centre charity. The Edge's cream colored 1975 Les Paul Custom (faded from its original white) found fame as a go-to guitar for stage and studio on many of U2’s most famous recordings and performances. In 2005, The Edge partnered with producer Bob Ezrin, Gibson and the Guitar Center Music Foundation (now known as the Fender Music Foundation) to establish Music Rising, a charity founded to benefit musicians whose lives were torn apart by Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, he donated this prized guitar to be auctioned for the cause. The winning bid was $240,000 from Guitar Center ($288,000 including Buyers Premium). Since 1988, Guitar Center has held an annual search for the next great undiscovered drummer. Developed to spotlight the drumming community, Guitar Center’s Drum-Off is the music retailer’s longest running artist-discovery program, providing an outlet for drummers to be recognized for their skill and attain success in their field. For over a quarter of a century, the program has unearthed some of the day’s top undiscovered drummers and provided a platform for established drummers to be acknowledged. Guitar Center’s Drum-Off breaks down into three rounds of store preliminary competitions at 250+ Guitar Center locations nationwide. Every contestant is allowed five minutes of set up time and three minutes to perform. One winner from each store finals competition is chosen to move up to the quarterfinals, (hosted at 30 Guitar Center locations nationwide), followed by semi-finals at five store locations at which point performance time is increased to allow five minutes to each contestant. The winners from these five semifinal locations convene in Los Angeles, CA to compete in Guitar Center’s Drum Off finals in front of a live audience and a panel of celebrity judges. Each contestant is required to perform on a 5-piece acoustic drum kit complete with hardware, cymbals, cowbell, throne and the option to incorporate the Roland SPD-30 Octapad into the competition kit. As of 2016 however, the SPD-30 Octapad will no longer be part of the competition kit. All contestants are evaluated by a panel of independent and credible judges on the following criteria: skills & technique, groove, originality, stage presence, and overall performance. In years past, some of the world’s most renowned drummers have participated in and supported Guitar Center’s Drum-Off, including: Terry Bozzio, Aaron Spears (Usher), Dennis Chambers (Parliament/Funkadelic), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Steve Gadd, Questlove (The Roots), Travis Barker (Blink-182), Tommy Lee (Motley Crüe), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Carmine Appice, John Tempesta (The Cult), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Steve Smith, Gavin Harrison, Jojo Mayer, Thomas Lang, Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle), José Pasillas (Incubus), Billy Cobham, Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Danny Carey (Tool), Brann Dailor (Mastodon), John Blackwell, and more. According to their website, and as of 2017, Guitar Center will no longer sponsor the annual drumoff. Instead, Guitar Center announced it will create a community outreach program specifically geared toward drummers. RockWalk RockWalk detail The Sunset Boulevard location in Los Angeles hosts Hollywood's RockWalk, a hall of fame honoring musical artists. Artists are invited to place their handprints into cement blocks that are put on display at the Guitar Center. Some past inductees have included B'z, Eric Clapton, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alanis Morissette, B.B. King, Black Sabbath, Carlos Santana, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard , Dick Clark, Ernie Ball, Herbie Hancock, Iron Maiden, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, KISS, Les Paul, Little Richard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Melissa Etheridge, Nancy Wilson, Slash, The Doobie Brothers, The Wrecking Crew, Van Halen, Simon Kirke, as well as countless others. A Guitar Center retail store in Houston In 2000, Guitar Center purchased mail order and Internet retail house Musician's Friend for $50 million, asserting that the merged company was the world's largest seller of musical instruments. Musician's Friend became a wholly owned subsidiary that was headquartered in Medford, Oregon until 2011, when Musician's Friend's headquarters operations were gradually consolidated into Guitar Center's facilities in Westlake Village, California. In 2005, Guitar Center Inc. acquired Music & Arts, the largest school music dealer in the United States, and merged their subsidiary band and orchestral chain American Music Group into Music & Arts (as the company was renamed). Music & Arts was founded in 1952 in Bethesda, Maryland and sells band and orchestra instruments, guitars, keyboards, drum sets, printed sheet music, and related supplies. In the summer of 2006, Guitar Center purchased four stores in Texas from the popular South Texas and Central/South American company, Hermes. In February 2007, the direct response division of Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, purchased assets of the Indiana-based company Dennis Bamber, Inc., which included leading band and orchestra retailer, Woodwind and Brasswind, plus Music 123 and Lyons Music. There was a television series known as Guitar Center Sessions, which featured artists such as 311, Bad Religion, and Smashing Pumpkins.
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