As musicians, many of us often find ourselves wrapping up instrument cables, microphone cables, extension cords, and all the other sorts of stringy things a musician might require to shred.
Here at Sylvan Music, we see a lot of instrument cables, coiled and otherwise, and I am here to tell you that not all cables are coiled equally. There is a right and a wrong way to wrap up a cable.
It might be a bit more time consuming, but coiling cables properly will make them easier to unwrap when you’re setting up, and will extend the life of the cable by not adding unnecessary twists and kinks.
So then “how do I wrap up a cable properly,” you ask? One tried and true method is the “over and under.” To do this yourself follow the steps listed below:
1. Take cable end in your left hand with jack facing away from you.
2. Make the first loop by grabbing the cable 12-18 inches down with right hand, make a forward circle, and place the cable in your stationary left hand.
3. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Continuing to hold the cable in your left hand, take hold of the cable with your right hand about 12 to 18 inches down from your left hand as you did in step 2, except this time, turn your right hand over so that your palm is facing up when you place the cable in your right hand (the cable should cross the palm of your right hand from left to right, not right to left).
4. Continuing to hold the cable with both hands, and without moving your left hand, move your right hand toward your left hand while rotating your right hand so that when it reaches your left hand the back of your right hand is now facing up instead of your palm. The cable has now “looped” inward creating your second loop.
5. Continue Steps 2 through 4 until your cable is nicely coiled!
If that was too confusing, which let’s be honest, it was, check out this video where pro cable winder Chris Babbie explains this method.
Here's a question we hear all the time in the shop: Is it better to learn on an acoustic or an electric guitar?
The short answer is, neither. One isn’t inherently better or worse than the other for a new player. It’s true that the basic techniques involved in playing the guitar are fairly universal. They all have strings and are (usually) played with two hands. They are (again, usually) tuned the same way, and most have frets, etc.
It’s also true that each category of guitar has unique sonic properties and abilities, which, in the long run, have the potential to lead a player down very different musical paths.
When selecting your first guitar, you’ll typically have 3 basic categories to choose from: Acoustic Steel String, Acoustic Nylon String, and Electric. What matters most to begin with is what style of music you are hoping to eventually learn, as each type of guitar will have its own unique sound and feel.
If you want to learn how to play loud rock & roll, for instance, at some point you’re likely going to want an electric guitar and an amplifier. That doesn’t mean you can’t rock out on an acoustic guitar, but no acoustic guitar is ever going to sound exactly like an amplified electric guitar.
If you’re into classical guitar music, as a contrast, a nylon string acoustic guitar will get you the sound you’re looking for.
If you’re anything like me, and are interested in many styles of music, acoustic and electric, then you can’t really go wrong. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll likely end up with at least one of each kind anyway.
In that case, having an acoustic to begin with means playing the thing is as easy as picking it up and putting your hands on it, without any messing about with cables and electricity. This makes the acoustic much more portable as well.
Nylon strings are much easier on the fingers and steel strings have a bigger sound. Steel strings are also what most people associate with as an acoustic guitar, though not always.
Any of the folks here at Sylvan, myself included, would be happy to guide you you to an instrument that you’ll be excited to pick up and play, which is the most important thing! Our shop has one of the best selections of guitars out there, and the best thing to do is come down check them out for yourself!
It’s no secret that I love Nash Guitars! I purchased my first Nash P-Bass about nine months ago and I couldn’t be happier with it. However, I was a fan years before I ever took the plunge and bought one.
Without looking at the decal on the headstock, most people assume these are a creation of the Fender Custom Shop, with the neck artfully worn down to simulate years of play wear and thin nitrocellulose lacquer that lets the wood breath unlike the thick, glossy Polyurethane finish that has become the standard on most new guitars. The whole mission of Nash Guitars is to make guitars the way they used to be made.
Nash relic’s their guitars, giving them that 'lived-in' vibe that people either love or really hate (more on that in my next blog post). While they mostly deal in recreations of 50s and 60’s Fender guitars and basses they also have a growing line of guitars like the Wayfarer model that are uniquely their own. While Nash Guitars are great off the rack, one of their biggest selling points is that they allow clients to customize their own guitars. From style of body & fingerboard to custom color (matching headstock even!) all the way to neck profile & pickups. They even let you choose what year you want your instrument to closest resemble as well as just how beat up it should be.
Since I'm a lefty, what really drew me to Nash was that they faithfully recreate models that Fender no longer offers in a left-handed version. I got to customize my bass exactly the way I wanted for a fraction of what it would have cost to go through the Fender Custom Shop. Since the guitar world can be tough for us left-handers who can feel marginalized by the lack of products offered to us and the hefty price tag that often accompanies what is available, it’s nice to have companies like Nash out there.
Since receiving my Nash it has become my go-to bass on stage and in the studio and I couldn’t be happier with its feel, sound, and look.
So whether you’re a lefty or righty, into newer instruments or a vintage gear geek, Nash Guitars are definitely worth checking out.
Tune in for my next blog post when I tackle the divisive topic of guitar Relic’ing!
Why do electric guitars sound terrible when plugged directly into a computer for recording with applications like GarageBand or Sonar?
One way to look at it is this: The output signal of an electric guitar is “analog” and to get good, quality, sound into a computer, that signal needs to be converted to “digital” instead. In order to change the guitar’s output from analog to digital it’s necessary to use a device called an “audio interface.” In addition to converting audio to digital, an audio interface offers some additional benefits:
If you’re planning to record your electric guitar, bass or any instrument with an electric output, then an audio interface is definitely the way to go.
Thanks & enjoy!
I recently made the pilgrimage to week one of Coachella 2019 and I want to highlight two bands who really shined this year and give you a super quick rundown of some of the amazing guitars they rocked with. All you Coachella haters out there (and trust me, I understand where you’re coming from) bear with me. For all your gripes and grumbles about DJ’s and Hipsters, it can be an incredible experience. Three days and nights of debauchery in the Southern California desert appreciating art, eating good food and hearing some of the best bands in the world is worth a visit in one’s lifetime. Even if, *Gasp*, you don’t like the lineup. Just some food for thought.
Anyway. Let’s talk bands and guitars. First and foremost…
Hot damn this band is good. They tore it up at the Gobi Tent in a 9:20 PM time slot with a blistering show, blending the sounds of Thai Funk, Middle-Eastern Psychadelic, and Classic Soul, to put it mildly. The Houston three piece easily set themselves apart as one of the most technically proficient groups at the festival, and their gear as is cool as they are.
Lead guitarist Mark Speer tours with and shredded on one single guitar: his 2001 Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster. Speer hot-rodded the Strat with DiMarzio Cruiser pickups in the neck and bridge as well as extra-large frets and a TUSQ saddle and string trees, for ultimate bending. His reverb drenched sound oozes from his ‘68 Custom Deluxe and the crowd ate it up.
Bassist Laura Lee on the other hand grooved on an SX Vintage Series bass with wound strings (sweet) that haven’t been changed since she got it in 2010 (yuck). She runs it through a vintage Fender Bassman amp, and boy oh boy did it thump. All said and done she nearly burned the place down her rhythm was so fire.
These cats are everywhere right now, so just because Coachella is over doesn’t mean you can’t still catch them at a venue near you.
Do yourself a favor and go see The 1975 play, because live performance is where this Manchester based pop group really stands out. I don’t follow this band religiously, or listen to them on the reg even, but I’ve seen them a couple times at different venues and they consistently impress me with a good vibe, high energy, face melting, 80’s synth inspired rock show. This time was around was no exception. They lit up the Coachella Main Stage in a 8:25 PM time slot, and it seemed like the entire festival came out to see these guys play.
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Matt Healey played an industry classic, the indomitable Gibson ES-335, (we’ve got a couple of these in the shop, hint hint) and it sounded so good it brought a wee tear to my eye. He also has a penchant for playing vintage Fender Mustangs (have those too, hint hint hint) , but I love me a hollowbody, mmmhmm.
Somebody call the Ninja Turtles, because lead guitarist Adam Hann was one serious shredder, laying into a 2018 forest green Fender Elite Strat that brought some sweet tones to their dreamy, 80’s esque, electronic sound. He also played his usual 1962 white Fender Jaguar out of two gorgeous Hiwatt 50w Custom 2x12 Combos, and for one song, his infamous Music Man John Petrucci JP6 out of super sexy, super clean, Fender Deville. Woof.
Okay folks, that’s all this time around. I got blisters on my typing fingers and I’m still suffering from post festival depression. I’m going to take a long nap and dream about sweet vintage gear, bands and outstanding shows of Coachella past and future.
Vaya con dios.