2018 Fender Custom Shop Prestige Collection

Go Inside the 2018 Fender Custom Shop Prestige Collection

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The Prestige Collection, on display at the 2018 NAMM Show, pushes the limits of guitar building every year.

Photo: Mark Keraly

Each year at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif., the master builders in the Fender Custom Shop showcase some of their finest work in the Prestige Collection, a group of guitars and basses that are truly design marvels.

2018’s edition was no different, as each of the models proved to be breathtaking.

“The Prestige Collection is the foundation of the Fender Custom Shop,” said Fender Custom Shop Vice President of Product Development Mike Lewis. “It’s really what we’re all about – continually pushing the envelope of design innovation and craftsmanship to create one-of-a-kind playable works of art.”

Among this year’s Prestige Collection is a massive nine-necked guitar made by Master Builder Paul Waller and a Pinball Telecaster created by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov using parts and materials from a vintage pinball machine.

Get a closer look at Fender’s 2018 Prestige Collection below.

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(L to R)

Jason Smith’s California Mission PJ Bass is an homage to the California Missions lining the coast of the Golden State. The inspiration for this came from his son studying the California Mission Trail in school, which led to a summer vacation trip up the coast of California to see all 21 missions. This bass is inspired by the San Francisco Mission in particular, as Smith was drawn to the hand-painted pattern of the ceiling and ceiling beams. Featuring a reclaimed roasted pine body and roasted maple neck, this bass has a very warm, resonate tone, reminiscent of a vintage bass. The hand-painted body and position markers on the neck show brush strokes, which give the bass a one-of-a-kind look and style. With its unique features, the California Mission PJ Bass will appeal to bassists wanting something different and to anyone interested in California history.

Dale Wilson’s Buckeye Burl Top Tele pairs a buckeye burl top with a lightly flamed mahogany body and Ivroid-bound mahogany neck. This high-end natural wood guitar features an open sound with a Curtis Novak gold foil pickup in the neck position.

Greg Fessler’s Australian Myrtle Tele was born from a unique piece of Blackwood that Fessler had never heard of before. Ideal for figured wood aficionados and players alike, this guitar features P-90 pickups, a vintage Strat hardtail bridge and AAAA roasted flame maple neck with a Blackwood fingerboard.

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(L to R)

Dennis Galuszka’s The Boardwalk Telecaster is for beach and wood-lovers alike. Inspired by some reclaimed redwood from the Santa Cruz pier, the guitar features a perfectly matched roasted maple neck, as well as a carving of an old weathered boardwalk on the top, by V. Lee Cabanilla.

Yuriy Shishkov’s Prehistoric Telecaster features a body and fingerboard are made from nearly 5,000-year-old, Jet Black “Bog Oak” – coming from a tree that grew before the Egyptian Pyramids were built. This wood was submerged in the swamp for thousands of years, getting a Jet Black color because it’s one step away from becoming coal. The Telecaster also features a custom tailpiece, making it even more of a unique instrument.

Todd Krause’s Fire Pit Stratocaster is inspired by the glowing embers of a campfire. This guitar includes several custom features, including the color, a highly figured quilt top and “roasted” flame maple neck-ideal for players that favor a modern look with vintage sound.

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(L to R)

John Cruz’s Custom Hand Tooled Paisley Leather Tele_ builds on the resurgence of paisley designs. Cruz was inspired by friend Dru Whitefeather to create a leather guitar. Something new and unique to the Fender Custom Shop, the guitar features a leather covering, paisley design and custom inlay work that will surely appeal to collectors, artists and players.

Paul Waller’s Prestige 9-Neck Guitar features nine popular pre-CBS models and scales Fender produced before 1965. Necks featured include those from a four-string mandolin, Mustang, Jaguar, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Bass VI, Jazz Bass and Precision Bass.

See more from the Fender Custom Shop here.

Contact Conner about Custom Shop  connor@napervillemusic.com

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Fender’s Gold Sparkle 2018 Grammy Guitars

First Look: Fender’s Gold Sparkle 2018 Grammy Guitars

The 60th-annual Grammy Awards took take place on Sunday January 28th, and there were over 30 Fender artists included in the list of this 2018 nominations.

From Bruno Mars set to potentially add to his stacked resume of Grammy honors to talented up-and-comers like K.Flay and Daniel Ceasar being recognized for the first time, all of these artists were responsible for music loved by countless fans around the world in the past year.

In appreciation for the acknowledgement by their peers in the music industry and the Recording Academy (and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this time-honored ceremony), Fender created an assortment of Gold Sparkle American Professional guitars as a gift to the many nominated artists with a passion for the Fender brand. Whether it’s a Stratocaster, Telecaster or Jazzmaster, these guitars truly stand out.

Below, get a closer look at the Gold Sparkle Grammy guitars and a rundown of nominated Fender artists:

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  • Bruno Mars: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album
  • Brody Brown: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song
  • James Fauntleroy: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song
  • NO I.D.: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)
  • Alessia Cara: Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Music Video
  • Blake Mills: Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)
  • Brent Cobb: Best Americana Album
  • Bruce Springsteen: Best Spoken Word Album
  • Chris Stapleton: Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song
  • Code Orange: Best Metal Performance,
  • Daniel Caesar: Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performance
  • Foo Fighters: Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song
  • Greg Kurstin: Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), Best Song Written for Visual Media
  • Jason Isbell: Best Americana Album, Best Americana Roots Song
  • Julian Lage: Best Contempmorary Instrumental Album
  • K.Flay: Best Rock Song
  • Kaleo: BEst Rock Performance
  • Kesha: Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Performance
  • LCD Soundsystem: Best Alternative Music Album, Best Dance Recording
  • Lady Gaga: Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Performance
  • Mura Masa: Best Dance/Electronic Album, Best Recording Package
  • Portugual. The Man: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
  • Steve Lacy
  • The Chainsmokers: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
  • The Mavericks: Best Americana Album, Best Americana Roots Song
  • The National: Best Recordings Package, Best Alternative Music Album
  • Troy Sanders (Mastodon): Best Metal Performance, Best Rock Album
  • Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age): Best Rock Album
  • The War On Drugs: Best Rock Album
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Flying With Your Guitar

Flying With Your Guitar

Flying with your guitar

TSA lock on a guitar case. Airline security personnel can open and re-lock these for inspection purposes when you’re not present (they can break non-TSA locks if they have to).

TSA lock on a guitar case. Airline security personnel can open and re-lock these for inspection purposes when you’re not present (they can break non-TSA locks if they have to).

If you’re like most guitarists, you view the prospect of taking a guitar you care about on a commercial flight with something ranging from unnerving trepidation to outright dread.

And well you should, since we all know how delicate airline baggage handlers can often be. We’re reminded of that time in 2008 when United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago nearly destroyed passenger Dave Carroll’s $3,500 acoustic guitar, and Carroll struck back after a year of unsuccessful attempts at redress by posting a video for a charmingly scathing ditty of his called “United Breaks Guitars.” A viral hit, the song racked up 4 million views in just over a week, after which United finally offered to compensate Carroll. Several news outlets somewhat dubiously reported that the airline’s share value subsequently dipped by ten percent; what’s certain is that United definitely got tons of bad press in the wake of the turbulent incident despite the fact that it doesn’t actually break a lot of guitars.

Your best bet is to avoid checking your baggage because it will likely get tossed around like a rag doll by baggage handlers who have an Everest of luggage to load and a very tight schedule to keep.

Baggage hold of an Airbus A320 airliner, typical of the space in which your guitar accompanies you on your trip.

Baggage hold of an Airbus A320 airliner, typical of the space in which your guitar accompanies you on your trip.

Instead, take it to the gate with you, which is where things sometimes get tricky. Although you currently have the right to carry a musical instrument on board or check it in, it’s not unusual for customer service agents and flight crews to order the instruments into the cargo hold.Fortunately, the Department of Transportation has announced that “Carriers must allow passengers to stow their small musical instruments [guitars, violins, etc.] in an approved stowage area in the cabin.” The new rule is due to take effect on March 6, 2015, and will allow those traveling with guitars to board the aircraft and store it in a forward closet or, if size permits, an overhead compartment.

For larger instruments, sometimes it is possible to secure them to a seat as “seat baggage” or “cargo in passenger cabin.” Carriers are required to place large instruments in the cabin if the passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument (which must also be in a case and not exceed 165 pounds or applicable weight restrictions for the plane).

Also, before you two fly together, loosen your guitar’s strings by a whole step or so. In aircraft baggage holds, guitars are subjected to significant changes in temperature and pressure, both of which can harm the body and neck if the strings remain tuned as usual. Not too loose, though—you want some string tension; just not the regular full amount.

If you still decide to go the route of checked baggage, the U.S. Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division offers several sensible tips on avoiding baggage problems:

  • Don’t put items that are valuable, fragile or irreplaceable in checked baggage (a guitar can be any one or all three). Carry such items with you.
  • Like any checked bags, guitar cases may need to be opened for security inspections away from your presence. Use a case with TSA locks, which airport security personnel can open and re-lock (security staff will break non-TSA-approved locks if necessary).
  • Tag your guitar case on the outside with your name, home address, and personal and work phone numbers. Airlines provide free stick-on tags; most offer “privacy tags” that conceal this information from passers-by.
  • Put the same information inside your guitar case, and add an address and telephone number where you can be reached at your destination city.
  • Don’t check in at the last minute. This is good advice anyway, but just barely making your flight all but ensures that your baggage will be handled roughly—if it makes the flight with you at all.
  • If you check your guitar, be sure to get a claim check. Do not lose the claim check.
  • If possible, choose flights that minimize the potential for baggage disruption. The likelihood of your guitar going astray increases as the numbers of stops and connections increases. Go nonstop if you can.
  • Buy “excess valuation” from the airline if your guitar is worth more than the airline’s liability limit.
  • If your guitar case arrives open, unlocked or visibly damaged, check immediately to see if anything inside is missing or damaged.
  • On arriving at your destination airport and receiving your guitar case, open it to see if anything inside is missing or damaged. Report any problems to your airline before you leave the airport. Insist that the airline fill out a form and give you a copy. Get the agent’s name and an appropriate phone number for following up (not the number for reservations).

Also, an Air Transport Association (ATA) hard case can provide great protection for your guitar. On the low end, you can usually get one of these for around $250—well worth it if you’ve made a big investment in your instrument. You might also want to pad the neck and headstock with bubble wrap (the headstock is typically the most fragile part of a guitar)—use enough to make it slightly difficult to close your case.

By using common sense and observing these guidelines and precautions, your guitar will most likely arrive with you at your destination intact and unharmed. Horror stories aside, the odds are in your favor—the December 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report notes that in October 2014, the 12 U.S. airlines listed therein amassed 143,000 mishandled baggage reports (loss and damage) for 49.9 million passengers. That’s 2.87 reports for every 1,000 passengers, and we can probably safely assume that not all of those incidents involved guitars.

Written by on December 1, 2010

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Violinist to introduce Naperville to healing power of music

A local arts group is hoping a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra can inspire the Naperville community to develop a means of bringing classical music to underserved populations.

Vijay Gupta will be in Naperville at the end of February to speak about how music inspires hope and how all people are connected by a human need for art. His visit is being hosted by Naperville-based ARTSpeaks, a group that raises awareness of the role of the arts in public education.

An accomplished violinist, the Indian-American made his solo debut at age 11 with the Israel Philharmonic. Eight years later, Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic after having completed an undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s degree in violin performance.

Since then, Gupta founded Street Symphony, a nonprofit organization that brings to live classical music to the homeless and to those incarcerated in the Los Angeles County jail system.

During his Feb. 26-28 visit, Gupta will address high school students and educators at Naperville School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204.

He also will give a community talk on “The Power of Music to Heal” at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in North Central College’s Wentz Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., in Naperville. Admission is free, but a ticket is required and can be obtained at finearts.northcentralcollege.edu by clicking on the Feb. 27 date.

Charles “Chip” Staley said he’s been working to bring Gupta to Naperville since ARTSpeaks was created six years ago.

Staley, the organization’s chairman, thinks Gupta’s message of music being essential to human life will resonate with Naperville-area residents.

Among the ideas Gupta will explore is the connection between music and mental health and how his work as director of Street Symphony can lift people from the darkness they’re experiencing.

Many of the people Gupta and his fellow musicians reach would never get the opportunity or have the money to hear quality, live classical music, Staley said. “They don’t have access to music. They can’t go to a symphony,” he said.

What Gupta has learned, Staley said, is how much the music gives people hope so they can envision their lives outside their current condition.

In cities like Naperville, people feel connected to their community, he said. But people who are homeless, incarcerated or transient often are treated as separate or hidden, he said. Music can be that link.

“We’re all connected as human beings,” Staley said. “We all share a common bond through the arts” The problem is “some people have access to art; some people don’t.”

Staley said he’d like to see Gupta’s talks inspire partnerships between Naperville businesses, schools, civic groups and social service agencies to bring music to people who don’t have access to it. What form that takes will be up to people’s imaginations, he said.

The violinist’s trip to Naperville won’t be all talk. Gupta will spend a portion of his time practicing what he preaches by performing at a local homeless shelter, Staley said.

“Ultimately it’s an introduction of ideas on serving the underserved and helping people have an elevated view of the future,” he said.


Twitter @SBakerSun1

This article originated at the Naperville Sun/Chicago Tribune and is reposted as a public service

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Martin Guitar to Introduce Reimagined Standard Series Guitars at 2018 Winter NAMM

Martin Guitar to Introduce Reimagined Standard Series Guitars at 2018 Winter NAMM

NAZARETH, Pa. (Winter NAMM, HALL D Booth 5602) – January 11, 2018 – C.F. Martin & Co.® (Martin Guitar) will introduce their reimagined Standard Series guitars at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, California. Collectively, this will be the most significant update to the company’s flagship line of guitars in its 185-year history.

The guitars in Martin’s reimagined Standard Series, from styles 28 to 45, have been the guitars of choice for famous players such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Hank Williams, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Cobain, Beck, Eric Clapton, and countless others. They’ve been woven into the very fabric of our history for generations and across all genres of pop culture, and continue to inspire musicians worldwide.

“I challenged my coworkers to help me with the significant task of modernizing guitars whose origins go back to the 1930s (and earlier),” said Chris Martin. “As you might imagine, the discussions were quite animated. Fortunately, we all knew we were working toward a common goal: How can we modernize traditional Martin Guitar models while continuing to honor our rich history and heritage? Well, together we met that challenge head-on, and the results far exceeded my expectations.

“Changing this many models that are so iconic to the company and music industry all at once was a real challenge,” says Fred Greene, Martin’s Senior Director of Product Management. “But our team did an incredible job in choosing appointments and improvements that make these instruments even better.”

The most notable updates to the line include the addition of a modern high performance neck that is thinner and more comfortable for the player, and vintage appointments, including aging toner and open-gear tuners. There have been changes to internal features as well that include scalloped and forward-shifted top bracing, depending on the style. The bottom line? When you put all of the changes together, the result is a Martin Standard Series line that looks, plays, and sounds better than ever before.

For further details on the entire reimagined Standard Series, please visit www.martinguitar.com/standard.

About Martin Guitars and Strings
C.F. Martin & Co.® has been inspiring musicians worldwide for 185 years with their superior guitar and string products. Martin guitars and strings remain the choice for musicians around the world for their unrivaled quality, craftsmanship, and tone. Martin guitars and strings can be seen and heard throughout the company’s long history, across all genres of music, and in all segments of pop culture from concert and theater stages to television and movies.

With an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible manufacturing practices, Martin continually drives the acoustic guitar market forward, introducing innovative features that have become standards across the industry. These groundbreaking innovations include the introduction of X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and the “Dreadnought” size guitar. In strings, Martin has also led strings innovations, such as introducing the first high-tensile strength steel-string core wire, the first nickel acoustic strings (Martin Retro), and now their proprietary Titanium Core strings, which offer unmatched stability, tone, comfort, and longevity.

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Martin Guitar’s Commitment to the Environment

Martin Guitar’s Commitment to the Environment

Martin Guitar is committed to corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship. To support this commitment, Martin chose the Rainforest Alliance as their certifying body to achieve Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Chain-of-Custody certification. Being FSC® certified indicates that Martin complies with one of the highest social and environmental standards on the market. By offering products that are FSC® certified by the Rainforest Alliance, Martin supports responsible management of the world’s forests. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) label coupled with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal on selected guitars lets consumers know that the wood used comes from forests that have met rigorous standards for protecting forestlands, communities and wildlife.

The Rainforest Alliance, which helped to establish the FSC® in 1993, today works in over 70 countries to promote strong forests and healthy communities. In 2009 Martin was one of the first acoustic guitar manufacturers in the industry to produce a guitar model comprised entirely of FSC® certified woods. The D Mahogany included a genuine mahogany neck, back and sides, an Alpine spruce soundboard and katalox fingerboard and bridge.

Martin Guitar is audited annually by the Rainforest Alliance regarding FSC® Chain-of-Custody certification compliance. Many coworkers across all functional areas are involved in maintaining our FSC® compliance.


Martin Guitar’s collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance on the #FollowTheFrog campaign engages companies and consumers in the mission of sustainability and highlights the positive impact of products that carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.

Phase 1 of Martin Guitar’s engagement with the #FollowTheFrog campaign kicks off August 8, 2016 and will chronicle the manufacturing of a Martin guitar that meets the strict standards of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) as certified by the Rainforest Alliance. View the photo gallery to follow along.

Through Martin Guitar’s various social media platforms and website, you can #FollowTheFrog as our skilled luthiers take you throughout the journey of the instrument’s production, from conception to the final stage of adorning it with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal,  featuring the organization’s iconic tree frog, inside the guitar.

The Martin Guitar #FollowtheFrog journey continues in early 2017, when James Valentine, Martin Ambassador and lead guitarist of Maroon 5, is presented with the instrument and plays an exciting role in Martin Guitar’s activation of the global Rainforest Alliance #FollowTheFrog campaign.

Learn more about the #FollowTheFrog initiative.

Read the official press release.

View the #FollowTheFrog Gallery

Watch A Word From Chris: #FollowTheFrog


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Why Are Jazzmasters Still So Popular?

Why Are Jazzmasters Still So Popular?

Not that long ago, I did an AMA on reddit where I had the chance to field some questions about Reverb, vintage guitars and the gear market in general. A question came up that I had heard before that really got my wheels turning: what accounts for the surge in popularity with Jazzmasters in recent years?

The increased ubiquity of Jazzmasters and other offset guitars is not a new phenomenon, but it’s certainly one that’s still going strong. Fender has expanded their catalog of Jazzmaster options in the past couple years with a number of models, including a MIM Standard Jazzmaster, not to mention the seemingly endless list of non-Fender offset options. This class includes high-end vintage homages from the likes of Fano and Nash, as well as more modern interpretations from makers like Kauer, Bilt and dozens of others.

The popularity of the body shape and style is clear, but the question still remains: how has this once overlooked model earned its station as the go-to axe for countless up-and-coming bands from an expanding range of genres? Here are some of my theories based on close observations of the market and first-hand accounts from various players, collectors and sellers.

The Influence of Indie Rock

Perhaps the most obvious justification for this trend is the ever-increasing popularity of that most amorphous genre of popular music: indie rock. In the ’80s, when indie rock as a tangible style was taking form (see Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life for more on this topic), used Jazzmasters were cheap compared to Strats, Les Pauls and other mainstream models. This meant that players in budget-minded bands — or bands like Sonic Youth that enjoyed monkeying with their instruments — could find used ones on the cheap in pawn shops and guitar stores.

Jazzmaster icon J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, for example, has retold in many interviews how he only started playing a Jazzmaster when the shop he visited to buy a used guitar had sold all the Strats in his price range. Elvis Costello similarly recalls finding his now iconic stripped brown Jazzmaster that had been refinished with furniture varnish in a used shop. This means that modern players who look to the likes of Nirvana and Television as their musical touchstones are looking at bands with with Jazzmasters and Jaguars in their hands.

  • Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

    While most signature guitars cost thousands of dollars, the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster provides personalized vibe at a fraction of the price. Whether you’re a huge Dinosaur Jr. fan or just looking for an affordable guitar with real character, the Mascis Jazzmaster leaves plenty of money left over to build your rig.
    6 used from $325.00 41 new from $399.99

That’s not to say that affordable pricing is the only reason that Jazzmasters resonated with seminal indie rockers. There are some innate design components that make it an especially adept tool for the noise-laden styles of the genre and era. And while its proponents may deny it, there is definitely a certain anti-establishment appeal that comes with using an out-of-the-ordinary guitar. After all, the only thing more indie and hipster than playing a guitar that was overlooked by your parents’ generation is denying that its obscurity has anything to do with it.

Jazzmaster as Pedal Partner

When I ask most of my friends who play Jazzmasters why they gravitate towards the design, I often hear about the importance of pedals. There’s something about the extra noises that come out of the soapbar pickups combined with the sonic contouring of the bass and treble circuit selector that helps accentuate the tones of all manner of guitar effect. Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine is a clear example of this usage, as is experimental icon, Nels Cline.

In this way, you can see the expansion boutique pedal market and the boutique pedal junkie as inextricably tied to the popularity of the Jazzmaster. There are more boutique pedal companies in existence than ever before, so if you’re feverishly collecting and sampling all the many fuzz boxes and delays that come out each year, it makes sense to use a guitar that’s known to bring out their best qualities.

The Floating Tremolo System

Similar to the boutique pedal connection is the much celebrated floating tremolo system that’s been on the Jazzmaster (as well as the Jaguar) since its introduction in 1958. In indie rock circles, and as an absolutely central component to the shoegaze revivalism of the late-aughts, the floating tremolo system provides a warble and pulse that no Strat-style trem arm or even a stately Bigsby can touch. When paired with a hefty dose of reverb and fuzz, the constant up-and-down movement of the trem arm is a standard tool of the noise rock trade.


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3 Keys to Ace Your Palm Muting

3 Keys to Ace Your Palm Muting

What Is Palm Muting?

Muting is actually the process of keeping a ringing string from vibrating. When you put your palm on the strings at the point where they connect to the bridge, you silence the vibration a little – you mute it. This is why it’s called palm muting.

Here are three keys to getting that palm mute just right:

1. The Sweet Spot

You can change how muted the strings are. The more you move to the right, the less you mute and the more the strings ring out. Move to the left and you’ll mute more. There is a spot in the middle where the note will sound chunky but not dead. This is the sweet spot.

2. Firmness of the Plant

Your palm needs to be planted firmly enough for the mute to even happen. Try pressing your palm against the strings with different levels of firmness.

3. Volume Adjustments

You can adjust the volume of your sound by strumming harder or more lightly as you mute. You need to balance the palm pressing against the strings with the strumming to get the sound you are looking for.

Each of these three elements impact your effectiveness at palm muting. By trying different combinations and adjusting based on what you hear, you’ll eventually get what you need for the song you’re playing. Palm muting is a really dynamic technique that can make the simplest playing sound professional.

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6 Ways to Strum like a Pro

6 Ways to Strum Like a Pro

Here are six things you can do immediately to improve your tone and sound like a pro when you strum:

1. Move From the Wrist

Most of the motion should be coming from your wrist. Strum a chord and look to see if this is happening. Movement from the elbow should be reserved for when you want to accent something and strike a chord or two just a little harder than your regular strum.

2. Keep Your Wrist Loose

If the wrist is too rigid, it can create a harsh tone for your strumming. Here’s how to set up. Drop your hands to your side and release all tension – let it go completely. Then try again.

3. Go Light and Fast

Developing a quick but light stroke is really an important part of creating a pleasant strum sound. To develop this skill, work on one stroke at a time. Try this: Fret a chord, then move your strum hand downward across the strings as lightly and quickly as you can.

4. Balance the Volume

Apply the light and fast idea to the upstroke as well. Then match the volume to the down stroke.

5. Vary Where You Strum

Strumming close to the bridge creates a brighter sound while the further you move away from the bridge will create a darker sound. Find the sweet spot and use it as a tool for variation of your tone.

6. Angle Your Pick

Having your pick slightly angled while you pick can help produce an attractive tone. It doesn’t have to be severe, even a slight angle will make a difference.

Working on these six points are going to have you sounding better, playing better and looking better. Build good habits and you’ll be a pro faster than you would ever expect.

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Watch This Powerful Short Movie About The Power of Music in our Lives

-A Must Watch Event  for anyone who is a musician or knows one.

Yamaha has produced a inspirational video about the wonderful and lasting gift that music brings to all of our lives, and the effect playing an instrument can have not only on those that play but everyone who touches their lives.  No selling, no special offers, not even any dialog -just a powerful video and musical score you will be sure to share.

I hope you can take a few minutes and watch it, and share it with others that feel passionate about music and playing an instrument.


The Gift
Directed and Produced by Chris Gero and Yamaha Entertainment Group of America, The Gift is a moving cinematic story based on the everlasting journey that is created by giving the gift of music. The Gift has won critical acclaim around the world winning countless awards, most notably the Gold Award at the 2015 Golden Awards of Montreux and at the 2016 Emmy Awards taking top honors in Best Original Musical Composition.

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