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Boss Pedals Reviewed: BD-2w, OD-1X and TE-2

by Blogger on ‎03-25-2015 11:40 AM - last edited on ‎03-25-2015 03:41 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



The Japanese company Boss has created the most historically significant collection of compact (“stompbox”) guitar pedals and continues to build quality electronic products for modern musicians. Starting in 1977 with the iconic (and orange-colored) DS-1 distortion pedal, Boss has created and released over a hundred pedal models. See that “wall of pedals”? That picture was taken by yours truly at the NAMM 2014 conference.  Lots of them are still sold worldwide and can be heard on recordings by famous artists. I had the privilege of trying three of the most recent innovative guitar pedals by Boss in the course of the last few weeks. Two gain-based pedals, and an echo (or reverb) model. What a treat!



Gibson and Epiphone: What makes them great?

by Blogger ‎01-20-2015 01:31 PM - edited ‎01-20-2015 01:35 PM


Choosing the right guitar is an important decision for any musician (or their parents, depending on who is footing the bill) to make. Whether it’s your first one, your best one, or something in between, it’s a choice that shouldn’t be taken for granted, or lightly. And, more often than not, a little homework goes a long way in figuring out what's the best fit for the player’s level, style and musical goals. Today we take a look at why Gibson and Epiphone guitars can be a great choice for guitarists of all ages and playing ability. 



Fender Stratocaster American Standard Review

by Blogger on ‎01-13-2015 05:58 PM - last edited on ‎01-23-2015 02:19 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



Here’s the American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar by Fender. This beauty had the privilege of spending some time in my studio for a little routine check. And what a ride it was! For some rock chords, blues riffs, funky rhythms and lots of modern jazz, this Strat is a versatile, high-end guitar. The American Standard I personally tried is equipped with three single coil pickups, features a black body finish with a classic white pickguard. The sexy curves of this solid body (it has contours that fit the musician’s arms) makes this guitar a gem of modern electric instrument manufacturing. The Stratocaster model, with its two asymmetrical horns continues to be the most imitated guitar body amongst all lesser brands of electric guitars. Thousands of timeless albums feature the tones of this american musical giant. Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie (and many more) used the Strat as their main instrument. We shouldn’t take this lightly!



Fender DG-60 Acoustic Guitar Review

by Blogger on ‎01-13-2015 12:22 PM - last edited on ‎01-22-2015 09:03 AM by Blog Editor in Chief

Fender DG-60 - main image.jpg

The Fender DG-60 will soon be available at Future Shop. It’s a Dreadnought with a large body, for a full round sound. This guitar is well built, inexpensive and it has been extensively tested by the author of this article. Towards the end of the 2014 - 2015 holiday season, the DG-60 has been used in several musical contexts by yours truly: playing chords with a pick to accompany the family singing christmas tunes, playing some riff-based blues, teaching on Skype to students on three continents (that’s right!), improvising on jazz standards in chord-melody style without accompaniment and lastly learning from a few fingerstyle guitar lessons online. Let’s see how the Fender DG-60 did with this little benchmark test!


How to buy the right band instrument

by Blogger on ‎01-08-2015 11:22 AM - last edited on ‎01-08-2015 12:56 PM by Blog Editor in Chief


Being part of a school band is a great experience for young musicians. For one, they learn how to play an orchestral instrument, a discipline which is completely different from popular ‘solo’ instruments like the piano or guitar. Members of an orchestra, ensemble or band also get the chance to develop skills like teamwork, time management and creativity. Learning to read music offers benefits that transfer to other subjects, like math, literature and the arts.If you’re looking to make the jump from renting to buying, or perhaps are curious in trying a new instrument altogether, below are a few popular band instrument choices for young beginners, and a few tips on what to look for when shopping around.


Finding The Right Guitar Amp

by Blogger on ‎01-04-2015 06:09 PM - last edited on ‎01-05-2015 01:49 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



When shopping for an amp to pair with your electric or hybrid guitar, it is essential to do your homework and figure out exactly what size and type of amp will work for you and help you reach your musical goals. Do you need an amp for at-home practice, jamming with your buddies, or playing at your local pub? Thinking about how you will use the amp will help narrow in on exactly what kind of model will provide you with the most satisfaction in the long run, and won't leave you brooding with buyer’s remorse. Below are a few examples of practice and performance amps that would work for a range of guitarists, from beginners to expert players. 


Give the Perfect Guitar Accessories to the musician on your list

by Blogger on ‎12-22-2014 10:04 AM - last edited on ‎12-22-2014 12:33 PM by Blog Editor in Chief


Looking for that last-minute stocking stuffer for the budding guitarist on your list? Or maybe you want to complete your own collection of guitar extras and add-ins this holiday season. Last time we looked at how to buy the perfect guitar; now let's take a peek at the world of accessories available for your instrument to sound polished, professional and performance-ready.


DJ gear to rock the Christmas party

by Blogger on ‎12-19-2014 04:20 PM - last edited on ‎12-21-2014 12:46 AM by Blog Editor in Chief


Ever tried to dance to "Silent Night"? How about cutting a rug to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"? Not likely because, if you're like me, you find holiday parties to be a somewhat stuffy affair.  But it's high time that changed and a beat-thumping Christmas bash could be your gift to the world. Have a look at all the DJ equipment you need to throw such a smashing good party that Santa himself won't want to leave.


How to Give the Perfect Guitar

by Blogger on ‎12-15-2014 12:40 PM - last edited on ‎12-15-2014 04:43 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



Is a guitar on the top of  your wishlist—or someone else's—this year? If you are shopping around this season for a new one, it can be a daunting task. How do you know which guitar is a good fit? Classical, acoustic, electric, hybrid … this popular instrument comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and sounds. I'll try to help you out by explaining the four most common types of guitars and how they compare to one another.


Holiday performance must haves: tips and gadgets

by Blogger on ‎11-20-2014 07:10 AM - last edited on ‎11-26-2014 03:56 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



As a music teacher, I always encourage my students to perform as often as they can, regardless of age, level or discipline. Whether they’ve been learning for five months or five years, recitals and gigs are a great way to showcase students’ hard work and push them to excel at their instrument.For a lucky few, nerves aren’t a problem; some use their anxiety as a way to adrenalize themselves and get excited. For others, especially younger or beginner musicians, their nerves can get the best of them  How can this be avoided? The best advice I can give is to be 110% prepared. Take a look at the tips and gadgets below to sound polished and professional in time for your next recital, concert or gig.


Review: Monster Instrument Cables for Guitarists

by Blogger on ‎10-20-2014 11:07 AM - last edited on ‎01-14-2015 03:03 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



Monster cables have been around for over 35 years now. Countless artists have endorsed their products throughout the years. Simply ask George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Phil Ramone, Keith Emerson, All Di Meola and Slash what they think of Monster Cables. Instrument cables have made the company famous. I was sent some of the newest Monster cables and here is what I thought learned.


Review: iLoud 40W Quality Portable Speaker

by Blogger on ‎09-23-2014 11:18 AM - last edited on ‎09-23-2014 12:39 PM by Blog Editor in Chief



Dubbed as “the first portable speaker for musicians”, the IK Multimedia iLoud 2-Way Monitor Speaker is, essentially, 2014’s version of your childhood stereo, injected with today’s audio and recording technology. It’s the ghetto blaster of the digital age; a transportable Bluetooth speaker that combines the convenience of mobility, recording and good audio resolution in a compact speaker.


Brass and woodwind instruments - now available at Future Shop!

by Blogger on ‎09-04-2014 10:53 AM - last edited on ‎09-04-2014 12:29 PM by Blog Editor in Chief





Future Shop’s musical instruments department is expanding to offer a wide range of brass and woodwind instruments for the beginner musician or band student. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to find in stores or online.


Great guitars for around the campfire

by Blogger on ‎08-07-2014 11:00 AM - last edited on ‎08-07-2014 11:49 AM by Blog Editor in Chief



It's camping season  - and what's a better way to enjoy the nice weather and great outdoors than singing and playing your favorite campfire songs? Let's take a look at a handful of great budget-friendly guitars you can use at your next woodsy gathering. 


New at Future Shop: Deluxe Fender Stratocaster HSS with iOS connectivity

by Blogger on ‎04-29-2014 09:06 AM - last edited on ‎06-04-2014 01:32 PM by Blog Editor in Chief


My first electric guitar – I must have been an early teen at the time - was a firebird red Squire Stratocaster with a pearl white pick guard. Of course, being the less-expensive cousin of the legendary Fender Strat model, I knew it was far from the best guitar on the block, but it didn’t matter. All I cared about, at the time, was that my guitar looked almost identical to the ones used by some of the world’s biggest names in rock and roll – icons like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few.  In a way, my copycat Strat made me feel connected with some of music’s brightest stars.


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