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The Best Acoustic Guitars for Every Budget

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Whenever we think “songwriter,” our mental image usually includes an acoustic guitar. This instrument is the iconic companion of earnest coffeehouse songsters, grizzled folk storytellers, and country crooners who tell it like it is. And like most instruments, the price of admission goes from very little to sky’s-the-limit.

Sweetwater Sound’s catalog of acoustics ranges in price from just over $200 (for a tiny backpack guitar) on up to this $10,000 museum piece by Martin. But unless you absolutely need to match Neil Young’s guitar tone on “Harvest Moon,” price point is a matter of diminishing returns. Does a $1,200 Taylor sound better than a $250 Yamaha? In general, yes. But what extras do you get when you hit the $3,000 price point? How about $5,000?

5 Reasons Why Your Band Should Jam Regularly (Even if You’re Not a Jam Band)

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If you practice regularly with a band, you’re probably aware of how unstructured jam sessions can eat up valuable practice time and throw people off task. Because of this, many bands tend to keep collective jamming time to a minimum, if they allow for any at all. When used properly, however, jamming time can be extremely beneficial to bands, even if it doesn’t seem to produce tangible results right away.

If you’re hesitant about making jamming a regular part of your band practice routine, here are five benefits of jamming that might make you reconsider your position.

The Best Electric Guitars for Every Budget

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If you visit any guitar shop, chances are there are 30 or more models of electric guitar hanging on the wall. Check out a website like Musician’s Friend and that number balloons to 1,200. You can’t test them all!

Bound by the need to buy stuff that sells, retailers may not have many of the most interesting designs in stock, preferring to stick with the basics and throw one or two radical instruments up in the window just to intrigue passing musicians. How do you get a playable guitar with a cool design for a fair price? Well, you could start with these six popular electric guitar designs on the market for price points from budget to premium.

5 Ways to Make Improvisation Less Scary

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For those who don't know, the man pictured above is none other than Ornette Coleman. Coleman was a pioneer of the free-jazz phenomenon that exploded onto the scene in the 1950s and 1960s. To most, free jazz is anything but easy listening, and it's no wonder that it created such an uproar among casual listeners. A large part of this controversy had to do with fear. People fear what they don't know. They fear the unpredictable. Improvisation is the embodiment of unpredictability in music, but you shouldn't fear it.

The Best Guitar Pedals on the Market for Your Budget

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If you’re a violinist, tone comes from wood and your fingers, and that’s it. If you play electric guitar, there are several more stages in the signal chain that run from your fingers to the listener’s ear. Pedals are so important that many players would rather use a house amp with their own pedals than bring their own amp along and leave the stompboxes at home. But there are so many to choose from, and you can’t buy the whole store. By category, here are some of the best choices in guitar pedals, with a budget option and another choice if cost is no object.