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Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
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The Best Guitar Amps for Every Genre

Image via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

For all the talk about how “tone comes from the fingers,” amplifiers are still critical. Just ask any musician who’s been told, “You have to use our backline to cut down on soundchecks. Don’t worry – our gear sounds great!”

Do you really want to play on amps that have been set up according to someone else’s personal style and taste? You may still be finding and refining your guitar sound, but you know what sounds bad, and you want to find that tone that will make your music soar. With that in mind, here are some of the best amps on the market for the styles you play.

Musician Life, gear

Aug 18, 2016 07:00 AM

Jesse Sterling Harrison

4 of the Best Earplugs for Musicians

Image via Shutterstock

Like the crunch of helmets in football signals a brain-damage warning, that ringing in your ears after a loud show or rehearsal means that you're losing little bits of your hearing. Your ears aren't a renewable resource; you only get two. And your ears were evolved to suit cave people 40,000 years ago who never heard anything louder than the trumpet of mastodons… at least not up close.

As musicians, we're bombarded with loud sounds in the studio and in life. If you’re running a lawnmower or a snowblower, you can use industrial hearing protection (those tortoiseshell headphones that look suited for radio work) or stuff some tissue paper in your ears.

But when you’re playing, you need to be able to hear everything. You just need to hear everything…less. Here are some of the best ways to do it.

8 Gadgets to Always Keep in Your Instrument Case

Image via pixabay.com

It's the night of your show and you're about to take the stage. You can hear the crowd's excitement, and maybe your nerves are kicking in or your confidence is about to set off, but then it happens: something breaks. Your pedal's batteries die. You lose the only pick you brought... oops. Whatever may happen, you always want to be prepared.

Much like the bottom of a purse, instrument cases can be bottomless pits for strange items. Personally, my instrument case was always home to a variety of weird accessories like plumber's tape, tiny screwdrivers, and a Tupperware container full of warm water. While all these items had a purpose to me, there were other times when my case acted like a gym locker.

But as musicians, we need to prepare for the best, the worst, and the weirdest. You never know what might happen just as you're about to head onstage or while you're in the middle of a performance. So the next time you need to schedule a spring cleaning for your case, ditch the broken pencils and the mystery garbage for these helpful items.

The Brilliant Hacks Every Musician Needs to Know to Make Moving Gear a Breeze

Photo by Bob Mical via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Did you ever stop to consider how much your band’s gear weighs? How about your drum set? Each cymbal on a stand is probably good for 40 pounds. Then, think about combo amps. A guitar amp with a single 12-inch speaker might weigh 35 pounds, but chances are you have amps with two, three, or even four speakers in them.

Too often, a band’s load-out occurs under duress while another act takes the stage. It’s an experience known for back strains, hand injuries, and pieces of gear taking chunks out of door frames as you struggle to get through narrow spaces carrying heavy things.

Taking time out of your life to think about loading gear may not be at the top of your to-do list, but finding ways to do this more efficiently, quickly, and ergonomically will improve your experience playing shows. It’ll also reduce the risk of gear heists, injuries, and damage to your equipment. Here’s a rundown of some of the best strategies to make your load-out go more smoothly.

Performing, Honing Your Craft, gear

Jul 28, 2016 06:00 AM

Alex Wilson

The Essential Starter Kit for Performing Live With Clicks and Backing Tracks

All images via flypaper.soundfly.com

This article originally appeared on Soundfly.


If you’re looking to set up your own laptop rig for live performance using click tracks and backing tracks, you’re going to need quite a bit of gear. Seeing as most of us don’t have pots of money to throw around, it’s important that you make the right choices.

What I’m presenting here are some gear options that I use, or have used, that work for me. I’m also throwing in a few alternative ideas when I think there’s more than one great solution at hand.

This is only a starting point. Do your research, think carefully, and keep receipts should you need to return stuff.