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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome In
By Dr. Timothy Jameson
Copyright © 1998-2004 Timothy Jameson. All Rights Reserved.
common problem among both acoustic and electric guitar players,
as well as other stringed instrument players, is the development
of forearm pain, tingling, and numbness, typically on the same
side that you fret the instrument.
column will explain a specific type of repetitive injury called
cubital tunnel syndrome, which affects the inner side of the
forearm and the pinky side of the hand. Most musicians are
probably not familiar with this syndrome even though the
symptoms are experienced by many. The typical presentation of
the syndrome, the anatomical structures involved, along with
prevention and treatment options will be discussed in this
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome typically involves pain and/or abnormal
sensations in the elbow area, along the inner side of the
forearm. The pain can travel downwards towards the pinky, and
can be accompanied by tingling or numbness sensations to the
pinky side of the hand. The forearm muscles can be achy, sore
and painful, and can lead to a misdiagnosis of tendonitis by an
This syndrome usually only involves the ring and pinky fingers,
since these fingers receive their nerve supply from the ulnar
nerve. Some variations in the nerve supply to the fingers may
allow for the middle finger to be involved as well. The ulnar
nerve begins from nerve fibers exiting from the spine in the
neck, called the cervical spine. The nerve traverses down the
arm, passing through the "funny bone" area of the elbow, then
travels down the outer side of the forearm to hand muscles along
with the 4th, and 5th fingers. The purpose of the nerve is to
allow for communication between the brain and hand, allowing for
both motor control of the hand, and sending sensation from the
hand to the brain.
If the syndrome progresses, it can lead to decreased function of
the hand, especially grip strength. It is common also to
experience tingling and numbness in the fourth and fifth
fingers. Wasting or atrophy of the pad of muscles on the palm
side below the pinky finger can develop as well. Typically, the
person notices that flexing the forearm tends to irritate the
symptoms. Another symptom is the musician beginning to notice
that he/she cannot control the fourth and fifth fingers very
well. It's as if they're trying to control finger motion, but
the hand just is not receiving the signals and has a "mind of
its own." Loss of dexterity, speed, and control of the ring and
pinky fingers is a hallmark sign of this syndrome.
The culprit in this syndrome is compression of the ulnar nerve.
Just south of the elbow, the nerve passes through the flexor
carpi ulnaris muscle to travel down to the hand. A small tunnel
forms in this location, and the nerve becomes surrounded on all
sides. In this tunnel, the ulnar nerve sits on top of the flexor
digitorum profundus muscle. A ligament forms the top layer of
the tunnel. It is important to understand the function of the
muscles in this tunnel, because they play a major role in the
development of the syndrome. The flexor carpi ulnaris muscle
attaches to the inner part of the elbow, and its function is to
flex the wrist and move the wrist inward towards the pinky. The
flexor digitorum profundus attaches to the medial elbow and
inserts into the tips of the fingers. This muscle's function is
to flex the fingers (especially the tips).
Now that you've survived the anatomy lesson, let's discuss in
real life how these anatomical structures are affected with
guitar playing. As I stated earlier, this syndrome typically
affects guitarists in the fretting hand, so in a right handed
guitarist, the left hand is typically involved. If we dissect
the playing of a simple barre chord, we would notice 1)
contraction of the thumb against the underside of the neck of
the guitar, 2) a counterbalancing contraction of the opposing
fingers on the top fretted side of the neck, 3) bending of the
fingertips to push against the strings, 4) flattening of one
finger against the neck to form the bar (usually the first
finger), 4) maybe some stretching of the pinky to reach a higher
fret and 5) flexion of the wrist.
Since the ulnar nerve passes between the muscles that perform
flexion of the wrist, bending of the fingertips and stretching
the pinky to reach the higher frets can irritate the muscles
surrounding this nerve. With constant overuse of these muscles,
they can become inflammed, or actually form "microtears" at the
attachments to the elbow. This is especially evident in
guitarists who have not developed strength in their forearm
musculature in preparation of hours of practice time. The
swelling involved can start squeezing down on the ulnar nerve,
causing the symptoms mentioned above. This is also why bending
the forearm will worsen the complaints. The ulnar nerve becomes
stretched upon flexion of the elbow. If the nerve already is
being pinched, the stretching is going to amplify the symptoms.
Cubital tunnel syndrome can also occur from other maladies, such
as traumatic injuries to the elbow from car accidents, falls,
elbow fractures, and elbow dislocations. Many musicians also do
computer work on the side, and repeated keyboarding at the
computer with poor posture and little rest time, and constantly
leaning on their elbows while at the computer can predispose the
musician to ulnar nerve problems. Overall poor health of the
musician is a complicating factor as well. Not exercising, poor
nutritional intake, alcohol and drug consumption, and
preexisting health conditions can weaken the body to make is
more susceptible to neurological insult.
A very important cause of CTS that must not be overlooked is
neck problems. Since the nerve fibers that travel to the hand
must first exit the spine, any problems with the cervical spine
in that vicinity will irritate the nerves. For example, if you
have suffered a whiplash injury from a car accident - even years
previously - it can predispose you to cubital tunnel syndrome.
Chronically bad posture and forward head tilt can also lead to
nerve compression. Consider your posture while playing your
musical instrument. How many guitarists do you see in a forward
head posture, leaning over the axe, while playing difficult
passages? How about shredders who are flailing their heads back
and forth while playing their high-speed arpeggios? Chronic poor
posture exerts tremendous strain not just on the neck, but upon
the entire spine and nervous system. Unfortunately in a majority
of cases, you will never experience actual discomfort in the
neck with cubital tunnel syndrome. It's important to note that
only a Doctor of Chiropractic can determine if the neck is the
source of your problem. Physical therapists and medical doctors
do not receive training in locating and correcting spinal
subluxations - the misalignments that irritate and distort nerve
For those of you who do not have the symptoms mentioned and
would like to prevent them from ever occurring, there are a few
simple steps to take:
Give yourself more frequent breaks (about a 10 minute break
after every 45 minutes of playing) during rehearsing or practice
times. The constant playing for hours upon hours without resting
can lead to microtearing of the muscles and the resulting
Before you play and during your breaks, increase blood flow to
the forearm and hands by stretching and performing self-massage
to the area. (You may want to visit your library or bookstore
and look into some massage techniques - these help to increase
the blood flow to your arms and flush out toxins.)
Begin receiving regular massages by a professional massage
therapist to keep your muscles supple and relaxed.
Have an evaluation by a doctor of chiropractic to make sure the
alignment of your neck, shoulders, and elbows is correct,
allowing proper nerve flow to the muscles of your hands.
Enhance your nutrition and use nutritional supplements so your
body has all the building blocks need to cellular repair and
Begin and/or maintain a weight training regimen that
concentrates not only on the major muscle groups, but the
forearm and hand muscles as well. The stronger those muscles
are, the less chance of fatigue and injury.
you do have the symptoms mentioned in this article:
you simply have some forearm muscle soreness, use heat on the
forearm before practicing, and ice the elbow and forearm area
after playing. The heat will encourage more blood to the tissues
while playing, and the ice will discourage swelling afterwards.
Perform stretching to the forearm three to four times daily.
you are experiencing nerve related symptoms like tingling and
numbness, burning sensations, muscle fatigue, and lack of
coordination of the fingers, see a Doctor of Chiropractic
immediately who is experienced in treating musician's injuries.
Many musicians make the mistake of seeing their general medical
practitioner who is not trained in caring for repetitive strain
injuries. Most musicians who go the medical route receive
dangerous medications that may actually worsen your condition.
Even something as simple as ibuprofen can damage the kidneys and
liver. With this in mind, do not become an anti-inflammatory
junkie. Repeated use of antiinflammatories will simply mask a
more serious underlying problem, and can lead to organ problems.
Always try conservative measures first, such as chiropractic,
massage therapy, or acupuncture. Give yourself at least six to
eight weeks to heal.
you notice symptoms worsening, or weakness occurring in the
hands, even with the conservative care programs provided to you
with chiropractic and massage, your health care provider should
refer you to a neurologist for a consultation and neurological
testing. In my experience in working with musicians via
chiropractic care, this rarely happens. I would estimate 90% of
patients who present to my office with these symptoms overcome
them with natural, conservative chiropractic wellness care, and
become healthier, more creative musicians in the long run.
Finally, don't "hope the problem with go away." If you are a
guitarist or musician of any instrument, and begin noticing
changes in the function of your hands, do not wait to have them
evaluated. The faster you receive care for them, the faster they
will heal. Musicians who put off receiving treatment for cubital
tunnel syndrome risk the more serious consequences of hand
muscle wasting, numbness, loss of ability to play their
instrument, and chronic disability. Treat your body as a temple,
and care for it daily.
About The Author: Dr.
Timothy Jameson has been in private chiropractic practice for 15
years and has spent the last six years focusing on the care of
the musician population. He is the author of “The Musicians
Guide to Health and Wellness, which is available for download at
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Just Keeps On Rockin'
By: F.R. Penn
three decades, Aerosmith have been one of rock's most revered
and popular bands, crafting classic songs full of raw guitar
runs and intensely energetic vocals. The band first reached fame
in the 1970's with a string of hits including "Dream On," "Sweet
Emotion" and "Walk This Way." During this period, Aerosmith's
music defied easy categorization, falling somewhere between hard
rock/blues and early punk, with occasional power ballads here
enjoyed major popularity throughout the 1970's, but a split from
1979-84, and the serious substance abuse and drug addictions
that contributed to their decline, would nearly relegate them to
the annals of history. However, in 1984, Aerosmith was born
again. They went on to enjoy resurgence in popularity that has
made them one of the top-selling and most popular rock bands in
the world today.
their rough and rocky history, Aerosmith defied failure and even
defied mediocrity in a fast-paced rock-and-roll world abundant
in tragedy and also-rans. Aerosmith signed with Columbia in 1972
and debuted their first album simply titled Aerosmith, which
included a hit single, "Dream On". After constant touring, the
band released Get Your Wings in 1974, which did quite well on
the charts, but it was Toys in the Attic in 1975 that
established Aerosmith as international superstars. Originally
pegged as Rolling Stones clones, Toys in the Attic showed that
Aerosmith was a unique and original talent in their own right.
Part heavy metal, part glam rock, and part punk, Toys in the
Attic was an immense success, starting with the single "Sweet
Emotion", then a successful re-release of "Dream On", and a new
song from the album, "Walk This Way". Both of the
band's previous albums re-charted as a result. Aerosmith's next
album, Rocks, went platinum swiftly and featured two hits, "Back
in the Saddle" and "Last Child".
album, Draw the Line, was not nearly as successful, though the
title track proved to be a minor hit. While continuing to tour
and record into the late 1970's, Aerosmith acted in the movie
version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, covering the
Beatles hit "Come Together." As their popularity waned and drug
abuse began affecting their output, Joe Perry left the band in
1979 during the recording of their sixth studio album Night in
the Ruts and formed The Joe Perry Project. Perry's role in
Aerosmith was initially taken by longtime friend and songwriter
Richie Supa and then later by guitarist Jimmy Crespo who
recorded the remainder of the album.
released its mammoth-selling Greatest Hits album in 1980, and in
1981 the band suffered another loss with the departure of Brad
Whitford. Rick Dufay replaced Whitford and the band recorded
their seventh album, Rock in a Hard Place. The album was
considered a relative failure. The tour that followed this
release is notable for Steven Tyler's collapse onstage during a
Day 1984, Perry and Whitford went to see Aerosmith play. They
officially rejoined the ranks of Aerosmith once more in April of
that year. Steven Tyler recalls, "You should have felt the buzz
the moment all five of us got together in the same room for the
first time again. We all started laughing - it was like the five
years had never passed. We knew we'd made the right move." Aerosmith
embarked on a lucrative reunion tour entitled "Back in the
Saddle", which produced the live album Classics Live II. Their
problems were still not behind them when the group signed with
Geffen Records and began working on a comeback.
1985 saw the
release of Done with Mirrors, their first studio album since the
highly publicized reunion. It fared relatively well
commercially, but it did not produce a hit single or generate
much hope for their comeback. By the time the record was
released, Tyler and Perry had exited drug rehabilitation. The
group appeared on Run D.M.C.'s incredibly successful cover of
"Walk This Way", blending rock and roll and hip-hop
and successfully beginning Aerosmith's comeback.
next release was Permanent Vacation (1987), which included the
hits "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Rag Doll", and "Angel". Their
next album, Pump, was received even better; Pump featured four
Top Ten singles: "Janie's Got a Gun", "What It Takes", "Love in
an Elevator", and "The Other Side". Aerosmith was definitely in
the midst of a major resurgence.
significant shifts in mainstream music at the beginning of the
1990's, the band's 1993 follow-up to Pump, Get a Grip, was just
as successful commercially. Though many critics were unimpressed
by the focus on power-ballads in promoting the album, three
songs ("Cryin' ", "Crazy" and "Amazing") proved to be huge
successes on radio and MTV. The music videos featured then fresh
up-and-coming actress Alicia Silverstone; her provocative
performances earned her the title of "the Aerosmith chick" for
half a decade. Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler, was also
featured in the "Crazy" video. Aerosmith signed with Columbia
Records again in the early 1990's, but they had to complete two
contractual albums for Geffen before recording for the new
album, Nine Lives, was plagued with personnel
problems, including the firing of manager Tim Collins. Reviews
were generally mixed, and Nine Lives initially fell on
charts, although it had a long chart life and sold double
platinum in the US alone. It was followed by a series of late
'90's releases, mostly earlier material that was live
or retrospective. The albums sold relatively well, but also
marked a second decline in popularity and critical respect for
biggest hit of the '90's, and its only #1 single to date, was
the love theme from the film Armageddon, "I Don't Want to Miss a
Thing". This song was conceived by Joe Perry and Diane Warren,
although Warren alone received songwriting credit. Steven
Tyler's daughter Liv was featured in the movie. In 1999, they
were in the Disney-MGM Studios ride (and later in the
Walt Disney Studios Park ride), Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
Aerosmith provided the soundtrack and theme for the ride, which
is based on their recording session and following concert.
started its next decade with the release in 2001 of Just Push
Play, which charted well. They were also inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame. Later that year, the band appeared as
part of the United We Stand concert in Washington D.C. for 9/11
victims and their families. Stubbornly, the band flew back to
Indianapolis for a show the same night, refusing to interrupt
their Just Push Play tour schedule.
Aerosmith released the 2-disc compilation O Yeah! Ultimate
Aerosmith Hits and embarked on the Girls of Summer tour with
opening acts Kid Rock and Run-DMC. In 2003, Aerosmith co-headlined
with Kiss on the Rocksimus Maximus tour. Their long-promised
blues album, Honkin' on Bobo, was released in 2004. The Album
continues to be a success, helping to inspire the resurgence of
blues and roots music across the US and Europe. A live DVD, You
Gotta Move, followed it in December 2004. The band also lent its
well-known "Dream On" to an advertising campaign for Buick in
2004, targeting their audience, which is now composed largely of
people who were teenagers when the song first charted.
guitarist Joe Perry released his eponymous solo album. Many
claim that it is in many ways truer to the Aerosmith of
the '70's than any of their recent output. This is mostly due to
its raw energy and lack of song doctoring. In October 2005, Aerosmith
released a CD/DVD named Rockin' the Joint. The band hit the road
for the Rockin' The Joint tour on October 30th with Lenny
Kravitz and is still touring.
They expect to
be on the road until some time around Spring 2006. Rumor has it
that they will begin work on a new album at that time. It was
announced in January that the band will embark on a 5-week tour
with Cheap Trick in the spring. Rumors of a tour started a week
before the announcement when Cheap Trick front man Robin Zander
joined the band onstage for "Come Together" during a concert in
Tampa, Florida. Early reports also indicate that the band plans
to resume touring in the fall of 2006, most likely in support of
the new album. According to insiders, an upcoming tour may see
them alongside Motley Crue.
About the author:
This article was written by F.R. Penn sponsored by http://www.stubhub.com.
If you're looking for tickets for the next Aerosmith show, look
no further than Stubhub.com where fans buy and sell the hottest
tickets. Reproductions of this article are encouraged but must
include a link back to
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Tuning Tips -- Keep Your Guitar Locked In Tune
Guitar Tuning Strategies
guitar tuned is THE first step in sounding hot and professional.
Tune-up perfectly and THEN play is the order of the day. Tuning
tip number one starts right here. Get yourself a decent and well
made guitar that naturally stays in tune without constant
tweaking. No matter how much you perfect the art of guitar
tuning, a cheap instrument will seriously hamper your efforts.
No matter how
well you play your latest lick or arpeggio, it won't sound hot
unless your in perfect Guitar Tune Nirvana either! Conclusion:
Invest in a good or even great guitar and your halfway there
regarding guitar-tuning dilemmas. To start off, here's 2 simple
but BIG tuning tips for any type of six-stringer:
BIG Guitar Tuning Tip #1 - Clean Your Strings
sweaty, no-holds barred, gig or rehearsal, CLEAN YOUR STRINGS!
It may sound painfully obvious, but this is the biggest guitar
tuning problem and string-killer of them all. Some people,
including yours truly, can rust and destroy a set of strings
overnight, by gigging with them and not cleaning the chemicals
and sweat off, immediately afterwards. When this happens, tuning
can be almost impossible.
So cleaning your
strings is step one to guitar tuning nirvana. This simple
precaution lengthens their lifespan, maintains tone AND tuning.
Use a lint-free cloth, wrap it under and around each string, one
at a time, and wipe up and down, with a slight pressure,
cleaning the complete surface.
String Cleaning Tips
Use pure alcohol
on the cloth if necessary, you can buy a small bottle of
Isopropyl Alcohol in the chemists. Squeaky clean!
careful with this stuff it's poisonous if taken internally!
Be careful not
to run your fingers along the string too, it cuts deep and hurts
like hell! I tie the cloth around the neck afterwards (they tend
to mysteriously disappear for some strange reason just when
needed), and make it a regular habit.
Unless you're an
experienced player, DO NOT PUT NEW STRINGS ON YOUR GUITAR BEFORE
A GIG! ... hi John ;-). If you must, try and allow about 30-45
Minutes to fit, stretch and warm them and yourself up.
If you've ever
played a guitar which sounds fine in the lower regions but goes
out of tune as you move up the neck, the answer could well be
dirty or kaput strings. If you change them and the problem goes
away, then you know. If it doesn't go away, it could be the
guitar intonation. Get a good and trusted guitar-tech to check
it for you.
BIG Guitar Tuning Tip #2 - S-t-r-e-t-c-h your
When you put new
strings on (if you have a Floating Bridge, do them one at a
time, DO NOT take all the old ones off at once), tune them up to
concert pitch, then spend about 20 minutes stretching them by
hand. Left hand holds everything down at the nut, place 4
fingers of your right hand underneath one string, and slowly
pull it out until you feel the tension and gently sort of bounce
it forward and backwards, and S-T-R-E-T-C-H...and loosen...and
Slide your hand
position up the neck along the string, pull it out at various
points and so on, covering the entire length from nut to bridge.
Then retune it and do it all again. The first few times the
string tuning will drop by as much as an octave. After a few
stretch/tune ups you'll notice it doesn't drop anymore. If you
let this stretching happen naturally, it can take a week or so
until the guitar strings stop jumping out of tune every 2
seconds. Your guitar will be as fit as a fiddle.
So adhering to
these two simple but effective steps will improve any guitars
tuning and even playability. Once you get into the habit of
cleaning and stretching your guitar strings and it becomes
second nature, you can turn your attention to other important
playing points without having to tune up every few minutes. It's
well worth the effort.
Next we look at
some Strat whammy bar tips, Lee Chang specials to avoid, and how
a humble home pencil can save your guitar life :).
The Author: David O'Toole is a guitar player,
music fan, and musician from Ireland. He is the webmaster/editor
at the following musician sites:
A keen player and experienced
guitar teacher, he is also the author of the popular standard,
lefthand, reverse guitar, and piano / keyboard Basic Chord
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Reaching For The Soul Zone
"When the band
is 'on' you simply don't notice any of them. The music just
feels great and everyone is in sync - just like they should be!"
Every searching artist wants to get there. It's that magical
place where something takes over, you know, when something
bigger than you whispers in your ear and says "Relax - I'll take
it from here!"
I like to call it the 'soul zone', others simply call it the
'zone', I'm sure there are many other names for it.
For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about,
it is the ultimate state to be in as an improviser. You might
have played a gig and gone through the motions and nothing
particularly interesting sprung from you. You might have played
a solo at a different time and place and thought you said some
pretty interesting things. But then you'll probably remember
those times when you played a solo and something absolutely
Maybe you closed your eyes and you
went off into this magical mysterious place where nothing else
mattered. While you were playing you felt like you were in the
middle of a 'happening'. Your tone was just right, your phrasing
was great and it seemed like you were truly improvising for the
first time in a long while. And strangely enough, at the end of
your solo, you look up and you can't remember a thing you just
played. Then the band members look at you with a big smile of
approval. You were in a completely altered state, or so it
Does this situation sound familiar to you? If so, you have
experienced the soul zone. One of those trance like states that
every searching musician is trying to get back to. It's the
spiritual realm. And we would like it to happen more often than
There's no question about it, this experience may well be one of
the factors determining why so many musicians have turned to
drugs and alcohol in the past. That Zen like state seems to be
one of the reasons musicians play music at all. Of course the
good news is that you can get there without the substance abuse!
The question I have always asked is this: "Why does this zone
only come about from time to time?" I think there are a number
First and most important I think is the fact that there are so
many distractions when we play. I have found that as my career
got busier as an artist, I was sometimes taking on the role of
artist, manager and agent. By the time I got on stage I was
finally having to think about entertaining, whilst asking myself
all sorts of things like "Am I losing the audience? Do they like
this song and if not should I cut it from the set? - have I
brought enough people to this show? Is the promoter seething
with anger - will she book me ever again? How many CDs am I
selling over there? Should I be promoting my CD more during the
show? Am I funny witty and charming on stage - dammit do they
like me at all??" Yiiiikkes heeeeeellllllppp!!
As you can imagine, this scenario doesn't exactly make for a Zen
like transcendental state now does it? Of course I am
exaggerating somewhat but my point is that all too often, there
are too many distractions in order to get there.
The other big big reason is that sonically things might not be
right. How many times have you done a show where the monitors
sound terrible or you're playing through a rented amp that isn't
sounding any good to you? What if the drummer sucks?
I have always thought that if the band is 'on' you simply don't
notice any of them. The music just feels great and everyone is
in sync - just like they should be. When this is the case
everyone is in that zone and the music is magical. So it's
definitely a matter of external factors being right as much as
it is internal relaxation and the ability to let it flow.
One thing that I have always found particularly difficult and is
a continual learning curve for me, is the art of recording. And
here I don't simply mean recording guitar parts, that is a craft
that can be learned. I'm talking about recording an improvised
solo that is truly inspired. The question is "How do you get to
that zone in a cold sterile environment?"
What amazes me is that there have been many many truly inspired
solos recorded on albums, so those artists figured out a way to
get to the zone. I have always found it easier to reach my
optimum playing peak in a live setting. When I'm recording I
want it to be just great, it's going to be immortal after all,
you know, on a CD forever. And this is where the problem lies.
Too much thought. To get to the zone one needs to totally let
So what can we do to help us get to that magical place? First,
understand that it might not happen and that it's perfectly fine
if it doesn't. It might be out of our control. Before you step
out to play, take a deep breath and center yourself. Nervous
energy can take over and it's important to get as much external
crap out of our heads as we can and give the music our full and
Take your time as you play, think
about playing behind the beat instead of playing on top to drive
energy. Relaxation is the key and the right energy will come as
a result. Have your internal antenna up for musical ideas. They
might come from the band and you should be ready to grab some
inspiration from them. Close your eyes. This can help, even just
to get you on the right foot. Let it flow. Try to ignore any
reasons for you to not be present.
And that last part I think is the most important of all. Be
Present. Not always an easy place to get to but if we can strive
for it, I believe will make us better musicians, and we'll enjoy
the music that much more.
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The Parker Fly Guitar
I have been a huge fan of Parker Guitars since 2002, when I first
purchased a Parker Nitefly and later purchased a Parker Fly
($2,500 - $3,700). There is no way to adequately describe what
it’s like to play a Parker Guitar. It’s like, well, the only
thing that can describe how nice is feels to play a Parker is to
compare to having sex. But my Parker never gets a head ache,
does not want any jewelry and never says NO. All kidding aside,
in my opinion The Parker Fly is the best guitar available for
Parker has a lower cost “P” series guitar that is both high
quality and inexpensive. Made in Korea, they are fine
instruments and play considerably better than most Asian build
guitars. To me, if you are going to own a Parker you should buy
their Parker Mojo, which are quite expensive, but worth the
price. There is a tremendous difference between the US and Asian
What sets the Parker Fly and Fly Mojo apart from the competition
is the incredible playability of the guitar. It is extremely
light weight, made of the best tone woods and has the fastest
and most consistent neck every designed. Best of all there are
no “dead” zones on the necks, and the frets NEVER wear out.
Well, if you wear out the Stainless Steel frets you’re certainly
a better man than me.
The Fly Mojo and the new Fly Mojo Flame are made from a solid
one-piece mahogany body joined to a solid mahogany neck. The Fly
Mojo Flame features an AAA Flame Maple face that provides a
stunning appearance without sacrificing the warm mahogany tones.
All Mojo guitars include Parker's patented neck design with
stainless steel frets and Parker's ultra-durable and fast carbon
A word about Sperzel locking tuners: once you’ve experienced the
ease of changing strings and the stead fast tune ability of the
locking tuner you will never want another guitar without them.
Just thread the string through the bridge and the whole on the
end of the tuning peg, tighten and you’re done. No winding
needed, accept to tune the instrument.
But the most important thing about a guitar is how it sounds.
According to Ken Parker; every part of the instrument, the body,
the neck, the bridge has to “to sing”. Every component has an
inherited tonal quality, which properly matched and molded, make
up the tonal quality of the guitar.
Parker Guitars is now part of the Washburn Guitar Company,
another favorite of mine. If you are in the market for a premium
quality US Made guitar you should consider the Parker Guitar.
Author: Bill McRea is the
The Guitar Warehouse and
Guitar Playing Techniques.
Both sites offer free lesson and product sales.
Music Production and
Mixing Tips & Tricks
What makes a
pro recording pro? What is the "sound" that the pros get and how
can you make your recordings sound more professional?
answer is - there's no simple answer. But with careful listening
and a little experience you can create excellent results with
Good mixing starts ear
The first and
most important item of equipment is - who knows? Anyone? It's
your ears! Sorry to tell you this, but listening to ten hours of
Rave at 110dB will do nothing for them and you might as well
give your mix to a turtle as try to mix with misused ears.Listen
to commercial recordings of mixes you like, analyse them, listen
for the effects and get to know what constitutes the sort of
sound you're after.
hidden secret to getting a good sound, but if we had to sum up
the secret of mixing in two words it would be this -EQ and
compression. Okay that's three words.
probably the two most important tools used by professional
producers. However, like any tools, if you don'tknow how to use
them you'll be carving Habitat tables instead ofChippendale
your ears and experience come in. Here we have assembled some
production ideas, suggestions, tips and tricks but they can only
be guidelines and need to be adapted to suit your material.
There are no presets you can switch in to make a bad recording
sound good. And if your original material has been poorly
recorded not even Abbey Road could salvage your mix. But follow
these suggestions and see how much your mixes improve.
Get the level right
You can't push
the levels when recording digitally as you can when recording to
tape but you still want to get as much signal into the system as
possible. This means watching the levels very carefully for
clipping, and recording at an even and constant level.
software lets you monitor and set the input levelfrom within.
Some expect you to use the soundcard's mixer while others have
no facility for internally adjusting the input level and expect
you to set this at source.
Your ears are
only as good as the monitors they listen to. DONOT expect to
produce a good, pro mix on tiny computer speakers. It may sound
fine on a computer system, but try it on a hi fi,in a disco and
through a car stereo.
you don't necessarily need the most expensive Mic. Many top
artists use what some might call "average" Mics because they
work well and get the job done. You can spend a wad on a large
diaphragm capacitor Mic (yes, they're good for vocals) if you
have the lolly but check out dynamic Mics which are much more
affordable and can be turned to several tasks.
Mixing MIDI and audio
One of the
great things about computer-based recording is that the parts
can so easily be changed, edited and processed. It's also so
easy to combine MIDI and audio tracks and many musicians use a
combination of sample loops, MIDI parts and audio recording.
recordings are generally guitar and acoustic instruments such as
the sax and vocals. Incidentally, the best way to recordguitars
is by sticking a Mic in front of its speakers. You can DI them
and process them later and this may be cleaner but for a natural
guitar sound a Miced amp is hard to beat.
necessary to record drums live and, in fact, it's difficult to
do and retain a modern sound. You can buyoff-the-shelf MIDI drum
riffs and audio drum loops, or program your own. The quality of
the gear which makes drum noises these days is such that anyone
with a good riff can sound like a pro.
As MIDI and
audio parts appear on the same screen in modern sequencers, it's
very easy to arrange them into a song. However, when you come to
mix everything down there's another consideration. If you are
recording to DAT you can simply route the audio and MIDI outputs
through a mixer and into the DAT machine.
However, if you
want to create a CD you must first convert the MIDI parts to
audio data. The entire song can then be mixed to hard disk and
burned to CD. Converting MIDI to audio can have another benefit
and that's the ability to process the MIDI tracks using digital
There are three
positions for effects known as Master, Send and Insert. Use the
Master for effects you want to apply to the entire mix. These
will often be EQ, compression and reverb.
each channel its own Insert effects is kinda neat, each one uses
a corresponding amount of CPU power. So if your computer is
struggling and if you're using the same effect on more than one
channel, make the effect a Send effect and route those channels
Many pieces of
software let you apply an effect Pre or Post fader. With Post
fader, the amount of sound sent to the effect is controlled by
the fader. With Pre fader, the total volume level of the signal
is sent. Post fader is the usual default and the one you'll use
EQ is the most
popular and the most over-used effect. Yes, I can be used to try
to "fix a mix" but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's
ear as me Gran used to say and what she didn't know about mixing
could be written in the margin of the book of honest
But before you
start messing with EQ - or any other effect for that matter -
make sure you have a decent set of speakers. Have we said that
already? Oh, must be important, then.
plug-in effects such as Maxx Bass which can psychoacoustically
enhance the bass frequencies to make it sound better on smaller
speakers. However, this is by no means the same as getting a
good bass sound in the first place by observing good recording
EQ can enhance
a mix to add gloss, fairy dust, shimmer, sheen, a sweetener or
whatever you want to call it to the final production. It can be
done with enhancers and spectralisers, too, although these tend
to mess with the harmonics which some producers don't like.
However, don't dismiss them out of hand.
General EQ lore
says that you should cut rather than boost. If a sound is
top-heavy, the temptation is to boost the mid and bass ranges.
But then what usually happens is you start boosting the upper
range to compensate and you simply end up boosting everything
and you're back where you started - only louder!
The reason why
cutting is preferred is that boosting also boosts the noise in
the signal which is not what you want. Try it. Boost every
frequency and listen to the result. If you think it sounds okay,
fine. What do we know?
But when you're
fiddling, do keep an eye on the output meter. Boosting EQ
inevitably means increasing the gain and it's so-o-o-o easy to
clip the output causing distortion which does not sound good.
EQ changes to single tracks while playing back the entire piece.
In other words, listen to the tracks in context with all the
other tracks. It may sound fine in isolation but some
frequencies may overlap onto other tracks making the piece
frequency rich in some places and frequency poor in others.
space. It gives the impression that a sound was recorded in a
hall or canyon instead of the broom cupboard. Recording lore
suggests that you record everything dry, with no reverb, so you
can experiment with a choice later on. You can't un-reverb a
track once it's been recorded.
The more reverb
you apply, the further away sound will seem. To make a vocal
up-front, use only enough reverb to take away the dryness.
Vocals don't want to be mushy (lyrics can be mushy) so use a
A common novice
error is to swamp everything with different types of reverb.
Don't - it sounds horrible!
You've done all
the recordings, done the edits, applied the effects and now it's
time to mix everything into a Big Number One Hit! Before you
do, go home and have a good night's sleep. Have two. In fact,
sleep for a week.
Yes, we know
you're hot and raring to go but your ears are tired. They're
falling asleep. Listen carefully and you might hear then snore!
There is a phenomenon known as ear fatigue and consistent
exposure to sound, especially the same frequencies, makes our
ears less responsive to them.
Goes back to
the bit about spending your life in a Rave club - you'll never
be a master producer. If you try to mix after spending a day
arranging, your ears will not be as responsive, so do them and
your mix a favour by waiting at least a day.
Now, go forth
and mix! And don't forget - you get better with practice. For
more information about mixing, pick up a FREE copy of Creating
The Perfect Mix at www.making-music.com
About the author: Ian Waugh is
one of the UK's leading hi tech music writers and creator of
He has written several books and albums. He is author of the
"Quick Guide to..." series which includes the Quick Guide to
Dance Music, Digital Audio Recording, MP3 and Digital Music, and
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