Turn on the radio in any major city. Start rolling through the stations, and notice where you hear the distinct sounds of the banjo. The first instance will probably be on a contemporary country station—maybe a Keith Urban song or the hook in Eric Pasley’s “Friday Night.” Next, you may hear picking on the oldies or classic rock station, an Eagles song or some Neil Young. What may surprise you is hearing the banjo on contemporary pop, and even college or alternative rock stations. From Mumford and Sons to Bon Iver, the banjo is popping up in new and unusual places.
The so-called “B.B. Box” is a group of five notes connected to the first and second position minor pentatonic scales that was made famous by guess who…B. B. King. It’s sort of a "hot spot" in the scales that can be used to play entire blues leads. Many great blues players focus their lead lines around this box.
For working guitarists seeking a single instrument that can do it all, the Music Man John Petrucci BFR 6 Koa Top deserves serious consideration. Built in collaboration with the Dream Theater guitarist, a pair of DiMarzio pickups—a Liquifire in the neck, a Crunch Lab in the bridge—combined with a piezo nested in floating trem bridge generate just about any tone you can imagine.
Zildjian’s SoundLab, the company’s proving ground for developing new cymbals, has just introduced the limited edition Project 391—a new series with sounds unlike anything the world’s oldest cymbal maker has produced up to now. Led by Paul Francis, Zildjian’s Director of R&D, the SoundLab team set out to achieve sounds that weren’t a current part of the company’s tonal palette. They’ve unquestionably achieved that aim using a new alloy and manufacturing techniques that deliver what some drummers refer to as a “Euro sound.”
For those of us who have spent our years at the Corporate Headquarters, the KCDC is, much like our Salt Lake City call center, a bit of an enigma. However mysterious it may seem, one thing has never been argued: this part of the Musician’s Friend operation is perhaps the most important to our success, because at the end of the day, direct-to-consumer businesses have to get products into customers’ hands as quickly as possible. Which, we’re very proud to say, we do day in and day out.
By Dennis Kambury
If you've ever pondered the specs for digital audio and weren't quite sure what numbers like 16-bit/44.1kHz really mean, this tutorial will give you the information you need to understand the basics of digital audio.
By Marty Paule
Highly opinionated and fiercely independent in his views about pro sound, Bob Heil builds mics and possesses a professional resume to back up his often out-of-the-box attitude. And speaking of boxes, it was Bob who invented one of the most memorable guitar effects of all time: the Heil Talk Box that made Peter Frampton a fixture on ‘70s album charts.