Folk Instrument Buying Guides

Harmonica Buying Guide

Harmonica Buying Guide

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The late Chicago blues harp maestro Carey Bell who learned from masters such as Big Walter Horton and Little Walter Jacobs. Photo courtesy of Hohner.

Everything you need to know about the “mouth harp” and how to choose the right one(s) to match your music and ambitions.

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Ukulele

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Ukulele

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For a tiny investment, a fresh set of quality strings can improve or revive your ukulele’s sound. Many lower-cost ukes are shipped with less than optimal strings, and a better quality set can make a surprising difference in their sound. In this guide we will help you choose the set that’s right for your uke.

Banjos: How to Choose

Banjos: How to Choose

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There are few things as quintessentially American as the image of a player sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch strumming on a banjo. One of the essential instrumental voices in American bluegrass, country, dixieland jazz, and folk music, the banjo is lots of fun to play, and mastering it can offer a lifetime of satisfaction. Its bright and articulate tone is relatively easy to produce, and the banjo’s percussive rhythms add bounce and drive to many different music styles. In its modern form, a case can be made that the banjo is among the few musical instruments that’s purely American-bred.

Ukuleles: How to Choose

Ukuleles: How to Choose

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The ukulele is back—with a vengeance!

And there’s never been a better time to get started playing the uke, given the hundreds of available models to choose from in every price range. Today you’ll also find lots of resources to help you learn the ukulele and develop your playing skills. We’re committed to helping you find your way through the dizzying array of ukuleles on the market to that model which makes sense for your musical tastes and budget.

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Mandolin

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Mandolin

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Because different mandolins, playing techniques, and the music genres in which they’re used vary greatly, there’s no single answer to the question which strings are right for you and your instrument. In this guide we’ll walk you through the types of mandolin strings that are available and detail their playing and tonal characteristics.

One thing’s for sure though: a fresh set of well chosen strings will quickly and inexpensively restore the sound of a mandolin that has lost its sonic luster. Like a dirty windshield that you’ve grown accustomed to, putting on a new set of strings (or washing that windshield) will restore the clarity that you hardly had noticed was missing.

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Banjo

How to Choose the Right Strings for Your Banjo

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The strings on your banjo have a big influence on your instrument’s sound and playability. If you’ve explored Musician’s Friend’s dozens of different banjo string choices, you’ve likely realized there’s plenty to think about when choosing the right ones. In this guide we’ll walk you through those choices to find the strings that’ll help you produce the banjo sound you’re after while enjoying great playability.

Mandolins: How to Choose

Mandolins: How to Choose

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If you’re shopping for a mandolin, you’ve arrived at the right place. With our huge selection of mandolins that ranges from affordable yet thoroughly playable starter mandolins to entirely handcrafted professional instruments, you’re sure to find the one that’s right for your music, skill level, and budget.

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