If our top pick isn’t available or you’re looking to save $50, the Yamaha P-45 is an excellent alternative. It was the favorite of one panelist, and the other three each ranked it second. It plays as well as our top pick, although I found the key weight to be a bit heavy for my tastes; it took a little more finger effort to play. Jack liked that heavier feel but could see it causing problems for beginners. Brent thought the action was about as good as it gets in this price range, and Liz thought it was easy to play.
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Prior to the development of the drum set, drums and cymbals used in military and orchestral music settings were played separately by different percussionists; if the score called for bass drum, triangle and cymbals, three percussionists would be hired to play these three instruments. In the 1840s, percussionists began to experiment with foot pedals as a way to enable them to play more than one instrument, but these devices would not be mass-produced for another 75 years. By the 1860s, percussionists started combining multiple drums into a set. The bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, and other percussion instruments were all struck with hand-held drum sticks. Drummers in musical theater shows and stage shows, where the budget for pit orchestras was often limited, contributed to the creation of the drum set by developing techniques and devices that would enable them to cover the roles of multiple percussionists.
I have been playing piano since the early 1980s, and I earned a Bachelor of Music with an audio production and piano focus from Ithaca College as well as a Masters in Music in keyboard collaborative arts from the University of Southern California. For the past 20 years, I’ve been a professional music director and have performed myriad musical styles on different instruments in concert halls and on nightclub stages. I also taught music for 10 years at a private Los Angeles middle and high school.

Tapewound (double bass type) and flatwound strings are sometimes used with the fretless bass so the metal string windings do not wear down the fingerboard. Tapewound and flatwound strings have a distinctive tone and sound. Some fretless basses have epoxy-coated fingerboards, or fingerboards made of an epoxy composite like micarta, to increase the fingerboard's durability, enhance sustain, and give a brighter tone.


Instruments handmade by highly skilled luthiers are becoming increasingly available in the 2010s. Exotic materials in high-end instruments include woods such as bubinga, wenge, ovangkol, ebony, and goncalo alves. Some makers use graphite composite to make lightweight necks[23][24] More expensive basses often feature exotic woods. For example, Alembic uses cocobolo as a body or top layer material because of its attractive grain. Warwick bass guitars are well known for exotic hardwoods, making most necks out of ovangkol, and fingerboards from wenge or ebony. Some makers use solid bubinga bodies for their tonal and aesthetic qualities.
These keyboards are perfect for any student, child to elder, who is interested in learning how to play piano. They are inexpensive, have built-in speakers so an extra amplifier isn’t necessary, and include multiple piano sounds and simulated acoustic-piano action (aka “key feel”). These keyboards are relatively light—all our picks weigh around 26 pounds—so it’s possible for one person to carry the piano when necessary.
In the Australian state of Victoria, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has set out minimum standards for its electric bass students doing their end-of-year Solo performance recital. To graduate, students must perform pieces and songs from a set list that includes Baroque suite movements that were originally written for cello, 1960s Motown tunes, 1970s fusion jazz solos, and 1980s slap bass tunes. A typical program may include a Prelude by J.S. Bach; "Portrait of Tracy" by Jaco Pastorius; "Twisted" by Wardell Gray and Annie Ross; "What's Going On" by James Jamerson; and the funky Disco hit "Le Freak" by Chic.[66]
In contrast to the upright bass (also called "double bass"), the electric bass guitar is played horizontally across the body, like an electric guitar. When the strings are plucked with the fingers (pizzicato), the index and middle fingers (and sometimes the thumb, ring, and little fingers as well) are used. James Jamerson, an influential bassist from the Motown era, played intricate bass lines using only his index finger, which he called "The Hook." There are also variations in how a bassist chooses to rest the right-hand thumb (or left thumb in the case of left-handed players). A player may rest his or her thumb on the top edge of one of the pickups or on the side of the fretboard, which is especially common among bassists who have an upright bass influence. Some bassists anchor their thumbs on the lowest string and move it off the lowest string when they need to play on the low string. Alternatively, the thumb can be rested loosely on the strings to mute the unused strings.
Drums are used not only for their musical qualities, but also as a means of communication over great distances. The talking drums of Africa are used to imitate the tone patterns of spoken language. Throughout Sri Lankan history drums have been used for communication between the state and the community, and Sri Lankan drums have a history stretching back over 2500 years.
Sheet music from the 1920s provides evidence that the drummer's sets were starting to evolve in size and sound to support the various acts mentioned above. However, the first "talkies" or films with audio, were released circa 1927 and by 1930 most films were released with a soundtrack and the silent film era was over. The downside of the technological breakthrough was that thousands of drummers who served as sound effect specialists were put out of work overnight. A similar panic was felt by drummers in the 1980s, when electronic drum machines were first released.
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In other less mainstream genres, such as hardcore punk or metal, the pedagogical systems and training sequences are typically not formalized and institutionalized. As such, many players learn by ear, by copying bass lines from records and CDs, and by playing in a number of bands. Even in non-mainstream styles, though, students may be able to take lessons from experts in these or other styles, adapting learned techniques to their own style. As well, there are a range of books, playing methods, and, since the 1990s, instructional DVDs (e.g., how to play metal bass). In the 2010s, many instructional videos are available online on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

"Soapbar" Pickups are so-named due to their resemblance to a bar of soap and originally referred to the Gibson P-90 guitar pickup. The term is also used to describe any pickup with a rectangular shape (no protruding screw mounting "ears" like on P, J or MM pickups) and no visible pole pieces. Most of the pickups falling into this category are humbucking, though a few single-coil soapbar designs exist. They are commonly found in basses designed for the rock and metal genres, such as Gibson, ESP Guitars, and Schecter, however they are also found on 5- and 6-string basses made popular by jazz and jazz fusion music, such as Yamaha's TRB and various Peavey model lines. 'Soapbar pickups' are also called 'extended housing pickups', because the rectangular shape is achieved simply by making the pickup cover longer or wider than it would have to be to only cover the pickup coils, and then the mounting holes are recessed inside these wider dimensions of the housing.
Another common form is the stage piano, designed for use with live performances, professional audio, or in recording studio. This type of digital piano normally makes no attempt to imitate the physical appearance of an acoustic piano, rather resembling a generic synthesizer or music workstation. A distinguishing feature of most stage pianos is a lack of internal loudspeakers and amplification - it is normally assumed that a powerful keyboard amplifier or PA system will be used. However, some stage pianos are equipped with powered speakers.
In the Australian state of Victoria, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has set out minimum standards for its electric bass students doing their end-of-year Solo performance recital. To graduate, students must perform pieces and songs from a set list that includes Baroque suite movements that were originally written for cello, 1960s Motown tunes, 1970s fusion jazz solos, and 1980s slap bass tunes. A typical program may include a Prelude by J.S. Bach; "Portrait of Tracy" by Jaco Pastorius; "Twisted" by Wardell Gray and Annie Ross; "What's Going On" by James Jamerson; and the funky Disco hit "Le Freak" by Chic.[66]
Torzal Natural Twist is a bass guitar body and neck style invented by luthier Jerome Little from Amherst, Massachusetts. It consists of a neck rotated by a total of 35 degrees, with (+)15 degrees at the bridge and (-)20 at the nut. The designer claims that the ergonomic design increases efficiency of the hands, wrists and arms, which reduces the risk of developing repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. This design is also beneficial to players who have already suffered from such injuries. This patented design differs from traditional bass guitar design by twisting the neck, and bringing the strings toward a more natural hand position at either end of the instrument. The rotation at either side of the instrument in the direction of the hand creates a neck plane that models the natural motion of the hand as it reaches outward. The fretboard also forms a straight line at the location of each string, which should improve the ease of performance.[52]
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I then set out to a few local Los Angeles music stores to get my hands on some keys, talk to the store employees who work around these instruments every day, and start to whittle down the list. After contacting manufacturers to request samples and/or to get suggestions on pianos that might better fit our guidelines (or, in one case, to inform us of a model that was being discontinued), the list was narrowed down to seven keyboards.
Drum muffles are types of mutes that can reduce the ring, boomy overtone frequencies, or overall volume on a snare, bass, or tom. Controlling the ring is useful in studio or live settings when unwanted frequencies can clash with other instruments in the mix. There are internal and external muffling devices which rest on the inside or outside of the drumhead, respectively. Common types of mufflers include muffling rings, gels and duct tape, and improvised methods, such as placing a wallet near the edge of the head.[25] Some drummers muffle the sound of a drum by putting a cloth over the drumhead.
Popular music bands and rock groups use the bass guitar as a member of the rhythm section, which provides the chord sequence or "progression" and sets out the "beat" for the song. The rhythm section typically consists of a rhythm guitarist or electric keyboard player, or both, a bass guitarist and a drummer; larger groups may add additional guitarists, keyboardists, or percussionists.
If you’re looking for more traditional hand drums, you can travel the world with our assortment of hand drums from all over the world. Djembes are rich-sounding, African drums that can produce a variety of tones. Check out our selection of doumbeks, Arabic drums, usually made of metal, that provide crisp, melodic cracks and pops. Hand drums and other handheld percussions, like tambourines and shakers, are great for impromptu jam sessions and for kids to learn basic rhythms. Our bongos are fun for reliving the glory of the beat poets of the 1950s, or for a foray into the lively musical traditions of salsa, son, or samba.

Drum kit music is either written down in music notation (called "drum parts"), learned and played "by ear", improvised or some combination of some or all three of these methods. Professional session musician drummers and Big Band jazz drummers are often required to read drum parts. Drum parts are most commonly written on a standard five-line staff. In 2016, a special percussion clef is used, while previously the bass clef was used. However, even if the bass or no clef is used, each line and space is assigned an instrument of the kit, rather than to a pitch. In jazz, traditional music, folk music, rock music and pop music, drummers are expected to be able to learn songs by ear (from a recording or from another musician who is playing or singing the song) and improvise. The degree of improvisation differs in different styles. Jazz and jazz fusion drummers may have lengthy improvised solos in every song. In rock music and blues, there are also drum solos in some songs, although they tend to be shorter than those in jazz. Drummers in all popular music and traditional music styles are expected to be able to improvise accompaniment parts to songs, once they are told the genre or style (e.g., shuffle, ballad, slow blues, etc.).
While fretless basses are often associated with jazz and jazz fusion, bassists from other genres have used fretless basses, such as Freebo (country), Rick Danko (rock/blues), Rod Clements (folk), Steve DiGiorgio, Jeroen Paul Thesseling (metal), Tony Franklin (rock), and Colin Edwin (modern/progressive rock). Some bassists alternate between fretted and fretless basses in performances, according to the type of material or tunes they are performing, e.g., Pino Palladino or Tony Levin.
Drummers use a drum key for tuning their drums and adjusting some drum hardware. Besides the basic type of drum key (a T-handled wrench) there are various tuning wrenches and tools. Basic drum keys are divided in three types which allows tuning of three types of tuning screws on drums: square (most used), slotted and hexagonal. Ratchet-type wrenches allow high-tension drums to be tuned easily. Spin keys (utilizing a ball joint) allow rapid head changing. Torque-wrench type keys are available, graphically revealing the torque at each lug. Also, tension gauges, or meters, which are set on the head, aid drummers to achieve a consistent tuning. Drummers can tune drums "by ear" or, in the 2010s, use a digital drum tuner, which "measures tympanic pressure" on the drumhead to provide accurate tuning.[33]

There are many different types of keyboards available. On the lower end are keyboards that you’d find in a toy store, while music stores have keyboards that are more fully-featured and intended for serious musicians and producers. These types of keyboards are commonly loaded with different voices, tones, rhythms, and sound effects to give a player or producer a lot of control over their sound. Within this type of keyboard, you’ll find synthesizers and MIDI controllers. Another differentiator among keyboards is the number of keys. Some keyboards have fewer than the traditional 88 keys you’d find on a digital piano. This allows certain keyboards to be more compact and generally doesn’t impact the ability for the player to create music. While some keyboards have keys that are weighted, many do not. This means that keyboards do not move or react like piano keys.
Several factors determine the sound a drum produces, including the type, shape and construction of the drum shell, the type of drum heads it has, and the tension of these drumheads. Different drum sounds have different uses in music. Take, for example, the modern Tom-tom drum. A jazz drummer may want drums that are high pitched, resonant and quiet whereas a rock drummer may prefer drums that are loud, dry and low-pitched. Since these drummers want different sounds, their drums are constructed and tuned differently.
Most electric bass guitars use magnetic pickups. The vibrations of the instrument's ferrous metal strings within the magnetic field of the permanent magnets in magnetic pickups produce small variations in the magnetic flux threading the coils of the pickups. This in turn produces small electrical voltages in the coils. Many bass players connect the signal from the bass guitar's pickups to a bass amplifier and loudspeaker using a 1/4" patch cord. These low-level signals are then strengthened by the bass amp's preamplifier electronic circuits, and then amplified with the bass amp's power amplifier and played through one or more speaker(s) in a cabinet.
The bass guitars will have either 4, 5 or 6 strings. Though it may be tempting to go for the guitar with 6 strings, going for the 4-stringed is good for a new player. A bass guitar is a type of stringed instrument that plays a lower tone and sounds more impressive than a regular guitar. The most notable difference is that a bass guitar may have as few as four strings and they are much thicker. The thicker strings are what give the bass its low tone.
Another common form is the stage piano, designed for use with live performances, professional audio, or in recording studio. This type of digital piano normally makes no attempt to imitate the physical appearance of an acoustic piano, rather resembling a generic synthesizer or music workstation. A distinguishing feature of most stage pianos is a lack of internal loudspeakers and amplification - it is normally assumed that a powerful keyboard amplifier or PA system will be used. However, some stage pianos are equipped with powered speakers.
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