For the lion's share of rock and pop music, you're looking at a classic drum set: tom-toms, snares, bass and cymbals. You'll find a huge selection of these staple instruments here, in as many varieties as you could name. If you're just starting out with the drums, take a look at shell packs and drum sets to get up and running in a hurry. On the other hand, if you're a veteran drummer, chances are that you'd prefer to pick and choose your instruments individually and only the best holders for your sticks will do. For the adventurous among us, there are electronic drum sets, which open up the unlimited potential of customized samples. Whatever you want to do to distinguish yourself from other drummers, this is where you can find the instruments to get there.
Keyboards, on the other hand, were designed to produce a much wider range of sounds than traditional pianos. Though they are sometimes good options for beginners, the range of available features on a keyboard make them more appropriate for intermediate to advanced musicians who are interested and capable of developing their own sound. It’s uncommon for such musicians to use a keyboard to create the same sounds that a traditional piano would make. Keyboards are usually much lighter than digital pianos, and they often do not have weighted keys. In short, keyboards are designed to be used by musicians and producers with more experience. Keyboards are often much lighter than digital pianos and have tones which number in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. They include a lot of technical options to allow the player to fully customize their sound.
The shell almost invariably has a circular opening over which the drumhead is stretched, but the shape of the remainder of the shell varies widely. In the western musical tradition, the most usual shape is a cylinder, although timpani, for example, use bowl-shaped shells. Other shapes include a frame design (tar, Bodhrán), truncated cones (bongo drums, Ashiko), goblet shaped (djembe), and joined truncated cones (talking drum).
Macaque monkeys drum objects in a rhythmic way to show social dominance and this has been shown to be processed in a similar way in their brains to vocalizations suggesting an evolutionary origin to drumming as part of social communication. Other primates make drumming sounds by chest beating or hand clapping, and rodents such as kangaroo rats also make similar sounds using their paws on the ground.
Eight and twelve-string models are both built on the same "course string" concept found on twelve-string guitars, where sets of strings are spaced together in groups of two or three that are primarily played simultaneously. These instruments typically have one of the strings in each course tuned an octave above the 'standard' string, although a fifth above is also used. Instruments with ten and fifteen strings, grouped in five courses, also exist, as do "extended-range basses" or ERBs with non-coursed string counts rivaling those of coursed-string basses.
The bass guitar is an electric instrument that performs in both lead and backing roles. They are commonly used across a huge variety of musical genres and are attractive for their versatility, sound, and design. Manufacturers such as Fender and Ibanez offer a variety of both modern and vintage bass guitars, and each has multiple models with their own characteristics.
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.
The fretting hand—the left hand for right-handed bass players and right hand for left-handed bass players—presses down the strings to play different notes and shape the tone or timbre of a plucked or picked note. One fretting technique is a finger per fret, where each finger in the fretting hand plays one fret in a given position, giving the advantage that full chromatic scale of over an octave and a half can be played with no up-down wrist movement. Also, the double bass-style technique can be used for fretting. This technique involves using four fingers in the space of three frets, especially in the lower positions (i.e., the fretting positions closer to the nut, where the space between notes is the widest). When considering the spacing between notes, this is a comfortable distance for the average person's hand size, however it requires more up-down hand movements. The main advantage of the "four fingers in three frets technique is less tendon strain, leading to a diminished likelihood of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The image below (of a bassist performing tapping) shows the four-in-three.
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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.
The string can be plucked (or picked) at any point between the bridge and the point where the fretting hand is holding down the string on the fingerboard; different timbres (tones) are produced depending on where along the string it is plucked. When plucked closer to the bridge, the string's harmonics are more pronounced, giving a brighter tone. Closer to the middle of the string, these harmonics are less pronounced, giving a more mellow, darker tone.
The effects, on the other hand, are great, and there are a lot of them: eight different reverbs, eight choruses, and three modulation effects (tremolo, vibrato, or rotary speaker). The keyboard stores your effect settings for each of the 12 sounds in memory, so they’ll be restored when you choose that sound again or turn the keyboard off. These are likely to be less important and useful for a beginner than basic sounds, though effects might appeal to those looking for an inexpensive performance piano.
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