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.
The bass guitarist sometimes breaks out of the strict rhythm section role to perform bass breaks or bass solos. The types of bass lines used for bass breaks or bass solos vary by style. In a rock band, a bass break may consist of the bassist playing a riff or lick during a pause in the song. In some styles of metal, a bass break may consist of "shred guitar"-style tapping on the bass. In a funk or funk rock band, a bass solo may showcase the bassist's percussive slap and pop playing. In genres such as progressive rock, art rock, or progressive metal, the bass guitar player may play melody lines along with the lead guitar (or vocalist) and perform extended guitar solos.
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.
Once the basic parameters were established, I reached out to colleagues who are piano teachers or musical directors to get a sense of what models were in highest rotation in the professional world. I also played several models at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in January. From there I searched through Amazon, Musician’s Friend, and Sweetwater for available models, then cross-checked that information with manufacturer websites and added anything that was missing. After considering all that information, I decided to limit the price to $500. That was high enough to include several quality-built keyboards that met all (or most) of the criteria without being too pricey. This gave me a list of 21 models from nine different companies.
The meanings of both numbers and letters vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and some sticks are not described using this system at all, just being known as Smooth Jazz (typically a 7N or 9N) or Speed Rock (typically a 2B or 3B) for example. Many famous drummers endorse sticks made to their particular preference and sold under their signature. Besides drumsticks, drummers will also use brushes and rutes in jazz and similar softer music. More rarely, other beaters such as cartwheel mallets (known to kit drummers as "soft sticks") may be used. It is not uncommon for rock drummers to use the "wrong" (butt) end of a stick for a heavier sound; some makers produce tipless sticks with two butt ends.
A midi controller does not have any sounds of its own. It requires a virtual instrument (as a trigger) to produce sounds. So, if you get an acoustic piano virtual instrument, your midi controller will be an acoustic piano. If your virtual instrument is a drum, violin, electric piano etc., your midi controller will be exactly those instruments because it takes its tone from the virtual instrument.
If you choose to venture beyond the traditional acoustic drum set, the variety here will reward you for it. One great way to expand your percussion options is with an electronic drum kit, which gives you the opportunity to program any samples you want into the sound module. That means you get not only a huge range of natural drum sounds, but also the ability to queue up virtually any other effect you want. As well as electronic drums, there are plenty of world percussion options here for you to peruse. Those range from hand drums like the cajon and djembe to all kinds of distinctive instruments such as tambourines, chimes and, of course, the iconic cowbell.
The fretting hand can add vibrato to a plucked or picked note, either a gentle, narrow vibrato or a more exaggerated, wide vibrato with bigger pitch variations. For fretted basses, vibrato is always an alternation between the pitch of the note and a slightly higher pitch. For fretless basses, the player can use this style of vibrato, or they can alternate between the note and a slightly lower pitch, as is done with the double bass and on other unfretted stringed instruments. While vibrato is mostly done on "stopped" notes—that is, notes that are pressed down on the fingerboard—open strings can also be vibratoed by pressing down on the string behind the nut. As well, the fretting hand can be used to "bend" a plucked or picked note up in pitch, by pushing or pulling the string so that the note sounds at a higher pitch. To create the opposite effect, a "bend down", the string is pushed to a higher pitch before being plucked or picked and then allowed to fall to the lower, regular pitch after it is sounded. Though rare, some bassists may use a tremolo bar-equipped bass to produce the same effect.
Dual coil "humbucker" pickups, sometimes abbreviated to DC pickups, have two signal-producing coils that are reverse-wound around opposed polarity magnets (similar in principle to the two individual J-pickups or the two halves of a modern Precision pickup, only in a single housing). This significantly reduces unwanted noise from electromagnetic interference compared to single coil pickups. Humbuckers also often produce a higher output level than single coil pickups, though many dual-coil pickups are marketed as retrofits for single-coil designs like the J pickup and advertise a similar output and tonal character to the stock single-coils. Dual coil pickups come in two main varieties; ceramic or ceramic and steel. Ceramic-only magnets have a relatively "harsher" sound than their ceramic and steel counterparts, and are thus used more commonly in heavier rock styles (heavy metal music, hardcore punk, etc.).
In 1929, when the stock market crash resulted in a global depression, one of the things that helped people cope with the trying years was swing jazz music. By the early to mid 1930's, big band swing was being embraced throughout the US, becoming the country's most popular form of music. The other contributing factor to the big band's success during the 1930s was the popularity of radio. The drum kit played a key role in the big band swing sound. Throughout the 1930s Chick Webb and Gene Krupa at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, increased the visual and musical driving force of the drummer and their equipment by simply being so popular and in demand- and they ensured that their drum kits became not only functionally developed but dazzling and well designed. Jazz drummers were influential in developing the concept of the modern drum kit and extending playing techniques. Gene Krupa was the first drummer to head his own orchestra and thrust the drums into the spotlight with his drum solos. Others would soon follow his lead.
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