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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 keyboards all came in to our Los Angeles office. After unboxing them and setting them up, I invited Liz, Jack, and Brent to come in and try them out. I asked them to rate the key action and the sound of the piano and to evaluate features from the perspective of a beginner. After playing through all of them over a couple hours, we talked through the pros and cons of each keyboard, and they gave me their top three choices.
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The PX-160 comes with the square SP-3 damper (sustain) pedal. It does the job but is far from an authentic piano experience. There are other piano-style pedals available, such as the M-Audio SP-2, that are nicer to play and don’t slide around as much. Casio offers the optional SP-33 pedal unit, which has a three-pedal configuration with separate soft, sostenuto, and sustain pedals—the traditional three-pedal setup found on most pianos. In duet play mode, the left and right pedals serve as damper pedals for their respective sides of the keyboard. The downside of the SP-33 is that it can be used only with Casio’s CS-67 stand (the two are also available together as a package).
As well as providing an alternative to a conventional acoustic drum kit, electronic drums can be incorporated into an acoustic drum kit to supplement it. MIDI triggers can also be installed into acoustic drum and percussion instruments. Pads that can trigger a MIDI device can be homemade from a piezoelectric sensor and a practice pad or other piece of foam rubber.[22]
Optical pickups are another type of non-magnetic pickup. They use an infrared LED to optically track the movement of the string, similar to the mechanism of modern computer mice, which allows them to reproduce low-frequency tones at high volumes without the "hum" or excessive resonance associated with conventional magnetic pickups. Since optical pickups do not pick up high frequencies or percussive sounds well, they are commonly paired with piezoelectric pickups to fill in the missing frequencies. LightWave Systems builds basses with optical pickups.
Fender also began production of the Mustang Bass; a 30-inch (762 mm) scale length instrument used by bassists such as Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones ("P" and "J" basses have a scale length of 34 inches (864 mm), a design echoed on most current production electric basses of all makes). In the 1950s and 1960s, the instrument was often called the "Fender bass", due to Fender's early dominance in the market. The Fender VI, a baritone guitar, was tuned one octave lower than standard guitar tuning. It was released in 1961, and was favored by Jack Bruce of Cream.[20]
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In some styles or settings, such as country music clubs or churches, small venues, or when a live recording is being made, the drummer may use a transparent perspex or plexiglas drum screen (also known as a drum shield) to dampen the onstage volume of the drums. A screen that completely surrounds the drum kit is known as a drum booth. In live sound applications, drum shields are used so that the audio engineer can have more control over the volume of drums that the audience hears through the PA system mix or to reduce the overall volume of the drums, as a way to reduce the overall volume of the band in the venue. In some recording studios, foam and fabric baffles are used in addition to or in place of clear panels. The drawback with foam/cloth baffle panels is that the drummer cannot see other performers, the record producer or the audio engineer well.
No matter which digital piano you choose, you're in for something special. The instruments found on these pages all offer different features, so take a few minutes to think about your needs as a musician and go from there. Whether you go with a higher-end stage piano like the top-selling KAWAI MP11 Professional Piano or a student model Yamaha's NP12 61-Key Entry-Level Piaggero Ultra-Portable Digital Piano, any digital pianos here will enhance your musical journey.
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