"Hobby" Is Not a Dirty Word
You don't need to become a pro to develop a thoughtful and informed approach to playing music that will enrich your life.
Being a professional musician can be a difficult path, especially if you want to play your own music. We hear about the acts that are attracting the attention of the media or are forging a following on the internet, who seem to be enjoying success. Then, there are established megastars who continue to play their catalog to adoring fans who grew up listening to their recordings. But, as we all know, one day you're hot and the next day you're not. I can't count the times someone has mentioned a performer that has "fallen to the depths" of playing county fairs or small clubs after having once ruled the stadium circuit. "Imagine," they say, "having to play (insert decades-old hit song name here) every night." Very few performers sustain financial success in popular music, and even session players have a limited shelf life as styles change. It's a young person's game, especially if you play pop music.
A lot of instrument advertising leans on professional endorsements or associations. Features are often touted as being influenced by and created for "pro" players. I guess this assumes that everyone who plays the guitar aspires to be a pro. Even garage-rock scenarios are portrayed as a stepping-stone to stardom. But not everyone can be a pro, and not everyone needs to be one.
There's certainly a lot more options if you want to be a side musician or play in a wedding band. Maybe you can eventually get a well-paying gig backing up someone who has made the big time, and you can stand 20 feet from stardom. But I don't think there's anything wrong with admitting that music is your hobby. Hobbies are where we can pour our passion, and they give more meaning to life. If hearing a favorite song lifts your spirits, think of how playing that song for others can lift theirs. Music is the only art form that moves people (and animals) even though it is invisible.
We can't all be professional entertainers, but we can be better listeners, and understanding how music is made lets us enjoy our favorite music even more.
The benefits of playing music are well documented. Music stimulates all the senses and promotes good health. Studies have shown that music prolongs cognition in older folks and helps kids learn—even when it's just heard in the background. Not everyone can write the next great novel, but almost anyone can play a little tune that others can sing along to. Playing an instrument is a way to share good times and tell stories that are meaningful to you. If you have kids, there's nothing better than seeing them discover the joys of making musical sounds and then weaving music into their lives.
Music is also a great icebreaker. I picked up a guitar because it made a joyous noise and shielded me from being shy. It was also easier to carry around than my parents' piano. The mechanical and electrical facets of the electric guitar appealed to my young gearhead sensibilities, too. Guitar music is art, entertainment, and tech all wrapped up together. If you're handy with tools, building instruments, effects, and amplifiers from kits can satisfy a whole universe of interests—and then you can make music with your creations for and with friends.
As most of you know already, being an avid musician also gives you a better appreciation of the music created by others. We can't all be professional entertainers, but we can be better listeners, and understanding how music is made lets us enjoy our favorite music even more and realize the full worth of what we are hearing or seeing. I'd recommend taking basic music lessons to everyone just to improve their appreciation of the music around all of us. As far as hobbies go, music is certainly one of the best ways to enrich your life and the lives of those around you. It makes you smarter, it relieves stress, and it doesn't cost much—at least at first. It's like having a church wherever you go. I'm not saying that it can cure all our ills, but it comes pretty close.
Sure, we'd all like a shot at writing a song that everybody knows and sings along to. Which brings us back to those "has-been" acts playing their platinum hit song for a small crowd of people and farm animals at a county fair. They've had a run that many of us can't imagine. It probably just started out as a hobby for them before it got out of hand for a while. I don't know about you, but I'd be happy to play that song night after night even if it was for a handful of fans. In the end, we're all just enjoying music, which is what I call success. Just keep playing your own hits and the music you love with your friends, family, and pets. And don't hate the word hobby.
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D’Angelico Guitars Announces the Excel Tour Collection
The Tour Collection is defined by a minimalistic, vintage-inspired aesthetic, top-of-the-line components, and a simplified electronics configuration featuring new, custom pickups by Supro.
Available in the collection is the 16-inch-wide double-cutaway DC, the 15-inch-wide single-cutaway SS, and a 14-inch-wide Mini DC. Each model comes in three finishes: Slate Blue, Solid Wine, and Solid Black.
Every detail of the Tour Collection was chosen to achieve retro minimalism. Small diamond fingerboard inlays match 1930s-style diamond f-holes, and an undersized Throwback Scroll-style headstock achieves excellent head-to-body balance. The collection also features satin nickel hardware and custom Vintage Deluxe Grover tuners with a 15:1 gear ratio. Each model also features a simplified two-knob electronics configuration with 50s-style wiring to retain top-end clarity upon rolling off the volume knob. The neck shape in the Tour Collection is similar to the slim C-shape found throughout the D’Angelico line, but with more thickness in the shoulder to allow for snug hand fit as well as extra sustain. Medium Jumbo fret wire and a 12-inch fingerboard radius allow for quick navigation of the fingerboard while also prioritizing comfort for both rhythm and lead playing.
In 2020, Supro and D’Angelico became part of the same family of brands under Bond Audio. At that time, EVP of Product Ryan Kershaw and CTO Dave Koltai began designing custom pickups under the Supro name for the Tour Collection project.
“Supro Bolt Bucker pickups were designed to offer the tone of the most sought-after vintage "PAF" pickups from the late 1950's. Scatter wound, just like the originals, Supro Bolt Buckers utilize 42-gauge enamel wire along with a mixture of Alnico II (neck) and Alnico V (bridge) magnets to provide the perfect balance of warmth and clarity with unrivaled articulation and note bloom.” - Dave Koltai, Chief Technology Officer at Bond Audio.
Introducing the Excel Series Tour Collection | D'Angelico Guitars
All models are available for pre-order and will be in stock this holiday season. US MAP $1499. For more information, please visit dangelicoguitars.com.
Ananashead Announces the Cream Amp
The Cream Amp is a handmade low-gain overdrive pedal based on the Electra Distortion circuit.
The Cream Amp was designed to deliver full dynamics amp-like dirt to your clean and crunch amp or to another pedal in the chain without altering your tone too much. To add some grit at low volume or to make your amp sound more full, use the Drive control to set the gain and the Level control to match with your amp.
- Two knobs to control Volume and Drive
- Shielded inputs/outputs to avoid RF
- Filtered and protected 9VDC input
- Daisy-chain friendly
- Current draw: 7.5mA
The Cream Amp pedal is hand-made in Barcelona with carefully selected components and has a price of 100.00€. The pedals are available and can be purchased directly from the Ananasheadonline store.
For more information, please visit ananashead.com.
JET Pedals Releases The Red Sea
The Red Sea was born out of the vision to provide complex signal routing options available to the live/performing musician, that up until now, are only found in a studio mixing environment.
Introducing the Red Sea, an all-analog signal routing matrix, designed for countless stereo and mono signal path routing options. The Red Sea was born out of the vision to provide complex signal routing options available to the live/performing musician, that up until now, are only found in a studio mixing environment. The Red Sea has accomplished this in a compact, easy-to-use, and cost-effective solution.
Wet | Dry | Wet
The Red Sea gives you the ability to run a FULL Stereo wet dry wet rig using only 2 amps or just 2 signals to the FOH, while also giving you complete control over your Wet & Dry mix! Use the Blend knob to control the overall mix between stereo wet effects and mono dry/drive signals.
Stereo Dual Amps
Run dual amp modelers if full stereo w/ stereo effects. Gone are the traditional ways of one amp in the Left channel and another in the Right channel. Now use the Red Sea to seamlessly blend between two separate amps in true stereo. Think of this as a 2-channel amp where you can blend anywhere between both amps.
Stereo Parallel FX
Red Sea has two independent stereo FX loops. Use each FX loop to run stereo delay's and reverb's in parallel, where each effect does not interact with each other. Huge soundscapes can be achieved with washy reverbs and articulate delay repeats while being able to blend between each FX loops mix level.
The Red Sea can also do the following routing options:
- Wet | Dry utilizing a single amp
- Clean Wet | Dry | Wet (drives DO NOT run into wet effects)
- Wet | Dry | Wet with dual delays (one in the L channel & other in R channel)
- Parallel Dual Amps (run dual amp modelers in FULL stereo)
- Convert a tube amp's serial FX Loop to a parallel FX Loop
- Stereo and Mono analog dry through (avoid latency in digital pedals)
Crazy Tube Circuits Announces the Stardust V3
Stardust V3 was designed to capture the sound and response of 3 distinct amplifier models.
Stardust V3 was designed to capture the sound and response of 3 distinct maxed-out amplifier models. An all-analog signal path with discrete gain stages featuring MOSFET transistors provides juicy overdrive tones with great note separation that clean up to that sparkly sound that we all love and heard in recordings of the past. Set gain and tone and control everything from your guitar. Sparkly clean to crunchy mean are all there.
You can select the amplifier voicing via the onboard toggle switch.
BSM: Voiced after a blackface amp head that was primarily targeted for bass guitar players but got famous for electric guitar classic rock tones.
VLX: Voiced after a chimey 2x10” combo offering the perfect amount of controllable crunch
DLX: Voiced after one of the most popular low wattage 1×12″ combo amps that have found their way in countless recording studios and clubs around the world.
Stardust V3 now comes with top-mounted jacks and soft-click true bypass via a high-quality relay. The pedal has loads of output volume and enhanced headroom provided by 18V DC (boosted internally) so that it can also be used as a preamp going straight into your Power Amp or AudioInterface when combined with a separate speaker simulation device.
Street price: 199 Euro / 199 USD.
For more information, please visit crazytubecircuits.com.