Tones? We have notes and volume but
without tones, we would end up with noise. The Stradivarius violin was known for
it's tone, not noise. Though notes and volume are very
important, it is the tones that bring the most beauty to a song.
Take a beautiful set of tones, add a well thought out set of notes, then
use volume for enhancement and you'll create a wonderful piece of music. There is a
certain volume in which the tone of your instrument will be at it's best. It is located
mid-range (between silence and full volume). In other words, relax and
play your instrument at a comfortable level. If you are sitting
in your room playing only for yourself you would not
pick the instrument so hard that it hurt your ears. This is something that most
people don't understand. They play within a good range at home but
when "playing with the boys" they will try to bring the walls
down. "Overkill" ruins all of the good tones that you have worked so
hard to learn.
with a group
people get together to play music and end up competing for "sound
space". When one person gets loud, the next person gets loud so they
can hear and before you know it, everyone is playing so loud that they
can't hear themselves. Then they wonder why their instrument will
not perform to their satisfaction. It is most likely not the instrument but the competition
How do you know
how loud to play?
If you cannot
hear your own instrument when playing with a group, then you're all too
loud. The lowest volume
instrument in the group is the guitar. Let's help this guy
out! Listen to him and let him be strong in sound. The only instrument
that should be loud is the one taking the break and then he should be in
the mid to upper range of his volume. Backup runs are just that, something
in the back. Two people should not play backup runs
at the same time unless backup number two is only backing up backup number
one and so on. In bluegrass, there are times that everyone hits a strong
note at the same time and that is ok. At that time, that is the time
for it. When the time comes for the singer to stand up, everyone
should be at a low volume. If everyone can do this, the outcome is
a nice sounding band where everyone can be heard. No one goes home tired
and with a headache. A sound hog is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable.
General Instrument Tip
Go to www.stewmac.com
and look around. Get a free catalog. This is a
company that sell parts and kits. You might want to build your own
Banjo Tip Tune with me.
1. The way to play
your banjo and not disturb everyone is to place a towel inside of the
will still have the tones and feel, but not the volume. It works
great! My wife loves it.
Guitar Tip Tune
1. The way to get
the best sound from your guitar is to experiment with different
picks. The one that you like might not be the best for sound.
I like a stiff pick with a sharp edge. The stiff part gives you
volume and the sharp edge gives you a crisper tone. A round edge
gives you a softer, lower tone. The heaver the strings, the better
the tones but it gets harder to play. For bluegrass, use medium
Fiddle Tip Tune
1. Use a Violin
String Adjuster on every string. Tune as close as you can
with the tuning pegs. Pull the bow across the first and second
string at the same time. Reach around with your left hand and tune
the adjuster on the second string until they both harmonize. Then
move to the next two and so on. The sounds will come alive.
1. If your voice
gets stuck before hitting that high note and you fall short of it with a
rough cluttered sound, try this trick. Gargle with warm water and
honey; it will clean everything out and make your vocal chords work
Try this exercise.
This run is generally done at the end of a song. Lift the
first finger on the
first string on the way back across. This adds a nice twist.
Listen to the example.