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Gene Krupa: The Drum Solo Legend

gene-krupa

If  you’re under the age of 70, the likelihood is that you haven’t heard of Gene Krupa. You should be ashamed of yourself. No, but seriously there are many people that do not realise the impact that Gene had on Jazz. Not only Jazz, but Gene was extremely influential in the formation of the drum set as we know it.

Born in Chicago in 1909, Gene grew up in a very religious environment that expected him to follow the same path. As his father died while Gene was relatively young, his mother was forced to work many hours as a milliner, or a hat-maker in modern terms. This forced Gene and his 8 siblings into work at a young age, which helped to create Krupa’s insatiable work ethic. Obtaining his first drum set at only 11, he was in a band by the age of twelve and already perfecting his craft.

All through his high school days, Gene was constantly playing with different artists and playing the drums with new friends. This enabled him to adapt his drumming style easily, which helped him later in his career as an orchestra drummer.

What we celebrate Gene for primarily is his breaking of the mould. The mould being the stereotypical drummer at the type; expected to follow the norm and stay in the background. Provide a simple backing beat and help keep the time of a performance. Be a piece of the puzzle, but not the most important piece. It’s safe to say, Krupa wasn’t going fit into the concept of what a drummer should be. He was unique, and was set to break the trend.

This isn’t to say that Krupa didn’t put in work as a background drummer before carving his own name for himself in music. He joined many musical unions and collaborated with many bands through the 1910’s and 20’s. It’s just that many musicians don’t ever get the recognition the deserve for their work until later in their careers, especially drummers. This is true for Krupa, who although he was immediately noticeable due to his style, didn’t really break through until a more mature age.

Still unable to properly read music, he took a risk and move to New York at 21 years of age. Fumbling through auditions due to the help of his peers, it wasn’t really until 1938 when Gene became noticed for his work after performing at Carnegie Hall for the first time. After upstaging Benny Goodman in his own group, the crowd wanted more of Gene, and he was due to oblige. Gene’s performance that night in 1938 has become known as the first drum solo in history.

 

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Drum Battle at Carnegie Hall with Buddy Rich

 

40 years later in 1978, Gene became the first person to be inducted into the modern drummers hall of fame. Whilst orchestras became less popular through the 40’s and 50’s Gene never lost his celebrity. He was more than just a drummer; he was a movie star, starring in his own biopic in 1959. The Gene Krupa drum solo became famous around the world; it’s probably worth checking out his biopic if you have time;

Celebrating Krupa’s impact on music is important, and there are many artists who respect his influence. Legendary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart of Rush described Krupa as “the first rock drummer, in very many ways. He was the first drummer to command the spotlight and the first drummer to be celebrated for his solos“. Coming from a drummer of Neil’s calibre, this alone says how influential Krupa really was on modern drumming. Would we have had such amazing solo drummers like Peart and Keith Moon? Or would the drummer have been condemned to being concealed in the background forever?

Well, if there’s one thing that can be said for certain it’s this; Gene Krupa’s influence on drum solos specifically is underestimated, and perhaps unparalleled.

 

Footnotes

Books Used for Reference

6. World of Gene Krupa: That Legendary Drumming Man by Bruce H. Clauber, 1990.
7. Gene Krupa: His Life & Times by Bruce Crowther.

Vic Firth 12″ Double sided Practice Pad

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Looking to get yourself a new drum practice pad? Well, there aren’t too many better than this one from Vic Firth. Though there isn’t too much to say about practice pads, we’ll have a quick look at this set and see how suitable it might be for drumming purposes.

Vic Firth 12″ Double sided Practice Pad

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Whilst a practice pad might not be at the top of your ‘to buy’ list, they’re definitely an important part of learning how to play the drums properly. This is especially true for increasing your drumming speed and drumstick handling

Probably the best thing about this practice pad is that it is two sided. This is fantastic, as it gives the option for two different styles of drumming. Whilst Vic Firth states that the soft rubber is for quiet practice and the heavy rubber is for a more explosive drumming session, we prefer to think of it differently. The heavier side is more rigid, which is ideal for more advanced drummers that are looking to increase their drumming technique. But the softer side is ideal for beginners, with less bounce and an easier beat. Whilst the soft side isn’t giving the ‘real’ drumming experience, it’s a great place to start.

Whilst it isn’t essential that you use a practice pad, it is definitely a good idea to invest in one if you’re serious about learning how to play the drums effectively. Getting a practice pad with a soft side is ideal, as it’s perfect for you to practice your tempo with. If you’re interested in exactly how to use this Vic Firth double sided practice pad, check out the video below;

 

At 12 inches, this is a great size practice pad. You won’t find it too small to use, but it’s also not too big to carry around with you either. It will easily fit onto the top of your standard size snare drum, which is why a 12 inch practice pad is so popular.

 

Conclusion

In our humble opinion, this is one of the best practice pads that you will currently find. By going with an established brand like Vic Firth you can be sure that you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. It’s well made, sturdy and it easily fits onto a snare. What more could you want in a practice pad?

 

Thanks for checking out this short review. If you’re interested in other drum practice pads, have a look here.

Best Drum Practice Pad | 12 inch Practice Pad Reviews

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Getting the best drum practice pad for your needs can be an extremely important thing. Whilst it can be fun to just get onto a drum set and just start beating away, there is far more to drumming than a beginner would recognize. Investing in a good drum practice pad is great for learning the difference between different notes.

For example, it’s a great way to learn the difference between quarter notes and eighth notes. Another of the main advantages of using a practice pad is to be able to increase your stick control and speed. Probably the main advantage of using a practice pad though is the ability to identify where your weak spots lay. You’ll notice whilst using a practice pad, whilst if you’re on a full drum set, it can be difficult to identify where you are going wrong. By using your practice pad with a metronome, you can easily hear the tempo that you should follow and practice keeping in line with it.

Whilst it isn’t an essential to have a practice pad to learn how to play the drums, most drummers will have used a practice pad to perfect their technique. Here, we compare 6 of the best practice pads around right now.


Evans 2-Sided Practice Pad, 12 Inch

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It’s two sided; one side is made from Neoprene rubber, the other gum rubber. The neoprene rubber is the more realistic feeling, and has a similar feeling that you would get out of the toms on your drum set. The gum rubber side is a bit more reactive, with heavy bounce back and a hard surface. Between the two surfaces, you’ll find one that you prefer to use. But, you should try and get used to using both sides equally. Every great drummer can adjust accordingly!

By using the gum rubber side, you can also minimize the amount of noise that you’re creating with your practice pad. It’s great for working on your tempo and help you to improve your overall drumming skills. Alternatively, by using the neoprene side, you can work on your rudiments as you won’t get the same bounce back that you get off the gum rubber side.

The pad itself is certainly of a high quality. The edges are all sanded wood. This makes the pad feel like it’s a decent and quality option as opposed to some of the cheaper practice pads that are available. It’s also fairly thick when compared to other practice pads, which only adds to its sturdiness and thorough build.


Vic Firth 12″ Double sided Practice Pad

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Vic Firth are probably the most prestigious name when it comes to drumming accessories, especially practice pads. They’ve made some of the best practice pads in recent years, and this option is no different.

The Vic Firth practice pad is two sided, which is a great option that sets this practice pad aside from the others. On their website, Vic Firth states that the soft side of the pad is for a quieter practice session, whilst the heavy size is targeted at those heavy, invigorating drumming sessions. Though it could be comprehended this way, we prefer to think of it differently. We think of the harder size as the expert side; it has a hard bounce and gives the effect of a real drum set.

But the soft side is perfect for beginners that are new to drumming who won’t want to experience the feeling of a real drum set yet. It is important to spend time practicing to get the best out of your drum set, and this model would be a great option for the beginner to practice with.


Neewer Digital Drum Pad 

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Although this isn’t a full 12 inch practice pad, we just had to include this practice pad in our list due to its innovative design. The Neewer Metronome drummer has a metronome inbuilt into the practice pad. This makes it a great option for those looking for their first practice pad. This practice pad is great for developing a decent tempo by using it with the metronome and learn the very basics of drumming.

The pad itself is very responsive to the beat of the stick, which shows that the material it’s made from is of a good quality. Although you might be looking at a 12 inch drum practice pad ideally, it might be worth looking at 10 inch practice pads like this once. This is because it’s extremely portable and easy to carry around with you; it fits easily into a handbag or a rucksack. Also, it helps maintain a level of accuracy in a beginner learning to play the drums. It’s easy to get lazy and not concern yourself where you’re beating the drum, though this is a necessity of learning how to play the drums properly.

Whilst the instructions aren’t fantastic, it is not difficult to get this practice pad to work properly. We love that it comes with an aux cable for using with headphones so that you can keep a limit on the noise! This really is a clever practice pad that you should consider if you’re looking to improve your drumming fundamentals.


RealFeel by Evans Practice Pad

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What makes this practice pad different than the other Evans practice pad that we have listed? Well, this is from Evans ‘RealFeel’ line. This is specifically targeted at those who are familiar with drums, so if you’re a beginner, we strongly recommend the regular Evans practice pad over this one. This is because this model is designed with a realistic drum set in mind. It’s a one-sided practice pad, with the surface made of gum rubber. This is another reason we recommend the two-sided Evans practice pad over this one. Gum rubber isn’t ideal for complete beginners.

This isn’t some flimsy practice pad that’s going to fall apart within a few weeks; this is a heavy-duty practice pad that will likely last you a long, long time.

This practice pad is also available in both a 6 and 7 inch size for those looking for a smaller pad. Though if you aren’t an experienced drummer, we don’t recommend you go for a practice pad that is too small. A 12 inch practice pad is usually recommended for beginners, and they aren’t much more expensive to boot. 6 inch pads aren’t much harder to use once you get use to them though, and they are ideal to travel with. So, if you must, the 6 inch option is also a good choice.


Tromme Drum Practice Pad

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Yes, you read correctly, this is a two-sided silicone drum practice pad. Going against the regular rubber surface used by the most prestigious brands like Vic Firth, you wouldn’t be wrong in questioning whether a silicone surface would be able to compete with a rubber surface. Is this silicone surface a viable alternative to the more popular rubber option?

Well yes, we certainly think so. Whilst you might think that a silicone surface cannot truly replicate that of a real drum set, Tromme have proven this to be incorrect. This silicone practice pad gives as good, if not a better replication of playing a real drum set. One side is harder like a real drum set, whereas the other is slightly softer. This is ideal for practicing some more advanced techniques.

It’s extremely responsive and can handle a good thrashing, though this isn’t how you should use a practice pad. The silicone surface will certainly be more durable than its rubber counterpart, which is a valid reason that is should be considered the best drum practice pad. It’s overall of a higher quality, which is why we would certainly recommend it as an alternative to a rubber practice pad.


Artempo 12 Inch Silent Drum Practice Pad

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Whilst you might not have heard of Artempo, they have certainly produced some pretty great products. This practice pad is a good example of that. It’s 12 inch like the other practice pads that we have featured so far. The reason that 12 inch is the size that most practice pads are is that this is the surface size of the snare drum. This means that this pad will fit on top of a snare drum easily, which is great. Though many people don’t use their practice pad like this. They believe that kinda defeats one of the benefits of using a practice pad – you can use it anywhere!

Once you get a decent height set up for your practice pad, you’re good to go. The Artempo is a good choice for both advanced drummers and beginners. Even though it is only one sided, there are benefits to this. The other side is specifically designed to stop from sliding, so you don’t need to worry about your practice pad falling off wherever you place it. Is it the best practice pad? Well, we’d certainly put it up there as a competitor.


Tips on using a practice pad

To really help you perfect your drumming, check out this short list of tips to really help you excel to the next level.

1. Make sure it’s at the right height for you

It’s definitely important to make sure that the drum is at the right height. If it’s too low, you’ll find yourself cowering over the drum set and in an unnatural angle. If it’s too high, your elbows will rise and you win’t be able to play the drum due to your wrist action. You should try and get the pad directly in front of you, just above your knees. Make sure it’s a few inches in front of you, and hey presto!

2. Use a metronome

Let’s face it; not all of us are gifted as having the strongest internal clock. Using a metronome will help you to keep the pulse of the beat. You don’t need to buy a metronome. You can download an app and use it for free. It will help your internal clock, so don’t sleep on metronomes!

3. Use it for the basics

You don’t need to go all out on your practice pad. It’s a great place to work on your singles and doubles, and it’s definitely great when you feel comfortable to start working on your paradiddles.

4. Try and use it as much as your drum set

Whilst you should still use your drum set to practice, a good rule is to use your practice pad as much as you use your set. Whilst it might not be as fun, it definitely

5. Record yourself and watch it back

A great idea is to film yourself practising and then go back and watch your technique. This way, you can highlight any weaknesses in your drumming and improve on them. Try and get it from a different angle than usual. If you film from the side, you can check if your elbows are in the correct position.

6. Check YouTube

If you’re completely new to drumming, YouTube can be a great place to start checking out how to use a practice pad. Videos like this one are super helpful;

 

Conclusion

You might not think you need a practice pad, and technically that’s true. You could just learn to play the drums by using a set. But, you can’t put a price on the convenience that a practice pad will give you. Going on holiday? Pack it in your suitcase. Visiting friends? Whack it in the back of your car. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with a drum set, which is the only frustrating thing about playing the drums (it’s awesome otherwise!).

If you’re a beginner, any of the drum practice pads that we’ve listed might be the best drum practice pad for you. In all honesty, they are all fairly similar. Opt for a two sided practice pad if you’re not sure. But whichever practice pad you go for, we can assure you that you won’t regret it.

The Best Wu Tang Albums | The Top 10

wu-tang

Anyone who knows me will probably think; what are you doing Ryan reviewing Wu Tang albums? Well, as a lover of all different varieties of music, I can appreciate any type of music. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of the current trends within hip hop, I’m an avid listener to the more classic sounds that came out of the 90s. And something I often debate with my friends is the best wu tang albums.

I’ll listen to anything from that era, but there aren’t many groups that I’ve listened to more than Wu Tang. I’d go as far as saying they’re the most influential groups in hip hop, perhaps bar Run DMC, but even then I don’t think they managed to produce music quite like those of Wu Tang.

About Wu Tang

Coming out of Staten Island New York, their sound epitomises that of the gritty East Coast street life. people weren’t used to hearing lyrics like those of the Wu Tang. Whilst there was an element of downright nastiness in many of their lyrics, there was also a depth to their music that made them stand out from other artists.

Curse to the wicked snakes who try to snatch the truth away, cursed be the ones who try to take our youth away.

Whilst it wasn’t all filled with prophetic quotes, Wu Tang seemed to blend together well with RZA’s early production and ODB’s radical, sometimes ridiculous lyrics. With RZA, ODB and GZA the original members, it wasn’t long before Method Man, Ghostface, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna formed the Wu Tang. No, I don’t want to debate when exactly Cappadonna was ‘accepted into the Wu Tang; he’s been there since the (almost) beginning and contributed some great lines through history.

For anyone wondering, they were named Wu Tang after the film, Shaolin and the Wu Tang was released in the early eighties. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the list of the top ten Wu Tang albums, both solo and as a group. Remember, this is just personal opinion, so people may disagree with this. But, I will fight you ’til the death if needs be – just kidding.

 


10. Fishscale – Ghostface Killah (2006)

fishscale

Ghostface appears on the top ten list several times; we’ll let you guess what the other albums featured are. Released in 2006, Fishscale was the fifth project from Ghostface and was extremely successful, selling well in excess of 100,000 copies in its first week.

It features every other member from Wu Tang in some form, which helps contribute to its quality. The album was released by Def Jam in early ’06, and to be fair, Def Jam were adamant to make this album a success. Ghostface had an array of beats and producers to work with, and it shows. It tells the sotry of a typical ‘Coke Boy’, but not in the stereotypical way. No, it’s over smooth beats instead of a rugged street sound, which make this album top notch.

It’s filled with famous producers, which are apparent from listening to the cohesive tone of the album Both MF Doom and J Dilla produced several songs on the album, and it’s easy to tell. If Fishscale is 10th in our top ten list, then the other albums must be pretty great. Right?

 

Tracks to check: Jellyfish, The Champ, Be Easy.

Tracks to avoid: Back like That featuring Ne-Yo (it’s an okay song, but it certainly doesn’t fit in with the vibe of the album as a whole. It feels like it was just added to get Ne-Yo on the album as he was poppin’ at the time).


9. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Part Two – Raekwon (2009)

ob4cl2

Only Built Part Two was released as the follow up to the original classic released 14 years prior. This makes it the most recent Wu album to make the list, showing the longevity of Raekwon’s style and flow.

Although many say that it would never match the first one in terms of pure music, it definitely surpasses the original in terms of production quality. Much has been said about RZA producing the Wu’s original records as the sole producer. He was the producer and executive producer on the first Cuban Linx, though Raekwon reached out to other artists for Part 2. Why? Well, it has been said that RZA can be awkward to work with, though we’re not sure if this is the case with this album. It must be frustrating to sit in the studio with someone you’ve known for 20 years and whack out a full album.

But, we prefer to think of it as Raekwon taking advantage of all the quality producers that were available to him when he released the record. Though it has some legendary producers on the album (J Dilla, Dr Dre, Erick Sermon) it still manages to encompass that gritty sound that’s synonymous with the Wu. This definitely certifies its spot in the top 10, with Raekwon’s best work since he release the original OB4CL

Tracks to check: Ason Jones, House of Flying Daggers, 10 Bricks (all produced by the late great J Dilla).

Tracks to avoid: Mean Streets.


8. Supreme Clientele – Ghostface Killah (2000)

ghostface-killah

Supreme Clientele was the 2nd album from Ghostface, and enters the lists in the eighth spot. Released in 2000, the production on this album is again excellent. As is the storytelling vibe that Ghostface has become famous for, which makes him the favorite member for many Wu Tang fans. There are some who even claim that this might be the best hip hop album of all time.

Whilst that might be pushing it a little bit, there’s no doubt that it’s up there with the best Wu Tang album discussion. It continues with more excellent Ghostface storytelling lyrics that resonate in the mind. One of the most interesting things about this album is that a fair amount of it was written in Benin, when Ghostface had flown there to see a bush doctor, worried about his state of health. There’s a sense of despair in this album that isn’t featured in Fishscale, where he seemed to have gotten back to the Ghostface that we know.

Another interesting point with this album is that whilst RZA wasn’t automatically producing all the Wu’s albums at this point, he was the executive producer for this one. He produced the majority of the songs on this album. It would seem that whilst some criticise RZA for his lack of production depth, he has definitely produced the majority of the Wu’s best albums.

 

Tracks to check: Mighty Healthy, Apollo Kids, Nutmeg.

Tracks to avoid: Cherchez LaGhost, The Skits.


7. Tical – Method Man (1994)

tical

Whilst many don’t give Method Man the credit he deserves as a rapper, it’s important to remember what he contributed to the Wu Tang. This was the first solo album to be released, and whilst lyrically Meth might not be one the level of some of his contemporaries, it definitely still holds its ground.

It seems his charismatic nature increased his popularity in the media and amongst fans, leading to Method Man being the first member to release his solo record. Whilst it was definitely a success sales wise, there are those that feel it was slightly underwhelming. This is usually because it has a sort of dark feeling to it, which wasn’t what people expected from Meth at that time. Meth has actually come out since in an interview with Hot 97 and said that he wasn’t totally happy with the record as many of the beats got lost in a flood at RZA’s house. This flood also destroyed most of Inspectah Deck’s original first album, which is a shame, as I didn’t enjoy ‘Uncontrolled Substance’ as much as I like Deck’s verses within the clan.

Back to Tical, the album keeps to the street sound of the Clan. In all honesty, it’s actually more like a mixtape than a full project. This might be one of the reasons I enjoy it so much; many of the Wu’s solo projects are far too long and filled with skits. With no skit in sight, this is why Tical makes my top 10.

 

Tracks to check: Bring the Pain

Tracks to avoid: 


6. Iron Man – Ghostface Killah (1996)

ironman-ghostface

It is often said that Ghostface has the best discography out of the Wu Tang. Well, Iron Man is solid proof that Ghostface’s discography is definitely the most consistent throughout the years. Iron Man was Ghostface’s first solo release back in ’96.

Though the cynic would say that it was all downhill from there for Ghostface, that’s a negative look at things. Though technically true, it was just difficult to match the intensity of this album which has definitely been solidified in hip hop history as one of the best albums of the era.

Whilst it might not be as dark as some of the other albums featured, it certainly still carries the same vibe that features on every other Wu albums. Perhaps the stand out from the album is the duet with Mary J Blige All That I Got Is You, which seems to blend hip hop and soul perfectly. Remember, this is before Jennifer Lopez broke through with her romantic duets that blew up in the pop world. I wonder where she got her inspiration from.

 

Tracks to check: Daytona 500, Winter Warz, All That I Got Is You

Tracks to avoid: Motherless Child, Marvel, Black Jesus.


5. Return to the 36 Chambers – ODB (1995)

return-to-36-chambers

As much as Method Man is popular for his charisma, ODB is the only other member in the clan to really gain a cult following due to his personality as much as his rapping. There really hasn’t been another rapper with the same attitude as ODB. In recent years, the most common comparison is probably Danny Brown. This is much due to his style and attitude as his music, but you can tell ODB was an influence on him. He even named this song after him;

Unfortunately, after ODB died of an overdose in 2005, he only got to officially release two albums. Whilst N***a Please is another great album, it doesn’t feel as original as this one. This album has ODB at his most immature, which made him a cult hero amongst younger fans. His cousin GZA even noted in an interview that he would often exchange his more immature lyrics with ODB, as they were more suited to his wacky style.

As ODB would so often say,

Wu Tang is for the Children

which became one of the most popular quotes in hip hop ever. ODB was certainly a character, and this album solidifies his place as a unique hip hop artist at the top of his game.

Tracks to check: Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Brooklyn Zoo, Snakes.

Tracks to avoid: Brooklyn Zoo II.


4. Wu Tang Forever – Wu Tang Clan (1997)

wu-tang-forever

 

Wu Tang Forever was the much anticipated second album from the Wu. After the success of their debut, they released several great solo albums, though fans wanted to listen to the whole group collectively again.

They didn’t disappoint, releasing a 2 disc album that was heavily lyrics influenced. Filled with mellow beats, this helped to highlight the slick bar writing abilities of many of the Wu’s members. Was it as successful as their debut? Almost definitely not. Whether this is because the album wasn’t as good, or that it didn’t have the same initial impact as their debut, we don’t know. It certainly cemented it in the top 5 Wu albums of all time, though.

More recently, Drake released his song Wu Tang Forever on his Nothing was the Same album. This was supposed to pay his respects to the Wu Tang, though some people didn’t feel that way about the record.

Ironically, if you listen to the Intro on the second disc of this album, it actually condemns much of what Drake does. The RZA speaks the truth, saying;

A lot of n*ggas trying to take hip-hop
And make that sh*t R&B, rapping bullsh*t, ya know what I’m sayin?

Yes we do RZA, and Drake is a prime example of taking rap music and making it focussed around hip hop and fashion. No wonder several members of the Wu weren’t feeling him naming the track Wu Tang Forever, even though it was supposed to pay homage.

 

Tracks to check: Triumph, Reunited

Tracks to avoid: Older Gods, Little Ghetto Boys.


3. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995)

only-built-4-cuban-linx

If you ask the majority of Wu fans what their favorite solo Wu album is, chances are a decent percentage of them say OB4CL. As the West Coast were releasing more ‘braggadocious’ gangsta rap, Raekwon and the rest of the Wu were representing the East Coast with a gritty and street sound that was unique. This album epitomises the street, with the RZA’s production at it’s peak.

Of all the Wu albums, this album has some of the least features, with Raekwon rapping on the majority of tracks alone. This in itself has made Rae one of the most popular members of the Wu, with this album being considered one of the greatest in hip hop history.

 

Tracks to check: Verbal Intercourse, Ice Cream, Guillotine.

Tracks to avoid: Ice Water, Wisdom Body.


2. Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) – Wu Tang Clan (1993)

enter-the-wu

The original. And, many people would crucify me for not putting it in the number one spot, but hey/ It’s my own personal opinion, and it doesn’t take away anything from this album as whole whole. It’s undoubtedly one of the most influential albums in the whole of hip hop, and will be remembered alongside classic like Illmatic and Life after Death.

Perhaps the reason that I didn’t rank this as my number one Wu Tang album is the fact thatso many people place it there solely on its influence. The album itself is amazing no doubt, but I feel that it’s just not a well produced as my number one pick. Anywho, this album was released in ’93 and took the East Coast hip hop scene by storm. This was before the West Coast really rose to prominence with Tupac and Biggie releasing their best albums, but they both held prestige in a different way.

While the LA focussed largely on party tunes for the clubs, Wu Tang stuck to the gritty music that they grew up on. And in the process, they changed the NY hip hop scene forever.

 

Tracks to check: Check the whole album. Avoid none, really. It’s only 12 tracks long (originally, the deluxe is 15 tracks). You do have to listen to it all to appreciate it properly. But Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ is my personal favorite track.


1. Liquid Swords – GZA (1995)

liquid-swords

Now, there are some who will disagree with this being number one. I can understand your contempt. 36 chambers was the birth of Wu Tang. OB4CL was a gritty street album that spoke the streets. But for me, Liquid Swords is the best Wu Tang album, and here’s why.

It’s like nothing that came before it. It does have the street gritty-ness that’s entailed in all of the Wu albums, but it has something extra that makes it into a special album. It’s thematic, following a set pattern that helps the listener really immerse themselves into the story. Ghostface gets a lot of credit for being the storyteller amongst the Wu Tang, but in my opinion, this is storytelling at its very finest.

It has to be said that GZA cannot take all of the credit for this masterpiece of an album. Produced by leader RZA, the chemistry between them is undeniable. Of course, this is natural as they’re cousins, and the groups oldest members along with ODB. Anywho, RZA’s production on Liquid Swords is certainly amongst his best work. Because he knows GZA’s flow and style, the album merges together perfectly. In an interview, GZA even noted that RZA made changes to the record towards the end of recording by adding in certain kung fu film samples. These certainly help to make the album, following a kung fu fantasy theme that epitomises the Wu Tang.

It’s fitting that all of the Wu feature on this album in some from, as in my opinion, this is the best project from anyone from the Clan. Never will there be another Liquid Swords.

 

Tracks to check: Hells Wind Staff (the best skit ever), Shadowboxin’, Duel of the Iron Mic.

Tracks to avoid: None. You have to listen to the whole project to appreciate it.


 

Thanks for checking out this post! Please stick around and check out any other posts that interest you.

Best Electric Guitar Under $1000 | Buyer’s Guide

Electric-guitar

Best Electric Guitar Under $1000

Yamaha Revstar

yamaha-revstar

 

 

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Cons

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As

The Revstar is a good option for new electric guitarists who aren’t entirely sure on their first buy; the ideal guitar for beginners.
Ryan says

 

Epiphone Les Paul Special

epiphone-les-paul

 

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Epiphone are an extremely reliable brand, and this is certainly one of my favorite products of theirs that I have used.
Ryan says

 

Yamaha Pacifica

yamaha-pacifica

 

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I really like the Yamaha Pacifica; it’s one of my favorite products to date on the current market.
Ryan says

 

 

How to play the Electric Guitar

The guitar is probably the most popular instrument there is; you can find it in almost all of the popular songs. Everyone wants to learn how to play electric guitar. Besides this, if you hear someone say “I am a musician” he probably plays (or at least knows how to play) a guitar.

Why is that so?

Well, first of all, the guitar is a very practical instrument and not very complicated one. Unlike the piano or harp, you can easily take the guitar with you wherever you go. Besides this, you can play any song imaginable on a guitar, and if you can also sing, you become a real jukebox! Of course, you can’t do this with drums or a flute.

Another reason (and probably the most important for the majority of people) is that it is relatively easy to learn how to play guitar, especially if you are interested in learning just the basic stuff; with a proper training and regular practice, you can reach that level in just a few months. However, if you plan to become a real guitar player, it will take a little longer.

The beginners and those who want to learn the basic skills usually play an acoustic guitar. On the other hand, those who are more experienced (so-called intermediate players) and who want to learn more, usually play the electric guitar.

A lot of people that are unfamiliar with this topic say: “Acoustic or electric – it’s the same thing! The electric guitar is even easier to play than acoustic”; needless to say how untrue this claim is. This myth probably comes from the fact that on the electric guitar, the strings are usually closer to the neck than on the acoustic. However, although this is true, electric guitar is more complicated that acoustic, as it provides a whole range of possibilities; but of course, first you have to master a couple of techniques…

In the text that follows, we will get familiar with the parts of the electric guitar. With some of the most popular effects, and the most common playing techniques.


Parts of an electric guitar

The most of the parts are common with an acoustic guitar. However, there are a few specific p

parts-electric-guitar

arts.

Pickups – magnets that transform string vibration into electrical current, which is converted into sound by the amplifier.

Pickup selector – a switch used to activate different magnets.

Control knobs – knobs used for controlling the loudness of the guitar, as well as for the adjustment of high and low frequencies.

Output jack – the insertion point for the cable which connects the guitar to an amplifier.

End pin – a hook on which the guitar belt is attached.


Amplifiers

The main difference between the acoustic and electric guitar is that for the second one you need an amplifier. When your pickups pick the vibration of your string and transform it into an electric signal, it goes through the cabal and into an amplifier. A lot of guitarists say that the quality of the amplifiers is almost as important as the quality of the guitar, so you should be very careful when you choose your amplifier.

There are many different kinds and variations: the amplifiers differ by their voltage, the kind of sound they produce, the number of channels, the effect they contain, etc… Of course, when it comes to choosing an amplifier, the main criteria should be the music style you are into and whether you plan to play solo in your room or with a band.


Clean and Drive

Now that you have connected your guitar to the amplifier, it’s time to start playing. It is important to mention that, when it comes to an electric guitar, there are two main types of sounds: clean and drive (overdrive or distortion). Clean sound is unaffected one; it is the sound you’ll get if you just plug in your guitar and increase volume (some would say that it is “acoustic-like”). The drive sound is more aggressive and transparent; it is basically the distorted clean sound. There is a huge range of overdrives and distortions, from very discrete and mild (for example, in blues or country) to the extremely heavy and aggressive (just listen to Metallica and you’ll get the idea).

Of course, almost no guitarist uses just a clean sound. Even if they play a clean tone, for example in funk music, they use some kind of effect (we will talk about this later).


Power chords

One of the most common playing techniques on the electric guitar is power chords. It is used in almost all of the music genres, and especially in rock. In order to play a power chord, you just need to play the first two or three notes of a chord. In theory, you should play the 1st (or the root), the 5th, and 8th note of a scale (doesn’t matter what scale, as they all have the same 1st, 5th, and 8th note).

Let’s take an A chord. Notice that there is no difference between playing a minor or major power chord, as the notes are the same. The notes in A minor scale are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G; so, the 1st note is A and the 5th is E. Now, let’s see the A major scale: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, and G#; as you can see, the 1st and the 5th notes are the same – A and E.  You probably wonder where the 8th note is. Well, it is the same as the first one (A), but just an octave higher (don’t worry if you are not familiar with octaves, we will talk about it later).

Position your fingers in the following way: your index finger should be placed on the root note (1st), your ring finger on the 5th, and your little finger on the 8th string.

This type of power chord has a root on the 6th string. However, there is also a way to play it with the root on the 5th string. Let’s just go one string below. If we play a power chord with the 5th string root on the fifth fret, we have a D power chord. So, everything is the same, you should just go one string below.

Extended power chord (with a bass note)

When you are playing a power chord with the 5th string root, you can use one trick to make it sound more interesting. You should just add a bass note on the 6th string, just above the root note. So, if you are playing D power chord, just press A and D notes with your index finger (just like you would play a barre chord).

This is a very common chord in metal music, as it sounds really heavy (you can find a bunch of these chords in Pantera songs).

Power chord without the root

Playing power chord without a root note is a way to make it sound a little more bluesy. It is very easy to play; you should just exclude your root note (for example, the famous intro for the “Smoke on the water” is played this way).


Muting the strings

If you try to play distorted electric guitar like you would play an acoustic, all you will hear will be just a bunch of noise. In order to make your guitar to sound right, you have to learn how to mute the strings that you don’t play. For example, when you play a power chord, you should mute all of the other strings except those that you are pressing on the neck. The way to do this is to gently press other strings with your fingers or with your palm. Try different ways and stick to the one that works the best for you. Just remember that by practicing, you will get that “feel”, and so you will be muting the strings without even thinking about it.

There is also a way to mute the strings with your right hand. All you have to do is just gently press the strings near the bridge. The great thing about this technique is that you can change the intensity of muting by varying the way you press the strings; if you press it harder, the muting will be of higher intensity, and vice versa.


Hammer-on

A lot of players have a hard time when it comes to hammer-on, as they need to separate their hands so they could play it. The trick is to play just with your left hand without using a pick. In order to play a hammer-on, you should play a particular note (by picking the string), and then hammer down your other finger on a higher fret (for example, one or two frets higher). Since you are not using the pick, you should press the string harder than you would usually do, as you need to produce a tone just by your left hand.

However, the focus is not on how hard you press the string, but how fast you do it. If you do it slowly, the string will lose its vibration, and thus, you won’t produce any sound. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you have to hammer-on just after you have picked the previous note (the time between these two notes is not important); the crucial thing is to move your finger very quickly. A great example of this is a Tool song “Schism”, in which there are hammer-on’s troughs the whole song.

This is a very important technique that will allow you to play very fast once you master it.


Pull-off

Pull-off is exactly the opposite of a hammer-on. In this case, you play a particular note with a pick and then pull it off by moving the playing finger downwards very fast. In a way, you should pick the string with your finger.

When you pull off the string, it is very important to mute other strings in order to avoid unwanted sounds, as it is very easy to accidentally touch other string, especially the closest one.

A good idea is to first practice hammer-on, as for the pull-off you need more skill, speed, but also strength in your finger.


Octaves

An octave is a note that has a double frequency of a particular tone. This is why we have just 11 notes, but a lot of frets. Although playing an octave can be a little tricky, you shouldn’t worry about it. You already know how to play it! It’s true, playing an octave is just as playing a power chord, just without a 5th note; so, all you end up is two of the same notes, just with a different pitch. The most common way to play an octave is with your index and small finger. Of course, don’t forget to mute all of the other strings!


Guitar effects

A great thing about the electric guitar is that you can use all sorts of effects to change your sound. For example, if you listen to the Rage against the machine, you may think “OK, where is the guitar here?”. There is almost no guitarist out there that is not using some kind of effect. Here is a list of some of the most popular guitar effect.

 

Overdrive

This is probably the most common guitar effect (some guitarists doesn’t even consider it as a real effect). It produces a compressed, sustained, and heavy sound. Of course, you can vary the intensity of overdrive; you can give your clean tone just a little bit of that “punch” sound (like in the case of blues or funk), or you can make it sound extremely aggressive (for example, all kinds of metal music).

Wah-Wah

In two words – Jimmy Hendrix and his “Voodoo Child”. We are all familiar with that outstanding guitar intro. You control this pedal with your foot while you play, so it gives you a lot of possibilities and thus can be used in many different ways (just listen to Tom Morello).

Delay

What this pedal does is repeating a sound that you produce. There are different settings, so the latency period can vary from a few milliseconds to 2 seconds, or even more.

     


Songs for practice

Of course, practicing all of these techniques can be very boring, since you don’t actually play anything. But, you can just practice your skill pretty easily. Here are some songs that you can play along and practice at the same time, as they are not very hard to play.

 

Nirvana – Smells like a teen spirit

There is no guitar player who is not familiar with this grunge anthem. This is a powerful song with a melodic and raw guitar sound. By playing this song, you will learn how to mute the strings with your left hand (if you are right-handed), but also how to use an overdrive pedal. Besides this, there is a great solo that is very easy to play, so this is another technique that you can practice.

The White Stripes – Seven nation army

This is another popular and very simple song. In order to play it, you’ll have to master octave playing and power chords. It also has a very interesting solo that is played with a slide. It’s a round piece of metal or glass that you put on your finger (usually ring finger) and gently press the strings with it. It gives you a very unique and sitar-like sound.

 

Audioslave – Show me how to live

In order to play the guitar riff of this song, you’ll have to learn how to control your overdrive sound and how to mute the strings with your right hand (if you are right-handed). Although it is relatively easy, there are a few tricky parts that you’ll have to work on.


Conclusion

Although it is true that electric guitar is more complicated that acoustic, it shouldn’t be considered as its disadvantage. You can use its complexity in order to come up with interesting and original sounds. Of course, it can be hard in the beginning. But always keep in mind that with a regular practice you can learn to play anything. After a first few months, you will start having fun while playing and won’t even consider it as a practice. You’ll think of it rather as a game and enjoyment. Once you reach this stadium, you’ll know that you have been “infected with guitar virus”. And that there is no cure for it.

Just remember to keep rocking – the sky is the limit!

 

Thanks for checking out this post! Please, feel free to browse around and check out our other posts for more acoustic encouragement!

 

Best Bass Guitar | Buyer’s Guide

Learn-How-to-Play-Bass-Guitar

Schecter Model T

schecter-model-t

 

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Cons

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The Schecter Model T is one of the best bass guitars on the market right now in my opinion.
Ryan says

Donner UBass

donner-ubass

 

 

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A

If you’re looking for a fun ukulele style bass guitar then this would be a top option.
Ryan says

Schecter 2856

schecter-2856

 

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It’s no secret that I love Schecter products, and this is one of my favorites. The 2856 is ideal for lefties like me!
Ryan says

How to play bass guitar

Bass guitar is probably the most misunderstood instrument, as there are many prejudices about it. For example, “Bass is an easy instrument to play” or “Bass players are just unsuccessful guitar players”; of course, nothing could be further from the truth. It should be mentioned that there are bass players who learn a few notes and then just play them over and over again. It’s not easy to learn how to play bass guitar, but it’s worthwhile.

However, although there are such bassists in a band, they don’t actually play the bass. A lot of people say that there is a big difference between bass players and musicians who play the bass, and this does make sense.


Intro

Bass is a very complex and interesting instrument to play, as it offers many playing options. Just listen to Royal Blood, Morphine, or Primus, and you will understand what I’m saying. These people have used potentials of this instrument and created some of the most unique sounds. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to become virtuoso just after a few lessons; these people have spent years and years practicing bass playing (as we all know, effort and dedication always pays off).

When it comes to playing an instrument, the most important thing is to enjoy while doing it. Why is this so? If you enjoy playing the bass, you will practice every day, sometimes for hours, just because you feel great. On the other hand, if you feel bored very soon after you start playing and can’t wait until the practice time is over, you should probably consider some other instrument, as this way you won’t get very far.

In the text that follows, we will see some of the most important bass components and the proper ways to play the bass. Besides this, we will mention a little theory and get familiar with the most common bass playing techniques.

Parts of the bass

parts-of-the-bass

Parts of the bass guitar are basically the same as the parts of an electric guitar, with a few small differences.

Headstock – It’s the top of the bass neck, where tuning keys are located.

Tuning keys – These are also known as tuning machines or tuners. Their function is to tighten and loosen the string in order to set a specific note. By tightening the string, its tension is increased and thus the higher tone is produced (and vice versa)

Machine heads – It’s the part of tuning keys, on which the strings are wrapped.

Neck – This is a thin and elongated part on which the frets are located. It connects the headstock with the bass body.

Fretboard – The surface of the neck is called fretboard; this is where you press the strings in order to produce a particular note.

Frets – These are little spaces between two metal bars. Make sure that you press the fret just between two metal bars; this way you will gain clear tone and also keep your bars from damage.

Dots position inlays – Dots are used in order to facilitate player’s orientation. Dots are located on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th

Pickups – These are magnets that basically pick up the string vibration and transform it into the signal that goes through your amplifier.

Volume/Tone control – These are potentiometers that are used in order to increase or decrease your volume or to modify your tone.

Input jack – This is a place where you input you cabal.

Bridge – All of the strings go through the bridge; it’s a metal part at the bottom of the bass body.

Strap buttons – There are two of these buttons, and they are located on different sides of the bass. You can attach your strap to them; that will allow you to stand while you play.


bass-amp

Amplifier

There are two types of bass guitars: electric and acoustic. The acoustic bass is rarer than electric (and more expensive), and it can be played without an amplifier, as it is loud enough, just like an acoustic guitar. However, if you play electric bass, then you need to connect it to an amplifier in order to play it properly. There are many different kinds of amplifiers, from cheap ones to very expensive, so you can find the one that works for you.

There is also an acoustic-electric bass; it is basically acoustic bass that you can connect to an amplifier so that you can make it louder (for example, if you play with a band).


Tune your bass

Guitarist-Tunes-Electric-Bass-Guitar

You can’t start playing unless you are in tune. The easiest way to tune your bass is to get a tuner; it’s advice that will show you what note your string is producing. The standard tuning for the four-string bass is (from the thickest to the thinnest wire) E, A, D, G. If you have five or even six-string bass, the other two notes are B and E. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with notes, we will talk about it in a minute.

Using tuner is very easy; you just connect it with the bass with a cable or attach it to your headstock (there are different kinds of tuners) and when you hit the string it will show you what note is produced. In order to tune the string, you should tighten and loosen it with tuning machines.


Left hand

If you are right-handed, you should use your left hand to press the strings on the neck and your right hand to pick the strings, and vice versa.

The important thing is to learn the proper way to hold the neck from the very beginning; if you learn the wrong way, it will be very difficult to modify it. Your thumb should be somewhere in the middle of the neck. One of the most common mistakes that players make is gripping the neck and putting the thumb over the neck. The right and wrong ways are represented in the picture bellow.

Of course, the exact position depends on the notes that you are playing, the size of your hand, etc…

Right hand

There are two different ways to hit the strings: with a pick and with fingers. Both of these methods have advantages and disadvantages. Playing with a pick will produce a more sharp tone, and will allow you to keep the volume of your notes more constant. On the other hand, playing with fingers gives you more opportunities (for example “slap” playing). The best advice is to learn both of these techniques, as they can be applied in different situations.


Playing with fingers

When you are using this technique, you should place your right hand above the strings. You can also rest your hand on the bass body, or you can put the tip of your thumb on the magnet. You should pick the strings with the tip of our fingers, just above the magnets.

Bass-Player

Playing with a pick

A pick should be located between your thumb and index finger, like it’s represented in the picture on the right. Hit the strings with the tip of your pick by moving your hand up and down.


Theory              

Now that you know how to hold the bass and how to pick the strings, it’s time for a little theory. As we have mentioned, the standard bass tuning is E, A, D, G, B, E. These are the notes for all of the six strings, although the most bass guitars have only six. If you have only 4 strings, you should just pay attention to first four notes.

These are the notes that a string produces when you play it “open”; this means that you pick the string without pressing it on any fret. It is also called an “empty string”.

You change the notes of the string by pressing it on different frets. However, although there are many frets, there are just 12 notes: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#. Every fret has its note; on the picture below, you can see the notes of every fret;

tablature-bass

These are the notes for all of the six strings; if you have a four or five-string base you should look at the top 4 or 5 strings.

You may notice that after the 12th fret of every, the notes are repeating. This is because the open string note and the 12th fret note are the same; the other one is just an octave higher.


Tablatures

A lot of bass players, and especially beginners, are using tablatures in order to learn how to play a particular song. Tablatures are basically representing the bass frets and strings. Strings are represented by lines and frets by numbers. For example, if you see number 2 on the second line, it means that you should play the second string on the 2nd fret. You can check the fret’s notes above to see what note is that. It’s B note. And if you play the third string on the 3rd fret? That is right, it’s F.

Major and Minor scales

There are two most important scales – Major and Minor. When you learn these scales, it will be much easier for you to learn new songs, to play the solo, and to compose your own music. These scales are the musical alphabet. The notes for both scales are represented in the tablature below.

A Major scale

a-major-bass

A Minor scale

a-minor-bass

On theses tablatures, we can see A major and A minor scale. Why is it an A scale? Because the first note of the scale (also called the root note) is A – empty second string. If you want to play these scales from some other note, all you have to do is to apply the same shape with different root note. For example, if you want to play a C minor scale, you just have to find the C note on your bass. If you look at our notes diagram above, you can see that it can be played on the 3rd fret of the second string. So, you just move this shape and play 3, 5, 7 on the second string, 3, 5, 7 on the third, and 4, 5 on the fourth string.


Songs for practice

Learning a new song is a great way not just to practice your playing skills, but also to train your ears. This is why you should try to learn these songs by listening, i.e. by ear. If you can’t figure out every bass part, you can at least try to find its key. You can do that by trying different notes and finding the one that sounds coherent with the song.

After that, try to find out wheatear it is minor of major. All of this is a great training for your ears. However, don’t worry if it is too hard for you, as you can always find tablatures for these songs; after a while, you will probably be able to learn the song just by listening to it.

 

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

This is a great song for beginners. There is a catchy and simple bass line that is repeating through the whole song. Here is a little help – it’s in E minor. Now that you know the minor scale, try to figure out the bass line. If it is too hard for you, here is a tablature.

7-nation-tab

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

This is another very popular song with an interesting bass line. Besides the main bass part, there are a few notes in the refrain – D, F#, and C#. Try to figure out how to play it.

billie-jean-tab

 

With or without you – U2

This song has only for notes – D, A, B and G. It’s great for practicing your timing and dynamic.

There are a lot of other popular songs that are very simple to play. You should do your research and find tablatures for these songs; but remember, always try to learn the song by ear.


Conclusion

Bass is an extraordinary instrument; it is often seen as a connection between the drums and the guitar, as the bass player has to be complied with the rhythm but also to stay in tune with a guitar. This is not an easy job, but after a while, you will master it and then you will have a great time playing. Always remember the word of Aristotle: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”.

Rockpals Roll up Electronic Drum Set for Kids Review

rockpals

Interested in getting your kids into drumming?  Well, then it might be worth having a lookat this starter set from Rockpals.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B01DLYXX6E” locale=”US” src=”http://acousticencouragement.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/51IgcAKAuZL.jpg” tag=”cledrums-20″ width=”500″]

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Keep the noise down

Have your kids been nagging you to get them a drum set so they can sound like their favorite band? Well, that’s nothing new. Kids have been nagging their parents for drum sets for FOREVER, and it’s really down to you how you choose to approach the situation.

If your child is over 8-10 years old, then the likelihood is that this roll up drum set won’t contain their focus for too long. It’s made to be fairly simple, so that children of all ages can use it. Of course, you want to nurture your child’s talent, so we would advise you investing in a larger drum set if your child seems to be serious about taking up drumming as a hobby. Though we will warn you, it can be noisy!

And this is where the main advantage of the Rockpals Roll Up is. You can easily plug headphones into this roll up drum set, that will contain the majority of the noise that you chid creates whilst using the set. Of course, you’ll still get the noise of them beating the roll up drum set, but you really can’t help that. Even with far more expensive electronic drum sets, you have to expect some noise.

Maintain Portability

Probably the other most important aspect of this roll up drum set is its portability. With a large drum set, it is impossible to keep carrying it around with you everywhere (unless of course you are a rockstar!). So the portability of this roll up drum set is extremely important, especially if you are often on the move.

It’s also extremely small and rolls up, which means that it won’t take up significant space in your house or apartment. Whilst we love drumming in general, it has to be noted that it is probably the most frustrating instrument to carry around with you, and it takes a lot of time to disassemble and reassemble a drum set in its entirety.

 Features

Along with the 3.5mm audio jack that comes with this roll up drum set, it also has a host of other fantastic features that you are unlikely to be able to find in other roll up drum sets. It seems to combine a roll up drum set with some level of interactivity, making it a good choice for Juniors. We distinguish toddlers as 3 years olds and younger, and juniors as anywhere between 3-10. This would be an ideal set for anyone in the junior range, we feel.

It has a great deal of interactivity, with the opportunity to use it as a regular drum set, or if you link up this roll up drum set to a computer, then it has a great amount of games that you can play. This is fantastic for those looking to keep their juniors occupied.

 

Round Up

ABOUT

Included: Roll up drum set, Drumsticks, USB Cable, Audio Cable, Manual.
Playing time: Anywhere in the region of 10 hours (max)
Charging time: Between 2 and 3 hours
Price Scale: 3/10

Pros

  • Keep the kids quiet
  • Extremely convenient; easy to move around.
  • Available at a pretty reasonable price

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide ‘full’ drumming experience
  • Long charging time

rockpals

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Conclusion

Whilst this would be a fantastic investment for a younger child, we’ll admit that it doesn’t provide the true experience of drumming. If you can afford to, we’d certainly advise that you invest in something larger with more longevity. But, if you think drumming may just be a passing phase in your child’s interest, then this would be a fantastic option.


Thanks for checking out this post! Please, go check out some of our other posts, especially our post about the best beginner drum set!

Ludwig Accent Drive 5-Pc Drum Set Review

ludwig-drum

Ludwig are the daddy of drum sets. So surely this Ludwig Accent 5 piece should blow the competitors out of the water right? Well..

 

 

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Intro

If you are looking for a safe bet when you’re buying your drum set, then Ludwig are possibly the best best for you. They are one of, if not the most prestigious brand when talking about percussion instruments. They have been around for over 100 years, and rose to the top of the percussion world when Beatles drummer Ringo Starr started using the brand back in the early 60’s. Since then, it has been an upward Journey for Ludwig as they have gone from strength to strength. They have solidified themselves as the brand to buy in the percussion world.

Of course, when buying the best, you usually have to pay a premium. This is no different with Ludwig, and you will pay a slightly higher price than some of the alternative. Is it worth it? Well, for most people yes. But, is it worth it to you? Well, maybe. That’s why we’ve created this short review to help you decide whether this is the correct drum set for you.

About the Product

You really can’t go wrong with a drum set from Ludwig. With this set, you are getting your standard five piece. This means that you’ll get;

Bass Drum: This is the big drum that sits in the middle of your drum set. You use a foot pedal to hit it, so it’s important you get a high quality bass drum and a high quality foot pedal. The bass drum that is part of this Ludwig 5 piece is 22″ x 16″. This is around the industry average for a bass drum.

Cymbals: The cymbals that come with this 5 piece are 13″ and 16″. With the crash cymbal being 16″, this is a fantastic size for a crash cymbal as you will be able to get a great sound out of it. Make sure you have the room though, as a 16″ crash cymbal is quite a bit bigger than a 14″ crash cymbal. They are measured by their diameter, so 2″ difference is actually quite a bit.

Price: This set is a great set for a beginner, though it might appear to be quite expensive. You are paying a bit extra for the Ludwig name, which is obviously recognized as being the best brand of percussion instruments.

Pros

The Brand: Ludwig is the most prestigious brand in the percussion industry. With an established brand, you don’t need to worry about build quality and whether your drum set will last.

Nice Finish: This drum set is finished really nice, with a gloss white finish. It is one of the most attractive drum sets that we’ve seen.

Super easy to assemble: This drum set comes with some really easy to follow instructions. It’s a good option if you want to buy this set for your children, as you can get them to set it up themselves!

Cons

Kinda expensive: This set is a bit more expensive than some of the other drum sets in our list. As we’ve said, you do pay a bit extra for the brand. In our eyes, it’s worth it though.

Conclusion

If you’re new to drumming and you’re looking for an established brand to invest in, stick with Ludwig. They are the most reliable percussion makers that’s around right now. In fact they have been for a long time. Their experience and longevity in the drumming world only adds to their credibility.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for in a drum set, then you’re best off sticking with a big brand like Ludwig. That way, you aren;t taking any risks with your product and you can trust their experience in the drumming world.

Thanks for checking out this post! If you’re a beginner, click here to check out the best drumset for you.

Alesis DM6 USB Kit | Eight-Piece Compact Beginner Electronic Drum Set Review

alesis-drum

Electronic Drum Sets are a great option if you’re looking to minimize noise. Does this Alesis DM6 meet your requirements? Or should you stick to an acoustic set?

 

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Intro

Many people dismiss electronic drum sets as a viable option when looking to purchase a drum set. Why? Well, it’s said that they don’t provide the same experience that an acoustic drum set will. Whilst this is kinda true, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide an experience. It’s just a different experience. And, in many cases, it will provide an experience that is actually preferential than that of those noisy acoustic drums!

Electronic drum sets are great if you need to minimize on space and sound. They are far easier to assemble. which is great of you are looking to travel with your drum set. They also are smaller than an acoustic drum set, which means that you can fit them pretty much anywhere in your house. They’re ideal for people who aren’t living in their own house and are living in an apartment, as you can fit them pretty much anywhere.

Obviously, one of the greatest advantages of an electronic drum set is the fact that you don’t create the same amount of noise. You will still create some noise, but it is not comparable to that of an acoustic drum set. With an electronic drum set, you can simply whack your headphones on and voila!

 

About the Product

Whilst you don’t need to worry about the same criteria when you’re buying an electronic drum set, there are still certain things that you need to take into consideration. These include;

Headphones: You should be sure that your set is compatible with a decent quality pair of headphones. Most electronic drum sets, like this one, won’t come with a set of headphones. You can find a decent pair of headphones online without too much issue.

iPad: One of the best things about this set is that it is iPad compatible, which means you can organise your beats with ease. Depending on what programs you have, you will easily be able to edit any sounds that you create on your Alesis DM6.

Price: One of the main things for anyone to consider when purchasing an electronic drum set is the price. They do tend to be a bit more expensive than acoustic drum sets, so be prepared to pay a bit extra. The likelihood is that if you invest in this drum set, however, it will be longer before you need to upgrade. The Alesis DM6 is suitable for both beginners and the more advanced, so it’ll last you a long time.

 

Pros

  • Won’t disturb the neighbours: If you’re looking for a drum set to invest in that won’t upset your neighbours, then you should go with an electronic drum set. This set from Alesis is a good option for anyone looking for their very first electronic drum set. You can just plug your headphones in without having to worry about the sound.
  • Portable: This drum set is relatively light, so you don’t have to worry too much about whether you want to move your drum set to a different position. It is extremely versatile and you’ll be able to move it wherever you want.
  • iPad: With the intergrated iPad feature, this is almost a must have feature for any electronic drum set now. Many people use their electronic drum set with their iPad to help integrate their drumming with other instruments.

 

Cons

  • Not the same experience: Lets face it. An electronic drum set is not the same experience as an acoustic one. You won’t get the same feeling when you hit the drums, it’s definitely slightly different. Though saying this, the experience is a different one. There are many benefits of using an electronic drum set. We believe this to be one of the best electronic drum sets on the market, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then this would be a great investment.

Conclusion

Electronic drum sets are definitely a thing of the future. Some people even believe that they will completely overtake acoustic sets in years to come. Though this might seem unlikely, it is definitely a possibility. You will understand that it’s a possibility as soon as you play the Alesis DM6 and realise how similar the experience is and how easy it is to edit your sounds.

If you’re looking for your first electronic drum set, then this set from Alesis is a great choice as a beginner drum set.

LAGRIMA Black 22” 5 Piece Complete Drum Set Review

lagrima-drum

Finding a drum set isn’t as easy as just buying it online. You need to do your research and compare them. Saying this, is this LAGRIMA drum set as good as it’s competitors?

 

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Intro

Whilst LAGRIMA drum doesn’t hold the same prestigious name as some of the other drum sets around, this drum set certainly seems to be of the same quality. It is probably one of the cheapest options around if you are looking for a budget drum set. At this price, it may be the best money for quality option that you can find!

It isn’t often that you will find a quality drum set for the price. But, can it match the other drum sets in terms of quality? Well, that is what we are here to determine. It certainly has the right specifications to be a contender, that’s for sure. This drum set would make an ideal birthday gift fro a loved one, or if it’s getting close to Christmas, then you should consider this drum set as an option!

About the Product

This LAGRIMA set is your standard five piece drum set. It comes with five pieces, which include the three toms (two high and one floor) and the two main drums (the bass and the snare). When buying a five piece drum set, there are a few things that you’ll definitely need to take into consideration. These are;

Bass Drum: The bass drum for this set measures at 22″ x 16″. This is about the industry average for a bass drum, especially if you are a beginner. You won’t really find bass drums much smaller than this, as they will struggle to provide the same sound that a bass drum this size can. By investing in a decent sized bass drum now, you won’t have to reinvest in a larger bass drum in the future.

Cymbals: The cymbals for this set are 12″ for the hi-hat and 14″ for the crash cymbal. This is a good size for a crash cymbal, and you’re unlikely to need a crash cymbal any bigger than this one. The hi-hat at 12″ is round the perfect size for most people. Any bigger than this and you might have to compromise on space!

Price: The price of this set is around the cheapest that you’ll find for a full 5 piece drum set. Whilst you don’t get the name brand that you’ll get with other sets, you’re still getting a good quality drum set at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Quality: Although it doesn’t look like it is a particularly high quality drum set, it is actually very well made. There aren’t many other drum sets of this quality that you can get within this price range.
  • Ideal for kids: Although you can use this set as an adult, it’s pretty much perfect for kids of any age. Usually most drum sets have an age restriction of 3 years old, and this set is no different. Obviously your 3 year old child wouldn’t be capable of playing this set, but you should still watch out for the small pieces that are included in the set.
  • Affordable: This set is available at a pretty great price. You can’t find many better drum sets at this price.

Cons

  • Looks a bit cheap: Compared to some of the other drum sets available, this drum set might be lacking slightly in the finish department. It doesn’t have the same glossy finish that some other drum sets have. If this isn’t an issue for you, then this drum set would still be a great purchase.

Conclusion

Though you might not have heard of LAGRIMA, be sure that they are a good brand of drums that will last you a fair amount of time. Of course, they aren’t suitable for experts or people that are experienced in drumming. If you are a more experienced drummer, then there are plenty of other options around that would be better suited for you. But, these are great for beginners.

If you are looking for a good quality drum set for you or your children, then this LAGRIMA drum set would be a fantastic choice.