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IMPROVISATION

Improvisation.

True improvisation on a musical theme is playing variations during a performance.  During a performance it gives the musician an opportunity for expression , when we hear musicians jamming in the shop in a relaxed setting and we find it gives them an opportunity to push themselves , no matter what their level is and whatever style be it on acoustic , electric or classical guitars.

When we set up a guitar in our workshop it will be tailored to the customer and his or her requirements in respect of style of playing gauge of string and action required on the instrument.   We would have a profile of the customer if they are regular or they have just walked into the shop.

After gathering the information to build a profile of the playing style of the customer and then and only then do we go to work to deliver the standard of quality that is a trade mark of the shop, no matter if it is a “ Full Monty” which means we check the action, intonation, polish and buff the body and lemon oil the neck and a new set of strings for €15.00 or a full or partial refret  with  structural or cosmetic work to be carried out we would give a quote and authenticate the work after it is finished.

All this just to be able to jam or improvise… but we feel it is important to “ Get It Right “ policy as Eric Clapton remarked “ The only planning I do is a minute before I play I try to think of something that will be effective , but I never sit down and work it out, but if the instrument in my hands is performing to its ability that’s all I can ask for.

Happy Playing from all the team in ESSANESS MUSIC

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The Sound of The Acoustic Guitar

The Sound of The Acoustic Guitar

It is generally agreed the principle of all acoustic guitars producing sound is the same, when you strike a string on a guitar you apply energy to make it vibrate.

When the string vibrates it is not enough to create sound that can be heard clearly, it can be thought of as being like a tuning fork which vibrates when struck but the sound is inaudible until it comes into contact with a mass of lower density which can then transmit vibrations in the air and becomes audible .

This is why acoustic guitars have hollow bodies that have carefully designed soundboxes . The energy of strings vibrating is transferred to the sound box via the bridge and saddle over which they pass, the sound box vibrates in sympathy with the strings to create an audible sound.

The projection and volume of the sound waves can be heard up to a reasonable distance, a simple way of showing this is to play both an acoustic and electric guitar un pluged and see the difference in volume, showing the sound box is producing the volume whereas the electric is only a mounting block for pickup’s , bridge and controls.

In conclusion the sound from the acoustic is generated via the sound box and the electric sound is produced with amplifer and speakers, Happy Playing ..

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The Shape and Size of the Acoustic Guitar

The basic shape of acoustic guitars has not changed , from the Standard flat top , the Dreadnought or flat top to the Classical.   The characteristic figure of eight featuring the upper bout, the waist and the lower bout, but the relative dimensions often vary.

The smaller upper bout enhances the upper or treble frequencies while the larger bout enhances the bass or bottom frequencies .  Try dropping a coin through the sound hole into the sound box of the guitar and try shaking the instrument so it rattles around, moving from bout to bout to demonstrate the sound difference.

The overall size of guitars varies from one type to another, Flat top steel string acoustic range from the “standard” size up to the larger “jumbo” size and back to the “ Dreadnought “ shape.

The Standard acoustic instrument is very similar to the Classical guitar in many ways in both shape and size.  The Standard Flat top is 102cm overall, 37cm at the widest and 12 cm deep, while the Jumbo is 103.5cm overall, 41cm wide and 12.5 deep, the Classical being 98cm overall, 37cm at the widest and 10cm deep. Happy Playing .

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The Flamenco Guitar

The Flamenco Guitar

The Flamenco guitar build and construction are based on the style of the Spanish classical guitar, but with slight modifications that suit the requirements of the Flamenco player.

The body is usually slightly smaller than the classical design, its back and rib structure are made from Spanish Cyprus crafted very thinly to produce a wide and more brilliant tone,

This in turn produces a more penetrating  sound and gives the instrument  greater volume.

There is also a perceived  reduction in mellowness and tone , which explains why some solo flamenco guitarists  prefer to play classical guitars…….Happy Playing..from all at Essaness Music.

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Digital Pianos and Keyboards

DIGITAL PIANOS AND KEYBOARDS

Digital Pianos and Keyboards in Kilkenny can be seen in Essaness Music.

They were to make practicing and playing fun, weaving a riveting tapestry of sound worthy of a concert hall instrument.

 

Wether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll be inspired by the rich ,pure and responsive tone from the moment you hit the first chord.

 

The real feel of the piano and recording options together with the huge music database of voices and styles will have you playing all the time, why not call in to www.essaness.com  in Kilkenny and see what YOU think .   Happy Playing…

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VENT HOLES IN TIMBER PLY DRUMS

VENT  HOLES  IN TIMBER   PLY  DRUMS

 

The number of Vent holes in Timber Drums can influence both the drum’s timbre and projection.

To design a shell with one or more, up to ten vent holes will depend on the drum’s dimensions, by varying the number of holes particularly on larger shells,

 

The make up of the drum ie, the thickness and amount of ply’s and the joining system being overlapped or butted will determine the drum’s sustain length , amount of mid – bass tone and playing comfort  which  can all be fine tuned.     Happy Playing.

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LATIN and SPANISH RHYTHMS

LATIN and SPANISH   RHYTHMS

Up until approx fifty years ago the Spanish guitar was the instrument of choice played by the majority of guitarists in the world, it was unusual for it to be played with a plectrum as it was broadly accepted that the fingers got the best sound for the styles of music played on the Spanish  Guitar.

The range of styles played on the Spanish guitar is still greater than that of the steel guitar  and is still the only style accepted as a legitimate classical instrument.

 

The original Spanish flamenco used songs and ballads related to the area and used mostly  open chords based on the 1-v-1 structure, this progression is standard in flamenco music, and is used with minor scales. An important part of  the  right hand  technique is called “ rascuedo “ .

 With the right hand fingers  clenched there is a flicking motion ,  so that the finger nails play three or four  down strokes in quick succession and the palm drops down to provide a damping effect, letting the thumb alternate with the fingers and play bass notes  independently

Practice  this technique and we can then move on to more styles. Happy Playing

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Folk and Country Rhythms

FOLK  and  COUNTRY  RHYTHMS

 

Folk and Country music is largely dominated by the acoustic guitar,

Mainly as a result of its portability and versatility where there is no drummer or bass player the guitar assumes the role of time and harmony.

 

The BALLAD is the most common rhythm and by definition it is played at a slow to moderate tempo with any of the following, plectrum,thumbpick,fingerpics or fingerstyle.

 

Time signatures are usually ¾ and 4/4 and the songs use simple basic chords and progessions almost always played with a full left hand sustain,by that I mean they are allowed to sustain without being dampened.

 

The most common right hand styles are a full open strum, alternative bass notes with arpeggios,  the strums may be upstrokes or downstrokes playing a steady smooth rhythm with the most common timing being a downstroke on the 1st beat , an upstroke on the 2nd beat , a down on the 3rd and up on the 4th beat.

 

Folk and Country styles played faster quite often relate to a kind of dance, American bluegrass, mountain , western swing and Irish jigs and reels all share common elements.

 

 

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FINGER STYLES

FINGER STYLES

 

 Guitar Finger styles are very popular to this day, and have been a product of Folk and traditional styles as they employ a very natural feel .

The  approach to the 6 strings is by employing the thumb to  play the Bass strings and the fingers to play the top strings.

 

This means that while the thumb is playing the down strokes the fingers are playing the upstrokes,  meaning that up to 5 notes can be sounded  simultaneously, to play one after another or as an “arpeggio”.

 

With regard to the right hand position and its position on the strings the

“ classical “ position gives the most freedom and probably the better response from the instrument, also available is the “Anchor” position and the “ Muting “ position, together with long nails on the right hand to make contact with the strings and thumb picks, finger pics, metal or plastic and even acrylic nails can be used.

Happy Playing

 

 

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THE ONE FRET PER FINGER RULE

THE ONE FRET PER FINGER RULE.               In the world of classical guitar playing the concept where each finger on the left hand should be responsible for every string on that fret, a fret space for every finger, so the left hand can cover four frets, and the finger board is covered in three hand positions.      Hand positions in the begining will require practice as the fourth finger will be very important as the student advances, but will become easier in time.         The guitar is one of the few instruments where it is possible to play the same note in more than one position, therefore finding the best position to use is important when learning a new piece or arrangement.     By using the one fret per finger rule playing a melody line will usually be easier as each finger moves to cover a new fret, first position covers frets 1 to 4, second position covers frets 5 to 8 and third covers frets 9 to 12 . Have a go at this and let us know how you get on.  Talk soon, stay Classy ..