April 15, 2015
In 1954, on his 5th birthday, Robert Sprinkle was given a choice by his father, Leland Sprinkle: have a traditional birthday party, or take a tour of one of Virginia’s most famous caves, Luray Caverns. Robert chose the cave tour, and soon the Sprinkle family descended below the surface of the small town of Luray to view its main attraction.
When they arrived at a part of the cave dubbed “The Throne”, their guides indulged in a regular custom: “Playing” the cave’s stalactites like the keys of a marimba. “The guides had a habit of taking out a little rubber rod and tapping out ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’,” Robe...
March 31, 2014
Most paid rehearsal spaces stink, if not literally, then at least figuratively. For several years, my band rehearsed in one: A windowless room slapped together with drywall inside of a warehouse space in a sad and desolate part of town.
We played two nights a week in that rented space, sharing the room with up to three other bands. Our roommates, schedules, and the price of rent changed each time our la...
March 17, 2014
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”
Research shows that developing a skill is nothing like cramming for an exam. Creative ability, like physical strength, is something that develops slowly, almost unconsciously over time, given the right stimulus.
Because of this, the most fundamental determinant of how great your musicianship will become lies in consistent, focused practice. Evidence suggests that this is a more important ingredient than innate ability, specific practice tactics, or perhaps anything else.
This is true whether your goal in music is expressiveness or virtuosity, great s...
March 3, 2014
This is a post by associate editor Blake Madden.
It’s early 1975, and Brian Eno strains to hear the recording of 18th century harp music a friend has given him.
Eno is in recovery after being hit by a car and can barely get out of bed. After putting the record on with great difficulty and lying back down, he notices the volume is too low, and that one channel on his stereo is blown.
The sheer pain of moving forces him to listen to the record at a volume that barely eclipses the background sound of the room around it.
“This presented what was fo...
New Gear Reviews
It’s hard to make a great pop song without a great bass line, and it’s hard to do a great bass line justice without a great bass sound. The bass often serves as the soul and the spine of a record, and if it’s not right, nothing is. Although the vast majority of tone lies in the fingers, each of the major types of electric bass offers its own subtle color. Today we’ll be looking at a few of the ...
Ron Skinner of TQM Recording Co. visits a recently renovated Detroit recording studio that was almost lost to time. His goal: To faithfully recreate a seminal recording made there, using today’s technology and tools. Before closing, the studio played host to countless artists from John Lee Hooker to Jackie Wilson, Bob Seger to MC5, The Rolling Stones to Aretha Franklin, Issac Hayes to Par...
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