PlayRecord.Net Community Mailer Issue Fourteen

The fourteenth edition of the PlayRecord.Net Community Mailer (ISSN 1743-1476)

To the fourteenth edition of the Community Mailer...



Now that we have finally reached March we can look forward to British Summertime and some classic British winter weather. Or should that just be British Weather.

Anyway, whatever the weather its always a good day to play, or record.

Heck, you could go wild and record yourself playing. Before long you could have entire tunes recorded, albums, the sky's the limit. No matter what age you are you will always appreciate the thrill of making your own music. And being a creative hobby, you are left with something good to keep afterwards.

Switch off the TV and make some music...

Remember: We are more than happy to answer any questions or queries - no matter how simple, just e-mail for a fast and friendly response.

Quick Navigation Menu:


Aging Rockers Pose As Teenagers To Hit Charts

Sir Cliff Biggest Selling UK Artist

Smiths Drop CDs


Corgan Blames Pumpkins' Demise on Guitarist

Tanglewood Guitars

Guitar Chord Technique


Drumming Up Staff Morale

PlayRecord Drum Offers

Jazz Drummer Walter Perkins Dies - 72


Frozen Music Students

History of House

Teenagers Really Are Lazy

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Music News

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Aging Rockers Pose As Teenagers To Hit Charts

A band of aging punks have achieved chart success by getting a bunch of teenagers to pretend it was their tune and mime for the video. Recording as The Poppyfields, the band, from north Wales, are at number 28 after selling more than 4,000 copies of 1970s-style punk single 45RPM.

"They did it to show they wanted to be judged on music and not on their image and haircuts of 15 years ago," said a spokesman for the band. The Welsh band were previously best known for 1983 hit "68 guns" and said they pulled the stunt to show how much image affected sales in the music industry.

"We decided we would do something where it was judged purely on its own musical value," Peters, 44, told BBC News Online.

"The Alarm as an entity have been going for 20-odd years and history can go against you - we wanted to break the barrier down.

"We wanted the song to be judged on its merits and stir up the water a little bit, break the mould."

"We weren't trying to be malicious," says Mike Peters, the group's founder and only original remaining member, "We were just trying to open the debate up, because there's so much music that gets played based on image. These days the song and the content get left behind. But now the song kind of squashes the assumption that new music has to be made by new groups. Ultimately, the hope is that maybe now people will sit up and listen to our records again."

Peters is something of a folk hero in his native Wales where he is receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Welsh Music Awards in Cardiff on Friday.

Rolling Stone
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Sir Cliff Biggest Selling UK Artist

Cliff Richards has been named the biggest selling UK artist in a recent Channel 4 program. The result was derived from adding up all of the UK singles sales in history.

Born in Lucknow of an Engineer father as Harry Webb, but known to the world as Sir Cliff Richard, the singer has become the UK's Ultimate Pop Star. The evergreen singer, now in his 64th year, has been named the best selling pop star in Britain according to the list compiled by Channel 4 for its show "The Ultimate Pop Star."

Sir Cliff has had an awesome career spanning around half a century. He has broken the record for the most UK hit singles, with 126 songs reaching the chart and his loyal fan base will still camp out overnight to get their hands on tickets for his concerts. He has sold more than 250 million records worldwide.

Madonna was the top female star - and in fourth place overall - with sales of 14.6 million.

BBC News
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Smiths Drop CDs

High street stalwarts WH Smiths have decided to drop CD singles from their stores, instead selling more DVDs and games. This is another blow for the music industry which has seen sales of singles plummet in recent years.

36.5 million singles were sold in 2003 - down 30% on the previous year and almost 60% less than 1997 and already 2004 figures are 18% down on last year.

One of the oldest brands on the UK high street, WH Smith are reportedly planning to drop CD singles from their stores by the end of 2005. The leading retail group, which has 1,464 stores world-wide has suffered competition from supermarkets and online sales and have they have also seen reduced profits as a company.

The music industry is continuing to try various methods to break the fall in sales and profits, but Associated Press (AP) reports that despite the success of Apple's iTunes Music Store which is dominating online music sales in the US, illegal downloading of music is still happening in a big way.

Associated Press reports analysts believe the "faucet is still on" for illegal downloads, with some estimates that 100 times the number of legally-sold digital tracks are downloaded illegally.

A spokeswoman for WH Smith said "the sales of CD singles have been in decline but there is still growth in albums. If consumers arenít buying them, then why are we selling them, when we could re-allocate the space?"

This rationalistic attitude is totally understandable, but I doubt very much that this will ease the worries of music industry executives, even bearing in mind the fact that album sales are actually up 5%.

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Guitar News

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Corgan Blames Pumpkins' Demise on Guitarist

More than three years after the Smashing Pumpkins played their final gig, frontman Billy Corgan has taken to his official Web site to spill the beans about the real reasons behind the Chicago band's split.

"I am going to share some things with you that you have never heard me say," he wrote Tuesday. "That doesn't mean I'm rewriting history; that means that I'm going to tell you the truth about who I am and what I believe in my heart. A lot of things that I have said thru the years seemed confusing, like I was hiding something, and oftentimes I was. 'Why,' you might ask. Many times I hid things to protect my band mates."

Corgan makes it very clear what he feels the cause behind the bands split is when he states:

"The truth of the matter is that James Iha broke up the Smashing Pumpkins. Not me, not Jimmy, but James. Did it help that D'arcy was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help? No, that didn't help keep the band together, not at all."

Corgan also elaborated on his feelings for the Pumpkins when he said that it was "essentially my entire life... a dream I still believe in. Many friends at the time suggested letting James leave, so Jimmy and I could continue on under the name. But I was too loyal to the man I had started the whole thing with, and so I protected him until the very end."

It is not clear exactly why things had got so bad in the band, but the relationship between these two men had obviously reached a real low as Iha left the band's final show "without saying goodbye to the two people he had won and lost and travelled the world with".

Billy and James first appeared in a Polish bar called Track in 1988. Their first radio broadcast was on WNUR in Evanston that year. The first gig as a complete band was on July 9, 1988 at Chicago 21.

The new millennium saw the band split and the members all go their separate ways - Corgan starting a band called Swan and Iha a band called the Virgins.

Billy Corgan's Site
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Tanglewood Guitars

We are proud to welcome Tanglewood Guitars to our store. Tanglewood Guitars are the most popular range of acoustic and electro acoustic guitars in the UK. They have built their reputation on quality combined with value for money. The design and structural features of Tanglewood Guitars are typical of many much more expensive American instruments costing three or four times as much as a Tanglewood.

Tanglewood Guitars are renowned for high quality and affordable acoustic guitars and they have a great range of electric and bass guitars as well. Ideal for guitarists who want the feel and the sound of an expensive guitar but at a realistic price, the Tanglewood range is going to be up on the site in full in the near future.

If in the meantime you are wanting a particular guitar or would like to discuss the full Tanglewood guitars range in more detail, simply use the contact form to get in touch and one of our resident guitar experts will be in touch straight away.

Tanglewood Guitars
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Guitar Chord Technique

Without a guitar chord chart such as this one supplied by PlayRecord, many guitarists are lost when it comes to working out new chords or trying to follow sheet music. This need not be the case however, there are plenty of sites such as this page which will introduce you to some of the theory behind guitar chords, their structure and deciphering the meaning of things like G#m7(#5).

If you want a step by step, thorough look at guitar chords then you would do well to check out this site for a detailed and clearly laid out set of lessons all about guitar chords. With sections on open form chords right through to complex jazz chords, this site will keep you going for a while (if you can bear the colour scheme).

Being able to play chords is all well and good, but you are never going to sound good if you are not tuned up properly. We have previously helped you out in the guitar tuning department with our collection of free online guitar tuners, but we realised after receiving a few similar emails from newbie guitarists that you really need a nice, clear and detailed look at tuning a guitar. Read this article that we have prepared and you should find it simple to get your guitar properly in tune - the first and most important aspect of sounding good as a guitarist.

For those that are comfortable with tuning and would be interested in a more advanced article on tuning we have found this page which details the tuning technique recommended by The Guild Of American Luthiers. A little more complex than the more traditional tuning methods, it is designed to get the best tuning out of the guitar possible with the equal tempered tuning that a guitar is built around equal tempered tuning.

PlayRecord Guitar Chord Chart

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Drum News

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Drumming Up Staff Morale

A new study from the US has claimed to increase the mood of staff at a Pennsylvania nursing home by almost 50% by running regular drumming sessions. According to this page, the results of this study could potentially save industry around $1.46 billion a year. Staff took part in only six weekly drumming sessions and the positive effects where still evident twelve months later.

The groups press release states the following:
"The studyís protocol was based upon Group Empowerment Drumming, coupled with exercises on a digital piano, for 112 employees at Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community, which is home to 400 residents in Meadville, PA. In addition to breathing, imagery and movement components, participants used simple percussion instruments to establish a sense of camaraderie while expressing their feelings non-verbally at first. Many discovered a refreshing sense of group nurturing and support, coupled with heightened interpersonal awareness and respect, which prompted ongoing meaningful dialogues."

The research was done on care workers as this particular industry is regarded one of the worst for stress levels in staff "Employee turnover is threatening the ultimate viability of the long-term care industry". However after only six sessions with a few bongos and congas, the staff were all feeling great about their lives. One representative of the foundation said that the drumming "creates a connectiveness and energy within the group".

"This is the first study to address the practical human-resource applications of Recreational Music-making in a specific and quantifiable manner - a first in music, and a first in business," said neurologist Barry Bittman, MD, medical director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville

We all knew that drumming was a great stress reliever, ideal for non violently getting out all those pent up emotions so it makes sense that disgruntled granny farmers are going to feel more at ease after banging out a few rhythms.

Recreational Music Making
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PlayRecord Drum Offers

March brings great news for drummers - PlayRecord has some great deals on all kinds of kits, accessories and other percussion that will interest everyone from the youngest beginner to the oldest pro...

For the young wannabe drummer we have these excellent junior kits by Performance Percussion reduced from £128.99 down to only £99.99. Thats a reduction of nearly £30 - a truly superb price and one we can not sustain for any lengthy period of time. PP173 Reduced from £128.99 to £99.99
For drummers who have their kit already but would like to upgrade the cymbals with something a little sweeter than the standard bundled cymbals we have a great offer on this Pearl Cymbal Set - 15% off the RRP. This is a March only offer. Pearl Cymbal Set - 15% Off - March Only
For the more advanced (or richer) drummer, we have the full range of Pearl Drum Kits including the famous Pearl Export Drum Kit knocked down to ridiculously low prices for March Only. Remember - shipping is free on all orders over £120, so the price you see will be the price you pay. Pearl Drum Kits - Massive March Discounts

PlayRecord Drum Department
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Jazz Drummer Walter Perkins Dies - 72

Jazz drummer Walter Perkins, who played with such greats as Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Ahmad Jamal has died of lung cancer on Valentines day - aged 72.

Born in Chicago, he was a leader of the jazz group MJT + 3, which recorded a self-titled album in 1959. After the group disbanded in 1962, Perkins moved to New York and began playing with musicians such as Mingus, Jamal, Gene Ammons and Carmen McRae.

He is probably best known for a hard-bop record on which he was one of the leaders, "Walter Perkins' MJT +III," released on the Vee-Jay label in 1959. The group's name stood for Modern Jazz Two; Mr. Perkins and the bassist Bob Cranshaw were the two, and the three others were the trumpeter Willie Thomas, the alto saxophonist Frank Strozier and the pianist Harold Mabern. He appeared on dozens of albums; one of his most recent appearances was with William Parker, with whom he recorded "Bob's Pink Cadillac" (2002).

The funeral took place at the Merrick First Baptist Church on Thursday, February 19th, 2004. Thousands of fans, friends and fellow musicians came to say goodbye to a legend. To name a few people: Jazz vocalists Mel Bliss, Myrna Lake, Kesha St John, and musicians Harold Mabern, Bob Cranshaw, Ed Stoute, Hank Johnson, Dave Carter, Enos Payne, "Cool Mike" Fitzbenjamin, Bernie Upson, Ray Mckinnley and many others.


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Other News

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Frozen Music Students

Music students from Huddersfield were forced to have their music exams in sub zero temperatures. "The temperature was below zero, the examiner was wearing outdoor clothing and had a hot water bottle," said David Bintley, of Honley. "The waiting area was woefully inadequate. The practice room was similar and the acoustics of the exam room were reminiscent of a railway tunnel."

Not the sort of artistically encouraging environment you would normally choose to perform your music in, but then exams were never going to be the most inspiring times to play your instrument. More a painful exercise that you wanted to get over with as soon as possible. Saying that, the nerves you have in an exam are pretty close to the nerves you get playing live - but playing live is great!! If only you could enjoy exams as much as playing live - you would get straight to grade 8 (maybe).

On the topic of frozen musicians and freezing things in general, those of you play a brass instrument such as a trumpet or saxophone may be interested in something a little different in order to get the best possible sound. Cryogenics.

Cryogenics is the process of exposing things to extremely cold temperatures. It's usually done to metal objects such as tools and engine parts in an effort to make them last longer. At Cryogenics International though, the process is also used for musical instruments. The site states that "Our process will: Provide stress relief, Refine and more evenly distribute molecular structure, Makes the instrument or component more uniform throughout"

The site goes on to say that after you get your pride and joy back out of the deep freeze " Your sax, trumpet, horn, etc. will exhibit the refined, regal qualities you most desire. Your instrument will be less fatiguing to play" and will have "Improved tonal qualities" and "Smoother sliding valves".

Huddersfield News Story
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History of House

A couple from Wakefield have failed in their attempt to sue their houses previous owners of not fully disclosing the history of the house. The couple had moved into their new home and were watching TV when they noticed that the house on the documentary program looked remarkably like their home.

The house on the program was the home of a murdering doctor called Dr Samson Perera, a dental biologist at Leeds University, who murdered his adopted daughter, Nilanthie, in 1985.

As soon as the couple realised the gruesome history of their house, they found themselves unable to live their and quickly sold the house at a loss of £8000. The thing that really clinched it for them was that the doctor had not only murdered his daughter, but chopped her body up into tiny bits and then hid the bits around the house and garden. There is a distinct possibility that bits of here body could still be on the premises.

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Teenagers Really Are Lazy

It could be the ideal excuse, but research published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that the reward centres of an adolescents brain are not fully developed and so they are less motivated by rewards.

There is a part of the brain called the right ventrial striatum which is associated with motivation. In the study, the teens along with some adults played a specially designed gambling game whilst having their brains scanned.

Bjork and his colleagues compared the scans of 12 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 and 12 adults between the ages of 22 and 28. While undergoing MRI scans, the volunteers were asked to play a game. If they could hit a target on a screen, they got 20 cents, $1 or $5. If they couldn't hit the target, they would lose money.

In both groups, the scan images showed that in anticipation of a potential gain, the ventral stratium, right insula, dorsal thalamus and dorsal midbrain sections of the brain were activated. And the ventral stratium, which is believed to be a reward centre in the brain, showed increased activation as the reward amount increased for both groups.

But, the right ventral stratium showed less activation in teens than in adults. According to Bjork, other research has shown this area of the brain is responsible for motivation.

"That region of the brain controls how much an organism is willing to work to get a reward," Bjork says. "The data show that adolescents are just as happy and excited at the prospect of winning as adults, but they differed in the expenditure of effort for that reward."

No surprise there then.

New Scientist
Check out this great selection of guitar, drum and general music accessories we have put together for you - free guitar tablature search, online metronome / drum machine to play along to and we even have an online guitar tuner for you.