PlayRecord.Net Community Mailer Issue Nine

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

To the ninth edition of the Community Mailer...



At PlayRecord we are all about playing and recording music. This fortnight we are going to focus on a particular area of playing which is one of the key aspects of being a musician - performing live. Playing live is a nerve racking, adrenalin inducing experience which can leave you feeling as high as a kite and keep you coming back for more. When you have a gig, concert or performance coming up it inspires and motivates you to practice hard and perfect your technique.

If you are going to play live, then you need to make sure that you have the right equipment...
What you really don't want to happen is that you get on stage and something goes wrong. Check your leads are all working , make sure you don't have strings that are old and about to break or new and likely to go out of tune. Check your batteries and fit new ones where necessary. Practice

If you do all of this, then all you have to remember is to relax and enjoy yourself. Don't let your mind wander onto nerve inducing worry, just stay calm and focus on the music, not the crowd. Above all - enjoy it, you are doing something most people can only dream about ;-)

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.

General NewsGuitar NewsPercussion News

Recording & Hi-Tech NewsDJ News

Orchestral, Wind & Brass News

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General News

Site News
In keeping with the gigging theme of this edition of the mailer, we have written a short article all about gigging. In this article we cover some of the basic tips and techniques that the people at PlayRecord Towers have learned over the years of gigging and performing.

We can also supply all of the equipment you may need to get geared up for your gig, if you don't see it on the site then simply get in contact and we will do our best to source whatever it is you are looking for.

General News
If you are looking to get gigging or already are gigging on a regular basis, how about doing it for a good cause?
Like you need an excuse....

Well whatever, there is a charitable organisation called Make Music Live which is all about raising money for arthritis - the bane of any musician due to its crippling effect on those dexterous digits we all rely on.

Think about it
Arthritis affects the lives of over 7 million adults in the UK
Around 12,000 children have arthritis
At least 4.4 million people have osteoarthritis in their hands
206 million working days are lost every year in the UK Make Music Live is a campaign to get the country playing live music, having loads of fun and raising as much cash as possible for research into ending arthritis. It is promoted by the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc), registered charity no 207711.

Do something good, doing what you love...

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to... is a web site that provides a free database of gigs in the UK. You can add your gigs for free and also search by area, band or time for gigs to go and see.

Steve Lamaq has written this short article about how to get gigs that will increase your fan base. This is an important consideration, especially if you have been gigging for a while and want to start moving onwards and upwards instead of playing the same old venues to the same old crowds.

This site has a short article with a few more ideas on getting a gig with links to a couple of paid services which may (or may not) be worth checking out.

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Guitar News

Site News
If you are a gigging guitarist then you will have realised that a practice amp just isn't going to cut it - you need some power...

If you are a fairly new guitarist and yet to gig, then you can always rely on borrowing a more powerful amp from the band you are supporting etc, but at some point you are going to need a proper amplifier.

There are two amps that we would recommend highly for the gigging guitarist as they combine power and clarity with the added bonus of onboard DSP effects in a portable 'combo' format. The first is the Fender Deluxe 90 DSP which is a superb amp for less than £300 brand spankers...

The second is the 90's more powerful big brother - the aptly named Fender Stage 100 DSP is a more fully featured amp with a full 100Watts of power and a three channel set up which allows you to swap easily between a clean, crunchy and lead sound on stage.

If you want to blow everyone else away with sheer volume, then you need to check out the Fender Stage 160 DSP, a fully featured 2x12, 160Watt beast...
you know you want it ;-)

General News
Fender have recently changed their UK distribution. Arbiter, who have been distributing the entire Fender range for the last 26 years, are no longer the UK distributors.

Don't worry though, PlayRecord will continue selling the Fender range as we believe they are some of the best guitars available...

Fender will now be dealt with in the UK by Fender Europe. This is likely to be a great move for Fender. A fresh approach and a single focused company dealing with Fender alone will hopefully mean better service, better availability and an all round better experience for Fender fans in the UK.

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to...
This in depth PDF article is crammed full of top tips for the newbie or old hand gigging guitarist alike.

Gigging is always going to be difficult if you are not in a band, check out this page has a bunch of adverts for musicians wanted or available in the UK. There were adverts less than 24 hours old when we checked it out, so it is definitely a lively forum.
Check it Out

If you just want a quick read, check out this short article with some tips about gigging. In particular it focuses on the problem of getting electric shocks from badly earthed PA installs. (ouch)

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Percussion News

Site News
New up this month and fitting in quite nicely for our gigging / live sound theme are these drum triggers from SoftaPads. These triggers enable you to transform your kit from an acoustic kit into a fully electronic kit. These attach semi-permenantly to your drum and detect when a hit has been made by the velocity, and send a signal out from the trigger. This then goes to what they call a "brain" which is a sound module that then attaches a sound to the signal. This then goes either out to MIDI or straight out via an amp to produce your sound. When gigging, this means you can transform a single drum, or the entire kit, to an electronic kit instantly, depending on what sound you want. There are two sets of triggers available, one for the kick drum / floor tom and another for your snare & hi / med toms. Click on the links below for more info.
Kick & Floor tom trigger
Snare & toms trigger

General News
Since this issues Newsletter is all about gigging, we thought we'd delve into the darkest of musical corners.......the gigging drummer! As a percussionist myself I find these assumptions a little distressing...but mostly true! Percussion / drum kits tend to be a little on the large say the least, and getting a full sized drum kit to a gig is no mean feat. The whole band tends to have to pull together to get it all there in one piece, set the whole thing up, tear it down after playing and get it all back, in one piece. We then go and take up all the room on stage! But, you have to love us. Lets have a look at a few of the points that concern the gigging drummer (or generic percussionist, all these points are relative to percussion players who don't play kits):
Stage volume
Engineers Headphones are incredibly useful for gigging drummers, and many will not play without them. Headphones enable you to get a true sound from your band mates and also help cut out the background noises that are inherent to gigging, especially guitar bands. Some players also use a click track in one ear of the headphones and a mix of the other musicians in the other. This gives you a steady rhythm to play to and a clean version of the sound, rather than relying on the monitors supplied. A quality but cheap set of headphones are the Stagg SHP 2200 & SHP 3000's. These are priced £9.99 & £15.99 respectively and further info can be found by clicking on the links below:
SHP 2200
SHP 3000 Stage volume has always been and will always be a major headache for all musicians that play together as a group. No matter how perfect you have your sounds and your sound levels in your rehearsal rooms, as soon as you get to that gig, its starting afresh. Each venue will have a particular sound dependant on many variable factors. Shape & size of the room are one, the system that your playing through, the speakers, the cables, the effects applied, the desk the engineer is using, even the heat...all these things ensure that whatever sound and sound level you have become accustomed to will be non-existent at the gig. Logically and typically the drum kit is sound checked first, enabling the drummer to set the precedent for the rest of the band, but be careful and honest! Play the same hardness and velocity that you know you will feel comfortable playing all night, don't out do yourself as the harder you play now, the harder your gonna have to play all night. Play too quiet and the engineer will turn you up - meaning that when you get to that fill where you may go crazy and play a little too hard, your kits going to drown out everyone else.

Engineers are either your best friend or your worst enemy (no offence to engineers!). This is simply because they have a job to do and you can either make their life easy or very hard. Be nice to your engineer, after all he is the master of your sound, and once your up there playing, you have to rely on him/her to correct all the small niggling sound problems, and guarantee you a good all-round sound, adjusting the levels as each song dictates. Don't be too oppressive with your demands for your sound, but on the other hand do ensure that you are getting the right sound that you need. Ask don't demand is the best way, as many an engineer has told me. Demanding and being a "rock star" is the quickest way to guarantee that the engineer will simply want to get you on and off the stage as quickly as possible, usually without any help from him or her.

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to...

This week up on the list is:
Drum-Talk.Com is a great site for the gigging drummer that offers news, help, forums, and general hints & tips for the drummer who plays live. A top site.
Musicians Instituteoffers a fantastic array of live performance workshops, covering all styles, and large sections devoted to percussion playing. The best place in the UK for live tutoring with a qualification at the end of it.
Hotdrum.Netfeatures reviews of equipment, industry articles and forums where any drummer can log on and discuss drum / drumming related issues and problems. These are a great source of ideas and solutions to general problems you may be experiencing and is a great way to chat to others who share the same hobby & passion as yourself.

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Recording & Hi-Tech News

Site News
PlayRecord is proud to announce that we can now supply the full range of Gigastudio hard disk based sampling software packages. These are an industry standard sampling platform, evolved from the infamous Gigasampler, Gigastudio turns a computer into a hard core sampling workstation.

Giga operates at the kernel level of your PC's operating system. This proprietary technology is not available on any other sampler, and allows for the very best performance including ultra-low latency and clean, reliable sample playback for MIDI sequences or even live, real-time performances.

Three versions of GigaStudio are available, from the economical GigaStudio 32 to the powerful GigaStudio 96 to the sophisticated GigaStudio 160, which is capable of streaming 160 simultaneous voices of audio. Giga’s advanced features make it ideal for professional scoring composers, sound designers, engineers and producers, while its easy-to-use interface makes it a great choice for musicians and songwriters.

Gigastudio Starts from only £79...

General News
AMD announces 64bit processor
AMD has launched a new breed of processors that are 64 bit, as opposed to 32 bit, a massive leap forward in the desktop computer world.

However, the 64-bit version of Windows is only available in a beta version at the moment with the final version available in the first half of next year. So for the moment it is the preserve of hard core computer-philes only at the moment.

AMD executives say mainstream computer users will eventually move to a PC with 64-bit architecture, which offers a hefty memory space for memory-intensive applications, such as graphics rendering, video production and of course music recording and editing.

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to...
In keeping with the gigging theme of this edition of the mailer, we have pulled together a few location recording related sites:

This page has a wealth of information regarding different location recording techniques, specifically focused on mic placement for both stereo recordings and close micing individual instruments.

This page has some useful information on location recording, though it is based more upon tape and hardware based recording methods as opposed to computer recording.

If you are thinking of using a computer for live audio, running VST instruments, then you should check out this Q & A article from Sound on Sound which discusses the merits and drawbacks of using a computer as a live musical instrument.

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DJ News

Site News
New up this month and fitting in quite nicely for our gigging / live sound theme, is the Gemini DJ Pak 201. This Gemini package contains CDX-602 Dual Transport, Instant Start, Frame Accurate CD Players, One PMX-1100 Stereo DJ Mixer With Replaceable Cross fader and a carpeted case rack. This is ideal for anyone who wants to be a mobile DJ , since everything you need to play and mix your favourite tunes, is in one nice carpeted hard case. Yet another great piece of kit from those people at Gemini.

General News
Dutchman Sander Kleinenberg will release a new mix compilation for Renaissance at the end of October
Renaissance Presents: a double disc compilation featuring Sander Kleinenberg, showcasing tracks by producers as Luke Cable, Matthew Dekay, Joachim, Roland Klinkenberg, Van Bellen & Greed amongst others. The compilation is released in a luxurious Renaissance package and has a 6-page digi-pack of real Kleinenberg art work and design. Born and raised in Eastern Holland, Sander Kleinenberg began spinning records at the tender age of 15.In 1996, Sander first appeared on the dance radar with the now infamous NY Club Anthem "Y.D.W. (You Do Me Wrong)". Released on Strictly Rhythm under his production moniker S&S project, this guy is doing it right

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to...

This week up on the list is:
mobile DJ online Mobile DJ Online is a web resource offering information about mobile discos, Karaoke road shows and DJs throughout the UK and Eire
This site has some good in depth general DJing tutorials
This page has a good introduction to beat matching for those of you who need a bit more practice before you are going to start gigging...

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Orchestral, Wind & Brass News

Site News
New to go up on the site this time round is a fantastic new Saxophone from quality instrument maker Stagg, the new Bb Soprano Sax - High F# including case. This is a fantastic new Sax, and has F#, a semi-tone higher than many Saxophones, which many beginners will require. It has a gorgeous looking finish and comes complete with an ABS case to keep your pride and joy secure.

Check out the link below to take a peek.

Bb Soprano Sax - F#

General News
One of the UK's biggest live music and light extravaganzas is almost upon us! At the event, being held on the banks of the River Mersey, is the world's first opera band - Amici Forever - and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

The evening promises a spectacular show including: 40ft flame throwers, fireworks, three projectors powered by two generators with enough power to light up most of the city, technology used in the Buckingham Palace jubilee party and pyrotechnic explosions.

Around 5000 are expected to turn out to witness Amici Forever perform Puccini's Nessun Dorma and Handel's Prayer in the Night at the World Heritage Site nominated venue, and many more are expected to attend to sit on the grass and watch for free. The programme includes Holst's Jupiter, Walton's Crown Imperial, Mendelssohn's Hebrides accompanied by soprano Claire Rutter & baritone Stephen Gadd.

A limited number of £10 seats are available from the Philharmonic box office on 0151 709 3789

Online Resources:We do the searching so you don't have to...

The Cello site is dedicated just to the Cello, covering every aspect and is a great place for those wishing to take up the instrument to have a peek what its all about.
The International Tuba & Euphonium Association site has all for the Tuba & Euphonium players anywhere including news from the orchestral world, events, recordings, jobs, gigs, help on repairs....EVERYTHING!
The London Philharmonic Orchestra web site speaks for itself. It contains all the details about their upcoming performances, archives of previous performances, and explains about the LPO Education Team who have 2 main school-based workshop programmes: ConcertLink & PlayerLink, who also specialise in classes for children with special needs.

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.