Friday, December 11, 2015

Top 5 Audio Recording Devices For Beginners

If you’re passionate about playing music, whether it’s your own or someone else's, it’s only natural that you’ll want to record yourself and get another perspective on how you’re playing. Recording your own music is a lot of fun and it’s something that every musician must do - it enables you to experiment and improve your skills considerably, as well as being able to mix and add new instruments and sounds into your music.

For those that are just starting out and need some advice on the best and more convenient recording devices, the team at Guitar Paradise have got you covered. Check out our shortlist below and as always if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to give us a call!


1. Your Phone/Laptop

Technology is at a point now where you can get a decent sound quality by using computers and smartphones. In fact, chances are the hardware you’ve got currently will get the job done. Mac computers are a favourite with musicians the world over and if you’re just starting out and aren’t ready to invest a huge amount of money into recording straight away, we’d probably recommend investing in a MacBook.

Recording this way couldn’t be easier, although without additional software you’re mixing options will be limited - you’re looking at a simple recording of what you’re playing and little ability to do much else.


2. Mixing Software

More than likely you’ve got the hardware and you can get a basic, listenable recording from your computer - but the next step is investing in special software designed to handle various tracks of recorded audio at once. There are some inexpensive options including Apple’s Logic Pro and Audacity, which is actually free.

These programs will enable you to record and then take these recordings and stack them on top of each other to create a single audio track.


3. Audio Interface

As has been mentioned, computers can take care of the actual recording part of the process. Basically, every computer that’s on the market today comes with what is needed to record and you’ll usually have a mic and line input. But the quality of sound is quite low and if you’re serious about recording your performances and your music, an audio interface allows you to do so.
 Basically, it stands as a middleman between your instruments and your computer, converting these sounds into a digital form that your computer can understand. Electrical instruments can be plugged directly into the Audio Interface and from there into your computer.  One that we’d recommend is the Duo-Capture (UA-11) which costs only $109.

4. Microphone

The majority of instruments can be plugged straight into the audio interface, which ensures the best sound quality. However, if you’re relying on a computer to record vocals, you’ll more than likely notice a mix-match in the quality of the sound and background noise is sure to be a factor. Once you have some experience recording and want to take that next step with your equipment, a microphone is the best way to go.

A microphone is designed to give you a better sound quality for all vocals and acoustic instruments too. Different branded mics are appropriate for different purposes, however, if you’re after a good all-around vocal microphone for signing - the SM57 Instrument Microphone is the pick of the bunch.


5. Headphones

At this point, it’s a good idea to consider a dependable pair of studio headphones to make sure you’re getting the most out of your recording sessions and can pick up on the strengths and weaknesses of your mixes.

It will take some getting used to, but your ear will start to get a sense of which audio tracks need to be higher or lower and what needs to be added. Headphones enable you to do this. Keep in mind that they vary greatly in price - for an expensive pair you’re looking at thousands of dollars. But to start off, you can get the job done with headphones that cost less than $100. The Samson RH600 models are a good choice.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Top 10 Online Custom Guitar Stores in Australia

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Looking to buy a piece of history with a custom built, small production guitar that is made to your very own personal specifications? Then a host of new online custom guitar shops have sprung up to turn your dreams into realities. Some of the finest luthiers in Australia now hone their skills making limited edition guitars and one-off specials that rival the best of the best when it comes to tone, style and price. Here are the top 10 online custom guitar stores in Australia.

1.Ormsby Guitars

Ormsby’s is rated as the number one destination when it comes to custom made guitars in the country. They source only the finest timbers across Australia and offer a unique tailored service to create a reworking of a classic or a one off custom job of your dreams. Ormsby’s offers a wide range of feature guitars as well as a complete bespoke service from tailpiece to tuners for the complete custom shop experience.

2. Tim Kill Custom


Tim Kill has been working with guitars for some time now and his efforts haven’t gone un-noticed. One of Melbourne and Australia’s premier luthiers, TimKill Custom offers a large range of customizable features on their guitars with the focus on bespoke craftsmanship, quality of materials as well as the tone to die for thanks to the unique way in which he works.

3. ET Guitars


ET Guitars is a great new online store that offers players the chance to build your guitar online, order and receive your guitar to your door.  Choose from a wide range of off the shelf axes, as well as a huge choice of bodies, necks, fretboards, pickups, tuners and just about everything else you can imagine. With ET Guitars, you are truly spoilt for choice!

4. Custom Guitar Works


This modern custom shop is a great start for any budding guitarist or professional touring guitarist who wants something a little bit different to stand out from the crowd.  Aside from offering a fully-fledged guitar repair workshop, Custom Guitar Works also offer custom paint jobs with airbrushed designs, digital art and retro paint colors to create a great axe from history.

5. Cargill Custom Guitars


Cargill Custom Guitars is considered Australia’s finest guitar workshop that specializes in the craftsmanship behind the skills of the luthiers involved in the creation process. From the type of woods used, the density of the fibers of the fretboard, the attention to detail is staggering – but all in place to offer you the definitive guitar and the ultimate playability and tone for your buck.

6. The Maton Custom Shop


Established in 1946, the Maton Custom Shop is your single destination for a schooling in custom shop guitars. Providing you with the ultimate in personal guitar experience, Maton Custom Shop offers face to face chats about the type of tone you are looking for, the types of timber used, the sound dynamics involved in the creation of your instrument and the attention to detail like no other to offer you a truly outstanding bespoke service.

7. Noyce Guitars

Noyce Guitars was created by Ian Noyce with over 35 years’ experience in creating stunning custom guitars of different designs and tones in both electric and acoustic variants. As well as offering a wide array of options when it comes to tailor making your dream guitar, Ian offers expert advice on the tonal qualities of the materials, ensuring that you are kept informed of your guitars’ progress and its readiness to being born.

8. Lauda Guitars

Lauda Guitars is one of the leading custom shops offering a range of electric guitars and basses with a range of options to choose from to get you started. Featuring a price structure that is of benefit to newcomers and professionals alike, Lauda prides itself on its uncompromising attention to detail, quality of materials and an aim to create a flawless custom guitar you’d be proud to play.

9. Ellis Guitars

This custom shop offers a wide range of options and accessories to get the guitar you’ve always dreamed of off the ground. Specializing in acoustics, Ellisguitars use only the finest materials, the AAA grade wood grains and many years of experience to give you the most amazingly bright sounding acoustic guitars that you’ll have ever heard.

10. Glen Bird Guitars

Glen Bird has years of experience as a master luthier that offers you the chance to own one of the most visually stunning guitars you may have ever laid your eyes on. If you’re serious about playing guitar, Glen Bird is the man to visit when you have your inspirational moment, as any song sounds spectacular on this master craftsman’s custom guitars. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Fender Stratocaster VS the Gibson Les Paul

Fender Stratocaster VS the Gibson Les Paul - the battle is nothing new for the guitar lovers. For many decades now, musicians, guitarists and even historians have argued tooth and nail over which of two of the finest guitars that have come out of two of the finest companies amongst the 10 best musical instrument brands should be hailed as the king of axes. Many guitarists are divided into each camp and will never make the switch. But there are others who have both models in their line-up.

To give you the chance to decide for yourself, let’s look at some of the most fundamental differences in how these two behemoths in the guitar world made a name for themselves.

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How Les Paul made its name

Back in 1952, Gibson was the first off the block to produce the famous solid-body thanks, to musician and inventor Les Paul. This musician put his name on the pride and joy of his work with Ted McCarty and his team at Gibson. Before this moment, Gibson was mainly producing Jazz guitars for famous musicians and selling versions of them to the public.

The Gibson Les Paul was one of the very first mass-produced solid body guitars and sold around the world as a popular, fashionable guitar that had lots and lots of new tones and sounds that other jazz guitars such as hollow-bodies, semi-acoustics and archtops didn’t have. Some say that the Gibson Les Paul was the first guitar to have a soul.

Not to be outdone!

A couple of years later, Fender, run by Leo Fender worked with Freddie Tavares, George Fullerton, and Bill Carson to create something special. Using a slightly different design for the Gibson models, Fender opted for tone and comfort with a deeply contoured body and featuring for the first time on a solid body guitar, three pickups.

Both the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster were an instant hit and sold thousands upon thousands in their first years’ debut on the stage. Their popularity increased even more so when popular guitarists of the time used the instruments, and more importantly used these two guitars in new and innovative ways.

Packed with features and controls

The features of both models of the guitar haven’t changed that much since the original versions that went on sale back in the fifties. Whilst there has been an increase in the number of colours and finishes available, the choice of different types of wood involved in the manufacturing process has increased also.

More options such as the different pickups available for each model, the standard models on each side of the Gibson and Fender fence have stayed relatively the same in terms of build setup, machining, and shape.

It is this authentic original tone of each guitar that has raised their profiles in becoming the two most iconic musical instruments in history. Each guitar is equally of note for their striking looks that don’t look old or out-dated, as well as their thrilling tone and sound capabilities. But which model is better?

Fender Stratocaster Tone

The Fender Stratocaster, being a much lighter guitar lends itself to lighter playing with its bright jangly sound and rich tone in the high end. Usually featuring three single coil pickups on the original model and tremolo tailpiece, some of the best sounds of the sixties were created on a Strat.

Made with a bolt-on neck, an alder, ash or poplar body and a thin, easy to play maple neck, the Strat lends itself more to the overall tone than the ringing sustain. Used less in heavy rock or metal music, the Strat is the guitar of the people in terms of the music scene in which it became popular.

Some of the more notable guitarists who have played a Fender Strat include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, George Harrison and Buddy Holly. The guitar became synonymous with blues, soul and modern pop music to give it a truly iconic status as one of the best guitars of the modern age.

Gibson Les Paul Tone

The Gibson Les Paul Series is a solid, heavy guitar that gets much of its tone from its bulk. Being made of a solid piece of mahogany, which is split into two and then bookmatched to get the wood grain finished paired up, the tone is killer and the sustain is astronomical.

gibson les paul guitar
Paired with modern humbucking pickups, the Les Paul is the guitar of choice for rock and heavy rock music because of its deep, rich tone that has plenty of basses, middle and a bright tone to finish. For these reasons alone it makes for the perfect blues guitar to make it a truly rounded player in the market.

Guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Slash, Randy Rhoads, Gary Moore, Pete Townsend, Joe Perry have all opted for this guitar and some might say that these iconic guitarists probably wouldn’t have achieved their status if it wasn’t for the Gibson Les Paul and the killer tone in which these guitarists could have created their own sounds.

The legacy lives on

Both Gibson and Fender continue to innovate in their creation of some of the most recognised guitars on the market today. Each leader in their field, they never truly realised how iconic their guitars would become as well as the guitarists that became icons because of them.

If you are in the market for a new guitar, you cannot go wrong in choosing either the Gibson Les Paul or the Fender Stratocaster - each is a modern icon with killer tone and a vast wealth of versatility, making either choice a no-brainer!