fbpx
Tag

electric guitar Archives - Vinnie Classroom

video call music lessons

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons | Does it actually work?

By | Acoustic Guitar, Classical Piano, Drum, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, News, Piano, Pop Piano, Ukulele | No Comments

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons Experience!

While we are no strangers with conducting our music lessons via video conferencing for our students. some as far as Shanghai. The new measures from the Ministry of Health have effectively forced all our students to have their lessons over video calls! But does this mean the end of the music education industry? Probably not!

video conferencing music lessonsMusic Lessons | The COVID 19 style

Ideally, music lessons should be done in a conducive room with proper instruments and equipment. The acoustics of the room should also be treated properly with professional-grade acoustic treatment walls to remove unwanted reverb and echo. The lighting of the room must be at the right lux level. These are now considered luxuries.

With the current COVID-19 situation, we converted all our music lessons to video conferencing! Though easier said than done, we really wanted the best for our students! Rooms have to be rearranged, workstation setup to match the requirement of video calling and endless troubleshooting. At the end of the day, the smile on our student’s face is what that matters.

With that, we bravely embraced our first day of full-on online lessons today!

video call music lessons

Video-calling problems we faced and how we solve them

We would be lying if we were to say that it went smooth sailing. With all the issues, we had to put all our brains together! Sometimes to the extent of researching through the entire ocean of articles online. So if you are a music teacher, perhaps we might be able to offer some tips!

Audio Troubleshooting

  1. Make sure students always uncheck the “automatically adjust microphone volume” function.
  2. If you are using the laptop’s mic, keep a distance from your device.

Even with the automatic volume adjuster unchecked, a spike in volume will still cause the app to compress the audio hard. As we would have guessed, apps like this are created with speaking in mind. When a loud volume is detected, the app will push it down to prevent the other users from blowing their speakers. We had no issues with Ukulele and Piano but all the trouble with Drumset.

To combat the issue of feeding the drum’s signal in without having a problem, we mic-ed the entire drumset! Signals are sent into a USB audio interface that is then connected to the computer. The microphone source will be the USB device. This allows us to tweak the input volume accordingly. Things will definitely be easier if you have a digital drumset with a USB connection.

Our guitar rooms are also rigged with a USB mixer. As such, we line our electric guitar directly into the mixer with IR technology. We line our acoustic guitar and ukulele into a DI box and speak through a condenser microphone.

Video Troubleshooting

  1. Daylight from windows will help with illuminating the video
  2. Using a decent stand to help with adjusting the camera angle

piano room lightingMost of us hardly use the camera on our laptop, some don’t even know it exists! Some of us live in a dimly lit room and that is bad for video conferencing. So the first requirement is for the student to be able to have decent lighting in their room. While this isn’t an issue with most instruments, this is a common problem with Piano students.

The user back face the room’s light source with the piano to the wall. This results in the shadow of the student to cast on their hands.

Thankfully, solving this is easy! All you need is to place a small table lamp on your piano! This is especially cool on rainy nights when the table lamp is all you turn on to practice your piano with.

 

The camera angle for chatting with your friends or for a business meeting is very different from teaching and learning musical instruments. The laptop-camera was not designed for music lessons in mind. As a teacher, we want to view the students’ playing from a high to low angle. Think of how teachers usually sit next to the student in the room. So the same height and angle are important. As for demonstrating, various instruments require different angles. Piano prefers a top-down angle, guitar prefers a slanted front angle and drum prefers an over the shoulder angle. So the most basic requirement for video music lessons is perhaps a good stand to hold your device. Watch the video posted by Vinnie demonstrating to his students to get a better understanding!

 

Conclusion

Our first day of video conferencing music lessons went fairly smoothly! Classes went on as scheduled without much hiccups. Students were happy and satisfied with the lessons. It gave us the confidence to proceed with more of such lessons! With more fine-tuning, we will be able to provide lessons with even better quality and efficiency!

Normally we ask you to sign for our free trial lesson, we now ask all those who are interested to join us for the music lesson experience of 2020!

piano lesson video call

Sound like Jack Thammarat

How to sound like Jack Thammarat

By | Electric Guitar, Music Articles | No Comments

Want to sound like Jack Thammarat?

Well, you are in for a treat! In this article, I will share how I managed to sound as close as possible to the amazing Jack Thammarat. Although “Practice, Practice, Practice” is indeed part of the plan, I will share more on how to help you attain that beautiful tone!

Sound like Jack Thammarat

Guitar Amplifier: Laney Ironheart

They say the key to sounding like your favourite artist often lies in the amplifier. Stevie Ray Vaughan to Dumble amplifiers, Slash to Marshall amplifiers and John Mayer to Two Rock PRS amplifiers. If you were unaware of Jack’s love for Laney before, now you know! Jack really makes Laney sound good, or is it the other way around? Unlike other famous artists who are extremely secretive about their amp settings, Jack shows it all to the world. A “feel-free-to-try-my-settings” attitude!

Jack Thammarat they sky was the limit

Effects Pedal: Line 6 HX Stomp

If you are wondering if you should ever venture into the world of digital effects, well, my advice is to give it a shot! Besides, Jack has uploaded his HX Stomp patch on his website FOR FREE! So while the pedal may be slightly cost-sensitive to some, it is actually a gateway to access patches set by your favourite artist!

Download Jack Thammarat HX Stomp Patch HERE

Guitar Pick: Master8 Japan Jack Thammarat Signature

Jack Thammarat Masters Japan Guitar Pick

I shared about Jack’s pick when I was visiting him in Thailand. These picks are very similar to the Dunlop Jazz but it comes with a layer of rubber coating for that fantastic anti-slip capability. The angle of the pick allows for those sweet tones. The thickness of the pick helps to make playing more precise. But if you are still clueless on which pick is suitable for you, read our help article here.

Sound like Jack Thammarat already?

Maybe! But like I said in the first paragraph, it all boils down to practice. This cover I did might be just 5 minutes long on YouTube, but it took me at least 6 months of relentless practicing to get there. I say at least because I am certain I was trying various parts of the song way before I decided to embark on the journey to actually learn the full song. Through lessons with Jack, I also learnt about how he frequently uses the hybrid picking technique to go through fast passages.

I would like to end this article with just 3 words Jack told me on many occasions: “Light but strong“.

 

guitar size for children

Guitar Sizes for Children

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Instruments, Ukulele | No Comments

Children’s Guitar: How to Choose the Right Size?

While there are violins as small as 1/16, guitar sizes for children seem to be rather limited. Why is that so? And how can you buy a guitar that is the correct size for your child?

guitar size for children

Amazing Children on Full Size Guitars

Before jumping to the conclusion that guitars should naturally follow the size of the child, we should keep in mind the possibility of using full size guitars. The internet is full of videos of young children performing technical guitar wizardry with pin-point precision on the full size guitars. Below are some examples!

Li-sa-X

Li-sa-X is a rather well-known name today in the guitar industry. When she first uploaded her videos, everyone was shocked. Debates raged over whether such children are actually considered musicians or if they are purely memorizing what they are supposed to do. What’s more, the most talk centred on how she is able to play difficult songs on a full size guitar despite her small build. In case you are wondering, this 7-year old is playing a diploma-level piece of music written by Paul Gilbert.

Yo Yo

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Far Beyond the Sun and John Petrucci’s Musicman guitar. These are not things commonly associated with a 9-year old girl. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Yo Yo is from China, where Western music influence is not just limited but restricted. A typical 9-years old girl from China would have no clue as to who Yngwie Malmsteen or John Petrucci are, and probably also struggle to pronounce the names! Yet here she is, shredding through a song that most accomplished guitarists would have difficulty with! Yes, and she is using a full size guitar!

Famous Video of North Korean Children Playing Guitar

This play-list would not be complete without this video. While many consider this “freaky”, we can only say that the North Koreans have managed to unlock the potential in young children. How they are able to train these tiny children to play these very technical pieces on full size classical guitars is beyond most of us! Now, if you are unaware, the classical guitar has a wider fretboard than the electric or acoustic guitar. This means those tiny fingers would need to stretch even further! Surely defying the ideal “guitar sizes for children”. Without the means of electrical amplification and with only a dynamic microphone in front of them, these children would need to play really forcefully to get the volume you hear in this video! Perhaps it is time to buy their guitar instructionals!

But is it wrong if I want to get a small guitar?

No, not at all! There are those who feel a smaller size guitar will help develop their techniques better. Feng E started off with the ukulele and has been uploading more guitar videos lately. The other camp’s ideology is to track the progress of the child’s ability with the right sized instrument. The ukulele happens to be an easy string instrument to begin on and it has definitely helped Feng E to be really good with his fingers. This little boy has been on big-time TV programs and has shared the stage with giants such as Tommy Emmanuel!

Must I start with the Ukulele then?

No. Sungha Jung, with over 6 million subscribers on YouTube, posted this first video 13 years ago. He went the opposite way as compared to Feng E, venturing into the ukulele at a later stage. The point here is, there is no one confirmed way to help bring the best out of your child.

Conclusion

We suggest all young children start with the ukulele before proceeding to the guitar. This way, if the child fails to develop an interest in the string business, the monetary loss will not be as heavy. If the child does move on to the guitar, buy a guitar based on his ability instead of his size. While there are good sounding 3/4 guitars out there, most are not comparable to the full size version. If you have more questions, you may leave a comment below or check out your local guitar shop! Guitar sizes for children is afterall, a highly debatable topic.

 

Paul Gilbert Singapore

Paul Gilbert Interview, Singapore 2019

By | Electric Guitar, News, Vinnie's Youtube World | No Comments

Paul Gilbert Interview, Singapore 2019

Paul Gilbert Singapore

Did you know? Paul Gilbert frequents Singapore!

Paul Gilbert is back in Singapore to promote his 15th solo album, “Behold Electric Guitar”, and we met him for a quick interview. Ranked one of 50 fastest guitarists of all time (Guitar World), the lead guitarist of iconic rock band Mr. Big is no stranger to our sunny island – Paul was here with Mr. Big in 2009, 2014 and 2017, and he also came as himself in 2002 and 2005; I may have left out some tours, but wouldn’t you think he has a lot of love for his Singaporean fans? Tonight was no exception for all who purchased VIP tickets to his 10 Dec show as everyone was able to meet their guitar hero in close proximity and lose their minds a little bit.

swee lee singapore event

Fans queue patiently to meet Paul Gilbert

The interview of my lifetime!

I’ve always been a really huge fan of Paul Gilbert, but never in my life did I think I would one day land a super-rare opportunity to sit beside a guitar legend and enjoy some great conversation with him! When the big day came, I took all the years of experience I gathered as a performer and compressed them into this ultimate chill pill. With a deep breath, I walked forward and began my short interview with him.

paul gilbert interview singapore

I asked him 3 questions.

Time was tight, and there were several others who were waiting to meet Paul. As Guitar.com already had an in-depth interview with Paul, I decided to ask 3 questions I felt would provide a more unique angle to readers, specifically education-centric questions, since Paul and I both teach. I might have taken him by surprise a little, but he had some very insightful replies to these questions, nevertheless:

  1. What do you think are the essential qualities of a guitar teacher?
  2. What can the current generation do to boost the guitar industry? (Since it seems digital music is the trend now, and guitar lessons aren’t in great demand.)
  3. What are 3 songs that every guitar student should have a go at?

The full video is at the bottom of this article.

The man behind it all

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to a very special person, who has made Paul Gilbert’s Singapore visit happen, and he is none other than Inokii, owner of the eponymously-named record store in Far East Plaza. It’s no easy feat bringing in an artiste due to the enormous amount of coordinating work involved, but Inokii has undertaken all of this and given the local music scene a much-needed boost. So guys, if you see him at the show, don’t forget to say hi and a big THANK YOU!

inokii singapore

14 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza, #03-30. Call 6337 9230

The rest of the band!

While I did not get to meet Asher, the keyboardist, it was great to be able to catch up with Bill and meet the bassist Roland! I previously did an interview with Bill about his experience working with Paul. Click here to read and watch all about it.

Paul Gilbert Band

Paul Gilbert’s Band 2019

My loot for today!

Well, of course, I am still a fanboy! As soon as the camera was off, I whipped out my prized possessions and got Paul to sign them! If you pay careful attention, Paul has been using my guitar the entire time during the interviews. Paul agreed to sign at the back of the headstock because we both feel that the front is too beautiful to have something signed on. I also got my copy of his “Intense Rock II” signed. He was really surprised to see that book because it has been a really long time!

paul gilbert signed on my guitar

Paul Gilbert Intense Rock 2

Secret pedal on Paul Gilbert’s pedalboard!

While Evigan Xiao was conducting his interview with Paul Gilbert in Swee Lee Singapore, they talked about a mysterious pedal sitting on his pedalboard. There was no indication on that black pedal about what the knobs do or what it does. As far as I can share with you at this point in time, this is a new prototype pedal developed by a pedal maker and will soon be released as a product for the market. Perhaps, if you are at the front rows of the show, you might want to pay real close attention whenever this pedal gets activated.

paul gilbert pedalboard 2019

No prize for guessing which pedal maker is behind the black pedal. The signs were obvious!

In conclusion

Tonight was amazing. Tomorrow will be crazy! 2019 has been a great guitar year, with not one but TWO close-up sessions with my idols. In case you missed it, I met up with Jack Thammarat in his studio in September! Read all about it here!

vinnie mah and paul gilbert

Thank you our dear photographer Alvin for the lovely shot!

My Interview with Paul Gilbert

TO PUSH OR NOT TO PUSH?

By | Music Articles, Newsletter | No Comments

Do we push our children or not, to learn a musical instrument? Even if you didn’t know before, you will – after reading this – value the cognitive benefits learning an instrument can give children. And help them later on as adults too. Based on our experience at Vinnie Classroom, we firmly believe that having a healthy passion, like a musical instrument, can also help keep kids on the straight and narrow.

To force or not to force?

We’ve never heard an adult say “I’m so glad my parents let me quit piano lessons.” Instead, nearly every adult that was once taking piano lessons says: “I wish my parents made me keep up with piano lessons and not give up so early.”

Based on studies (read below), it can only be beneficial to direct our children to take lessons of some instrument. Possibly even one of their choosing. And can’t we also tell our kids – much like we do with studying – that they must practice an instrument? And do this without bringing out the Tiger-parent in us?

Help your child get curious about music so that he or she can develop a desire to engage with music. Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music, attend concerts and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you. So a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents getting involved with music themselves.

Sometimes lack of enthusiasm may be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments. This also means you may need to be flexible. While it may be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with your child to find one he or she enjoys and is motivated to practice.

Evidence-Based Benefits of Learning an Instrument (And Learning It Early)

It increases brain matter

A Harvard neurologist in a 2003 study found that adult professional musicians have a higher level of gray matter volume in the motor, auditory, and visual-spatial regions of their brain than non-musicians. A later study showed that positive structural brain changes take place in young children – average age of 6.3 years – after only 15 months of musical training.

It helps stave off the effect of aging on the brain

A 2011 study demonstrated that having learned an instrument can slow the aging process on your brain. In the study, researchers divided 70 older adults – ages 60 to 83 – into three groups. Those who had studied an instrument for more than ten years, those who had played for one to nine years, and those who had never learned an instrument.

Each group was then given a battery of neuropsychological tests. The group that had played an instrument for the longest scored the highest. In these areas: nonverbal memory recall, visuomotor speed and sequencing, and cognitive flexibility.

The same researcher in a 2012 study confirmed the findings of the previous study. It also suggested that learning an instrument before the age of nine and studying that instrument for at least ten years results in the greatest benefits. Those who met these criteria in the study outperformed non-musicians. In these areas: verbal working memory, verbal memory, verbal fluency, visuospatial, and planning functions.

So, let your child learn an instrument, especially early in life, and stick with it. You won’t regret it because this has positive, long-lasting effects on your child’s brain!

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Crazy Elephant’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations!

By | Celebration Time!, Music Articles, News | No Comments

Crazy Elephant Celebrates its 25th Anniversary!

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Img credit : Crazy Elephant Singapore

25 years of Crazy Elephant!

In the early 1990s, Clarke Quay shed its past as a shipping port and was redeveloped into a commercial and entertainment district. It was then, in 1994, that a bar called Crazy Elephant had its humble beginnings. It therefore quickly established itself as ‘the’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues live music venue as we know it today! Woohoo!

On 20 October 2019, Crazy Elephant celebrated its Silver Jubilee! The place was overflowing with patrons, some decked out in the craziest suits ever, and a gigantic elephant mask. To mark this major milestone, 7 bands – Dubious People, Crozzroads, Randolf Arriola, The No Daddies, Dirty Dealers, Heritage, Bob Sauler & The Blues Rock Renegade – performed the greatest hits from 1969 to 1994. Finally, to close the night, musicians from all over the world brought the house down at Singapore’s longest running jam session.

 

Fun Fact 1: Do you know Clark Quay used to be a family oriented entertainment ground? There was even an indoor water adverture ride “Pirates of the Carribean” that features the history of Singapore’s Maritime and Port. That was 1993 and before the new redevelopment plans to convert the identity of Clark Quay, allowing the very existence of Crazy Elephant. 

Let’s hear it from the person who knows it best – Anita!

We are so honored to have been part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, but as ignorant juniors of the local music scene, we have some burning questions about Crazy Elephant! Who can be a better person to ask than Anita, who has had front row seats to the Big Bang at CE?! She has been the Business Development Manager for the last 20 years, she sure knows every little thing about this crazy party house!

When did you join Crazy Elephant? How was it like back then?

1999!!! It was crazy back then as well! The venue was much smaller but we still had many amazing musicians both local and from all over the world come through our doors. Back then and for many years after, there weren’t many places that had live music and doing what we did and continue to do quality Blues and Rock music. It was a full house every weekend and you could hardly move. It was a very different Clarke Quay back then.

When did the famous weekly Jam Session begin? How has it grown?

Since forever! It has definitely grown over the years, kudos to the support of the amazing musicians and music lovers who come through, helping us spread the word as well as our very own jam master Kelly Olafson who does an amazing job of running the jam every Sunday. This year saw the birth of Common Ground, an event that happens every third Sunday of the month that starts a couple of hours before our jam session. The idea behind it is to get musicians and music lovers converging together to swap, showcase music gear, share stories and meet like-minded people. The response has been good and most of the time they stay on to jam as well.

Have you witnessed any musicians taking on bigger stages after gaining experience from performing in Crazy Elephant?

I think it’s almost like a rite of passage to many, be it those who go on to pursue a professional career or those who have just picked up the guitar. The idea of sharing the love of Blues and Rock music, performing live, has always been part of CE culture. Our musicians are always very welcoming, encouraging and generous to share their experiences and give tips, be it which gear might be the best or how to overcome stage fright.

Can you list some countries of your patrons?

Australia. Belgium. Brazil. Cambodia. Canada. China. Cuba. Denmark. Egypt. Fiji. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Honduras. Hungry. Iceland. India. Indonesia. Iran. Ireland. Italy. Japan. Lebanon. Malaysia. Mauritius. Mexico. Montenegro. Myanmar. Netherlands. Nepal. New Zealand. Norway. Pakistan. Peru. Philippines. Portugal. Russia. Spain. Singapore. Sweden. Suriname. Switzerland. Thailand. Turkey. Ukraine. UAE. USA. Vietnam. Zimbabwe…..just to name a few!!!!

What’s the best part of Crazy Elephant today?

We have and will continue to cultivate the music community and play a big part in the live music scene as one of the longest-running establishments here in Clarke Quay and in Singapore.

Heart and Soul of Blues Rock Singapore

In conclusion, Anita definitely made it clear that Crazy Elephant has been and will always a platform for creative interactions among musicians. The glowing legacy of Crazy Elephant is evident in the crowds it continues to draw relentlessly, night after night for a quarter of a century. Let us leave you with some photos our beloved Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues bar, past and present, from Facebook! See you at Crazy Elephant!

Vinnie

 

Fun Fact 2: Crazy Elephant is founded by Mr John Chee, Mr Samuel Seong Koon and Mr Keef Ong. Mr Chee used to play 5 days a week with the house band Blues Machine. These days, the house is taken over by Bob Sauler and The Blues Rock Renegades! Bob Sauler on Vocals and Guitar, David Ng on Bass, Tan Boon Gee on Drums and Alex Kalino Hooi on Guitar. 

Kelly Olafson, the unsung hero of the Open Mic Jam!

Kelly Olafson

Possibly the first Crazy Elephant Jam Session!

Crazy Elephant Open Mic Jam

From the team at Crazy Elephant!

guitar pick wallpaper

How to choose a guitar pick (Beginner)

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Retail | No Comments

How to choose a guitar pick?

guitar pick wallpaper

Pick the right pick! How, though?

With guitar picks, the plethora of options out there presents a challenge for beginners wanting to pick the right pick. How to choose a guitar pick is a topic that goes on forever. Guitar picks vary in shapes and thickness and are made with different materials. The latter depends more on personal preference, but the shape and thickness depends on

Get the right shape!

Guitar pick shape

Various shapes of guitar picks

The image above shows only 8 of the commonly seen shapes, there are crazier designs out there. For now, we will explain the reasons behind these 8 shapes. By the end of this article, you should know how to choose the guitar pick for your daily practice!

Standard

best guitar pick

The standard shape is one of the most popular choices, so you can expect to find a large range of quality picks of this shape in music stores. This is an all-rounder design that allows you to excel in both strumming and picking. It fits well in any hand size too. Standard-shape pick prices range from $0 to $5 for each pick. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend you start with this design.

Teardrop

The teardrop is designed with precision in mind. People who are able to use these often complement it for allowing them to get closer to the strings, feeling the strings better. However, teardrop picks are not for everyone. They are rather small and require a certain level of skill to control. So if you are looking at these, you should already have a good amount of experience with the standard pick.

Jazz

The Jazz pick is probably the best solution to those who want the angle of the standard pick, but in a smaller size. While the standard pick is branded as a one-size-fits-all pick, that is never quite the case. In this case, most people actually prefer the jazz pick after they are done exploring the standard pick. But just like the teardrop design, we recommend all beginners to stick to the standard for a start.

Pointy

While jazz picks may be the most right-sized, it may not have the best in terms of angle. The picking angle of the Jazz pick is very much the same as the Standard. For people who wish their pick can glide pass the string effortlessly, Pointy is the best solution. Pointy is pretty much the sharper version of the Jazz. Paul Gilbert commonly use such design and is also commonly known for his speed and precision!

Pentagon

I know, that isn’t how a Pentagon should look like. This design is between the Jazz and the Teardrop.  The chopped off ends allows the pick size to be smaller but at the same time offering the picking angle similar to the Jazz. If you are looking for a Jazz pick with a smaller surface area, this might be it. Besides, it looks funky and cool!

Triangle and Equilateral Triangle

shamisen

Img: Wow-j.com

The triangle and equilateral triangle picks are for those with huge hand size. They offer a thicker tone due to the amount of mass on the pick and also allows for you to pick on all corners. This means, there isn’t a moment you will panic on stage because you are holding the pick in the wrong position. On top of being a big pick, Triangle pick reminds us of the Japanese Traditional instrument Shamisen (三味線). Though not entirely the same but you can see the similarity between the pick used for the Shamisen and this Triangle pick.

Sharkfin

The Sharkfin was branded as a multi-purpose guitar pick. It is a combination of Teardrop, Standard and the Sharkfin. The top right corner offers the small picking angle like the Teardrop. The bottom offers the picking angle like the Standard. The Sharkfin side is perhaps the smartest pick design ever. By strumming the guitar strings with the multiple ridges, you can attain a tone that sounds similar to the Chorus effect or 12-string guitar! That is because the pick design allows the string to be strum a couple of times in just 1 stroke! There are brands out there that offer Sharkfins made with various thicknesses on the different corners too!

Thickness, just how thick is right?

Thick and Thin guitar pick

IMG: V-Picks.com

Guitar pick comes in a huge variety of thickness and they all serve a specific purpose. There is no right or wrong with which thickness you choose. However, there are some general guidelines to the thickness. We will divide them into 4 categories, Thin, Medium, Thick, and Ultra. Let’s dive in!

 

 

Thin Picks

Thin picks are suitable for strumming away on the acoustic guitar. They have a high level of flexibility and helps to reduce all the harshness when you strum hard across the strings. The tone produced is also rather thin but there is specific case where pro-guitarist actually want that tone in their song. Take a look at the ever-popular Wonderwall, the tone is unmistakably achieved by strumming with a rather thin pick! It is almost impossible to get that tone otherwise! We recommend all beginners to get this thickness first and master the art of using a guitar pick.

Medium Picks

Medium picks offer the best of both worlds between strumming and picking. The thickness still allows for some flexibility and hardness when picking individual notes. This thickness is by far the most popular with most Acoustic guitar players that do picking and strumming in their songs. Electric guitar players who do more of rhythm role will also benefit from this thickness because the thinner strings on the electric guitar matches really well with the medium thickness guitar picks. We recommend this to beginners that have passed the stage of Wonderwall.

Thick Picks

Thick picks offer almost no flexibility and makes strumming a lot harder. However, the thickness in return allows for a faster response when picking a string as there isn’t any flexing on the pick to cushion the stroke. This means you can pick faster than with a Medium or Thin pick. With a little practice, the pro-guitarist will be able to strum with the thick pick and achieve a tone similar to Wonderwall. However, the risk of the pick falling off the grip is real when doing so. Usually, a guitarist at this level is able to go between a variety of thicknesses and will have a pouch filled with choices. Beginners, stay clear of the Thick picks.

Ultra Picks

As the name suggests, these picks are not meant for regulars. In fact, they are meant for people who have cleared all stages of Wonderwall and are entering the world of the vast unknown. The ultra-thick pick has no tolerance to flex, they simple are as tough as Diamond. However, the sweet reward of using these picks are ultra-fast picking response and a rather thick guitar tone! Each note will sound as if they have put on a few pounds since you last heard of them. We are not endorsing these kinds of picks but there are a few brands out there that offer this madness. V-Picks being one of the crazier ones… Go try it if you dare. Again, stay clear of this my Beginners.

Conclusion

If you are a Beginner and hunting for the most suitable guitar picks for your daily practice, we recommend you to go with the Thin or Medium thickness on the Standard design. If you have a doubt, it is also a good idea to talk to your guitar teacher about this. Your guitar teacher will know your progress the best and will be able to advise you on what is most suitable for you.

good guitar pick

How to choose a guitar pick ? Now you know !

Vinnie

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro – Honest Review

By | Electric Guitar, News | 2 Comments

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro

Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro

Terrifying PGM since 1989!

The Paul Gilbert Ibanez PGM Mikro is the latest addition to the collection and we notice that it has been selling like hot cakes! However, the Ibanez PGM (Paul Gilbert Model) has been terrifyingly awesome since 1989! Paul’s first signature model, PGM100, was made by Ibanez and has a purple body with pink painted f-holes. It features the popular Ibanez RG body with a floating bridge instead of a fixed bridge, like most of his later models. The fixed bridge came about as Paul started to develop his monstrous guitar techniques! I briefly remember from an interview that he doesn’t enjoy the feeling of the floating bridge on his right hand and prefers it flat. In any case, we fans sure enjoy the fixed bridge as much as he does.

Ibanez PGM 100

Credit: racerxband.com

Ibanez PGM Mikro: made for crazy moves!

Don’t be fooled by this smaller guitar and classify it a kid’s model or a toy. This guitar is made for really crazy moves! Ultra wide bends, super wide stretches and really just about anything that you otherwise won’t be able to accomplish on a regular guitar. Paul has been using this latest addition on many gigs and boy, the notes produced by this guitar is out-of-this-world! Words can’t do justice to what it is capable of, so we made a short video to share what you can get out of this guitar!

Probably the shortest ever video to convince you to buy a guitar!

In this video, Vinnie incorporated…

  • Arpeggios so stretchy, you need to be Rachmaninoff!
  • Bends so wild we feel like we were teleported to the Serengeti!
  • Chords so in-tune you’d think we faked it with an expensive boutique guitar.
  • Single note melodies that sing better than the Titanic.

Honest Review!

I’m sure there are many reviews out there about this model by now, but we just wanted to assure you with our most honest review!

Tuning

Yes, the default string gauge is a little too skinny and the tuners are not helping the strings stay in-tune. Every so often, you will need to tune your guitar again and the tuners do not have the best gear ratio. But hey, these are an easy fix! We see this as minor and we are comfortable with using this string gauge because of the wide and wild bends it allows. We would advise you to upgrade to some locking tuners though.

Pickup tone

You will be glad to know that the pickup sounds really awesome! There is no need to look into replacing better pickups for this guitar! The amount of gain is enough for you to cover any Paul Gilbert songs easily and the tone isn’t like a typical cheap electric guitar. Really glad with the tone!

Hardware

The only other hardware that you may want to consider replacing would be the input jack. Perhaps it is a one-off case but our PGM Mikro did come with an input jack that was almost impossible to plug in the cable. We swapped it for switchcraft but you can probably stick with the original hardware.

Bridge is very well made and the paint will probably not come off or tarnish any time soon!

Fretwork

A typical guitar in this price range will probably come with horrific fretwork. Not in this case, Ibanez lives up to its name as the king of the well-made mass production guitar. The frets are smooth and very well levelled! No dead fret or buzzing area!

Setup

We are not lying, we did not touch any of the setup on this guitar. The video you watched was played on an off-the-shelf piece! It is that good!

Paul Gilbert Singapore 2019 Attendees Take Note!

Win Paul Gilbert Ibanez Mikro from Swee Lee

Swee Lee Paul Gilbert Ibanez Mikro

Before you assume we were asked by Swee Lee to promote this, we are just big fans of Paul Gilbert and wish to share the good news with everyone! To win this guitar, simply buy a ticket for this show and follow the instructions in this link! We managed to get our hands on one for this article, and are glad to have it so that all our students can get a go at this amazing guitar! Anyway, good luck to everyone and see you at the show!

Vinnie

Alex Kalino Hooi

Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy Alex Kalino Hooi Interview 2019

By | Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Vinnie's Youtube World | No Comments

Alex Kalino Hooi, Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy did an interview with us!

Singapore's Guitar Prodigy Alex Kalino Hooi Interview

At just 16 years of age and already the Young Guitarist Of The Year 2018 Finalist, Alex Kalino Hooi, Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy did an interview with us! To date, no one else has come close to Alex’s achievement. As he is only 16 years old, we were curious to find out more about his plans and future projects! Alex very kindly came to our music school in Singapore for an in-depth and exclusive interview!

Young Guitarist Of The Year Experience

Perhaps the one question that everyone has is why and how did Alex Kalino Hooi prepare himself in the final round of the Young Guitarist Of The Year competition! Or maybe what techniques he used to hone himself into becoming Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy. Turns out, it wasn’t about planning, strategies or even thinking of ideas to outdo his competitors! Here in Singapore, we have been ‘trained’ by our kia-su mentality to think that is what we need to be doing if we ever want to win a competition. However, the real reason why people are winning competitions comes from deeper within than just unadulterated competitiveness or rivalry. Alex shared how he had a great time during the competition period and how he became close friends with Abgail Zachko and Hunter Hallberg instead of seeing them purely as his competitors.

Alex Kalino Hooi, the cat person!

If you’re thinking Alex looks like a dog lover, sorry to burst your bubble – because in our interview Alex shared that he’s definitely a cat person! Here at Vinnie Classroom, we are very cat-oriented too! If you don’t already know why, it’s because we have 2 cats Mao Mao and Meow Meow! They are our PR managers and have been doing a good job so far with their daily duties of entertaining our students and parents diligently! Cats are awesome!

Our Interview with Singapore’s Guitar Prodigy, Alex Kalino Hooi

Full, in-depth and exclusive!

Let’s cut the blog short and let Alex share all the juicy information in our video! Do remember to watch until the end for the cool outro. Also, do subscribe to our Youtube channel to help us create more of such awesome content!

Alex Kalino Hooi – Social Media

Alex’s Single 2019, Catnip!

 

fingerstyle guitar singapore

Fingerstyle Guitar

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Newsletter | No Comments

Fingerstyle Guitar, more than a guitar!

fingerstyle guitar singapore

Our student Kryan performing his fingerstyle guitar song during our recital.

What is Fingerstyle Guitar?

Most of us were either really young or not even born when Chet Atkins took the world stage by storm. Unlike the superstars of today, there was no loud music or flashy colored lighting on stage. Instead, it was a small tv set-up with a small audience, some musicians and Chet right there in the middle. When Chet played his guitar, it felt like there were many more than those musicians on stage playing along with him. The secret was in Chet’s fingers. Even if those other musicians were removed, the music would still sound as full and as big! This was because Chet basically covered the Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Lead Guitar parts all at once! Occasionally, he would even cover the percussion section! This was the birth of fingerstyle guitar!

Fingerstyle Guitar’s unique techniques

The technique involves using each of the right (or left) hand fingers independently in order to play the multiple parts of a musical arrangement that would normally be played by several band members. Because bass, melody, and percussion can all be played simultaneously, fingerstyle tends to sound a little piano-like. It is the perfect style of music for playing without any other musicians. Fingerstyle guitar is one of the few musical techniques that’s actually fun to learn because it is so flowing and calming but at the same time so agressive and powerful. What’s more, the fingerpicking just seems to bring the best sound out of the acoustic guitar as an instrument.

Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist (Our list)

While this list is definitely not complete, we are certain that it is enough to give you a headstart to knowing more about this wonderful world of fingerstyle guitar! Share this list to your friends and soon we will see The Day Finger Pickers Took Over The World

Modern Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements

While most fingerstyle music seems to have a layer of dust over them, modern guitarists have been churning out arrangements of modern music. Andrew Foy, as mentioned in our Top 10 Fingerstyle Guitarist list above, is notably the most hardworking in arranging modern pop songs into fingerstyle! Mike Dawes, another up and coming fingerstyle guitarist has a very unique method of merging percussive sound, harmonics and unusual harmonies, giving a modern and unique feel to fingerstyle guitar.

Of course, our very own Vinnie had a go recently in rearranging the Avengers’s theme song into a fingerstyle arrangement. There is no limit to what fingerstyle arrangements can be! They are destined to take over the world!

How to learn fingerstyle guitar?

Music arranged for fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios, melodies with elements such as hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques.

There are a number of fingerstyle techniques. For beginners, fingerstyle guitar may feel a little strange and challenging since you’re plucking the strings directly with your digits. Thumbpicks are often seen on fingerstyle guitarist because of the need to emphasize the bass tone.  Thumbpicks aren’t absolutely necessary for you to play this way. In fact, you have also to make sure you can keep the finger picking pattern down and consistent.

For more on fingerstyle guitar, check out our guitar lessons or sign up for a free Trial Lesson. Give it a shot, you’re going to have a ton of fun! But if you are not convinced that a young kid will be able to learn equally well, then let 11-year old Dave show you how it is done!