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1 Recommended Recording Equipment

Recommended Recording Equipment

Since some of you have asked, here is the gear I use, I’ve found everything on here to work well for me and would recommend all of it. After a lot of trial and error and money wasted on gear that I didn’t use, I’ve settled on the following selection of music equipment.

Note that some of these may contain affiliate links. But that doesn’t influence my decision to use these.

Best books for musicians

Best Books for Musicians (music theory)

I’d divide the best books for musicians into two categories: great stories about musicians, and those that teach musicians how to be better.

Both types of books are important for musicians to read, not only because it’s important to invest in yourself, but also because it can provide a lot of extra knowledge and inspiration!

In fact, these are the books the have made me better at licensing music.

Over my 20+ years of playing music, I’ve read a lot of each. Below are some of my favorite. These books make great Christmas gifts for musicians and also make great birthday presents.

Best books for musicians: The Beatles – the Complete Score

The Beatles were simply the best songwriters of the 20th century.

Period.

End of story.

This incredibly usable book includes all of their songs, arranged for all the major instruments on each song. It includes guitar tab and notation, lyrics, etc.

I can’t tell you how many cool chord inversions, riffs, licks, and chord changes I learned just by playing around with this book. If I only had one music book, this one be it.

Best Books for Musicians: Fretboard Logic

Fretboard logic is probably the best book for guitar players. It clearly explains complex theory in everyday layman’s terms. Plus, it full of useful charts, exercises, riffs, and chord shapes.

I’ve recommended this to tons of friends, and they all agree: Fretboard Logic is amazing.

Best Books for Musicians: Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson

Almost any bass player would agree that James Jamerson, who played on countless gold albums, was the greatest bass player ever. He was the house bassist at Motown records. So of course, he pretty much defined soul bass.

And this book not only includes an incredible look into Motown Records and James Jamerson (and the “claw”), but transcriptions of his best bass lines and lots of useful insight into how to improve as a bassist.

Best Books for Musicians: The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook

Now, not every musician is interested in learning to record and mix their own recordings. But trust me when I say that learning to record, even a little, opened a whole new world to me.

When I started recording, I wanted to write more interesting, complex songs, experiment with arrangements, and share my music with the world!

Most of all, this book offers loads of practical tips, advice, fundamentals and a discussion of the theory behind mixing and mastering.

Other best books for musicians?

So are there any books I missed? What would you recommend?

Since I’m always looking to learn more, please let me know in the comments!

1 Best gifts for musicians at all budgets

Best Gifts for Musicians on All Budgets

Having played music for 20+ years, I can say that these are the best gifts for musicians, hands down.

These are tools I use every day to make hundreds of dollars licensing my music.

Most of these gifts are biased towards guitar players, but there’s plenty of affordable gifts for all types of musicians.

So whether you’re shopping for a birthday gift for a musician, a Christmas present, Hanukkah, or just a thank you, check out these presents. They’re arranged by budget. Under $20, under $100, and $100+. But there’s something for all budgets.

While some of them may not seem “sexy,” a lot of these gifts are the sort of thing gift a musician would never buy for themselves. They’re high quality and I’ve personally used most of them or have friends that would swear by them. So the musician in your life will really thank you for your thoughtfulness!

Best Gifts for Musicians Under $20!

 

There’s actually a lot of great music gear under $20. It’s not at all sexy, but these are the things that really do make a difference!

Strap locks

An essential tool for electric and acoustic guitar players and bassists, these keep your guitar from falling off while you play. The great thing about these rubber ones is that they work incredibly well, but don’t require any installation!

Cable Organizers

Keyboards, guitars, basses, djs… really all musicians deal with frustrating cables all day. And they get tangled just like your headphones.

Do your favorite musician a favor and give them one of the best gifts around – cable organizers. Multiple colors makes it easy to tell cables apart at a glance!

Ear Plugs

Losing your hearing, developing tinnitus, and having ringing in your ears sucks. Most people think it will never happen to them.

But it’s not true.

I’m 34 and I already have a “good ear” and a “bad ear.” I’ve worn my share of ear plugs, but I’m still in trouble.

Do the musician in your life a favor and give them the gift of high quality ear plugs that don’t reduce sound quality too much.

Best Gifts for Musicians Under $100

 

These here are some of the best gifts for musicians under $100. You can buy some really great gear in this price range.

A Direct Injection Box

A direct injection box is useful for gigging musicians and recording musicians. Whether they play guitar, keyboard, or bass, a DI box allows you to eliminate hum from your signal, boost a guitar to be compatible with a mixer-level signal, and convert 1/4″ cables to XLR, for better fidelity over long range.

A High Quality Pocket Recorder

These are super handy to record your live shows, demos, and practices. Unlike your smartphone, pocket recorders are built with heavy-duty gear, able to sustain loud music and still sound clear and undistorted. They also record in stereo, for a much wider sound footprint.

My band uses my Tascam DR-05 every couple of weeks to record our practice and keep ourselves honest. It’s a must have.

A hum-free Power Supply

Most guitar players, bassists, and even keyboardists spend a lot of money on pedals, but instead of buying a nice power supply, they are constantly throwing away money on new batteries. Or they’ve got wires everywhere with individual power supplies for every pedal. So do them a favor and gift them a high-quality power hum-free power supply. They’ll thank you.

A guitar tuner pedal

I know so many musicians that have skimped on a good tuning pedal. It’s a terrible idea. Every guitar player and bassist should own one. Not only do they help you stay in tune, they also act as a “mute” button so that the audience doesn’t get annoyed while you tune up. Pro-tip: be sure to get one that is bright enough to be seen when playing outdoors, though (for example, the Boss pedal is more popular, but trust – it’s not bright enough to see outside)!

Best Gifts for Musicians over $100

 

At this price range, things start to get much more subjective. For example, some people prefer a Fender Guitar, others a Gibson. I’m not here to tell you which is right.

So the best gift for one musician may not be the best gift for another. I’m not going to recommend many instruments, but here are a few utilitarian gifts that I have really enjoyed.

A Good Microphone

Whether or not the musician in your life is a singer, at some point they’re going to want a microphone.

Maybe they want to record their guitar.

Maybe a singer friend is coming over and they want to record that.

Or perhaps when playing live they’ll sing a little back up vocals. Or maybe when playing live the need to mic their guitar amp to be louder.

You will never regret having a microphone.

And the Shure SM57 is a work horse that sounds good and will last a lifetime. They’ll also need a mic stand and some cables, so you can save some money by buying the whole package together.

Nice Headphones

Good headphones make a great birthday present or holiday gift because they help musicians listen to music more clearly. They’re absolutely essential if a musician does any home recording.

A pedal board

Guitar players and bassists will love a pedal board. It’s the perfect place to store all of their pedals. It’s portable for easy jamming. And with a pedal board, there won’t be a mess.  Something a parents and significant others will greatly appreciate.

2 Eastwood Classic IV Bass Review

Eastwood Classic 4 Bass Review

Looking for a new bass?

I’m not going to bury the lede in my Eastwood Classic 4 bass review: it’s a very good, unique bass for its price ($549), but probably won’t be your main bass. In short, there are so many things to like about Eastwood Guitar’s Classic IV bass, from its great semi-hollow body look to its round, thumping tone. But there are also some issues with build quality and, for me personally, playability.





First a little background on me: I’ve played bass for about 20 years, and owned an Epiphone, a Gibson, and a couple of Fenders. My current main bass for gigging is an American-made Fender Hot-Rodded P-Bass with EMG Active electronics. It’s a discontinued model, but I absolutely love it.

However, I was looking to add something a little different to my collection, so I started exploring semi-hollow body basses. I’ve owned my Classic 4 at least a year, so I feel comfortable giving a detailed Eastwood Classic 4 bass review. Before buying it, I also tried out the Epiphone “Jack Casady” Signature Semi-Hollowbody Bass and the Fender Modern Player Coronado semi-hollow body. In my opinion, not only are they both more expensive, they both left something to be desired in terms of tone. And both were more expensive.

In you’re interested in hearing the bass in action, here is some audio of me demoing and reviewing the Classic IV. The bass was recorded clean, directly into my DAW without amp emulation or any special pre-amps or processing.

Ok, let’s dive in.

Eastwood Classic 4 Bass Review – Tone

The first thing to notice about the East Classic 4 is that its a hollow body bass guitar with a shorter scale. It retails for $549, direct from Eastwood. If you enjoy the look and feel of semi-hollow bodies, than you should definitely consider this one.

The Classic 4 features 2 EW retro pickups and they sound great. Its tone is low, warm, and growly, with a little punch. I would describe it as very “round.” And it’s the type of sound that excels in classic rock, country or soul.



However, it has very little “bite” or “cut,” and would not get through a mix in a harder rock or punk setting.

The Eastwood Classic 4 also features a three way pickup selector switch, with independent volume knobs for each pick up, and a tone knob. I don’t find the tone knob to be that effective at shaping the tone, but the pick up selection definitely makes a big impact.

Eastwood Classic IV Bass Review – Build Quality

Eastwood Classic 4 bass review headstock, nut, and fretboard

My Eastman Classic IV bass review has to note that the build quality is generally good. With especially good work on the bindings and the neck. However, one of the screws in my front pickup is stripped, causing it to pop loose sometimes. This effects both the playability and the tone, because sometimes it will actually hit the strings.

Eastwood Classic IV Bass Review – Playability

As for playability, it plays very well, objectively. The fret board is fast and even, and the strings are light and responsive. You can bend notes for days. And the string spacing is very comfortable. Due to the Eastwood Classic IV’s easy playability, I think it would probably make a perfect bass for a guitar player who was looking to grab a bass, or for someone with smaller hands.

However, it is not the type of play style that I prefer. I like a bass that is sturdy and pushes back. I find it really hard to play ghost notes and more muted, funk type phrases on the Eastwood Classic 4. It’s simply too forgiving and easy for me to play.

It’s kind of like the difference between a sports car and a sedan. The sports car is harder to drive, but you can feel the road and tear up the highway way more.

And just as a note to this Eastwood Classic 4 bass review: it really does not work well with slap and popping techniques. But to be fair, I don’t think it was in anyway designed for that.

The bass feels very well balanced when sitting down. However, standing up with a strap, it gets a little wobbly.

Concluding thoughts for the Eastwood Classic 4 Bass Review

This is a great bass for the price, and I plan on keeping it. I do genuinely enjoy playing it, and have used it on recordings that have been used by some big name clients. I don’t think I’d use it for gigging, though. It just feels more fragile than a solid body bass (and there are some clumsy mother suckers in my band). BTW, it does not come with a case. And it doesn’t fit into a standard bass case.

I also just want to give a shout out to Eastwood Guitars for making a left-handed version.