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Bicycles and The Importance of The Set Up

Set Up

Imagine you're on vacation and you've decided to rent a bicycle. You hop on and start pedaling, then quickly realize that something isn't quite right. You notice your front wheel is just a little wobbly, making steering and keeping your balance much harder than it should be. You immediately head back to the bike rental and inform them of the problem. Their repair tech is able to make some adjustments and you are on your way. Now, imagine you have never been on a bike before and you are given that same faulty bicycle to ride. You start off and...

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Violins/Fiddles - What You Need To Know

Violins, mainly seen and heard in classical music, were developed in Europe, primarily in and around Italy. Gasparo da Salo (1542-1609) was one of the most prominent developers, changing the violin's design to what it is today. Many craftsman have added to the development of this instrument including the Amati family, Antonio Stradivari (who, it is believed, apprenticed with Nicolo Amati), and countless others - making understanding violins and their construction a complex study. Fiddles and violins are the same instrument, however fiddles are set up differently than violins. Fiddles will have a different arch to their bridge, and fiddles...

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Ukulele 101

In the last few years, ukuleles have once again gained in popularity so I thought it would be a good time to include some basic ukulele information: Ukuleles come in four sizes. The smallest and most common uke is the Soprano. The next size up would be a Concert ukulele, which is similar to a Soprano but carries a little more volume. After the Concert is the Tenor uke. Last, but not least, is the Baritone uke - the largest in the uke family. Ukuleles commonly are strung using nylon strings (instead of steel strings). This makes it easier on...

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Banjos - What You Need To Know

Did you know that banjos almost always have a higher price tag than guitars of similar quality? That's because banjos usually have metal work and plating, which raises the cost. However, the price gap can start to close as you approach a better quality banjo. Beware of cheap, poorly made banjos. You know - the ones that are found at yard sales, on-line, as hand-me-downs from friends or family members. The price seems too good to turn down and the banjo may even look really good, but chances are it is not a playable instrument. In my 50 years in...

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How Having a Teacher Makes You a Better Player

When I was in my late teens (back when the Earth was cooling off) and still living at home right here in New Britain I knew I wanted to learn to play the banjo. The problem was there was no one teaching banjo around here back then, instruction books were practically non-existent, and – of course – there were no DVDs or Internet. Today the world is at our fingertips. Want an instruction book? There are hundreds for each instrument, delivered to your doorstep in a day or two. Instructional videos? Thousands upon thousands, and most are instantly available and...

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