Any guitar player is bound to meet challenges in performances wherein good amplification is a must. Be it for weddings or orchestral concerts, making a classical guitar’s sound loud and clear is a task to be reckoned with. Fortunately over the years, technology has made leaps and bounds in producing a myriad of options and ways of amplification.

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The first step to proper amplification is to decide on whether to have an instrument dedicated to performances, or to use only one guitar for all situations. For the latter choice, especially if the guitar is expensive, the installation of a pickup should be decided against the possible impact on the unplugged sound. Moreover, the potential effect on the resale value should be considered, if you’re the type who sells to upgrade.

The next step is to choose the best acoustic pickup for your classical or nylon string guitar. There are several types to choose from, and you can check out specific examples of each kind of acoustic guitar pickup at GLM. Here, I’ll discuss only my personal preference as well as the popular choice for most people.

Undersaddle Pickups

Piezo pickups are the go to choice for most people, but I’m unfortunately not one of them. Over the years, I’ve observed that putting anything below the saddle tends to change the tonal response of a guitar. Furthermore, most undersaddle pickups are made to work hand in hand with internal preamps. This is an additional turn off for me, as I’ve observed that even the most discreet preamps will affect a classical guitar’s responsiveness and resonance. Moreover, a majority of piezos produce a sound that can be described as quacky and compressed.

Soundboard Transducers

My personal choice is the soundboard transducer (SBT), which is also placed inside a guitar, but is only attached to the bridgeplate’s underside or to a brace. SBTs are more sensitive to feedback compared with undersaddle pickups, but they produce a more organic sound. When installed properly, SBTs will keep a classical guitar almost untouched save for the endpin jack addition.

Do you sing in the shower? It may sound silly when you say it out loud, and you may even be embarrassed to admit it. But you don’t have to be — most people actually indulge in this guilty pleasure.

When you’re taking a nice warm shower, you’re relaxed. People who are relaxed tend to feel happier, and so they tend to break out into the song in their hearts. If work or school or anything else have you down, give it a try. You’ll see just how much it cheers you up, and you’ll begin to understand why so many people are doing it.

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There are health benefits too, because it does help you release stress. The release is similar to screaming out loud, but it’s far more socially acceptable, and definitely more fun.

But, aside from the fun of it, there is another reason why people sing in the shower. Have you ever noticed the acoustics while you’re singing your heart out? They’re amazing. You may have thought that was from the water, resonating the sound. But actually, it’s not! Sound reflects off of hard surfaces, like the tile and ceramic in your bathroom, and creates a sort of echo. This echo makes your voice sound better because it makes it sound more full. This fullness is what makes your voice wonderful inside the bathroom.

When you’re singing in the shower, your voice sounds better than if you’re singing in your bedroom. Your bedroom has softer furnishings, which don’t allow for the sound to resonate as well. So my suggestion, if you’re going to practice vocal warm ups in the shower, is to install a Rheem tankless water heater. At least that way, you’ll never find yourself getting chilly while you’re practicing. Or you could also try the musical water heater below, if you would like to have musical instruments to sing along to.

Of course, you don’t need to actually be in the shower to gain the benefits of these acoustics. Since it’s the tiles that are making you sound better, not the water, you can just be standing somewhere in the bathroom. Usually, individuals who choose to do this are singing to themselves in the bathroom mirror. Often singing into a toothbrush, or a hairbrush, or some other kind of brush. I’ve seen YouTube videos that involved fake microphones too, so anything is possible. I know it sounds silly, and it is, but it does happen.

Many professional vocalists also claim that they enjoy practicing in the shower. It’s common that professionals take full advantage of those acoustics. In fact, there are even recording studios that have installed the same type of tiling on the walls of their studio to get that same voice fullness sound effect.

Did you know that Weird Al Yankovic actually recorded his version of “My Bologna” in a bathroom? And he’s not the only one who recorded in this unorthodox space, either. Bjork did the same thing with one of the songs on his album “Debut”. More and more, people are realizing the benefits of the bathroom acoustics.

So the next time you take a warm shower, you might want to belt out a tune or two. Who knows, the finest sound you’ll ever hear just might be from yourself in your very own bathroom.

For most of us, a home isn’t really such if there is no record player. Thankfully, there are loads of affordable turntables now to match the number of new releases and re-pressed LPs. Sales of vinyl records are at an all time high, so the format has definitely made a comeback. Here, we take a listen to the best sounding turntables that leave you with enough cash to grow your vinyl stash.

Regardless if it’s “The Ultimate Guitar Collection” or Beethoven’s symphonies that you’ll spin, any of the machines below will do so excellently. From Audio Technica’s stable of turntables under $300, to Pro-Ject Audio’s stylish selection, you will likely find something here to spin your classical collection. (You might also want to see what others think is the best cheap record player.)

Audio Technica LP120 USB ($247.94)

The LP120 has a USB output that can plug directly to any computer. It also sports a direct-drive motor, and this allows quick start-ups that are specially important for DJs. Furthermore, the LP120 has reverse and forward playback ability, a slider control for pitch, and a selectable pitch lock that is quartz-controlled. But for most of us who only intend to listen to vinyls, the turntable supports all three speeds (33, 45 and 78 RPM) and has excellent sound quality. Some of the other options here have better sound, but not nearly as much features as the LP120.

Music Hall MMF-2.2 ($299)

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Music Hall’s MMF-2.2 is a belt driven turntable with a low tag price because of its simplistic build. But with its piano black finish, it definitely looks like it means business when it comes to playing vinyl records. The MMF-2.2 supports 2 speeds, has a replaceable stylus and is pre-installed with a cartridge that’s also already aligned. The record player also comes with a dust cover, but then it might be better to just leave it off while playing.

Pro-Ject Elemental USB ($249)

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For a dirt-cheap record player that won’t destroy your vinyls after only a few plays, Pro-Ject’s Elemental is one of the best options. Aside from its USB port that lets you connect to computers, it also has an Ortofon OM cartridge and an integrated phono stage. This makes the Elemental a true plug and play record player while still being flexible to future enhancements. Also, such features save you cash that you can use for building up a sizable vinyl collection.

Lately, I’ve been listening to classical guitar compositions on my cheap record player. They inspired me to check out this home recording studio equipment list, with hopes of also recording something with my best acoustic guitar. And so in this post, I’m sharing what I learned for those in the same boat as me.

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Photo by Nelson Pavlosky.

One Microphone (Instead of Two)

I am eyeing the Shure SM57, not because it’s the best there is, but because it’s what I can afford. That’s not to say that I’ll be making do with a so-so mic. On the contrary, the Shure SM57 is considered a must-have for every recording studio. I’ll only get one, instead of the two that’s commonly recommended for creating a stereo effect. Anyway, such effect could be satisfactorily simulated during post-editing.

And of course, I’ll be getting a microphone stand to hold it. I only have two hands, and both will obviously be busy fiddling the classical guitar.

Audio Interface for MacBook Pro

These days, most computers are more than sufficient for recording music. Luckily for me, I already have a Macbook Pro which is considered pretty decent for music production. With that taken cared of, what’s needed now is an audio interface that will get the sound into that laptop. A good one is the Avid Fast Track Duo, which is confirmed to be compatible with Macs. Moreover, with its line level inputs, you can connect other music equipment besides the mic pointed at the classical guitar.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Once you get the sound into a computer, you’ll need to record it using a Digital Audio Wokstation (DAW). The DAW will also allow you to edit and mix such sounds or audio on your computer. The good thing is, the audio interface mentioned above already comes with the Pro Tools Express DAW. In case you haven’t heard, Pro Tools is popular among professional sound engineers. The one with the Avid Fast Track Duo is only a light version, but the full upgrade is significantly discounted.

A Good Pair of Headphones

The headphones you’ll get is important — they could make or break the recording of classical guitar compositions. There are two types, and the one you should get is the closed back kind (which covers the entirety of your ears). And no, don’t even try using the earplug kind of headphones — they just wouldn’t cut it. Yes, they are temptingly cheap, but they are not even worth the money you’ll save. The Sony MDR7506 is a much wiser choice. With it, you’ll get a good feel of how your recording really sounds.

Time to Record — At Long Last!

And that’s it, your good to go. With a mic (and its stand), a computer, an audio interface, and a DAW, you have what could already be called a home recording studio. There are a few more equipment you can add, like studio monitors. They might also be featured and discussed in the future, so stay tuned to this site.

For the TV show Singing In The Rainforest, Myleene Klass just recently brought a grand piano to the island of Mogmog. Klass first became popular as a member of Hear’Say, a defunct pop act created by the reality TV show Popstars. She’s also a pianist who went to the Royal Academy of Music and who have had crossover classical albums of her own.

Klass should have brought a bug killer with the grand piano. The pianist found it challenging to keep up with the physical difficulties in the rainforest, including the insects that gnawed at her. She says that she got as much as 73 bites, and that it was hard to write music because of them. But with the help of the natives, she pulled through.

With the inhabitants, Klass was able to write and record a hair raising mixture of piano chords and tribal chants. The natives of Mogmog island are referred to as Ulithians. Mogmog is one of the four inhabited islands on the Ulithi, an atoll in the western Pacific Ocean (east of Yap). Mogmog is about a mile long, with a population of only around 200.

Sharing the island with the natives are mosquitoes, which were the ones responsible for Klass’ misery. Mosquitoes are one of around 262 species of insects living in Mogmog. That might sound like a lot of bugs, but Mogmog actually has the least species among the four islands. This is because most of the island is used as living space.

the Ulithi atoll
The Ulithi atoll.

Nevertheless, Klass was positive about the experience. In a tweet, she even quipped about how the “mozzies” loved her so much that they bite her. But what mattered more was the love she got from the Ulithians. After her performance, everyone clapped their hands and there were even tears of joy. Klass ended up teaching piano to the children on the island (who, by the way, were the ones who helped count the mosquito bites).