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A. P. S. Mcgain (Great Wakering, UK)
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Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin - Cognac Burst
Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin - Cognac Burst
Offered by Scan Computers Intl Ltd
Price: £526.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and characterful guitar., 17 July 2015
I have one in Black and the satin sheen makes it look very classy. It is reminiscent of instruments from the late 50s/early 60s., such as the Gibson ES 125. However, this guitar exudes quality but is considerably less dear to buy than any of the vintage US made arch tops. And unlike the latter, there are no issues with reliability, glue joints, ageing electronic components, wood shrinkage, and so forth. I have owned Far Eastern made guitars, some quite good, others with issues such as sharp fret ends. This guitar has no such problems and it allows the player too concentrate on the music. It has quite a loud vibrant tone when played acoustically and holds it's own in an acoustic combo. Plugged in (I have played it through both valve and transition amps), it has the right tone for jazz certainly but also blues, country and rockabilly. With just the one P90 style pickup it can still cover a good range of sounds, aided by judicious us of the tone and volume controls. I play this guitar with friends in a small combo and it makes a nice contrast to my Telecaster for certain numbers. Godin are to be congratulated for putting a very good quality instrument in the hands of musicians who are not especially rich.


M-AUDIO PROKEYS SONO 88 Digital pianos Portable digital pianos
M-AUDIO PROKEYS SONO 88 Digital pianos Portable digital pianos

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very versatile keyboard., 14 Jan. 2013
This is a very useful product in that it serves more than one purpose. It can be used as an audio interface when the keyboard is connected by USB to a computer. It is possible to plug in an instrument, a microphone or a line level source. It records at 16 bit CD quality, good enough for home recording demos when hooked up to computer recording software.

It can be used as a basic but effective Midi controller, either hooked up to external sound modules or to computer recording software, where it can be used to play virtual instruments.

It can also serve as a digital piano, although there are no speakers. It either needs keyboard amp or be used with headphones. With an external power supply (available for a few pounds), it could be used in a live band situation. In that case, one of the seven premium quality sounds, piano, organ and so on can be accessed by the press of a button (or two presses, if a layer of sounds is desired). This might not be the first choice of a strict classical player, where a fully weighted keyboard action would give greater control over playing dynamics. However, the semi weighted action feels pleasant under the fingers and is a good compromise between piano type playing and those for other instruments such as synths and organs.

One shortcoming, I feel, is that there is no visual display. As well as the premium sounds, it also has a 128 General Midi sound set. It would be useful to be able to see which of those sounds has been selected. As it is, one has to scroll through to arrive at the desired General Midi sound. This would not be ideal if playing live, but not really a problem in home or recording use.

Overall, a very useful piece of kit, either for the live player or the home studio. It is simple to use and does not fall into the trap of offering too many potentially confusing options.


Blues & Jazz Complete
Blues & Jazz Complete
by Bert Konowitz
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very useful addition to the library of any budding contemporary keyboardist., 27 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Blues & Jazz Complete (Paperback)
This is a useful tome. It starts with simple blues/boogie pieces and slowly buds into ones with more elaborate harmonies and structures. The presentation is very clear and Konowitz is a master of putting across complex ideas in an accessible way. I would have been willing to pay a bit more and have the companion CDs included, rather than having to find them separately, as I did. The CDs, incidentally, are somewhat "cheesy" in presentation but they do succeed in illustrating how the various examples go.

Recommended.


Eric Clapton: The Autobiography
Eric Clapton: The Autobiography
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good insight into Clapton, the man., 27 Nov. 2012
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I did not think at the outset that this would appeal to me, but having downloaded a sample to my Kindle, I became more intrigued. I found this a very good read. Partly because I identified with Clapton's working class beginnings during the post War years, growing up in a semi rural environment, as I did, and also experiencing the early popular music broadcasts on radio and TV. Having been a semi pro musician myself for years, I also identified with his first forays into the world of bands and starting out on affordable guitars that were pretty poor products by today's standards.

The fire and passion that he put into his early playing are conveyed by the way that he used his guitar for expressing his emotions in ways that he otherwise felt inhibited about. He is very honest about his addictive personality and his over dependence on drugs and alcohol. He is also honest about his womanising and inability to commit to one lady at a time. He is clear that the effects of such dependency was a diminution of his musical powers over a number of years, now thankfully regained as he has conquered his personal challenges.

There were periods in his life where he was suicidal, but I found myself not especially sympathetic. This was because here was a man who jumped on the music bandwagon of the Sixties, always did what he wanted to do and made a good living doing the one thing in life that he was especially good at. Clapton comes across as articulate and comprehensive regarding the darker periods in his life, in spite of whatever substances were affecting him at the time.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the British Rock/Blues scene or anyone with an interest in conquering addictions.


The New Basics -- Rock Keyboard: A Totally Different, Fun Way to Learn (Book & CD)
The New Basics -- Rock Keyboard: A Totally Different, Fun Way to Learn (Book & CD)
by Alfred Publishing Staff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to follow but a mixed bag., 6 Nov. 2012
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The early part of this book is aimed at players that cannot yet read music. It gives a number of rock sounding grooves using a pictorial method as to which key or finger to use. It then moves on to teaching how to read music notation. In gradual steps, it builds up examples of rock grooves. It seems to me that the really useful stuff for the aspiring rock keyboard player only happens towards the end of the book, when soloing using scales, including the minor pentatonic, against a left hand groove is covered. For someone wanting to play rock keyboard but who cannot yet read music, it may be useful. For those who can already read, it may seem just a little too basic. In it's favour, it is clearly presented and easy to follow.


Funk Keyboard for Beginners
Funk Keyboard for Beginners
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to funk keyboard, 6 Nov. 2012
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I have found it difficult in the past to get my head around funk keyboard. Never quite sure how to co-ordinate my right and left hands. Funk concentrates less on harmonic and melodic lines but more on rhythmic grooves. Once mastered, it sounds great. Although not usually high on melody, it has found it's way into more intricate music, for example that of Steely Dan. For an extremely modest outlay, this package builds up some funk grooves, step by step, starting with simple bass note and chord exercises and moving on to some minor pentatonic lines. The key is learning to count each bar line, whether in eight notes or sixteen notes, and getting the relationship between the right and left hands right. One can download free music notation and mp3 audio for each example. I would recommend this for any contemporary keyboard player that wishes to inject some funk into his or her playing.


Pop Ballad Piano for Beginners
Pop Ballad Piano for Beginners
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome edition, 17 Aug. 2012
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This is an excellent way to get to know how to accompany a singer or instrumentalist on piano, in the ballad style. It is very clearly presented and each pattern is given a full explanation. Although aimed at the beginner, more experienced players too could get some useful pointers from this. After purchase, mp3 audio and pdf files of the music notation are available from Mark Harrison's website, at no additional cost. At this price, it's a steal.


British Rock Guitar: The First 50 Years, the Musicians and their Stories
British Rock Guitar: The First 50 Years, the Musicians and their Stories
by Mo Foster
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book., 3 Mar. 2012
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For those of a certain age, like myself, and who first got involved in music during the Skiffle era, this book is a must. It is a history of British rock music, centred on the electric guitar and bass, par excellence. It is very funny, for example the knowledge of early purchasers of electric guitars extended only to what they had seen on the television of the day. Amplifiers were often hidden away and there was little awareness of them. Many accidents ensued when people tried plugging their guitars directly into the mains! There are many anecdotes, especially those involving early guitarist session musicians and their interaction with 'serious' players, such as those in symphony orchestras. Much of the humour derives from the class structure that was yet to be broken down during the Sixties.

There is a lot of coverage on instruments and amplification, including the DIY efforts of early musicians who could not afford expensive imports. Younger readers would also get a lot of insight from this. Many might be surprised for example that Jimmy Page was a session musician (sometimes on middle of the road records) some time prior to Led Zeppelin.

Mo Foster draws on great experience as a session bass player and contemporary of many a famous musician. He gives a comprehensive account of several decades of British music, using great insight and humour. A great book.


Lick Library: Learn To Play Cliff Richard And The Shadows [DVD]
Lick Library: Learn To Play Cliff Richard And The Shadows [DVD]
Price: £22.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Shadows emulators!, 3 Mar. 2012
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Very clearly presented by a man who knows how to nail the style and sound from this era of British rock/pop music. A lot of insight into how Hank and Bruce got their evocative sound. The icing on the cake for me would have been the inclusion of a tab or notation booklet. Although you can get a lot out of sitting with your guitar in front of a screen, some quiet revision looking at notes on paper can be a welcome diversion. Overall, a very professional piece of work.


Playing In The Style Of The Fender Stratocaster Greats [DVD]
Playing In The Style Of The Fender Stratocaster Greats [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Kolb
Price: £17.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing., 14 Jan. 2012
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As a player of the Strat, I was looking forward to this. I do not know if I had a rogue copy, but not all of the coverage indicated on the case actually appeared on the DVD. It was as if I had half of the DVD. Also, the DVD switched abruptly between scenes, making me wonder whether the original had been on VHS and badly edited for DVD.

I would have returned this to the seller, but what is viewable is actually quite good. There is a useful booklet included that covers the various styles of well know Strat players. Tom Kolb is a good player and is able to interpret the styles of others. Shame that not all of the material can be accessed, at least on my copy. For someone who does not know much about the history of the Stratocaster and who wishes to get into the styles of some of the great players of it, this is of some use. Just check that your copy features all that is promised on the casing.


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