Music Madness

Greta Van Fleet

 Greta Van Fleet is a rock band that has seen a gain in popularity starting in 2017 and they are still growing. They have a sound much closer to classic rock rather than modern rock. Greta Van Fleet has also seen a great deal of hate since their rise in popularity.

 Many people that listen to their music have claimed that they are “cheap Led Zeppelin wannabe’s.” I can see where people are coming from when they make claims like this. They do sound extremely similar to Led Zeppelin in every fashion from vocals, guitar, drums and etc. They also have a very similar playing style to Zeppelin. However, I do not believe that they deserve all of the hate they get.

 I believe that Van Fleet is actually a very talented band. While they may sound extremely similar to Zeppelin, I feel that it should not be a big problem. For one thing, the sound they have is very unique considering that it is 2019. Not many bands still have such a clean classic rock sound. If this band would have been around in the early 70’s during Zeppelin’s reign, I would understand the conflict much more, but considering that it is now 2019, I don’t see the reason why people are so disgruntled over it.

 I feel that if people would actually give Greta Van Fleet a chance, they would find that they are actually very good musicians and make extremely good music. While they may sound like the powerhouse that was Led Zeppelin, it is a breath of fresh air to me to listen to this style of music from a new artist.

 

Stratocaster vs Les Paul

 Many people when choosing a new guitar, or possibly, first guitar will look at two of the most popular options, the Gibson Les Paul or the Fender Stratocaster. Each guitar has its ups and downs but both guitars seem to suit different playstyles.

 The Les Paul is a much heavier guitar even if it has weight reductions such as cutouts. This may seem like a downside, however, this also means that the guitar has much more sustain. Having more sustain can be very convenient for certain solos in songs when you really need to hold out a note for as long as you can. The Les Paul also holds two (in some cases three) humbucking pickups. This means that you will get very little or no feedback through your amp.

 The Stratocaster is a much lighter guitar so it will not hold as much sustain as a Les Paul would, but this is a nice feature for when you are at a gig or any other situation where you would be standing and playing for an extended period of time. The Stratocaster holds three single coil pickups which are not very good at reducing feedback without a noise gate. You can, however, get stratocasters in a SSH setup rather than an SSS setup.

 The Humbuckers that the Les Paul holds generate a much heavier chunky sound than the single coil pickups of the Stratocaster. The single coil pickups can create a variety of sounds ranging from punk rock to classic rock to even country. The downside of the single coils is that they cannot even come close to the deep chugging sound that good humbuckers can create, often used in metal music (reference linked below).

 The Les Paul and Stratocaster are two timeless masterpieces in the music industry that will not be going anywhere for a long time. Each one has very different playstyles and hopefully this has given you some insight on the two guitars.



 

 Guitar used in this video is an ESP E-II ECLIPSE BB which carries almost the exact same body as a Gibson Les Paul.

 https://youtu.be/huniNn7ka1w

Fender Meteora and Meteora HH

 In the past year Fender has released two guitars that have caught some attention, those guitars being the Meteora and Meteora HH. The body on both of them is the same, it is a shape similar to a Fender Jaguar. The regular Meteora houses two pickups, one being a vintage bridge pickup used on Fender Telecasters, and the neck pickup is also the same pickup used on Telecasters. It is a very interesting guitar and it is one of the first innovative designs to be manufactured at high numbers in years.

 The knobs and selector switch for the guitar are also in a Telecaster style. All of the guitars electronics are housed within an ash body accompanied by a maple neck with a 60’s C shape. The neck has 22 frets which is normal for most guitars even though some brands nowadays are making a push for 24 frets.

 The HH version of the Meteora encases two standard humbucking pickups with a two way selector switch. It is set up similar to how a Gibson Les Paul would be. It even features a similar bridge configuration featuring an Adjusto-Matic™ bridge with a string-through body.

 Both guitars are rather affordable, the standard Meteora will cost you $2,049.99 and the HH version is actually extremely affordable considering the package you get, coming in at only $999

 The guitars should be rather versatile considering the electronics on board, allowing you to play a variety of music from blues to metal and everything in between. The Meteora is a guitar that I could see making a push to be somewhat mainstream. They are both very modern guitars with an interesting setup that is sure to grab the crowd's attention.

The Learning Curve Of Guitar

 Many people have always had the thought that guitar is for them and they want to play it. Everything starts off ok but seems to go downhill very fast. They go from learning “Smoke on The Water” and feeling accomplished, to not being able to learn a single other song and becoming extremely frustrated. This is very common, and it is also a big reason many people give up on guitar and never touch one again.

 This is a large concern to me because I believe that music is a great stress reliever and that anyone who wants to play music or create their own music, should be able to find joy in doing so rather than giving up on it. There seems to be a certain period in the learning curve of guitar where people tend to get frustrated. Considering this, I would like to go over a couple of methods to pull yourself out of this loop of struggle.

 First of all, you have to have the willpower, confidence, and desire to actually play guitar. Many newcomers to the instrument think that they want to play it, but as soon as it gets hard, they give up on it. Coming from experience, you will spend longer than you want to in this difficult period, however, you will eventually make a breakthrough and everything gets easier. You will begin to be able to play songs you only dreamed you could play. To make this breakthrough it takes hours and hours of practice. Just know that eventually you will get out of this rut.

 Secondly, you need to know your skill level. Knowing your place and understanding what you can and cannot play is key to improvement. I am not trying to discourage anyone because it is a good thing to try to learn songs above your skill level. More often than not you can learn a few things in doing so. Just do not be upset that you cannot learn all of the songs you want to, because doing so can often be a setback.

 Lastly, you should try to pay attention to some of your favorite guitarists more. Watching them play live shows can really help you get an understanding behind different techniques and you can really learn a lot. Personally for me, one of my biggest struggles was learning certain Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. However, after watching John Frusciante play live, I was able to understand his technique more, and I was able to more accurately recreate their music.

 Everyone gets stuck in this position while learning to play, but if you put your nose to the grindstone you can make it out. There are many methods of doing so, you just have to find the combination that works for you.

 

Weezer's "Black" Album

 

 On March 1st, well known American rock band “Weezer”, released their new album simply titled “Black.” The album was first teased in 2016, and stands as Weezer’s thirteenth studio album. It serves as a sequel to their “White” album released in 2016. The album was recorded between 2016 and 2018. Before the album was released, multiple songs from the album were released as singles. This included the songs “Can’t Knock The Hustle”, “High as a Kite”, and “California Snow.”

The album is receiving rather mixed reviews, scoring a mediocre 53 out of 100 on Metacritic. However that is just the rating by the websites hired critics, the general public seems to be much more accepting of the album, and rather enjoying it. The album is getting most of its criticism because the band is being experimental with their sound which has generally been about the same for years.

After listening to the full album multiple times, I can understand where the criticism has come from. The band had a very different sound throughout nearly the entire album, which is rather unorthodox for Weezer. Even though they changed up from their normal sound that everyone expects, I would still say that it is a good album. The instrumentals were very traverse, sometimes it would have a funk vibe, while at other times it would sound like it fitted in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene. I can also say that Weezer’s lyricism on the album was exquisite. The lyrics in every song were very compelling and told a very unique story.

All in all I can say that I really enjoyed the album. However, some people disagree. It is a rather interesting piece of work, and I recommend you give it a listen in your spare time. I feel that almost no matter what genre of music you like, you could find at least one song on the album that you would enjoy. If I had to rate the album myself I would give it a solid seven out of ten.

 

-Featured Writer, Jacob Price-


Harley Benton Redefines Affordable Instruments
 

Harley Benton is currently redefining the meaning of “affordable instruments.” Harley Benton is the house brand for the manufacturer Musikhaus Thomann, which is based in Bavaria, Germany. Harley Benton’s main focus is guitars, however they are also in the market for power supplies, amps, ukuleles, picks, strings and more. Harley Benton is not a name you hear very often, but that could very well change with a little time.

Their guitars start at a price of around $30, so for some of their guitars you cannot expect very much. However, they extend all the way up to a price of $477. Their guitars tend to be very well made for the price they are sold at. Most companies will sell you something for a similar price and you would only get a fraction of the quality you would get with a Harley Benton.

I personally own a Harley Benton SC-550 so I have a bit of experience with one of their best guitars. When it comes to sound quality, the SC-550 rivals some reputable manufacturers, such as Epiphone. The SC-550 plays very smoothly on Roswell LAF alnico 5 humbucker pickups. The neck pickup provides a very warm smooth tone, while the bridge pickup focuses a bit more on treble which makes it a perfect fit for all of your high pitched soloing needs.

The guitar itself is very well manufactured and I have not had any hardware problems with it. It comes stock with two volume pots and two tone pots, a three way pickup selector, a tune-o-matic bridge and standard machine heads. The guitars neck and body are both made of  mahogany, however, it has a flamed maple veneer over the body. The fingerboard is made of roseacer, a very good substitute for rosewood, and has beautiful pearloid trapezoid inlays the whole way down.

At a minuscule price of $238 plus shipping, this is by far one of the best guitars I have ever played for so cheap. It feels as if you are playing on a much more expensive instrument than you really are. The only downfall I have seen in the guitar, is the machinheads. The tuning stability is definitely manageable, however it takes mild effort to get it to stay in tune, which can occasionally get somewhat bothersome. If there was anything on the instrument that I would change, it would most definitely be the machine heads. I would replace them with Grover’s locking machine heads which can be rather pricey, but well worth the money.

If you are looking for an instrument for cheap, or are just beginning to play an instrument, I would suggest you browse Harley Benton’s website. They offer a variety of instruments for a very affordable cost, and they play extremely well for what you are paying.

 

-Featured Writer, Jacob Price-

Fender Releases Jimmy Page Signature Guitars

 

Fender announced their new Jimmy Page signature Telecasters at NAMM 2019. For those of you who don’t know, Jimmy Page is the lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin, one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. The guitar’s were designed to be nearly identical to Jimmy Page’s guitars. One of them is a replica of Jimmy’s famous Dragon Telecaster, with the highly recognizable psychedelic pickguard that shines all the colors of the rainbow. The Dragon Telecaster was Jimmy’s go to guitar from 1968 to 1969 and was also used to record the iconic solo for “Stairway to Heaven” in 1970. However, shortly after he went on a tour with Joe Walsh, the guitar was placed in storage and never taken back out because one of Jimmy’s friends thought that he would surprise him by painting over the original artwork, however, this was something Jimmy did not appreciate.

The second of the two Telecasters is a replica of Jimmy’s Mirrored Telecaster. Originally the guitar was owned by Jeff Beck, guitarist of the Yardbirds, who then gifted it to Jimmy Page without all of the decor. Jimmy decorated the guitar with eight circular mirrors which may have been inspired by Pink Floyd’s, Syd Barrett. This guitar has also went down as one of the most iconic guitars of all time being owned by both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

This is a large step for Fender and truly shows why they are one of the best guitar manufacturers in the industry. Both of the guitars are very hard to replicate, however, Fender hit the nail on the head with these builds, all with the help of Jimmy Page himself to create the guitar with the dragon artwork.

 

-Featured Writer, Jacob Price-

HOW ARE YOU CONNECTED TO MUSIC? IS IT BENEFICIAL?

Layla Joseph holding her phone while listening to music

How important is music to you? Most people enjoy music,whether they listen to it, sing it, or play it. Music is the same in every country. Yes, it comes in many different languages, forms, styles, and varieties of instruments, but all countries share the same notes and rhythms. Even though many people don’t play an instrument or listen to music by choice, it is still part of  their lives. For example, whether you hear music playing in the grocery store, in a waiting room, or even in an elevator, you listen to music every day, even if you do not notice it.

According to forbes.com, the average American listens to thirty-two hours of music a week. The number of hours of listening to music has increased by at least two hours each year for the last four years. Even though not everyone can read or play music - and learning music is not a priority for everyone - they can listen to music and sing along for fun. Who doesn’t like karaoke? Here is a question for us students to consider: Is listening to music while studying good or bad? It can be good, if you listen to songs without lyrics at a quiet volume so that you do not get distracted by singing along.

According to nafme.org, learning music theory in elementary school is very beneficial. It particularly helps children to improve language skills and reasoning ability. This means that learning another language and problem solving will come more naturally and earlier for some. How can learning basic music help one’s success level? First, students involved in music learn how to cooperate and to use mathematical concepts, and eventually they develop pride and self-confidence. Second, learning how to read and play music improves memorization. As a result, students involved in music get better SAT scores that their peers; approximately sixty-three points higher in verbal and forty-four points higher in math.

 

Contributing Writer

Lily Bulman

Music history on February 8th

 

 

 

February 8th is not exactly a very important day in music history, however, it holds some history that has changed the music industry in some small aspects.

 

On February 8th, 1942, Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day, was born. He went on to write hits for bands such as “The Byrds” and “The Beach Boys”. He wrote some of their most popular songs such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Kokomo.”

 

On February 8th, 1975, famous American country/folk music artist Bob Dylan, hit number 1 on the charts with his new hit album, “Blood on the Tracks.” This album went on to become one of Dylan’s greatest albums of all time, and it went double platinum.

 

On February 8th, 1983, Paul McCartney won the best male solo artist at the annual Brit Awards held in London.

 

On February 8th, 1990, famous American artist, Del Shannon, was killed via self inflicted gunshot wounds. His classic song “Runaway” had previously been the most popular single in both the U.K. and the U.S. in the year 1961.

 

On February 8th, 2005, American rock drummer, vocalist, and songwriter Keith Knudson died of pneumonia at age 56. He was a member of the notorious group “The Doobie Brothers”. In previous years, The Doobie Brothers had reached US number one single with “What a Fool Believes”.

Featured Writer - Jacob Price