Aquila Red Series strings are a highly complex, patented composition of Nylgut combined with copper powder designed to increase the density of the string to around twice that of standard Nylgut.
In doing so, a string of higher density can be produced without having to increase the string gauge, resulting in a brighter, more powerful sound with greatly improved response across the full range of the fretboard.
Aquila Red Series Strings
Everyone agrees that Aquila Red Series strings sound amazing and are un-comparable to any other string, however, great care must be taken when fitting Red Series strings to your ukulele or timeless banjo, as incorrect installation can lead to problems with string snapping.
To help our readers appreciate the wonderful sound properties of Red Series, please watch the video below as Mimmo Peruffo from Aquila Corde Armoniche shows us the correct way to fit Aquila Red Series strings to a ukulele and how best to avoid problems.
Correct Installation of Red Series Strings to Avoid Snapping
Most Common Mistakes Made Fitting Aquila Red Series Strings
Tuning to the Wrong Pitch
Many people are used to seeing the thicker wound strings on their ukuleles and so when viewing Red Series ‘un-wound’ strings for the first time, for example a Low G, the fact they are so thin means people often tune them up too far assuming they are for a higher octave, i.e high G.
In the same manner, some beginners also tune their ukuleles too low.
Make sure you have a tuner available and that you understand exactly which octave you are tuning to. There are lots of videos on You Tube that show the correct pitch of many different types of ukulele tuning. You can use these as references to tune your own uke to.
Keep Strings Away From The Nut When Tuning
The grooves or slots on the nut of the ukulele often have sharp edges or can be a little too narrow. This may not have affected your old, less responsive strings, but the complex make up of Aquila Red Series means they must be treated with respect and should not be passed through imperfect grooves, causing rubbing against the nut.
Nut grooves and edges should be sanded with fine grit or emery paper to ensure they are completely smooth and the slots should be wide enough not to place excess strain on the string.
While tuning the ukulele up to correct pitch, the string must be held just above the nut, keeping it away from the grooves while it is brought up to tension.
This ensures the string does not catch in the groove and is stretched evenly across it’s length.
Only drop the string back into the nut slot when the string is near correct tuning pitch.
Once the strings have been installed on your instrument, they must be stretched very gently by pulling them away from the fretboard in a gentle manner.
Many musicians like to pull hard on strings while stretching them in to achieve faster stability and quicker tuning. Please do not do this.
Users must understand, Red Series strings are a high tech product and should not be treated in the same way as other strings.
The angle through which the string enters the tuning peg hole is quite sharp and as the peg rotates, the tension at that point can act like a knife against the string. Ensure you allow the string enough slack to make a few turns of the peg (as Mimmo shows in the video above) so as to avoid concentrating all the tension in one spot.
Follow the tips above to enjoy the full benefits of Aquila Red Series and never snap a string again.
(Free Strings for the Five Best Comments at the Bottom of this Page)
Over the last few years, Aquila strings have taken the world by storm. Their patented composition of Nylgut has changed the ukulele scene forever and their mission to bring the excellent qualities of Nylgut within the reach of almost every uke player on the planet has been an astounding success.
Almost every ukulele produced in factories and workshops around the world now come pre-equipped with Nylgut strings and any uke that does not have these strings installed as standard, simply does not stand much of a chance of competing in the modern market.
Since the early days of Nylgut, Aquila have been consistently striving to achieve even higher standards for their already superb products. With the creation of Super Nylgut, Bionylon (the world’s first eco-friendly string), the awesome Red Series and the mighty Thundergut Bass range to add to their list of achievements, not forgetting the extensive range of real gut strings re-created for players of historical music from the 18th and 19th centuries, millions of string instrument players from across the globe owe a big thank you to the genius of their creator and founder Mimmo Peruffo, with many like me looking forward to see what wonders Aquila will achieve next.
Aquila’s Extensive String Range
The success of Nylgut has been nothing short of astounding, however as with all great success stories, a darker side has emerged which now threatens to undo all the great work Aquila have been doing over the last few years.
Counterfeit Nylgut Strings
The unscrupulous world of counterfeit goods knows no boundaries, with almost everything and anything available on the common market coming under fire from fakers, cheats and criminals.
Aquila themselves are now under fire from these very same threats.
The problem of counterfeit Nylgut strings has now become so big, Aquila believe that if nothing is done to combat this very soon, it is only a matter of time before the problem reaches epidemic proportions, threatening not only the legacy of Nylgut strings, but the entire ukulele market along with the livelihoods of Aquila’s loyal workers and the future of the company itself.
As good friends and advocates of Aquila Corde Armoniche here at Street Musician, we feel that something needs to be done about this right now, so we are heading a campaign to STAMP OUT FAKE AQUILA STRINGS ONCE AND FOR ALL
Every day we see new online sellers peddling low class, bad quality strings on their eBay listings trying to pass them off as Aquila Nylgut. As sellers of Aquila strings ourselves through our online web store and retail shop, we are constantly having to deal with the fallout from these scam artists, as are many other legitimate Aquila sellers.
Over the past two years we have been inundated with increasing amounts of complaints from consumers about previous purchases they have made from fake sellers posing to be Aquila dealers.
These scam artists are selling what ‘appear’ to be Aquila strings in unmarked bags with yellow cards in such as the pictures you see here.
We understand with the world’s economy in a fragile state, everybody likes a bargain and many people search the net for good deals, especially when it comes to products we buy often such as instrument strings, but as a musician, blogger and an experienced online seller with a retail store, I’m here to pass on a very important piece of advice.
PLEASE DO NOT BUY AQUILA STRINGS FORM ANYONE WHO IS NOT AN AUTHORISED AQUILA DEALER SELLING BRANDED, BAR CODED & WELL PACKAGED, GENUINE AQUILA STRINGS.
..it really is not worth it.
Aside from the damage it does to the company themselves, here are..
15 Good Reasons You Should Steer Well Clear of Fake Nylgut Strings.
1. Aquila strings sold in unbranded packaging are often low grade nylon strings manufactured by Chinese factories trying to cash in on the ignorance of the public. Any cheap white string can be packaged in clear plastic bags and sold as Nylgut when it is little more than low grade fishing line.
No Smiles Here
2. Chinese factories often mix genuine Aquila strings with other white strings to maximise their profits. Unbranded packs often contain one or two genuine Nylgut strings mixed in with other lower grade white strings. This tactic is deliberately designed to create the maximum amount of confusion amongst players.
3. Fake Aquila strings do not sound as good as real Aquila Nylgut strings and have hugely inferior musical properties.
4. Genuine Nylgut strings are known to be stretchy at first, but once they settle down Nylgut will stay in tune and bring out the best in your instrument. Fake strings either snap very easily or stretch too much. The inferior elastic properties of fake strings means they will often continue to stretch and stretch, and stretch even more until the material fails.
5. Fake Aquila strings do not last as long as genuine Aquila strings.
6. Unbranded strings are not colour coded, so unless you are a very experienced player, you probably won’t be able to tell which string goes where on your ukulele.
7. Unbranded strings are inadequately packaged and most likely to have been mis-handled and stored incorrectly, this degrades their musical properties and shortens their life span.
8. Genuine Aquila string packs can always be traced back to their factory. Each pack can be identified from it’s date of manufacture and the operative who packed them. This means if you encounter any problems, Aquila or any of their verified sellers will happily trace it’s origin and resolve your issue for you. Problem solved quickly and easily.
9. Sellers peddling unbranded white strings under the Aquila name are breaching strict copyright laws and are liable to prosecution.
10. Counterfeit goods often fund criminal gangs and other activities, bringing misery and distress to those in other parts of the world.
11. Many fake strings are made in unlicensed factories with substandard working conditions and low pay for those employed by the counterfeit gangs.
12. Fake Aquila strings are a waste of your hard earned cash and do not provide value for money.
13. Fake Aquila strings do not come with guarantees and support provided by Aquila Corde Armoniche and their authorised dealers.
14. Buying Nylgut strings from unauthorised dealers causes untold damage to Aquila Corde Armoniche as a company and jeopardises their ability to continue to research and develop new products to bring to the global market.
15. Aquila stopped producing unpackaged Nylgut ukulele strings for factory ukulele production almost a year ago, and now only distribute genuine branded, barcoded and packaged Nylgut strings to their authorised dealers.
THIS MEANS ALMOST EVERY UNBRANDED PACK IN CLEAR PLASTIC BAGS YOU SEE ON EBAY AND CHINESE WHOLESALE SITES NOWADAYS ARE FAKE.
So for the reasons we’ve mentioned above and many more besides, if you are thinking of buying Aquila strings for your ukulele or any other instrument form their range, please do yourself, Aquila and the entire music industry a favour and do not buy strings from anyone on eBay, Chinese wholesale sites, private web sites, dodgy music shops or anywhere else selling unpackaged Aquila strings in plastic packages.
The best way you can help is to only support genuine music shops and especially your bricks and mortar stores in your high street. Whether online or offline, make sure you only purchase Aquila strings from genuine Aquila dealers offering branded and barcoded packs and help us put a stop to the fakers and cheaters undermining our society.
Now here’s the good bit, if you fancy winning a fantastic prize from Aquila themselves, check out our ‘Street Musician – Shame the Fakes’ competition below and get commenting.
Shame the Fake Strings and Win a Prize.
Have you had a bad experience with FAKE Aquila strings ? We’d love you to tell us all about it here.
Check out the comment form below and tell us about your bad experience and what you think of dodgy Aquila strings. Everyone who comments will be entered in our Christmas prize draw to win a load of strings.
We’re giving away five packs of Genuine Aquila Nylgut Ukulele Strings to each of the top five comments we see here. Yep, that’s 25 packs of free strings on offer.
The best five comments (as judged by me) will each receive 5 free genuine packs of Aquila Nylgut strings for your ukulele. Winners are welcome to pick from 4U Sopranos, 7U Concerts, 10U Tenors, 21U Baritones or you can mix and match.
The good news is we ship worldwide so everyone on the planet can enter.
Our competition is open until the 24th of December when we’ll announce the winners on this page.. This means five of you are going to have a stringing great Christmas.
OK We’re back from our New Year break and by now all our winners should have received their free strings to see them strumming well into 2016. As a New Year bonus and because we had just 6 entries in all for the 5 prizes, we decided to keep with the festive spirit and make everyone winners, so thanks to Mike, Matt, Stephen, Ali, Juno and JC who’ve all had their choice of 5 packs of Aquila ukulele strings sent out over the New Year.
Thanks to all you guys for taking part and keep an eye out for more competitions coming this way soon on Street Musician.
Have a great 2016 and keep strumming those ukes.
p.s We still hate fake Aquila strings so feel free to keep commenting and tell us your thoughts on those nasty fakes.
Simply start your comment with .. ‘I hate fake Nylgut strings because…’
It’s a common myth that some people can sing and others can’t.
I’ve heard many people in the past tell me that they’ve never been able to sing or just haven’t got the voice for it. The fact is, unless you have certain health issues or problems with your throat which make it impossible to do so, just about anybody can sing as most of us are born with the tools we need to to the job.
The difference between those who can sing and those who can’t is merely those who can devote large portions of their lives to practicing, developing and taking care of their voice, and those who can’t – do not.
Before I decided to become a singer, I had a terrible voice and couldn’t sing for Adam. When I started putting the time and effort in and made it my goal to add vocals to my guitar skills, my voice improved and after a few months of practicing, it developed into something I could happily project in front of a live audience and actually get a good response.
But unless you take care of your voice, treat your vocal chords well and keep practicing regularly, things just don’t stay that way. Just like going down the gym, as soon as you give up exercising and stop taking care of yourself, everything goes down the pan.
So if you’ve just started singing or perhaps you’ve been practicing for a while and are starting to sound o.k, here’s a few tips that will help you on your way and keep your voice sounding great. I’ll also be mentioning a few things to avoid to ensure you don’t croak like a frog throughout your performance.
First and most importantly, every singer always needs a good vocal warm up before they sing, whether practicing or getting ready to go on stage, a good warm up is vital. Many new or inexperienced artists risk doing permanent damage to their vocal chords because they either couldn’t be bothered, or are unaware of the importance of doing a warm up before they sing.
It’s simple – your vocal chords are muscles and need to be treated with respect to avoid damage. Damaging them can be extremely painful and even a minor injury to your vocal chords may stop you singing for weeks or months at a time, and in bad cases, may stop you singing altogether.
It’s a common problem and one I’ve spoken about in my Singing Success review. Either through laziness or ignorance, many artists, amateurs and professionals spend years performing without an effective warm up routine. Sooner or later problems start to appear.
After a prolonged period of time, abuse can cause nodules to form on the vocal chords due to the excessive strain of hammering your voice without properly warming up.
If you were an athlete, you wouldn’t consider running a race without warming up first. You might get away with it for a while but sooner or later you are likely to pull a leg muscle or do permanent damage to your ligaments. The same goes for your throat and vocal chords.
As you develop as a singer, you will find your vocal workload greatly increases as you tackle larger sets and more difficult songs. A larger workload, practiced more often, means you risk serious strain by not preparing yourself properly.
You should spend at least ten minutes warming your voice up before any performance. It should be more like fifteen to twenty minutes, but sometimes you just don’t have the opportunity to do this, so just do as much as you can at the time.
Warm up’s can be pretty embarrassing if done in public and you don’t want to be making all those weird noises when you are setting up your equipment before a gig, so if you’re preparing for a public performance, make sure you get your warm up done in private or somewhere more appropriate beforehand.
A lot of people out there who want to be singers smoke, including myself, and for most people quitting is not easy – quitting for good that is.
Years ago we used to be bombarded with images of pop stars on TV and video smoking all the time, and although the impression of smoking being cool has declined somewhat in the last few years with people being more aware of the dangers of smoking, government health drives, bans on advertising and smoking in public, not only does the addiction for those who are hooked remain, but the image implanted in our heads over the last few decades – of the lifestyles that bad ass rockers and pop superstars lead, still makes many of us think it’s possible to smoke like a trooper and be a great singer at the same time.
Perhaps it is possible to smoke like a trooper and still be a great singer, but that depends on what you call a great singer.
A lot of famous pop/rock stars are considered by the general public to be great singers, but actually, many aren’t quite as good as they may seem.
Many successful artists have relatively limited vocal ranges and tend to stay within the same octave or two throughout their careers.
I’m not saying that having a limited vocal range makes you a bad singer. Even with a very limited range you can be an excellent singer as long as you make the very most of what you have and use your voice to it’s full potential – adding character and expression to your performances .
What I’m saying, is that an artist may create good songs and be very successful, but just because they have a few hit records, doesn’t make them great singers.
If the music you sing only encompasses tracks that stay within a limited vocal range, then you may be able to get away with being a big smoker get a good response without having to limit your intake, but if you want to be a versatile singer and start hitting notes all over the place, then you must keep your throat in top condition and the one habit that will massively limit your abilities is smoking.
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter how much Liam Gallagher drinks and smokes the night before a gig, it probably doesn’t make the slightest difference to his singing ability as his songs don’t require a huge amount of skill to perform. All he needs is that raw vocal tone he belts down the mic. In fact for his voice, smoking and taking drugs probably helps.
Rappers are also fortunate in what they can get away with as the style of music doesn’t usually require the artist to have a voice like an angel. Apart from a few choice chorus notes, most rap songs involve spoken rhythmic wordage with a bit of a melody thrown in somewhere in the middle, so again you don’t need a 4 octave range to rap.
But if someone like Mariah Carey went out and smoked a pack of fags the night before a gig, without a doubt she’d have no chance at all of hitting the supreme high notes she performs in many of her songs. As a world class singer, her songs require such a high standard of perfection to perform that nothing less than a voice box in perfect condition will do.
Know Your Limits
I have a reasonable awareness of my limits and know that I can give my throat a certain amount of abuse and still get away with performing to a degree. But if I smoke more than a few cigs in an evening and maybe add a few pints on top, I have hell’s own trouble hitting the killer notes in my set the next day. I can still get away with most of the the easy songs, but as soon as something vocally challenging arises, I’m in trouble.
Even the songs I can get away with are much more of a struggle to perform.
You try singing the last few notes of Muse’s Plug in Baby after a heavy night on the cigs… you won’t stand much of a chance.
We never realise how difficult a song is to sing, or how good the original singer really is, until you try and perform it yourself.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, stop smoking and your voice will improve.
Even if you can’t stop or don’t want to, cut down to one or two a day. This can be done over a period of time and soon you will become conscious that every time you have a cigarette, it will affect your voice – making it harder to hit the notes you strive for every time you practice.
Stopping smoking seriously reduces the chances of developing lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, gum disease, heart attacks, strokes and emphysema. Keeping on top of your addiction will keep you feeling healthier and help you conquer any vocal challenge that arises.
Save yourself from yellow teeth, smelly breath, premature ageing and countless throat infections, colds and flu you might catch throughout the year. It is well known that cigarettes practically nullify all the vitamin C supplies in your body every time you have a fag. How can your body fight infection under these conditions.
Stopping smoking has countless other health benefits as well as well as saving you a shed load of money, but even more importantly, ditching the cigs will stop you from polluting those around you, including your loved ones and children.
It’s also a sad fact that every cig you have takes you one step closer to death.
If you can’t hack it, get nicotine patches, gum or an electronic cigarette, they are pretty good nowadays.
Alcohol is almost as bad as smoking, so the same goes as above. If you can’t give up, then try to cut down.
Often, drinking and smoking will go together, so if you go out and get drunk, you will probably smoke a whole lot more and increase the damage being done to your throat. Even if you don’t smoke when you are out drinking, the strain you put on your voice, shouting over the local band or dance floor to your mates until three in the morning, won’t help your cause.
The chances are, next day you’ll be so hung over you won’t be able to practice singing. Your voice will be knackered and you’ll have a stinking headache, ultimately reducing the time you can spend practicing, lessening your vocal ability.
You don’t have to ruin your social life completely, but just tone it down a bit. You often hear singers on TV saying they have to behave themselves when preparing for a performance and have to leave parties early to gig the next day. It’s a drag, but the best singers out there keep the partying to a minimum and save everything they’ve got for a great performance. That’s the real prize, getting a buzz out of your performance, not a few beers and a sore head.
Guitarists might get away with having a bender the night before a gig if they can still hold down a good rhythm or tricky solo, but a singer’s voice is not so forgiving.
Look at the state one of our nation’s favourites, Amy Winehouse used to get herself in when she’d go on stage or live TV after a heavy session the night before. She would try and wing it because she had a gruffy voice anyway, but you could hear it straining and croaking under the stress she was putting it through to hit the notes, rendering her unique, God given voice that led her so successfully to fame, sounding awful.
Sadly, because of her personal problems with drugs and alcohol she would often be intoxicated on stage and she used to regularly embarrass herself in front of huge audiences and national TV, doing herself no favours at all.
Mind you…because of her character it was almost expected and she would pretty much get away with it. Some stars just have the popularity and charisma to get away with anything and in her prime she had great success and didn’t give a damn anyway. So perhaps some people can get away with it, but most of us can’t.
If you want a good strong, clear voice and a great vocal range, cut the alcohol and cigarettes. If you want to yell down the mike like a strangled cat, keep partying.
Hydration – Water
One of the most important rules a singer should adhere to is to keep fully hydrated at all times. The best drink in the world is simply – water.
If you are one of these people who never drink water on it’s own without some sort of squash or cordial involved, then you need to start right now and get into it. People who don’t drink water often comment that it makes their throat ‘bitty’ and I used to think just the same.
When you start drinking plain water, it can have an effect on your throat and may taste very bland for a couple of days, but very quickly your throat will adapt and that sense of ‘bittiness’ will soon disappear. You will really start to appreciate the simplicity of life’s greatest drink and will notice the benefit that being well hydrated has on your singing. Your body will have all the water it needs to keep it’s organs and muscles working well and efficiently. As well as keeping your vocal chords fully lubricated you will find you have a greater sense of well being, general alertness and more energy than before.
Tea – Coffee – Caffeine.
Coffee and tea are diuretics and both contain caffeine. Caffeine has a negative effect on the vocal chords, dehydrates your throat and stimulates the production of phlegm, especially coffee. Try not to drink either just before you sing. If you do, make it a couple of hours before your session.
Better still, avoid these altogether and drink plenty of herbal teas or decaffeinated tea.
Many singers advocate drinks such as decaf tea with hot lemon and ginger (not too hot to avoid burning the vocal chords), hot lemon and honey, hot water and lemon etc.
Try some combinations out yourself and see which ones work well for you.
Green tea is amazing stuff, bursting with antioxidants that help fight illness, ageing and cancer, mentioning just a few of it’s many health benefits. Unfortunately most green teas contain caffeine. However, the caffeine in green tea works in a different way than coffee as the tea also contains tannin and L-theanine which together have a calming affect on the body and allow the caffeine to be absorbed more slowly.
The benefits of drinking green tea greatly outweigh any issues regarding the caffeine content and most green teas contain half the caffeine content of coffee anyway, so I would advise drinking green tea regularly but obviously not just before a gig.
Avoid fizzy drinks such as cola and energy drinks as they are crammed with caffeine and very addictive. You might get a quick buzz out of them but they will drop you like a stone soon after, leaving you feeling low and lethargic, needing more.
Dairy Products & Chocolate
Dairy products like milk and cheese coat your throat and the mucus membrane of your vocal chords, affecting your voice and making it much harder to sing. Make sure you stay away from them for a few hours before you sing.
Chocolate is another no go. Coating your vocal chords in chocolate before a performance is a bad idea and will close your throat, definitely affecting your ability to sing. Try to avoid until after your set.
Spices & Curry
Spicy foods inflame the vocal tract and will screw up your voice. Avoid
Peanuts & Bitty Foods
Try to avoid bitty foods like nuts or oats before practice or performance. They can easily leave remanence, causing irritation from small pieces left in the throat.
Even after brushing your teeth or swilling your mouth out with water, small remanence can easily remain undetected, finding their way down your throat just when you are in full swing, leaving you hacking for breath in the middle of the song.
Avoid Singing Loudly or For Long Periods of Time
Being a busker means I am often forced to elevate my voice so it can be heard over a busy street for long periods of time. Even when I’ve been training well and busking regularly, playing daily street sessions for at least three or four hours a time, even once you achieve a rock solid vocal ability and think you can sing for as long as you like and as loud as you want, I have often returned home with a strained throat thinking ‘ Oh no ! – I’ve over done it, Again !’.
It could be for a number of reasons …because the background noise of the street was too loud, or the cash was rolling in nicely on a good pitch and I wanted to make the most of it, or because I was having a great day and was getting a real buzz out of performing – pushing my vocals too loud and to their limit. Or it maybe simply because I wanted to get my practice done, and get as many songs out as possible.
When you’re having a great time belting out songs and feeling good about your singing, it’s hard to stop and think ‘Hang on, this is fun but am I doing damage to myself ?’. It’s no different than getting down the gym and overdoing it, pulling a muscle or becoming obsessed with playing the guitar and knackering your tendons from too much shredding.
Enough is Enough
You need to know when enough is enough. Save it for tomorrow, rest your voice and allow yourself to keep singing in the long run, rather than over doing it now, and knackering your voice for the next two months.
Take Regular Breaks When Practicing
Taking a 20 minute break every hour or two will give your voice the chance to rest and recuperate. Regular breaks will ultimately allow you to practice for longer, build stamina and lessen the chance of over straining.
When I’m busking, I find it hard to take a break and stop for 20 minutes, but taking time out to relax, adjust, stretch your neck, back, arm and finger muscles and give the set up a tweak will definitely pay off. If you think you can improve your pitch, move to a new one and start a new case. Relaxing and stretching for a bit will ultimately improve your chances of not sustaining an injury in the long term.
You wouldn’t spend two hours down the gym without resting every now and then and allowing your muscles to recuperate, so why hammer your throat muscles for two hours without a break also ?
Being fit and healthy will hugely help your ability to be happy and perform. Cardiovascular exercises like running and swimming will improve your lungs and breathing ability, enabling you to sing better. Frank Sinatra was an avid swimmer and used the breath techniques he gained from swimming to perfect his singing.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Supplements provide the body with nutrients and the minerals it needs to have a healthy immune system. Taking the correct supplements, including Vitamin C, will lessen your chances of cold. Make sure you get a good base mineral supplement also.
Avoid stress. Try not to worry about things which will ultimately put you and your vocal chords under stress. Thinking about nothing but problems in your life will only bring you down. Just be happy you’re alive and keep singing as much as you can.
Consider the fact that half the world’s population live in poverty and millions of those suffer terribly on a daily basis, living in dreadful and dangerous conditions unfit for any human being – you’ll soon realise how lucky you are.
Think about those living in third world, war or disaster zones or those suffering huge loss in their lives.. then look at yourself and see what you really have to complain about.
Be a glass is half full type, not half empty and thank your lucky stars you have a decent life.
It is important that everyone gets enough sleep. You need to recharge your batteries and missing out on sleep will eventually wear you out. Keep burning the candle at both ends and sooner or later you’ll go down with exhaustion or illness. Try and get 7 – 8 hours a night.
If you can’t manage to get enough sleep throughout the week, try and hit the sack really early at least one night a week. You’ll feel much better for it.
Try to drink at least two litres of water a day. Although your body gets enough water from the food you eat, keeping yourself well hydrated will help keep your vocal chords in good condition.
Change your Set
Don’t get used to practicing just one set, no matter how difficult it is. Even if you’ve not perfected it yet, give it a break and change to something totally different every once in a while. This will keep you on your toes and give you insight into new music, inspiring new direction and also revealing weaknesses in your voice your usual set may have hidden.
Singing something completely different every now and then will keep you from getting bored and help prevent you getting stuck in that rut.
Keep Adding New Songs
Keep learning new songs. As you progress, the songs you play will undoubtedly change, eventually leading your music to find it’s own way. Make sure you play your own songs aswell. Don’t get stuck playing the same set all year.
Strive to Improve
Always try to better yourself. The more you keep singing, the better you’ll get, until you really will be a great singer.
Clean your teeth 2 – 3 times a day, floss and upkeep them well. Clear but don’t rinse your mouth out after you have brushed your teeth. You will wash away all the protective barriers and fluorine in your toothpaste – tip from a top dentist.
Don’t Bite Your Nails
Biting your nails is a bad habit, give it up. Eating the dirt that has collected under your fingertips is gross. You’re much more likely to get colds and flu if you do this. Everything you touch when you are out, every time you visit the loo, every hand you shake, every germ you come in contact with is likely to reside under your finger tips. So don’t stick it in your mouth and eat it. Ugh !
Get Used to Performing – Nerves
Regularly perform in front of a crowd. This will keep you on your toes and keep you enjoying being a musician. It doesn’t matter where. If you are not ready to gig, go to ‘come and have a go’ nights, go busking, perform at your mates parties or offer to do a quick set at your local pub. Do anything that is going to get you used to performing and each time you put yourself in the firing line, you’ll get more used to dealing with those nerves.
Stretching and Massage
Give or get your self neck, arm, finger (guitarists) and back massages regularly. This will reduce the tension and stress in all these important muscle groups before and after you gig, helping you relax and prevent injury. Learn to warm up your muscle groups using targeted stretching routines. Warming down after your performance is also just as important.
Some singers like to wrap a towel around their neck for a few minutes to warm their voice up before they sing. Never tried it myself, but I’ve seen a few vocalists doing this before gigs. It could be that their vocal chords have been previously strained or are inflamed due to a sore throat or the onset of laryngitis and the towel trick is known to help sooth these conditions.
Don’t dowse your vocal chords in freezing cold water when you’re trying to sing. Keep your water bottle at room temperature at least. Athletes don’t take a cold shower right in the middle of their practice sessions, so don’t do this to your vocal chords.
Avoid Colds & Flu – People – Crowds
Don’t visit people, if you know they have the flu. Use some sense. If you catch it, that’s your singing down the pan for a week at least. Spending time in crowded places for unnecessary reasons hugely increases your chances of catching a cold.
Obviously if you’re gigging in pubs and clubs you can’t avoid certain situations and I’m not suggesting you become a recluse and avoid any public place, but close contact with mates or associates who are coughing and spluttering or spending time with people who are obviously ill or have been under the weather, will not help your cause.
Having kids really brings it home, and the colds, sickness bugs and other crap they bring home from school and nursery certainly raise your awareness of the way viruses spread and affect everyone around you.
Don’t get paranoid, but just think about cuddling that baby with a drooling nose, standing next to that bloke who’s sneezing over everyone or visiting that mate who’s dying of the plague.
Younger generations have a greater tendency to share things like drink, cigarettes, food, drugs etc. with each other and years ago I didn’t used to care about things like that either. You know what you’re doing, but you don’t give a damn and dealing with illness or colds and flu was not a problem. Give it a few years when your income or career depends on it, you’ll soon realise a bit of caution can make a big difference to your health and wealth.
Sharing is a wonderful thing and brings people closer, but having a ‘bite of that’ or going ‘two’s up’ on that fag or having a sip on your mates pint is a nice thought, but you don’t see grown adults doing it as they generally have more sense and care about their own well being a little more.
Wash Your Hands – Take Off Your Shoes
Taking off your shoes and washing your hands when you enter your house will effectively kill 90% of the germs you’ve picked up throughout the day and prevent you bringing them into your home. Why tread the dirt from the street through your home and across your living room carpet.
They say a cash machine has more germs on it than a toilet seat. What about door handles, push buttons, cash, public handle rails etc. Imagine how many public things you touch each day and how many other people with flu’s, colds and infections have been touching. A large number of the population don’t even bother washing their hands after going to the loo.
Don’t get paranoid about germs, but use your common sense when you are out and about. Alcohol hand gels are handy and help kill bacteria, but can be addictive so use them, but don’t become obsessed with them.
Allergies – Deal with Them
Make sure you deal with any allergies you may have, i.e. hay fever, smoke, cats etc.. If you’re not on top of these, your voice has no chance. A simple anti histamine tablet combined with nasal spray will usually do the trick, but if you suspect you may have an allergy, see your doctor for advice.
So there’s just a few things you should be aware of if you want to keep your voice in good nick.
If you have any other tips, feel free to post them in the comments below.
There are loads of amateur musicians out there intent on making a career out of their music sooner or later, but whether you are a solo performer or part of a band, full or part time – all musicians eventually have to get over the problem of transport – ie. getting you and […]
Hey, I got married last month, and I’m happy to say, it was a brilliant day and really couldn’t have gone any better, so here’s a few photos of the big day and a few hints and tips for those of you who have still got your main event to come.
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a serious lack of blogging going on around here over the last month or two, and no, it’s not because I’m still recovering from my stag do, it’s because every year around this time, my life turns into one constant celebration for a few weeks as […]
If you are considering singing as a full time occupation or intend to be singing as a hobby over a long period of your life time, it is vital you learn how to do things the right way. You need to ensure you don’t pick up […]
Here’s a quick post about something I learned form my dentist after I visited him a while ago which might be useful for anyone needing excessive dental treatment or procedures that usually cost a bomb – like crowns, bridges, special teeth whitening treatments or dental veneers.
I sell quite a few Andean flutes here on Street Musician and go to great lengths to make sure my customers get the best quality quena flutes, quenachos and traverse flutes that I can source from the skilled Bolivian luthiers of La Paz, via my family in Boliva.
A couple of weeks back we’d been in Essex visiting family, and after my recent wash out of a charity busk I’d been working on getting my skills up to get out and do some more busking for the coming Summer.
I’d been strumming in the garden and paid a couple of […]
Years ago, when I first started learning to play the guitar, I used to have so much trouble just getting a tune out of the damn thing that I used to be in total awe of anyone who could string a few chords together or pull off a few […]
Every guitarist knows the only way to achieve real success with the guitar is through sheer grit, determination and thousands of hours of painstaking practice, but if you really can’t be bothered with all that blood, sweat and tears stuff, there is another way you can go about it.
If you are thinking of planning a charity event to raise cash for your cause, whether it’s a small personal challenge or a big public event, the one thing we must ensure is that we are fully aware of the legalities involved in collecting for charity, especially […]
If you’ve been watching the news unfold over the last fortnight you’ll be well aware that twelve days ago on the 12th January, a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale tore apart the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti, devastating the populated district of Carrefour and the capital city Port Au Prince, […]
The last few days has put me back on course for the new year and I’m (almost) back on track with the blogging and practice that I’ve been neglecting for weeks. There’s still a hell of a way to go till we’re back up to scratch but with it being freezing outside and […]
Welcome back people, it’s 2010 and another great year is upon us.
Firstly I’d like to thank all our faithful readers who’ve been supporting this site over the last 16 months since Street Musician went online and wish all our visitors, new readers and fellow bloggers a great new year and a […]
Street Musician is now proud to be able to offer our readers a small range of handmade classical guitars from South America, made by the same expert luthier and musician who has been touring South America and […]
Every now and then I get confronted with a song that has either a ridiculously long set of lyrics containing about twenty verses or one that does not make any sense at all, making it extremely difficult to learn.
Most people think learning lyrics is easy. An average person will assume they […]
The Street Musician Top 100 Guitar Blogs is the best resource on the net for all the greatest guitar blogs on Earth. Each blog is listed with Google PR, Technorati and Alexa rankings and updated daily.
The Top 100 has been going strong now since July 2008, and over the last 15 […]
Here’s something for you vocalists out there. This is a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody performed by comedian, actor, vocalist and playwright – Rick Miller. He has been named as ‘one of the 100 most creative people alive today’ by Entertainment Weekly.
In this video, he performs the song mimicking 25 of the […]
Here we have a few of our best hand made professional charangos for sale. Each charango you see on these pages were crafted by professional Bolivian luthiers who have been making these fine concert grade instruments as their lifetime’s trade.
These particular charangos were made in traditional Bolivian workshops and personally selected […]
So how did this site come to sell handmade Bolivian instruments ?
Since the creation of this blog, Street Musician has spread itself out in many different directions over the last year and being a relatively new blog I still have many great things in mind for it’s future. I guess […]
We are constantly hearing in the news about the current global economic downturn and how every day thousands of people are loosing their jobs and local shops and businesses are being forced to shut their doors and close down for good.
Being musicians, we can be forgiven for thinking we should be […]
There are many different types of battery you can use to power your equipment, ranging from small 6v hand held rechargeables for small busking amps to huge deep cycle RV and forklift batteries capable of powering full out door gigs and lighting systems. They all have different uses and characteristics which you should […]
If you are intent on buying a marine or deep cycle battery at some point as part of an inverter, battery and charger system to provide power for your equipment outdoors, then there are a few things you need to be aware of when calculating […]
If you are intent on taking your band or set to the streets or you feel like setting up an out door gig where power is an issue, then there are a few good ways of getting round the problem. Generators and battery operated systems provide good alternatives to consumer mains, but if […]
Probably the most widely used scale in the whole of modern day music. The blues scale is used extensively in rock, jazz, blues, metal, funk, country and almost every other type of music you can think of.
The most obvious feature of the blues scale is that – you […]
If you enjoy any of the articles, advice or guides on this site, please help support this blog by having a go at one of the following. It only take a few seconds and a couple of clicks and you really will be helping me out and doing this site a big favour. […]
Pentatonic minor scales are extremely popular 5 note scales most commonly used in modern and classic rock, blues and jazz music. They are widely embraced by beginners and shred masters alike and are great practice scales for those learning to improvise.
When learning a particular scale across the whole neck, in our case the natural or pure minor, is it best to ensure there are no vague or hazy areas left on the fret board that leave you unsure of where to place your fingers in order to play the correct scale notes.
In our previous scale guides you have been learning all seven positions of the minor scale right the way up the fret board and should now be pretty fluent in crossing the neck just about anywhere you like.
As I stated earlier in my post on scale runs, you may find the […]
Welcome to Street Musician’s new competition section.
Over the next few weeks and months if I get a good response from this sites readers, I’ll be posting a few competitions every now and then to win cash prizes and other various goodies to make your day go with a smile.
In Parts 5 and 6 of our easy guide to scales, we learned that the major and minor scales are closely related and that they also contain the same notes. This means each one can easily be changed into the other and any key you choose can be easily transposed to a different […]
Vista Home Basic – Dreamweaver – Photoshop – Master Collection – Acer Aspire
Error 1603. Fatal Error During Installation.
Many people seem to be having problems installing the new Adobe CS4 products like Dreamweaver, Photoshop and the Master Collection etc. especially on Windows Vista operating systems. I recently encountered the same problem myself and had […]
These next few exercises are really good for building your finger strength, stamina and stretching abilities. As always, they are best performed using some form of metronome as this will help to improve your sense of timing. If you don’t have a real one, then try the internet as there are many available […]
Playing the guitar places an enormous amount of strain on the muscles, fingers and tendons in a player’s hands and also requires a great deal of finger strength. It is for this reason that it is vitally important that all guitarists, from beginners to expert, should perform some form of warm up routine […]
This song from Pink Floyd’s – The Wall, was once described by Roger Waters as a ‘mood piece’ and is the second track on CD 2 of the album. It is an extremely emotional and moving piece of music and the solo classical guitar playing provides us with a great finger picking exercise […]
Here’s where we find out everything about you and the visitors to this site. The whole point of this page is to give us musicians, singers, bloggers and webmasters an idea of what every one else is doing.
Hopefully this will give us all a better understanding of what we […]
For this scale we will be starting on G (3rd fret 6th string), work our way up to C (13th fret 2nd string) and back down again to G or below. Follow the exercise shown in the video and start with a gentle humming.
This 3rd exercise is the most awkward until you get used to it. The scale spans one and a half octaves and 5 strings and as you move up the fret board and across the strings the fingering patterns change as the scale ascends and descends with your vocals.
This page is dedicated to Pearl Jam’s epic first album Ten. It is one of the greatest albums of all time and as the name suggests has ten incredible tracks. Alive and Black have to be two of my favourites, but every track is a classic and the album totally rocks.
Here is an amazing set of videos I found on You Tube with virtually the complete set of vocal training exercises from Seth Riggs, the actual founder of the speech level singing method. This guy has taught over 120 grammy award winners including Natalie Cole, Janet Jackson, Sinéad O’Connor, Barbra Streisand, Luther Vandross, […]
For those of you thinking of designing your own website, apart from using web editing and blogging platforms such as Dreamweaver and WordPress etc.. there are a few other helpful tools and utilities that can help you along the way.
Most web editors, whether free or commercial give you the ability to […]
Now you can handle the natural or pure minor scale in all twelve keys, by simply learning the Gm, as shown in parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this no nonsense guide. It’s time to use these minor scales to play all twelve keys of the […]
Here we have our videos section. If you are too lazy to look for them or read the articles and lessons you’ll find all this sites own vids from various pages here in one place. Click the links to view the full articles.
Street busking is a great way of building up your confidence as a musician and gives you just about the best training you can get in dealing with people and overcoming any fears you may have of performing in public.
Once you’ve been busking a few times and got used to playing […]
Nowadays, town and city councils are clamping down on unauthorized busking in an attempt to clear the streets of unsavory types hassling people for money. You often need a permit to perform or busk and if you don’t have one you will be removed by the police, even if you are really good.
The amount of money you can make when you are out busking greatly depends on many things, such as what instrument you play, what town or city you’re in, where you pitch, what songs you play, how long you play for, what time of year it […]
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients the body needs to function properly and stay healthy in your every day life. Trace elements are also vital to the body’s well being, but are needed in much smaller amounts.
If a body has a good supply of these nutrients, then all your internal and […]
If you have read my previous post on vitamins and minerals and how important they are in our daily lives, you’ll know that vitamins perform crucial biological functions in the body and without a replenished source every day, we can fall foul to a huge number health problems. A few vitamins a […]
Most people don’t understand the importance of these amazing nutrients in our bodies. If you’ve already read my post on vitamins and minerals in our everyday lives, then you will have some idea of how vital they are to our health and well being.
Minerals are only needed in small quantities in […]
This is subject to a matter of opinion and there are many web editors and design programs on the market that will do a great job. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, from cheaper packages that will accomplish the basics, to complex design programs that give the user almost unlimited potential to […]
Here are some products myself and many singers use on a regular basis to help improve the quality of our vocal performance. Some of products below can be taken immediately before we perform as a standard preparation when we sing or go on stage, others can be used for occaisions when we may […]
Any beginner guitarist has to face the daunting task of learning a huge bunch of chords in order to familiarise themselves with the guitar, help them play their favourite tunes and enable them to write and play their own compositions.
But as there are tens of thousands of songs out there all […]
My name is Kier and I’m a self taught musician from the UK. I have been playing the guitar on and off for twenty years and a few years ago I decided to quit my job as an electrician to become a full time musician.
Next time you hit the road, watch out for the phantom freeway fret wrecker. This latest attack caught on film by Channel 5, wiped out six lanes of traffic on a busy highway, killing 15 people and injuring 42. You have been Warned !
Here’s a quick beginner’s guide for those of you thinking of buying a guitar. If you haven’t really got a clue what you are doing, or even what type of guitar you’d like i.e an acoustic, electric, strat or spanish etc. there are a few things you need to look out for and […]
Most guitarists actually string their guitars the wrong way by winding the string around the top peg a number of times and then through the hole. This actually causes unnecessary stress to the strings and contributes to tuning problems and string snapping. This vid from D’addario’s Musician Hub shows you exactly how to […]
I often get people complaining to me that they are no good on the guitar and that however much they try to play a particular piece of music they just can’t get it right. They will often give the excuse that perhaps their fingers aren’t long enough or maybe they’re just not naturally […]
Here’s a great vid proving that even the best musicians have bad days. It doesn’t matter how good or famous you are, we all have to break down our songs, patterns and riffs into small manageable chunks until we get them sussed. It’s only once we have them burned into our brains by […]
Generally, any musician’s web site or blog worth it’s salt, sooner or later will have to add some form or means for the public to communicate it’s views and opinions to the web site’s owner or creators. This is a great way for band members, fans, musical students, other blog owners and whoever […]
Here are some video demonstrations of the most important vocal warm up techniques used by professional singers today. The humble ‘Humm’, the mighty ‘Lip roll’ and the dynamic ‘Tongue trill’. These techniques play absolutely vital rolls in any successful singers daily practice routine.
By now, if you have been following the first part of our no-nonsense guide to scales, you should be very familiar with positions 1 and 2 of the natural or pure minor scale. You should have spent at least two days learning the first two positions and should be able to move […]
Someone recently asked me which of the two open G chord shapes they should learn and practice as standard considering they are both fingered differently and different song books and tablatures seem to switch between the two shapes depending on the groups and styles of music they are transcribing.
In my opinion, about 90% of you should probably be considering a shared hosting package. This will be ample for your needs and if you decide you want to upgrade to dedicated hosting in the future, it should be easy to do so. Just ask your host provider.
This weeks pick of the week is an amazing bit of guitar lap tapping by the canadian composer and guitarist Erik Mongrain. His debut album Fates is an brilliant piece of work and has been described as ‘unbelievable’, ‘original’ and ‘an incredible achievement’ by his fans and the music press.
Traveling light and just taking your acoustic guitar busking can be great if you are planning on playing in a subway, a pitch with great acoustics or in a narrow street, but if you want to play in a city or crowded street on a Saturday […]
Dedicated to helping you become an all round better musician and guitarist.
Street Musician recently celebrated it’s first birthday in July and over the last few months has gone from strength to strength hitting the Top 20 guitar blogs across the planet after only 9 months on the scene.
The reception you get from an audience will generally depend on quite a few things. Obviously it matters how good you are but being a great guitarist doesn’t mean you’ll always get a great response. What counts is what sort of music you play, the clientel, […]
A web host is a company that provides space on it’s servers for you to keep your web site, almost like a locker in cyberspace. They promise to keep your site online 24 hours a day for the whole time you pay for their services. If you have a web site that your […]
If you’re bored with playing at home and want to take your music to a different level and get out there and do some gigs, there are a few steps you can take to bridge the gap without having to throw yourself to lions in one big step.
Street Musician is brand new and will be constantly growing and changing over the next few months as we continue to expand. Some of our pages are still empty but we do have some great articles on busking, gigging, web design, vocal stuff and the first part of the Street Musician No Nonsense Guide […]