Category Archives: Lifestyle

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer

The OP-1 has been out for a while now. What’s nice is they make a point of talking about the industrial grade components and construction, and sonically it is anything but toy-like. The OS is also supposed to be incredible, and the 4 track ‘tape’ mode is apparently unlike anything else out there in software or hardware. Still pricey but I believe it’s worth it.  I myself, like the sound of the teenage engineering op-1, check it out at

If you love to spend hours and hours creating the perfect synth patch instead of making a song (unless you’re working on a “the patch IS the composition” type of patch – nothing wrong with that!) the OP-1 is not for you. If you’re more about laying down musical ideas quickly and not spending as much time on patch tweakage, then maybe it’s for you.


First Act Acoustic Guitar

What I like about the First Acts are the string end covers at the tuners so the kids don’t get cut. When I am in Preschools and they have guitars around sometimes. I always wrap the tune peg posts in tape. And I would start a child off with a first act acoustic guitar, which when set up properly is almost always easy to play than other acoustics. guitar.

At a young age with smaller and relatively weak hands, playability is EVERYTHING. It’s so easy for a youngster to get turned off when it starts to hurt. That’s less likely with a first act acoustic


Stupid Deal Of The Day

That IS a great deal for a G&L USA ASAT Special Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar 3-Tone Sunburst Black Pickguard! This is musicians friend stupid deal of the day.

If you’re not familiar with G&L you might not know Leo Fender (the L) and George Fullerton (the G) were the brains of the operation and owners/founders of G&L. This style trem is where Leo took this design. He and George saw everything they were doing with G&L as improving on the original ideas he launched at Fender which he sold to CBS in the 60’s. But he started up G&L many years later and resumed focus on great guitars and making them better. Fender still makes some great stuff but G&L are the modern and more evolved alternative, similar to Carvin in that respect.

And this bridge is a killer 2 point non-locking system. It’s a blend of the old style but with better adjust-ability and range as a floating system. Smooth as butter too.

It’s a lot like what Carvin is offering as a 2-point Vintage style, but better. But I really like both Carvin’s vintage style trem and this one. The G&L wins though no question.

There are a lot of cool things he did with G&L, the ASAT bridges a couple great improvements on T-style bridge vintage and modern. MFD pickups, the Passive Treble and Bass cut controls on Legacy models like this one (a killer tonal range improvement). And much like Carvin G&L pickups are very underrated great pickups, but they spec SD’s in a lot of models as well.


Volume Plus

I bought the Morley Volume Plus. I like it. I was looking specifically for a pedal with a Minimum Volume control (I could afford). I actually got the Boss FV500 and while it had a minimum volume and tension control for the treadle (cool feature), the minimum volume was not adjustable within a usable range – all the way down it was only about 85% volume – I’m using it for “lead/rhythm” so I need it to be adjustable from like 65% to 99% (so there’d be some adjustability). When I bought the Morley volume plus it did the same thing – didn’t go quiet enough with the knob all the way down. But here’s the kicker – the Morley is adjustable – it works on an LED that shines on a receptor inside – all you have to do is adjust the LED closer or further from the sensor to adjust the pedal – you can adjust both the maximum volume (to a point) and how low the minimum setting of the min vol goes (pretty far down).

So far, it seems like a “good workingman’s pedal” and at the price was a good deal considering the adjustability and the features. If it lasts as long as the old one I have, it will be money well spent.


Violin Strings

It depends on what your violin likes. I think that Dominant are generally safe and work on more variety of violins than any other string that I can think of. They have been around for a long long time too.  how many strings on a violin , there are 4  strings and you can  get a set for under $50. My cousin tend not to use the perlon A-string because they don’t last long for him. He can wear one out in a couple of weeks. If you have a very weak sounding fiddle you may want good steel core strings but beware that you may get a metallic and harsh sound.


No one can really say what kind of strings will work best on another violin without trying. Most pros try many different type of strings and learn which work for their particular fiddle. Dominants are used by many pros and even frequently used on fine old Italian fiddles.





Taye Drums

Taye’s are great drums, I had a ProX and I loved them. Light shells, a real gentle sound to them, not too much ring and volume. Their price is fair enough for their birch/basswood shell. They had a unique tom holder which had a middle insert so you could actually add an arm to it for a cymbal or extra drum which I thought was a great touch. You will surely fall in love with those tom stands, that double stand can be disassembled and put into two singles. A friend of mine have the line called Taye Drums RockPro and those are birch/basswood too. Excellent and innovative hardware, that is easy and logical to setup and an under-rated manufacturer. I think anyone will be quite happy with their lines.



Pioneer DJ

I just purchased the Pioneer DDJ-T1 controller without the power supply.  I have tested this pioneer dj controller last weekend, it works with and without power supply. The only difference without power supply is, some LED’s are not active.

In my setup with Traktor 2.10.013 the controller worked like a charm, just selected that mapping in the Traktor settings. Actually the controller is absolutely great, but old, new technologies let you digital DJ easier, I use the Gemini G4V and found it better than the T1.

Pioneer DDJ T1

The DDJ-T1 is/was shipped with a special Traktor Pioneer Edition.  It has only a limited
fuctionality and is more a former special Version of the Traktor LE.   There was a limited time period where you had the option to upgrade this license for free to the traktor pro license.

Pioneer DDJ T1

The Pioneer Edition is not a time limited Demo or something like this but everyone who used it would strongly recommend to buy an upgrade to the pro. Several later introduced features like remix decks or the mentioned flux mode are just not implemented. Its HID but Pioneer still got a tsi file with all supported features like using the remix decks.

Pioneer DDJ T1


Joy Jewelers Stackable Expressions

I always have a great experience at Joy Jewelers. My first purchase was a few years ago, when my mom and I were cheekily searching for the perfect engagement ring. They have a ton of different settings and explained that they could do custom work, as well — as an added bonus, if you don’t absolutely love your setting, they explained that they would take it back as their own inventory until the setting was just right. An awesome privilege for picky people.

I got new Joy Jewelers stackable expressions from them. They delivered really great work in addition to amazing service! In addition to the great service I received, I also observed how helpful and attentive they were to other customers. I will definitely be going to them exclusively now.

stackable expressions stackable expressionsStackable Expressions


Percussion Instruments

I have recently realized what an excellent set of percussion instruments are available with the standard K5 library but cannot find any midi files that demonstrate the capabilities to full extent. I am not a percussionist but realize that with ~40 articulations for Congas alone there is huge potential for realistic percussion instruments performances if someone with the appropriate knowledge is able to capture some midi performances. A friend advised me to invest in a pad controller (e.g. Korg nanoPad, all the way up to the bigger units like Korg’s padKontrol or the equivalent Akai ones, or NI’s Maschine) as you’ll find percussion is much more playable fromaa pad controller compared to a keyboard.

(With a keyboard you are always waiting for the key to rebound before you can strike it again, which isn’t authentic to how percussion normally works. With a pad controller, it’s more “true to life.”)

You will still spend a little time mapping the pad controller.

Also here are some everyday objects used by musicians.

1) Striking a propane tank. (make SURE that it is empty first)

2) Striking brake drums (not while they are on the car)

3) Samples taken while striking a large stainless steel salad bowl.

4) Striking a brass flywheel from a tape recorder.

5) The sound of a basketball hitting the floor in a gym. This is sampled tuned and triggered.

Here are a few that I know are cool but never used.

1) The bell housing from an engine/transmission. Many are aluminum and ring real loud.

percussion instruments

percussion instruments

percussion instruments


Sliding Door Gear for Apartments

OVIS is thhe best cabinet hardware, cabinet organizers and woodworking supplies for the professional, hobbyist and homeowner, in my opinion. They have pretty much everything, and what they don’t have (a rare occurrence) they can order.

People used to say that they’re expensive but actually they’re not – pretty much competitive with any supplier and often beat them price-wise. The main thing is they pretty much always have it, whether it’s latches and catches, sliding door gear for apartments, shelf supports, abrasives, wood veneers, corner braces, egdebanding, cabinet hinges. etc. They also have great customer service! Attentive and friendly.

apartment sliding doorapartment sliding doorapartment sliding door