Bob Mintzer Videos

Jazz Video Guy on YouTube posted some great Bob Mintzer videos. Check them out!

Nintendo Big Band

Seems Nintendo had an awesome launch party, including a big band playing arrangements of Nintendo songs. Pretty freaking awesome.

Sax On A Stick

Might need a little more than simply getting the parts he says.

Review – Pyle Pro PDMIC78 Microphone

Having a good microphone around is essential to a performer. While microphones like the AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Vocal Condenser Microphone, and the Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic are my main “go to” microphones, one of the most compact and versatile microphones ever made is the Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. At $100, it is a great microphone to just have in your bag “just in case”. Still, the SM57 isn’t exactly cheap. And if say you have a band or some situation where you need to microphone up stuff, using the venerable SM57 can get quite expensive.

Enter the Pyle-Pro PDMIC78 Microphone. This microphone is basically a Shure SM57 clone. Except they wired it strangely (or wrongly). Basically, you need to re-solder two connections and then you have a mic that sounds like a SM57….for $20 rather than $100. In fact, there is slightly more gain and it sounds a little more “crisp” than my SM57. Actually, it sort of sounds almost like a BETA 57. I have all these microphones and will link to a sound shoot out of them.

In all, a great deal if you can handle doing the small bit of soldering required. Amazon sells these guys for $20, though the author in the video below got a bunch of them for something like $10 each.

I have modded 4 of these now. You basically need to take the red (hot) from the capsule to pin 3, take pin 1 to ground, break the bridge they have from pin 1 to 3 to ground (so they have 2 pins going to ground) and run the other wire from the capsule to pin 2. You then get a balanced mic that sounds like a SM57 for 1/4th the price.

Review – Zinn and the Art of Saxophone

There are a TON of books out for saxophone. Go do a search of Amazon.com. Everyone seems to have a book out, be it on jazz improvisation, or perhaps a book just dealing with cool patterns or ways to play over certain types of chords, or using a specific scale in jazz. Lots of books. I know, I own just about every saxophone book known to man.

But while I love the pattern books, the scale books, the improv books, what books can I point to that I can say to anyone, regardless of what style of playing they want to do, as a reference to acquire technique on saxophone? The obvious one that we all know are the three Joseph Voila books Technique of the Saxophone: Scale Studies. Another contender for acquiring technique would be Walt Weiskopf’s book Around The Horn: 21 Modal Scales and Arpeggios Every Jazz Musician Needs To Know

With any one of these books, anyone can acquire some great technique on saxophone. But having a book or set of books isn’t the complete solution. How does one use the books? Once you get through the books, is that it? Is that the end? Did you reach the goal and now you are the master and you don’t need to practice anything anymore? You can acquire a tremendous set of skills if you can play through all the Joseph Viola books. But how do you maintain those skills? Do you start the books over again? Play them backwards?

Saxophonist Dann Zinn has been pondering this issue for over 20 years now. Perhaps longer….it is hard to tell, Dann is a man of few words (other than “go practice”). His new books Zinn and the Art of Saxophone is the culmination of decades of teaching, and thought about saxophone. What skills should one acquire in their pursuit of saxophone? In what order should one acquire the skills? How does one go about acquiring the skills?

Continue reading Review – Zinn and the Art of Saxophone

Wirecutter Names Best Laser Printer

I bought a Brother HL-L2340DW on Black Friday for $80 from Amazon.com. Great little printer. And the Wirecutter likes it as well.

After nearly 250 hours of research and testing over the past few years, we’ve found that the best choice for an affordable laser printer right now is the Brother HL-L2340DW. Among the dozens of laser printers we’ve looked at, the L2340DW is one of the most economical and least frustrating printers you can buy.

The Evolution of Woodwind Doubling

Ed Joffee has a great article in the Associated Musicians of Greater New York website about the history of woodwind doubling.

Multi-tasking has become a staple of modern living and is certainly a requirement for surviving in today’s music industry. The contemporary saxophone doubler represents the greatest example of this characteristic in music. While most people believe that the origins of this discipline occurred with the Paul Whiteman Orchestras of the 1920s, woodwind multiple instrumental performance dates back several centuries.

Gig Bag Items

As a performing musician, there are a couple of essential tools you need in addition to your horn. Here is what you should have if you are performing a lot.

A Check List – The FIRST thing you should do create a check list of things you need to take to a gig. I recommend using some sort of iOS or whatever repeating task list. I use Omnifocus that I created a bunch of repeating items that show up Fridays. Things like “Water”, “Microphones”, “Snakes and cables”, “Bari Sax Stand” are on the list. Yes, obvious things. But things you NEED for the gig. You might be thinking “of course I’m going to remember the bari sax stand”….until you don’t and then either do the gig without it or have to turn around and go get it. 2016-10-20-13-59-28

Two of everything – There is a survival rule, “Two Is One and One is None” that supposedly comes from the Navy Seals. Popular youtube video creator GCP Grey has taken it a little further “Three is two, two is one, one is none” on his Cortex podcast. I generally try to have TWO of everything, sometimes three. Three extra reeds. Three XLR cables even though you need only one. Two microphones (though I usually have three with me). Extra batteries. Say you break a reed…..and the spare is sorta crap as well. You have another reed to try. Or if your microphone cable is crapping out on you….you have a spare. An extra mic clip in case your clip breaks. And an extra microphone just incase. Or if you need to maybe mic something else. If you use your iPad for music, it becomes a little more complex. I was usually carrying a binder of all the songs we might do at a gig, but that becomes cumbersome. I am lucky enough to have TWO iPads (the original iPad and an iPad 4), but if I didn’t have an extra iPad, I would probably put everything on my iPhone. The bigger screen iPhones (6 and above) are good enough to read in an emergency. All the charts are in Dropbox.

Tape – Scotch tape, Electrical and/or gaffers tape. Useful to fix just about anything. I’ve had to use some electrical tape to fix my Sennheiser 421 when the clip broke. Took 30 seconds, and it was good to go.

Screwdrivers and Rubberbands – To get that wayward screw back in the slot and maybe fix a broken spring.

A Multitool – I find I use this a lot, especially the pliers. It’s good to use to bend a key back (use some tape on the gripper parts of the players to keep you key from getting groove marks). The knife comes in handy, as does the screwdriver (to adjust a microphone stand clip) and stuff. It’s good to have in the bag.

These are things in my bag that I have found I need for a gig.

Sheet Of The Week – If This Was A Movie (Taylor Swift)

Another by TSwift

  If This Was A Movie by Taylor Swift for Eb Instruments (104.6 KiB, 11 hits)
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  If This Was A Movie by Taylor Swift for Bb Instruments (109.1 KiB, 8 hits)
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Fake Selmer Saxophone

The Bassic-Sax.info site had an interesting article about rampant counterfeit Selmer instruments being sold. The pictures are quite compelling and I can totally see how someone could be mislead. These look great…..if I didn’t know anything I would think these are legit.

Check out the article. I guess some sort of praise should be given to these counterfeiters in their work….too bad they don’t channel that work into making their own saxophone brands.