The Effects Affect – by Mike Overly

July 10, 2014

guitar effectsThe first amplified guitars appeared in the early 1930s when big bands were popular. Horn players were the soloing superstars. Guitarists wanted to solo too, but the sound of early amplified guitars was thin, reedy and lacked punch. So, it comes as no surprise that guitarists began looking for ways to make their sound bigger and fatter. A huge variety of guitar effects is the result of their experiments.

The very first guitar effects were built into the instruments themselves, like the 1935 Epiphone Vibrola. We know these effects today as whammy bars. Eventually, electronic effects were built directly into amplifiers. For example, by the 1940s, tremolo circuits were included in many combo amps.

Around this time, many guitarists were looking for ways to reproduce the natural reverb and echo they enjoyed during sound checks in empty halls. And by the mid to late 1940s, recording engineers and experimental musicians such as Les Paul began manipulating reel-to-reel recording tape to create echo effects. However, these earliest sound effects were strictly studio productions and didn’t lend themselves to touring and live performance. So, in 1950, the EchoSonic amp became the first amp to feature slapback echo. This sound quickly became popular with Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore. By the late 1950s, many guitar amps manufactured by Gibson, Fender and others, featured built-in tremolo, vibrato, echo and reverb effects. But not everyone wanted the effects hard-wired into their amp, so, stand-alone effects made their appearance.

The DeArmond company released the first commercially available stand-alone tremolo effects unit, the Trem-Trol in 1948. However, most of the early stand-alone effects were powered with vacuum tubes and were therefore bulky, expensive, fragile and impractical for live performance. Because of this, the original stand-alone units were not especially in-demand. But all that changed in 1958 when the first popular, and relatively portable, stand-alone tape echo effect unit was introduced.

Distortion was not an effect originally intended by amplifier manufacturers! But distortion could easily be achieved by overdriving the power supply in early tube amplifiers. In the 1950s, many guitarists deliberately increased gain beyond its intended levels to achieve distorted sounds. These heavier, grittier, nastier, and more ferocious electric guitar sounds were created by turning the amp’s volume knob all the way to the right until the speaker was screaming. Link Wray’s 1958 recording Rumble inspired countless young guitar players to explore distortion. In 1964, Ray Davies of the Kinks slit the speakers of his amp with a razor blade to achieve the distorted guitar sound heard on You Really Got Me. Then, in 1966, Jim Marshall began producing guitar amplifiers that were capable of producing this desired distorted crunch. By the late 1960s, as the transistor became widely available, everything began to change from analog to digital, and for the first time, engineers were able to create affordable and portable standalone effects demanded by the masses. And by the late 1970s, availability of solid-state guitar effect units had exploded, creating a whole new gear market that continues to thrive today.

Simply stated, guitar effect units are electronic devices that alter how the electric guitar sounds. Some effects subtly affect the sound, while others transform it dramatically. Effects are used during live performances and in the studio. And their circuitry may be either analog or digital. Effects come in many forms, they may be housed in amplifiers, stompboxes, rackmounts, table top units, or they may be built directly into the guitars themselves. However, the most common effects unit by far, is the Stompbox.

A stompbox, also called a pedal, is a small metal or hard plastic box designed to sit on the floor in front of the player and is connected between the guitar and the amp. Stompboxes may be analog or digital. Stompbox style pedals are the smallest, least expensive and most rugged type of effect housing. The most basic pedal is typically controlled by one on-off switch, containing only one effect and a single LED display to indicate whether the effect is on or not. As was stated earlier, the electronic transistor, which replaced vacuum tubes and allowed for much more compact formats and greater stability, made it possible to cram the aural creativity of the recording studio into a small, highly portable unit.

Rackmount digital effects units began replacing stompboxes as the format of choice in the mid-1980s. A rackmount is an effects unit mounted on a standard 19-inch equipment rack. Rackmounts, unlike stompboxes, usually contain several different types of effects. Rackmount effect units are relatively expensive because of this fact. Rackmounts are commonly used in recording studios and front of house live sound mixing situations, although many players use them in place of stompboxes. Rackmounts are controlled by knobs on their front panel. During live performances, the player switches effects by using a digital MIDI foot controller.

Multi-effect units, or, multi-FX, can be stompbox, rackmount or tabletop devices that contain many different effects. These units allow users to preset combinations of different effects, enabling the musician to access many different effect combinations quickly. A tabletop unit is a portable multi-effects device that rests on a table or desk and is controlled manually. The Pod guitar amplifier modeler is a good example. As was stated earlier, effects are often built-in the amplifier, and since the 2000s, many guitar amplifiers have built-in multi-effects units or digital modeling effects devices.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different guitar effect units. And while there is no consensus on how to categorize effects, they may be simply divided into three general categories: volume, frequency, and time. However, since some effects alter more than one category at a time, perhaps we should expand these three categories into the following seven classifications: dynamic/volume, distortion, feedback/sustain, frequency/pitch, filter, modulation and time/delay/echo. In this lesson, we will only explore dynamic/volume and distortion effects. In the next lesson, we’ll look at the remaining effects and chain them together. Now, let’s continue.

If you were to ask most guitarists which pedal they would choose if they could only choose one effect, it would probably be some sort of dynamic/volume pedal. This is because, in the journey toward the weirdest guitar sounds imaginable, pedals that make a guitar louder is generally the first choice.

Dynamic Effects, also called boost pedals, increase the volume of an instrument and were the first effects to be introduced to guitarists. In fact, a volume control knob is essential on the electric guitar. Volume and boost pedals amplify a guitar’s audio signal in a clean, non-distorted way. Dynamic effect units are generally used for increasing volume during solos and preventing signal loss in long effects chains. A guitarist switching from rhythm guitar to lead guitar will use a boost pedal to increase the volume of the solo.

A Compressor or Limiter is an automatic volume control that reduces the volume when the input gets too loud. They make also make quiet sounds louder by setting the dynamic range of an audio signal. This setting is called the threshold. A compressors and limiters are used to normalize, or stabilize the volume and smooth out a strum by dampening its attack and amplifying its sustain. Since the compression/limiter pedal narrows the dynamic range by limiting the volume, be sure to place this effect before the rest of the effects in the chain.

As an aside, sustainer effect pedals, which we’ll discuss in the next lesson, provide distortion-free sustain. Many compressor pedals are often marketed as sustainer pedals, which isn’t true. This is because as a pitch is sustained, it loses energy and volume due to the diminishing vibration of the string. And so, because compressor pedals only boost the weakening electrical signal to a specified dynamic volume range, it only slightly prolongs the duration of the pitch. And also, the longer the compressed sound lasts, the more quiet and distorted the sound becomes.

Noise Gates eliminate electrical 60 cycle hum and amplifier hiss by silencing sounds that fall below a set threshold. In other words, only an audio signal above the set dynamic threshold will pass through the gate and be heard. Place the noise gate effect at the end of your chain to silence unwanted noises generated from other pedals. Remember to be careful using noise gates, as they may clip off your guitar’s sustain, creating an unnatural and untimely silence.

Though clean-sounding volume control effects are all well and good, what many guitar players want is a way to add a distortion to their sound. Here are three different effects which will dirty up your tone: Overdrive, Distortion and Fuzz.

Overdrive originally occurred when players first cranked their tube amplifiers up to 10. Or as SpinalTap so famously stated: 11! Overdrive is literally the sound of vacuum tubes pushed to their limits. Overdrive effect pedals either boost a guitar’s signal gain, sending the tube amplifier into an overdriven state, or, they seek to replicate, or emulate, the sound of an overdriven tube amp through a solid-state amp. Overdrive effect units produce cleaner distorted sounds at quieter volumes and dirtier distorted sounds at louder volumes.

Distortion pedals boost volume levels and alter wave shapes. Distortion re-shapes by clipping an audio signal’s wave form so that it has flattened peaks. Distortion can sound warm if harmonic overtones are added to the wave shape, or gritty if inharmonic overtones added. Distortion effects differ from overdrive effects in that they produce roughly the same amount of distortion at any volume. Distortion effects are sometimes called gain effects, as distorted guitar sounds were first achieved by increasing the electric power supply, or gain, to tube amplifiers. More distortion effect pedals are sold than any other effects pedal.

Fuzz pedals are a type of overdrive pedal that clips any wave shape until it is nearly a square wave. This results in a heavily distorted fuzzy sound. Fuzz pedals distort distortion itself to create a kind of buzzy, hum-like tone. Many fuzzboxes contain frequency multiplier circuitry to achieve an even harsher timbre by adding complex harmonics. One of the earliest recorded fuzz tones was heard in the 1951 Ike Turner song Rocket 88. This fuzzy guitar tone wasn’t the result of a fuzz pedal, as they weren’t invented yet, rather, it was the result of a Fender Bassman amp that had blown a tube after being dropped. In 1962, Orville “Red” Rhodes made a one-off fuzzbox for The Ventures which they used to record the 2000 Pound Bee. The first purposely designed commercial transistorized distortion circuit was the Gibson Maestro Fuzz Tone, which was released in that same year. In 1965, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones used a Maestro Fuzz Tone to record (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

There are a lot more mind-blowing effects pedals to inspire your sound and your songwriting. In the next lesson, Modulation of Frequency and Time , we’ll discover them and learn how to use them.

‘Til next time, have some fun creating affects with your effects… I’ll be listening!

Guitar Amps Are Not An Afterthought – by Mike Overly

July 3, 2014

guitar ampsNow that you’ve got your dream guitar, you’ll need to find a dream amp to match it.

Many beginning electric guitarists think guitar amps are boring and not as exciting, inspirational and important as their guitar. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it might be said that the right amp can even make a cheap guitar sound good!

However, there are so many guitar amp options, for example: size, sound, configuration, technology and price, that spending a little time to learn about amps is a good idea. So, let’s take a quick tour to discover a few fundamental and subtle differences between your many choices.

Types Of Amplifiers

Simply stated, there are four types of guitar amplifiers: Tube, Solid-stateModeling and Hybrids.

Tube amps are preferred by many guitarists for their warm, fat tone and smooth distortion. Tube amps usually sound louder than solid-state amps of the same wattage and have a definite “feel” that you don’t get from solid-state amps. Most tube amps have separate channels that can switch from clean to distorted tones instantly. A vacuum tube performance can deteriorate over time, so tubes need to be changed periodically.

Solid-state amps are called solid-state because they use transistors for their preamp and power sections instead of tubes. They are very reliable and seldom need repairs. They often have a very “clean” tone, although most come with “distortion” channels. Solid-state amps are popular with players looking for a sturdy, low maintenance, reliable amp.

Modeling amps use digital processors to simulate the sound of old-fashioned tube technology. Using software that “models” the sound of tube amplifiers and cabinets, these amps put the sound of numerous amp configurations in one box. Modeling amps are programmable, and often have built-in digital effects such as delay, chorus, etc.

Hybrid Amps combine the best of each type of amp into one package. These amps use actual vacuum tubes in the preamp section and solid state circuitry in the power section to create a tube tone without requiring the use of power tubes.

Amplifier Classes

The following section is a bit technical, but it needs to be presented never-the-less.

Class A: When an amplifier’s stage devices, whether single ended or push-pull, are passing current at all times the amplifier is said to be biased in Class A. Because the current is flowing at all times, an input signal causes the current to be immediately diverted to the speakers, and therefore, the sound is very “fast”. In the case of a push-pull amplifier, there is also less crossover distortion since each side of the push-pull section is already “on”. Class A designs are expensive to build and are usually only found in high-end amps.

Class B: Differs from Class A in that there is no current flowing when the output devices are at idle, and as a result, they have to turn on from a zero current state when signal is present. In a push-pull Class B design the output devices would each produce half of the audio waveform and would not have any current flow when the other half is operating. Class B designs tend to have a slower “slew” rate and more crossover distortion but are less expensive and require less power than Class A.

Class AB: As its name implies, this is sort of a combination of Class A and Class B operation. If an amplifier operates in Class A mode for only a portion of its output, and has to turn on additional current in the devices for the remainder of its output, it is said to operate in Class AB. Most amplifiers are in this category since they operate in two classes. In class AB and B, the amplifier is slower than in Class A because there is a finite time between the input signal and when the devices are turned on to produce a flow of current to the speakers. Class AB amps are also efficient than Class A and do not require large power supplies.

Class D: The Class D amplifier is one in which the output transistors are operated as switches. When a transistor is off, the current through it is zero. When it is on, the voltage across it is small, approaching zero which increases it’s efficiency, thus requiring less power than Class A, B or AB. These become important advantages in portable battery-powered amps. Class D does not stand for digital as they are based on analog principles, there is no digital encoding of the signal.

Class H: If an amplifier has more than one voltage rail (DC voltage delivered by the power supply), then it is designated Class H. This is a very efficient type of amplification. The output transistors of an amplifier has to dissipate heat (watts), so, when there is a low rail voltage during periods of low volume, and a high rail voltage for use during loud volume, the output transistors don’t have to dissipate as much power when the volume is low. This causes less drain on the power supply and makes it possible to build a very lightweight design. The drawback is distortion at mid-volume when the amplifier has to go back and forth between the two (or more) rail voltages.


Combos Amps, short for combinations, are self-contained units containing the amplifier and the speaker(s) in one cabinet.

Head and Speaker Cabinets are amps that come in two separate sections, the amp and a separate speaker cabinet. These type of amps allow you to use any amp head with virtually any speaker cabinet. Also, by separating the amp and speaker cabinet into two units, each unit is lighter and easier to carry than a single combo. Combining two cabinets and a head is called a “stack.”


For this simple overview, we’ll turn our attention to elementary physics. Smaller speakers can produce higher frequencies than larger speakers, which is why a tweeter is small and a woofer is large. So in the real world, a 10-inch speaker will generally produce a better “top end” than a 15-inch speaker. There is also a sound difference between an open-backed cabinet and a closed-cabinet design.

Many blues players favor 4×10 open-backed amps, as they can produce a range of tones from smooth to searing. Others like the sound of a dual 4×12 cabinet design. While some preferred four 4×12 cabinets. And while it’s true that 16 12-inch speakers will definitely play loud, the overall frequency response, if charted using sensitive laboratory gear, will be totally different than that of our 4×10 example. Today manufacturers custom tweak their amps by combining a certain size cabinet with a certain size set of speakers.

Power and Speaker Size

The power rating and size of the speaker(s) you choose will depend to some degree on application and price. Practice amps are usually solid state or modeling combo units featuring low power, 10-30 watts, and small, 8” or 10”, speakers, although there are a few small tube amps to be found. For rehearsal or for playing smaller venues, tube and modeling combo amps with power ratings averaging about 50 watts with 12” speakers for “bigger” sound are generally used. For larger venues or for performing loud, power ratings averaging of 100 watts and up are the norm. Combo amps that have pairs of 12” speakers, “twins,” are also used as they can get quite loud.


The thickness of wood used to construct the cabinet is a major factor in determining the quality of sound. A thickness of at least 1/2’’ will achieve a strong sound and keep the speaker from rattling loose. Another factor determining sound quality is whether the amp has an open or closed back. Closed-back guitar amps produce better bass response from the speaker. When moving an amp from gig to gig, it’s quite common for them to get banged up a bit. Good corner protectors will add to the life of the amp.

Other Options and Additional Features

Reverb Units: Some amps use spring reverbs, which can sound very natural, while others use digital reverb.

Effects Loops: These input and output jacks allow you to add stomp boxes or rack units after the preamp section of the amp to avoid amplifying any effect noise.

Channel Switching: These amps allow you to switch between different preamp channels, usually from a clean tone to a distorted one. Digital amps often require an additional MIDI foot switch to change tones remotely.

Built-in Effects: Some amps have built-in effects, such as: stereo chorus and vibrato. Tremolo is another effect many amps feature. Modeling amps usually contain many built-in digital effects. Tone and Volume Controls: Some amps have a built-in equalizer (EQ) that enables you to “cut” (de-emphasize), or “boost” (emphasize), particular frequencies to alter the tone of your guitar. A presence, master and gain switch may also be included.

Tube or Solid-State?

The traditional thinking is that solid state circuitry can produce superior clean power at a much more affordable price than vacuum tube-based amps which are much more expensive in a comparably powered amplifier. This has led to hybrids in which the basic tone is produced by a tube-driven preamp, while the power amp is solid state. The majority of vintage players will almost always lean towards a tube amp, though the attitude is changing as manufacturers turn out amazing new amps that are based on cutting-edge technology.

Combo Amp or Separate Head and Cabinet?

The answer to this question really depends on how big a venue you are planning to play. For example, for club dates and even small halls, today’s combos are well-equipped with enough power to deliver sound that will be heard all the way in the back of the room. However, if your goal is to have enough sonic power to fill a giant auditorium or even an open arena, you will want a high-powered stack with at least a 4 x 12 cabinet. It should be noted that, some players still prefer a smaller amp for its specific tone, and then simply mic the amp and run it into the PA system to achieve greater volume.

Modeling Benefits

Modeling amps are like “sonic chameleons” that offer the best of all worlds. You can buy a basic “practice” amp that will deliver almost any tone or effect you might need or want, and it will also serve as a great studio amp. These budget-friendly modeling amps provide everything from clean rhythm tones to full-out overdrive lead tones. They also include an extensive library of effects like reverb, chorus, phase, flange and delay. Back in the 1960s and early ‘70s, guitarists needed multiple outboard stomp boxes to produce distortion, chorusing, flanging or wah-wah sounds. All of those connected boxes added up to one thing: Noise! But today, thanks to modeling, all effects, even multi-effects like chorus plus delay plus reverb, are designed to be amazingly quiet. There is no longer any need to compromise your sound just because you’re choosing an entry-level amp.

Amps for Practice, Studio and Live

This distinction has become less significant with the advent of the modern modeling amp, as they can serve as a practice amp, studio amp, and live amp. There are also modeling modules for home, studio and live applications. These provide an amazing array of amp models, as well as terrific digital effects thanks to sophisticated Digital Signal Processing, DSP.

Of course, the ideal situation is to have one setup specifically for home, one for studio work, and another for those gigs that take place in larger venues. But that’s really an economic fantasy. Fortunately, like all areas of music technology, you have a surprisingly amount of value today, with the exception of the so-called “boutique” amps and vintage reissues that still command premium prices.

Computer Software Amp Plug-Ins

Just like with analog amps, the tone you get from connecting your guitar into your computer depends greatly on the digital amplifier software that you use to model the amp. There are a wide variety of applications available for computer-based musicians playing guitar, here are a few brand names…

AmpliTube 2 allows you to choose between seven high gain amps, 16 cabinets, and six microphones. You can also add 19 effects like Chorus and Flanger to the effects chain to mold your tone just the way you want it.  AmpliTube also allows you to configure two separate guitar chains in one preset. This means that you can configure a distorted sound, a clean sound, and then play them separately or at the same time.

Eleven is an amp modeling-only plug-in with no effects included. In other words, this amp is focused on the tone you get from the amp instead of trying to hide defects in the modeling by adding effects over the tone. Effects can be added separately through the digital audio workstation software.

Gearbox is a versatile piece of software that allows you to access 72 guitar amp models, 24 guitar cab models with four mic options each. It also has 28 bass amp models, 22 bass cab models with four mic options each. It also includes over 90 stompbox and studio effects, and six mic preamp models.

Guitar Rig is without a doubt one of the premiere pieces of software for amp modeling on the computer. It has a user interface that is split vertically between your presets on the left and your rig components on the right. It has 44 classic and modern guitar effects, 12 tube amps, and 12 matched cabinets.

Guitar Combos is a small collection of quality virtual amps without any included effects that will give you the ease of configuring your tone quickly. This is perfect for someone who is just looking for the amp sound. There are 100 included presets in the combo package and you can adjust the Volume, Presence, Bass, and other knobs the same way you would with a real combo amp. A Tuner is also included.

ReValver Mk II is a valve modeling package with amps and stomp boxes, but this software goes a step further than the others. In addition to changing amps and adding effects, it allows you to access the power amp rectifiers and output transformers. No other software package lets you do that.

Now, with the valuable knowledge you have gained, you will be able to amp-up a vast array of sounds which you can put to use with maximum effect, no matter what genre of music you play. And perhaps more importantly, you’ll be able to “tone-tweak” like a pro at your local music store as you soar through the complex maze of amp selection.

‘Til next time, have fun and remember: if you want to get your guitar sounding just right, make sure you have the right amp… I’ll be listening!

Plan Your Practice and Practice Your Plan – by Mike Overly

June 19, 2014

metronomeAre you spending a lot of time and effort practicing and yet never seem to make any progress?  Then maybe you need to re-think what practice is and what you can do to make it more productive.

To the ancient Greeks, practice was definied as: do. Today, the definition of practice is: repeated action to acquire proficiency. You’ve heard the old saying, practice makes perfect, well, this is not entirely true!  Repetition alone will not make you perfect. You must practice perfection, or else you run the risk of repeating previous mistakes… and what good are perfect mistakes?

It’s been said that it takes seven repetitions for a memory to take hold and thirty five repetitions to erase that previously learned memory. Therefore, the concept of perfect practice becomes a necessity, otherwise you’ll end-up spending all your practice time trying to unlearn mistakes – with no time remaining to make progress! This unnecessary waste of time results in frustration, disappointment and lack of confidence. In other words, you feel like quitting. So, to help you avoid this and many other negatives – remember: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Some say that the goal of practice is the performance. I tend to think of it this way: practice is for yourself and performance is for others. However, I would agree that practice is the learning of the individual parts and that performance is putting the parts together holistically so as to play them as a whole from the beginning to the end. In other words, practice is digital (start and stop) while performance is analog (continuous).

Whatever your performance goals are, daily practice is essential for the goal to be reached. By setting aside a short amount of time, at the same time each day, you will start to develop the process of practicing and begin to create good practice habits that will last a lifetime.

It’s important to note that each practice session is made up of many sections. And when each section is followed routinely, your practice session will become more productive. This will lead you to a more successful performance. Although the responsibility to practice is yours alone, encouragement from a parent, spouse, friend, band member or teacher can certainly help you become more disciplined. So, be sure to share this article with them. Now, with that said, here are a few suggestions on how to structure your practice session to make your practice time more efficient and effective and your performances more successful too.

Let’s begin with the practice area. It should be a relatively quiet place with good lighting and a comfortable armless chair. It should also be free of interruptions from the computer, phone, fax, pager, tablet, TV and a host of other distractions that can break your concentration. In addition to your instrument, here are some other items that you will find useful: a music stand, metronome, drum machine or sequencer, tuner, CD, recorder, pencils, eraser and your music books. The idea is to have everything close at hand, so that you won’t have to stop practicing to go get something.  Next, begin to prepare mentally by focusing on what you want to achieve in this particular practice session. If you have the time, think about what you would like to accomplish this week, this month, or perhaps even this year. The more defined your goals, the easier it is to attain them.

To prepare physically, begin by relaxing and releasing any tensions from your body. This promotes correct body alignment and will help to avoid any future health problems such as carpal tunnel and tendinitis. Don’t forget, prevention is the best cure!

Okay, now we’re ready to begin the actual practice session. First tune-up your instrument, and yes, make sure the piano is in tune! Start by warming-up with technical exercises. These will include various scales, arpeggios, chords, etudes and other finger pattern exercises and studies. When you feel that you are sufficiently warmed-up, proceed to the next step of the practice session.

At this stage of the practice session, time is provided for a re-view of previously learned material. The definition of the prefix “re” is: again, therefore, rehearsal could be thought of as “re-hear-all” or, to hear it all again. This review of previously acquired skills creates a connection with the new material being learned. Other topics that may present themselves for review at this time are: rhythm, melody, harmony, sight-reading, analysis, tone production, and dynamics. Daily practice gives you the ability to proceed to the new material with confidence and optimism. That’s a very good thing!

The next stage of the practice session is the actual learning of new material. This is when you thoroughly examine the new material to learn as much as you can before you play it. Some of the things you might encounter at this time are: key signatures, time signatures, tempo, fingerings, phrasing, and lots of other direction signs from the composer. After carefully considering all these elements, you are ready to begin practicing, starting at the beginning and proceeding slowly and perfectly until you reach the end.

You will find it beneficial to break a whole song into smaller sections (even bar by bar) and then link those sections together. This will enable you to minimize, and hopefully eliminate, mistakes at this stage of the practice session.

Sometimes the fastest way is to go slow: think of the tortoise and the hare! A perfect practice is only possible if you begin slowly. Slow enough to think before you play. Another benefit of going slow is that you can break the habit of stopping and repeating from the beginning whenever you make a mistake. This in itself is a mistake! Instead, you learn to isolate and focus on a mistake as it occurs, then re-think it through as many times as necessary to get it correct before moving on. This is much better than wasting time repeating what you already know.

It also helps if you can record your practice so that you can objectively hear what you really played. This will help you identify any problem areas, correct them quickly and improve your future performances. And finally, a progressive practice guarantees that each practice session builds upon the last and that each sequential practice assures your continued ability to confidently proceed from perfect practice to successful perfect performance.

Now, with your eyes on the music, your hands on your instrument, and your ears on the sound, be sure to plan your practice and practice your plan. I’ll be listening…

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