Friday, September 30, 2016

How to Make It as a Musician

8:00:00 AM
Making it as a musician requires determination and persistence when other musicians have given up and taken other jobs. A daily commitment to practice routines, an eye for recognizing opportunity and the ability to book concerts and get paid for your work are just a few of the daily tasks musicians must complete. You must know how to promote your work and sell your services. When just starting out, finding a way to support yourself may be difficult, but there are many avenues to help provide a stable income while your fame as a musician rises.

Creating a Music Website

Create a music website that includes video and audio of your performances. Think of your website as a chance to showcase your talents to potential fans and venues which may wish to hire your services.

The Mailing List

Use a mailing list and include a sign-up form on your website to keep people notified of your upcoming concerts and activities as a musician. Send out a monthly newsletter to keep fans coming back to your website and interested in your music.

Business Cards

Make business cards with your name, email, contact phone, and instrument specialization. If you teach, include that information as well. Distribute the cards at concerts, conventions and to local businesses.

Music Distribution

Create a recording of your music and distribute it to an online retailer. There are several companies that will distribute your music to major companies for a percentage of your profits.

Promotional Performances

Perform for free at first to get a name for yourself and build a resume. Offer your services to hotels, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.


Sell merchandise at your concerts to help bring in additional income. If you are playing for free to get started, this is a great way to bring in a little income and gain the support of your fans.

Music Distribution

Distribute your recorded CD to radio stations along with a press release, high-quality photo of you or your band and contact information.

Teach Music Lessons

Teach privately to help supplement your income. You can advertise at local universities, colleges, grocery stores, coffee shops, public and private schools.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Foundation Courses in Music

8:00:00 AM

Musicians typically complete several courses designed to build a solid foundation in advanced instrumental techniques. These courses serve as the basic core curriculum of any music student’s study. Through these courses, students learn how to analyze, interpret and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for music. Musicians and non-musicians benefit from these courses by learning about music mechanics and becoming more well-rounded musicians and patrons.

Ear Training

Ear training teaches students to identify musical elements quickly. All students enrolled in a university or conservatory music program are required to take ear-training courses. Ear-training courses are designed to help the student develop the ability to sight-sing music and aurally identify intervals, scales, chords, and progressions. The final semester of theory usually requires students to dictate a four-part harmony. Students develop their ears through classes that meet several times per week. They sing melodies from the literature and tap rhythms that progressively become more complex.

Music Theory

Music theory teaches the written elements of music and helps students interpret music. Music theory is typically a two-year program that teaches students the elements of tonal harmony and then in the final segment teaches 20th-century music. Every musician is required to take theory, whether studying music history, performance, composition, or education. Music theory is the basis for understanding the structure behind musical systems. Students are required to identify the written component of the same elements learned in ear training — intervals, scales, chords, and progressions.


Counterpoint teaches students to compose music and write chord progressions. Counterpoint loosely translates to “note against note.” In counterpoint, students learn how to combine two-, three-, four-, and five-part harmony in a way that creates multiple independent musical lines. Students learn to write melodies that are both balanced and adhere to standard chord progressions by learning voice-leading principles. This subject is usually reserved for advanced composers and musicians. Not all schools require music students to take counterpoint, but usually, it is a recommended elective.

Music History

Music history courses teach identification of literature and composers. All students of music must take basic courses in Western art music. From Ancient Greece to modern times, students learn about the composers, musical works, techniques, styles, and social significance of each time period. Students are usually required to identify by ear works from specific time periods including title, date of composition, and composer. This information serves as a general overview of music so that students have a broad understanding of the music they will perform.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Famous Classical Music Components

8:00:00 AM

Beethoven was one of the most influential Classical composers. Classical music is comprised of several components that influence the overall form, structure, and characteristics of the music. Music has been evolving since the early Middle Ages. Classical music may use two different spellings, with each indicating a different type of music. Classical music with a capital “C” refers to a specific time period of music created between 1750 to 1820. Classical music with a lower case “c” refers to all western art music. Because of this confusion, the terms “western art music” or “serious music” are often used to describe classical music from more than one time period.


Harmony is the vertical component of music. It is responsible for the chords created in harmony. The major difference between classical and popular music is the use of harmony. Classical music will use complex chord progressions to create complex musical sonorities while popular music concentrates on common chord progressions. A typical classical piece might have seven or eight different types of chords per phrase. In contrast, a popular piece might only have two or three types of chords. Most musicians will study harmony to analyze and gain a greater understanding of the music.


Melody is the horizontal component of music that we typically refer to as a tune. The melody is the most recognizable part of any composition. In classical music, melodies are complex and borrow pitches from keys that are closely related. In this sense, a composition written in D major will borrow notes from other keys. Borrowing helps to add variety and an element of surprise to the composition. Melody can be broken down into smaller components called motives. Motives are small musical ideas that help to build melodies. A common motive is the simple 4-note opening statement from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.


Timbre is an essential component for composers and orchestrators. It described the tone color of each individual instrument. Each instrument has its own characteristic sound and produces a timbre that adds color and variety to a composition. Composers will make use of several different-sounding instruments to create new combinations of sounds. Timbre occurs most notably in orchestral scores that combine brass, woodwind, string, percussion, and keyboard instruments to create the overall symphonic texture.


Form is a critical component of classical music. Without form, music would lose its direction and become an amorphous and undefined mass of sound. Form helps to create compositions in which melodies repeat themselves in logical ways. Even compositions that are through-composed, in which no section repeats, will include repetitive motifs to help add structure to the composition. Letters indicate specific repeated sections. For instance, a composition labeled ABA will have two repeated sections at the beginning and end of the piece and a new, related section in the middle.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Goals for Music in an Early Education Center

8:00:00 AM

Early childhood education includes music to provide a well-rounded approach to the education of a child. Music helps children develop coordination, and improve the ability to interact with their peers. The goal for each activity should be to improve the child’s musical ability and spatial reasoning. Avoid setting specific goals to attain a certain level of competency. Music for early education should be enjoyable and concentrate only on general improvement.


Marching to a steady beat provides one of the most essential skills that an early childhood music center must include. Having children march to the beat of a song develops the ability to sense rhythm and sets the stage for future rhythmic development. Early education centers must teach children to march, clap, and walk to the rhythm of songs with varying tempos. Even simple games like musical chairs will help children develop an awareness of music, develop coordination, and set the stage for advanced musical studies.


As soon as children are ready, they should begin learning how to sing songs with others and individually. Songs help children to learn about high and low pitches and provide the ability for students to learn how to create logical musical phrases. Children start with simple common melodies such as “Row Your Boat.” Children should also experiment with singing their own melodies and imitating new melodies created by the instructor. Children do not need to learn to read music, they just need to learn how to imitate in early music education.


Chanting teaches children about how to properly create inflections within speech and places an emphasis on specific pitches. This teaches children how to properly lower their pitch at the end of a sentence and raise their pitch for emphasis. Chants should concentrate on a single pitch and chant words with special attention paid to the rhythm in which each syllable is chanted. For instance, the word “water” should be divided into the syllables “wa” and “ter.” The second syllable will be longer than the first syllable. This not only teaches rhythm, but it provides additional training in grammar and pronunciation.

Pitch Matching

Pitch matching exercises must be included in any early childhood music education program. Instructors should sing pitches and have the students repeat the pitch. Educators can start with one or two pitches and gradually add several pitches to increase musical memory. As with any exercises in childhood music, you should aim for improvement rather than a specific number of pitches. Pitch matching and recall will prepare a child to sing songs based on music notation and learn to read music provided to the child at a later stage.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Greek Rules of Drama

8:00:00 AM

In Greek drama, there are two types of plays: tragic and comic. In a tragedy, a well-known, respected, and influential figure suffers a tragic blow that destroys his social standing and financial well-being and often takes his life. In contrast, a comedy deals with a peasant’s advancement through the class system to a better social standing. Tragedy and comedy are polar opposites, with tragedy encompassing a fall from grace, and comedy allowing individuals to rise and prosper. The basic rules for dramas were laid out by Aristotle in his “Poetics.”

Action and Plot

Greek dramas, regardless of whether they are tragedies or comedies, follow a single plotline in a clear way that makes it easy for the audience to follow. Avoiding subplots was an essential rule for Greek dramas. The “unity of action” takes the audience from a single action to the ultimate consequence and conclusion of that action. A complete plot uses a fairly rigid form containing a beginning, middle, and end. The action and plot are the most important rules in a Greek drama and can be viewed as a single rule.


Character comes second to the rules of action and plot. The audience’s emotions should be directly affected by the main character. Fear, empathy, pity, resonance, and identification with the character must be intimately linked to the plot of the play. If the actions of the character do not directly affect the outcomes of the “unity of action,” then the play has failed to address the character. In a tragedy, the subject unwittingly brings about his own demise due to a lack of knowledge. Similarly, in a comedy, the subject succeeds for the same reason.

Diction and Thought

The third rule of a Greek drama deals with a concept called thought that reinforces the action through monologues. By understanding the character’s thoughts, we better understand the motivations and intentions of the subject. In turn, this allows us to feel pity for the character, an essential emotion in dramas. Diction constitutes the fourth most important rule in a tragedy. Diction can be seen as the theme of the drama and the manipulation of words to present and reinforce that theme. Whereas most of the drama’s content presents itself through actions, diction allows for reinforcement of those actions through words.

Song and Spectacle

The fifth rule involves the song or music portion of the drama and serves as an interlude between acts, but music also must reinforce the previous act or foreshadow events to come. The music portion consists of a chorus with rudimentary percussion instruments including bells and drums. Spectacle deals with theatrics that intends to reinforce the acting in the play with sound effects, lighting, and scene changes. By far, the sixth rule of spectacle is the least impressive and artistic of the rules since it relies upon mechanical means to invoke emotions.


Catharsis deals with the conclusion of the drama. Catharsis purges the audience of negative emotions and releases excessive rage, pity, and fear. In comedy, the goal is to invoke catharsis through laughter and hope. With tragedy, the audience deals with the hero’s loss and devastation, and, in turn, feels better about life. Catharsis lets the audience identify with the characters to feel better about their own plights.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Are Greek Comedies Different From Greek Tragedies?

8:00:00 AM

Having a solid understanding of the difference between a Greek comedy and tragedy allows you to enjoy the drama with greater understanding and context. The two art forms exist on separate sides of the spectrum, with comedies ending with happy and resolved endings, while tragedies end more catastrophically. Both types of drama were valued in Greek society and they served to entertain and inform the audience. There are two main ways to think about Greek drama: Aristotelian and Rhetorical traditions.

Aristotelian Tragedy

Aristotelian tragedy dealt with people in a higher social class that spoke well and came from good backgrounds. In the tragedy, these people have a fall from grace and are completely destroyed by the end of the drama. According to Aristotle, these tragedies were intended to purge the audience of “fear and pity.” The goal was to move the audience towards a feeling of catharsis and release from their daily troubles.

Aristotelian Comedy

In contrast to Aristotelian tragedy, the players in an Aristotelian comedy come from average to poor backgrounds or circumstances and ascend to a higher position in life. Unlike the main characters of a tragedy their language is average and they deal with everyday issues. Comedies always have acceptable to favorable resolutions and end with the main characters finding themselves with a better lot in life. Comedies do not have to be funny or humorous to be considered a comedy.

Rhetorical Tragedy

Rhetorical tragedies were defined through a fictional story in which the main characters were presented in a fictional light that was fantastical and not believable. An example would be Orpheus going to Hades for the sole purpose of rescuing his wife. It is not possible to return from the underworld, but in a rhetorical tragedy, the suspension of disbelief made this an acceptable method of presenting a tragedy. The tragedies usually dealt with a commonly known myth to make it easier to present the drama to the audience.

Rhetorical Comedy

The rhetorical tradition of viewing a Greek comedy involves taking a drama that consists entirely of fiction, but could reasonably appear to be based on real events. The characters in these comedies would have everyday events happen to them in a way in which the audience could relate and sympathize with. The ending of a rhetorical comedy always allowed the main characters to maintain or improve their situation in life. This was the method of viewing the world that was accepted by Plato.

“Tragedy and Philosophy”; Walter A. Kaufmann; 1992

Friday, September 16, 2016

Homemade Chimes With Congas

8:00:00 AM

Using a conga drum to create homemade chimes produces a unique patio, porch, or interior decoration. Traditionally, chimes have been made of various materials, including glass, metal, stone, and wood. Choose the material that sounds best to you and use the conga drum as the base for constructing the homemade chimes.

Wooden Chimes

Attach different-sized wooden blocks to the bottom of each metal tuning brace on the conga. The braces are located around the top of the conga and hold the drum head in place. Allow the strings to hang down at least 2 inches below the bottom of the conga to ensure the wooden pieces clack together when the wind blows. Use a plant hook to hang your conga from a patio, awning, or ledge to benefit from the relaxing sound of the wooden chimes.

Metal Chimes

Metal chimes produce a metallic clangy sound, and you can slightly dull the sound by gluing rubber inserts inside the chimes. Find five pipes and cut them into different sizes, so that you have 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2-inch metal tubes. Drill one hole in the top of each tube to string the fishing line through. Thread the fishing line through the hole in the tube, and then tie the ends of the fishing line to the conga tuning braces. When you are finished, suspend the conga with plant hooks to ensure that the conga stays level.

Bamboo Chimes

Purchase a single long stalk of bamboo or several smaller ones to create bamboo chimes attached to the conga. Cut several bamboo stems to equal sizes and then tie them to the metal braces of the conga. Cut the strings short enough so that the stalks of bamboo hit against the side of the conga drum. The bamboo will send vibrations through the drum creating a pleasant and relaxing percussive sound.

Stone Chimes

Stone chimes are another possibility for creating a wind chime with a conga. Find several long stones and wrap some fishing line around them to keep them secure. Attach the rocks so that they fall along the outside of the wooden part of the conga. When the wind blows, the rocks will move and make contact with the metal braces and the wooden part of the drum. This will create a meditative sound similar to rocks slowly crumbling down a wooden plane.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guitar Flutter Technique

8:00:00 AM

The guitar flutter technique creates a vibrating sound with the notes that are played immediately before and during the activation of the tremolo bar. Not all guitars have a tremolo bar installed. On guitars missing the tremolo bar, you can have one installed, but it is preferred to select a guitar that already has the tremolo bar installed.


The guitar flutter technique is most easily executed near the top of the fingerboard. You can do it at most any location, but the top will provide you with the best flutter sound. Somewhere around the twelfth fret is a good location to begin your flutter. Use one of the higher strings, such as the G-string, the B-string, or the top E-string. Lower strings don’t provide the same resonance and clarity as the higher strings.


You will need a properly equipped guitar with a tremolo bar to effectively play the flutter technique. You can also purchase an extension for your guitar, but it is better to use a guitar specifically equipped for the job. The tremolo unit consists of an arm that vibrates the strings quickly when struck. This creates a fluttering sound also known as a tremolo.


It is easy to damage your guitar, so practice this technique carefully and avoid slamming the tremolo bar against the guitar. To perform the technique, pick a note on one of the higher guitar strings. Pluck the note and then immediately slap the end of the tremolo bar quickly and let the bar vibrate. The vibrating bar will create a vibrato effect, also known as a guitar flutter. The arm acts as a sort of spring that when pulled, pushed, or struck will go back to its original position and vibrate.


Practice playing guitar flutter on several different strings. You can also create a flutter on the lower strings, but the technique is not as pronounced or effective. To improve the technique practice striking more than one note at a time to create a double-stop effect. A double-stop occurs when two notes are simultaneously sounded together. You can also play this effect with chords and while playing scales. To play a scale pluck the first note of the scale, quickly hit the tremolo bar, and then continue up the scale.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Guitar Exercises for Independent Fingers

8:00:00 AM

Developing finger independence on the guitar improves your technical and musical facility. The ability to quickly play anything and not have to worry about your lack of coordination getting in the way opens up new doors and avenues for musical development. Guitar players must be able to move their fingers quickly while maintaining a high level of finger independence. Often, the pinky is the worst offender when it comes to finger independence. Finger exercises will greatly improve your control.

Finger Raise

Place your playing hand on the guitar neck with your fingers lying flat against the strings. Increase your finger independence by keeping all of your fingers straight and moving one finger at a time without moving your other fingers. Start with your index finger and then use the middle, ring, and finally pinky. Complete each exercise a total of five times with five finger raises per finger. When done regularly, this exercise takes five minutes.

Major Scales

While not the most enjoyable way to improve finger independence, practicing your major and minor scales will increase your independence. When playing the scales, start slowly and concentrate on moving only the finger required to play each note. Set the metronome to 60 beats per minute, playing one note per click. Continue to play this exercise with all major and minor scales. If you do not know your major or minor scales, use a guitar fingering chart to determine the notes.

Bottle Caps

Use an old bottle cap from a glass bottle. Clean it off with soap and water to make it sterile. Place the bottle cap sideways between your index finger and middle finger on the hand that you use to play the frets on the guitar. Most guitarists will want to use this technique with the left hand, but you should use the right hand as well to develop finger independence in both hands. Rotate the bottle cap between your fingers, rolling it over your middle finger, then lifting your middle finger up to allow it to roll over your ring finger. When you have completed a full set, reverse the motion.

Finger Stretching

The final exercise is based on John Petrucci’s video “Rock Discipline.” To complete the exercise, you can start on any pitch and any position. Place all four fingers on the fretboard a fifth apart from each other. Using 16th notes, play the pitches as quickly as you can. Start at the top of the fretboard where the positions are closer together and move down to increase the distance between pitches as you gain competence. This will stretch your fingers and teach your fingers to develop independence.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Great Birthday Ideas for Party Treat Bags With a Music Theme

8:00:00 AM
A music-themed birthday party can be educational and fun for the kids. Since there are four main instrument families in the orchestra, you can create themes based on any one instrument group. This will make it possible for kids to choose an instrument that relates to them while teaching them a little about the different instrument families in an enjoyable way.


Purchase treat bags that have a picture of a string instrument on the outside. Then, fill the treat bags with toys and games that use strings. You can include mouth harps, small toy banjos and cards that show pictures of string instruments. Include candy that resembles string, such as licorice. You can also include a can of silly string for the kids to play with. Think creatively and include items that include string such as yo-yos and toys with pull-strings.


Woodwind instrument treat bags can include anything that uses air to produce sound. You can include inexpensive recorders that cost less than a few dollars. Games made out of wood, such as building blocks or wooden puzzles. Choose candy that is brown or has a grainy texture such as malt balls. You can also include a Symphony brand chocolate bar or anything else with a music reference. Include toys made of wood such as boats or wooden airplanes. Buy treat bags with images of flutes, clarinets or any other woodwind instrument that you can find.


For the brass instrument treat bags, include chocolate gold coins that resemble the gold texture of a brass instrument. Toy trumpets and plastic horns are also good options for these treat bags. Include toy rings, jacks or even toy cars, since these are all items that are made out of metal. Play coins can also be a fun addition that kids can use to pretend to open a store and sell items. Make sure the treat bag has a picture of a trumpet, trombone, tuba or French horn on the outside.


Percussion instrument treat bags provide several options for toys and candies. Include, noisemakers, toy drums and bouncing balls, since mallet heads are often made from rubber balls. You can also include candies that are hard or create a fizzling sensation in the mouth when eaten. Rock candy is a good option, especially if it comes with a small hammer to chip away at the rock. Anything that relates to instruments that hammer, strike, stroke or bang will work for a percussion instrument treat bag.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Does a Tuba Get Its Tone?

8:00:00 AM

The first time I brought home a tuba, I was in middle school. I wanted to play the trumpet, but my band director convinced me to consider the tuba. He even offered to get me a stand to hold the tuba since he felt I was too small to wrangle the behemoth. I briefly imagined what the other kids would say, and I quickly dismissed the offer.

The tuba had a copper, brass, and new instrument smell. If you ever played an instrument, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I pulled it out of its case. At this age, I was small enough to fit inside the casing. I marveled at the instrument, and I couldn’t wait to learn how to play.

Many factors affect a tuba’s tone. An understanding of basic acoustics goes a long way toward understanding this rumbling beast. The tuba uses a series of welded brass tubes that create resistance, making it possible to direct air through the horn. This creates vibrations that the tuba amplifies, and the alloys used in the creation of the tuba generate the sound. This is why a gold-plated tuba projects a different sound than a silver-plated tuba.


Acoustic instrument sound begin with a vibration that creates pitch. Vibrations travel through the air causing the eardrum to transfer sound vibrations to three small bones known as ossicles in the middle ear. Vibrations occur anytime you hit, move, or act upon an object by force. In the case of the tuba, the vibrations initiate from the buzzing of the lips. When I was younger, I used to walk around buzzing non-stop, which I’m sure delighted my parents.


The mouthpiece of the tuba creates a powerful, narrow, and focused sound by sending a quick stream of air through the instrument.

Mouthpiece materials play a large part in the timbre or the characteristic sound of the instrument.

Brass mouthpieces create a strong, brassy tone, while silver mouthpieces create more mellow, soft tones.

Steel mouthpieces emit stronger tones, and gold mouthpieces create soft, supple tones.

Plastic mouthpieces provide a thinner sound, but they provide an option for extreme temperatures when playing outdoors. Nobody wants a tuba stuck to their face in the bitter cold. Plastic mouthpieces provide a useful purpose, but performers avoid them unless needed.

The tubist develops specialist knowledge over time. The mouthpiece choice depends largely on the style of music and the environment.


The size and materials of the tuba impact the sound the tuba creates. The tubing consists of brass alloys, which include a combination of copper, nickel, and zinc. Depending on the type and percentage of alloys used, the tuba will have a different sound. or timbre.

Nickel gives the tuba a softer sound, while copper provides the tuba with an edgier brassy sound.

The bending of the tubes makes it easier to play the tuba by creating some resistance. Without the many coils in the tuba, the performer would need several lungs to produce a sound. Without bendy tubes, you get no air resistance. This would make playing this large instrument extremely difficult. The resistance makes it possible to play the tuba.


The bell’s position somewhat directs the flow of sound into a room. Most tuba bells point directly up. Somewhere along the line, a sadist decided it was necessary to march with a tuba, and this spawned the sousaphone. The first time I had to carry a sousaphone, the band director had to lift it over my head. It was simply too heavy to pick up myself, but hey, as long as I didn’t sit down, I could march.

Sousaphone bells point directly forward. This ensures that the sound projects into the audience. Since sousaphones perform outside, the bell directs the sound into the audience.

In concert halls, the bell points upwards and various diameters exist. Bells that have a narrow outwards flare and small diameter tend to have a more precise sound. The bells that flare outwards with a larger diameter produce a great, booming tuba sound.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Types of Triads

8:00:00 AM

Triads are the basic building blocks of music harmony. Triads consist of a series of three notes separated by an interval of a major or minor 3rd. A musician must know these two intervals to build triads. A minor third spans three half steps, while a major third spans four half steps. Determining an interval requires knowledge of the chromatic scale, which consists of the following notes: C, C#(Db), D, D#(Eb), E, F, F#(Gb), G, G#(Ab), A, A#(Bb), B. The notes in parentheses are called enharmonic notes, having different names but the same pitch. For example, if you wanted a major third above D, you would count to F# instead of Gb since F# is both four half steps away from D and alphabetically three notes away.


Major triads are built with a major third followed by a minor third from bottom to top. In a major scale, triads built on the 1st, 4th, and 5th scale degrees are major. Major triads often occur in music that is intended to sound consonant or free of dissonance. While all music contains a mixture of major and minor chords, the emphasis is on major chords in a major piece.


Minor triads are built with a minor third followed by a major third from bottom to top. In a major scale, triads built on the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th scale degrees are minor. Pieces written in the minor often sound spooky, scary, or sad to the listener. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” is in a minor key.


Diminished triads are constructed with two minor thirds. Only the triad built on the 7th scale degree is diminished in a major scale, so in the case of a C major scale, the B triad would be diminished. You cannot write a piece in a diminished key, as it is only a type of chord. Major and minor chords are the basis for western tonal harmony, and they are also associated with scales and keys.


The augmented triad is built on two major thirds, which creates an unusual chord that is only found on the 3rd scale degree of the harmonic minor scale. Augmented chords rarely appear in classical music. Music is not written in an augmented key, as it is only a chord quality. A famous modern piece by Arnold Schoenberg, entitled “Pierrot Lunaire,” makes extensive use of augmented triads in the opening exposition of the composition.

Friday, September 2, 2016

How Do Temperatures Affect Guitars?

8:00:00 AM
Temperature greatly affects the sound, construction and appearance of a guitar. Care must be taken to avoid subjecting your guitar to harsh fluctuations. If you must play outside in the cold or extreme heat, consider using a less expensive guitar to avoid damage to your high-end instruments. Keep your instrument in its case and minimize the time spent performing in temperatures that will warp and distort your guitar.

String Tension

The tension of the strings will change with temperature. The strings most affected are the thickest strings while the strings least affected are the top higher strings that are slimmer. The overall tension can be increased or decreased depending on the environmental conditions. This will directly affect the tuning of the instrument. Performers need to be aware of how temperature will affect the temperature of the guitar. This makes it possible for the performer to re-tune the guitar as necessary in extreme temperatures.

Cold Weather

No noticeable difference in tuning has been detected with cold weather. However, cold weather is known to cause elements to detract. Most instruments when exposed to cold weather will go slightly sharp since the materials tend to contract and create additional tension. The biggest hazard for cold weather storage is that the guitar can warp. The inlays of the guitar can be damaged with prolonged exposure to cold weather, and the bindings and neck of the guitar may also suffer.

Hot Weather

Hot weather can cause the strings to loosen, thereby lowering the pitch of the guitar. This is problematic in a performance since not all of the strings are affected the same. It may be necessary to re-tune your guitar every 20 to 30 minutes to maintain the pitch. Heat can also fade the finish of your guitar and warp the body. For this reason, never leave your guitar in a hot car, even for a short period of time.


Humidity can also affect the construction of a guitar. The top of the instrument can begin to expand. You will notice this first as ripples in the finish of the guitar. This will severely affect the sound oas well. The bridge and strings of the guitar may push upwards creating additional tension in the neck of the guitar, destroying the finish. The strings may also be damaged with prolonged exposure to humidity. Strings exposed to high levels of moisture may absorb the water in the air, which will weaken them and make them more prone to breaking.