The local shops with the largest selections are quite a ways apart. has a good selection of Martin, Gibson and Taylor acoustics. I love this store! They are always so helpful! If I can’t find a piece of music, they order it for me which is awesome. The lessons are top notch and the teachers are nice and knowledgeable in their instruments. I highly recommend checking it out!



Hipshot tuners are usually overlooked when it comes to acoustic guitars in favor of usual suspects Grover/Gotoh/Waverly. My friend was looking for a relatively cheap replacement for GS Mini that would improve stability without having to pay a significant chunk of the price of the guitar for a set of tuners. Locking tuners are usually not associated with acoustic guitars, but my is friend used to locking tuners/nuts/bridges on electric guitar and like the extra stability they provide, so he wanted something like that on the Mini. Hipshot has both open and closed gear tuners, with or without the locking mechanism. What surprised me was the price – locking set runs for 50 bucks from an authorized dealer.

Another thing that makes them interesting are the UMP (universal mounting plates) they offer (extra 10 bucks or something) that allow installation without drilling any holes in the headstock. That’s a big plus for people who don’t want to deal with that or pay a tech to install the tuners. My friend was able to replace them for about the same time it takes to replace strings, which is amazing.

Finally, they have a significant number of custom buttons, both metal and plastic, plenty to match any guitar. My friend went with their standard modernized keystone look that matches Taylor headstock perfectly.

My friend took the open gear locking model which combines vintage and modern and matches acoustic guitar nicely. My friend have had them on the guitar for about a week now. Strings are settled in and they noticeably improved stability. 18:1 ratio is a bit smoother than 16:1 which many makers use as standard. I like finer ratio, especially for thicker strings. With lower ratio they change pitch way too fast, so it’s not easy to get the pitch just right.

Snowball USB Microphone

I’ve used their 8 Ball and that’s a cracking little mic for the price. If this is as cheap as $54 I’d buy as many as I could afford! Seriously tho, Blue are a pretty heavyweight mic company and even their budget range tends to be serious quality for any given price point, so with that reduction I’d say buy it. I’m actually a little envious of others good fortune! When I was looking for a Snowball USB Microphone, a friend informed me that there is a great deal here! on GC. I’m pretty happy with my Blue Snowball USB Mic.  I’ve had it a few years. It has survived the horrors that is the corner of my desk and the floor below and still works.


Tambourine at

Dynamicx makes great stuff. They have neat tambourines!

In all the mountable tambourine at that I have seen, the mounting bracket cannot be removed, but it looks like this one can. It appears to be a handheld tamb with a mounting bracket bolted to it. I think you can remove it with a wrench – not something to do between sets, but it looks to be fairly easily convertible. 

I heard that the triangular shape gives it a darker, drier sound. As far as sound goes, the best sounding one I have ever heard is LP Cyclops with brass dimpled jingles. It practically sounds EQ’d. It’s the opposite of harsh sounding. I know they make a mounted version but all I could find is the hand held one.


Local Store

I’m lucky to have a few good stores within range of me. The best one I have is Guitar Center. Brilliant range of stock, some of the best staff you could be served by. They also have loads of lovely ESPs, Fender, Jackson, Gretsch and more. Loads of acoustics as well as PA, pianos and electronic music stuff. Great chaps in there too, willing to let you try whatever, pretty much a half hour in sound booths, aren’t pushy and be as helpful as possible. Love those guys.  The local store also looks very nice.

Godin Session

In this price range it is hard to find something so well-made. I have mine about a year, I’ve changed humbacker for SD SH-11, and both singles for Merlin (polish manufacture)- this guitar simply rocks. The godin session is very comfortable to play and very versatile in sound. Normally Godin Sessions would go from 600 to 800 dollars, because they are handmade and the best Canadian wood. Mine was a special deal, because I bought my Godin Session for 400 dollars.

Godins are very good axes indeed. Craftsmanship and quality control are really high. Plus the Canadian manufacturer. They are very much like Fenders should be, if they weren’t been manufactured in Mexico, China, Vietnam and other countries of this kind. My Godin session looks, plays and sound like heaven. And has all the finesse some American axes miss so badly.

Acoustic Guitar Stand

What a gem!  If you are looking for a magical experience on par with some of the worlds best then this is your spot.  A selection to die for of high-end gear mixed with some affordable pieces.  A sales staff with a depth-of-knowledge that will knock your socks off, and an experience that will inspire you to buy.  This is where I purchased a new guitar and an acoustic guitar stand

There’s a reason people make the pilgrimage to this store.  If you haven’t wandered any of their outlet, you are missing out.  If you haven’t stopped just to chill out and chat, let alone try an unreal selection of instruments, you are missing out.

The sales staff are accomplished players who know their craft.  I wasn’t even shopping the price range of a Collings I-35 hollow-body but the associate insisted I learn about this masterpiece of design and build quality as to put it on my list of desired guitars.  He plugged me into a Carr Imperial amp, tuned it up, suggested a setting and I proceeded to feel notes bloom from the fretboard that were so rich and beautiful I almost wept.  Do I sound like I’m going overboard?  Yes!  Am I exaggerating?  No!

Acoustic Guitar StandAcoustic Guitar Stand

Brass Nut

brass nut

I have a friend that have replaced countless Gibson nuts. The issue is that the sides of the original nut are lacquered over. That finish has to be scored there (and on the headstock side) to remove the nut. If done wrong, yes, the finish can chip.

When you install the new brass nut, you have two options:

1. Fit the nut to be flush with the finish on the neck/binding. You new nut will not be finished over.

2. Make the nut undersized in width by a hair and build up lacquer on the ends to make it look stock. That’s a lot more work, with no benefits other than cosmetics.

brass nut

My personally find Gibson factory nuts to be too high most of the time and like to cut them deeper as well. The trick is, of course, not to go too deep.

Ukulele Musician’s Friend

I purchased my ukulele, acoustic guitars and electric guitars from Musician’s Friend and always got a good deal, great advice from them.  My brother was in the market for a guitar.  As a drummer, he does not know anything about guitars.My brother got a ukulele musicians friend to play on stage, and it has served him well.  He went to them again, as they were extremely helpful, and patient.  They didn’t try to sell my brother a $5000.00 Martin.  They told him they needed a nice sounding acoustic guitar to write with, and play on stage.  They pointed my brother a Yamaha, and Breedlove.  I played a few guitars, and kept coming back to the Breedlove.
My brother was (and always has been), very patient while it took forever to make up his mind.  He chosed the Breedlove.  Awesome service, great price, for a piece of equipment he will use for 20 years.  No pressure, no bs, just great advice, and a guitar that is serving him very well!  Another guitarist used it in studio to record some tracks with, as he liked the brightness of it, over his own, for the song.  Always fair, and professional.  Love Musician’s Friend!

Cordoba 20TM-CE Tenor Cutaway Electric Ukulele


Launchpad Pro

Launchpad Pro combined with LPC-Live 2 is going to seriously compete with Push at these price points. LPC-Live 2 is essentially a Push emulator for Launchpad. Been using it for a couple of years now, well worth the $22 and honestly has enabled me to hold off on a Push. These new features (RGB, scale display (which LPC-Live 2 already has) are going to really add to the appeal). The Push still has much more functionality, but that is a mighty fine price point. launchpad pro also probably is much easier to transport to & from gigs than the Push is. I am really liking the midi out functionality, but the push is still way more integrated. This is a sweet Launchpad.

Launchpad ProLaunchpad ProLaunchpad Pro