Monday, 29 July 2013

3D Printed Guitars

So 3D printing has really taken off with 3D printed food, limbs, guns and now guitars. Yes guitars. Would you play one? Of course you would. Who wouldn't want to see what it could do and what it sounds like?

Well professor of mechatronics at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, Olaf Diegel, is no stranger to 3D printers and their capabilities. He has been using them for the last 15 years. More recently he has begun to produce custom 3D printed guitar bodies under the name of ODD Guitars.

He says of the venture: “3-D printing makes it possible to manufacture ‘impossible’ shapes. For example, my Spider guitar has a spider web frame with little spiders crawling around the inside. The body is a single piece made of Poly-amide, which is an extremely tough and durable form of nylon. I've dropped the guitars a few times without damaging them.”

That’s reassuring.

According to the ODD website, the guitars have a wooden inner core to ensure fine tuning. This can be made of either mahogany or maple. The fret boards are usually made from ebony or rosewood.

“Customers can specify mahogany or maple necks and completely customize the electronics. They can also make minor modifications, like having their name, band logo, or other graphics 3-D printed on the back of the instrument at no extra cost. We can even adjust the weight to a player’s preference.”

That’s more like it.

Anyway if you have $3,000 to $3,500 in New Zealand dollars about your person, you can order your very own 3D printed guitar from Olaf Diegel’s range. Choose from either bass models Atom, Hive and Spider LP, or guitar models Atom, Hive, Scarab, Spider and Spider LP.

Monday, 22 July 2013

UK guitar festivals

As you can imagine there are loads of festivals throughout the year dedicated to the fabulous guitar and its beautiful sound. A few have already taken place in May, June and July which you can catch again next year. But come this October and November, there a plenty more to rock up to.

Llŷn Acoustic Guitar Festival, Llanbedrog, North Wales – 4-6th October 2013
Okay this fab festival in Llanbedrog, North Wales has got the lot. Entertainment in the form of concerts and workshops offering tuition from some of the top UK players. It’s also family-friendly with tourist hotspots on its doorstep for a varied break.

The Ullapool Guitar Festival, Ullapool, Scotland – 4-6th October 2013
This year’s 14th Ullapool Guitar Festival is also being held on the 4-6th October, so you’ll have to choose between this and a road trip to Llanbedrog, North Wales. If you opt for the Scottish Highlands, you’ll not only find breathtaking scenery, but late night festival clubs, concerts and workshops. The latter take place on Saturday and Sunday mornings so go easy on the beer the night before. Especially as you can test your playing skills on some of the best acoustic guitars around.

The International Guitar Festival of Great Britain, New Brighton, Wirral – November 2013
Obviously the guitar takes centre stage at this festival and is spotlighted in solos, as well as holding its own in blues, reggae and rock band appearances. This year’s 24th annual festival includes the following performers, the Liverpool Guitar Society Ensemble, Tom Toomey, John Goldie, Esmond Selwyn, Modjango, Jaz Koule and Gerry Murphy, The Campbell Duo and Graham Anthony Devine.

Others to catch next year include Scotland’s Premier Public and Industry Guitar Music Event in May, Winchester Guitar Festival in June and Bath Guitar Festival in July.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Music themed hotel rooms fit for rock stars

We can’t help feeling that with all of this sunshine you need to put down your guitar, take a breather and leave your den, studio or bedroom. After all it’s hard work dedicating every waking hour to music. So once your eyes have adjusted to the daylight, why not book yourself into one of these brilliantly music themed hotels?

Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton for multiple themed rooms including the Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant Suite, Dolly Parton's Dollywould Suite and Motown’s Soul Supreme Suite.

Backstage Hotel in Amsterdam for various monochrome rock themed rooms.

Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee complete with heart shaped pool for your hit of Elvis.

Cumberland Hotel in London for the psychedelic Jimi Hendrix Suite.

Hard Day's Night Hotel in Liverpool for either The Lennon or The McCartney Suite in homage to The Beatles.

Madonna Inn in California for the Queen of Pops’ Madonna Suite.

Now we know it will be tempting to behave like a rock star whilst ‘on tour’, but don’t forget the following:

  • Unless you have a management team, you will be responsible for picking up the bar tab. That includes paying through the nose for room service at 2am and emptying the mini bar on a daily basis
  • It’s really passé to trash hotel rooms these days. Also giant flat screen TVs are a lot harder to prise off the wall than their predecessors. And then there’s the bill for damage and replacement of fixture and fittings
  • Do not imagine for one minute that your neighbours are going to tolerate all night parties in your room. Or that ‘groupies’ are going to buy your rock star persona unless you have a cool entourage in tow

Other than that, have a great time.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Strings and all things guitar at Strings Direct

As you’ve probably guessed we’re big on guitar strings, hence the name Strings Direct.  It’s our thing
if you like.  We offer a huge range of strings for your guitar, whether it be an electric or an acoustic,
from great brands including Ernie Ball, D’Addario, Elixr, Fender and Gibson to highlight a few.

Here’s a little taster of what you’ll find on our website.

Ernie Ball 2223 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings 09-42 Super Slinky
These little beauties are favoured by Jimmy Page, Angus Young and Jeff Beck. Probably because
they offer optimum performance and longevity due to the precision manufacturing involved.  You’ve
got a hex shaped steel core wrapped with a nickel-plated steel wire to thank for that.

D'Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Electric 10-46 Regular Light 3-Pack
To emulate the guitar sounds of Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, Pat Metheny, Brad Delson and John
Scofield you’ll need these top selling strings.  Expect a bright, distinctive sound from D’Addario EXL
strings as they are also nickel-plated steel wire wrapped too.

Gibson Legend Series Ace Frehley Signature Electric Guitar Strings 09-46
If Ace Frehley from KISS is your inspiration, these Ace Frehley Signature Electric Guitar Strings from
the Gibson Legend Series will go a long way to helping you reproduce his sounds.  A core of premium
Swedish steel is encased in nickel-plated steel to produce a great crisp sound.

Pick & Mix strings
Don’t forget our fantastic Pick & Mix option where you can mix and match your string purchases.
Take advantage of our 5 and 10 set discounts on a range of brands.

As well as strings, you’ll also find guitar tuners, cables, picks, straps, amps and pedals on our
website.  And to celebrate the odd glimpse of sunshine, we are having a Summer Clearance where
you can pick up all sorts of discounted equipment.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Movie stars who play guitar

Most of these guys fit the Hollywood remit of being blessed with good looks, the recipients of unconditional adoration from fans and groupies and of course are minted. This gives them the time and money to indulge in their passion for playing the guitar. Yes life is unfair, get over it.

So who is making music on the side?

Ryan Gosling
As well as lead roles in the movies, American actor Ryan Gosling is the front man and co-founder of the band Dead Man’s Bones. Comfortable up front and brandishing his instrument of choice, he makes the perfect guitar hero. And ladies he likes a love song too, but we should stress they are written for ghosts and monsters. Well there is no such thing as Mr Right.

Robert Pattinson
He may have looked a little off colour in the Twilight movie series, but Robert Pattinson looks just peachy with guitar in hand. He can also turn his hand or vocal chords to singing as well. Yeah rub it in mate.

Hugh Laurie
Stephen Fry’s former comedy sidekick, Hugh Laurie spent eight years perfecting his American accent whilst claiming the lead role in the medical TV drama House on the Fox Network. But he has always kept his toe in the musical waters. This is more apparent now with his new venture Hugh Laurie and The Copper Bottom Band. Favouring The Blues he demonstrates his talent for the piano, but in his youth he was no stranger to the guitar.

Kevin Bacon
The star of the original Footloose movie (1984), Kevin Bacon hams it up (sorry) on guitar along with his brother in their band The Bacon Brothers.

Cory Monteith
Aka Finn from Glee is a no-brainer regards musicality as his character plays the drums. Out of character he too feels at home behind his drum kit in band Bonnie Dune. Okay it’s not the guitar, but we thought you’d like to be kept in the loop regardless.