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Extended Range: When 6 Is Not Enough

Posted on April 16, 2015

Many people may be overwhelmed by extended range guitars as it is something they're not used to, however there are a number of artists using them to help extend the bass or sometimes treble range of their playing which can create more contrast and a more unique sound. When an additional string is added, the width of the fret board is increased so it can be placed next to the rest of the strings, some people might take a while to get used to an extra string while others may never like it, it all depends on the persons playing style and what sort of sound they want to obtain.

While they might seem relatively new to some people, seven string guitars have been around since the 19th century,the first example of it being the Russian guitar which is a seven string acoustic tuned to Open G tuning. This is similar to the Brazilian guitar which is tuned like a standard classical or acoustic guitar but with an extra low C.

Semi-Hollow and hollow body seven strings came about during the 1930's when a Jazz guitarist called George Van Eps had his own signature guitar built by Epiphone as well as Gretsch. Most players had the extra string tuned to a low A or a low B. More Jazz guitarists from the 30's to the 80's such as Bucky Pizzarelli or Ralph Patt also began using seven strings.

During the 80's, seven string solid body electrics started being made which guitarist Steve Vai picked up on and had his own guitar with a high A. Later on, Ibanez and Vai worked together to mass produce the UV7 which was a seven string with the low B instead of a high A.

Seven strings started becoming more popular within the Rock and Metal scene as bands like Korn began using the instrument which was perfect for their low end riffs and still allowed them to have the full range of a six string for leads and solos.

We here at Rose Morris have a selection of seven string guitars in a variety of styles- so come and try one today!

And remember- you can never have enough strings, like this guy:


Narciso Yepes playing a 10-string classical guitar; via youtube.com

 

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Stay Grounded: Power Supplies Explained

Posted on March 03, 2015

Effects pedals are like snowflakes, every one is special. While this may be a gross oversimplification, when it comes to power and power supplies, It's a maxim well worth bearing in mind. Fortunately we at Rose Morris are here to walk you through it.

First off. What does it all mean? When referring to effects, power means Current and Voltage and both are important when choosing how to power your pedals.

Pedals are predominately powered by 9 Volts. However some can take 12v or 18v. This is important to bear in mind because if you use a power supply where the voltage is too high, it could easily turn your shiny new overdrive into a stylish but expensive paperweight. 

Current draw is also important. The amount of current a pedal draws is measured in milliamps (ma) and this is usually displayed on the pedal itself. A power supply will have a maximum ma output it can provide. If your pedal's draw exceeds it, it wont work. 

The last thing you need to consider is the polarity. Most pedals take a center negative polarity adapter. However, if it's different, you wont be able to daisy chain (power multiple units with one power supply) with other pedals. 

With all this in mind. What's the best way to power your effects? The Diago Micropower is a simple and flexible way of powering multiple pedals at once. However some people like the way a 9v battery sounds, particularly with drive and fuzz pedals. The important thing is you know the power requirements of your board.

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NAMM '15 - Staff Picks.

Posted on February 17, 2015
So another NAMM show has come and gone and we at Rose Morris are pretty excited with whats coming our way. Here's a quick run down of the new products we're itching to getting our hands on. 

Electric Guitar
 
The return of the Roland Blues Cube has been a long time coming and with a new design, with great valve tones, we can see these being a big hit. Boss have added to their extensive range of effects with the ES-8, one of the most versatile and user friendly pedal switching systems on the market. your days of tap dancing are numbered.

The Electro Harmonix Super Pulsar Stereo Tremolo has caused quite a stir at Anaheim. Classic analog tremolo sounds with more control than you can shake a stick at, expect these to disappear fast when they hit the shop floor. 
 
Keyboards

With the JDXi, Roland are returning to their roots. It gives you digital flexibility with hands on intuitive control, but with the warm analog bass and lead tones of classic JUNO synths. It comes with a four track pattern sequencer and an impressive array of effects, all in a very affordable package.

Acoustic Guitar
 
The Guild M20 heralds the return of a folk classic. Designed by Ren Ferguson in Guild's new California factory, You can have the dark, mellow tones of Nick Drake in the palm of your hand. There's also brand new models from James Neligan with their new EZRA range. Featuring solid cedar tops in a fetching sunburst finish, These guitars are bound to be a hit with beginner and pro alike. 

Drums

Stagg are expanding their popular SENSA range with the new Orbis Crash and China. With a fast and trashy sound, with plenty of cool overtones, these are a must try for any aspiring metal maestro.    

Accessories

Often overlooked at music conventions, but always essential, We're particularly intrigued by the Korg
Sledgehammer Pro Clip tuner. With a high visibility '3D' display, and ultra precise tuning accuracy. This could be the perfect on stage gizmo for professional player and beginner alike. 

What's most exciting is there's even more to come, so make sure you visit our store to see all the great new products on offer.

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Squeaky Clean: Top tips for guitar care

Posted on February 08, 2015

Most of us don't take as good care of our electric guitars as we'd like to admit. To some, the guitar is precious thing, not to be touched- or even looked at in some cases if its owner deems you unworthy. To others, it's a trusty work horse that has seen better days. However, as much as we may love our guitars, we do not always take care of them- especially when it comes to cleaning.

However, if you most of you are like myself, when you do happen to treat your guitar to 'spa' day, its a wonderful feeling.

Here are some tips and tricks to make your guitar as fabulous as it is meant to be:

THE FRET-BOARD:

To start, wiping your fret board down with a micro-fiber polishing cloth is a great way to eliminate any dust or larger pieces of 'gunk' off of your frets. This will make it easier to clean in the long run.

A good tip to remember is to do this every time you change your strings, to ensure that you keep up with a clean fret-board in between moisturizing and deep cleaning sessions. Every once in a while however, it is good to treat your guitar to a deeper clean.

Lemon oil is a great tool for removing grime, dirt, sweat, and basically any unwanted debris on your fret-board. However, like all liquid-based guitar care products, it is a good idea to keep moderation in mind, as too much moisture can damage the fret board. There are a plethora of myths floating around the guitar community about the dangers and toils of using lemon oil, but we are here to reassure, it's 100% safe.

As you clean your fret-board, is a good reminder to check up on your fret-wire and the state of the wood to double check everything is in good shape.

NECK AND BODY:

One of the best things you can do for your guitar's neck and body is possibly on of the easiest: simply use a micro-fiber cloth (such as the D'addario Micro-Fiber Polishing Cloth which requires no polish), and wipe down the surface of your guitar. Using a micro-fiber or very soft cloth is a great way to remove fingerprints, grime, and dust without damaging the surface of your guitar.

Once you've wiped down the body, it's a good idea to do the same to the neck- you'd be surprised how a dirty and grimy a neck can get from just a few gigs or practice sessions.

Guitar Polish is a great way to give your guitar a great shine, whilst removing any excess dirt or fingerprints you may have missed during routine wipe-downs with a cloth.

A great tip that comes from one of boys in the shop, Miles, is to lay the cloth over the strings and pick-ups when you are spraying the body. This way, you won't get any polish or moisture where you don't want it. Pro tip, Miles!

In saying that, it is important to be careful when spraying guitar polish on the body of your instrument. It is recommended that you spray the cloth directly with the polish before you clean the neck and the head stock so you avoid getting any unwanted residue on the frets or strings.

So go ahead and treat yourself, and your guitar-all instruments deserve to look their best.

Remember: a clean guitar is happy guitar!

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Talk Boxes - EQ and Filters

Posted on January 23, 2015

This week in the stomp box spotlight is a category of much misunderstood and under-utilised pedals. Rather than going into great lengths over how they work (that's what Wikipedia is for), lets take a look at a few ways you can use them to breath life into you're rig.

EQ pedals give you total tonal control by boosting or cutting certain frequencies. However, they can also be used as an effect. During his time with Guns and Roses, Slash used a Boss GE-7 during his solos. Boosting the high mids is an excellent way to cut through in a live mix for lead work without altering your amps tone. Another cool way to use EQ pedals is to cut all the bass and high frequencies to achieve and AM Radio tone that can be heard in the intro to 'American Idiot' by Green Day, or 'If Only' by Queens Of The Stone Age.

Everyone knows the classic sound of a Wah pedal but one of the more interesting ways to use a Wah is as a Filter. Instead of rocking back and forth, set it in a fixed position and leave it be! Mick Ronson was a a genius when it came to utilising the Wah's unique properties and this technique can be heard all over his work with David Bowie. Another classic example of this is the throaty guitar tone in Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing'.

Envelope filters are one of the more distinctive sounding effects. They're most commonly used in funk, particularly for rhythm work. However these can be a great tool for some sonic mayhem! Jack White uses an Electro Harmonix Bass Balls, an envelope filter designed for bass (clues in the name!) to add frenetic energy into riffs and solo's. When paired up with fuzz and octave effects, You can create some nasty squelching tones that will set you apart from the average player. 

When it comes to effects, the only rule is there are none. There's plenty of options out there and plenty to experiment with. You're best bet is to come see us in store and discover for yourself. However, be warned. Pedals are like Pringles, you can't just have one!

Matt Wilkinson

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All Change Please: A String care guide

Posted on January 06, 2015

I often get asked how often I recommend you change the strings on your guitar. I can say with some certainty that the people that ask this question aren't changing them anywhere near often enough. Now, I don't say that because I want to sell lots of packs of strings. So, how often should you change them, and why?

Well, the first part of that question I usually answer with 'If you can't remember the last time you changed them, then it's time.' (What a wit I am). The real answer is more difficult, as it does, to a certain extent, depend on how much you play. I say 'to a certain extent' because strings lose life by just being out in the open air (which is why many string companies package their strings in sealed packets). If you're playing every day for several hours, non-coated strings should really be changed every 3 or so weeks. If you're just an occasional player, you might get away with 6-8 weeks.

By far the most wearing element for strings is the sweat, dirt and skin cells from your cells (sorry if you had a mouthful of lunch when reading that). This gunk gets stuck down in the winds of the wound strings, reducing their ability to vibrate freely, which in turn makes them sound dull and lifeless. On plain strings, they cause oxidisation and in extreme circumstances, rusting.  This answers the second part of the above question.

To combat this, you can clean your strings after playing, which can extend life. There are also plenty of companies making coated strings that help to eek out extra life from them.

The other part of the guitar that can suffer from old strings is the frets. Corroded strings cause extra fret wear, which, if you've ever had to pay for a fret crown or re-fret, you'll appreciate how expensive THAT can be.

So, a fresh, clear tone, reduced fret wear and a smooth playing experience - why WOULDN'T you change your strings more regularly?!

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Individual Pedals or a Multi-Effects Unit?

Posted on December 29, 2014

We're often asked which is better, a pedal board of individual pedals or a multi-effects unit. As is often the case with questions of this ilk, the answer isn't straightforward, and often depends on your own needs.

Below is a list of the pros and cons of both systems.

Individual Pedals

+ If a pedal is dedicated to one thing, chances are it'll be bloody good at it.

+ If you ever fall out of love with a certain pedal, it's easy to replace.

+ Easy to quickly adjust settings on the fly.

+ No complicated programming or firmware updating to do.

+ You never have to have more effects than you actually use.

- Tricky if you need to switch on more than one effect at a time.

- Takes up a lot of space.

- Generally a more expensive route if you need a lot of effects.

- Batteries go flat on stage, or you need countless power cables.

- More elements to go wrong (pedals, cables, batteries etc.)

 

Multi-effects Units

+ All the effects you could possibly need, all in one convenient box.

+ One cable connection on stage, minimising cable spaghetti.

+ Generally cheaper if you intend to use the majority of effects.

+ No more tap-dancing to turn on multiple effects at once.

+ Have got VERY good in recent years.

- If you don't like a certain effect, you're stuck with it.

- Often needs pre-programming which can be intimidating.

- Quality of the effects tends not to be as good as individual pedals unless you spend a lot of money on it.

- Not easy to adjust sounds on the fly.


This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you some things to consider. There are options that circumvent many of these problems.  For example, you can program control floor units to switch on multiple pedals at once, and even switch amp channels at the same time, meaning you can leave the pedals off-stage. Many of these are very expensive though, and aimed at pro touring players who couldn't live without one.

Our advice is this - make a list of all the effects you know you need.  If this list goes on a bit, and many of them will be used at once, maybe a multi-effects pedal is for you. If realistically you only use an overdrive and a bit of delay, you might be better served with individual pedals.

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Avon Alcove: Rose Morris History

Posted on December 14, 2014

Every great guitar company has an entry level line of instruments to help inspire young rockstars put down dad’s tennis racket and put on The Ramones debut or The Venture’s “Walk Don’t Run” and start working out The Kinks.

In the 60’s and 70’s Avon stepped in and provided the platform for the germinating guitar hero with rock solid instruments that you could hopefully talk your folks into buying after they made you rehearse “Hot Cross Buns” on your grand dad’s classical guitar.

Most examples of these vintage babies are still playing great today with their characteristic low frets and hot pickups.

The Shaftesbury was always the more up-market beast, but the Avon little brother was plenty tough and destined to be just as cool.

 

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Getting to the Crunch of the Matter - Overdrives and Distortions

Posted on December 10, 2014

Sometimes, the amount of gain your amp's pre-amp stage produces just isn't enough for the music you're playing, or it might not have the tonal characteristics you're after for a particular song.  This is the time when you might want to consider an overdrive or distortion pedal to add to your rig.

So, what's the difference?  Well, an overdrive pedal increases the signal strength going to the power amp stage of the amp to the point where you will get a nice 'break-up', by which we mean a subtle distortion of the blues/classic rock style.  Setting the gain knob low on an overdrive will add warmth to the tone without necessarily creating a 'breaking-up' sound.  A distortion pedal takes things to the next level, boosting the signal further to get a more distorted, heavy rock or metal tone.  These can have different characteristics, from a straight-forward good-ol' British Marshall crunch to the mid-scooped modern US metal tones, so it's definitely worth trying as many as you can to find the sound you're after.

Generally speaking, overdrives and distortion pedals come before the pre-amp, that is to say, not in an effects loop.  However, we certainly don't want to discourage such experimentation; that's half the fun, and many people like the sound of 'power amp distortion'.

Overdrive pedals are also often used as a boost for an already distorted sound, especially for solo sections, so don't discount the value of one in your rig even if you love the sound of your amp cranked to 11!

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Shaftesbury 3261

Posted on December 01, 2014

Here it is. The most popular Shaftesbury of them all

Rose Morris has a long history with Rickenbacker that has been covered in past blogs, so here’s a little recap. WE brought Rickenbacker to the UK. Most of the iconic images you see of Pete Townshend, John Lennon, etc. are Ricky’s from our stock, so naturally we started commissioning our own version.

This is a fine example from our private stock in all her glory. Three-tone sunburst, check. Matching headstock, check. Shaftesbury logo behind the bridge, check. Stunning vintage tone, check. 

These EKO-made collectables are quite hard to come by and gain value every year. Reissue material? Let us know.

 

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