Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is AH Music?


AH Music is a music shop which sells both instruments & accessories within Grantham, Lincolnshire.




Can I buy online from you?


Yes, we use eBay as our Point Of Sale for online customers.




Why use eBay?


eBay is a cheaper & easier method to advertise and make sales through.




If I purchase from you online, can I collect?


Yes, however all transactions through eBay must be completed through eBay. This means that payment can be made instore but the transaction must remain on eBay and cannot be cancelled.





Acoustic Guitars

What is an Acoustic Guitar?


An acoustic guitar is a stringed musical instrument that you play by plucking, picking or strumming the strings with fingers or a plectrum. The strings vibrate which is then amplified acoustically within the body of the guitar. This is why different body shapes & woods affect how the acoustic guitar sounds. The most common body shape is the 'Dreadnought' which often sounds fuller with a greater level of volume.




What to consider when buying an acoustic guitar for a beginner?


There are two main things to consider when purchasing an acoustic guitar for a beginner, ease of playing and sound. The two biggest factors which make an acoustic guitar easier to play is its body shape and its action. You may struggle to reach your arm over the body of a 'dreadnought' or 'jumbo' acoustic guitar. If that is the case, you should try a 'folk' or 'parlor' shape which is smaller bodied and therefore easier to play. The action refers to the distance between the string and the frets. If the action is low, the strings won't have to travel as far making it easier to press. The sound is also a big factor to consider. Ensure that you are happy with the sound that the guitar produces, you will more than likely want to play it more often!




What are the different types of acoustic guitars?


Acoustic guitars comes in various different types - The differences are, right handed & left handed, Acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars. An electro-acoustic guitar simply has a pickup which allows you to plug your acoustic guitar into an amplifier. This is mainly necessary when performing live. Acoustic guitars are also commonly known as Steel Strung guitars because the string is steel strung. Not to be confused with a 'nylon strung' guitar which is normally strung with nylon strings. Nylon strung guitars are also known as Classical guitars which are much easier on your fingers. This is why most schools advise their students to purchase them instead of steel strung guitars. LOOKING TO PURCHASE A NYLON STRUNG GUITAR? CLICK HERE




How much should I practice per day?


I don't seem to be improving, even though I've had my guitar for a week. I've even practiced twice, so what am I doing wrong?




I don't seem to be improving, even though I've had my guitar for a week. I've even practiced twice, so what am I doing wrong?


Learning to play guitar is not an overnight process. It takes time and dedication, which means as much practice as possible. Oh yeah, don't expect to be playing like Slash after a week. There is no need to be impatient, you will progress with time and practice.




What Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings Do I Need?


Strings are manufactured in a range of thicknesses or gauges. These gauges are designated in thousandths of an inch. String gauge has a big influence on playability and sound. Note that classical guitar strings are also designated according to their tension. Lighter gauge strings:

  • are generally easier to play
  • allow easier bending of notes and fretting
  • break more easily
  • produce less volume and sustain
  • are prone to cause fret buzzing, especially on guitars with low action
  • exert less tension on the guitar neck and are a safe choice for vintage guitars
Heavier gauge strings:
  • are generally harder to play
  • require more finger pressure to fret and bend notes
  • produce more volume and sustain
  • exert more tension on the guitar neck




What's the difference in string materials? Phosphor Bronze & 80/20 Bronze


Acoustic Guitar String Construction Materials Here are the sound characteristics of the most popular string types:

  • Bronze: They have clear, ringing and bright tone, but age quickly due to bronze’s tendency to oxidize.
  • Phosphor Bronze: Warmer and darker than bronze, their sound is still quite crisp and the phosphor in the alloy extends their life.
  • Aluminum Bronze: Pronounced bass and crisp highs with greater clarity than phosphor bronze.
  • Brass: They have a bright, jangling, metallic character.
  • Polymer-coated: Less sustain and brightness than equivalent uncoated strings with good presence and warmth; corrosion-resistant. Some include colorants for visual appeal.
  • Silk and Steel: These steel core strings have silk, nylon, or copper wrap wire on the lower strings producing a softer touch and delicate tone. Popular with folk guitarists and fingerstyle players.





Bass Guitars

What is a Bass Guitar?


A bass guitar is a stringed instrument which is similar in appearance and build to an electric guitar, except it has four to six strings (more commonly four), a longer neck & scale length. It is typically played using fingers, thumb or by plucking, slapping, strumming, tapping, picking with a plectrum. A bass guitar is normally an octave lower than the electric guitar with its strings pitched to E, A, D, and G.​




What to consider when buying a bass guitar for a beginner?


  • There are a few main things to consider when buying a bass guitar for a beginner.
  • You should purchase the best bass guitar that you can afford. The better the bass, the easier it will be to learn on.
  • Always begin on a 4-string bass and if you are smaller, try out a short-scale bass instead of long-scale.
  • Select a bass which appeals to you - It won't change the sound but it may motivate you to pick it up and play it more often.





Classical Guitars

What is a Classical Guitar?


A classical guitar is a stringed instrument which is similar in appearance and build to an acoustic guitar, except it is strung with nylon strings and has a wider fretboard. It is typically played using fingers, thumb or by plucking, strumming, picking with a plectrum and is normally tuned to E, A, D, G, B and E. It's also commonly referred as a nylong strun guitar and is recommended by most schools for beginners.




What Size Classical Guitar Do I Need?


The size guitar you choose for your child is, perhaps, the most crucial aspect affecting the child's ability to actually play the guitar. A guitar that is too large will be impossible to play, while a guitar that is too small will teach your child to play incorrectly, making it difficult for him or her to transfer to a standard size guitar upon reaching adulthood.

  • In general, a 4 to 6 year old child, ranging in height from 3'3" to 3'9" (99 cm to 114 cm), needs a guitar that is 1/4 of the standard size.
  • A 5 to 8 year old child, ranging in height from 3'10" to 4'5" (117 cm to 135 cm), needs a guitar that is 1/2 the full size.
  • Children between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, ranging in height from 4'6" to 4'11" (137 cm to 150 cm) need a 3/4 size guitar.
  • Children ages 11 and up who are at least 5' (152 cm) tall can have a standard, full-size guitar.




What tension classical guitars strings (nylon guitar strings) do I need?


While classical guitar strings are sold in sets with specified gauges, they are also marketed according to each set’s tension ratings. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut standard for these ratings, so a certain amount of experimentation among different string brands may be necessary to find what works for you. Complicating matters further, some packaged string sets mix and match tensions among the strings while only listing a single tension designation on the package. Here are the more common designations and their characteristics: Low Tension (also sometimes called Moderate or Light Tension)

  • Easier fretting, especially on guitars with a higher action
  • Less volume and projection
  • Less pronounced attack with more note “body”
  • Best for smooth legato techniques
  • Greater tendency to cause buzzing on frets
Normal Tension (also sometimes called Medium Tension)
  • Usually strikes a balance between the characteristics of Low and High Tension strings
High Tension (also sometimes called Hard or Strong Tension)
  • More difficult fretting, especially on guitars with high action
  • More volume and projection
  • More pronounced attack with less note “body”
  • Best for strong rhythmic playing
  • May cause issues with necks, bridges, and top bracing on fragile instruments





Electric Guitars

What is a Electric Guitar?


An electric guitar is a stringed instrument which is similar in appearance and build to an bass guitar, except it has six to eight strings (most commonly six), a shorter neck & scale length. It is typically played using fingers, thumb or by plucking, strumming, tapping, picking with a plectrum. An electric guitar is normally an octave higher than the bass guitar with its strings pitched to E, A, D, G, B and E.




What To Consider When Buying An Electric Guitar For A Beginner?


There are a few main things to consider when buying a electric guitar for a beginner.

  • You should purchase the best electric guitar that you can afford. The better the instrument, the easier it will be to learn on.
  • Always begin on a 6-string guitar and if you are smaller, try out a 3/4 size guitar.
  • Select a guitar which appeals to you - It won't change the sound but it may motivate you to pick it up and play it more often.





Clarinets

What is a Clarinet?


A Clarinet is a woodwind instrument which has a single-reed mouthpiece, a cylindrical tube with a flared end, and holes stopped by keys.




What Reeds Do I Need?


Reed types All clarinet reeds are not created equally. Most seasoned players will tell you that simply changing the kind of reed you use can make a major difference in your sound. To start, there are many different brands to choose from. Rico, a U.S.-based manufacturer, and Vandoren, a French one, are two of the most-recommended brands for beginning players. Other popular makers include Rigotti, Selmer, and Legere. Aside from choosing a brand, a clarinetist needs to consider a reed's strength and cut. Strengths range from soft to hard, typically rated on a 1-to-5 system (5 being the hardest). While a hard reed produces a fuller and thicker sound, a softer reed easier to play, making it suitable for most beginners. Additionally, reeds come in two different cuts: regular or French-file. While advanced players will appreciate the French-file's quicker response, beginners might not find them worth the slightly higher cost.





Flutes

What is a flute?


A wind instrument made from a tube with holes that are stopped by the fingers or keys, held vertically or horizontally (in which case it is also called a transverse flute) so that the player's breath strikes a narrow edge. The modern orchestral form is a transverse flute, typically made of metal, with an elaborate set of keys.




What to consider when buying a flute?


When purchasing a beginner’s instrument it is tempting to go for the cheapest model. This may not be the best route to choose however. A higher quality flute will have much better intonation, playability, projection and will speak with more clarity in all ranges. If a beginner is given a low-grade flute they may get frustrated and give up playing.





Trumpets

What is a trumpet?


A brass musical instrument with a flared bell and a bright, penetrating tone. The modern instrument has the tubing looped to form a straight-sided coil, with three valves.




What to consider when buying a trumpet?


When purchasing a beginner’s instrument it is tempting to go for the cheapest model. This may not be the best route to choose however. A higher quality trumpet will have much better playability, projection and will speak with more clarity in all ranges. If a beginner is given a low-grade trumpet they may get frustrated and give up playing.





Violins

What is a Violin?


A stringed musical instrument of treble pitch, played with a horsehair bow. The classical European violin was developed in the 16th century. It has four strings and a body of characteristic rounded shape, narrowed at the middle and with two f-shaped soundholes.




What size violin do I need?


The measurement of a violin is taken along the back seam. The measurements are the entire lenth of the back, but do not include the heel button on the end of the neck. 4/4 Size: 14″ – 14 1/8″ 3/4 Size: 13″ – 13 1/4″ 1/2 Size: 12 1/4″ – 12 1/2″ 1/4 Size: 11″ – 11 1/4″ 1/8 Size: 10″ – 10 3/8″ Testing if you have the right size violin You can see if a violin is the right size for you, by holding it in the playing position. If the violin is the right size, the player will be able to extend their left arm and cover the scroll with their hand comfortably, and without stressing the elbow.




Why do violins come in different sizes?


Played by people of all ages the violin is made in different sizes so that even a small child can find a model that he or she can hold and play comfortably.




How many different violin sizes are there?


Violins come in 8 main sizes. The size corresponds to the length of the body of the violin (not including the neck and scroll). The smallest common size is 1/16 (just 9 inches or 23 cm), and the sizes work their way up through 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 and finally 4/4 or full size (about 14 inches or 36 cm).




How do I measure my child for a violin?


Have your child stand up straight and hold out their arm with their palm facing upwards. Measure from the left side of their neck to their wrist. Check the length in cm or inches against the table below: Measuring to the wrist is a method favoured by Suzuki teachers and will normally give a slightly smaller size than when measuring to the middle of the palm, another method. Therefore it may be ok to choose the bigger size here, if your child’s wrist measurement comes very close to the next size up.




Why is it important to choose the correct size?


A violin that is too big will be heavy for a child to hold. Playing a heavy violin will make their arms tired and sore and may also hurt their neck and eventually their back. Also if they have trouble reaching the notes it will be very difficult to play in tune. Aside from the discomfort, none of this will be good for their motivation to play music!




When is a good time to move to a bigger size?


Children tend to adapt quickly to a bigger size of instrument, so I usually advise just to go ahead with a bigger violin whenever your child is ready. If possible, it’s best to allow a few weeks to get used to the bigger size before playing in a concert or exam. Occasionally, a teacher may hold back a child from moving up a size for a couple of months to develop their bow technique and make their arm just a bit stronger before the jump up. So consultation with the teacher here is always good.




Should I buy a better quality violin when I need a bigger size?


I advise to buy for the level of instrument that your child needs, rather than buying a certain level of instrument for a given size or age of the child. For example, if you are looking for a new violin for your 9 year old who has been playing for a few years, it’s likely because they are making good progress and are keen to continue with music lessons. In that case, I would advise upgrading your child’s instrument. The 9 year old who is working towards grade 3 exam will need a better instrument than another 9 year old who is just starting violin lessons for the first time.





© 2018 - 2020 AH Music  |  36 Westgate  |  Grantham  |  Lincolnshire  |  NG31 6LY, England, United Kingdom

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