I know, it’s been a long while since I last posted anything new here. I’ve been indulging too much in the niceties of life that I’ve neglected a few things like this blog. Among of such niceties is the acoustic pickup which I’ve been messing around with lately. And so, to resurrect this blog from the dead (around Halloween nonetheless), I am sharing acoustic guitar pickup reviews here. Head to GLM also for acoustic guitar pickups that are not included in this post.

Having a pickup on your acoustic guitar enables you to amplify your sound without being in front of a mic. Generally speaking, there are 3 types to choose from: soundhole pickups, soundboard transducers and under-saddle piezos. The latter is often integrated into a majority of affordable electric-acoustic guitars. Each of those types delivers a unique tone, so test to know the one that suits you best. Below, I share a couple of my favorite types, brands and models.

Seymour Duncan Woody

Because of its relatively low price and the different finishes available, the Seymour Duncan Woody is still popular. Furthermore, the passive pickup isn’t hard to fit in most acoustic guitars. It can be had in 3 versions: the humbucker HC SA-3HC, the single coil SA-3SC, and the XL SA-3XL (whose pole pieces are adjustable).

AER AK 15 Plus

The AK 15 Plus is a pickup that is two-way and is blendable. It has an electric condenser mic and an under-saddle piezo pickup, contained in a tiny foam stuff that sits inside the guitar’s back. It also has a preamp, with a mic blend and two volume thumbwheels. These features enable you to tweak the hi-fi sound of the AK 15 Plus.

Shadow SH 145 Prestige

The German-made Shadow SH 145 Prestige is a soundhole active pickup that features a humbucker design with pole pieces that are adjustable. That lets you get a pure, even tone by enabling you to adjust the balance among the outputs of individual strings. Furthermore, it’s not hard to install and is available in black or titanium finishes.

There you go — a few quick acoustic guitar pickup reviews just to bring some noise back into this blog. In the past, I also blogged about guitars and they would likely work well with the pickups above. You might want to check them out too. Anyway, that’s about it for now and I hope that I get to post more articles in the future.

bathing-918720_640When you first think of taking a bath, you think about getting clean. But you might shrug off the idea because a shower is faster and more convenient. However, did you know that there are other reasons to bathe? One of such reasons is for relaxation. Taking a warm bath can be a great way to reduce stress.

So, how does soaking in a tub help you to relax? Well, soaking in a nice warm bath can offer physical benefits, like relaxing tense muscles and providing pain relief. When your body is physically relaxed, it’s easier for your mind to follow. So if you want your stress to go away, you should take a warm bath frequently (doing so is easy if you have the best tankless water heater).

But besides being a cleaning process and a de-stressing tool, a nice hot bath is a self-indulgent experience. There are other elements you can add to make it your favorite guilty pleasure. A nice glass of wine, perhaps. You can also add candles. If you’re going to be too worried about causing a fire, then just buy the false tea light candles. They flicker just the same, but there’s no real flame. This can give you the illusion of a nice candlelit bath, without any of the worry whatsoever.

You can also light an incense if you’d like a nice aroma. Sandalwood is one of the most calming scents. Or you may prefer something like vanilla or strawberry. When you’re taking a bath with the aim of relaxing, you want to target your five senses, allowing each of them to enjoy the experience. Incense indulges your nose, candles mesmerize your eyes, and wine tickles your taste buds.

If you want to trigger your sense of touch, a good idea is to add bubbles. This gives texture to your bath and will help your skin feel smooth. And as for triggering your sense of hearing, the best way is with background music. For some people, relaxing involves a nice tranquil sound, similar to white noise (for example, the sounds of the ocean or the pitter patter of a heart beat). Let’s be realistic though, you’re more likely to download an application. Or you could put on your favorite band (like what I do).

A hot bath is more than just about cleaning – it’s about you. It’s about feeling good and indulging in life’s simple pleasures – because life is too short to not enjoy it. So the next time you jump into the bathroom for a shower, throw yourself into the tub instead. And oh, throw in the other good stuffs too.

In this post, I share the top three turntables and reveal some tricks and tips on how to choose among them. You’ll need a great record player regardless if you’re a professional DJ or someone who just inherited a collection of vinyl records. Your chosen spinner should work flawlessly, is easy to maintain, and would last a long time. Below are what I’ll add to the best options that I linked to above.

Technics’ SL-1200

technics sl 1200 mk2Technics’ SL-1200 (MK2 to MK5) is the gold standard of turntables. Preferred by DJs, radio stations, and music fans for years since 1978, Technics eventually stopped its production in 2010. The SL-1200 is so highly valued that two of it are displayed in the London Science Museum. Also, it’s so highly regarded that people claim that you could toss it in a car trunk, or drop it down a mound, and yet still play just as good as before. And we haven’t even discussed its notable features yet: selectable speed modules (33/45 RPM), pitch control (+-8%), a steel platter, and a magnetic direct drive motor that’s powerful yet has low vibration. But despite the discontinued production of the SL-1200, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re hard to come by. On the contrary, it’s actually circulating widely (either used or new) and can be bought around $600 or lower at eBay and Amazon. You could also check out your local music store (there is a good chance that they still have an SL-1200).

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Pro-ject Audio Systems’ Debut Carbon is a sort of “sequel” to the Debut III, a model that didn’t really impressed that many people. That model is still available, but its production has also been discontinued. Replacing it is the Debut Carbon, which is commonly considered as a more than worthy successor with exactly the same price to boot. It’s basically the same record player, with very similar innards, except for the remarkably enhanced motor and the tonearm made of carbon fiber (hence, the name). For those who only intend to listen to vinyl records (like most of my friends and family), the belt driven Carbon is a wiser, cheaper choice than those that are direct drive (which are aimed at hardcore audiophiles and DJs). Also, it can be had in any of its different colors to match different music tastes and personalities.

Audio-Technica’s AT-LP120 USB

Audio-Technica’s AT-LP120 is like a partial clone of the SL-1200MK2 by Technics. However, it is much more cheaper – it will only make you poorer by around $250 (based on Amazon’s price). The AT-LP120 has selectable speed modes ( 33/45/78 RPM), +/- 10% to 20% pitch control, a platter made of cast aluminum, and a direct drive motor. (The motor directly powers the platter, so there are no moving parts – like belts – that are utilized for the rotation of the vinyl record. This means less vibrations that produce additional noise, so the music you hear has better quality.) The AT-LP120 can toggle easily in reverse or forward, and it can also connect to other devices (e.g. mixers, stereo, computers) via USB or analog. This makes it convenient to digitize your collection so that you’ll have backups or copies for listening on-the-go. Cables and connectors are included with the turntable.

Top Turntables for Vinyl Records

There is no doubt that vinyl records are making a comeback, despite still being a tiny portion of the overall music market. But regardless if you have owned vinyls for decades, or you just got on the bandwagon of collecting such, you will need a great turntable to play records. And with the three record players presented above, you will unlikely go wrong in doing so. Moreover, you’ll have fun while you’re at it.

best acoustic guitar for the money under 500What’s the point of getting a guitar for it’s relaxing sound, if you’re stressed by the process of picking one? And so here, I spill the beans on how to do it the easy way (or, you can also read this other article about the best acoustic guitar). In the future, I’ll also show some love to other musical instruments, like record players and recording studio equipment maybe.

Below, I share the top acoustics for the money (below $500) which I found during my own search. Guitar brands have been cooking up creative manufacturing techniques, thereby enabling them to serve us great instruments at wallet-friendly prices. And so, if you’re planning to get your first axe, or if you’ll give one to someone special, you are likely to find one here.

Martin LX1E

little-martin-lx1e-ed-sheeran-625x371Martin Guitars is a brand endorsed by the likes of Ed Sheeran. So when you get an axe from such brand, it’s like getting yourself some good (and talented) company. One of the brand’s best guitars is the Martin LX1E — it’s their smallest, but it’s big in quality, tone and flexibility.

The acoustic electric version of the LX1E has a top that is a solid Sitka spruce toneweood. On the other hand, its sides and back are high-laminated mahogany, while the finish is warm satin. Because of its size, the LX1E is portable and is convenient to take on trips. Its initial list price is $519 MSRP, but nowadays it could sell below $500. In the future, when you’re ready to spend more on its bigger brothers, you might want to consider the Martin GPC-Aura GT.

Yamaha LL6M

Yamaha LL6MThe relatively fresh Yamaha LL6M is a great guitar for players who want an old fashion style with solid performance.

The LL6M’s back and sides are Mahogany, and it sports a new innovative bracing design that makes the tone rich and warm. But it’s more notable feature is the A.R.E., which stands for Acoustic Resonance Enhancement. It is a Yamaha technology which they applied to the LL6M’s solid Engelmann Spruce top to achieve an “aged” sound.

Yamaha has a rich heritage of manufacturing great acoustic guitars, and it shows on the traditional finish and styling of the LL6M. The model is also quite comfortable — with even a played-in feel to it — thanks to the 5-ply, all-new profile of the neck.

If you search for it, you might be surprised to see that it usually sells for $820. But there are some that sell for only $499 — you just have to dig a bit deeper (which is worth the effort anyway). For its price, the LL6M also comes with the Zero Impact which is a high performance pick up.

So, Which One is the Best?

The acoustic guitars above are just two of the top axes for the buck (500 USD and lower). You can’t go wrong with either of them, but it’s always wise to think about what’s better for the player (you). As for what most professional players use, they will be featured here too, so please visit this site often.