Capos – When It’s Just Not Written in the Right Key

Sometimes you just don’t feel like playing that song in D-flat minor. Sometimes you need a capo so you can play normal chords and still be in tune with everyone else. There are a couple of capos that are rated extremely highly by their owners that I’ll tell you about here.

Both of these capos should work just fine on these stringed instruments.

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XLR Cables and 1/4 Inch Cables – You Need These

If you use any type of electronic instrument – electric guitar, acoustic-electric guitar, electric bass, electronic keyboard or synth, etc. – you need cables to get the sound out to your listeners. There are two main types of cables that you can use – XLR and 1/4 inch. Which one you need depends on the design of your instrument (and other gear).

All of the cables described below have, as of this writing, an almost 100% positive amount of feedback from current owners. You don’t see that very often. I take that to mean that these are good pieces of equipment and are well worth what you pay for them.

If you’re in a hurry right now and just want to see how much you do have to pay for them at Amazon, you can click (tap) the links in the list just below. Otherwise, you can scroll on past and read the details about each – though there isn’t a lot to say about a cable.

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Yamaha PKBB1 Keyboard Bench: Simple and Useful

You don’t see a lot of reviews of piano benches or keyboard benches. And there’s a good reason for that. There’s just not that much to say about them. Sure, there are a few reviews out there and even some videos about them, but that’s nothing compared to, say, the keyboards themselves.

So I’ll give you a brief review here of the Yamaha PKBB1 bench that is currently a top seller at Amazon. In fact, if you just want to check the pricing and availability of this Yamaha bench right now, you can click (tap) the link just below.

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Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen Audio Interface – Best Value

Focusrite has been making quality audio interfaces for quite some time now. Just looking at their Scarlett suite of gadgets, we see that they are now at the third generation of interfaces and have made significant improvements to keep up with the rest of the techie world all the way along.

But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s be clear on what this set of interfaces is for. In general terms, a Scarlett box is for a recording artist (aka, you) who needs to connect his instrument(s) and/or his voice to the recording software in his computer. Even the best computers these days don’t have the ability to connect directly to your guitar, your drumset, your keyboard, or your mics. (Yes, there may be exceptions.) So you need a gadget in the middle that will do the translation for you. That’s where an audio interface, like the Scarlett Solo or Scarlett 2i2, comes in.

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Donner DAG-1C Acoustic Guitar for Beginners

Even though they have been around since 2012, you might not have heard of the Donner company before now. But if you’re in the market as a beginner on acoustic guitar, then Donner – specifically, the Donner DAG-1C – is an instrument worth looking at in more detail.

Donner sells this dreadnought style cutaway guitar as part of a package deal, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck when you make this purchase. We’ll dig into those details later.

For now, if you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the DAG-1D acoustic at Amazon, you can click (or tap) the link just below. Otherwise, keep scrolling and reading to discover all you need to know about this entry-level acoustic guitar.

The DAG-1C Is Nothing Fancy

Donner DAG-1C acoustic guitar

Yes, this acoustic guitar is nothing fancy, but that’s exactly what you should expect in a beginner acoustic at this price level. Note that, even though we’re calling this a “beginning guitar”, that doesn’t mean it’s a 3/4 size instrument. No, this is a full-size, 41-inch model that is not intended for children. (The company does make many instruments for the younger folks under the brand name of Reditmo.)

In addition to the natural tone on the DAG-1C model shown at the link above, you can also get this guitar in black or in sunburst versions for just a few dollars more (as of this writing). Personally, I like the sunburst design of almost any guitar the best, even though I don’t currently own one.)

If you don’t want the cutaway styling, there is a symmetrical model available too. I won’t even make you go looking for it. Click below to see it.

If you’re a left handed guitarist, you’ll want to check out this DAG-1CL model.

The materials used in the Donner DAG-1C guitar are spruce for the top, mahogany for the back and sides, and purpleheart for the fretboard. The X bracing inside, which is common, provides stability.

Donner DAG-1C head

Brass frets, a bone nut, plastic saddle, and brass strings virtually complete the ensemble. Note that some have complained about the quality of the strings, but you can easily replace them cheaply. That said, if you’re a true beginner, you probably wouldn’t have noticed unless I told you that they were of questionable quality. And that said, they’ll likely last you a good long time anyway.

Speaking of reviews from current owners, over 2000 of them have reacted positively to their Donner acoustic guitar. Some even think it’s better than the first one they bought. So, while marketed as a beginner’s guitar, there may be more to the DAG-1C guitar than first meets the eye…and ear.

And speaking of the sound – which, after all, is what counts most in the end – you can get some “feel” for its tonality by listening to the video below. Just note that the price mentioned is likely outdated.

What’s Included in the DAG-1C Bundle

Included in the package are an additional set of strings. (I assume they are of the same type as the originals.) You also get a capo, which, as a beginner, you likely won’t use right away.

You get a strap for slinging the Donner guitar over your shoulder. I’m guessing it may not be the most comfortable strap available, but if you don’t like it, this is another item you can replace for cheap too.

The 4 guitar picks that come along with the instrument may or may not be to your liking. They will certainly suffice for a while, and you may add to your collection others you like better as you progress in your skills – or when you lose or break the initial four.

Something I have not seen before is a separate pickguard. Usually this piece of plastic is already in place just below the strings when you buy a guitar. Here, you have the option of attaching it or not. I think I’d leave it off at the start. Later, if I have scuffed up the front from my wild strumming and don’t like the looks of things, I’d stick the pickguard on and have an instrument that looks as good as new – well, almost.

To keep your guitar in good condition, you get a polishing cloth and a decent gig bag. I’ve never used a cloth on my guitar, but it always sits in its bag when not in use. It keeps the dust off, if nothing else.

You get an allen wrench for adjusting the truss rod, should you want to change the string height a little.

Finally, Donner includes a DT-2 Tuner (and battery for same) which is a nice touch since there are no electronics in the guitar itself. You will want to quickly learn how to use the tuner so that your tunes sound “in tune” to your ears and those of your audience.

Some have wondered how Donner can include all of this for such a low price. Perhaps this actually says something about how overpriced some other guitars really are.

The Donner Return Policy

I found this page via another review article. I couldn’t see how to get to it from elsewhere on the Donner Website itself.

The important parts are as follows.

Our policy lasts 30 days. If 30 days have gone by since your purchase, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange. (must have video or pic about the product, and tell us the problem.)

To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging.

All of our products are under at least 6 months warranty. Especially, DMX series, String instruments and Wind instruments will be under 12 months warranty.

Confused? Me too.

I’m not sure how they will determine if you used the guitar or not. And don’t mix the return limit (30 days) with the warranty duration (6 months). They’re apparently not the same thing.

My advice: If you get your guitar and don’t like the looks of it (or maybe it was even damaged in shipping), don’t even take it out of the box. Contact Donner and arrange for a return right away. Otherwise, pull it out, play it, and keep it forever – or until you sell or donate it to someone else just getting started.

Donner and Related Companies

I mentioned earlier that these same folks (collectively) make the Reditmo line of instruments for kids. In addition, to guitars under the Donner brand, you’ll find keyboard, drums, ukuleles, mandolins, amps, and more.

Under the Eastar label, look for violins, trumpets, flutes, harmonicas, recorders (the wind instruments), and more.

Finally, Moukey give you mics, headphones, party lights, etc.

Verdict: Who the Donner DAG-1C Is For

For the price, there’s a lot of value in the Donner DAG-1C (and related models). I think you’ll especially appreciate this as a beginner – not having to break your bank to get started as a guitarist.

And still, there’s the possibility that, unless you’re already a professional, you’ll appreciate owning this guitar as well. Maybe you just want an inexpensive guitar to knock around with – play at a campfire, take along when visiting the in-laws, let your kids fool around with.

In any case, give the Donner DAG-1C a close look to determine if it fits a need in your musical life.

Find your Donner DAG-1C at Amazon now.

Yamaha F310 Acoustic Guitar: Pricey for a Beginner

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The Yamaha F310 is not a cheap guitar. Is it too costly for a beginner? That depends on how serious you are as a beginner. But more on that later.

This review will be on the short side because there’s not a lot I need to tell you here. I’ll give you all the important features and specs, tell you whether I think this guitar is for you, and then I’ll stop. Good enough? Great.

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Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar: A Beginner’s Guitar

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

In general, any Jasmine guitar should be considered a guitar for beginners. They are inexpensive because they are beginner guitars, and they are guitars for beginners because they are inexpensive. The Jasmine S35 (or S-35, as I’ll call it hereafter) is just such a guitar.

This acoustic-only guitar isn’t made from top-notch materials so the manufacturer could keep costs to a minimum. That, along with the lack of accessories, is what makes this model extremely affordable – not matter which of the three styles you get.

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