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Why You Should Start Your Child on a Franz Hoffmann

Posted by Staff Writer on Sep 26, 2016 9:26:31 AM

Beginnings are critical, right? If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden before, you know what I mean by this: starting right mean your garden will yield better results later on. You have to sow your seeds at the perfect time, with the right amount of sunlight and heat. You’ll want to prepare your soil ahead of time, enriching it with whichever nutrients it needs. You’ll care for the plants as they grow, making sure to train them up a trellis if necessary, or taking care to pull any pesky weeds. With enough care and patience, you’re sure to have a good harvest.

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Topics: Violin, Parents, Student Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Franz Hoffmann, Koe

New at SHAR - Fall 2016: Cello and Bass Strings, Electrics, Accessories, and Cases!

Posted by James Engman on Aug 27, 2016 1:35:20 PM

Since 1962, SHAR has been making new products available to string players every year. The fall season is usually when we debut most of our new products in preparation for new school years, concert seasons, and holidays! This year is no exception with dozens of new items in all categories! Whether you are an advancing student, an orchestra or private studio teacher, a full-time musician, or just getting started,  SHAR is the place to find things you know you need, or things that you didn’t even know existed but that could definitely make your life easier! Innovation and improvements are being made every day by musicians and thinkers all over the world! Below are some of the new products for cello and bass players that are included in the SHAR Fall 2016 Catalog. Check them out – there may be something for you!

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Topics: Cello, Metronomes, Accessories, Bass, Cases, Electric

Looking to buy a new set of strings?

Posted by Staff Writer on Apr 12, 2016 1:37:40 PM

Sometimes buying strings for your violin, viola, cello, or bass, is just a matter of reordering the same strings that you've loved for ages. The reliable set that has always sounded great on your instrument might be all you need for the rest of your life. However, sometimes a new instrument, or just curiosity will lead you on a search for the new perfect set of strings. Or, perhaps a change in playing ability or budget will lead you to look for a new sound. There are a lot of different brands and types of strings to choose from, so find a good source to start from can be time-saving first step. With so many new brands on the market, it's hard to just stumble upon the right one by chance or by word of mouth.

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Strings, Bass

Why is my stringed instrument buzzing and rattling?

Posted by James Engman on Mar 16, 2016 3:10:05 PM

Is your violin, viola, cello, or bass rattling or buzzing? Does it make these noises only on certain strings or notes?

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Topics: Violin, Instrument Repair, Viola, Cello, Bass, Instrument Care, Troubleshooting

Investment Grade Violins at SHAR USA and China

Posted by Charles Avsharian on Nov 25, 2015 2:27:36 PM

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Topics: Violin, Viola, SHAR, Cello, China, In Home Trial, Charles Avsharian, Bass, SHAR Ann Arbor

String Musician EssentialS for Outdoor Wedding Gigs!

Posted by James Engman on May 20, 2015 2:39:00 PM

There's a lot that can go wrong when planning a wedding, so the live music should be the last thing the couple has to worry about. However, if you're the musician gigging at a wedding, it is your temporary raison d’etre and you owe it to your clients to be as professionally equipped as possible. Besides the wedding party and the officiant, the musicians are the most visible and involved people in the proceedings of the ceremony. You have to showcase your talent and musicianship while at the same time tailoring the music to fit the timing of proceedings. You must perform in an unusual space, and sometimes sight-read with musicians with whom you've never worked before. And you have to account for the weather and last minute changes. Luckily, having the right accessories can help you avoid minor and major embarrassments at your next wedding gig. Below are some music accessories (and tips) that are, simply put, essential to having a successful wedding season. 

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Wedding, Performance, Bass

Which Bass Bag Is Right For You?

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 25, 2014 12:14:00 PM

If you play the bass, you’re going to need a bass bag. Here at SHAR we carry a few different bass bags, but here is our advice on which ones to consider.

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Topics: Bass, Travel, Bass Bag

Are You a Bassist? Minimize Your Travel Stress

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 30, 2014 2:01:00 PM

We recently published a blog on traveling with your cello. SHAR has long been the go-to shop for violinists and violists, but we've often failed to provide useful content and products for our cellists and bassists. Here's our second blog to remedy that! In the blog below, you'll find all sorts of tips and advice on how to minimize travel stress if you're a bassist. 

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Topics: Performance, Bass, Travel

Choosing Music

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 23, 2012 11:00:00 AM

We have a wonderful guest blog today from Kim Wren, the upright bassist for the indie-folk band Doug Mains & the City Folk. Ms. Wren has been a member of Doug Mains & the City Folk since 2010 and is currently a senior music education major at Michigan State University. Ms. Wren talks about how "choosing the bass as a lifelong musical partner" introduced her to a rich variety of genres like classical, jazz, rock, and folk and to her current bandmates. It's a great story for our blog, where musicians like Christian Howes and Mark O'Connor have stressed the importance of playing in genres other classical.  

When I first saw the upright bass in the back of my brother’s 6th grade orchestra class, my ten-year-old self would have never imagined the places that instrument would take me over the next decade. From a performing arts high school in Georgia to traveling on the road with an indie-folk band in Michigan, choosing the bass as a lifelong musical partner has lead me down many unexpected and exciting paths.

I switched to bass in 6th grade after playing the violin for a year in 5th grade. For various reasons (mostly because of the screeching sound of the E string), I didn’t enjoy my 5th grade year of violin playing at all and I was ready to drop out of music completely by the time 6th grade came around. But my mom and the middle school orchestra teacher convinced me to stay and try the bass out for a few weeks before I made a final decision. So I started staying after school for beginning bass lessons with the orchestra teacher and two other 6th graders who were also switching to bass. It was just about instant love when I first played that beast of an instrument. The low E string, instead of screeching like my violin, rumbled the floor. I was hooked on orchestra for good. My teacher let me take a school bass home and, especially in those early stages, I remember my parents having to stop me from practicing so much because it was driving them crazy.

Since those beginning years, being a bassist has lead me to many places I very likely would have never gone had I not stuck with music as a middle-schooler. From All-State Orchestras across the states of Virginia (where I spent my middle school years) and Georgia (where I spent my high school years), to a performing arts high school where I met many friends and colleagues in the arts, to summers at Interlochen Arts Camp, to Michigan State University for my undergraduate education. Being such a versatile instrument, the bass has also lead me to expand and explore many genres of music including (but never limited to) classical, jazz, rock, singer-songwriter, and folk. Most importantly to me, through music and bass playing I’ve met a countless number of people from all different walks of life. Some of them have become lifelong friends, like my four band-mates in Doug Mains & the City Folk, Doug, Josh, Rob, and Kelly. I’m so grateful to be a part of this team of musicians. We’ve traveled many miles together throughout the country and have shared so many meaningful experiences, some high, some low, but always together as a little indie-folk music family.

I owe much to my mom and to my middle school orchestra teacher for putting a double bass in my hands all those years ago. Where would life have taken me without that defining moment? I don’t even want to consider.

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Topics: Classical Music, Performance, Bass, Jazz, Folk

What Should You Look For In a Case?

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Oct 12, 2012 10:54:00 AM

If you just bought an instrument for the first time, or if you're looking to upgrade your current case, check out our purchasing guide below. It takes you through the major features you should consider such as shape, exterior and interior materials, and construction. As always, feel free to contact our knowledgeable customer service team at 1.800.248.7427 if you have any questions. 

One of the most important accessories you can purchase for a stringed instrument is a case. Many student or intermediate violins, violas, cellos, and basses can be purchased as part of an outfit that includes a case that is usually consistent with the quality of the instrument; these cases generally offer very adequate protection and durability at an economical price. If, however, you want to replace or upgrade the case you already have, or you need a case for a new instrument, there are a few things you should consider.

Shape
Perhaps the first factor to consider is the case shape that'll work best for you. Cases come in a few varieties: oblong, shaped, and dart-style. Shaped or dart cases are usually very lightweight; these are often the cases that beginners and students choose. They're usually available in fractional sizes and are easy on the wallet.

Oblong cases, sometimes called rectangular cases, afford more room for accessories and are usually preferred by intermediate and advanced players. Although shaped cases tend to be lighter and easier to carry, you do have more room for accessories with an oblong case. And if you're really looking for a roomy and light oblong case, we do list the weight of most of our cases. Maybe that extra pound is worth the space!

Exterior Materials and Features
The great majority of today's modern cases are covered with a heavy-duty nylon canvas material. This lightweight material is scratch and tear resistant and provides decent protection against the elements. In addition, SHAR also carries a wide range of cases made with other other exterior materials: Cordura, suede fabric, leather, 3-ply composite, Conatex, polyamid fabric, fiberglass, thermoplastic, pebble grain vinyl, pebble grain mat-finish resin, and reinforced ABS. Each of these materials has its own unique qualities and characteristics that should be considered when making your case selection. 

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Cases, Bags

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