Acoustic Guitar Resources:
Acoustic Guitar Technology

Amplification For Live Performance

General Information

Acoustic Guitar Pickups Ain't What They Used To Be
A nice self-contained discussion of current pickup technology for acoustic guitars, concluding with a table that briefly summarizes several popular options, with pros, cons, and estimated prices. Note that many options (including the latest transducer technology from B-Band, PUTW, and LR Baggs) are not discussed.

Guide to Acoustic Guitar Amplification
Originally written to be part of the RMMGA FAQ, this guide grew into a document of its own. It covers the basic issues of acoustic guitar amplification, and provides an annotated list of references and descriptions of the setups of dozens of professionally performing acoustic guitarists. It dates from about 1996, and so does not cover some of the latest technology. A revision is forthcoming.

Pierce Campbell's Guide to Acoustic Guitar Amplification
Pierce is a Connecticut-based singer/songwriter who is known for his acoustic guitar technique. He has given workshops on acoustic guitar amplification; this Guide summarizes his views.

Harvey Reid: Articles and Essays
This site hosts articles and essays by multi-instrumentalist Harvey Reid, including a number of articles on acoustic guitar amplification and recording. Reid worked with the Fishman company on the development of their "Blender" series of acoustic amplification systems.

Microphones & Pickups: Background and Information
A brief, self-contained overview of the main features of three types of transducers for acoustic instrument amplification: microphones, magnetic pickups, and contact pickups. Includes discussion of the need for a preamp. This overview was produced by EMI.

Do-It-Yourself Acoustic Guitar Mic and Top Pickups
Here you'll find plans and tips for assembling your own inexpensive internal condenser mic (also here) and piezoelectric soundboard pickups (at Harmony Central and at for your acoustic guitar, courtesy of RMMGA contributor Paul Marxhausen and others.

Tall Toad Music's Amplification Page
An article on acoustic guitar amplification techniques by Teja Gerken of north California's Tall Toad Music.

Dobro Amplification
Photos and brief descriptions, including prices, of some equipment for amplifying resonator guitars, provided by Resophonic Outfitters.

RMMGA Posts on Resonator Guitar Amplification
A collection of plain-text advice on transducer selection and usage for amplifying Dobro and other resonator guitars.

Piezo preamp on a budget
A clear construction article for those with a bit of electronics experience who want to roll their own preamp for a piezo pickup. [This site appears to have vanished as of summer 2000.]

Digest of preamp construction articles
A collection of Usenet news posts on building your own high-impedance preamp. Some circuits were designed for electric guitar pickups and thus may not work well with acoustic guitar pickups; try the project with the single FET and you may have success.

Fender Bass Piezo Preamp
A unity-gain high impedance buffer for the piezo pickups in acoustic/electric Fender bass guitars; this may work fine for many acoustic guitar piezo pickups (you will likely need significant gain from your following equipment).

RMMGA posts on the "Zyla Method" for pickup balancing
John Zyla, a frequent contributor to the RMMGA newsgroup, developed a method for evening out the string-to-string balance of pickups in otherwise troublesome installations. It involves the use of a very thin lining of self-hardening clay in the saddle slot. Though he developed it for use with the B-band pickup, it is applicable to any pickup installation with troublesome balance. This web page collects news posts by John and others introducing, discussing, and refining the method. It currently covers the period from July 1999 when John first described the method, to April 2000.

Michael Johnson on "Gadgets: Wired Acoustic Guitars"
Johnson's article with tips on acoustic amplification, originally published in Performing Songwriter magazine.

Manufacturers' Sites

The web site has two pages listing basic contact info for manufacturers of amps and effects for both electric and acoustic guitarists:
L. R. Baggs at
L. R. Baggs manufactures piezo pickups, preamps, and pickup/mic systems for amplifying acoustic guitars. Further information about some Baggs products is available at the Baggs pickup page at Seagull Guitars.

Daedalus Music
Based in Trumansburg in upstate New York, Daedalus Music offers high quality speaker cabinets and component systems for acoustic guitar amplification, hand-crafted by guitarist and woodworker Lou Hinkley. Lou also builds high quality stage speakers and studio furniture. Martin Simpson has said of Lou's work that it "Sounds like God in a box." The Daedalus web site describes the products, hosts articles and reviews featuring Daeduls cabinets, provides contact info for Daadalus dealers, and also offers tips on using component amplification systems for acoustic guitars.

B-Band Pickups
Home page of the Finnish company EMF, manufacturers of a non-piezo undersaddle pickup, the B-band, a very attractive alternative to piezo undersaddle pickups. Their site includes descriptions of their full product line (which includes pickups for other instruments, and preamps), as well as independent reviews, and full product manuals. The B-band pickup was developed in part with input from members of the RMMGA newsgroup; this fact, combined with its other attractive features, have made it perhaps the most-discussed amplification technology on the group. The following links collect most of the substantive posts on the B-band. For brevity, some posts have been omitted if their contents are quoted in subsequent posts answering the issues raised. Note that EMF has continually introduced new items and capabilities into the B-band line, so that some early discussion (e.g., about the lack of a mic capability, or problems with jacks) does not correctly reflect the capabilities of the current product line.

Pick-Up The World, Inc.
Pick-up The World makes paper-thin, polymer-based piezoelectric pickups for a wide variety of acoustic instruments. They are designed for mounting on the instrument soundboard, but have a larger sensing area than typical soundboard pickups (on electric guitars they can be mounted under the bridge with a protective shim). Their site describes their various models, and offers professional testimonials, a list of retailers, details about their generous guarantee (30-day free trial), and contact info.

Raven Labs Online
Raven Labs was founded in 1998 by Steve Rabe, who pioneered the SWR amplifier company. He builds small, high-quality pro audio gear, including the "Master Blender," a high quality 2-source preamp/EQ/mixer/DI ideally suited for dual-source (e.g., piezo pickup/internal mic) acoustic guitar amplification, recommended by Martin Simpson, Laurence Juber, and Daedalus Music's Lou Hinkley. The site includes detailed specs, the owner's manual, prices, and dealer locations.

K & K Sound Systems, Inc.
K & K manufactures sound amplification systems for a wide variety of musical instruments. They were originally based in Germany, but moved to the US in 1995. Among their offerings are the affordable "Spot" series of single and dual soundboard pickups suitable for use with acoustic guitars, and stereo saddle pickups (with separate elements for wound and unwound strings) in two models optimized for steel string and nylon string guitars. They also offer cables and preamps for use with their pickups. Their web site describes their products, including pricing, and provides catalog order info, contact info, and an international dealer list.

Tone Hound Acoustic Sensors
An undersaddle piezo-based sensor, produced by Wolff Erickson Incorporated, a company founded jointly by luthier Gary Erickson and engineer Steve Wolff. Some "propaganda" comparing the Tone Hound to other piezo pickup systems is available in Erickson's Transducers for Acoustic Guitars article. An additional source of information is the Erickson Guitars web site.

Orchid Electronics
Orchid Electronics is a small company based in the UK run by John Godsland. They offer a line of audio electronics products including an acoustic guitar preamp (used by Show Of Hands, Albion Band, Jethro Tull and many others) and phantom powered DIs, and also produce custom devices for customers.

Dean Markley Pickups
Dean Markley manufactures strings and a complete line of guitar accessories including acoustic pickups (soundhole, saddle, and top pickups) and acoustic guitar amps. This is their pickup page. The site also includes a Guitar World Magazine article reviewing the Markley XXT saddle pickup, comparing it to the Martin Thinline Gold+Plus (essentially a Fishman Acoustic Matrix) and the EMG under-saddle pickup.

Sunrise Pickup Systems
Jim Kaufman hand-manufactures a limited number of his acclaimed electromagnetic soundhole pickups. He also produces preamps and direct boxes for use with his and other pickups. This site provides price and dealer lists, and contact information.

The True Tone Sound M System
Unofficial information about a new, simple, high quality, noninvasive acoustic guitar amplification system made by True Tone Sound of Syracuse, NY.

Highlander Musical Audio Products
"Highlander manufactures high quality pickups with matching preamplifiers for acoustic guitars and acoustic bass guitars." Their site includes their catlog, a list of distributors, installation instructions, a list of links, and a very impressive list of well-known users. Besides piezo and piezo-mic combinations for acoustic guitar, they also offer systems specially designed for resonator guitars.

Donnell Mini-Flex Microphones
Donnell Enterprises manufactures and sells high-quality internal mics for acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments. Their mics are mounted on mini goosenecks allowing easy position adjustment. They have models that clip on internal braces, or that mount permanently via a soundhole jack. Most models are battery operated. Rane Audio (see below) also resells Donnell mics for use with their AP-13 preamp. This link sends them email; you can request their free brochure this way. A web site is in progress.

Joe Mills Audio Products
Joe Mills manufactures acoustic guitar transducers; you can email him for more information about his products. Online users of his acoustic guitar mics rave about them. There is also a Joe Mills Mini Mic info page at the Highlander Pickups web site and a similar page, including ordering information, at Acousticon.

Microvox Microphones
A UK-based company specializing in "studio quality microphone pickups for all acoustic instruments." It appears they are intended for mounting on the outside guitar top, clipped to the edge of the soundhole (like an AT-831b). Their mics are very affordable, though they may require purchase of a separate power supply. No US retailers are yet listed (as of April 97), but email and phone ordering contacts are provided.

Rane Audio
Rane manufactures the AP-13, a single rack space, two-channel preamp for acoustic instruments. A very versatile and good-sounding box. Full documentation is available at this site, which also offers tons of great technical information about audio issues. A model of what a good company site should be like!

Trance Audio
Trance audio offers high quality pickups and preamps for amplification of acoustic guitars. Their Acoustic Lens pickup is the successor to the famour FRAP pickup, and Michael Hedges uses the Trance Inducer preamp with a FRAP pickup. Their page provides info about all their products, including full owner's manuals.

Along with their highly rated electric guitars and amps, Carvin manufactures and distributes electric acoustic guitars and acoustic guitar amps, as well as PA equipment. Their prices tend to be quite reasonable because they sell their own equipment direct.

Shadow Pickups

DiMarzio Pickups

EMG Pickups

Artec Sound
Artec makes equalizers, piezo pickups (crystal and piezo cable), and magnetic (soundhole) pickups for acoustic guitars. Their products are sold by various guitar manufacturers as onboard electronics. They also sell magnetic pickups and active preamps for magnetic pickups for electric guitars.

The Fender site includes links to pages listing their PA gear and acoustic lace pickups. Very little pickup info is provided, however.

Martin Guitars
Their "News" page has some scant info about Martin Thinline pickups.

Seymour Duncan Pickups
SD makes pickups for electric guitas and basses, and for acoustic guitars (including soundhole pickups, piezo contact pickups, and saddle pickups). Their Acoustic Pickups page offers some very basic info about their acoustic offerings.

Roland US
Roland's product offering focuses on electronic musicians, but they also offer the AC-100 Acoustic Chorus amp for acoustic guitars, and some acoustic players use their Midi guitar equipment.

SWR Engineering
SWR makes the California Blonde acoustic guitar amp, endorsed by Laurence Juber.

The FRAP (Flat Response Audio Pickup) was perhaps the first pickup system to produce an amplified tone good enough to satisfy many discerning pro players. It is no longer in production (though the Trance Lens is similar), but this page by FRAP fan Kurt Ruff provides info on the FRAP, including a copy of an early FRAP pamphlet, and info from some notable FRAP users.

Recording Acoustic Guitars

The audio production newsgroup is the place to go with questions about recording techniques, microphone selection and placement, etc..

Rec.Audio.Pro/RMMGA posts on microphone selection and placement
A collection of advice on microphone selection and usage for recording acoustic guitar, culled from the and RMMGA newsgroups.

The Home Recording Website
"Information on products, hints and tips on getting the right sound and setup, software, links to other sites, and bulletin boards to post questions and tips. You will also find the official Home Recording FAQ and information on the Home Recording Mailing List."

The Internet Recording School
This site is run by "Papa" John Lowson, a Los Angeles based recording engineer and producer. The site offers music recording instructional info and tips on gear selection, home studio setup, and recording and mixing. Lowson's video, Recording School 101, is available from this site. There is not a lot of information as of the site's opening (Spring 97), but it will hopefully grow as Lowson hopes to add tips and instructional material on a weekly basis.

Sound Reinforcement/Pro Audio

In-Ear Monitoring:

Miscellaneous Pro Audio Resources:

ProAudio Web
Live Audio Mailing List
Started in February 1996. To subscribe, send email to, with
subscribe live_audio
in the body. For more information, contact Dave at
Live Audio and Sound Reinforcement WWW Board
A web-page-based bulletin board, similar to a newsgroup in its function, for discussing live sound issues. Discussion is archived and searchable.
Live Sound! International
A bimonthly magazine covering live sound issues, with worldwide circulation. Their site not only describes the magazine, but also provides industry info (pro organizations, trade show listings, etc.) and describes various product offerings including a variety of instructional books on live sound issues.
World Wide Pro Audio Directory
"Links to all major pro audio manufacturors."
Matt Salerno's Ultimate Audio List
A list with alphabetized sections of links to sound consultants and contractors, and manufacturers, all on a single web page. Nothing fancy, but a useful quick list.
Geoff Martin's Audio Pages
Includes a small but growing "bibliography" of online resources on audio topics, including white papers by Geoff on "The Decibel" and "Stereo Microphone Techniques." There is also an extensive categorized list of Audio and Music Links.
Tascam DA-88 Web Page
Digisound: The Digital Audio WWW Site
Includes various digital audio information and links, and a "classifieds" area for selling and buying used gear.
Oasis Duplication's Musician's Guide to CD/Cassette Manufacturing
A guide for musicians, explaining the steps required to produce commercial quality CDs/cassettes, hosted by a major name in duplication services.
Pro Sound News
Home page for "the international newsmagazine for the professional sound production industry."
Mix Bookshelf
Information about a small selection of books carried by one of the premier distributors of musical and pro audio publications, the Mix Bookshelf. There will soon be a Mix Bookshelf Site at the Gibson Mall (under construction as of Spring '96). The Mix Bookshelf is associated with MIX Magazine.
USA New Gear Price List
A compilation of market prices for electronic music and pro audio equipment, compiled from submissions of Usenet and other Internet readers. Includes a large list of dealers, with contact info and web page links.
Joe's Production and Grille, Inc.
Boulder, CO based CD and cassette manufacturer, specializing in dealing directly with musicians and small labels.
Includes lists of studios, manufacturers, and dealers, and classifieds where used gear is sold.
Steve's Pro Audio and Recording Page
A nice categorized collection of links on acoustics, digital audio, pro audio gear, MIDI, parts/mods, studios, etc..
Precision Audiotronics PEARLS Page
Information about In-Ear Monitor systems.
Michael Green Audio Visual Designs
A commercial site, among whose products are materials for adjusting room acoustics.
Core Sound's Home Page
Miniature binaural mics, digital audio interfaces, cables, and other items for pro and hobbiest digital audio.
The Microphone Directory
Information and reviews for microphones by various manufacturers.
Bose: Better Sound Through Research
Home page for the Bose Corporation, best known for their home and sound reinforcement speakers. See also the Bose FAQ.
Mix Magazine
A US-based magazine covering professional recording, sound, and music production. This site includes equipment previews/reviews. Mix tends to cover higher-end solutions than other publications such as Recording, Electronic Musician, or EQ.
Acoustic treatment supplies, including "Acoustics 101", a tutorial.
Where To Get It!
A handy compendium of dealer contact info for sound and stage equipment, focusing on the NY/CT area, but including some national dealers.
JBL Professional
Do I have to explain who JBL is?!
Yamaha Professional Audio
Product descriptions for Yamaha amps, mixers, processors, speakers, and recorders. Includes links to other Yamaha divisions (such as music products and consumer electronics).
EAW: Eastern Acoustic Works
Manufacturers of highly acclaimed (and pretty expensive!) sound reinforcement speakers. Their fine site includes not only lots of product information, but also a variety of other fun and informative audio links (including "some of the dumbest jokes and lamest humor you'll find on the internet"). Particularly useful is their extensive "Applications" section, offering specific product recommendations for venues of various types and sizes. You can also request their Product Guide CD-ROM from this site.
Provides information on products for professional musicians, and hosts sites for American Musical Supply and Victor's House of Music.
Church Sound System Learning Center
Tons of technical info on optimizing church acoustics.
The MiniDisc Page
This site (in Japan) offers tons of info on the MiniDisc recording format (74 minutes of digital audio or digital data on a recordable disc in a 7cm square cartridge; audio is stored with a lossy compression algorithm). Includes links to info on the MD4 4-track MiniDisc "PortaStudio" machines. There is also a USA mirror site. The Japan site may be faster.
The Music Company
A "specialist sound, lighting and video contractor with it's headquarters in Bradford in the North of England... now regarded as one of Britain's foremost centres of expertise in sound and vision technology." Though most info here centers on their business, their Hotlinks page has a useful alphabetized collection of pro audio manufactuter links, as well as other music industry links.
Sci.Physics.Acoustics FAW
The FAQ document for the sci.physics.acoustics newsgroup, including discussion of such topics as measuring sound intensity, architectural and building acoustics, etc..
The Audio Revolution
"The world's online reference for high end audio, high end home theater, audiophile music and videophile film." This somewhat overhyped commercial site includes an email directory of experts on various audio topics who will field questions, information about acoustic treatments for rooms, and other links and information.
Free, real-tim, interactive web classifieds serving major US and Canadian cities. Includes "Musical - Pro Audio Gear" and "Musical - Gutars" sections.
Music Books Plus
An on-line dealer of music and audio books, with a searchable and browsable catalog.
Audio Review
Audio product reviews from online customers, not paid critics (but mostly consumer audio, not pro audio). Also features other discussion groups, classifieds, and links.
live_audio WWWBoard
An archived on-line discussion of topics relating to sound reinforcement.
A Basic Intro to Concert Sound Engineering
A plain text basic guide to running sound, oriented towards acoustic settings. Includes a nice discussion of the engineers role as a "ambassador" between the venue and the performer.
Yorkville Netwerks "Professional Audio for Dummies (and not so dummies)
A guide to pro sound issues at the Yorkville web site, covering system setup and operation, signal flow, microphones and sources, mixers, processors, amps and speakers from a beginner's point of view. A nice resource, though you'll be clicking through a lot of web pages.
ARX is an Australian audio electronics company that manufactures signal processors, amps, and speaker systems. Their site offers the usual product descriptions, and also a small but useful FAQ collection (Why do I need equalization? What is a parametric? What does a direct box do?), app notes for their gear, as well as online owners manuals. Their gear can be ordered direct from the US; info is at the site. FAQ
Gabe Wiener's FAQ document for the pro audio newsgroup, with sections on the business of audio, audio interconnections, analog tape recording, digital recording, digital editing and mastering, a market survey, sound reinforcement, sound restoration, recording techniques, industry information, and other miscellaneous topics. Coverage is broad but sketchy in places; but it's a good start if you are new to the field.
InterStudio Limited
This UK company is an international dealer in pro audio equipment. Of special interest are their Sound Check CDs, test CDs for calibrating audio setups.
A "Communication and Entertainment Support Services" company. Their Library page has an article on using Crown and Radio Shack PZM mics.
Michael Hartkopf's Microphone Homepage
The Microphone Database at this site has specs/test date for a variety of recording and sound reinforcement mics. The Microphone Booklet describes various mic technologies. There is also a microphone FAQ.
4-track FAQ
The FAQ document on 4-track recording, as posted to
Articles on interconnections/grounding/ground loops:
University of Oregon Electronic Music Primer
Rumored to contain lots of great info, this site requires Shockwave for Director plugins, and is thus inaccessable to Unix systems.
Jim Cara's Digital Music
Hosts some information resources and a modest collection of links on digital audio and MIDI for musicians. Includes industry news, NAMM show reports, etc..
Raw Music
"The music site with an attitude" claims to "cover every aspect of the musical world on the World Wide Web including Midi... Music Education... Pro Audio..." So far it's more hype than content, but who knows what the future holds....
Suppliers of good quality electric guitars and PA equipment at discount prices, because they only sell their gear direct. Their electric guitar are highly rated by guitar magazines, and their PA equipment has gotten good reviews on newsgroups. They also sell electric-acoustic guitars.
Garwood Homepage
Garwood manufactures one of the premier in-ear monitoring systems. Their site describes their products, but also provides various technical info on in-ear monitoring in general.
Bross Audio Designs
Manufacturers of affordable in-ear monitoring and "personal mixer" electronics, available factory-direct.
EQ: Selected Columns and Articles
This site is hosted by Digital Atomics, a commercial corporation providing various audio services. It also hosts dozens of articles and columns from EQ magazine ("Ten things to know before recording digital", etc.).
Mini Disc Multitracker Comparisons
A table comparing the features of various multitrack mini disc recorders and industrial mini disc recorders.
The web site for "Norway's leading music technology magazine." In Norwegion, of course (except for some news items in English), so I can't offer any comments about content....
SigTech: Cambridge Signal Technologies
SigTech specializes in signal processing to correct room acoustics. Their site describes their products, including an AES technical paper with a detailed discussion of room acoustics.
Reading Lounge at Infinite Sound Cafe
A colection of articles and reviews by J. Arif Verner from Recording, Electronic Musician, and other magazines, covering such topics as guitar software, acoustic amplification, guitar synthesis, etc..
The Mic Shop
A Nashville shop specializing in sales, service and rental of hiqh quality recording studio microphones. Their site lists mics available for purchase.
Power Technology DSP FX
A highly-rated digital audio workstation system for PCs, including hiqh quality reverb and digital effects algorithms.
Prosoniq sonicWORX
Post-production digital audio software for Power Macs. The site includes a demo version.

Miscellaneous Technology and Accessories

See the Guitar Accessories Listings for basic contact info for manufacturers of accessories for both electric and acoustic guitarists.
The Shubb Company
Home page for the manufacturers of Shubb capos, with information on their guitar capos (including partial capos), Dobro capos and pars, and SongMaster and GigMaster software products for Mac and Windows (for cataloging and organizing song and gig information).

Third Hand Capo Company
The Third Hand Capo Company manufactures the Third Hand Capo, which allows you to selectively capo any subset of strings. They also distribute instructional material on using the capo.

Jim Dunlop USA
Dunlop offers a wide variety of musical accessories, including picks, slides, and capos. Their site includes photos and lists of options for their full product line, including their famous (cheap!) toggle capos and more recent Picker's Pal, C-Clamp, and Trigger capos, slides made from many materials, and picks in a wide variety of styles. (I swear by their 1mm Nylon picks myself!)

Breezy Ridge Instruments/John Pearse Strings
This site provides info about John Pearse handmade strings for acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, fiddles, banjos, violins, dulcimers, resophonics, and other instruments, including charts with string guages in each set and list prices. There is also info about other Pearse accessories (slides, armrests, pickups, humidifiers, instrument supports, capos), and instructional books and videos. This is also the home page for Breezy Ridge hammer dulcimers.

Dean Markley Strings, Inc.
Besides strings, Dean Markley also manufactures a complete line of guitar accessories including acoustic pickups (soundhole, saddle, and top pickups) and acoustic guitar amps.

D'Addario Strings

GHS Strings

Gore Music/Elixir Strings
Gore (of Goretex fame) has created a new guitar string---the "Elixir" wound strings are coated with their PolyWeb coating dramatically increasing longevity, reducing friction, and instilling other benefits. It may sound like hype, but it's actually true. Expensive, but worth it. This site describes the strings and gives phone order information and a list of authorized dealers. You can also purchase the strings online at the Elixir Strings page at NOMA.

Clayton Guitar Picks
Besides picks, Clayton also offers a variety of other electric and acoustic guitar accessories, including slides, polish, and chord charts.

JLD Bridge System
James Oliver's bridge system is designed for fixing "bellied" tops on guitars, but can be also be used to prevent bellying from happening and to possibly improve the balance and increase the volume of an acoustic guitar. They are used by Taylor guitars for repairing instruments sent to the factory, and are an integral part of Breedlove guitars. I've archived here two reviews of the system reported on RMMGA that give more detail about the installation and its effect.

The Bouncer
The brainchild of Paul Ames, The Bouncer is a passive (non-electronic) sound reflector that allows guitarists to study their performance more closely, hearing what their audience will hear, and sharpen their skills as well as increase playing enjoyment.

Thompson Vocal Eliminator
A rack-mount device that purports to eliminate vocals from audio recordings more successfully than other such devices. This latest version of the device uses DSP to more successfully eliminate vocals and restore a stereo sound than earlier, purely analog versions. It allows tuning and key changes, as well as addition of echo/delay to the added vocal.

Blues Tools
This company manufactures harp (harmonica) holders and gig bags for harp players.

Thomastik-Infeld Vienna
"Thomastik-Infeld is one of the major string manufacturers worldwide." Their web site includes a catalog, description of their R&D, a dealer directory, tradeshow calendar, endorser list and other info.

String Swing Mfg.
Wisconsin-based manufacturer of handcrafted musical instrument hangers and holders for personal use and retail support. They also make holders and hangers for various sports items (skateboards, guns, bows).

Martin Guitar String Catalog

How to build your own rack
Kent Williams's article detailing how to construct a case for holding 19" rack-mount gear using plywood and pre-drilled rack rails.

The Y Strap
Inventor Michele Morin, a designer and producer of leather garments, has designed a new guitar and bass strap reputed to be ergonomically superior to standard straps. This site describes the strap and offers reviews and purchase info (including a dealer list). The strap will set you back $50 to $100 (plus shipping), depending on the model. Morin is based in Quebec, Canada, and the site is in English and French.

The Amazing Guitar Cleaner, Polisher & Protector Cloth Home Page
Info about the $13 "blue cloth" impregnated polishing cloth. Includes an address for mail orders. Over 30,000 of these cloths have been sold.

Software for Guitarists

General Information

There are many places on the net to go "shopping" for freeware, shareware, and demo software for guitarists and for musicians more generally. Two prominent guitar-specific sites are the guitar software directory at OLGA (try using the mirrors mentioned in the OLGA entry if this link is too busy), and the guitar software directory at MIT's Harmony Central. We provide descriptions of and links to some of this software below.

For general music and audio software on various platforms, a good source is the Shareware Music Machine (also at MusiciansNet).

It may also be worth your while to peruse the larger machine-specific archives. Although these archives are not exclusively devoted to music software, they contain useful freeware and shareware, and commercial software developers sometimes post demos of their products to these archives. If you can locate a search engine for an archive, a search on "guitar" or "music" is likely to turn up some interesting items. Here are some of the prominent machine-specific archives:

Finally, here are descriptions of and links to some useful bits of software, most of them available from the sources just mentioned. Also, check out Federico Marincola's list of shareware and freeware guitar/lute software, and Marty's House of Guitars DOS/Windows Software Page

Many thanks to Josh Pincus for help in tracking down some of the PC software listed here!

Notating Chords and Tablature

Blank Sheet Music and Chord Diagrams
Below you'll find documents with various combinations of staffs or chord frames in two formats: PostScript and Acrobat Reader PDF. The PDF versions will likely be the easiest to deal with since good PDF viewing/printing software is readily available for free and is easy to use (e.g., Acrobat Reader from Adobe). The PostScript files will be useful if you'd like to customize the documents (change the number of staffs, or the line spacing). Free PostScript viewing software is also available; more info is at the link below.

If the formats below seem likely to suit your needs, just grab the PDF files and print them.

If you'd like to customize the documents, grap the PostScript files. The first four PostScript files below are actually all the same file, with different lines commented out at the end (the "%" is the PostScript comment character). They are configured for 8-1/2" by 11" paper, but are written so they can be easily changed. Basic documentation appears at the end of each PostScript file. If you don't know what a PostScript file is or how to print or modify one, check out our Brief Guide to PostScript.

You'll also find chord block sheets at the Famous Guitarmaker Internet World Headquarters, and a web page with graphical lead sheets and tab sheets you can print from your browser at the Vision Music Manuscript page. The Guitar section of also has a page with various types of Blank Staff Paper. At BlankMusicPaper you'll find LaTeX code to produce blank music paper (LaTeX is an excellent document preparation system used widely by scientists and mathematicians), as well as other PostScript code. Finally, Windows users can use the Graph Paper Printer shareware program to print various types of "graph" paper, including music manuscript paper.

ASCII Tab Editor
Bucket o' tab (Win) A freeware guitar tablature editor.
MusEdit (Win)
A commercial ($79), feature-laden notation package designed for stringed instrument users, capable of producing tablature and standard notation as well as MIDI output; it can also accept MIDI input. A free viewer lets nonowners view, print, and playback a score.
TablEdit (Win)
Matthieu Leschemelle's commercial guitar and fretted instrument shareware with MIDI playback and MIDI or ASCII export. Supports alternate tunings and 4 to 7 strings, duets, etc. Supports French, English, and German languages, with French and English help files. Very popular among readers of RMMGA.
TLC: Tabs, Lyrics, Chords (Win)
Inexpensive shareware for creating and manipulating ASCII tab and chord sheets. Includes transposition capability and a database of scales and chords, and other additional capabilities. The web site includes a collection of useful lesson and tablature links.
Muse (Win95/NT)
Laurie Griffiths' low cost (L10/$17) music notation editor that produces guitar tab. Can input and output in ABC folk music format. Handles lyrics and guitar chords, MIDI playback, ASCII guitar tablature output. 30 day free trial. The price will double as of 1 Feb 99; there have been many significant improvements over the history of this program.
Coda Music Technology's Finale
The premier notation program for production of tablature published in US acoustic guitar magazines, including Fingerstyle Guitar and Acoustic Guitar. Extremely powerful, but at a price. Well-supported both by the company and by an active email users group.
Lime (MacOS, Win)
Full-fledged commercial notation software with automatic tablature capability (in any tuning). A demo is available at this site; the fully functional version costs about $75.
Noteworthy Composer
Award-winning $39 Windows shareware for notating music with lyrics, with playback capability. No tab capability, however.
Instab (Win95 & NT)
A free program to quickly generate ASCII tablature files.
Guitar Pro (Win)
"This multitrack tablature editor allows you to enter tablature and it will play it back. It can also import tab files off the internet and play them back. It has an amazing chord library, midi converter, and much more."
Chords (Win)
Written by David Moss in response to requests posted to the RMMGA newsgroup, this is "a program for making chord diagrams and exporting them via the clipboard into other programs. Paste them into your Word guitar tutorial, or paste them into Paintshop Pro, save them as GIFs and put them on your web site." It's also free, both source and executable!
PaperChord (MacOS)
PaperChord 1.0 is a desktop publishing tool for guitar players. You can create chord-progression documents in standard notation on a staff and you can create easy readable chord diagrams in grid form. It uses a plain text tag format to allow easy creation and exchange of files over the internet.

Chord and Scale Fingerings

The Ultimate Chord Chart (PostScript file)
A five page chart of nearly 1000 different chord fingerings in all twelve keys.
DRS Image & Sound, Inc. (Mac, some Windows)
DRS markets ChordBook, Mando!, and ChordNamer!, software for browsing chords on guitar and mandolin. Alternate tunings are supported.
CyberChord (Windows)
"An intuitive point and click software program that turns your PC into a smart musical instrument." For experimenting with chord progressions and melodic lines, providing accompaniment, and MIDI control. It also includes guitar chord and scale references. (To be honest, I read the long page describing it and still don't have a good idea of what it does!)
Chordman 1.1a (Windows 3.1)
Freeware program to calculate chords and scale voicings, and to identify unknown chords. For instruments with 4 to 12 strings, with customizable chord rules and tunings and playback/MIDI capability.
ChordMaster (PC)
"A chord chemistry and sequencing tool designed specifically for guitarists, which combines traditional guitar tablature with fingering, timing and tuning information that works with MIDI or sound cards and includes context-sensitive help." It plays songs, displaying the fingering on-the-fly, prints songs, and identifies chords entered on a fretboard (and provides alternative voicings).
Nut Chords (also here) (DOS)
This "chord finder for professionals" finds chords on piano and guitar. For the guitar, it works in any tuning. Freeware.
DynaChart (Win95)
"A dynamic and interactive chord and scale chart generator for stringed instruments." Shareware.
ChordWizard (Win)

Transcription Aids

SlowTune (Mac)
Commercial ($60) software to slow down recordings without changing the pitch, as an aid to learning and transcribing difficult passages.
Seventh String Software's Transcribe! (Mac/Win)
$30 shareware.
CoolEdit (Win)
Commercial software for editing sound samples, capable of slowing them down without changing pitch, which facilitates transcribing difficult passages.
Presto! (Win)
Demoware program "that makes it easy for Windows users with CD-ROM drives to learn songs and solos from any audio CD." Can create loop points. $34.95.
Roni Music's Slow Speed CD Transcriber/Musician's CD Player (Win)
Allows you to change the speed of music from a CD or a WAV file without changing its pitch. $40 shareware.
World Wide Woodshed's SlowGold & SlowBlast (Win)
$50 for Slow Gold, $20 for the simpler Slow Blast.
Dubbeldam Software (Windows)
Software for automated recognition of notes and chords in recorded music, and for tuning.

Theory and Ear Training

EarTraining (Mac)


Perfect Pitch Music Tuners (Mac)
Shareware tuning programs of various types: Guitar, bass, chromatic, lab meter, grand staff meter, WaveWindow.
Six String Software
Commercial guitar software for Windows/DOS operating systems. Demos can be downloaded from this site.
Song and Artist Tracking System (Win95)
A multipart database application with a Song Library (keeping studio and copyright info, costs, etc.), Instrument and Eqpt. Inventory, Studio Manager, Employee Manager, and Schedule Manager. Shareware, fully functional.
G Vox Software
Mission Recording and Audio: Drivers and Demos
A collection of demo and driver digital audio software for PC and Mac platforms.
Sound Chaser Home Page
A commercial distributor of sound/audio software whose site includes a lengthy listing of available wares as well as info on educational/theological discounts. Their listings include useful descriptions of available software and links to manufacturer sites. They also sell audio cards, MIDI interfaces, and MIDI software.

Tom Loredo /