Ventvox

Music. Art. Culture.


Use Professional SEO Companies And Make Your Online Business Grow

usdscIf you want to increase traffic to your web site, use the services of San Diego SEO Companies and you will get value for your cash. These companies will help your web site land on the first page of any search engine results and be easily seen by potential clients. Here are some of the best reasons why a San Diego SEO service may be best for you.

First, these SEO companies have employees who are experts in the field of search engine optimization. They possess the knowledge and skills needed to optimize your online business. They use strategies that can make your online business grow and become profitable in a short period of time. Second, there are SEO service packages that are the most affordable in the San Diego area. When you pay for a package, your company will get all SEO services needed to increase its ranking. The package includes content marketing, keyword search, back linking, social media campaigns, email and newsletter campaigns, and lead generation. It’s simple to increase traffic to your web site in a matter of a few weeks and reap the benefits of a highly optimized web site.

Hire SEO Company San Diego Professionals And Increase Your Web Site’s Conversion Rate

When you decide to build your own web site, your major aim is to have it seen and visited by people who can become your customers. But how can you convince people to go to your web site when they do not know anything about it? Ask SEO company San Diego and you will be given the answer. The secret of attracting many visitors to your web site is making it visible to internet users who are searching for an online store that sells the products or services that they need. This is made possible by doing something to make your web site address show on the first page of the results of a search engine.

What are the search engines that you must lure to include your web page link on its first pages? Currently, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the most popular search engines all around the world. When an internet user types a keyword on the search bar, different web site addresses appear on the first page. Internet users tend to click the links on the first page. If they cannot find what they are looking for, they type another keyword. A good search positioning company will help you have your web site address on the first page of these search engines’ results so that internet users will click it. Once they find your web site and they like what they see, they would stay and it will be easy for you to convert them into customers.

Reasons Why You Should Trust Only San Diego SEO Services

There may be many SEO companies nowadays that sell good products but not all of them are as good as you think. There are some companies that give good services but they don’t last that long. How so? These companies (usually the highest paid ones), are only there to do all the work for you. After that, they cut all the kinds of connection with you to ensure that you won’t call back to ask for extra services. But do you know what the best services can give you? Other than good services, they also offer lifetime warranties. What does this mean? Their lifetime warranty means they want to help you as long as their company exists and as long as you have their service and you need help, they will be there to assist you.

Unlike any other SEO companies, they make sure to check on you even the contract is over. This is one if their characteristic that wows people that are interested in their services. Quality services are also offered to those who are recently starting their own website and who earns through online selling. Aside from that, their services are also open to people who wants to learn everything about smart SEO application.

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The Art Of Buying A Saxophone… No, I’m Serious Here!

First, should you buy new or used? Both can be good choices depending on your circumstances.

If you are a beginner or someone that is buying their first horn, unless you have a teacher with a lot of experience, a new horn is usually a good idea. You know you’re not buying anyone else’s problems and most music stores have a great warranty. Often a saxophone needs a little tweaking by a good repairman after it’s been played for a while and a good warranty means you won’t have to pay for that. Also if there is some kind of structural problem a good music store will correct it if you are unhappy.

The quality of new horns these days is a pretty amazing value but it’s still important to check the pitch of the horn you choose. If you can get a tuner, check a couple of notes and see how close you get. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you tune while you play but make sure nothing is way off. The other thing I like to check out is the design. Does everything feel comfortable on the horn? Is it easy to get to all the keys within reason? Does it feel right to you? Does it play freely or does it take a lot of effort? And most importantly, how does it sound? If, when you play the horn you can’t put it down and you want to play it all day, then that’s a horn you want to own. I also like to see if I can predict repairs. I check the rods and the posts to try to tell if they’ll stand up and I look to see if the pads are sitting on the tone holes. For a saxophone to really play well the metal can’t be too hard, but if it’s too soft it will need a lot of repairs so I talk to the repairman at the store and see what he or she thinks. They usually give you an honest answer because they don’t want to be repairing the same thing over and over again on warranty.

Now, used horns also have a lot of things to think about. First, they’re cheaper than new horns. If you run into someone that calls used horns Vintage horns (with a capital “V”) he will tell you that, “that’s when they knew how to make good horns.” In some cases he may be right. However, if the horn is a Vintage horn it will cost more–no matter what. The first thing I listen for with a used horn is a great sound and with most pro players I think it’s the same. I check to see if there is any evidence of any major repair work. Are there any wrinkles in the metal anywhere? Are the tone holes round? Do they have any marks or dents? A dent in the bell doesn’t really matter but a dent in the neck or a tone-hole will affect the pitch and the sound and may cost a lot to repair. You want to make sure that the money you save buying a used horn you don’t then spend on repairs. I also check the brace where the bell is attached to the horn to make sure it’s solid and doesn’t wiggle around. Feel around the neck to feel if there are any ridges–that usually means the neck was, or is, bent. A bent neck is going to play out of tune and is expensive to fix. Try to get your teacher or someone whose playing you respect to play the horn and give you their opinion. I think some of the older horns are great but they do have some pitch problems so be prepared to adjust on some of the notes.

When you buy a horn you should think a little about what you need it for. Is it for your own enjoyment, a school band or a North American tour? Whether you buy a new horn or a nice, old, used one, try to buy a horn you can grow into without breaking the bank.

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Guitar Review: The Burns Steer

Is it an electric? An acoustic? An electric-acoustic? The Burns Steer is quite a unique animal. I was given this guitar to review on a Thursday evening. I finally put it down sometime on Friday! This truly is a unique guitar. It looks like it is a hollow-body electric, complete with a sound-hole but, in fact, it is not. In the guitar there are two sound-chambers, or cavities, to produce a more airy sound. The developers at Burns succeeded at this. The headstock is evil in appearance, yet cowboy-ish at the same time, complete with string guides and great hardware. The Steer boasts 20 frets on a maple neck and fingerboard. It plays like a dream. It has a real solid feel to it in the neck. This particular guitar is of a single cutaway design although in looking into the Steer series I have found there to be non cutaway designs as well. The steer possesses two pickups: the bridge pickup is a humbucker and the neck is a single coil–all controlled via a three-way pickup selector located under the bridge pickup, Fender style. There is, of course, a coil-tap switch allowing you to transform the humbucking bridge pickup to a single coil like its brother. The body is Alder but the small sound-hole is lined with black plastic inside which aids to demonstrate the peculiar sound that is the Steer. It features the regular two tone knobs and a bidirectional truss-rod for extended longevity of intonation.

“Yes, yes Nathan, that’s all well and good” you might say, “but how does it sound?”

The short answer would be that it sounds like it looks. It sounds evil, yet country. Edgy, yet bluesy. Chunky, yet airy. Somewhat hollow, yet solid. In my humble opinion, it has that Fender Telecaster twang to it. The sustain on the Steer is excellent and I must say, truly surprising. Although I don’t play .09 gauge strings at all, the action was to my liking. After getting used to the smaller gauge strings, it has enough play to allow for big tone hammer-ons and pull-offs.

This really is a country-blues guitar though. I seriously can’t see this axe in the role of a chunky rhythm guitar befitting Tool, although it would make for an interesting combination. I had the pleasure of auditioning the Steer with my band and found myself picking it up whenever we would play something of a blues-y nature. The pickups are definitely not hot so each string still holds its place in a chord as opposed to the melding of all strings together in a distorted power chord. This, I think, is crucial in blues. The overall look of the Steer is that of a wider Les Paul (for lack of a better likeness). However the weight of it is considerably less due in no small part to the two hollowed chambers in the pickup cavity. In some small way, I believe this hurts the tone just a little. The coil-tap is wonderful in attaining such desired blues sounds although I would not use that function much. I am partial to the humbucker in the bridge position. I always have been! I find that it puts me up in the mix when performing leads. Although this guitar is sort of electric-acoustic in style, that is not so in sound. Acoustic enthusiasts will definitely not enjoy the Steer if that is what they are looking for. Electric driven guitarists will definitely favour this guitar more–especially if you’re into the Rolling Stones as it still screams Telecaster to me in sound. I have never seen or heard of the Steer previously, but from my research on this axe, I found that the Steer was originally developed in 1979 and only 40 were made at that time. The Steer, during that time, was endorsed by famed guitarist Billy Bragg. I read that he still favours this instrument. But that may be pure speculation …

To sum up this playing experience, I would like to add that this is a very well-made piece of music gear. It is definitely of solid construction in many ways. This is a guitar that I would use in the studio more times than live, as it doesn’t have that “in-your-face” kick that I look for in many live guitars. This, of course, is just my opinion for what I play. If I were in a country or blues band, this would be my guitar of choice for live applications. The Steer plays better through a combo amp than a stack as it requires that open-back cabinet sound to really accentuate its subtle nuances, but, again, I leave that up to the taste of the player. All in all I would definitely buy a Steer for use in my studio for its unique and peculiar sounds, but I would not take it on the road with me.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $1,349.95.

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Keeping The Rockin’ Pace

ktrpI believe it’s important for every musician to feel comfortable at the tempo that’s being played, however, you will find singer’s to be picky about the speed of the song. Why? Well for one, breathing and phrasing of their lyrics. Do you ever hear a song live and think “that doesn’t groove”? It seems too fast and the lyrics are rushed. Well you can bet it’s the drummer’s fault. Even if we don’t start off the tune, we get blamed for this problem. So how do we work on being consistent with the song’s tempo and make everybody in the band happy? One thing that many big tour artists do is have their drummer play to a click track live. Next time you’re at a big show check out if the drummer is wearing headphones.

Either he or she has in-ear monitors or is wearing headphones to hear a click track. Why do this? For many reasons, the artist might have backing tracks including percussion and maybe back up vocals so the drummer needs to lock in with this music. Also while on tour, night after night, city after city, the band can be consistent with the feel and tempo of their songs. I am currently working with a band playing the circuit where we have backing tracks and I have to play to a click track. It’s a great way to work on your time.

I believe playing to a click track live is the easy way to have consistent timing. As long as you feel comfortable playing with one, no one can blame you if the song feels slower one night. It might just be the mood that musician is in, maybe not enough sleep.

Many times we aren’t set up to play with a metronome or click track live. So how do we play the songs at a consistent tempo? One thing that I will do if I am subbing in on a gig, whether it’s original material or cover tunes, is before I count off the song, I will have the bandleader give me the pulse whether verbally or with a finger snap. That way I can see or hear the tempo they want. If a band gives me a live recording of their material before a show and I chart out their tunes, I always try to figure out what tempo the song is approximately with my metronome. This way when playing live, if I am not familiar with the feel and melody of the song, I will have my metronome on stage and just set the tempo of the song coming up, get the pulse in my head and count off the band. This way I can at least feel like I am somewhat accurate to what they want instead of just guessing the pulse and jumping in. Now many times you will not have the chance to always refer to your metronome and you will go from one song to another. This is where we have to internalize the pulse. The best way to do that is to sing the most recognizable part of the song in your head to get a feel and pulse of the tune before you count it in. Many times I usually sing the chorus. It’s the most recognizable part of the tune. It’s the hook and this way you’re relating to the song musically, not mechanically.

For example, if I wanted to count in the tune “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad, I am going to sing the chorus in my head to get a feel for the song, then count in the band. Now let’s say the song you’re going to play starts with a four-bar guitar riff. During that riff I will actually sing the beat in my head that will be accompanying the music before I jump in. As opposed to counting numbers, this is a better way to feel the groove and lock in with the band. If the guitar player starts the tune too quickly and you know that if you jump in at that tempo, the singer is going to look at you and say slow it down. Remember this is going to happen to everyone whether it’s your fault or not. We must take control and make the song sound as best as possible. So do I slow down or just play the tempo that the song started? Well I can’t give you one answer. Every situation is different. It depends on how fast the song started. If it is going to sound noticeable and feel strange to slow the song right down to a comfortable playing tempo, it may not work. The same situation applies if the song starts too slow. Do I speed it up? In these situations you have to react to what you feel is the best you can deliver when the song is played live. These are experiences that every musician will go through and you must take any type of constructive criticism as well from the other musicians. Remember that we are not machines and do not have perfect timing. However, there are many ways to maintain consistent timing and it goes back to daily practicing with a metronome, as well try recording yourself playing live to here what your timing is like. Another fun way is to play along to CDs. If you have practiced long enough with your metronome, you will know what CDs were recorded with a click track.

These are all great ways to strengthen your inner clock. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy this experience and have fun!

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Saving Money When Promoting Your Band

kmgKeith Maurik, guitarist for the Toronto-based band Maximum RNR and Tara Gibson and Glen McMullen of Halifax’s 60 Watt Vamp know that promoting your band can cost quite a lot of cash. Piggins, Gibson, Maurik and McMullen have all been in the music business to varying capacities for several years. As a member of The Morganfields, Alun Piggins professes to have sold his “mortal soul for a slice of pizza, a pitcher of beer, and a kick at the ‘Big Time’,” Glen McMullen and Tara Gibson have both played in several bands and are currently working on promoting their first collaboration together called 60 Watt Vamp, and Maurik’s job away from his duties as rhythm guitarist in Maximum RNR is as a rep at Epitaph Records Canada. All four have seen both ends of the way the music industry operates, and all maintain that the independent route at the beginning of any band’s career is not only necessary to understanding how the business works, but also important to knowing where exactly your money should go. “Expenses such as postage, long distance phone calls [for interviews] and promotional tools [stickers, posters, etc.] are pretty much a constant and not going to go away,” says Maurik candidly. “However you can look to yourself and to your community to help get it done yourself on the cheap or even for free. For example, bands have been known to pay $300 dollars or more to have a bio written for them. We wrote ours on our own which obviously didn’t cost us a cent. Hiring a publicist can cost literally thousands of dollars, whereas we’ve been pretty happy with the results we get for the price of postage, a long distance calling card and access to e-mail.”

One of the options available to save a bit of money is an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). Rather than dumping copious amounts of money into mail-outs, groups including both Alun Piggins and The Quitters and 60 Watt Vamp have discovered that EPKs can cut down the number of copies of their album they had to send out previously, still make as much (if not more) information available, and serve as a great promotional tool. While they may not be showcasing at North By Northeast this year, 60 Watt Vamp will be attending the conference and handing out copies of the band’s first single, first video, and EPK all on a single CD. “[Handing out the CDs with the EPK] is easier and more convenient for the people attending because it’s smaller and less bulky than a regular press kit,” explains McMullen. “It saves us some money too in not having to reprint big, glossy 8 x 10s and things like that.”

The financial bonus is that a professionally done EPK by a company like Sonicbids (www.sonicbids.com) costs a fraction of the cash that would be normally reserved for mail-outs ($19.95) and copy quality isn’t a consideration because it’s digital. A still cheaper route would be to either learn how to design an EPK yourself or get help from a particularly charitable friend who is already familiar with Web design. Even if you’re not really interested in the intangible nature of an EPK, with the current amount of file sharing going on and the music industry apparently “reeling” being Web-savvy would definitely be a boon. “Unfortunately, Web-based applications are a major weakness for us,” laments Maurik. “Recently we have been talking more and more about one of us taking a course so we can be in control of creating and maintaining our Website, EPK, banner ads, etc.”

As Maurik says, every independent band should have control over as many aspects of its career as possible and ceding that control will invariably mean a certain amount of distance between the artist and their work. Much like having a butler, maid or personal assistant, things like a label, manager, booking agent, publicist, lawyer and so on may make a band’s life easier but think of it this way; these are all major expenditures that have to come out of your pocket, don’t guarantee any results, and can isolate a band at a very formative stage in its career from the relationships that make it possible for a them to exist. Bands have been fighting for years to maintain their creative freedom and control and letting someone else take over seems contradictory to that point. While he is currently on AML Records, Alun Piggins keeps tabs on every aspect of his career and is adamant that he’ll never relinquish his grip on his material ever again. “Being on Watch/MCA was a real education and kind of soured me to the whole idea of a major label. AML is a small label owned by Fred Eaglesmith; I doubt we’ll be challenging Britney or Christina for a while,” jokes Piggins, “But because the label is artist-owned, I think it’s more sympathetic to an artists’ needs. I’m a bit of a control freak and I’d probably go postal if I walked into Starbucks and discovered one of my songs on one of their ‘listen-while-you-buy-our-coffee’ CDs.”

Of course, it’s implied within doing it yourself that complete control will cost you money, and getting word out can mean putting some of that money into your gas tank. As stated, 60 Watt Vamp are not showcasing at NXNE this year but are still making the trip in to Toronto from Halifax and attending to put in face time at the conference. One on one exposure with members of the industry is always an advisable move as showing up means that you cease to be another circular piece of plastic and become a person. As personal as your music is, members of the industry won’t know who you are until they meet you in person. Many of the same industry people attend conferences like North By Northeast, New Music West or the East Coast Music Awards conference and if you become a fixture at such events the people there will in turn become more familiar with who you are. “The costs of attending events like NXNE can be quite large but also one that many bands don’t take advantage of at all,” explains McMullen. “The benefits are that you stand a little better chance of getting advice and [industry professionals] listening to your demo. They also realize that you’re serious and putting effort into trying to make yourself a success.”

The success stories of people within the industry that managed to make it on their own terms with an independent mindset are numerous–but it’s also important to recognize that people like Ani Di Franco and Ian MacKaye did not make it to where they are without the assistance of the industry in some way. God (as the music industry likes to think of itself) helps those that help themselves but won’t help if you’re unknown to the entity. The whole music industry is based upon relationships and for a band it is important to have strong connections not just with the fans, but with the media (print, radio, internet, and TV) as well. While those doors may seem closed to you, sitting back and waiting for something to happen to your band isn’t an option if you want to make yourself a success. You have to make something happen and find your way in. Like Alun Piggins says, “If they won’t let you in through the front door, find a window.”

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Damon: Son of a Gypsy Reissue Arriving October 22nd Via Now-Again

sogdDamon’s Song Of A Gypsy is generally regarded as one of the finest privately-pressed psychedelic rock records and has, for over twenty years, been one of the most sought after late 60s American rock artifacts in the world, with the scant original copies that exist exchanging hands for thousands of dollars. Bad bootlegs and scrappy reissues have spread the music a little but left Damon’s story untouched, leaving Song of a Gypsyhigh on its own plateau: out of reach and indescribable. It seemed that this homespun, funky psychedelic monument borrowed from nothing and sprung from nowhere. But it was obvious from Damon’s unique, introspective songwriting and nuanced voice, his interplay with lead guitarist Charlie Carey and an atmosphere that so perfectly captured the last bloom of the flower power era as it decayed into the dark haze of the ’70s underground could only have arisen from a spark of genius.

Finally, Damon’s story can be told. Under the supervision of Eothen “Egon” Alapatt and Damon, born David Del Conte, Song Of A Gypsy has been lovingly remastered and will be reissued on Now-Again as a deluxe package that includes the entirety of Damon’s ’60s recordings on a bonus disc, dozens of unpublished photos and extensive liner notes and a candid interview with the artist.

Born into a tight-knit Italian American family, Damon reflects now on his “predestined life as a gypsy”. As his family life collapsed in the early to mid ‘60s, Damon’s musical wanderings took him throughsurf-rock, schmaltzy pop, convincing doo-wop, blue-eyed soul and garage rock. By 1967 he transformed from a pop hopeful into the tortured soul who would create an LP to file alongside works by other lost greats of the late ‘60s, from Shuggie Otis to Rodriguez.

This edition investigates Damon’s chance meeting with fuzz guitarist Carey, the loss he suffered that lead to his abuse of heroin, and after he kicked that, the psychotropic experience of LSD. It was an acid trip that took him on a meandering journey to Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, where a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison turned everything around for him, as he nursed a five-string guitar back to spiritual health aside the maestros’ sitars under Big Sur’s endless sky.

Back in Los Angeles after that profound experience, Damon assembled a team of musicians in a Hollywood studio to record Song of a Gypsy, riffing on Jefferson Airplane themes with a world-weary melancholy, and paying tribute to his idol Jim Morrison with unexpected results. Damon wrote with a childlike naiveté yet sang like a weathered old man, too exhausted to be anything but honest. There is no pretense to his Song of a Gypsy, just a transparent view into his churning soul. The album Song Of A Gypsy was pressed in a run of five hundred copies. At some point, Damon’s master tapes disappeared. He only kept a ¼” tape duped from a scratchy copy of the album.

Damon spent the mid-’70s robbing drug dealers, being robbed, and getting into precarious situations, like that one night in Arizona when he found himself on the receiving end of a snub-nosed revolver. It all changed in 1979 when he found God. Sober for over twenty years, he’s had a chance to reflect on his legacy and he’s proud of his role as an elder statesman of the psychedelic movement. Though he is in the autumn of his life, his music is timeless. The themes he treats with such candor on his life’s great work resonate today, as they always will, a reminder of the marvels man is capable of creating under even the most adverse circumstances.

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