NOVA Notes

Famous Fender Stratocaster Players

Player Stratocaster Cherry Glazerr

Randy Bachman: The Guess Who, Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO)
Jeff Beck: Yardbirds
Adrian Belew: King Crimson,Talking Heads, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and Nine Inch Nails.
Ritchie Blackmore: Deep Purple and Rainbow; The Blackmore Strat
Tommy Bolin:  Zephyr, James Gang and Deep Purple.
Bill Carson: credited by Fender as “the man for whom the Stratocaster was designed.”
Daniel Ceasar: Chance the Rapper
Eric Clapton:
Ry Cooder:
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Order Of Effects Pedals – A Basic Guide

Guitar effects pedals are the cornerstone of modern guitar tone. No matter which genre of music you are playing, you can still benefit from effects pedals given that you are using an electric guitar. With that said, the order in which you arrange your effects pedals is important. For many, this issue is a very personal one.

However, there are still some guidelines and unwritten rules that you don’t necessarily need to stick to completely, but will get you on the right track. Today we are going to take a look at those and talk a bit about what makes a solid signal chain.

Basic Order Of Effects Pedals

Different variations of pedal placement in your signal chain will give you different results. Finding something that works for you takes a fair bit of experimentation. However, if you are new to this, it is highly recommended that you stick to the basic order that is guaranteed to eliminate any conflict between pedals.

1. Tuners

If you are using a tuner pedal, it should always be the very first link in your signal chain. The reasoning for this is simple. A tuner pedal will give you the best results if the signal being fed to it is raw and clean. If you decide to put various modulation pedals between the guitar and the tuner, chances are that the readings will be all over the place. So, tuner goes first.

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Choosing The Style Of Your Electric Guitar – Is There a Difference?

Ever since electric guitars first appeared, you could see a difference in various designs. Right off the bat, Gibson’s flagship Les Paul was worlds apart from Fender’s top tier Stratocaster. As the market became even more diversified, these differences only grew to be more apparent. The question many people have today is whether or not the style of your guitar limits its use in any way? Let’s try to answer that question and see what hides beneath the surface.

There Is A Difference

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What strings should I use on my Ukulele?


Most Ukulele videos that we watch online feature a traditional island-y, warm and mellow sound, and that’s one of the reasons why so many people fall in love with the Uke. However, the sound that your Ukulele makes depends a lot from its strings and there are many types of strings out there to choose from, so it’s a good idea to spend some time learning about what are the ideal strings for your Uke. Continue reading

How to tune your Ukulele


One of the essential skills that you must develop as you learn to play the Ukulele is to be able to tune it effectively. A badly-tuned Uke will always sound poorly, no matter how proficient you are with strumming patterns. You have several options to choose from: Continue reading

different types of tonewood

How Different Types of Tonewood Impact The Sound of Your Acoustic Guitar

Stringed instruments, for the entirety of their existence, have been dependent on the type of tonewood used to make them. That hasn’t changed even to this day, although modern electric guitars definitely minimize the impact of tonewood. When it comes to acoustic guitars, the type of wood used will still make a significant difference. Today we are going to talk about different types of tonewood and how they impact the sound of your acoustic guitar. By the time we are done, you should have a pretty clear understanding of this topic. Let’s get to it
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Environmental Responsibility (Phase One)

Taking care of the environment is a responsibility that we have started to feel accountable for. You might be surprised to discover that while we all need to make lifestyle changes, saving the planet doesn’t have to mean giving up the things you love. An Ecological Footprint is an indicator of human pressure on nature. It is figured by calculating the area required to produce the resources people consume, the area occupied by infrastructure, and the area of forest required for sequestering CO2 not absorbed by the ocean. NOVA Music Center has started it’s journey to reduce its ecological footprint! Continue reading

How to Take Care of Your Ukulele

The Ukulele is a beginner-friendly musical instruments but you better make sure that you keep your Uke clean and in good condition, otherwise its sound quality might decline (not to mention its appearance). Here are a few pointers:
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If you’re tired of offering the same old boring presents, try gifting someone a Ukulele!

Everybody I know has had at least one experience throughout their life where they didn’t know what to buy for a friend or a relative, and ended up buying a very random, uninteresting present, such as a picture frame, a scarf or a decorative candle. Well, I can’t think of a more unique and useful present than a Ukulele! The Uke is the ultimate gift: fun, useful, great for people of all ages, and cheap! It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of a present for your 5-year-old nephew or your 80-year-old uncle, the Uke can be enjoyed by everyone! It’s also useful for many stages of our lives: it enhances both kids’ concentration as well as academic results, it can help shy teenagers get comfortable with public performances, it offers a new opportunity to learn a musical instrument to those who had tried for years but never really succeeded, and it also promotes social interaction and cognitive stimulation for retired seniors. The Ukulele is also great for relaxation, brainstorming sessions and it also helps to kill time while we are waiting for someone. And to top it all, the Uke is also a cheap gift and requires very little maintenance! Continue reading

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the advanced reiteration of the No Child Left Behind or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; it’s a landmark piece of legislation and the first law of federal education that gives structure to a lot of access to learning arts and music for every student. The education of arts and music is included as a well-rounded education in the law, are the original level and transformation in federal education policy. This means that there is a great access to resources and funds to maintain strengthen and develop the education of music in public schools.

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How I’m teaching my son to play the ukulele

I’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument and when I found out about the Ukulele I was beyond excited, because not only did it seem a somewhat easy instrument for me to pick up, but it also seemed a great fit for my 6-year-old son! It had the cool look of a guitar, only way smaller and less intimidating, and I also felt that if we began learning to play the Uke together it would be an amazing way for us to connect deeper with each other. Continue reading

Effect Pedals

I love effect pedals! If you haven’t had an opportunity to play with a stomp box a it is time to head to a music shop. They are fun. What they do is alter the sound produced by your electric guitar. Actually, it is not limited to the electric guitar; pedals can alter the sound of any instrument. Stomp your foot and change the sound of any instrument as long as it’s sound is converted into an electric signal either through a pickup or a microphone. In other words, you got to get the sound into one of those fun little boxes somehow. Continue reading

Choosing the Right Method Book for a Piano Student (Introduction)

By Minette

For a new piano teacher, the numerous piano method books available today can be overwhelming. New teachers often choose a piano method based on a fellow teacher’s recommendation or use the books they learned about.  And for a new teacher, this may be the best option.  A teacher should be confident and not distracted by the material. Continue reading

How to Tune Your Guitar Quick and Easy

Tune it or die! You can find this message two guitar players written on T-shirts, mugs and bumper stickers. As a guitar player bangs and bends their strings, it will eventually go out of tune. Sometimes you go out at home, in practice or on stage. Every guitar player has been there. So turn on that handy electric tuner, clip it to your guitar, tune it and tune often. Your band mates and your audience will love you for it. Continue reading

New Opportunities for Music Students in 2016

by Tiffany Herleikson,

Budget pressures and a growing focus on testing reading and math have crowded the arts out of many schools. The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is a big win for a well-rounded education for our children and music and the arts in our schools. The inclusion of music and arts in the bill signed by the President last December shows that Congress believes music is part of a “well-rounded” education. And it is. Continue reading

7 Reasons to Take a Ukulele to College

“Are you really taking that?” When you’re packing for college, sometimes a little ruthlessness is needed. If there are clothes in your closet that haven’t seen the light of day for 6 months or more, what makes you think you’re suddenly going to start wearing them when you get there? Also, do you really need two games consoles? It’s a sad fact of life that Continue reading

Common Bach Mouthpieces


Depth Medium
Diameter 16.20mm
Medium wide, lowered toward the outside. Medium sharp inside. Well rounded edge with a perfect grip.
Probably the most widely used model in the world. Its brilliant tone is preferred by school musicians and by artists

Medium wide, well rounded toward the inside and outside, fairly flat.
For players with a strong embouchure who do not like a sharp edge. The tone is lively and rich.

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About Rosin

Why do I need rosin?
Because rosin is sticky. When you apply rosin to the hairs of your bow and draw the bow across the strings of your violin (or viola, cello or bass) the rosin grips the string and tugs at it. The bow keeps moving and the string snaps back to its original position and is caught again by the rosin on the hair and the cycle is repeated. This happens very, very quickly. In the case of your A-string 440 times per second. If a bow’s hair has never been rosined it will not grip and the hair just slides over the string and you hear nothing. Continue reading

Notes on the Trumpet Mouthpiece

What to buy, what to buy. First problem, everyone is different physically, and this has a lot to do with picking the mouth piece that will help you get the sound you want. So, professional trumpet players often have a lot of mouthpieces. Some change mouthpieces every song. Some use the mouthpiece that came with the trumpet. What you are looking for is a mouthpiece that has a great sound, great projection, great range, great flexibility, and a rim that feels just right. Continue reading

According to Dr. Nina Kraus

According to Dr. Nina Kraus’s work with the Harmony Project, students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also attend college as well.

Kraus N., Slater J., Thompson E.C., Hornickel J., Strait D.L., Nicol T. & White-Schwoch T. (2014), “Auditory learning through active engagement with sound: Biological impact   NAMM Foundation

D.C. Fly-In 2016

Each spring, NAMM members gather in Washington, D.C. To “stand up for music education” and to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music. With the passage of the federal education law –Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – NAMM members, artists and other industry influencers will meet with their Congressional Representatives to thank them for passing ESSA, and to reinforce the importance of music being designated as significant to a well-rounded education. As ESSA guides state and local education policy, NAMM members have the opportunity to learn from representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and other national leaders on how ESSA will influence state and local education policies over time. NAMM Flyin

Coated Strings?

Coated strings are more expensive but last longer.

I lived near the beach for a while.  With the salt air I couldn’t keep strings on my guitar until I put on coated strings.  Some people have sweaty hand or the body chemistry is a bit different and they go through strings faster than they want to. Coated strings may help.

Marty Friedman (Shrapnel Records)

If you’re a guitar player, and a lot of times guitar players think that they have to be able to play everything that exists. They have to know how to play everything. They think that they have to know how to play like this guy. They have to know how to play like this guy. They have to learn all of these different things, and that’s totally not true. All you have to do is be able to play your own music really, really, really, really well. Like for example, I could never, ever play like Jeff Beck. If I practiced every day for years, I could never, ever play like that, or Eddie Van Halen, or anybody. I could never, ever do it.

Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats)

Sometimes a young player will become blinded by the technique aspect and it will distract them from the bigger picture, which is of course you’re meant to write music and play music with other people, and play music to other people.

Nuno Bettencourt

I think the main thing is, for any guitar player, don’t just be a guitar player. Don’t be obsessed with guitar only. Be obsessed with the guitar, but also be obsessed with music and rhythm playing. You know, solos are just a small portion of the song. You will make your own history and be yourself amongst how you can play in a song. That will separate you from everybody else.

Phil Collen (Def Leppard)

I always say two things are very important to guitar players – you’ve got to be listening to the rest of the band, and the song is king. Everything else pales in comparison. You’ve got to make the singer sound great. And then the rhythm and melody follows. Be mindful of the song.  (City Pages)

Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)

“But I think if I can give any advice, it’s to really work hard on the craft of songwriting because it is the foundation of our business. Without a good song, we can all be the best musicians, but if you haven’t got a good song to play, no one is going to come see you play, no one is going to buy your records, and you have no career. It’s a very important part of what builds a person’s style, a band’s voice, and a particular instrumentalist’s voice. That’s the best advice I can give. If you’re not good at songwriting, find a good songwriter to learn from. And even if you are a good songwriter already, write with as many different people as you can because you learn something new every time you sit down with a new guy.” (Vintage Guitar)

John Mayer

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to write bad songs. There’s a lot of people who don’t want to finish songs because they don’t think they’re any good. Well, they’re not good enough. Write it! I want you to write me the worst songs you could possibly write me because you won’t write bad songs. You’re thinking they’re bad so you don’t have to finish it. That’s what I really think it is. Well it’s all right. Well, how do you know? It’s not done!”

Kirk Hammett from Metallica

When you’re first starting out, there’s always the temptation to hide behind distortion because it lets you get away with murder. But, when it comes to rhythm work, you’ve gotta back off that gain control a bit, especially if you’re playing with another guitarist. Actually, over the years, James and I have found that besides giving our tone more definition and cut, backing off the gain makes us play our riffs better because we can’t get away with being sloppy. (Guitar World)

Jack White

They need to quit playing video games, throw away their Auto-Tune program and cut three strings off their guitar. (NME)

Famous Trumpet Players and the Mouthpieces They Use

Many people find out what mouthpiece their favorite player use run out and get one for themselves. Everybody is different physically and so this almost always ends in disappointment. But it is still fun to see what they use.

Louis Armstrong: 7C Leblanc France and others Selmer, Schilke, Giardinelli, Bach
Eric Aubier: Bach 1 1/2C
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Guitar Makers

Guitar Manufacturers

Barbara Guitars

The company was founded in 2001. “I have been playing, customizing and building guitars since I was seven years old. After a brief career at a local guitar icon – I started the company to build guitars on my own that the big guys wouldn’t build. I named the company as a tribute to my Mother who was my first music teacher and who had recently passed away.” Alan R. Kenyon Luthier/Owner


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Join a Guitar Ensemble

Holiday Guitar Ensemble

Sunday, Oct 25, 2015, 2:00 PM

NOVA Music Center
8963 Center Street Manassas, VA

1 Players Attending

Starts: Sunday October[masked]PM Rehearsals:  Sundays at 2-3 Performances:  1-3 performances in December on Saturday or Sunday Cost: No Charge Materials Fee:  about $20 for print music Ages: All ages Level: Mid Beginner LevelTentative Song List*Good King WenceslasJolly Old Saint NicholasSilent NightJingle BellsWe Wish You a Merry Christm…

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Alex de Grassi Workshop

Call the store now to reserve your seat for this workshop on Monday, October 19 at 7PM from a fingerstyle master. $40

Alex de Grassi Bio

Alex de Grassi was born in Japan, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He switched from trumpet to guitar at the age of 13 and immersed himself in American and British folk and blues traditions, eventually studying jazz and classical guitar. Since then he has become widely acclaimed as a leading innovator and virtuoso of acoustic guitar, fusing a variety of guitar traditions into a highly orchestrated sound. The Wall Street Journal has called his playing “flawless” and Billboard hails his “intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention.”

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Bill Kirchen Workshop

Please call and reserve your spot 703-335-5001

This is a great workshop for electric guitar players with some experience. It’s a chance to learn from a legend.

It will start at 7PM. Please bring your guitar. $40

From Wikipedia:
Bill Kirchen is an American rockabilly guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen from 1967 to the mid-1970s and is known as “The Titan of The Telecaster” for his musical prowess on the guitar. Continue reading

Erich’s EQ Tips

Before you change the EQ decide what you want to improve.

  • Raising one vocal subject at 3 kHz can add clarity to that vocal to help it move to the front.  You can lower the background vocals at that range to make them fall back. You can boost or raise eq or both but be selective.
  • Presence to vocal is at 4-5 kHz
  • Vocal sounds such as ‘m’, ‘b’, ‘v’ can get lost if 2-4 kHz are boosted too high.
  • Don’t over boost at 1-4 kHz. It can strain the ear.
  • Control sibilance at the 5-16 kHz range.
  • Sibilance and brightness may be found at the 6 kHz range. Open up the sound or reduce sibilance.
  • Add power to a vocal around 80 but start looking at 60-125. Too much of this area can also make things sound muddy.
  • Speech fundamentals occur between about 125 and 250 Hz. This is where you can add warmth. If you are looking for a powerful vocal don’t add much here and boost around 80. The character of the voice is 300-1 kHz
  • To make a telephone or radio speaker voice boost in the 1 kHz area.
  • Vocals to harsh? Cut at 1 – 2 kHz Roll off vocals below 60 Hz. Anything below that are probably not vocals.

Ukulele Crash Course with Moses Kamai

We know you’ve been waiting for this.

NOVA Music Center’s very own Moses Kamai will be offering an eight week crash course on James Hill’s Ukulele in the Classroom (Level 1) beginning on June 25th. Moses is a native Hawaiian whose love for the ukulele is evident in both his playing and his teaching. He is also certified by the James Hill Ukulele Initiative/Institute as a Level 1 UITC instructor. Be sure to call NOVA Music Center and reserve a seat.

Call 703-335-5001

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Musician Meetup

Use the form below to tell other musicians about you, your music and the kind of situation you are looking for. We will take your input and create a one bio that we will post during our Musician Meetup event.

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NOVA Muisc 2015 Top 100 Dealer

NOVA Music Center of Manassas, VA, has been recognized as one of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Top 100 Dealers for 2015.  Dubbed the ‘retail Oscars’ by Music Inc. magazine, NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer Awards spotlight the industry’s very best music product retailers and share their stores’ strategies for success. Continue reading

Pierre Bensusan Guitar Workshop and Performance

We are very excited to host a workshop by guitar master Pierre Bensusan. Come for one or both. The workshop is from 2:00-4:00 PM. The performance starts at 5:00 PM.  The space is very intimate with an audience of only 30 people.

For this event please call the store in advance. Seating will be limited. Call (703) 335-5001 to reserve your spot. The workshop is $50.

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Effect Pedals

I love effect pedals!  If you haven’t had an opportunity to play with a stomp box a it is time to head to a music shop. They are fun.  What they do is alter the sound produced by your electric guitar.   Continue reading

Vintage Guitars for Sale

Here is a list of some of the fine guitars. To be honest, we have limited space and we will not be able to bring all of the 200 guitars on this list. If there is a couple of favorites that you may be interested in please let us know. Please call 703-335-5001 to reserve a spot.

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Fiddle or Violin? Which one should I learn?

What’s in a name? The ‘fiddle’ and the ‘violin’ are (physically speaking), exactly the same instrument. The difference is all to do with style. In fact, it says a lot about just how adaptable this instrument is that it’s equally at home in your local bluegrass venue as it is in Carnegie Hall. Continue reading

GM Drum Mapping

I was in the studio the other day showing a couple of guys how to sketch out quick drum beats. The little chart below is handy and saves me time looking for the right GM tone. Continue reading

We Are Expanding Our Music Lesson Program

It has long been known that music has great power and is important in many ways in our lives. What’s new is that many recent research studies show clear links between sustained participation in music and improved academic performance, social skills, and emotional health. Numerous studies have shown, for example, that music education can be a positive force on all aspects of a child’s life, particularly on their academic success. Music students achieve significantly higher grades in middle and high school and on standardized tests such at the SAT.

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While modern synthesizers and midi keyboards can be connected via USB, the standard way of connecting most keyboard and synthesizers is via MIDI. The acronym M.I.D.I stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. To setup your synthesizer to communicate with your Sequencer  Continue reading

Weather Policy

Our weather policy follows Prince William County Government’s weather policy. When they are closed due to weather conditions the store will also be closed.  If you have lessons in Clifton please contact your teacher. If you have any questions please call first. 703-335-5001

Random Thoughts on Mics and Video

Use a small diaphragm (1/2 inch or smaller) mic on Cameras.

Omni to pick up the entire room, directional to isolate sound source, shotgun or hyper cardioid to mic from a distance and isolate the sound source.

Condenser mics usually require power.

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