#Inspiration

School’s Out! 10 Musical Instruments to Kickstart your Music Journey

Put aside the books, the school holidays are here! If you’ve always wanted to learn a new instrument or pick up a new hobby, there’s no better time to start. Aside from being away from the stresses of exams and school, many studies have shown that playing a musical instrument… Read more

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Best Picks: Electric Guitars under $3,000

There’s no better time to be in the market for a guitar. Improvements in manufacturing, quality control and technology means high-end guitars no longer have to cost a fortune. Aspirational brands like Gibson and Gretsch and high-value guitars like American-made Fenders are now sold at a more accessible price, and… Read more

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Modulation 101: A Guide to Vibrato, Phasers, Flangers and Chorus

Listen to the opening riff of Heart’s iconic single, Barracuda: the first thing to hit is the heavy overdrive. It rumbles with the intensity of a buffalo stampede. Then a sweeping, whooshing effect that elevates the entire riff, taking the opening to a whole new level. This psychedelic effect that… Read more

#Inspiration

Your Guide to Recording at Home. Fast.

If you’ve been to a home studio or a professional recording studio, you’ll have seen that recording musical instruments is serious business. From the clusters of cables and fancy equipment, to the expensive soundproofing which surrounds you – you might decide to leave recording to the pros. But thankfully, recording… Read more

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A Buyer’s Guide: Your next Bass Guitar

Do you remember your first instrument? The one you learned your first chords and songs on and made countless memories. Many of us hold on to our first instruments, no matter how cheap or poorly made, just for those many sentimental moments. But some of our first success stories in… Read more

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Hollow Bodies: Why we love them

Joe Pass, Chet Atkins, Kenny Burrel, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, Scotty Moore. They all found their sounds and made their names with hollow bodied guitars. The big, warm, resonant sound produced by hollow bodied guitars is unmistakable, and its distinct characteristic is what draws many players to it. There is… Read more

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10 Gibson Guitar Heroes

Gibson’s illustrious history started with its founding in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, making just mandolins at first. They very quickly became the go-to for luxurious, classy electric instruments, with big jazz bands favouring their hollow-bodied guitars. Gibson remain the true innovators of the electric age with the invention of the… Read more

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Know your Keyboards: Synths, MIDI, and Digital Pianos.

Think of modern music and the guitar might first spring to mind. But in fact, while guitars have been crucial to rock and roll - the wider landscape of modern music has in fact been defined and dominated by the keyboard. From the sounds of the Hammond organ in the… Read more

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The Best Acoustic Guitars under $4,000

When we last touched on the subject of acoustic guitars, we showcased some top-of-the-line instruments. They represent the pinnacle of luthiery and command astronomical price tags. While such instruments are an absolute dream to own and play, you don’t necessarily have to part with this kind of money to enjoy… Read more

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The 4 Quintessential Jackson Models

Strats are perfect for blues. Les Pauls are great for rock. We all dislike overgeneralizations like these, but you can probably be forgiven for labelling Jackson as the name that ruled over metal and all things heavy. Just take a look at these names… Randy Rhoads, Chris Broderick, Phil Collen,… Read more

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A Guide to Acoustic Pickups

The introduction of electric guitars in the 50s didn’t spell the end for the acoustic guitar. Far from it. The sounds of the acoustic guitar were just as popular, and they too, benefitted from the electrification and amplification of stringed instruments. Gibson realised the acoustic guitar was going nowhere and… Read more

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Celebrating 53 Years of Singapore with 53 Picks we Love

Singapore will be 53 tomorrow, and to commemorate our nation’s special day, we’ve picked out 53 music items - red and white - one for every year we’ve come thus far. 1. Arturia BeatStep Pro Sequencer Love: So much fun, and with incredible build quality and ergonimics. 2. Blue Microphones… Read more

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Let’s go Back to the Future, with the Super Strat

It’s 1978. A young Edward Van Halen takes to the stage with his Stratocaster sporting a black and white, randomly striped paint job. Nicknamed the “Frankenstrat”, this guitar was - like its name suggests - an amalgamation of guitar parts thrown together, finished with nothing more than some tape and… Read more

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Drummers: Get to Know your Tonewoods

Tonewoods - familiar with that word? It’s almost become a buzzword in the guitarist community and a subject of endless discussion and debate. The one thing everyone would agree upon is the impact wood has on tone. Drums are no different. Understanding how different woods affect sound plays a big… Read more

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All Things Bluetooth: Why you Should be Going Wireless

Let’s face it... a totally wireless future is really only a matter of time. Launched in the early 90's, Bluetooth felt like it was going to be a technology that disappeared with the MiniDisc and the Nokia 3210, but today, it's a 5.2 billion dollar a year industry that has… Read more

#Inspiration

Taylor Guitar’s Revolutionary V-Class Bracing

Pushing boundaries every step of the way, from ultra-playable guitar necks to a revolutionary body shape, Taylor has never been afraid to stray from the norm. This year’s focus? The guitar top. Taylor have analysed and questioned a century-old method of craftsmanship and redesigned it from the inside out, with… Read more

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Best Picks: Electric Guitars Under S$1,000

Whether you’re picking out your first guitar, or you’re looking to upgrade starter kit, figuring out how much you should spend on an electric guitar can be tricky business. S$1,000 today will get you incredible value, as we’ve already shown with acoustic and bass guitars. However you intend to use… Read more

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5 Songs that Wouldn’t be the Same Without Reverb

Reverb has got to be one of the most universally loved effects in the studio and on the stage. It is the reason why an orchestra sounds breathtaking in a theatre. A touch of reverb brings an instrument to life, adding natural sounding space that we’re all so familiar with.… Read more

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Delay: A Brief History of the Time Based Pedal Effect

If you’re new to delay, check out the opening riff of Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses or pretty much anything by U2… Like an echo, a delay pedal allows you to repeat a sound over and over, but unlike shouting into a huge cave where you hear… Read more

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Acoustic Guitars: The Best Money can Buy

The ingredients required for the best guitars in the world include expert craftsmanship, top of the line materials, and of course, artistic brilliance. When these elements come together, the result, is some of the most beautiful and incredible sounding guitars any luthier is capable of. It could be argued, that… Read more

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Our Favourite Bass Guitars Under S$1,000

“You get what you pay for” - the words that often ring through your head when buying any new musical instrument. And while that certainly still can hold true at entry level purchases, for the mid-range market, the quality of instrument manufacturing today has taken huge steps forward, offering much… Read more

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Picking your First Ukulele

Move over recorder. The ukulele is taking over the place of every kid's first instrument. For good reason too - they sound better, and are easier to learn, but most of all, they're damn cool! Whether it’s the opening intro to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz or covering your favourite… Read more

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Controller Freak: Native Instruments, Ableton, Akai and Novation

Decisions, decisions. For the bedroom music maker, grid-based controllers can look a little daunting. What do all the buttons actually do? Am I going to be able to play it? Am I actually going to use it? At first glance, we get it, but whether you are producing at home,… Read more

#Inspiration

Marshall: The Amps that Shaped Rock Music

55  years ago, the first Marshall amp left Jim Marshall’s garden shed in West London. Jim was a dancehall drummer and teacher who had a small shop in west London. His shop was frequented by guitarists such as Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore and Peter Townshend from The Who, both of… Read more

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Picking out an Acoustic Guitar for Less than S$1,000

Guitarists today can be a discerning and demanding bunch, and we get it! Is it really too much to ask for high-quality sound, good build quality, at a low price? Thankfully, no - guitar builders are bridging the gap between cheap, mass produced guitars and expensive, handmade ones. A step up… Read more

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Stratocaster or Telecaster?

No two guitars are more synonymous with Fender than the Stratocaster and Telecaster models. They’ve become a worldwide archetype, the could be considered most recognisable guitar shapes in music history - an industry standard for quality. You will hear them on innumerable records from the classics of old, to the… Read more

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Drum Machine Love: From the 808 to Today

They never tire of the same four-bar loop. They never go out of time. They never throw hissy fits over musical difference. They were cast out by many because of their "inhuman perfection"... but they have formed the flawless rhythm and beat section of countless productions since the 80s. The… Read more

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Pedalboard Love: Designing your Sound for Under $500

Building a pedalboard is a journey - we all have different tonal needs and tastes, and our preferences can change over time. Pedalboards can grow into incredulous creations, almost resembling the dashboard of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Naturally, a board like that will come at an exorbitant cost too. Today,… Read more

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Gretsch: 5 Legendary Players

“The Great Gretsch Sound” they say. The unmistakable snap and twang, or the warm, round but brilliant sound - Gretsch guitars were right at the forefront of the rock ‘n’ roll era in the 50s and has been an essential part of guitar history ever since. Together with the great… Read more

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6 Songs for the Synth Lover

Perhaps the introduction and influence of the synthesizer is most eloquently described by Giorgio Moroder himself on Daft Punk’s homage to the disco master, Giorgio by Moroder. The track starts with an interview with Moroder where he shares a bite-sized history of his life as a musician, and recounting how… Read more

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10 Blistering Drum Solos that Took Centrestage

“Playing drums is my therapy,” confesses a certain Travis Barker. The punk rock stalwart was considered by many as being single-handedly responsible for the genre’s renaissance in the early 90’s just by his need to beat the drums like his life depended on it. While banging out anthems with Blink… Read more

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5 Cajon Covers To Get You Started

For all the times we’ve flipped a box over and created beats by banging on them, we’ve wished for an actual instrument that could take that much of a beating. The cajon (pronounced "CAR-HORN") serves that very purpose, and was born out of poetic necessity that traces back to the 18th… Read more

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5 Groundbreaking Effects That Pushed The Guitar To Its Limits

On the fields of a dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, a mud-soaked crowd of 400,000 witnessed Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of Star Spangled Banner. It was 1969, and the crowd were treated to the squeals and wails of his white Stratocaster. What dominated his sound, was… Read more

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4 Producers We Love That Went Against The Clock

A home studio can mean different things to different people, and there hasn’t been a more exciting time to build your own. Get your foundation up and running with a software on a laptop, and a nice pair of monitor speakers. Once you’ve got that, take your studio anyway you… Read more

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6 Fender Custom Finishes To Drool Over

Ever wondered about Fender’s custom finishes - how they came about, and what they’re meant to represent? Throw it way back to the post-war era in 50s and 60s and you’ll find America’s obsession with the automobile at its peak. Beyond its interiors and functionalities, a car’s paint was really… Read more

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Vinyl and the Art of Digging

Vinyl has seen a massive resurgence in recent years, and aren’t all of us just loving it! We’re thrown back to the days of drool dribbling artwork, the sensation of removing the record from its sleeve for the first time, dropping the needle, and hearing it crackle like admiring your… Read more

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6 Face-melting Solos You Never Knew Were Played On An Ibanez

We've all dreamed of performing a ripping guitar solos on an Ibanez after watching our guitar heroes do it on one track after another. Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani are just some of the Ibanez-playing legends you know... But do you know all of these awesome under-the-radar performances? Steve… Read more

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Celebrating 100 years of Chuck Taylor’s

A full century ago, the Chuck Taylor All Stars made their first appearances on the streets of America. Not just a pair of shoes, Chucks stepped into a special place in pop-culture. From college and professional basketball players, to Kurt Cobain and The Ramones, these iconic shoes were a fashion… Read more

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D’Angelico: The Gem Hiding In Plain Sight

D’Angelico Guitars has come a long way since its humble beginnings in NYC’s Little Italy, where John D’Angelico would only make 35 guitars a year. All lovingly hand-made, the novelty of a D’Angelico became part of its mystique. Whether John knew it or not, he laid the groundwork for the… Read more

#From the Team

Music You Should Know

Nothing inspires like hearing some really great new music. So check out some of the freshest new tunes our friends at BandLab have gathered together for you. Want more music like this? Explore BandLab here. Read more

#Inspiration

The Best Independent Music Right Now

Click, listen, and be moved. Tired of lifeless tunes on the radio? Fatigued by rehashed playlists at your favourite bars? Perhaps it’s time to pop over to a different channel for inspiration. We’ve cherry-picked some of the freshest tracks from the year’s most prolific artists on BandLab. Check out their… Read more

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Tracks That Inspired Us This Month

Here at Swee Lee, we take joy in all new music, and the unique creativity our customers and blog readers have. This month, our good friends at BandLab have curated a selection of tracks designed to inspire! Listen to them all below. Read more