The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

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Our annual Holiday Sale is back, and so is our Holiday Gift Guide! This year, we have a mix of exciting new products as well as old favorites for musicians of all levels and ages.

Electric Violins

JSI Companion

JSI EV-4 Companion Outfit in red. ON SALE $320.00

JSI EV-4 Companion Outfit in red, ON SALE $320.00

Our brand for electrics, this instrument is a great option for those getting started with electric violin. An outfit comes with the instrument in one of five colors, bow, case and headphones.

Yamaha YEV

Yamaha YEV-104 Black Electric Violin Outfit ON SALE $696.00

Yamaha YEV-104 Black Electric Violin , $595.00

Winner of Best in Show at the 2016 NAMM conference! This innovative instrument can be purchased with four or five strings in two different colors. The outfit includes the instrument, bow, case, cable and rosin.

We haven’t forgotten about you viola, cello and bass players! See all of our electric instruments currently on sale on our website.

Galaxy Cases

Galaxy 300SL Comet Violin Case in green ON SALE $337.00

Galaxy 300SL Comet Green Violin Case, ON SALE $337.00

A newer, lighter case makes a great gift! This JSI exclusive, both durable and light, is a great option. Available for violin, viola and cello in nine different colors!

Ukulele

Cordoba 20SM Soprano Ukulele $149.00

Cordoba 20SM Soprano Ukulele, $149.00

Check out why the ukulele is such a great instrument in our blog post and give someone the gift of this versatile instrument this holiday season. There are four types to choose from: soprano, concert, baritone and tenor. May we also suggest this book to help them get started?

Children’s Books

These books are great holiday gifts for young musicians! Some of our favorites are:

Berlioz the Bear

Berlioz the Bear, written and illustrated by Jan Brett

Berlioz the Bear, written and illustrated by Jan Brett, $6.99

“Berlioz and his orchestra are scheduled to perform at a gala ball in the village square. But just before showtime, their bandwagon becomes stuck in the road. Whatever will they do?”

Zin, Zin, Zin, A Violin!

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, $7.99

A Caldecott Honor book, this classic is a great introduction to the orchestra. Intended for ages 4-8.

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin, Illustrated by Marc Simont $6.99

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin, Illustrated by Marc Simont, $6.99

“It is Friday evening. The sky is getting darker and darker. Here and there, all around the city, one hundred and five people are getting ready to go to work. Some of them take showers, others bathe. Some shave or trim their mustaches, others put on dusting powder and a little jewelry. Then they all get into special black and white clothes and travel to midtown with their instruments. There, at 8:30, they will work together–playing beautiful music in an orchestra.” Intended for ages 4-8.

Stocking Stuffers

Magic Rosin

Magic Rosin Bach Manuscript 3G $16.00

Magic Rosin Bach Manuscript 3G, $16.00

Not only is this rosin available with a Bach manuscript, it’s also available in GLOW-IN-THE-DARK!

Rockin’ Rosin

Rockin' Rosin Frog ON SALE $9.95

Rockin’ Rosin Frog, ON SALE $9.95

This fun rosin is available in six different shapes including frog, snowman and even pizza!

Overscore Tape

Overscore Removable Manuscript Tape $8.00

Overscore Removable Manuscript Tape, $8.00

The tool you never knew you needed: REMOVABLE manuscript tape!

You can find even more stocking-stuffer ideas here.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get our exclusive December Deals December 12-18th and for even more savings.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Johnson String!


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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

How To Pack A Cello

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Renters, this post is for you! Packing a cello can look complicated. How you do it is important to prevent damage to the instrument. If you rent from us and need to ship your cello back, we developed a packing method many years ago that protects the cello from damage.

Before We Start:

  • Take note of how the cello was packed when you received it. We have pictures in this post, but it doesn’t hurt to take some of your own to make sure you remember how to pack it.
  • Save all of the packing materials. Seriously: ALL of them, including the return shipping label.

You Will Need:

  1. The cello and case
  2. Box
  3. Foam
  4. Bubble Wrap
  5. Tubes
  6. Packing Tape
  7. Shipping Label

Cellos 1/2 – 4/4

STEP ONE: Prep the Cello

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Pack foam anywhere that something on the cello could collapse, such as:

  • Either side of the bridge, to keep it upright
  • Under the tailpiece and fingerboard, to keep them from collapsing on the instrument

STEP TWO: Prep the Box

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Left: neck support, Right: endpin support

  • Add the cardboard inserts to the box
    • The neck support goes roughly where the neck will lie
    • The endpin support sits at the bottom of the box
  • Save the final insert! You’ll need this later.

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Line the bottom of the box where the body of the cello will be with bubble wrap

Step 3: Add the Cello

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Put the cello inside the case and place it in the box with the bridge FACING UP. The endpin should slide into the endpin insert.  Then adjust the neck insert so that it is touching the body and supporting the neck.

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Put the final insert above the neck and scroll as shown above.

Step 4: Stabilize the Cello

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Place the two tubes in the bouts on either side of the instrument. This keeps the box from collapsing on top of the instrument if something is placed on top of it in shipping.

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Pad the sides around the body with bubble wrap. You want enough that the instrument won’t slide around.

STEP FIVE: Cushion the Cello

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Pad the top of the body with a few layers of bubble wrap, but make sure not to put too many layers over the bridge. This is because it can create too much pressure on the top of the instrument and cause damage.

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Add just enough that the bubble wrap and the top flaps of the box are flush. Any more than that and you risk the same type of damage we mentioned with the bridge.

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Close and securely tape the box.

Cellos 1/4 and Smaller

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Prep the cello in the same way described above, then place it inside the case. Wrap it with bubble wrap. Then line the bottom of the box with bubble wrap.

Note: for smaller cellos, there are no inserts.

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Add the instrument to the box and place the four tubes around it.

  • Two go on either side at the widest point at the bottom of the instrument
  • Two go on either side at peg-leve

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Stabilize the cello around the entire instrument with bubble wrap, then build up in layers until filled. Don’t forget to be careful of the bridge!

THINGS TO NEVER DO:

  • Pack the instrument with the bridge facing down.
  • Pack the instrument outside of the case

As always, if you have any questions we’re happy to help! Please give us a call at 800-359-3951.

 

Fake Strings and How to Spot Them

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Fake strings in the music world are an ongoing concern. String makers and shops take pride in the products they produce and sell; while imitations may be cheaper, they do not have the same quality as the original.  Here is what you need to know about fake strings:

How To Tell If A String Is Fake

  • Strange Packaging. If the package looks off somehow (not just a new design), there is a chance it’s a copy. Some things to watch out for are:
    • Blurry lettering or graphics
    • Missing inventory numbers
    • Badly sealed inner lining
  • Wrong Color Windings. Each brand has a specific color they use for their windings depending on which string it is and which variety. Many fake strings will have colors that are duller or are a close match but not exact.
  • Floppy or Bendable Strings. You are not supposed to be able to fully bend a string. If it feels different from what you normally buy, be wary.

This is all well and good if you already have the string in hand, but that means you’ve already purchased the fake string. What about avoiding buying one in the first place?

How To Protect Yourself From Purchasing Fake Strings

  • Only buy from reputable dealers. Any reputable dealer will only buy directly from the company or from a trusted distributor.
  • Check the price. Does the price look too good to be true? It probably is. While there are many honest dealers on these sites, Amazon and eBay sellers are the biggest culprits when it comes to selling fake strings. Check the seller’s Amazon or eBay stores to verify who they are. If someone’s price is drastically lower than what you’ve been seeing, there’s a good chance this is not a legitimate string being sold.
  • Buy your instrument from a reputable dealer too! Many cheap instruments that you find online keep costs down buy using cheaper fake strings. This typically happens with foreign factory-made instruments.

Johnson String takes pride in purchasing our strings directly from companies such as D’Addario, or their American distributor for companies like Thomastik-Infeld (Connolly Music).

To learn more about identifying fake guitar strings, check out D’Addario’s website.

Looking for strings? Browse our complete string inventory.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

Which Edition of Sheet Music Do I Buy?

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Your teacher tells you you’re starting a new piece. You go to buy the sheet music, only to discover there are multiple editions to choose from.

Which edition do you choose?

The easy answer? The one your teacher tells you to buy. They like that edition and want you to get it for a reason. If they don’t have a preferred edition, it’s up to you to decide. While finances sometimes dictates that choice, here are a few things you should know about choosing sheet music:

What Do I Look For? 

Everyone has different priorities when choosing an edition, but here are some things to keep in mind while browsing sheet music:

  • Is it easy to read? Can you read the notes? Are articulations clearly marked? It’s a good idea to look at different editions in person. Compare them side-to-side and see which one is easier for you to read.
  • Are there a lot of marked bowings and fingerings? These are easily changed with a quick pencil scribble. However, if too many are already marked in the part it can start to look messy if you need to fix them. Some people prefer to get sheet music with the least amount of bowings and fingerings so they can clearly mark their own.
  • Does it lie flat? Does the sheet music lie flat on the stand, or would you have to secure it? Would you have to break the binding to get it to stay where you need it to?
  • Price: More expensive editions cost more for a reason. You may find it helpful, or you may not notice a difference.
  • Is it Urtext? This only applies to certain pieces, but sometimes it’s helpful to use an urtext edition instead of a more modern one.

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We pride ourselves on our sheet music selection at Johnson String. Stop in to compare in person or visit us online. We also do special orders; contact our sheet music specialist, Joan Faber at joan@johnsonstring.com.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons