Schools Essentials – Instruments

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Schools Essentials – Instruments

school instruments
Words by Mixdown Staff

Rock the school year in style

Whether you’re a bright-eyed beginner or a seasoned audio professional, one never stops learning in the music world. It’s one of the endless joys of making music: even if you’ve mastered one instrument or field of study, there’s always another one ready for you to begin, and with so many courses, resources, and channels out there to learn from, it can often be a bit tricky knowing where to start.

As students all around the country settle back into the curriculum for another year of study, we’re helping to spotlight some of the best academic tools and experiences on offer in our latest print magazine school essentials special.

Here, we highlight some guitars, guitar equipment, and drums!

Valencia VC304

Distributed by: Australasian Music Supplies

Features: This full size Valencia VC304 classical nylon string guitar is the ultimate beginner guitar. The 4/4 size will be for the bigger young person or adult, but the body of the guitar isn’t too big for the arms to have to work around, while the nylon strings won’t be as harsh on the fingers as steel-string acoustics can be when in the early stages of playing. 

The select sitka spruce top and bound nato back and sides deliver a warm tone while a mahogany neck coupled with a teak fingerboard and bridge completes the make. Adorning the guitar are GraphTech Nu-bone XB bridge saddles, USA strings, gold machine heads with black button tuners, a transparent, satin finish, and stylish rosette decorations to ensure this guitar looks as good as it plays!

Overall: Valencia has a deep rooted history in providing quality beginner guitars that don’t break the bank and the full size VC304 classical nylon string guitar is just another iteration in that 50 year history.

Find out more.

Valencia VA434CE

Distributed by: Australasian Music Supplies

Features: No doubt a step up from beginner guitar specialists Valencia is the VA434CE classical nylon string guitar with a pickup included as guitarists look to take the next step in the guitar playing. 

The larger Auditorium shape on this full size guitar features a cutaway as players get more comfortable moving around the fingerboard and look to access the higher of the 19 frets. The curved radius fingerboard provides a more relaxed feel on the fingers, while also boasting a two-way truss rod to correct any bending, bowing, or twisting that occurs as guitars get bashed around between school runs or private lessons. It has a select sitka spruce top, nato back and sides, a mahogany neck, and an amara ebony fingerboard.

Overall: Players will appreciate the distinctive tonal flavours of a nylon string guitar coupled with a sleek, ultra-playable neck and styling that steel string acoustic guitars are known for, while adding contemporary assets to take guitar-playing to the next level.

Find out more.

Fender Electric Beginner Plus Bundle

Distributed by: Fender Australia

Features: Learning guitar can be hard enough, but getting started and set up with all the right equipment shouldn’t be. Fender has dropped all the essential bits of gear in the one place for you to remove that stress and effort with all you need to get playing. Included in the bundle is the Classic Vibe ‘50s Squier Stratocaster to get beginner guitarists sounding like their favourite muso without the hefty price tag. 

A Mustang LT25 amp will help beginners produce quality sound with a super-simple user interface and a collection of 30 presets covering a wide range of music. Players will also get a Supersoft strap, an instrument cable with three different lengths and colours to choose from, eight picks, an electronic tuner, steel string replacements, and a guitar stand.

Overall: Fender has long been the most reputable and reliable guitar brand for even the most experienced and popular guitarists, so arming yourself or the beginner guitarist in your life with this bundle is a great way to crack into learning the instrument and learning it efficiently.

Find out more.

Fender Mustang LT25

Distributed by: Fender Australia

Features: Delving into the world of electric guitar amps can be daunting for beginners, but the Mustang LT25 practice amp caters to them specifically to remove the stress of learning to sculpt tones and leave the critical thinking to the learning and playing itself, removing discouragement from the early playing stages. 

The super-simple user interface and collection of 30 presets covering a wide range of music enables guitarists to produce high-quality sound immediately, while the versatile signal chain with high-quality onboard amp and effects models produces amazing tones, making it an ideal practice amp. It’s housed in a durable wooden cabinet, and can plug straight into a 240V GPO. A stereo headphone output can also allow silent-ish playing (talking to you, parents).

Overall: The Mustang LT25 practice amp incorporates Fender’s wide-range of proven expertise from the build and audio quality, to the easy-to-use functionality. Remove the headache of amp shopping, tone sculpting, and loud practising with this bad boy.

Find out more.

Ashton AG232GD

Distributed by: Australis Music

Features: Australian-designed guitar company Ashton has the aim of making playing music more accessible, with that in mind, the Ashton AG232 in Metallic Gold is the ultimate guitar to get beginner guitarists shredding in no time. Delivered with a gig bag, a strap, and a lead, this guitar provides a versatile five selectable pickup positions with three single coil pickups, all topping the traditional “S” style body shape to provide a blueprint of familiarity as players advance in their guitar-playing journey. A poplar body connects to a smartwood fingerboard so for this price point, you’re getting a quality guitar.

Overall: Ashton has been committed to providing quality guitars for players of all skill levels for 25 years now and the Metallic Gold Ashton AG232 is yet another embodiment of that. With all the essential parts of an electric guitar wrapped into one very modestly priced guitar, this is an absolute win for anyone wanting to try their hand at electric guitars.

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Ashton SPD30 Acoustic Guitar

Distributed by: Australis Music

Features: Ashton have been a mainstay in learner guitar circles for decades and the new D30 brings this legacy for exceptional quality, highly playable beginner instruments to a whole new generation, with some striking colourways to boot!

Available in Fresh Tropic, Blue Sky, Guava, and Kiwi options, the D30 is sure to bring some colour to your sound (or diet).

Featuring a spruce top, basswood sides and back with a jatoba fingerboard and bridge, they are both functional and fashionable and the included gig-bag and an optional black scratch plate after the fact provides just enough customisation to put your own spin on things.

Overall: A fun, user-friendly guitar to start your playing journey with, or a perfect centrepiece in any lounge room, Ashton’s D30 is a striking and playful entry point into the wonderful world of guitar. Colour your way!

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Natal DNA Stealth Kit

Distributed by: Electric Factory

Features: As anyone who has ever lived with a beginner drummer, it is a very noisy instrument with a very steep learning curve. The new DNA Stealth Kit provides the perfect antidote to the calamity of learning to play thanks to the presence of factory-fitted mesh heads and the inclusion of a set of Natal-branded practice cymbals, all of which bring the volume factor down to tolerable levels. 

The shells are made of 6-ply basswood while the tunable black mesh heads which means that kit sounds can still be honed and altered even in the context of low volume playing. 

Overall: In terms of sizes you’ve got a 18”x16” bass drum, 10”x7” rack tom, 14”x12” floor tom, and a 13”x5.5” snare, which in terms of a controlled volume setup is considerably more of a natural feel than any of the electronic kits out there. Without question one of the most organic and natural practice kits we’ve ever encountered.

Find out more. 

Check out print edition #319 for our full school essentials guide!