Guitar Finger Exercises: Improve your Guitar Playing!

Guitar Finger ExercisesGuitar finger exercises are an excellent way to increase your finger strength and flexibility. From having a better grip on chords to being able to play riffs at lightning speed, your fingers need to be up to the challenge. Here are some exercises to help you.

By the way, if you need a high quality acoustic guitar for playing, you can visit this page Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars under $500 for Beginners. Hopefully, that article is useful to you.

Guitar Finger Exercise #1

This is a simple exercise that can be performed without a guitar, but you do need a tennis ball. It improves overall hand strength.

Taking your tennis ball, hold it in your left hand. Squeeze and hold for the count of ten, then release. Repeat ten times, working up to three sets of 15. After each set, switch hands.

Guitar Finger Exercise #2

This is a good one to do while you’re sitting through a really boring lecture. Place your hands flat on the table, then lift them up so they rest on your finger tips. Your wrist should be straight. One at a time, practice picking up your fingers and setting them back down. Try different patterns. For example


1 = index
2 = middle
3 = ring
4 = pinkie

  • And so on. Make up your own patterns. Once you can start moving faster, try doing both hands at once.
  • This exercise will improve your sense of rhythm and the ability of your fingers to move separately.
  • You can also try this exercise on your guitar. Just put one finger on each fret and strum in an up and down pattern as you change fingers.

Guitar Finger Exercise #3

Sometimes, you really have to stretch to get some of those chords. There are some simple ways to increase flexibility. One is just to practice crossing your fingers. Not just the first two, but also your ring and pinkie. Try to get them to cross without using your other hand.

Also, try making the vulcan sign. Sounds silly, but it will extend your reach.

Lastly, try making a finger stack. Index on the bottom, with the middle on top of that, ring on top of that, and pinkie on top.

Increase Finger Span

Some of the chords you need to reach can require a wider span from your thumb to your pinkie. With time, you can stretch this out to where you need it to be.

Take your thumb and pull it out until you feel a stretch – you should not feel any pain. Hold for the count of ten, then release. Now take your pinkie and stretch it out to the side, holding for the count of ten.

If you’re somewhere where you have a flat table edge, you can use that to stretch both at once. Place your hand on the table as in the picture. Push against the table for the count of ten. If you can’t get your fingers out that far yet, work on the stretches outlined in the previous paragraphs.

Posted in Music Tagged with: ,

Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Pannier Bags

+ proven durability over decades
+ simple to fix/release even in cold weather
+ spare part availability for many years
+ completely waterproof
the initial cost


Ortlieb is a German company which specialises mainly in bags for your bicycle or motorbike, but also provides packing solutions for your boat and even panniers for your horse. The main thing that distinguishes Ortlieb from other competitors is its claim that all of its products, whether bike bag or mobile phone case, are completely waterproof.

Three years ago, I bought my bike panniers to mount on the rear carrier. It is not possible to buy them individually. I bought the black version, but there are other colours for the more fashion conscious among you. The panniers have no partitions inside apart from an integrated zip pocket inside at the back.


The following video makes this fairly clear:,Item,556468242.html

It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of attempts it is very simple. You attach the adjustable lever at the bottom of the bags behind the base of the carrier. At the same time you hold up the strap in the middle of the bag so that the 2 roll-locking mechanisms at the sides stay open, rest these on the top of the carrier and let go of the strap.  It takes one second to release the bags. You simply hold up the strap and the bag comes free from the carrier. To close the bags you roll up from the top down and click the two sides together. All of this is possible wearing gloves.

Long-Term Use

I am not an occasional cyclist. I use my bike to ride to work every day in all weathers, and do longer day tours every couple of weeks. I don’t take the panniers every time I use the bike, but I estimate I have probably ridden 4000km with them in the last three years. I have used them in summer and winter, in rain, snow and sleet, riding on rough ground and through muddy terrain.

First of all, they have never fallen off the carrier, whatever weight I have packed into them. This is very surprising, as I recently discovered that one of the roll closures had jammed. I had been riding for however long with only 1 locking mechanism! It took me a minute or two to repair this, but you can imagine how strong the roll closures are.

Secondly, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the panniers are indestructible. They seem to take whatever punishment is dished out to them and still come up smelling of roses. Just a quick wipe with a cloth is all it takes to get rid of any dirt, mud or dust traces. Mine look as shiny as when I bought them, give or take the odd scratch.

Thirdly, and most importantly, they are 100% waterproof. I have never known a drop of water or a trace of moisture to seep into these bags, and I have ridden through longer periods in some heavy rain and snowstorms. If I had to moan about something, it would be the lack of an outside pocket, where you have easy access to money, drink, mobile etc, but these days most cyclists on tour have a handlebar bag for such things.

Some Further Points

Ortlieb seems to have turned the whole capitalist philosophy of making a quick buck upside down. Inside of churning out a new ‘improved, super deluxe’ pannier every two years, the company has kept the product essentially unchanged since 1988. In addition, you can buy spare parts for the panniers for all models dating back to 1993. This, for me, is the sign of a company which wants to build up a long-term relationship with its customers – a refreshing change from upgrade for upgrades sake.


If you regularly cycle in all weathers and take a lot of gear with you, just buy them – don’t even hesitate. If you’re more of a fair weather fan, but don’t want to be caught in the occasional surprise downpour, buy cheap panniers and put all your gear inside them wrapped in a large plastic bag. This will keep your gear dry, even if the panniers are soaking wet.

Dimensions: 42cm x 32cm x 17cm (16.53 inches x 12.59 inches x 6.69 inches)
Weight: 950g (33.51 oz) per bag
Volume: 20ltr each
Material: polyester fabric PD620/PS490
Cost: about €100

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Maglite Mini Flashlight Review

The Maglite Mini Flashlight

The Maglite Mini Flashlight

+ good build quality
+ focusable
+ able to tailstand
+ well protected with o-rings
+ available in different colours
not approved for use with rechargeable batteries
bad beam quality
low output
short runtime on max
unsuitable for lighting medium distances (40-50m)


I don’t think there is any other company which so divides the opinions of the outdoor community as Maglite. For Mag fans, its products have unbelievable build quality and have performed faithful service for many years. On the other hand, the now dominant LED lobby disparages the Mags as outdated junk. Obviously both cannot be right, so let’s see how the mini fares in the great outdoors.


The company is a real rags to riches story. Its founder, Anthony Maglica, spent his formative years in Croatia and returned to his place of birth, New York, after the Second World War. He started working from his garage and eventually set up the Maglite company in 1974. Over the next decade the company launched a whole series of products which, due to their rugged build and bright output, quickly became a worldwide success. The maglite mini was launched in 1984.

The Light Itself

The best flashlight reviews here is the incandescent version and NOT the LED upgrade. At about 15cm, the mini is a typically sized 2xAA light. I have owned this light for 16 years and the parts are as smooth-fitting as when I first bought it. The torch is made out of type two anodized aluminium and makes a solid impression. Each mini is also equipped with a spare bulb. After many years of use, I have still not used this. The lamp is well sealed with o-rings in the tail and bezel connections.

According to Maglite, you should use non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. For the sake of curiosity, I tried fitting 2100 and 2600mAh rechargeable cells inside the lamp, but they are too wide. Older 1600mAh from cat eye fit inside and work ok.

The torch has one light mode, which can be focused into a flood or spot beam.  It is very easy to operate – you simply untwist the head. The further you twist, the tighter the beam becomes.  The beam itself has an orange-yellowish tint and is very patchy, however much you focus. The beam becomes much dimmer after about 30 minutes, and after about 1.5 hours is comparable to my LED keychain light on its lowest setting. (1.5 lumens). After this I switched off, as I would not class this as usable light.

The light can also be used to tailstand. This means that you can use it as a candle. I tried this in a completely dark room and it worked well. I then lit a candle and it worked better. If candle-mode is important for you, it would be better to buy candles. They are cheaper, brighter and have a longer runtime.

The official German Maglite website states that the mini (krypton version) lights up to 101 meters. This is absolute nonsense! I would say that you can see objects with a beam full of rings for 20 metres maximum. Because of this, I would not recommend this for outdoor use, unless it is the only torch you have. I have used it as a bike light with the minimag bike mount, and it is next to useless for unlit bike paths or dark forests.

I would class the mini as reasonably waterproof. I have used it in the rain, and have never had any issues with leaks.

The mini comes with a nylon holster. You can also buy it with a smart gift box.


My goal in writing this review was to try to provide a reasonably balanced view of a controversial piece of equipment. To diehard Mag fans, I would say this torch is no longer state-of-the art gear. But is it ‘outdated junk’? It is certainly outdated, but the construction is solid enough to withstand most household stresses and strains. Indeed, because of its reasonable price, I would see it as a good torch to have around the house or in the car for close-up work. However, there are much tougher, brighter and smaller products to choose from if you are using the torch outside.

Dimensions: 14.5cm (5.70 inches) long
Weight (with batteries): 107g (3.77 oz)
Material: anodized aluminium
Guarantee: 10 year limited
Cost: about €17

Posted in Hobbies, Reviews Tagged with:

Basic Knowledge of Guitar Woods

There are so many kinds of woods to manufacture Guitars. This post will share to you some basic knowledge about guitar woods, that help you know exactly what types of woods is best and what kinds of woods produce high quality sounds?

So many people confuse that some guitars are very similar but its sounds is big different and the price is different, too. Why are some guitars more expensive than or why is this guitar produce great sounds than other but it look is the same? That is some popular queries of most beginners for choosing a guitar. A guitar has higher price or better sounds than other because a best guitar depend on various factors, including its designs, manufacturing process, woods, etc.

This post will talk about some best woods for making high quality guitars, the other factors will be analysed in another post. As you known, the sounds of guitar will produced by the resonance of strings and guitar’s body. So with each wood type will give different tone and sounds. The question is: what type of woods are best for guitar? In fact, not all types of wood is good and suitable for making guitar, only tone-woods will best suit for manufacturing guitars.

Laminate Wood:

Laminate wood is some thin layers of solid wood glued together under high pressure. Normally, it has three layers with two same outside layers and one other layer in the middle. Laminate wood often used for Back and Side of guitars. The advantage of laminate wood is little affected by temperature and humidity change. Nowaday, most of famous guitar brands often used laminated woods for manufacture their products because of its affordable price, good sounds and durability.

Solid Woods:

The solid woods are beloved by most of guitarist because it is not just durable but also great tone and great resonance sounds. Because of solid wood so its wood grain/ texture is clearly, nice and expensive.

For Topside (Soundboard):

1. Engelmann Spruce

Engelmann Spruce come from North American, when compared to Sitka Spruce, it has light color, heavier weight, so its resonance and speed transfer of sounds are slower. That why Engelmann Spruce has tone and melody are little clear than Sitka Spruce.

2. Sitka Spruce:

Sitka Spruce originated from Alaska and North West Canada. It is durability and enduring which some time used for headstock, back and side. The characteristic of Sitka Spruce is very hard and lightweight, so its speed transfer of sounds and resonance is large. Sitka Spruce gives clear and more streble sound.

3. Western Red Cedar

Red Cedar originated from West Canada and North West America, its color is light brown or red-brown. Red Cedar is light and not hard as Spruce. The characteristic of it is warmer, darker tone “taste” and give more bass sound.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar wood

4. Redwood

Redwood originated from North American, the tone and melody is similar Red Cedar. Some guitarist feels that Redwood is a bit darker tone than Red Cedar. Generally, Redwood give sounds clear and clean, melody is stronger than Red Cedar.



5. Koa wood

Koa come from Hawaii, this is nice wood grain. It has clear streble and clear midrange. Its tone and melody is many colorful. Koa is popular in guitar ukuleles Hawaii.

6. Mahogany

You can find Mahogany at Caribbean and Central America. It is lightweight than other all types of wood above. Similar Koa, it gives very clear streble and clear midrange. Mahogany has warm tone that suitable for fingerpickers, blues music.

For Back and Side:

1. Maple

Maple has lightweight, very clear and colorful tones, the resonance and speed transfer of sounds are slow but clearly sound.

Basic Knowledge of Guitar Woods

Maple Wood

2. India Rosewood, Brazil Rosewood, Malaysia Rosewood

Brazil Rosewood

Brazil Rosewood

The resonance and speed transfer of sounds of India Rosewood is very high. However, it rarely to exploit because of environment protect problems. Similar India Rosewood, but Brazil Rosewood has more high value than.

India Rosewood

India Rosewood

In the world, there are three Rosewood which is loved by guitarist are Brazil Rosewood (exploitation prohibited), India Rosewood and Malaysia Rosewood.

3. Mahogany and Koa

Mahogany and Koa is not just for back and side but also using for soundboard (top). It has speed transfer of sounds is very high, clear and clean bass – streble.

Mahogany wood

Mahogany Wood

Solid Wood vs Laminate Wood?

Solid Wood or Laminate Wood has pros and cons. All laminate wood is just fine sound but less effected by temperature and humidity. Of course, a guitar with all laminated wood is very affordable price.

All solid wood gives great sound but easy effected by temperature and humidity. Most of all solid wood guitars will be expensive. A guitar with all solid wood is best suit for pro guitarist.

Personally, I thinks a guitar with top solid wood, laminate wood back and side is best choice because it combine of all pros of both and the price is not too high for beginners.

Posted in Music Tagged with:

Best Mountain Bikes For The Money

How to Choose Best Mountain Bikes For The Money?

Mountain BikeMy 30 years ride of mountain bikes gives me an outstanding knowledge of the best mountain bikes you should go for to become an expert in mountain bike riding. Best mountain bikes are designed for going up and down mountains. They usually have thick wheels and off course shock absorbers despite being sturdy and modeled to provide high speed.

Check on the best mountain bike brands that confidently gives you the best service and an outstanding experience.

What Is The Benefit of Riding A Best Mountain Bikes?

For a first time racer, bike riding is one of the best experiences that give you real fun off roads. But remember, you must do it rightly with the right bike to get the best out of it. Millions of people all over the world are doing it, it’s your turn to join and enjoy the fun experience.

I have always enjoyed great benefits I acquired all through my bike riding, you are not wrong, bike riding has great plethora of physical, emotional, social, and emotional benefits that leaves you with no option and reason than to join the rest in the fun.

Truly, you may get some bruises and bumps along the way, but that is just a drop in the ocean compared to the physical benefits that you accrue from mountain biking. Ask the and you will be assured that 50% likelihood of heart disease is reduced if you ride your bike 3 hour a week. 30 minutes ride each day is enough for a woman to reduce by 48% her likelihood of breast cancer. And if your kid is biking, he/she is 48% less likely to become overweight when in adulthood. What other doctor did you want for this?

I have always noted that I finish my bike race happier than I started it, just to realize that it is the best activity that relieves my stress, improves my self esteem and always provided me with a sense of challenge and adventure. This is a very emotional support activity that usually acts as a distraction or an escape to the reality like worries hence giving you piece of mind. It doesn’t matter how long I have been biking, I would always learn something new every time I get to a race. If this doesn’t happen to you, then check whether you had everything you needed to be in the race.

diamondback 29er  recoil - Best Mountain Bikes
When you get your best mountain bike on the road, either with a local club just bumping into other riders on the trail-head, you will wonder how fast you will make new friends or else ridding buddies. It is not only enjoyable but also very safe to ride among friends; you understand how helping they can be in case you hurt yourself or come across a furry friend along the way. Your riding friends will challenge your riding skills, appreciate your skills, and you know what this means? Your confidence gets a major boost, you improve your stamina and what other social support did you need?

Single and Multi-Speed of Best Mountain Bikes

There are two types of bikes, single-speed and multi-speed mountain bikes. Do not wonder what to go for. Each serves its unique purpose but they do also complement each other.

Note that a single speed bike has only one gear ratio while a multi-gear bike has derailleur to switch between different cog sizes that increases the number of wheel rotations hence higher speed.

  • Single speed bike is a simple design easy to maintain and do repairs, you may like it because is lighter and less expensive than a multi-speed bike. It is most suitable for urban riding and does best in flat areas.
  • On the other hand, multi-speed bike outperforms the single speed with its high speeds and on sharp inclines. Though it is relatively heavy and more expensive, multi-speed bikes are best known for rough and hilly roads.

Best Mountain Bike Sizing Chart Guide

To choose the correct frame size of your best mountain bike consider choosing one that matches your body for you to get a more comfortable and efficient ride all through. This is a good guide that will help to get the best mountain bike for men or women.

Your height and shape of your body are key factors to choosing a frame size. It is quite dangerous for you if you bought a bike that is not proportional with your body. Do not hesitate to ask the size of the frame and wheel of the bicycle of your choice. Some could be measured in inches, centimeters, or just use the standardized measurement of S, M, and L. The size of the frame will help you know the length of your frame tube, though the whole bike will be in proportion. Like for instance, a bigger bike will not only have higher saddles but also handlebars will be further from the saddle.

Getting the right frame for your height enables you to ride your bike in a comfortable and efficient way. Below is a chart indicating your height, inseam (inseam is more important) and the correspondence frame size that will definitely help you have a rough estimate of the size of the frame that would be best for you. Just to make it clear that 21 pounds is the minimum, 28.38 – average and 32.5 is the maximum of the frame size range.

Mountain Bikes – Finding the Right Size
Your Height
Your Inseam Length
Bike Frame Size
4’11” – 5’3″
25” – 27”
13 – 15 inches
5’3″ – 5’7″
27″ – 29″
15 to 17 inches
5’7″ – 5’11”
29″ – 31″
17 to 19 inches
5’11” – 6’2″
31″ – 33″
19 to 21 inches
6’2″ – 6’4″
33″ – 35″
21 to 23 inches
6’4″ and up
35″ and up
23 inches and up

Best Mountain Bike Sizing for Men

Best Mountain Bike Sizing for Women

What Is the Purpose of Your Best Mountain Bike?

Interestingly, all of us have different reasons as to why we need the best mountain bike, for instance, some would want it to haul groceries home, cruise the bike path or even tour the planet. The list could be long depending on your taste and purpose. However, the primary objective of mountain bikes is to get you along the dirty trails-mountains. Which reason is in your mind, get know three important things when selecting a bike.

  • Your riding style
  • Your budget
  • Test ride several bikes.
mountain bike buyers guide

Pay respect to what is inspiring you to ride bikes. It could be doing family outings on bike paths, towing a bike trailer with a child, or even for the purpose of physical tines. Also, note the roads you are going to use. The general purpose of using your mountain bike guides you to select the best mountain bike for either men or women.

My suggestion is that a basic model bike will serve you well for the purpose of family outings or occasional use. But if the purpose is to build up your body, enhance flexibility, looking for learning new skills, looking to explore a variety of trails or a combination of all the above, then my suggestions is that you use a hardtail or a full suspension bikes.

Single and Full Suspension of Best Mountain Bikes

There is a wonder in full suspension bikes; it makes me feel so good riding while in a seated position. It has been efficient for me climbing up mountains so easily while in that comfortable position. I have seen some people struggle to change their full suspension best mountain bikes to single suspension. Yes it is possible and also easy but it depends on the type of the mountain bike.

The full suspension bike should have tensioner which allows you to remove the wheel without interrupting the tensioner mount. This is what should be installed onto the derailleur hanger and locked into two setscrews, that is enough to convert your full suspension frame into single speed. Not that full suspension is bad or has any drawbacks. No, it is because people wish to change taste or wish to change the riding roads.

How to choose the Best Mountain Bike ?

Did you know that you need to choose your best mountain bike depending on the purpose you want it to serve? However, I understand the confusion many of you may get to because of the many options you have to choose from. It can be quite difficult. However, the solution is very simple, the problem would be solved by putting two factors into consideration; your riding preference and where you live, this helps you to narrow down your decision.

Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch)
Obviously, every mountain fits to a set of fun categories such as cross country (XC), All Mountain (Trail bikes), Free ride and Downhill (DH). One need you need to know is the place you are planning to spend most of your time with the bike. For instance, you wish to ride on smooth flowing trails, climb big mountains, ride stunts, descend technical downhill courses, or just have all around fun. Lets us look at these bikes closely.
  • All Mountains (Trail Bikes): This category makes most sense and is truly made to be the most fun in the largest number of situations. They will not let you down in most types of roads you choose. I think that’s why many go for it.
  • Cross Country (XC): This type delights most riders because of its lighter weight and efficiency. However, they do not do very well in the terrain or the most comfortable.
  • Freeride: These types of bikes are purposely to get you up the hills; they are great for hard hitting trails, jumps and stunts.

The trick to getting the right bike for yourself is by being honest to yourself about how and where you will spend most of your time. You must have learnt a lot about mountain bikes and you have realized how good it is to get yourself the best mountain bike and especially the best mountain bikes brand. I am sure they will never disappoint you and they will easily make you achieve your desired results.

Posted in Hobbies