Writing Samples

Writing Sample One (Music Related)

Top Practice Amplifiers for Guitar Players

As a guitar player, you need a good practice amplifier that’s not going to cost you a ton of money.  Many amps are just far too powerful for simple practicing, and they cost too much for the average person who is learning to play guitar. Thankfully, there are now tons of excellent practice amplifiers on the market, which not only sound great; they are inexpensive to boot. Here are some of the top guitar practice amplifiers you might want to consider.

Marshall Code 25 Practice Amplifier

I own a Marshall Code 25 and have fun with it. It comes with 100 presets which you can modify however you like or keep them just as they are. Code 25 also features an app you can download which will control all aspects of your Marshall amp directly from your smartphone.

The Code 25 is an amp modeling amplifier, so it does have its drawbacks, but the sounds you can get out of this amp are quite useful if you’re willing to fiddle with all the buttons. This amp also comes in other models such as the Code 50 or Code 100 (late 2016 shipping) which are more powerful. Code 25 is still a powerful amplifier, and there’s a lot you can do with it. If you want to record with the amp, it’s easy to set up with your computer as well as there’s a USB plugin you can use with it.

While this amp has a lot of great amp models included with it, there’s quite a few who don’t sound that great, so you need to fiddle with it quite a bit to get sounds that you like out of the amp. This amp will create plenty of classic sounds once you’re comfortable with the controls. The amp has many effects as well, but could do with a few more as the selection isn’t as good as it could be, especially on the distortion side. The amp is fine for anyone who wants to practice and wants decent tones without spending thousands on Marshall amps.

Fender Mustang II

Another top grade little practice amplifier is the Fender Mustang. The Mustang is another modeling amplifier, and it comes with eight amp models such as the ’59 Bassman, ’57 Deluxe, and ’65 Twin Reverb, which sound amazing.  This amp doesn’t replace a full Fender amp, but it’s a nice one for practicing.

You also have regular effects like pitch shifter, chorus, flanger, phaser, and more with the unit. The Mustang II works with the Fender Fuse software so you can edit things. There are larger models which can be used for gigs or practicing with a band. Like most amp modeling amps, you can connect it via USB to your computer for recording.

Pignose Amps

The Pignose is an excellent amp because you can take the thing with you wherever you go and rock out with good sounding practice amplifier. There are various models, but the basic model is 5 watts. The Pignose is an excellent amp to take camping or for the dorm room. You can also set it up to run through another larger amp as a preamp too if you like. The Hog 20 offers more features such as squeal overdrive and will recharge if you plug it into the wall so you can take it with you.

Vox AC 15

Vox makes amazing amplifiers, and the Vox AC15 is a reliable workhorse for your practice sessions. There are a top boost and normal channel with this amplifier. The amp has overdrive, as well as the clean tones that you get out of this amp, shimmer. The amp is quite loud for its small size, and you should be able to use it with a band. There are several different models of this amp. The downside is it’s more expensive than other practice amplifiers on the market. If you want a lower cost Vox practice amplifier, the VOX AC4TV is a good buy.

Orange Crush 35RT

This amp by Orange is a dependable practice amp with a dirty channel and a clean channel for under $300 bucks. You also have bass, middle, and treble for the EQ. The amp has spring reverb, aux input, a built-in tuner, and a headphone jack. This amp is capable of all sorts of tones from blues to metal, and you can get an optional footswitch if you want for the amp. You can use the effect loop to hook up your pedals to this amp without worrying about your tone. This amp is perfect for home use but can do smaller bar style gigs too.

Yamaha THR Series

My favorite practice amp is the Yamaha THR. There are several models available, but I own the THR10x. The THR series is nice because they are compact, yet have a great sound. They feature several amp models as well as effects you can use such as reverb, chorus, and delay. These amps also operate on batteries if you want so you can take it with you. The amp has plenty of sound for it’s but not loud enough for a band.

It works well at a barbecue or camping as I’ve used it for those type of events. You can also hook it up via USB to your computer and use the included software to record with or your favorite DAW (digital audio interface). If you have been looking for a practice amp that has an excellent sound, small enough to fit in almost any space, portable, and able to record decent sounds, the Yamaha THR is an excellent buy.

Writing Sample Two: (General Blog Post: Marketing)

Why Your Online Marketing Effort Are Failing

Growing your business takes a lot of time and effort. To get new clients and customers you have to do effective marketing. Many companies that market their products and services go about it the wrong way and don’t get the business that they want. Here are some ways that you should not be marketing your business.

Spam Email

Many businesses will have a newsletter or an email sign up on their website or blog. This can be a very effective way to get customers to come back to visit your site. The main problem with this is companies will send out far too many emails and this ends up being spam which simply annoys the potential customer.

An email should only be sent out on a periodic basis specifically if it is a newsletter. You don’t want to send email after email into someone’s box because they are not going to respond to the requests. They’re going to delete the email and they will probably take themselves off your email list. This is one of the most common mistakes that people make in marketing.

Poor Website Design

Another marketing mistake that companies make is that they simply have a poor website. If people can’t find your products and services, they’re not going to buy from you. The website should be well designed with a clear navigation and menu system. If you’re selling products you want clear product pictures, descriptions, and in some cases video which can help a potential customer make a buying decision.

The more information you provide for customers on your website the easier it will be for them to make a purchase. A large part of your marketing effort has to showcase your products in the right way. If a customer comes to your website and sees a poorly designed site, they’re going to think that you don’t care about them as a customer and they will probably go someplace else.

Seeming Desperate

Another mistake that businesses make is that they seem desperate. One example of this is having annoying pop-ups on your website that nag the customer to buy something from you. It is fine to have pop-ups if they’re done in the right way. Far too many customers use these in an ineffective way and they simply annoy the customer. This is not a very effective way to market your business because you end up driving customers away with your advertising.

Poor Social Media Presence

You have a company and you try to market to individuals on social media. Once you have established an account you don’t do anything with the social media or respond to customers questions. You’re not going to get very far in your marketing efforts if you don’t take the time and effort to develop your social media channels. Customers want to connect with you on social media but if you don’t take the time to build these channels your marketing is going to fail.

No Customer Targeting or Analysis

The most effective ways to get customers is to do customer targeting. Many businesses fail to do this. Your marketing campaigns end up being haphazard. You send out an advertisement after advertisement but there is no customer targeting the right demographics to find buying customers. This ends up wasting your time and a lot of money.

Another mistake businesses make is they don’t analyze their customers. They don’t understand the needs and requirements of their customers. If you don’t know what’s your customers want, your marketing efforts will fail.

Summary

These are some of the poor marketing practices. Take the time to market effectively and you’ll see your business grow rapidly.

Writing Sample 3 (general blog post)

 How to Winterize Your Home

If you want to winterize your home there are several steps that you need to take. You will save money and you will stay warm during the winter months if you prepare your home for the colder parts of the year.

Change Furnace Filters

It’s easy to forget changing the filters of your furnace. When you have a dirty filter, this increases energy demand and restricts airflow. You could save a lot of money by switching it to a permanent filter which reduces Hassle and waste. These do cost a lot more but they can be worth it in the long run. You should also choose a good HEPA filter which removes 99% of airborne particles.

Winterize Water Lines and A/C

To winterize the water lines and the air conditioning system you want to make sure that the hoses and your air conditioning pipes have been drained. You don’t want any excess water in the equipment. If your air conditioning system has a water shut-off valve you should make sure that this is off. You should also turn off your exterior water spigots and seal any water leaks that you might find. Make sure you remove any window air conditioning units and put these into storage so they don’t invite cold drafts into the home during the winter months.

Turn Down Water Heater

Most conventional water heaters that you buy are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You may find that your household does not need this much. You end up spending more especially during the winter months when you’re using more hot water. If you lower the temperature to just 120 degrees Fahrenheit or a bit lower you can reduce your water heating costs by between 6 to 10%. You can also save money by going for a solar water system although this will cost a little bit more for the initial installation.

Storm Windows and Doors

By installing a storm door, you can increase energy efficiency by around 45%. This reduces airflow and seals drafts. Storm doors give you more and ventilation and extra flexibility. a storm window can make a large difference when cold winds start to blow. Another thing you can do for plain windows is to add some weather stripping as well as caulking. To help keep out the drafts in to seal the windows from leaks.

 Heating System Tune-up

Just like a vehicle you may own, your heating system also requires a periodic tune-up. The system needs to be lubricated, clean, and adjusted as this will reduce your energy cost over time. Many utility companies will give you a free annual check-up by a qualified technician.

Make sure you schedule this early because they are usually quite busy during the winter months and you might not get anyone available to come over. If your system is outdated, it can be a good idea to replace it as this will save you money in the long run.

Thermostat

During the winter months, you’re going to be using your thermostat a lot more and turning up the heat. It makes no sense to have their thermostat on while you are outside of the home. Make sure you turn your thermostat down when you leave because this will save you money. It can be turned back on when you get home to heat things back up again. If you’re leaving it on when you’re not there, you’re just wasting a lot of money.

Summary

These are just some ways you can winterize your home. There are a lot of other things that you can do to get your home in tip-top shape for the winter. Talk to your local building professional about other ways to winterize your home.

 


Like this sample? Lamacraft Writing Services offers writing in general blog posts, product reviews, health, wellness, self-help, and music writing.

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