The ultimate guide for aspiring guitarists – [Read before getting your first guitar]
- 1 MOST COMPREHENSIVE GUITAR GUIDE
- 2 GUITARISTS WHOM YOU SHOULD FOLLOW
- 3 DIFFERENT TYPES OF GUITAR THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU
- 4 HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUITAR ?
MOST COMPREHENSIVE GUITAR GUIDE
Ask any teenager what his favorite musical instrument is. If he is a true follower of music , the obvious answer will come as GUITAR. Yes indeed guitar has always been able to register a soft corner in the heart of a MELOPHILE [Noun. (plural melophiles) One who loves music]. Even if you are not a true music lover, you cannot deny the fact that the instrument has caught your attention at any point of your life. This evergreen instrument is being loved by everyone irrespective of gender or age. You might be wondering why guitar is so popular. Well, there are reasons for that. This article will give an exhaustive and comprehensive study of this popular instrument. But if in case you happen to be from some other planet and never heard of what exactly a guitar is, do read the next paragraph to get an idea about the instrument. Also, I recommend you not to leave this article till you reach the last para, as I handpicked the best guitar that you should pick or get your hands on. You definitely cannot afford to miss that.
Guitar, which can be played with both hands, is an instrument that has frets and 6 strings. It can be played by strumming or striking the strings with a pick or fingernails of one hand. The sound produced by the vibrating strings is projected by a hollow chamber(in case of acoustic guitar) or by an amplifier and speaker (in case of electric guitar).
Are you now getting interested to learn more about the instrument? You should remember that like all other musical instruments, mastering guitar also needs a great amount of consistent practice. You should have a great passion for the instrument which will help you in learning and mastering it in the long run.
Now in order to convince you to pick up the instrument and practice it, I have decided to talk about some of my favorite guitarists. I hope their stories will eventually inspire you. It should be kept in mind that it is beyond the scope of this article to list each of the great guitarists of all times. I have therefore restricted the list to my personal favorites.
GUITARISTS WHOM YOU SHOULD FOLLOW
Pete is a very intense guitarist, who though is known best as a guitarist, but was also a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist. This English musician founder the band named the Who. Pete didn’t have many solo appearances, and so music fans of his times might not have understood the greatness of this guitarist. But no one can deny that Pete was a visionary musician with his unique style of playing rhythm-guitar. He was probably the first guitarist with the punk style of destroying the guitar on stage. The greatness of this guitarist can be realized from his smart usage of the big ringing chords in the songs of his band the Who. The invention of power chords can be more or less attributed to Pete Townshend. Pete had a wonderful fluid style of interacting with the instrument. His style was often regarded as exciting and aggressive. Indeed he was a rustic yet truly marvellous guitar player.
Jimmy page was an English musician who founded the rock band Led Zeppelin. Jimmy had a great touch with the instrument while performing inside the studio. His career started as a studio session guitarist and was one of the most sought after session guitarist in Britain in his time. The popular music magazine Rolling Stone included his name in the list of “100 Greatest guitarists of all times”. He was also listed as one of the top 50 guitarists of all times by GIBSON. Apart from these, this great musician also had found his place in Rock and Roll’s Hall of Fame.
Eddie Van Halen
Eddie is a American-Dutch guitarist, musician and songwriter who along with his brother Alex Van Halen formed the band named Van Halen. Van Halen was one of the prominent bands in Los Angeles during the mid 1970, mostly seen playing gigs in popular clubs like Whiskey a Go-Go. If you have any doubts about the greatness of Eddie Van Halen, it should vanish if I say that he was voted number 1 in the reader’s poll for ”100 Great guitarist of all times” carried by the Guitar’s World Magazine.
Apart from his gigs in Van Halen band, Eddie had also earned a good reputation for some of his solo work. One of his remarkable solos was in 1982 when he performed with Michael Jackson’s in the later’s hit single Beat it.
Who has not heard his name? Jimi Hendrix was the celebrated American rock guitarist, songwriter and singer who was regarded as one of the most distinguished and creative electric guitarists of the 20th century. He founded the band “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. The band came to limelight when their first single “Hey Joe” topped the charts in the UK. Theis debut single was followed by a full-length album, “Are You Experienced?” This album gave Jimi Hendrix overwhelming success in Britain.
Apart from the above mentioned guitarists, I also adore a lot of others whose name could not be mentioned in this article in order to ensure that the length of this article does not span out beyond its scope. Few other guitarists whose name is worth mentioning are- Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Steve Vai, Robert Johnson etc.
Alright, now that I have covered a lot about the instrument its time you get an idea about the different varieties of guitar. Let’s have a look.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GUITAR THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU
When I first heard about guitar, I was probably told that guitars are of the two broad types- acoustic and electric. But that was not true. Guitars come in different shape, size and features. The instrument can be classified into different types which are elaborately discussed as below.
These guitars are called acoustic guitars because there are no electronic components involved in the instrument. Well, acoustic guitars are devoid of the electronic amplifiers as seen in electric guitars. The sound produced by the strings in acoustic guitars are amplified by the hollow wooden body of the guitar. The strings of the guitar are plucked either by the fingernails or using a pick. Apart from the sound of an acoustic guitar as compared to electric guitar, it also has some differences in the design. But before delving into that, let’s have a quick sneak peek at the parts of an acoustic guitar.
Meanwhile, if you are a newbie, why don’t you explore this buying guide about best acoustic guitars for beginners. Further based on price, I have segregated the BEST ACOUSTIC GUITARS UNDER $200 and BEST ACOUSTIC GUITARS UNDER $300 .
PARTS OF ACOUSTIC GUITAR
An acoustic guitar usually comprises of the following essential parts.
Head: The head of the guitar is placed on the top of the guitar neck. This component of the guitar is mainly required for placing the guitar tuners. The tuners of the acoustic guitar are placed in two different ways – a) sometimes all the 6 tuners are placed on one side of the head b) otherwise 3 tuners are placed at one side of the head and rest 3 tuners on the other side of the head. The head is a very important component in case of an acoustic guitar. The shape and the angle in which the head is attached may affect the tone of the guitar.
Tuners: The strings of the guitar do not always always hold the tone which you desire. Even though you have adjusted or tuned the strings, they get out of tune with the passing of time. In that case you will need to tune them again. The tuners of acoustic guitars give you a way to adjust the pitch of the strings. Tuners can be found in the form of different designs and its quality depends on the price of the instrument you are purchasing.
Nut: The nut of an acoustic guitar is a small white or black material with six slots in it upon which the strings rest before passing to the tuners. The nut is placed between the neck and fretboard of the guitar. The role of the nut is to keep the strings in place and also to transmit the vibrations to the neck of the guitar. Like other parts of the guitar the quality of the nut also impacts the tune of the guitar. The nut is usually made with different kind of materials like ebony, ivory, brass, cow bone or even plastic.
Neck: The neck of the guitar is one of the most important parts of an acoustic guitar. The neck is responsible for holding the neck, nut, fretboard and the frets. Besides that truss rod of the guitar also runs inside the neck of an acoustic guitar. The quality of wood used in manufacturing the neck has a big impact on the quality of sound of the guitar.Also you will get different types of sound based on the type of the neck. A thicker neck produces different sound as compared to a thinner neck. The shape of the neck determines if the guitar will be easier or harder to play by a guitarist.
Frets: Guitar is a fretted instrument. The frets are small sections created by metal strips across the fretboard. A guitarist puts his finger in these sections and press the string and simultaneously strike it in order to produce a note. To avoid the buzzing sound of the guitar, the frets need to be smooth on the edges. Smooth frets also ensures that your fingers are not hurt while playing the guitar.
Truss rod: The truss rod is an essential part of the guitar. As already mentioned, it runs inside the neck of the guitar. The neck of the guitar is made of wood and hence it is prone to get bend due to changes in the environmental conditions as well as due to the pressure of the strings. The role of the truss rod is to keep the neck straight.
Fret Markers: The fret markers are small circular white dots on the fretboard of the guitar. Its main role is to assist the guitarist in finding the notes on the fretboard.
Strings: a usual acoustic guitar has 6 strings named (E-B-G-D-A-E). The strings of an acoustic guitar differs from that of an electric guitar. Normally there are two types of acoustic guitar strings – nylon strings, used in classical guitars and metal strings, used in regular acoustic guitars. The type of string that you are using in your guitar makes a big difference in the sound that your instrument will produce.
Body: This is the largest part of an acoustic guitar. The sound produced by the vibration of the guitar strings is amplified by this wooden chamber and comes out through the sound hole. It is quite obvious that the quality of sound of an acoustic guitar depends greatly on the type of wood used in making the body of the guitar.
Sound Hole: The soundhole is placed on the upper middle of the guitar’s body. The amplified sound comes out of the resonated chamber aka body of the guitar through the sound hole. The sound holes of acoustic guitar are usually circular in shape.
Bridge: The bridge is the wooden structure in an acoustic guitar where the strings are docked. The strings are held by bridge pins in the bridge of the guitar. The bridge of an acoustic guitar is important because the vibrations of the strings pass through the bridge to the body. This definitely means that the quality of the bridge matter in the sound produced by the guitar.
That’s all about acoustic guitar. If you are a beginner and pondering which acoustic guitar you should put your hands on. Well in that case read this guide to learn about the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
The next type of guitar is an electric guitar. In an electric guitar you will find one or more pickups which convert the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals. The vibrations of the strings may be produced due to plucking , strumming , slabs or taps. These vibrations produced in the strings are taken by the pickups. The pickups converted the vibrations to electrical signals by means of electro-magnetic induction. The signals are then amplified by the amplifiers followed by sending them to the speakers. In the speaker the amplified signals are converted to audible sound.
Electric guitar was invented in 1931. Since then the instrument has gone through a lot of innovation in terms of design and construction. Today the instrument has emerged as one of the most essential musical instruments for every musician. The electrical guitar can be played with any genres of music be it jazz, rock and roll, heavy metal or even country music. Well I guess this much is enough for you to have an idea about electrical guitars. But wait. You should not be contented before I let you know about the parts of an electric guitar. So let’s have a quick sneak peek at the anatomy of an electric guitar.
PARTS OF ELECTRIC GUITAR
Head: Like acoustic guitars, electric guitars also have head, a flat structure on the top of the neck of the guitar. The tuners of the guitar are placed at the head of the guitar.
Tuners: As I have mentioned in acoustic guitars, the tuners in electric guitars are also responsible for setting the pitch and tone of the strings. The tuners in electric guitars are usually made of metals. In some electric guitars, the headstock is absent. The tuners in such guitars are usually placed at the bottom of the guitar.
String retainers: The main role of the string retainer is to put adequate pressure on the strings such that they don’t pop out from their place. Fender’s electric guitars are mostly seen to have this feature.
Truss adjustment: If you have read this article from the beginning, by now you must have known that the neck of a guitar is prone to get bend. The truss adjustment is meant for adjusting the curve of the guitar neck such that the string are not high from the fretboard. If the distance between the strings and the fretboard is too high, it will cause buzzing in the guitar.
Nut: Just as I have mentioned in acoustic guitar, the electric guitar also has a piece of white or black plastic or bone at the top of its neck. The nut has slots to hold the strings of the guitar in place. It should be ensured that the depth of the slots are properly maintained such that the strings of the guitar are not too high from the fretboard.
Neck: Again similar to the acoustic guitars, the neck of an electric guitar is the long piece of wood between the body of the guitar and its head. The neck holds the frets of the guitar. Besides the frets , the truss rod of the guitar runs inside the neck of the guitar.
Frets: These are the divisions in the fretboard of the guitar created by horizontal metal strips placed at regular intervals on the fretboard. In order to produce a note, he guitar players put their fingers between these frets and strike the strings.
Well now you must have observed that the parts of the electric guitar is quite similar to that of an acoustic guitar. However there are some extra pieces of parts in the electric guitar that are found in an acoustic guitar. To keep the length of this discussion shortened, let’s discuss only the parts that are found exclusively in electric guitars. The following parts are available in an electric guitar.
Pickups: I have already mentioned about pickups in this article. Pickups are the electronic component that converts the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals and send them into the amplifier. The sound of an electric guitar is fully dependent on the pickup of the guitar. It should be noted that there are different types of guitar pickups. I will discuss them in a separate article.
Pickup Selector: You can attach multiple pickups in your instrument at a time. In such a case, the pickup selector helps in selecting the pickup that you want to use at a moment. Using the pickup selector, you can switch on and off the pickups in a guitar equipped with multiple pickups.
Strap button: Usually guitarist like to stand up while playing the electric guitar. In such scenarios , the guitar has to be hung across the neck with a strap. The strap button is meant for hooking the strap.
Output jack: The output jack in an electric guitar is a slot to attach the cable which carries the signal from the pickup to the amplifier.
Whammy bar: This part of the guitar is used in order to improvise the pitch of the notes of the guitar. The whammy bar is also called the tremolo bar or vibrato bar.
Now that you have come to know all the parts of an electric guitar, I guess it will help you in your pursuit of mastering the instrument. You may still be pondering about the best electric guitar that you should buy for yourself. Read out this article which will give you an idea about the best electric guitar for beginners. If you like our article, do not forget to pick the best guitar from the links given in there.
But before I forget, will you not be eager to know the differences between the two types of guitar.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR vs ELECTRIC GUITAR
Newbies who have just started practicing the instrument often face their first confusion regarding weather to purchase an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar for themselves. This section of the article will try to give you an insight on this matter.
Acoustic guitars: The main reason why I would recommend a beginner to pick up an acoustic guitar is due to its affordability. Decent acoustic guitars are available from a price as low as $100.
Second most important fact is that if you practice your first chords in an acoustic guitar, you will not require to worry much about the technical aspects but concentrate and develop the basics of the instrument.
Another advantage of acoustic guitar is that it is convenient to carry the instrument wherever you go. Acoustic guitars do not need require much extra accessories to practice or while performing in any occasions. It is portable and hence can be carried easily wherever you want.
Electric Guitars: Even though I have mentioned about the advantages of acoustic guitar, it should still always be your choice to decide weather you should pick up an acoustic guitar or electric guitar. Based on demand of the music or the kind of sound that you want your instrument to produce, your choice should also vary.
If you have a burning desire to play rock , metal or rock and roll the guitar that you need to pick should always be an electric guitar. Even though people think that playing electric guitar is not easy, on the contrary it is easy to play and learn the basics of the instrument in an electric guitar. Once you master the basics it will be just a matter of time and consistent practice until you become a pro.
Electric guitars give you a wide range of options to tweak with the sound of the instrument. If you get your hands on this art of improvising music , it will be a big advantage in the long run of your career.
Now that you can differentiate between acoustic and electric guitars, it’s time to briefly discuss and give you an idea about some of the other types of guitars that are available.
- Bass Guitar: A bass guitar has a similar design and construction just like the acoustic guitar or electric guitar. The main difference is that it has an elongated neck, which means it has a longer scale length. Apart from that, the bass guitar has 4 strings as compared to six of an acoustic and electric guitar. The pitch of the strings of a bass guitar are adjusted one octave lower than the pitch of the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar. Designs of bass guitar are both regular and peculiar. Sometimes the bass guitars come fret-less. Fret-less bass guitars are used particularly in music genres such as jazz and jazz fusion. I will discuss in detail about bass guitars in a separate post.
- Electro-Acoustic Guitars: As the name itself suggests, electro acoustic guitar is a blend of both electric as well as acoustic guitar. In this type of guitar you will find an acoustic guitar with a pickup that can be plugged into an amplifier. In addition to the pick up, electro acoustic guitar may also have paddles for producing different sound effects.
- Twelve string guitars: Again as the name suggests, a twelve string guitar has 12 strings arranged as 6 courses. A course in a musical instrument is two or more strings that are closely spaced and are played/striked as a single string. In order to accommodate the twelve strings, the design of this guitar is somewhat different than a normal guitar. The head stock is little elongated in order to give space for the twelve tuning machines. Moreover, since the twelve strings adds some extra pressure on the guitar, the neck and the body of the guitar need to be wide and strong respectively.
- Resonator Guitars: The resonating guitars are type of acoustic guitar in which the sound is produced by conducting string vibrations through the bridge to one or more spun metal cones (known as resonators). Unlike other guitars the sound is not produced by the guitar’s sounding board but by the resonators. Resonator guitars have a very fancy look and design that attracts any guitarists like moths to fire.
That completes the classification of various guitars that are available for any guitarist. Now if you are a complete newbie, this brings us to the next concern : How to select our first guitar? You will find a detailed discussion here. However, to keep things short and simple, let me mention that before selecting any guitar you will need to keep in mind the following aspects about the instrument-
- Materials used in making the body, bridge, neck, bridge and fretboard of the guitar.
- Type of strings in the guitar.
- Design and make of the guitar body.
Many aspiring guitarists buys the instrument first and starts learning or practicing it. I will share a few tips on how to start learning the guitar. Keep reading this article if you want to know these tips.
I must mention that with so many resources available on the internet, it is never so tough to learn and master guitar. For instance you can see the below video to learn how to head start your learning process.
I believe, you have got quite a good idea on how to get started with the instrument. However, as promised here are my 5 tips to get starting with the instrument.
HOW TO START LEARNING GUITAR?
Go through this 5 tips mentioned below to know about how to get started with the guitar.
- Start with whatever you have at your disposal. You do not need to have a high end guitar in order to start learning the instrument. Start with acoustic guitars. Here are some affordable acoustic guitars that you can buy for yourself. If you want to start practising on the electric guitar, you can get a second hand electric guitar from the stores, or even borrow one from your friend, if any. The bottom line is that, you need to get your hand sliding on the strings instead of worrying about the budget for your first guitar.
- Practice the notes and chords slowly. Practicing faster during the initial stage is not recommended if you want to build your basics. Instead you need to play correctly.
- Learn the theoretical part of the instrument with importance. For the long run, it is essential for you to not only play the instrument correctly but also to know what you are playing.
- Your guitar must be in proper tune to produce the correct pitch of sound. Learn how to tune a guitar. You may also buy a good tuner for yourself. Read this article to learn about the best tuners for acoustic guitar.
- Get enrolled in a guitar class to learn the basics. The initial few days of the learning procedure is very difficult. You will find it easier if you enroll yourself in a guitar class. There are many online classes available even on the internet that will help you in your pursuit.
Having said so, I believe this guide has given all the necessary ideas that you will need while starting out to play guitar. I started this guide by trying to inspire you with stories of some of the most sought after guitarists of all times. This was followed by a comprehensive yet extensive classification of nearly all types of guitars. And finally, I have provided you the guides on how to start learning the guitar and how to select your first guitar. Now, I would like to wrap up the discussion with the short guide on how to take care of your guitar. Read down to know that.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUITAR ?
You can keep your guitar clean and safe by following the below mentioned points –
- Always play your guitar with clean hands. Moisture and dirt of your hand may affect the wood of the guitar and hence its sound quality.
- Use a guitar stand to properly keep the instrument without putting pressure on the neck.
- Clean the guitar strings regularly. You may use string cleaners for that.
- Use a gig bag while travelling or carrying the guitar to the stage.
Now as I finished drafting this long article, I believe you have got all the information about this instrument. Guitar indeed is a awesome piece of musical instrument. Congratulations for choosing this instrument and i would love to be a part of your journey or pursuit of becoming a ROCK-STAR.
Now that you have reached the end of the guide, why not check below some of the best deals :