What You’ll Need: wire snips pliers (maybe) a cloth to wipe down guitar guitar polish (optional) a “string winder” (optional but recommended)
Begin by finding a flat surface on which to lay the guitar. A table works well, but the floor works in a pinch. Position yourself in front of the instrument, with the guitar’s sixth string closest to you. Completely slacken the sixth (lowest) string of the guitar, by turning the tuner. If you’re unsure of which direction to turn the tuner to slacken the string, pluck the string before you begin turning the tuner. The pitch of the note should get lower as you slacken the string.
Once the string has been completely slackened, uncoil it from the tuning peg at the head of the guitar. Next, remove the other end of the string from the bridge by removing the sixth string bridge pin from the bridge of the guitar. Commonly, bridge pins will provide some resistance when trying to remove them. If this is the case, use a pair of pliers and gently coax the bridge pin out of the bridge.
Discard the old string. Using your cloth, wipe down any areas of the guitar you can’t reach with the sixth string on the instrument. If you have guitar polish, now is the time to use it.
It is important to note that some guitarists remove all strings from their guitar at once and then replace them. I highly advise against this procedure. The six tuned strings of a guitar produce a great deal of tension on the neck of the instrument, which is a good thing. Removing all six strings at once drastically changes this tension, which many guitar necks don’t react well to. Sometimes, when all six strings are replaced, the strings will sit impossibly high off the fretboard. Change your strings one at a time to avoid a variety of issues.
With so much attention focused on which guitars give you which sound, which guitars look the nicest, and which play the best, the lowly guitar amplifier is often ignored, especially by novice guitarists. Which is a big mistake for guitarists looking to find a great sound. The fact of the matter is; a sub-par guitar played through a great amp can still sound fairly decent, but even the best guitars, when played through a bad amplifier, sound awful.
If you’re considering buying your first amplifier, price will obviously be one of your primary concerns. Guitar amplifiers range in price from under $100, to multiple thousands of dollars. A common choice for first amplifiers are the very small and basic 15-watt amps such as the Fender Frontman 15G, which provide a low cost solution to amplifying the guitar. When asked by students and parents, I strongly discourage the purchase of amplifiers like these, for several reasons. First of all, the sound of these amps tends to be tolerable at best, and often sound much, much, worse. Newer guitarists will often become frustrated, complaining that “nothing I ever play sounds good”, not fully realizing that it is the equipment, and not what they are playing, that is causing the music to sound inferior. These small amps also don’t provide a great deal of volume, which can present a problem. In the beginning, the musical growth of guitar players is quite staggering, and it won’t be long before many newer guitarists are ready to start playing with other musicians. Many of these small amplifiers have a hard time being heard above the volume of a drummer, which renders them useless in those situations.
This isn’t meant to imply that you need to spend $1000 on your first guitar amplifier. But, by setting your sites above the cheapest, smallest amplifier in the store, you’ll certainly end up with an amp that will serve your needs for a much longer period of time. The Fender Pro Junior is a great, low-cost tube amplifier that you’ll sometimes even see being used by professional guitarists. What the Pro Junior lacks in control (no EQ, no reverb), it more than makes up for in tone and sound quality (read the full review of the Pro Junior).
There are a few things I’ll generally look for in modestly priced amplifiers; at least a 3-band EQ ( low, mid, and high), a clean channel and an “overdrive” channel, reverb, and possibly some sort of “presence” control. Another thing to be aware of is the existence of two types of amplifiers; tube and transistor. The BuddyHawke.com site has provided a relatively simple explanation of the difference between the two. I personally almost universally prefer tube amps, but this is something you’ll have to listen to, and decide for yourself. Tube amps are almost always more problematic, and tend to be more expensive.
When shopping for amps, be sure to try many out before you buy one. Play the same guitar through each amp when experimenting in the store. Make sure you spend a good deal of time with each amp; playing them at loud and quiet volumes, with and without overdrive, experimenting with the versatility of sound each amp provides. Do not be afraid to bring your guitar into the store and try it out with the amps you are considering. Try researching specific amps you are interested in on the net, using the Harmony Central Amp Database,. One last thing to be aware of; despite what they may lead you to believe, you can, and should negotiate with music store employees in regards to the price of their merchandise. I have found that with a bit of prompting, I can get at least a 10% discount on guitars and amps not on sale, and often even more.
The primary reason beginners have trouble switching chords quickly has nothing to do with their fingers, or the way they’re sitting, or anything physical at all. Most often, new guitarists haven’t learned to think ahead, and visualize exactly which chord they’re about to play, and which fingers they’ll need to move.
Try this exercise: Choose two chords you know. You will be moving back and forth between these two chords. Play the first chord eight times (strumming evenly), and then, without breaking the rhythm of your strumming, quickly move to the next chord, and play that chord eight times.
Did you need to pause while switching chords? If so, let’s try and examine what the problem is. Try the following, without strumming the guitar: Put your fingers back in position to play the first chord. Now, try and move quickly to the second chord, and study your fingers while doing so. Chances are, one (or a few) of your fingers will come way off the fretboard, and perhaps hover in mid-air while you try to decide where each finger should go. This happens, not because of any lack of technical ability, but because you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for switching chords.
Now, try fretting the first chord again. Without actually moving to the second chord, VISUALIZE playing this second chord shape. Picture in your mind, finger by finger, how to most efficiently move to the next chord. Only after you’ve done this should you switch chords. If some fingers continue to pause, or hover in mid air while moving to the next chord, back up and try again. Also, concentrate on “minimum motion” – commonly, beginners bring their fingers very far off the fretboard while switching chords; this is unnecessary. Spend five minutes going back and forth between the two chords, visualizing, then moving. Pay attention to any small, unneccessary movements your fingers make, and eliminate them. Although this is easier said than done, your hard work and attention to detail will start paying off quickly. Good luck!
String Changing Tutorial
Take a look at the strings of your guitar. What sort of shape are they in? Are they discolored? Rusty? Are all six strings present and accounted for? If you answered no to any of these questions, or if it’s been several months since you put new strings on your guitar, it’s time for a string change. New strings make your guitar sound brighter, and generally make it easier to play.
How Often Should I Change My Strings?
Just like brake pads on a car, guitar strings wear out with use. Old guitar strings often behave badly – they’ll lose tuning more quickly, sound less “bright”, and give you problems with intonation. Old guitar strings also break, often during the most inopportune moment. Be sure to head into any live playing situation with new strings on your guitar, and several more sets of strings packed in your case, should you break a string during performance.
When I’m playing my acoustic guitar a lot, I’ll change the strings at least every two weeks (more than that if I’m using it for gigs). It’s probably not necessary for beginners to be quite as diligent with keeping new strings on their guitar, but changing strings a minimum of every couple months is a very good idea.
What Sort of Guitar Strings Should I Buy?
Everyone has an opinion on which strings are best, but let’s put aside the discussion of guitar string manufacturers for a moment, and discuss the type of strings needed for your guitar. If you own an acoustic guitar, you need “acoustic guitar strings”. If you own a classical guitar, you need “classical guitar strings” or “nylon strings”. An electric guitar needs “electric guitar strings”. And a bass guitar needs… wait for it… “bass guitar strings”.
You also need to consider the gauge (thickness) of strings you’d like. This is where personal preference comes into play, but for beginners, I recommend starting with “medium” gauge strings, and varying from that as you develop a personal preference. An oversimplified rule of thumb is thicker strings provide better tone, but are harder to play.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of buying a set of strings from a guitar store, don’t be. Simply march in, and say “I’d like a set of XXXXX (brand name – eg. D’Addario, Fender, Dean Markley) medium gauge acoustic guitar strings please.” Prices vary from store to store, but a set of acoustic strings shouldn’t set you back more than $8 (several brands, like the excellent Elixir strings, cost more, but the merits of these products belongs in another article).
Now, let me show you how to change the strings on your acoustic guitar or change the strings on your electric guitar.
Get yourself an armless chair, and take a seat. You should be sitting comfortably, with your back against the back of the chair. Slouching significantly is a no-no; you’ll not only end up with a sore back, you’ll develop bad habits on the guitar.
Now, pick up your guitar, and hold it so the back of the body of the instrument comes in contact with your stomach/chest, and the bottom of the neck runs parallel to the floor. The thickest string on the guitar should be the closest to your face, while the thinnest should be closest to the floor. If this isn’t the case, turn the guitar the in other direction. Typically, a right-handed person will hold the guitar so the headstock points to the left, whereas a left-handed person will hold the guitar so the headstock points to the right. (NOTE: to play the guitar as a lefty would, you will need a left-handed guitar.)
When playing the guitar sitting down, the body of the guitar will rest on one of your legs. In most styles of guitar playing, the guitar will rest on the leg farthest away from the headstock. This means, a person playing the guitar in a right-handed fashion will typically rest the guitar on his/her right leg, while someone playing the guitar in a lefty manner will rest it on their left leg. (NOTE: proper classical guitarist technique dictates the exact OPPOSITE of the above, but for this lesson, let’s stick to our initial explanation)
Next, concentrate on your “fretting hand” (the hand closest to the neck of the guitar, when sitting in proper position). The thumb of your fretting hand should rest behind the neck of the guitar, with your fingers in a slightly curled position, poised above the strings. It is extremely important to keep these fingers curled at the knuckles, except when specifically instructed not to do so.
The following tutorial will help to explain to you the basic concept of reading guitar tab. Although it may seem complex, learning to read tab is quite simple, and you should find yourself reading tab easily in no time.
Guitarists are a unique breed. Chances are, if you play guitar, you are either self-taught, or have taken a small number of lessons via a friend or guitar teacher. If you were a pianist, however, you would have learned the instrument through years of private study, which would include both music theory lessons, and heavy focus on sight reading.
Nothing wrong with taking the more informal approach to learning music, but it does create some inherent problems when it comes to laborious duties like learning to read music. Learning to sight read takes a reasonable amount of work, without immediate benefit, and it is these sort of skills that self-taught musicians tend to avoid.
It’s never too late to learn to read music… if you want to get serious about a career in the music industry, it really is essential. However, guitarists have created their own method of music notation, guitar tablature which, while admittedly flawed, provides a simple and easy to read way of sharing music with other guitarists.
It is true that most people would like to learn to play guitar, but not everyone can do, because learning to play guitar is not easy. One must know that the foundations of learning is just the beginning, so if you want to be able play the guitar well and get some exciting skills that can help become a great guitarist, it is important to learn to read guitar sheet music. Once you start you can play is often progresses but may need to play up to six points. The next step is to improve the way you play two notes learn how to play or in this case, a simple octaves. If you cannot learn to read and play two different guitar tones than good in your way to significantly improve all guitar techniques.
If you intend to learn to read six notes at once, you must accept the fact that you can set up to fail. If you want to be able to succeed, you must take it easy and progress in learning to read one or two notes at once. The best way to learn to play two notes at once is to play octaves. You can take the exam in a few steps to have it read correctly with partitions guitar octave.
However, it is an important fact that many guitarists ever decide to learn to find the notes on the guitar. They only focus on the habit of listening, playing and where the calculation of the specific note can be played on guitar. If you can do it little by little, it's easy for you to read guitar sheet music. A desire and determination to really start learning the notes of the guitar is much better than using the method we have spoken to find the notes.
You must remember that you must start from where you are, if you want to progress and become a good sight reading guitar sheet music. Before you start playing, you watch over a song and find the same two notes that are stacked in the lymph nodes. Many wonder why it's so difficult to read guitar sheet music. If they give a little more attention, they can see that the answer is easy. They did nothing about it. No one thought to move. Could it be that easy to play guitar sheet music?
Sometimes we think that readers with visual impairment or not able to read guitar music at all and we believe this is part of our personality. But in reality, only the guitar is not. First, start by selecting the octaves in the partition of the guitar. Then you can place your fingers correctly on the first octave. Then you can play two octaves on the same fixed rope. The last step is to play two octaves simultaneously on different sets of strings. It takes time and practice, but it will help to develop a guitar sound.
Originally posted here:
We Play Guitar
A number of the most talented musicians in the world share a particular tale of woe. All of the years that they spent standing in front of screaming crowds, playing amplified instruments in venues that may well have been somewhat cramped, comes to a fairly obvious conclusion. When you ask them their name they won’t be able to tell you. Not because they are drunk or on drugs, but because they are pretty much deaf. It is something that can be hard to avoid, if you are going to play the big shows, or if you simply enjoy playing loud.
Many guitarists spend at least a few nights a week standing in front of an amplifier that is taller than they are. Even though they wear earplugs to dampen the noise, that is still not dissimilar to standing in front of a jumbo jet as it prepares for take-off. And when they are playing loud in a small venue – which a lot of bands do on the way up – the sound reverberates right back at them. It can’t be good for the ears. So is there any way to avoid this? Well, simply sticking to best practice is a wise idea. Don’t play seven days a week – in fact, three nights in a row is considered a bit much by some.
Earplugs are more than advisable, as is standing further away from the amps. Another tip would be to play a bit quieter – but that is considered a mortal insult by any guitarist worthy of the title.
Going Deaf In Guitar Playing For A Living?
Choosing to learn guitar theory is one of the best choices that you can make as a guitar player and musician. Many overlook the importance of learning music theory for all sorts of ridiculous reasons. Learn guitar theory now so that you can advance to becoming a much better player.
Music theory is simply a way that music in all it's forms has been written down and explained. It can aid the guitar player because you can learn and recognize music as it's being played in ways that you otherwise would not have understood. When you hear the patterns, scales, and chords that you have learned from theory, you can use this application while playing.
One of the biggest arguments that people bring up against learning guitar theory is that you will become this analytical and technical player who lacks emotion in the music. This logic would be like saying that someone who learned guitar chords lacks emotion because they learned them mentally as opposed to just randomly playing from the heart. Don't buy into the excuse that learning means that you will lose the passion for the music that is there.
All the great guitar players have learned music theory and understand it's applications. Even if they play a certain style, you better believe that they understand the music behind multiple styles of guitar playing because they have sat down and worked on their theory. They are good at music because they have an understand of music.
The best place to start as a guitar player would be with scales. Learning scales like the major scale will allow your mind to start to understand the relationship between those notes as well as the relationship between the notes in certain chords and why those notes are used as opposed to another. Practice memorizing and understanding these scales as the backbone of your guitar theory.
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How Music Theory Can Improve Your Guitar Playing
Want to play guitar? Don't know how to go about it? Here are your options! We'll help you go through the easy steps!
Wow! Now you've decided to play the guitar! The problem now is, “where do I start from?” never fear, for there are a lot of reasonable ways by which you can launch your guitar learning career. Depending on which suits you – and which seems more fun – there are many options available. One of these is the internet. You can access online guitar lesson via the web – using e-books. You can arrange for a private tutor to teach you, or have a group guitar lesson. Alternatively, if you are one for AV's – audiovisuals – you may savor the opportunity to learn using videos, CD's and DVD's. My personal recommendation is that you have brief but steady lessons over a period of weeks. Believe me, I've seen it work magic before.
I am almost 100% sure that your first lessons on guitar training will begin with simple stuff as lessons on the basic parts that make up the guitar, the guitar pick, how to place your fingers on the strings, chords and chord notations, how to strum the guitar and the pressure factor. You might to learn how to play a couple of songs, too. You may learn how to make minor repairs to the guitar, as well as how to tune it.
For your first lesson, you won't be needing anything fancy: just a simple setting with three basics: your guitar (six stringed, mind you), the guitar pick and an armless chair. The point to harp on here is the choice of pick. Since you are a beginner, I suggest that you get as many picks as possible of various sizes to see which will suit your palms. If you are thinking that is a little bit extravagant, hey, look on the bright side! At least if you misplace one, you have spares! Here's a tip from much years of observation: most beginners tend to favor the medium gauge pick.
For your subsequent lessons, your guitar should be tuned. I expect that by now, you should have been taught how to tune your guitar. If, for some reasons whatsoever, you are unlucky to not have been taught, you could purchase a guitar tuner to tune your guitar. This shouldn't cost much and are quite easy to use.
Before you start splashing in the sea of “real music”, you will have to first learn basic chords. These are chords, G, C and D, all of them majors, of course. When you have learnt these, and become able to interchange and transpose them, then you can be said to have “come into the music”/
Remember, revision is vital. Constantly, revise what you have been taught for at least 15 minutes daily. You should pay more attention to tuning your guitar. Also try to you're your mind – at least most of it – on your scales and chords.
If your thumbs and fingers ache dully at the beginning, fear not. It is a normal part of the process. You might remedy the situation by switching to a guitar with less taut strings.