by Manuel Marino | Guitar
Inexpensive electric guitars or semi-acoustic guitars – it doesn’t matter which type you own, you’ll still need to perform repairs from time to time. While we can’t imagine the original delta blues guitar players using anything other than their trusty old acoustic guitar and the shirt off their back, today’s guitar maintenance requires a more thorough approach. For time-conscious and careful guitarists, there are a few essential items to have in their toolkit to maintain playability and ensure that any maintenance takes minimal time. So, unless you have endless time on your hands or fancy keeping it authentic like those early guitar pioneers, you should have or have access to the following items to keep your trusty instrument in excellent condition:
First, you should have some guitar strings in a size you prefer, suitable for the guitars you’ll be using. If you use cheap electric guitars, make sure you have the correct size guitar strings; if you’re using electro-acoustic guitars, carry the appropriate guitar strings.
Next, consider a multi-tool, like a Swiss Army knife, which includes flat-head and cross-head screwdrivers, pliers, angled snips (ideal for cutting wire pieces), and a nail file for your fingernails! Additionally, it’s worth investing in actual angled snips for cutting off replaced guitar strings, as they’ll do the job more efficiently than the snips in the multi-tool. As you know, guitar strings can be surprisingly durable, so having proper tools for trimming the guitar string after swapping is essential. For any 5mm connections on guitar jacks and effects boxes, keep a small wrench and hand screwdriver handy, as they tend to loosen frequently. A small towel is useful for quickly cleaning your gear, especially sweat and dirt that accumulates and can cause damage. Spare picks can be stored in an old cigarette tin, along with rogue screws, bolts, and washers that seem to turn up without a clear origin. Another often overlooked item is extra 9V battery packs, used for stompboxes and pre-amps in electric acoustic guitars, which tend to run out at the most inconvenient times.
These are the basic items to have on hand, whether you’re at home, rehearsing, or performing. If you’re considering going above and beyond, you can also consider the following:
Lubrication is ideal for applying to new strings when you change them. It prevents them from breaking when you’re putting them on, and you can also use a string cleaner, which extends the useful life of a string and prevents oxidation from setting in. Hex keys in various (but appropriate) sizes are helpful if your multi-tool doesn’t have them, especially for minor repairs around the pickup area. To restring your guitar in double-quick time, consider getting a battery-operated guitar string changer. Just remember to carry extra batteries for it, or it will be rather pointless.
So, there are numerous things to consider if you want to ensure your affordable guitar remains in fantastic condition. Just don’t forget the maintenance to keep everything running smoothly!
by Manuel Marino | Guitar
If you’re wondering how to learn to play the guitar, let me assure you there are several ways for you to master this skill.
You can opt for the traditional method – private guitar lessons. You can enroll in guitar summer classes or workshops in your area. Reading instructional music books and chord sheets can help too. You could also ask a friend to teach you. And, of course, there’s the internet. Online, you’ll find numerous websites, blogs, and videos that offer step-by-step beginner’s guides on how to learn to play the guitar, like this one.
Let’s start with the basics – the parts of a guitar. A guitar has 5 main components, namely:
- Body: the large 8-shaped mass with a hole in the center
- Bridge: the vertical line between the edge of the body and the hole, where all six strings are attached
- Neck: the long horizontal wood connected to the body
- Frets: the divisions on the neck
- Tuning Pegs: the six knobs on the side of the neck used for tuning the strings
The guitar has a total of six strings, and each string has a corresponding note. In descending order, the notes are E (6th string), A (5th), D (4th), G (3rd), B (2nd), E (1st). An open note is played when your right hand strums a string without touching the frets.
Another tip on how to learn to play the guitar is to understand chords. Chords are combinations of musical notes played simultaneously. The most basic chords are E, E minor, A, A minor, D, D minor, C, and G.
Here’s an example of how a chord is played:
E minor: place your second finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string, and third finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string with the other hand
Keep in mind that finger placement is crucial, and the amount of pressure you apply affects the sound.
Learning the guitar requires plenty of practice and familiarization. Be patient and enjoy your learning journey.
by Manuel Marino | Guitar
Many people who are learning to play the guitar give up due to a lack of patience and persistence. They often think about the pain in their fingers during practice and end up not making progress. Becoming proficient at something largely depends on your attitude.
If you’re not passionate about learning something and only rely on being taught by someone else rather than self-learning, you may not make much progress and end up wasting time. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks available online on how to learn to play the guitar quickly. You just need to have patience in research and learning to become more successful.
Firstly, among the many tips and strategies for learning how to play the guitar quickly and easily is to do thorough research. Researching today is not as difficult as it used to be. The internet is a vast library where you can gain a lot of knowledge. When relying on internet sources, make sure to validate the information, especially when learning about guitars and tutorials. Ask questions and request tips and recommendations.
Be flexible and try to learn different techniques instead of sticking to just one. This way, you can create your own ideal technique that is comfortable for you. Practice a lot to improve your skills. Practicing daily helps your fingers and ears become more accustomed to playing the guitar; eventually, the calluses you develop from playing won’t hurt anymore. Read, watch, and learn from other people’s advice or lessons. You may not be as good as them yet, but stay positive, and in time, you’ll surpass them. Play songs, do covers, create your own music, and most importantly, practice!
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a fast or slow learner, or if you learn to play the guitar in a short period or over several months. What’s important is that you understand the concepts and are eager to move forward. However, if you need to learn to play the guitar quickly for an important reason, seeking tips and tricks online and watching online lessons can be very helpful, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
by Manuel Marino | Guitar
English: Electric Guitar based on ESP KH model. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the main reasons for choosing to buy a pre-owned guitar is that you can get a better deal and more value for your money. The primary factor driving guitarists to purchase a used electric, acoustic, or bass guitar is the desire for more bang for their buck. Popular online auctions have made it much easier to find a range of used musical instruments. Before the internet, your only options for finding a second-hand bargain would be to visit your local guitar store, buy one from a friend, colleague, or family member, or check out a second-hand shop.
We’ve established that finding a bargain is now easier than ever. Now, let’s consider the reasons why, besides saving money, a guitarist might choose to buy used rather than new. Firstly, many buyers prefer vintage instruments that may be rare or simply sound better due to the aged components and wood. It’s common for famous musicians to collect an array of unique guitars. They appreciate having some history, and their families also like to gift them vintage instruments since no two old guitars are exactly the same. This makes the gift even more special.
So, what makes a guitar feel and sound good in the first place? Numerous factors contribute to an instrument’s playability, including the wood used, hardware (such as tuning pegs, bridge, nut, frets, pickups, wiring, and sockets). The reliability of an instrument can be significantly improved if high-quality, solid wiring and joints are used. This is particularly important for gigging musicians. While it’s essential to have backup equipment when playing live in front of an audience, ensuring that all your instruments are in top condition and using the best components you can afford makes your guitars as reliable as possible.
Recently, I encountered an issue with a new guitar I bought years ago. It was a cheap one, and I purchased an upgraded pickup to improve the sound, which it did. However, as some of the frets became worn around the twelfth and fifteenth frets (due to frequent bending while playing lead guitar), I didn’t have the frets repaired because I felt the overall value of the guitar wasn’t worth the repair cost. In contrast, I’d be more inclined to invest in maintenance for my used guitars because I got better value for the price I paid. The moral of the story is to buy a more expensive instrument used, so when it comes to replacing parts, upgrading, and general maintenance, you’ll feel better than fixing a cheap instrument.
by Manuel Marino | Guitar
No matter your level of guitar playing proficiency, it is always crucial to have a properly tuned guitar. This is especially important when playing an acoustic guitar, as each string’s tone is quite prominent. There are numerous tuning variations for a guitar, but in this article, we will only cover Standard E tuning. In this tuning, both your high E and low E strings are tuned to the key of E, and all other strings are tuned accordingly.
Quick String Order Reference: E A D G B E
Step 1: Tune your low E string to E
Unless you have an excellent ear for pitch, which most of us don’t, you will need a keyboard or pitch pipe to achieve this. The more you tune your guitar by ear, the easier it will become to get close to an E note without needing these devices.
Strike your open E string, and either play the lowest E note on the piano or use your pitch pipe to match the two tones. Once your E string matches a perfect E note, you can proceed to tune your guitar by ear.
Step 2: Tune the A string
- Press down on the 5th fret on the low E string
- Play the E string with your open A string
- You want the A string to sound the same as your fretted E string
- Adjust the A string as necessary to achieve the perfect tone
Step 3: Tune D String
Press down on the fifth fret on your A string Play the A string along with your open D string You want the D string to sound the same as your fretted A string Adjust the D string as necessary to achieve perfect tone
Step 4: Tune G string
Press down on the 5th fret on your D string Play the D string together with your open G string You want the G string to sound exactly like your fretted D string Adjust the G string as necessary to achieve perfect tone
Step 5: Tune B String
Press down on the 4th fret on the G string Play the G string along with your open B string You want the B string to sound the same as your fretted G string Adjust the B string as needed to achieve perfect tone
Step 6: Tune high E String
Press down on the 5th fret on your B string Play the B string with your open E string You want the E string to sound exactly like your fretted B string Adjust the E string as needed to achieve perfect tone
- Use the tuning knobs at the top of your guitar to adjust string tone
- Turn knobs slowly while striking the strings you are currently tuning
- Use harmonics to check your tuning. The harmonic on your low E string at the 5th fret should match the harmonic of the A string at the 7th fret, and so on.
by Manuel Marino | Guitar
So, you’ve decided that you want to learn to play the guitar! However, it may seem quite intimidating at first. Gazing at the guitar, you might not have a clue what to do with it! Now is the time to cast aside your fears and pursue your dream of becoming a guitarist.
The first step is to determine your motivation for wanting to learn the guitar. Identifying your goals will help you remain committed to them. Many people express an interest in playing the guitar but never actually follow through or quickly give up and move on to something else. Understanding your reasons for wanting to play the guitar will help you stay focused and improve as a player.
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to think about acquiring the necessary equipment. You’ll need some guidance, as there is a wide variety of guitars to choose from. However, don’t let the options overwhelm you. A simple acoustic guitar is all you need to get started. Additional tools like an electronic tuner can be immensely helpful.
Of course, after obtaining your equipment, you’ll need to take lessons to learn how to play. Many people hesitate at this thought, as hiring a private instructor can be quite expensive. While there may be classes in your area, they can also be costly, and you might not have the time to travel to and from them consistently. For many, a better approach is self-teaching, which can be easier said than done—unless you have the right course.
A common mistake is to pick up a basic book on guitar playing or a single instructional video and expect to become proficient immediately. It takes more than that! Fortunately, there are many excellent online guitar tutoring options that could work well for you.
The reason online guitar learning is so effective is that it incorporates various learning modalities. You can read materials, watch videos, and listen to audio recordings. Additionally, interactive software helps ensure the information sinks in. It’s also worth noting that the best online courses won’t cost you a fortune. They are comprehensive and can quickly propel you into the world of becoming a skilled and accomplished guitarist.