Monday, August 29, 2005

Fender Guitars: Tradition that Never Gets Old

By: Peter Lenkefi

Without a doubt, Fender guitars are the top-of-the-line in
guitars. Success in business is often measured according to the
amount of money and sales a company is able to secure. The
success of the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation proves
there are two other elements to consider: dedication and
perseverance. From the beginning, it was company owner Leo
Fender's main goal to fender guitars the best as possible. The
first fruits of his labor would prove positive his dedication He
would reach his goal by designing the Telecaster, a solid-body
electric guitar with a Spanish design. This guitar, like many
Fender guitars that would follow, was the first of its kind.
Only a few years after gaining fame with the Telecaster, Fender
followed with the Precision Bass and Stratocaster. These Fender
guitars are now collector's items.

Shortly after the success of their pioneering guitars, the
company switched management gears and was sold to CBS due to Leo
Fender failing ill. For the decade that followed, the company
would reach the pinnacle of success by riding on the coattails
of their successful Fender guitars. Luckily, CBS returned to its
broadcasting ventures and sold the company to employees who
basically rebuilt the company from the ground up. Slowly and
with assurance the company rebuilt its reputation in the
amplifier and guitar industry. They also continued the company's
dedication to customize guitars.

The Fender guitars that put the manufacturer on the map were the
Telecaster and the Stratocaster. These two electric guitars
proved that the company knew how to make great sound. Anytime a
musician looks for a guitar, the quality they most often search
for is sound.

When Leo Fender first considered joining the guitar industry, he
was actually a designer of amplifiers. When people think of
Fender guitars they often think of electric guitars. The Fender
Musical Instruments Corporation also produces a good stock of
reputable acoustic guitars. To show their versatility, the
company also created a selection of acoustic-electric and bass

Reviewing Fender Guitars

The old saying that, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" probably
applies to how Eric Clapton became associated with the Fender
company. For many years the guitar legend Eric Clapton was a die
hard Gibson guitar fan. That was until the company discontinued
his favorite Gibson guitar. Clapton finally discovered love in
the land of Fender guitars. Out of his collaborations with the
company arose the introduction of the Clapton Signature Strat
guitars. Clapton has not turned back since. The following are
the unique features of this line of guitars:

* Noiseless Pickups that are trademarked * Tremolo bridge * Neck
shaped in the form of a "V"

Nowadays, there are very few things that last 50 years. However,
the American Telecaster has done just that. It was 50 years ago
that Fender introduced the American Telecaster into its line of
electric guitars. The Telecaster has managed to stand time
because it has adapted with it as opposed to standing still. The
following features exist on the most recent edition of the
American Telecaster:

* Signature S-1 switching system * Complementing pickups *
Traditional body radius

About the author:
For more more information about Fender guitars please visit

Thursday, August 25, 2005

3 Quick & Easy Steps To Playing Music by Ear

By: Duane Shinn

Playing by ear is the ability to play a piece of music (or,
eventually, learn an instrument) by simply listening to it
repeatedly. The majority of self-taught musicians began their
education this way; they picked up their instrument and began
playing an easy melody from a well-known song, slowly picking
out the notes as they went along. And even after these musicians
master their instruments or a particular song, playing by ear
still plays a large role. Many pop and rock bands don't play or
write their songs based on sheet music, they figure the songs
out by playing by ear. It's even common among non-musicians.
Ever sit down a piano and mindlessly pick out the tune to "Mary
Had a Little Lamb"? What about grabbing a guitar and suddenly
finding yourself playing the opening licks to "Smoke on the
Water"? That's playing by ear. You're able to play part of the
song just because you've heard it so often.

Since music is basically composed of 3 elements - melody,
rhythm, and harmony, it is logical that there are also 3 basic
steps to learning to play music by ear:

1.Charting the contour of the melody. Tunes move higher and
lower - up and down - as the song progresses. Being aware of
that movement is the first step. Once you mentally define the
parameters of the melody, you can then begin to hone in on
picking it out on your instrument. As an example, think of "Joy
To The World". We've all sung it a zillion times, but have you
ever noticed that the melody moves down exactly 8 steps (an
octave), then gradually moves back up in increments, then
repeats the down movement, etc. The entire melody is contained
within those 8 notes, so you now know the parameters of the song
and can begin to pick out the melody intelligently.

2.Harmonizing the melody with matching chords. The second
element of music is harmony, and you can harmonize any melody
just by matching the supporting chords to that melody. For
example, if the melody is a "G", you can harmonize that melody
by using a chord with G in it, such as the G chord (G, B, D),
the C chord (C, E, G), or the Em chord (E, G, B), or the Eb
chord (Eb, G, Bb) and so forth. By using your ear to guide you,
you can learn to harmonize the melody of most any song using
matching chords.

3.Using an appropriate rhythm that matches the feel of the song.
This is usually the easiest part, since most people "feel" the
beat and don't have to do any mental gymnastics to come up with
an appropriate rhythm for a song. But for those of us that might
be "rhythmically challenged", just by knowing that there are
basically two meters available - duple meter and triple meter --
that can be combined in infinite combinations, we can give the
song either a "3" feeling (like a waltz or a jazz waltz) or a
"4" feeling (like swing or a march or a ballad).

Playing by ear is a valuable technique for many musicians;
learning songs based solely on hearing them is a great way to
understand song and chord structure. In fact, a great number of
rock and pop musicians learned to play their instruments this
way. Instead of picking up a book or taking lessons, they
concentrated on figuring out the notes and rhythms to a song
until it was mastered. Then they moved on to another song. And

Gradually, they learned their instrument just by playing by ear
-- and in the process learned how to effectively structure a
song in that particular genre. Playing by ear is also beneficial
in helping a musician develop his or her own style; sure,
they'll at first mimic the style of the song they're imitating,
but the amalgamation of the music that they're playing by ear
will help them create something distinctive, something
indicative of them only.

About the author:
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music courses for adults.
His book-CD-DVD course titled "How To Play Piano By Ear Using
Chords!" at has sold over 30,000
copies around the world. He is the author of the popular free
101-week online e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of
Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" available

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How to Buy an Electric Guitar Online

By: George Nellas

With the increased proliferation of online guitar and musical
equipment stores, as well as the lower prices and greater
selection that these stores generally offer, most people are now
turning to the internet to help them make their guitar
purchases. Shopping online is simpler and more convenient than
shopping in a store and, since all major guitar manufacturers
have good websites, product information and specs are more
easily accessible online than they are simply by asking a
salesperson in a store.

The only downside to shopping online is pretty easy to figure
out: there's no physical contact with the instrument. Think
about it, when you're shopping for a new car, you can get in,
look around and take it for a test drive. With shopping for a
guitar online, that's not generally possible. This means that
you have to educate yourself a bit more about what you're trying
to purchase before you actually take the plunge.

Not all guitars are created equal. Although, with the
improvement in manufacturing processes and technologies,
purchasing a "bad" guitar for more than $250 is difficult to do
these days. Talk to your fellow musicians, either in person or
on an online community or "blog" and see what different people
have to say about the instruments they've played. Many online
stores allow their users to rate their products so, along with
the general information about the guitar, you can also find out
what people who bought the guitar thought of it, and why.

Research what your favorite guitarists play. Not only in terms
of brands, but in the configuration of the guitar itself: was
that fantastic solo played with a single-coil or a humbucking
pickup; why do country guitarists typically use Telecaster-style
guitars? In answering these questions, you will better educate
yourself about what type of guitar you are most interested in.
Don't forget, if you buy something online that you aren't
satisfied with, almost all online stores have a 30 to 45 day no
fault return policy.

About the author:
If you don't know where to begin shopping, check out www.guitar-4
. They have the best selections from all the major
manufacturers, as well as detailed information about the
manufacturers as well as all the products they offer. Happy

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Guitar tuning guide: How to tune a guitar

By: Mantius Cazaubon

Many beginning guitarists struggle when it comes to tuning the
guitar. It's a major stumbling block for them. Some end up
quitting altogether because every time they start to play what
comes out doesn't sound right. A beginner should understand that
guitar tuning is something you get better at with practice. Ear
development takes time.

A beginner should practice tuning the guitar so that he can
become better and better at it. Your friends won't be around all
the time to tune your guitar for you.

How does one tune the guitar?

Well firstly, here's the standard tuning of a six string guitar:

6th string: E 5th string: A 4th string: D 3rd string: G 2nd
string: B 1st string: E

The first string being the thinnest, and the sixth string the

Relative tuning: tuning an electric guitar by ear.

Let's assume that your 6th string is already in tune (an E
note). You can tune your 6th string by using another guitar that
is in tune, a tuning fork, a piano, an electronic tuner or even
a midi file on your computer. Then, all you have to do is match
notes on the adjacent strings.

Play the 6th string at the 5th fret. It should match the tone of
the 5th string open.

Play the 5th string at the 5th fret. It should match the tone of
the 4th string open.

Play the 4th string at the 5th fret. It should match the tone of
the 3rd string open.

Play the 3rd string at the 4th fret. It should match the tone of
the 2nd string open.

Play the 2nd string at the 5th fret. It should match the tone of
the 1st string open.

You can also tune your guitar by octaves.

An octave is the interval between two notes with the same name.
In the scale: C D E F G A B C, the two C's are one octave apart.

Play the 6th string open. It should be one octave apart with the
5th string at the 7th fret.

Play the 5th string open. It should be one octave apart with the
4th string at the 7th fret.

Play the 4th string open. It should be one octave apart with 3rd
string at the 7th fret.

Play the 3rd string open. It should be one octave apart with the
2nd string at the 8th fret.

Play the 2nd string open. It should be one octave apart with the
1st string at the 7th fret.

When your ear is sufficiently developed you should be able to
tune your guitar by using chords. Just play a chord and tune the
strings so the chord sounds right.

Learning to tune the guitar is very important. A must! But it is
so much more convenient, faster, and more accurate to make use
of a guitar tuner. Particularly in live situations and noisy
environments. You will find an electronic tuner for 10-50 bucks
online easily. You can order one today.

About the author:
Mantius Cazaubon offers a buying guide to help you choose an
electric guitar that meets your needs on his site, Visit Electric Guitars for electric guitar lessons,
tips, and reviews.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

High Speed Guitar Playing

Here's a good article with tips on how to develop guitar speed.

"Golden" exercise for the right hand.

By: Yuri Nikitin

This lesson can open for you a secret of high-speed guitar
. If take the given technique for 2-3 weeks you'll feel
progress in high-speed playing of complex passages. The given
principle of development of techniques "was tested" not by one
generation of guitarists and not only guitarists...

In this lesson we shall concern high-speed technics. Skilled
guitarists alredy know that the basic brake in development of
guitar high-speed technics is the right hand. Therefore when
playing the most ultra-high-speed passages for simplification
guitarists play legato (i.e. the right hand does not take some
notes, it is done with fingers of the left hand by receptions
pull-off, hammer-on).

How to achieve speed?

For this purpose it is necessary for guitarist to develop
technics of the right hand - fast alternation of pick stroke
upwards-downwards (a variable stroke). The more quickly the
right hand will make alternating strokes, the quicker the
playing will be.

It is necessary to begin from the most usual tremolo (fast
recurrence of one note). Triplets are the most effective way of
learning to play a tremolo. Try to begin each of your lessons
with a tremolo. It develops (and well warms up) the right hand.
The tremolo notes must sound dynamically equal (all sounding
notes of equal loudness) and with equal tempo.

For example, you wish to learn a high-speed passage. I offer the
following simple blues phrase in "A" as an example:


First you need to learn in slow tempo and in convenient key with
rational pick strokes. After you've done it, play a tremolo of
each note, i.e. each note in a passage it is necessary to take
three times (if it is the eighth) like this:


The tremolo should be loud (a silent tremolo does not make
effect). Play thus 10 - 15 minutes (with small breaks) up to
feeling of weariness in your right hand. The weariness speaks
that muscles work as they must do. In my experience each student
playing given technique, develops his own nuances. The right
hand as though itself finds the most convenient position while
playing, - it is only necessary " to force it to work". When you
are good at playing this passage with tremolo, try to play it in
the original.

I often hear a question: " How many it is necessary to be
engaged so that to come to high speed?" - It's individually. For
someone it's necessary 2 hours, for another 2 days, and for
someone it is not necessary at all (i'm kidding :-). Here
introspection is necessary, that is you should feel improvement
of technics. Clearly one, that the most effective way - "gold"
exercise for the right hand.

Play your own passages by this principle, solos,
improvizations, rock, jazz and blues phrases... If you have
great patience, you will see huge advantage of this technique
and feel the results. If you do not see any result most likely
you were engaged either incorrectly or insufficiently long.
Though it is possible to play legato or tapping, but it sounds
less brightly and energetically.

About the author:
Yuri Nikitin - guitar instructor, music writer and webmaster.

He recommends Jamorama for the ultimate guitar learning experience.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tips on buying guitars

By: Mantius Cazaubon

There are so many guitar models on the market today. So many
types including electric, acoustic, acoustic electric, nylon
string, and steel string guitars. How does one make a selection?
Here are a few tips to help you choose one that meets your needs.

1. It depends on how much you can afford.

With such a wealth of guitars available, a working person
shouldn't have a problem finding one that fits their budget. But
this doesn't mean that you should settle for anything. As the
old adage goes, you usually get what you pay for. Usually the
more money you invest, the greater the returns. You're going to
be spending a lot of time practicing so choose an instrument
that you can enjoy. An instrument that you can look forward to

2. What style of music will you be playing?

The style of music to be played should influence your choice of
guitar. For instance if you plan on playing rock you should buy
an electric guitar, since Rock music is better suited to be
played on that type of guitar. If Jazz and blues is your thing
you may prefer a semi-acoustic guitar from the start. An
acoustic nylon string guitar may be better suited to classical
music and smooth Jazz.

3. Child or adult.

Are you a parent looking to buy a guitar for your child?
Consider buying a 1/2 size or 3/4 size guitar. Your child
doesn't have the reach that an adult has, so these smaller
guitars are better suited. Regular size guitars will be more
difficult to play and can cause a lack of interest.

You may also want to look into buying an electric guitar for
your child if you can afford it. They have a small neck and very
light thin strings and are therefore easier to play. If money is
an issue a second hand electric guitar may be the answer.

4. Wood type and its relation to tone.

Although there are no rules for choosing guitar woods, there is
a guide that you can follow. Generally, darker woods produce a
brighter tone while darker woods produces a deeper, richer tone.
Medium tone wood like mahogany produce a very even smooth sound
spectrum. You should compare various wood colors. The best thing
to do is to listen to the tones that a guitar produces before

5. Pay attention to the guitar's features.

Your guitar must have certain important features. Don't simply
focus on looks.

For example, your guitar should have die-cast machine heads (or
tuning gears). With this feature, you will be able to tune your
instrument more accurately and your guitar will stay in tune

A solid top is also very important. A solid top usually consists
of 2 solid matched pieces glued together side by side. This is
of better quality than a laminated top where various woods are
glued together on top of each other. With a solid top the
guitar's tone will be more even and accurate and you can expect
a sustaining vibration throughout the guitar's body.

6. Buy a guitar that feels good to you.

You're the one who will be playing that guitar. So you'd better
buy one that feels comfortable to you, whether you're sitting or
standing. For instance, if the strings are too far from the
fretboard, playing will be difficult. An expensive guitar that
is not comfortable is a waste. Spend time with the guitar before

7. The bottom line is sound.

If it sounds good, buy it. No two guitars can ever be the same.
It's never about looks. It's about the sound that is generated
through the use of the right type of wood and through superior

You should be able to find a guitar easily online. You can order
one that suits your needs today. Some of the best guitar prices
can be found on the Internet. You even get free shipping to your

About the author:
Mantius Cazaubon offers a buying guide to help you choose an
electric guitar that meets your needs on his site Visit Electric Guitars for electric guitar lessons,
tips, and reviews.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Electric , Classical , Acoustic - Which Guitar Is Best For You?

By:David Arnold Livingston

No one could really pinpoint the exact year as to when
the guitar was created. The lute, harp and lyre are
the three stringed instruments from which guitars
evolved. The features of guitars vary for each musical
period. The guitar is one of the most popular musical
instruments today to bring out soothing music or to
perk up one's energy level. Bands and gigs will not be
complete without guitars. Guitars are also used as a
means to free hidden and unexpressed feelings and
emotions or it can as well be a medium to spend time
meaningfully together with loved ones and peers.

There are various types of guitars that can suit the
intended purpose of the user such as the twelve strings
guitars, six strings, classical guitars and electric
guitars. Twelve strings made up the twelve strings
guitar to achieve a rich tone compared with the
standard six string guitars. The courses of strings
are played together though the sound produced are
different from the other. On the bass course are two
strings tuned an octave apart and on the treble courses
are the other pairs of strings that are tuned together.
The third string in the third course can be tuned by
using unison strings or the distinct high-pitched
octave guitars strings. The style of standard six
string guitars can allow the user to have easy contact
on the higher frets on the finger board. This type
needs an access on the frets to produce the desired
sounds and effects.

Classical guitars of the olden days have cat gut which
later on developed into nylon strings. These types of
guitars have a flat fingerboard and wide neck. Other
guitars experts suggest that classical guitars are the
best types for beginners since it has greater string
gauge and lighter string tension but still the decision
is on the buyer since the classic guitar may not suit
their preferences and style. Classic songs and music
are best played using classical guitars.

Electric guitars are made up of different materials and
use various components to produce the needed sound.
Alder, Mahogany, Walnut, Maple and Ash are the commonly
used types for the body of electric guitars. The woods
and the construction, the types of strings, quality of
components used, length of cables and the overall
condition of the environment determine the quality of
the sound produced. Electric guitars are used in
various forms and styles of music may it be pop,
country, rock and roll, jazz or blues.

In buying guitars, the user must make sure that the
chosen guitar will match his budget, playing style and
skills. An electric guitar is easier to play compared
with an acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars can produce
audible sounds without using amplifiers. It makes use
of either the nylon or wound steel rings. There are
also acoustic and electric guitars that can be played
with the presence or absence of an amplifier.

Package deals are at times offered for beginners which
may include a guitar together with other options like a
tuner, pics, strap and case. The soundboard of the
guitars must be carefully inspected to determine the
type of sound produced. Producers of good quality
guitars are usually the well-known companies in the
industry like Taylor, Gibson, Yamaha, Fender, Ovation,
Martin and Ibanez. There are wide selections of style
and design to choose from to match the buyer's
distinctness and uniqueness.

About the Author

David Arnold Livingston is a music lover and enjoys guitars.
for lots of great information about guitars.

Monday, August 08, 2005


By: Kathy Unruh

Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be a little
scary at first, but if you are well prepared, you will find the
experience much easier to handle. Whether you're playing with a
band, or by yourself; are a seasoned performer, or a rookie;
there are several things you can do to make the most of your
performance. First and foremost, realize that you are not the
first one on the block to ever feel jittery about playing your
guitar in public. It's a common experience among musicians, and
being a little nervous can even work in your favor.

There is always a mysterious struggle that goes on inside me
when I'm about to give a performance. I think it's something
akin to the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde phenomenon. Two voices
bantering for my attention, the good guy and the bad guy. Mr.
Hyde tells me that I must be out of my mind. What makes me think
I'm good enough to get up on a stage and play my guitar before
an audience? Who do I think I am anyway? On the other hand, Dr.
Jekyl tells me that I've worked hard practicing my guitar and
know the material well. It will be fun to share what I've got
with others so they can enjoy hearing it too. Be brave, live
life to the fullest and go for it!

Because I am basically a shy person, it would be much easier for
me not to play my guitar in public. But there is a
certain drive, almost a need I have, to express myself through
music; especially with regard to playing my own material. Yes,
there is a certain risk involved; it's called being vulnerable.
Anything could happen... A string could break (been there), you
might forget the words or chords to the song (been there), you
might make a mistake and have to start over (been there too).
But no matter what happens, the world will go on and you will
discover that people are very supportive and encouraging
overall. I'm always amazed when I get positive feedback over a
performance that I thought was absolutely awful. It provides me
with more incentive to continue on.

So how can you make the most of your guitar performance? Below
I've put together several suggestions for you to consider. They
are in no particular order of importance. Some may be relevant
to you at certain times and irrelevant at others. Just take what
you need and ignore the rest.

1. Develop a repertoire (song list) of approximately ten to
twelve songs and memorize them.

2. Make sure you select songs with different tempos and rhythms
for your performance in order to create and sustain interest
from your audience.

3. Pick songs with varying degrees of difficulty, but don't
overestimate yourself. Be realistic about your own ability. You
want to pick songs that you enjoy and are able to play well on
your guitar when no one is watching. If you find that you are
constantly making mistakes in a particular song, give yourself
more time to get it down before actually performing it in

4. Practice playing with distractions. You will be amazed at how
beneficial this can be. I remember playing at an outdoor concert
once where the band that was to follow mine was warming up right
behind us! Tamborines and all. One of the bandmembers actually
started asking me questions about my guitar performance and
wanted to know how I learned to play like that! It was very
weird, but all I could do was ignore her. After that experience
and a few others like it, I began practicing my repertoire with
the T.V. and radio turned up pretty loud to mimic such

5. Start your performance off with something that you find easy
to play on the guitar and graduate to the more difficult pieces
later. This will help you to warm up your fingers and get
comfortable with being on stage. I usually like to start with a
strong, upbeat song in order to gain the attention of the
audience and rid my stomach of butterflys.

6. Get a good night's sleep the night before your performance if
at all possible. That will help keep you fresh and alert and
also reduce your level of anxiety.

7. Avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.

8. Have all your clothes, equipment, contact information and
directions ready the night before.

9. Always have extra strings, pics and guitar batteries, etc. in
your gig bag.

10. Relax, take a deep breath and try to enjoy yourself. After
all, it's just another part of the learning process and
tomorrow's a brand new day!

About the author:

Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC
Learn Guitar.
She has been writing songs and providing
guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For
free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting,
recording and creating a music career, please visit:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gibson Les Paul Standard

The Gibson Les Paul Standard now comes with the Burstbucker V pickup. This increases the output to add another dimension the the Les Paul.
Here's the specs:

Body: Carved AA maple top, Mahogany back

Neck: Mahogany

Profile: "Fat" 50's style

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Frets: 22

Inlay: Pearl trapezoid

Scale: 24-3/4 in.

Nut Width: 1-11/16 in.

Binding: Single-ply top and fingerboard

Bridge: Tune-o-matic

Tailpiece: Stop bar

Hardware: Nickel

Pickups: New Burstbucker V pickups with Alnico magnets

Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way switch

Strings: Les Paul Signature .009-.046

Check it out: Gibson Les Paul Standard

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gibson SG Standard

The Gibson SG Standard gives you that full rich hard rock sound that everybody loves.
Here's the specs:

Body: Mahogany

Neck/Profile: Mahogany/Rounded

Fingerboard/Inlay: Rosewood/Trapezoid

Scale/Nut Width: 24-3/4"/1-11/16"

Binding: Fingerboard

Bridge/Tailpiece: Tune-o-matic/Stopbar

Hardware: Chrome

Pickups: 490R Alnico magnet humbucker, 498T Alnico magnet humbucker

Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way switch

Strings: Brite Wires .009-.042

Check out more reviews and best prices here:Gibson SG