Saturday, April 29, 2006

Know Your Guitar Parts

By: Ian Williamson

Guitars have been used with so much diversity in many musical
forms. The instrument is known by many as a classical solo
instrument and the basic musical instrument in rock music.

Get acquainted with this magnificent instrument; know its parts:

1. Headstock. This is found at the edge of the guitar's neck. It
is tailored with the instrument's head for adjusting the pitch.

2. Tuners. The tuners keep the strings of the guitar stretched
beginning at the base down to the knobs. Tuners likewise allow
the guitar player to alter or modify the pitch either flat or
sharp, depending on the player's choice of music.

3. Nut. This is a tiny strip of hard medium or material which
supports the strings at the intersection where the "headstock"
meets up with the "fret board". The strips can be made of
plastic, bone, graphite, brass or any hard medium and indented
to secure the stings in position. The nut acts as one of several
endpoints assisting the tension of the string.

4. Fret board. Also known as the fingerboard, it is a lengthy
wood plank inserted with frets of metal that composes the top of
the guitar's neck.

The fret board of a classical guitar is flat and is a little
curved diagonally on an electric or acoustic guitar. The curve
is calculated by the radius of the fret board that is the range
of a "hypothetical circle" and which the surface of the fret
board makes up a segment.

The smaller the radius of the fret board, the more that the
curve is evident. When a string is pinched against the board,
the string's "vibrating length" is shortened thus creating a
higher pitch sound or tone.

5. Frets. These are strips made of metal, particularly nickel
alloy set in alongside the fret board that are positioned in
conjunction with the string's length that mathematically divides

When the strings are pushed down from the rear of the frets,
this cuts the string's length of vibration to emit different
tones or pitches.

6. Neck. The neck is composed of the guitar's fret board, frets,
tuners, truss rod and headstock; all are fastened to a long
extension made of wood. Usually, the wood that is used for the
fret board will be of a different kind from that used on the
remaining neck parts.

The firmness or stiffness of the guitar's neck in accordance to
its body is one determining factor of whether it is of good
quality or not.

7. Body. The acoustic guitar's body is an echoing cavity
projecting the vibrations through the guitar's sound hole which
enables the audio of the instrument to be clearly heard even
with no amplification.

In acoustic guitars, its body is a big determining factor in the
overall sound it produces. The soundboard or guitar top is a
delicately engineered and crafted component that is usually made
out of red cedar, spruce or mahogany.

This very thin slice of wood, generally measuring only 2 - 3 mm
thick, supported by different kinds of internal brackets, is the
most pronounced and important element in influencing sound

Most of the sound is brought about by the guitar's top vibration
as the momentum of the vibrating cords are transmitted to it.

8. Pickups. This is what really amplifies the cords sound. Most
guitars have one to a maximum of three pickups. The kind of
pickup is reasonably important, depending on a particular sound
that you are aspiring for.

9. Pickguard. Commonly called the scratch plate, is a plastic
guard or any laminated medium which protects the guitar's top

The pickups as well as almost all electronics in other electric
guitars are framed and inserted atop the "pickguard". On
"acoustic guitars" and several "electric guitars", the pickguard
is directly inserted to the top of the guitar, and on guitars
having carved tops; the "pickguard" is raised.

10. Bridge. On acoustic guitars, the key objective of the
guitar's bridge is to hand over or shift the string's vibration
to the "soundboard", which then shudders the air within the
guitar; thus increasing and strengthening the sound created by
the cords or strings.

Go ahead, explore the parts of your guitar to better acquaint
yourself with this wonderful instrument; test it too and see
where it will take you. Enjoy!

About the author:
For More Information on href="">Guitars by Ian
Williamson please visit

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Buying a Second Hand Guitar

By: Max Cane

If you are on a budget, but still want to buy a decent guitar,
you should look into purchasing a used guitar. For little money
you can buy a quality guitar that will be able to suit all of
your needs.

Used Fender basses or used Fender Stratocaster guitars can be
had for relatively cheap compared with buying a new one. This is
the route that a lot of people go when they are looking for
their first guitar. The best place to find a used guitar is at a
music store that is specialized in selling second hand
equipment. If you can't find a store like this in your area, you
may also want to search the internet. There are hundreds of
online stores that sell used instruments.

Used, cheap electric guitars are also a top seller. Brands like
Ibanez, Squier or Epiphone can be found for very little money.
Used Gibson guitars or a second hand Fender Stratocaster will
cost you probably more, but will still save you a lot of money.
In return you will get a top quality guitar which will last you
a very, very long time!

You may also be able to find used guitars at a flea market or
garage sale. The best way to go about doing this is find a large
flea market in your area, and frequent it as often as possible.
You will eventually come across what you are looking for.

Many people have also turned to eBay in order to find a second
hand guitar. EBay offers hundreds of guitars that you can bid
on. The best thing about using this service is that you can keep
an eye on each listing, and only purchase what you can afford.

A used guitar can be a great buy for anybody that is just
learning, or anybody who simply wants a new guitar. In most
cases you can buy a second hand guitar for half the price it
would cost you when buying it brand new. Ok it probably will
have some scratches on it, but the quality and the sound of the
instrument will still remain the same and that's what counts!

If you know where to look, and stay persistent you should not
have any problems at all finding a guitar that suits your needs.
Remember, stay patient until you find the guitar that suits your
needs and fits your budget.

About the author:
For more information and tips about buying second hand guitars
or other used music equipment please visit, the
complete guide for anything you want to know about guitars and
related gear.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The History of The Electric Guitar

The History of The Electric Guitar: How Music Was Changed Forever

By: Bob Martin

In The Beginning

The guitar's soft melodic tone made it difficult for people to
hear it when being played alongside other instruments. So during
the 1930's an inventive individual decided to change that and
invented the first electric guitar. Little did he know, or have
imagined way back then how the invention of the electric guitar
would significantly affect the course of 20th century music.

Like most new things, the electric guitar had its critics but it
quickly won people over because of its ability to allow
musicians to play much more creatively and express their own
individual styles.

The First Pickup

In 1924 an inventive engineer working for the Gibson guitar
company named Lloyd Loar, designed the first magnetic pickup.
Using a magnet, he converted guitar string vibrations into
electrical signals, which then were amplified through a speaker
system. This first pickup was crude, but it was a great

The First Electric Guitar

In 1931 the Electro String Company was founded by Paul Barth,
George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker, and developed the
first electric guitars marketed to the general public. They made
their guitars from cast aluminum and were played on a person's
lap using a steel slide much like today's steel guitar. Because
of their unusual material, they were affectionately called
"Frying Pans."

The early success of the frying pans prompted the Gibson guitar
company to build their first electric guitar, the ES-150 which
is a legend today.

The First Solid-Body Electric Guitar

Electric guitars were quickly becoming popular, even though
there was a major problem with their construction. Their bodies
would vibrate due to the amplified sounds coming through the
speakers they were played into, causing what we know as
feed-back. The obvious remedy was to build a guitar made with a
solid body which wouldn't vibrate so easily.

As with most innovations, there is controversy over who invented
the first solid -body electric guitar. Guitar legend Les Paul in
the 1940's developed his affectionately called "The Log"
solid-body guitar by attaching a Gibson neck to a solid piece of
wood...a railroad tie, hence the name "Log."

Around this same time, guitarist Merle Travis and engineer Paul
Bigsby developed a solid-body electric guitar that resembled the
solid-body guitars that we're so familiar with today.

The First Mass Produced Electric Guitar

Leo Fender in 1950 was the first to mass produce an electric
guitar which was originally called the Fender Broadcaster. This
guitar was quickly re-named to the infamous Telecaster because
the name "Broadcaster" was already being used by another
company. Leo followed this up in 1954 with the most renowned
guitar of all time...the Stratocaster.

Leo's success led other guitar manufacturers into developing
their own mass-produced electric guitars. Most notable was the
teaming-up of the Gibson guitar company with Les Paul to create
the famous Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.

More Affordable Electric Guitars

During the 1960's and 1970's famous brand name electric guitars
were too expensive for the average person to buy. Less pricey
imitations quickly came to market but they were sub-standard in
sound and playability. The Japanese, in the 1980's started
manufacturing electric guitars of similar quality to the more
expensive American made models, but with much more affordable
pricing. This prompted Fender and other leading guitar
manufacturers into producing less expensive versions of their
classic models. This resulted in electric guitars now being more
affordable and accessible to more people.

Today, the Gibson and Fender guitar companies are still
producing some of the most well-known and best made electric
guitars on the market. But it's getting crowded with other high
quality brands such as BC Rich, ESP and Peavey. Innovative
designs, shapes and materials are being incorporated with new
technologies to produce better sounding electric guitars.

Modern guitars have built-in software allowing them to sound
like other types of guitars. Some are even fitted with pickups
that synthesize the sound of different instruments or record the
notes in musical notation.

The electric guitar has come a long way with an interesting and
inventive past and many in the industry say it has an even
brighter future.

About the author:
Bob Martin says don't buy a new electric guitar
until you take a serious look at this today.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vintage Guitars From Gibson

By: Max Cane

Vintage Guitars from Gibson

Vintage Gibson acoustic guitars are very popular in the music
industry even though better designs have come along and replaced
them. These guitars still have their place in the industry
because of the unique sound that they emit, and their top notch
build quality and durability.

Vintage Gibson acoustic guitars have always been, and will
always be among the favorites of both musicians and collectors
world wide. The first Gibson acoustic guitars came out around
1900, and they have been going strong ever since. Even the early
models were known to be the best in the industry. The great
thing about the Gibson name is that they constantly reinvent
themselves, but never seem to fall off the map. Regardless of
what they do, or how they design their next guitar, Gibson is
always the one setting the trend.

The age of Gibson guitar models are very important when you are
trying to figure out information on it. The age is very
important because over the past 100 years Gibson has
manufactured hundreds of different guitars. A lot of them sound
and look alike, but are actually very different. If you are
interested in learning more about the age of you guitar you will
need to speak with a professional. They will be able to find the
model number, and then translate it into years for you.

Overall, Gibson acoustic guitars have carved out their spot in
the music industry for now, and for the rest of time. Their
early models are very popular, and the models that they come out
with today also sell very well. If you are in need of a guitar
of high quality and great sound you will want to look into
buying a Gibson. Whether you buy new or used, you will surely be
satisfied with your new guitar.

About the author:
For more information about Gibson Vintage Guitars please visit, the
complete guide for anything you want to know about guitars and
related gear.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

First Guitar Lesson - Taking Care of Your Instrument

By: Sanjay Johari

Taking care of your instrument is not only the first guitar
lesson - it should become a regular habit for beginners and
experts alike. Apart from ensuring longer life and consistent
sound quality, by this practice you also grow a sense of respect
for your guitar, an affinity and a bond with the instrument. You
come to "know" your guitar better. On the other hand if you tend
to neglect your guitar eventually its quality of sound will
suffer. The sound quality is as important as the skill of the

You may like to consider using a hard shell case for
transporting your guitar. The hard case holds the guitar
cushioned securely in place so that the instrument does not get
bumps and jerks in handling. This not only protects the body of
the guitar, it also keeps the guitar tuned for a longer time.

Many people use soft or cloth "gig bag" which can be zipped up.
Although such bags protect the instrument from dust, they do not
provide mechanical strength to protect the guitar from possible
physical damage. These bags do not even protect the tuning nuts
which turn during handling and the guitar gets out of tune. To
avoid such problems hard shell case of proper size should be
used. The hard cases are designed to take the impact while
holding the guitar safely, protecting body and neck of the
guitar and keeping it in tune.

Another important accessory is a guitar stand. When you are not
playing the guitar you should keep it on a guitar stand. It is
not a good practice to lean the guitar against the wall. This
can warp the neck of the guitar in due course. The warping will
increase the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.
This will in turn not only affect the quality of sound, you will
need to apply more force to play the instrument. Your level of
performance will be affected. To avoid such problems the guitar
should be placed on a stand or a level surface. It is good idea
to cover the guitar when not using it. You can keep the guitar
in its hard shell case when not playing it.

The strings exert considerable force on the guitar. There is
enough strength designed in the guitar to withstand this force
without deforming. However, if strings are tightened too much,
it will give additional strain on the guitar. To prevent
over-tightening and also for ease of tuning you can have a
tuning device for your guitar. With the help of this device you
will be able to tune the guitar quickly and accurately.

If you are very serious about protecting your guitar, you should
actually tune down your guitar (loosen the strings) when you are
not playing it. You can again tune-in when you decide to play
next time. I know it will be a botheration to tune the guitar so
many times, but it will provide greater protection.

There are some common sense practices. You need to keep your
guitar clean. While you clean your instrument, you can also
develop a habit of inspecting the body of your guitar and take
action quickly. For example, if any of the strings start rusting
they should be replaced.

The movement of the tuning nuts should be smooth. At the
earliest signs of any jerky movements, the nuts should be set
right by proper maintenance.

Care and maintenance of your instrument is an important guitar
lesson which should be religiously followed. The better you take
care of your guitar, the better output you can expect.

About the author:
Sanjay Johari regularly contributes articles to various ezines.
To see more information on music and guitar lesson please go to
this page :

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Learning The Guitar - Traditional Methods Vs Learning Online

By: Marc Lindsay

What I'd like to discuss today, is whether or not is it, a)
viable, and b) better, to learn how to play the guitar by
methods of learning online.

Obviously learning online has it's huge benefits (less cost,
learn when you want etc.), but the real question is, will it
give you as good, or better of a result then learning through
traditional methods?

Hopefully today I can answer that question.

Learning The Guitar The Traditional Way

So, you've made the decision to learn the guitar, whether that
be because you want to be in a band and rock in front of
thousands of fans, or whether it is just a hobby and you would
like to improve your skills... either way, you'll need to find
someone to teach you.

Traditionally, you would go to a music teacher who would impart
their knowledge onto you, and teach you all the guitar secrets
that they know, and bring you up to speed. Now, to me, there are
some blaring problems with doing this.

Problem #1 - High cost... if you have to pay someone to teach
you how to play the guitar, chances are it is going to cost you
an arm and a leg over the period of time that you are getting
taught... which could be anywhere from 3 months to years. And at
$50 a lesson, it isn't cheap.

Problem #2 - Limited knowledge... now, yes you might be learning
from a teacher, but chances are they also teach the piano, the
flute, the trumpet and so on... what does this mean? It means
they don't have specialized knowledge, which means they won't be
as good as someone who just plays the guitar 8 hours a day.

Problem #3 - Learning speed... you are limited by the number of
classes that you attend, but you are also limited to the program
that your teacher assigns to you. They will have a set program
for their students that they take them through, and usually not
deviating from this program. This means that your learning
progress could be seriously slowed.

Now, with those problems in mind, lets take a look at the other
road, which is to find a program yourself (typically online) and
learning from that.

Learning The Guitar Through An Online Learning Program

These programs are usually written by professionals. They could
be written by ex-lead guitarists of some seriously high class
bands, or teachers that have made a name for themselves in the
industry, and are now trying to release a program to reach a
wider audience via the internet.

Let's look at the problems of going this road.

Problem #1 - Requires self motivation... by effectively taking
on a 'home study course' in how to learn the guitar; it requires
that you are a self starter. Why? Because the person who is
going to push you to learn, is going to be yourself. You don't
have a teacher you can go to who is going to kick your butt if
you have been slacking off, you have to do it yourself. Not
everybody can do this, so if you're not the kind of person who
is a self starter, don't even bother with this kind of course.

Problem #2 - Picking the right course... there are many courses
out there to learn the guitar, so it can be hard trying to find
which ones are good, and which ones are a waste of time. The way
you get around this, is to do your own research, check out
review sites, find out about testimonials and customer reviews.
Find out what consumers think that have already bought the

So there you have it.

It really comes down to this fact, if you're a self starter,
then you'll love getting an online learning program. The pace at
which you will learn will be drastically increased, since you'll
be able to go at your own pace (be that fast or slow).

If you're not really a self starter, but want to learn, then
chances are that you should go find a decent teacher that will
keep you in line.

All I will say is this, do your research on the teacher as
well... have they produced any 'stars'? Have they been a
successful guitarist themselves in their career? Or are they
just teaching as a 'job'?

Enjoy, and good luck with finding the right course or teacher.

About the author:
If you are looking to Learn Guitar or Play Guitar By Ear
will make learning the
guitar easy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Guitar Finger Exercises-Most Players Need Them

By: Colin O'Brien

For starters I am not a writer. I am a guitar player and you
probably are too. So if you moonlight as an English professor
please don't contact me with corrections. That being said let's
talk about finger exercises. For this article when I refer to
finger exercises I am talking about the 2,3, or 4-finger
chromatic type exercise.

It seems like there are two schools of thought when it comes to
finger exercises. One is that they are totally necessary when
learning. In 10 years of teaching guitar I find this to be about
95% true. The students who work hard on this area of their
playing always do better than those who don't.

The other school of thought is that they are totally useless.
For some players who absolutely tear it up on guitar, this is
true. They became amazing players without doing any finger
exercises but for the most part, players need them. I have read
interviews with Yngwie Malmsteen where he mentioned that he
didn't practice this kind of stuff. (Like his playing or not the
guy can throw down with anybody.) There are always exceptions.

Steve Vai has reported to have practiced finger exercises as
much as 3 hours a day. They were that important to him. Robin
Trower is said to have practiced them "religiously" for a year.
I have read articles with B.B.King, Zakk Wylde, Tom Morello and
a boatload of other players who all worked on their technique
using exercises. I personally know jazz players, classical
players, country players and metal players all who completely
tear it up and still work on exercises everyday.

Think about this. How much have you improved as a player over
the last week, month or year? If it's been a lot, great! Keep
doing what you are doing. If you are not where you want to be as
a player, grab a metronome, finger exercise book and your guitar
and spend some time trying these out. You will see results. Go
slow and keep track of your metronome settings. Only increase
the metronome by one or two clicks each day. It may not sound
like a lot but after few months you will have sped up quite a
bit. Also by tracking your progress will keep yourself motivated
because you will be able see your results. This in turn will
make you want to work harder. One of the reasons some people
give up on guitar is because they can't see the results of their
practicing. So make sure to do this.

It's very important to remember that this is only one part of
playing guitar. There are so many other areas to address but if
you aren't happy with your fingers better start here.

Anyway, Thank you for listening.

About the author:
Colin O'Brien is a guitar player, teacher and member of the cko
Music family. He is the author of "Left Hand Red- Finger
Exercises and Practice Techniques
", and "Jam Band