BEGINNER GUITAR REDDIT
Can I study part time?
Essentially, part-time study involves spreading a full-time postgraduate course over a longer period of time. It's usually tailored for those who want to continue working while studying, and usually involves committing an afternoon or an evening each week to attend classes or lectures.
Can online classes tell if you cheat?
Online universities and massive open online courses use a variety of tools to deter students from cheating. The most effective way to catch a cheater includes proctored exams. Through this method, professors can tell whether or not the same student is typing during a test.
Can online education replace traditional education?
While e-learning won't replace traditional classrooms, it will change the way we know them today. With improved resources and reduced teacher workloads, classrooms can shift to co-learning spaces. Students can arrive, learn, engage—all at their own pace in a collaborative environment.
Can I put online courses on my resume?
Yes. It is a good idea to put Relevant completed online courses on your resume, especially if you have a certificate for it. In the Education section, write about your formal education - namely, your Bachelor and Masters degrees.
Reddit reviews: The best guitar books
I've been playing guitar professionally for 15 years. In that time, I've gotten a BMus in classical guitar performance, taught music, accompanied several accomplished musicians on stage and in the studio, and played in bands that have performed festivals / won grants / were written about in nationally distributed newspapers and magazines. I've edited three LPs and six EPs, mixed three records, and have production credits on them all. I've appeared on stage and in the studio ~ 1k times. All my income comes from teaching, playing, and writing.
- Never stop being a student of your craft. Be humble and take every opportunity to learn.
- Play live frequently! I've met many talented musicians who want to reach a large group of people but don't play shows. There is no big secret to breaking through a scene: The more you appear on stage, the more people see you play.
- Professionalism goes a long way. If you're playing a gig for a single person or a thousand people: Respect your crowd. Don't treat a gig like a throwaway ever. Communicate and be engaging no matter the size and demographic. You'll be surprised what one fan can do for you. I once met a guy in a small crowd who had traveled to my city and happened to be there. He liked our set and happened to book shows where he lived; this person became a springboard for us to reach an entirely new market!
- It's important that you're well-rehearsed and sound great, but bar owners care about how you treat the business end of things as well. If you want to succeed: Don't get blackout loaded and forget to do things like man your merch table, give shoutouts to the serving staff, and treat the venue respectfully.
- Network with other bands. We need each other to help an entire scene grow. I've been having songwriting sessions with other bands in my hometown and it's really fun to crossover and rewarding too.
- Learn to sing. I've only ever sang backups but I can hold a tune. This is a very valuable skill, even if you're only singing "Ahhh" in the background. Backup vox can improve a song dramatically.
- Invest in your craft. Sound matters! What's the point in honing all that skill if it's not going to sound great. Be on top of changing trends and know when a deal is a steal. You can grow your backline and not break the bank if you're well-educated. All this takes is time and browsing the internet.
- Be conscious of your crowd. Looks and gear matter. When I get booked to play solo jazz at a corporate cocktail event, I'm not going to show up with a ratty jeans and a flying-V (rad as that would be). And, while those wallflower gigs are kind of boring, I can charge $/hr or more and they don't blink an eye. That amount of money is nothing to them and pays my rent / expenses for a month.
- Teach! All the time. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a person learn to do something they love and know that you helped them get there. At any level, you can become a teacher. Find a person who needs what you know, and share it with them.
- Listen to music. Know what's out there. When you get stuck in a rut as a player, find an entirely new genre. The opportunity to do so, given what the internet is, has never been greater. You can invest in hours of listening at zero cost.
- Transcribe music by ear. Knowing theory and being able to read sheet music is great; but a strong ear is the most valuable thing a musician can have. Contrary to what you might think, this is a skill that can be taught and learned. You might be horrible at it to begin with, but if you frequent Ricci Adam's MusicTheory.net every day, you will improve. I used this to quiz myself during my degree; great tool.
- Know your value and don't be afraid to demand it. Music is a business and you will be your only agent for a long time.
- The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick.
I responded to your post in /r/luthier about buying tools. From what i remember you have access to the school wood shop but for limited amounts of time. I’m going to try and take you through some of the major steps in building a guitar and what tools you could use.
- Dimensioning- taking rough lumber to surfaced. Three options are buying presurfaced, using a jointer and planer, or using hand planes. For this step I would go with buying rough lumber and using the jointer and planer at school to surface the wood to size. Presurface lumber would be my second option. It would save you time but be more expensive. While I love hand planes I feel like for buliding a guitar your money could be better spent elsewhere.
- Laminating- both the body and neck. Wide boards are more expensive so the body you would probably end up laminating. The neck might also be as well depending on your preference. Get some clamps(you’ll need them) and do the glue up on your own. Just make sure you have enough.
- Cutting out the body- options are band saw, router with template, jigsaw, or turning saw. If it were me I would make a template at school then roughly cut out the shape on a band saw at school I would then buy a router and flush trim bit to get the guitar to the exact shape at home. You could do it with just the band saw or jig saw if you are careful. Frame saws are great but will cost more than a jig saw.
- Routing pick-up cavities- like the step suggests a router is best for this. If you get a router make sure it has a plundge base. This is also best done with a template to get exactly what you want. You can do this step with chisels which might be cheaper but as the next step will show you should probably get a router.
- Routing the neck pocket- This step should really be done with a router. It will give you the most precise cut and you dont want to mess up the neck angle because then you will have issues with the action. Chisles could be used but I still don’t trust myself with chisles enough to do that.
- Shaping the neck- here is where hand tools shine. Either spokeshave, rasps or both. finish with sand paper.
- Headstock- it is a bit more difficult to tell tools without knowing if you want a fender style vs gibson. You could do any of the shaping with a coping saw though. For the tuners it would be best to drill the holes with a drill press. Brace and bit could be used if care is taken.
- Shaping the body. There are some options for the body’s edge i.e. round over, binding ect. but if you want any countour for the arm or belly it will be spoke shave and or rasp again.
- Finger board inlay- drill press, hand drill, or brace for round. Chisles for trapezoids
- Fretting- Quality back saw would be your best bet. Making a jig for accuracy would help.
Alright this isn’t a comprehensive list but I’m running out of steam. And some of these are out of order I was too lazy to fix it. As you can see a router would do a lot for you. I know you were thinking of hand tools only but if you could find a way to make the router work it would be the best bang for your buck. I recommend reading this book and figuing out what tools you can buy and use in your situation. There are also look at stuff on Youtube to get ideas.
One important thing is to relax, and especially relax your fretting hand. If you've got the strings in a death claw, it's going to sound bad and you might eventually wind up with carpal tunnel.
Instead of trying to do hammer-ons right away, force yourself to go back to fundamentals. Set the metronome (you must have a metronome) to 40 beats per minute and play one finger per fret. Your fingers should fall immediately behind each fret. Whole notes, half notes, quarters, eighths triplets and 16thsmake sure you're playing in time with the clicks. Try to relax completely and use only the minimum amount of pressure it takes to sound each note without buzzing. The idea behind this exercise is to teach your muscle memory the exact amount of pressure you need to play a given note. Forcing yourself to play slow will give your muscles time to readjust in order to sound the notes accurately. Your fingers, wrists, body posture, etc. should be completely relaxed and comfortable throughout. If you start tensing up or feel pain or burning in your fingers, make yourself relax and loosen up.
Couple other popular hand exercises.
- The Soft Touch. Play exactly as above, only leave your fingers on the frets until each finger is ready to move up to the next string. Example: you play index A on the E string, middle finger A#, ring finger B, pinkie B#, keeping each finger in fret position. Now leaving your mf, ring and pinkie down on those frets, pick up your index and move it to D on the A string. Then pick up your mf and move it to play D#, ring to E, pinkie to F and hold. Then continue up the D and G strings the same way. It might help to start higher up on the neck, like C on the E string. Throughout this exercise, the most important thing is that you relax your hand. There should be no pain, no strain, no bizarre wrist angles. Just smooth, slow, relaxed and locked in to the 40 bpm pulse.
- The Spider. Purpose of this exercise is to learn independent control of index/ring fingers and middle/pinkie fingers. Play A on the E string with your index, then E on the A string with your ring finger. Then A# on the E with your middle, followed by F on the A string with your pinkie. Then switch up and hit B on the E string with your ring finger, followed by D on the A string with your index, then B# on the E with the pinkie and D# on the A with the middle. Alternating , fingers the whole time. Practice that until it's comfortable (could take a few days), then play the same pattern skipping up to the D string, and finally all the way to the G string. The full spider pattern is played E string to A string, then E string to D string, then E string to G string, then back down E to D, finally back to E to A.
For books, there's a big difference between a good one and a bad one. I can personally recommend Serious Electric Bass, Bass Logic, Bass Grooves, and Standing in the Shadows of Motown (this last book is less of a beginner's guide and more of a project you could spend a lifetime on: i.e. learning from the great James Jamerson). Also highly recommended is Ed Friedland's Building Walking Bass Lines. I also have and recommend The Bass Grimoire, but it is more a reference book for advanced scale and chord building, as opposed to a beginner's guide. Bass Guitar for Dummies is actually pretty good and comprehensive.
And there are some good online resources as well: studybass.com is great and starts from a beginner level. Scott Devine is an amazing teacher especially with more advanced techniques, but also for fundamentals. Paul from How To Play Bass Dot Com just steps you through a bunch of popular rock & r&b tunesnot bad for picking up new songs, but it's far better to learn the theory & structure behind a song than just memorizing the finger patterns. MarloweDK is a great player with hundreds of videos, but he's highly advanced.
Finally, musictheory.net has some great ear training exercises you can do any time, in addition to a wealth of info about basic theory that applies to all instruments.
A few things that have helped me with my songwriting that might also help you:
- If you come up with something that even sounds vaguely mediocre, record it! You might come up with something that at the time doesn't sound special, only later to listen to your recording and really dig it. don't let good ideas get away.
- come up with chords to write the rest of the song around. You can use more chords, but 4 chords is a good start. I'd highly suggest looking a a key chart (included in link below) to see what chords fit in the key of your song. With some creativity you can chords outside the key, but a key/chord chart is an excellent starting point for coming up with chord progressions.
- Learn to play some of your favorite songs so you can see the behind the scenes music structure. You can learn a lot about chord progressions, song structures, successful key changes, and use of riffs by learning from famous songs.
- I find it easier to write lyrics after you've already come up with a vocal melody. Just hum some gibberish until you have a melody that sounds good. Once you have a strong melody, just let it bounce around in your head and see if any words start to stick to it. Write down whatever comes to you, whether you think its good or not. I'd also say don't set out to write to write a song about a specific subject matter, let the song decide what its about.
- There is one songwriting book that I absolutely recommend, Rikky Rooksby's How to Write Songs on Guitar. I bought that book 9 years ago and to this day still refer to it from time to time. It is backed with incredibly helpful information. Rooksby's other books Songwriting Sourcebook, Chord Master (the absolute best chord book IMO) are also incredibly helpful for songwriting.
- If you want to improve your lyrics, listen to Bob Dylan. IMO he is the best lyricist in music and you will get better at writing lyrics just through osmosis.
Sorry for the long post -- I don't want to be discouraging, the best times I've ever had were playing or listening to jazz. The feeling is indescribable.
Getting some lessons from a jazz bass player will help big time. If for nothing other than some direction, a teacher can be a huge help.
On "walking a bassline":
Boiled down, you will be tasked with outlining the chord movement and keeping time by playing (roughly) quarter notes with a slight emphasis on beats 2 and 4, as opposed to 1 and 3.
The rhythm is critically important. You might be the only timekeeper playing at certain points. This doesn't mean you have to always be playing quarters, but you do have to be focused and have solid time: other people will depend on you. You can make embellishments -- the more effective the less frequently they are used -- leave rests, play long notes, imply a different time signature, etc. My favourite part of playing jazz is walking chorus after chorus and jamming on different rhythms with the drummer.
Harmony is your other job. This has to do with note choice. Like your rhythm, this will become more sophisticated with time but start simple. In a small group you'd have more flexibility but big bands will necessitate a straightforward approach: in short, chord-tones are good, avoid-notes are bad. You might need to get comfortable playing in some weird keys but if the band is centred around a horn section, you'll be playing in Bb and Eb a lot. Learn some melodic minor harmony, the m.minor, augmented lydian, and altered chords are all very common sounds in jazz and you'll need to be comfortable navigating these.
Albums to listen to and their bassists:
Miles Davis - So What (Paul Chambers)
Oscar Peterson Trio - Night Train (Ray Brown)
Modern Jazz Quartet - anything at all, these guys are awesome (Percy Heath)
Bill Evans Trio - Waltz for Debbie, Portrait in Jazz (Scott LaFaro) - It feels weird mentioning these guys without also saying something about Sunday at the Village Vanguard, but this is about walking lines and LaFaro was on fucking fire for that recording.
Diana Krall - Live in Paris (John Clayton) - Lots of straight standards, exemplary accompaniment from John Clayton.
Keith Jarrett Trio - Up For It (Gary Peacock)
The Quintet - Jazz at Massey Hall (Charles Mingus) - Superband with Bird, Dizzy, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and ol' Crazy Mingus. Dig the beboppy goodness.
Thelonius Monk Quartet ft. John Coltrane - At Carnegie Hall (Ahmed Abul-Malik)
Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm section (Paul Chambers) Same rhythm section from Miles' "So What," cool recording with egalitarian distribution of solo time fairly ahead of its time, and entirely fueled by heroin.
The albums are all fairly straightforward with plenty of walking going on. You might even be able to find a few at the library and there are plenty of more examples online. Sorry for the lack of electric bassists -- these are all DB players -- but the prevailing variation in jazz is the double bass. Truthfully, a huge part of the sound that characterizes a "walking bass line" (and other ostinato bass lines frequently used in jazz) is the quick note decay of an upright bass. The note envelope is very smooth on an electric bass by comparison and as a result many electric jazz players elect to accompany in some other distinct manner.
Rufus Reid's "The Evolving Bassist," is aimed primarily at new upright jazz bass players. Some of the DB-specific information might be unnecessary but this is absolutely the best instructional material on jazz bass I've ever seen.
Mike Downes' "The Jazz Bass Line Book" is, like you might expect, about making great basslines. Downes is a monster and his book is bitchin'.
tl;dr - This is a big question, and there's no real easy way to answer this. Basically, it's asking "How do jazz bass." Getting started is deceptively simple but great musicians have made their entire careers off of beastly walking.
My two cents:
- Electric - a cheap electric is far easier to play than a cheap acoustic. While it will be important to build callouses and finger strength (both of which are facilitated by playing an acoustic steel string), I feel it is far more important for you to enjoy playing and make some initial progress. If you can get some momentum in learning/playing, then you can start worrying about strength, endurance, etc. If you give up after 3 months b/c your hands hurt and you haven't made any progress (b/c it hurts to practice), strength, endurance, and everything else is moot. However, if you really want to play acoustic, consider starting with a nylon-string (classical) guitar.
- I would look for a used electric, probably something like a Mexican-made Fender or a lower-end asian-made guitar (Ibanez, Jackson, Schecter). Many folks like the Epiphone entry-level models I haven't played one so I can't say.
- As I said above, electric is more likely to get you quickly to the point of playing something interesting and enjoying it.
- In my experience, most guitarists do not read music. (Many have only a superficial understanding of theory and some don't even know scales or chords by name). Significant portion of those that do read cannot sight-read (self included). Anyway it's perfectly reasonable to learn to read while learning to play. Barring that, tablature is widely available and very popular. Well-made tab is useful and often will include rhythmic information.
- Get started by learning some riffs and songs you like. Also, learning something like the bar blues will let you start playing with friends and that can greatly enhance your enjoyment and learning.
- Being self-taught is fine. Many guitarists never take lessons. I personally have benefited a lot from taking private lessons. However, practicing and playing new stuff will get you a long way. I recommend getting a good book to use as reference. The Guitar Handbook by Ralph Denyer is a personal favorite.
Have fun and good luck!
Your frustration is perfectly natural. The same questions and doubts arise in all of us at all levels. The standard answers you noted are true, but only in your context and when you are at the right place in your journey.
A few things come to mind that might be of use.
Seek out a mentor. We all need guidance and teachers. Find someone who has had the type of succeses you are looking for. Ask questions and learn from the wisdom of their experience.
Seek out a collaborator. One of the most rewarding aspects of what we do is sharing it with others. Sharing the creative process and bouncing around new ideas with someone else is fun and creates an environment where new ideas and avenues can flourish.
Take time to be introspective without being reactive. Be real with yourself. What are your goals. Really think about the why and the outcome you hope see. Successful people are not successful by accident. They work incredibly hard to achieve their success - we are only seeing the end result.
Sometimes the best thing to do is take a break. Walk away from it and give your mind and spirit a rest so when you return it is with renewed exuberance. As odd as this may sound, when I take a break, my brain tells my it's time to come back through dreaming about playing and being on stage or jamming with others.
Something else you might consider is [Zen Guitar] (https://amzn.to/2IO4IfU) or [Victor Wooten's The Music Lesson] (https://amzn.to/2GbuyJf), both of which are fantastic and inspirational reads.
I hope this helps my friend!
In your case, yes, I'd recommend a guitar over a lower end keyboard that you'll find very limiting very quickly. You can absolutely learn theory on guitar, though it is a lot more well laid out on a piano keyboard and therefore easier to visualize.
But for someone just wanting to have fun, start with guitar since it will have a much quicker return on investment of your time to get to a point where you're able to have fun playing. You can quickly pick up open position chords on guitar and play hundreds of songs probably within months which would not be the case on piano.
I can also absolutely recommend this guitar which falls well within your budget and leaves you a little more room for other stuff.
If you want to learn theory, I would make sure you supplement you learning of basic guitar chords and strumming patterns (tons of resources everywhere online) with some actually sheet music reading using a method book like this one.
Also, if you're working out of a book like that (or doing scales or melodic playing in general) I'd strongly recommend you get a thick, hard pick like this. You'll have a ton more control and less long-term frustration.
You'll probably also want some softer picks (maybe mm) for general strumming stuff though, particularly early on where you won't have good control of pick distance. You can work up to using hard picks for strumming once you get a bit better hand control, but I'd never recommend a soft pick for non-strumming work.
After all of this, you can easily grab a better keyboard in the future if you want to get more serious and delve a little deeper. Even as a hobbyist the two instruments will compliment each other and the theory stuff will make more sense on piano.
The problem is, the entry point for a decent keyboard is much higher than guitar (usually $). Keep an eye out for used Yamaha P series or Casio Privia keyboards. The older models are fine and can be found used quite a bit cheaper if you're lucky.
As for guitars, I'd recommend against starting electric. There are benefits (beginners find the softer action easier to deal with), but the downside is that there's a lot more gear involved and the entry level is honestly a bit higher for an electric. You probably don't want to spend much less than $ Below there you start to get instruments with uneven tuning and lots of other problems. If you want to look at a guitars in the lower end, the Yamaha Pacifica is well known for being an amazing bang-for-the-buck in terms of quality and not cutting as many corners as other budget guitars.
But you have to worry about amps with electrics and very low end amps are going to be very frustrating to play with and mid-tier amps are going to add a lot of cost so you'll be looking close the same entry point as a keyboard if you want to go electric from the start.
The acoustic Jasmine I linked is great though. The action is fairly light, the tuning is consistent across the neck and, and it holds in tune very well and the tone is very good for the price. Mine came well setup direct from the manufacturer. I bought it years ago planning to just use it as a beater and expecting very little, but I've been using it for 8 years and it continues to work well for me with the bonus of me not worrying at all about taking it outside or anything like that. Which, obviously, portable music making is the other huge advantage of an acoustic guitar.
Don't give up man. There's many ways to improve.
1.) My best advice, is find a good teacher that you like and feel comfortable around. Once you do you'll really begin to improve and like your sound.
2.) If you can't find a teacher there's plenty of online resources
3.) This is probably the best and hardest way to improve; it's very slow but the pay off is amazing. Transcribe everything. Start with the Beatles or CCR and transcribe simple chord songs and slowly (I mean after several months of doing this) move on to harder material.
This method is not recommended as it's hard, but it'll make you damn good.
Don't give up bro, I've played guitar for 5 years. I sucked for the first two, was mediocre the last 2 years and it's only recently that I've begun to get good. Just like anyone can learn algebra or learn to read anyone can play guitar.
Two Books to Recommend (On the Mental Aspect of Music):
Effortless Mastery - Liberating the Master Musician Within
by Kenny Werner. This book is simply awesome.
- Download it here (It's a safe download, I uploaded it myself. Shhh!)
Zen Guitar - Philip Sudo
don't click me! :)
- Even more awesome, it not only changed how I view music but also my life. This is personally better than Effortless Mastery, as what you read in the book not only affects your music mindset but spreads into your life. Buy It
Two Final Tips
- Just get into the habit of practicing, even if it's only for 5mins everyday. Make sure it's at the same time.
- There's a cycle. Practice -> Improvement -> Motivation -> Practice -> Improvement - Motivation ->
Occasionally you'll hit walls or plateaus at which point, watch Crossroads or listen to Zeppelin and remind yourself why you started playing, then go and practice.
(-> = leads to)
In terms of learning large volumes of work quickly, what's best to do when if you have a variety of difficulty levels is just play through the easy ones that you know will be OK every day. With the harder ones take care to isolate the difficult passages and practise them not only slowly but with different rhythms - if you have a fast quaver passage then practise it 4 times with dotted quaver (dotted eighth note) - semiquaver (sixteenth note) in the place of quaver - quaver. Then another 4 times with semiquaver (sixteenth note) - dotted quaver (dotted eighth note). Experiment with different rhythms.
To get used to the pieces it might be a good idea to get a few versions of the harder pieces you have to learn onto your mp3 player. Just get used to hearing them in the way the best players play them. It might result in your interpretation being pretty close to the guy's one on the track you listened to 10 times on repeat during your morning jog, but to be honest when you only have 2 weeks to learn a bunch of pieces you really want to make sure you can play it. If you feel really shitty then obviously it would be a good idea to ask maybe some of the players (a drummer and a few horns?) if they would play with you a few times away from the orchestra, in their own time, before the concert.
Are you used to playing with nails? If not then this will be a small part of a many year journey to find the right shape anyway Don't apply any varnishes or anything - even many so-called strengthening solutions are just layers of a kind of varnish that ultimately damage the real nail. Eating a boiled egg in the morning helps keep them strong, as does jelly. Start doing things more with your left hand (ie. opening doors). Buy a nail buffer and look at Scott Tenants Pumping Nylon as a starting guide to nail care:
Good luck :D
When I was first starting out, way back in the last century, there were few places to go to learn this type of thing. And those that had the knowledge were usually less then excited at the thought of sharing their knowledge with you, so that you could become their competition.
But times have changed, and we have this Internet thing, and everybody is sharing everything. Maybe it isn't the Info Age, as much as it is the Era of Sharing, and sharing means a lot of crappy stuff gets thrown in the mix.
So choose your trusted sources carefully, and see who their trusted sources are.
For a good primer in guitar electronics, I recommend reading this book. It's dated, but it's basic info is good, and it's free to read in your browser (takes some time to load):
I'm anticipating another book on guitar electronics from a source who's previous work I like:
This is a good video to understand shock hazards associated with play the electric guitar:
When it comes to other aspects of guitar adjustment, Dan Erlewine has been the go-to source for decades. His books on guitar repair and maintenance are the gold standard. This first book I've linked is more for the guitar repair professional, and might be a bit much. But the second book I've linked should be must-reading for anyone curious about adjusting their guitar to play it's best:
Although I haven't actually read any of the books by John Carruthers, I studied under him and on the basis of that experience I would recommend anything he's involved in:
There are a bunch of John Carruther's videos on YouTube:
I like this book because it's illustrated so well:
Dan Erlewine is a consultant at the guitar tools and supplies seller Stewart-MacDonald. They are a good resource for not just tools and supplies, but they have educational videos, some of which you can get via email, and some of which can be seen on YouTube:
Many of the boutique pickup makers have blogs on their sites, where they talk about pickup design and characteristics.
Just learning good practices on installing strings on various types of guitars is an important starting place:
And if you can master the secrets of floating tremolo set-up, you can impress your friends and strike fear into the heart of your enemies:
There are so many more good sources, but that should give you a start.
My best advice for you is to find a project for focusing your improvement. It's fun to be able to jam in different styles and settings, and it's a worthy long-term goal, but it's impossible to tackle so many things at once. Find a band to start/join, doing covers or originals. Or find some people to jam with every week. Or take lessons. If you can find a good teacher, lessons will be the best thing for you. Even if you can learn a ton on your own, you'll always have questions along the way that are best answered in person by a master player.
Once you find that project to focus on, center your learning around it. Figure out what theory will be useful. (I second smackhead's endorsement of musictheory.net. Also, Music Theory for Guitarists is a great theory book.)
Learn songs by ear as much as possible. It improves your ears, fingers, and mind. Even if you forget how to play it later, you'll improve through the process, and have that extra experience with you. Imagine learning new songs in the next year. You'll develop the ability to hear a song in your head and know how to play it, so that you'll never have to remember how the tabs go.
And for some serious motivation, check out some articles on my guitar blogs: From the Woodshed and Deft Digits. Good luck!
I'd say that an important first step is plenty of research on the principles of guitar building, so that you have a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve before you start designing or building:
There are some excellent books on the subject, and also many resources on YouTube where you can watch the pro's at work and see how it's done
Having some woodwork experience is a good starting point, and having the right tools for the job definitely helps, but many people have managed to achieve a first build on their kitchen table with just the basics
Do you have an idea of what type of guitar you would like to build? I'm assuming a solid-body electric of some kind, which is somewhat more straightforward than say an acoustic guitar
It's a good idea to base your first guitar on something which already exists, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel (some time spent trying out as many guitars as possible down at the local guitar store is always fun, until they get heartily sick of you!)
Another good learning strategy is to acquire a couple of secondhand cheapo guitars to tinker with and take apart etc, without fear of ruining a decent instrument (also good for practice at soldering and wiring pickups, pots etc)
You might also bear in mind that a kit guitar, or buying in components like a factory-made neck, or pre-slotted fretboard etc, can be a great starting point, and considerably less daunting than trying to make absolutely everything from scratch for a first-timer!
Nobody's first guitar is ever 'perfect' I'd say, so aim for something relatively simple and execute it really well, then save that triple-necked guitar with eighteen pickups and loads of exotic hardwoods you've always dreamed of (lol) for a future build, once you have mastered the basic skills :>)>
Hope that helps.
PS - ask loads of questions as you go along, if something crops up that you are not sure of that's what we're here for!
www.guitarzoom.com. Look for the course "Music Theory for Life". It's a 12 week online course by Steve Steine. Very good. You can also find many of his videos online that talk about music theory in shorter form but still more than enough to get you started. Here's a good series to follow by him: https://www.lessonface.com/absolute-fretboard-mastery-steve-stine
The other thing that really helps is playing every day. This really helped me get through solos that previously I never even attempted to play because i thought I would never be able to. I use an app on my phone called "habit" to track that. I mark every day I play and end up with a streak. I never want to break that streak so I play every day. I started with a wall calendar where I crossed off the days. After a while, you have a nice long line of days and you will feel really bad breaking that line.
Now comes the question of: "Ok I can play everyday, but what should I play?" I had that issue. So I went ahead and bought this book: http://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Aerobics-One-lick-per-day-Developing-Maintaining/dp//ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;sr=&amp;keywords=guitar+aerobics
This book is basically a year's worth of every day licks to play and practice. Priceless. It will give you something to do every day by default. No thinking required. It starts off easy and builds up. It will teach you usable licks straight away from different music styles. It will also teach you how to play in time since you should be using a metronome (or the drum tracks they provide).
I use the book when I am not in the mood to practice a song I am working on that day. I make sure I am playing some "challenging" song since it's fun to end up with a song you've been wanting to play. I give it time no hurry. I've been having fun learning "Hangar 18" for like 2+ weeks now. I am taking it slow and making sure I am not rushing through parts.
work through the original Aaron Shearer books (I linked book 1, there are 3, you should at least go through the first two and maybe some of the supplemental ones) . If your classical technique is decent then you will breeze through them pretty quickly but you might pick up a few subtle things like playing rest-stroke with your thumb at the same time as free-stroke with your fingers and vice-versa. Once you are good there there are two books you should buy: Pumping Nylon for the various exercises it has. They are very good if you play them regularly. Then buy The Library of Guitar Classics. It is a big spiral bound book of repertoire that looks like a lot of those piano-rep books. It has music ranging from easy to very hard and from the renaissance period all the way through the romantic era with pieces by Tarrega and Albeniz. There is a lot of really good rep in there. There is also a second volume of the book that is almost as good. When it comes to more modern music buy the Villa-Lobos book and work through some of that stuff. It is a great book that was edited by - if I remember correctly - Frederick Noad. There are also some really good books with the complete Bach cello/lute suites (although some of that can be found in the books I already mentioned).
If you REALLY want to kick your ass, see if you can dig up a copy of the Abel Carlevaro right hand book. It is like the Giuliani studies on steroids. I have never struggled that hard to play an arpeggio in my life! I think it is this book but I am not sure. I had a really old photo-copy of it and I don't know where it came from.
You need to consider why you want to learn guitar. That will answer some of your questions in itself.
For instance, do you intend to become a professional, virtuoso concert guitarist? If not, what difference does it make if you won't be as good as you could have been if you'd started earlier?
If you're like me, and you play for the pleasure of playing, for the joy of making music, how good you are doesn't really matter. I play because I love playing and I always have, even when I was just starting out and awkwardly struggling through my first chords. Practicing is never work for me because it's fun.
That's not to say that I'm not constantly trying to get better -- I certainly am. But this isn't a job or competition for me, it's something I do for fun and enjoyment. Let yourself have fun with it and the rest just doesn't matter. So if you're having a hard time learning to play something, but you're enjoying the learning process, it's all good. If playing the guitar is a chore for you, why bother? It's supposed to be fun.
So I say to you, go try it. Try to enjoy it. Find your way of making music with a guitar. If you love playing, keep it up. If it's just drudgery to you, let it go. There are no guitar police out there who will throw you in jail if you "aren't good enough" or you don't learn the "right way". There is no "right way". If you are enjoying making your own music then you are good enough and you're doing it the right way!
This is a wonderful book on the subject.
A great theory book for guitarists (starting from the basics) is this. Definitely nothing in there about "polytonal rhythms" (whatever they might be, they certainly ain't "fundamental")!
You'll see it goes as far as "chord substution and reharmonization", but by that point I would be starting to take it a little less seriously, and maybe moving on to something more in depth. (Those "jazz theories" can get controversial.)
Of similar level - less guitar-based - is this. This is more like an exercise book, with the information in each chapter followed by test questions, with answers in the back. (Just one of the answers is wrong in my very old edition hopefully fixed now.)
I really recommend at least two sources when reading music theory. Every author has their own angle, and their own readership in mind. It may be that one book (or website) clicks with you, but the others will always fill in gaps here and there, and what's not clear in one may be clear in another. When all sources agree, you can be sure you've got good info. When they don't more research needed!
Best general theory website is probably https://www.musictheory.net/lessons - very well organised, right from the basics. It will "walk you through" if you resist skipping pages and take it steadily, step by step, in order. You may need the first book above (or something similar) to help translate notation to the guitar.
Don't forget to always play the stuff on the guitar as you're reading. If you don't know how to play it, don't try learning it. musictheory.net provides sounds, so you can at least hear the stuff, but best if you can play it yourself.
I make enough from guitar building and repair to be able to fund it as a hobby in itself. You're looking at a significant initial investment in tools, workspace, and marketing in a market that's pretty saturated with factory guitars and independent builders. I hope someday to build up a customer base large enough to make this a career, but until then I enjoy it as a hobby and an art that pays for itself. As an art, I'd suggest picking up a couple of books:
Guitar making tradition and technology and Make your own electric guitar.
Both of these will give you a great background on how to build an instrument. The links in the sidebar will be very helpful to you as well.
One thing that has been helpful to me is engaging in your local music community. I live in an area of the US with lots of churches and worship pastors that need their guitars worked on. I work on their guitars and every now and then do builds for them that meet the needs they're looking for. I don't know what your community looks like, but engaging with musicians where they're at and building up a report is the beginning to a self-sustaining hobby and hopefully will carry you to a business.
Best of luck to you!
Dan Erlewine's Guitar Player Repair Guide has been around for years and covers a lot of ground. I bought my copy when I was 16, over 20 years ago. The newest edition also comes with a DVD too. You can get it at StewMac here, although it's available from Amazon and most book sellers. No one book can cover every single little thing, but it's a good reference to keep around; I still check mine from time to time.
Anymore, it's easy to find most of this information freely available online. Someone already mentioned frets.com, which is an awesome site. There are tons of great Youtube channels too (Freddys Frets, StewMac, Crimson Custom Guitars, Sully Guitars, Dave's World of Fun Stuff, Blues Creek Guitars, O'Brien Guitars, and dozens more I can't remember offhand.) I think it's easier to learn certain things by watching videos, so I'd suggest picking one book as a main source, then look up videos for anything that's not entirely clear to you. I didn't have the benefit of Youtube or the internet when I started working on them, so take advantage of it!
I'd also recommend getting at least one book on building guitars, because it can give you quite a bit of insight about how different instruments are constructed. I've had Melvyn Hiscock's Make Your Own Electric Guitar for years too and it's a great book, but it's currently out of print. Keep an eye out for a used copy, or look into the ones that are currently available. StewMac has a good selection of books, but again you can find most of them from any book seller.
Finally, don't get too overwhelmed. Guitars are not particularly complicated things and it's not rocket science, even if it looks like it sometimes. There really aren't that many repairs that I'd consider too difficult for the average person, as long as you're willing to put in a little time to learn how to do them. Even refretting isn't that hard (although it's tedious and takes all friggin' day.) Learn how different types of guitars are built, because all a repair is is repeating a particular part of the build process to fix a problem. Watching "factory tour" videos on Youtube of various manufacturers can give you a surprising amount of information on how a particular builder tackles certain aspects of the instrument. There's almost always multiple ways to achieve a repair, it's just a matter of figuring out what works best for a particular instrument or situation or just how you prefer to work.
I'll comment on the tools. I do my own setups and have for years. I don't have any professional luthier tools. I do not do setups for others to receive payment.
I view tools like those linked as great resources for professional techs who are looking to do a lot of setups quickly and to a very high degree of technical accuracy. Having high quality tools makes the job easy and efficient.
But I don't think that level of tools is required. You could fashion your own from some basic stuff you could get at any hardware store or use some other 'tricks' that don't require tools. Also, realize that the idea of 'setting up' a guitar is not a black / white binary situation. Getting a guitar setup to a place that it plays well to your preferences is very doable with a screwdriver and some practice.
For example, the basic setup kit has some great tools - but you can accomplish a similar job much cheaper with some research. The string action gauge could be made by printing those radius' on a piece of thick poster board. Dan's book 'How to Make a Guitar Play Great' has this exact tool as a punch out in the back. A precision straight edge could be replaced with a decent ruler or wood or metal that is confirmed straight elsewhere.
Again, with the tune-o-medic kit you can service a Tune-O-Matic bridge very successfully with a typical screwdriver. The specialized tools would be helpful if you're doing a lot of setups each day - possibly on valuable or vintage guitars where a greater level of care is needed.
A truss rod wrench could be replaced with a screwdriver and a set of hex heads available at a hardware store.
So if it were me, I'd buy a copy of that book (linked above) and go through it. Some basic screwdrivers and allen wrenches should be able to get you through almost all basic setup procedures. If you get to more advanced things like fretwork, finish repair, or are doing lots of setup for paying customers - then look into specialized tools.
You need a method, not random bits of knowledge. You may use Justin's, or you may look for a book.
The secret here is structure, which is only provided by a method. Otherwise you'll always feel your knowledge is scattered all over the place and hence barely usable.
A good method should at least:
- give you tools for identifying the notes on the fretboard. I highly recommend this book, in addition to whatever method you choose.
- the CAGED system - essential knowledge. Once you master this, you'll easily be able to play: the chord, the arpeggio, the major scale and modes for each of these five shapes, anywhere on the fretboard.
- accent the role of the major scale (the Ionian mode of the diatonic scale), because if you know its shapes in all five (CAGED) positions, you already have the shapes for all other modes, and using modes becomes simply a question of choosing the respective harmony, not learning new shapes. Also, by simply removing certain notes from it, you automagically get the pentatonic scale. You get the idea, most common use scales and modes may be played using the major scale patterns.
- teach you intervals and how to build chords, which are simply intervals stacked on top of each other
- point out the use of arpeggios in soloing, as opposed to scale soloing only, this makes a world of difference if you want your solos to be interesting
- teach you rhythm and how to play in time, even (or perhaps especially) when soloing
Once you have a structure, the Internet truly becomes an awesome resource, because now you can research the issue at hand with a better sense of purpose and more specifically.
So don't fret, this isn't a stupid question, it actually shows you are ready and willing to progress, you'd be amazed how many people become dismissive at this stage, and think they've achieved mastery, because it's "all feel and talent, man," and don't even see how much there is to learn and improve.
TL;DR: get a method by trying several, then stick to the one you choose.
I've been playing and practicing for 2 years 4 months at this point. For the entire first year of practice I utilized the Seinfeld Method of Productivity. My goal was to practice guitar for at least 30 minutes a day.
This helped me get to the point where I felt comfortable handling the instrument and was actually able to start to get some more creative enjoyment from it.
The important thing here is deliberate practice. Meaning, don't lose focus, figure out what you're going to be working on for that 1/2 hour and stick to it. This could be theory, chords, alternate tunings, etc. Just make sure to cover the basics somewhere in there. I bought a great book to help me with the fundamentals, Pumping Nylon. This book is for folks getting into classical guitar. Though, in my opinion, all guitarists ought to start with classical if you'd like to develop the best/most efficient techniques in your right and left-hands.
Beyond that- I'd say the most important component is passion. Ask yourself why you're willing to put in so many hours into something. Come up with reasons that keep you excited for the next thing!
For me, my passion comes from the fact that, in this lame world we live in, magic doesn't exist. I'll never be able to pursue my childhood fantasy of becoming a Wizard. However- Music does exist, and, in my opinion, music has many of the same qualities of magic. You can transport a listener into an emotional landscape of your making. You can create a world of sound where you get to call all of the shots. You can ease someones pain, create excitement, wax-poetic about love, you can even create unease and a sense of creeping dread. It's all up to you and how you handle your instruments of sound.
This is what keeps me pursuing the guitar and music. The rest of the world fades away while I'm playing. I suppose it's almost like having a day dream that other people can hear.
I'm not sure if I answered your questions or not :P
tl;dr - Deliberate daily practice and passion seem to be working for me.
When it comes to improving rhythm playing, as well as overall fretboard knowledge, I'd recommend diving deep into the CAGED system and learning how to play chords and progressions in different areas around the neck. Fretboard Logic is pretty much the classic book on the topic.
Learning to focus on chord tones while soloing/improvising, as u/pigz points out, is also massively important. The 12 bar progression is definitely a great place to start with this, but as you get comfortable with it, it's worth branching out and practicing the same thing over other common progressions.
Also, if you're pretty comfortable with the pentatonic shapes, it's probably a good idea to start practicing the shapes of the major scale. I'd still focus on the pentatonic stuff when you're practicing soloing and improv and stuff, but go over the major shapes as a separate part of your practice to start laying the groundwork.
Also, if you don't already, it's a tremendously good habit to sing along when you practice. I don't mean singing songs, rather when you practice scales and/or licks, try to sing the notes as you play the scale, or sing the lick before playing it. This will help you build a connection between the notes you hear in your head and where they are on the fretboard.
I have 2 books. One that nobody likes is by Melvyn Hiscock. Admittedly its a bit dated, but gives a pretty good idea of the principles of guitar design. It is not a woodworking book however, so it assumes you have some knowledge of woodworking techniques. I say nobody likes it because anytime its mentioned, someone will complain that they bought the book but couldn't build a guitar.
I have this booklet as well, and I also have his booklet on how to make a 5 string banjo. I think its pretty good as well.
Honestly though, there is enough information online about making guitars in this day and age, that I think you can do just as well by watching a bunch of videos and reading a bunch of online articles. Also, there are some really good people on this subreddit that can help answer questions in great detail.
You can't buy a factory made classical guitar that is truly high quality. Yamaha makes great beginning classical guitars. I wouldn't pay over $ for anything with a "brand name," if you're looking for a nice classical then start looking for luthiers or a dealer in your area that sells luthier guitars(either should let you try their guitars before you buy).
D'addario Pro-Arte strings are generally regarded as the all-around best classical guitar strings, and fortunately they're also the cheapest. Go with normal or hard tension if you like more resistance.
The book Pumping Nylon is a great technical resource for classical guitarists at any level.
^ Volume 1 and 2 of that guitar classics book are great for finding rep out of, they have great music from different eras, composers, and difficulties.
More specifically, studies by Sor, Carcassi, or Brouwer are great for beginning pieces. You can move from there to pieces by Tarrega, Villalobos, possibly some easier Bach like BWV or Cello Suite#1. Really anything you want. For best results, seek our recordings and videos of well-renowned(not just some shmuck on youtube) guitarists. Use these to make sure you're not playing wrong notes, inspire your own interpretation, and possibly steal their fingerings if it's a video.
Practice is important, but the focus should be on learning good upright style position playing, especially in first and second position. And learning to really incorporate open strings in your playing, as that definitely helps you 'calibrate' unconsciously. Learning to walk changes like that will easily dial it in, esp. if you start working to tempo. Use iReal Pro and just practice random Real Book changes, or the standard jazz exercise sets available.
I have students switching to fretless pick up the Rufus Reid book [The Evolving Bassist] (https://www.amazon.com/dp//ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_40YQCbGP8) to learn double bass position playing and walking/2 feel lines. (I use the [Chuck Rainey](The Complete Electric Bass Player, Book 1: The Method https://www.amazon.com/dp//ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_p3YQCbKQKWVWG) books for fretted players, which i heartily recommend in general, btw)
Mostly its a matter of getting a steady, repeatable hand position in the lower registers and letting the muscle memory develop.
Perfect intonation is a goal, but i never worry about it when i get moving in a line or solo. Developing a good vibrato and approach/slide covers a lot of minor mistakes. And on stage, no one will notice a few cents out of tune especially if you play expressively and use good vibrato and slide movement on approach notes.
On improving your chord knowledge. The best place for you to start would be to find fingerpicking songs you like, learn them, and play them a lot. Through the process of learning songs, you will improve your chord knowledge and your overall musicianship. Also this book.
For your singing/strumming problem, remember, singing is rhythmic and will fall somewhere on or between strums. Start doing simple songs. The more you do it, the better you will become at it. If you try to do it 5 times, it will probably be pretty hard at first. Maybe even perceptively impossible. If you do it 10, times though, I promise you it will be easier.
So pick an easy song, play and sing through it a gazillion times. The first few times might seem impossible, but each time you do it, you will learn and become better. Never give up. You'll get it.
On improving your listening (aural) skills, most musicians don't have "perfect pitch", but you can improve your relative pitch by doing some ear-training (www.musictheory.net/exercises). Another great approach to ear-training is by simply figuring out songs by ear.
Also don't forget your metronome is your friend, and playing with it constantly will make you a better guitar player and musician.
As an older employed guy, he charges me $40 for 40 minutes. The is the basic going rate in town for professional lessons. But I have heard from others that he will work with some on a sliding scale. But, if you truly only have a couple hours playing so far, the very first thing to figure out is how serious you are. In the beginning, you have to devote a least several hours a week practicing both scales and chords. Both finger strength and dexterity are the key to getting anywhere, and there really are no shortcuts, other then practice, and practice some more. Consider getting this book set: https://www.amazon.com/Hal-Leonard-Guitar-Method-Complete/dp//ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;sr=&amp;keywords=learn+guitar
It will both teach you how the very basics of reading music, and make you practice putting your fingers on the right frets. Do you have to know how to read music? Well, not if you are only looking to sing around the campfire.. but if you ever want to play music with others, and not be totally lost, it is pretty much a must that you know some level of chord structure. Speaking of, here is one of the cheapest chord books you can buy:https://www.amazon.com/Alfreds-Basic-Guitar-Chord-Chart/dp//ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;sr=&amp;keywords=basic+guitar+chords
Learn the following chords C,D,E,F,G, Em, Am, Dm. Most songs can be played in the key of C, (which is C, dm,em,F,g,am). There are an mind numbing ways to play each and every chord, so learn the ones that you can play in the first 3 frets to start with. Then learn the E, em and A barre chords, again practice will give you strength and you will start to build up finger callus's too. Once you can jump from chord to chord somewhat comfortably, then go see Ron (or a taskmaster of your choice) Consider finding others that want to start, and meet once a week. OK, enough babble ( you can tell I love playing)
I highly recommend Fretboard Logic SE by Bill Edwards. It teaches the CAGED system for chords and scales in a very natural and intuitive way. No prior music theory knowledge is necessary for the book, it starts from the ground up. It isn't very long, you should be able to get a solid grasp on the foundation of the ideas it teaches within a week, but you'll be going back to back to it to learn more for a while to come. I was simply astonished at how much better I understand the guitar after a short time with this book. Before the book I was in the same position as you, played guitar but only knew chords through rote memorization and learned solos by copying others, after I was able to begin writing my own music and I felt comfortable and ready to go deeper into the music theory rabbit hole.
The book teaches the CAGED system, and I know there are resources online that teach it, so if you don't want to drop the money on a book, you can find those and they'll teach the same concepts as Fretboard Logic. However, Bill Edwards does a great job at easing the reader in to the ideas and makes them very easy to understand. Plus, it's nice to have a physical book to reference the diagrams inside of it.
I second the jazz piano book, jazzadvice.com, and all the rest of this advice.
My two favorite music books are Victor Wooten's The Music Lesson and Philip Toshio Sudo's Zen Guitar. They contain wisdom that a lot of other music education misses.
As far as playing the piano goes, I recommend really exploring the piano as an instrument. Find the piano's strong and unique points, and be pianistly (in this sense). Conversely, target the piano's weak points, and learn to imitate other instruments: playing long unbroken lines like a sax will make you "light on your fingers" and help you to decompartmentalize fingering patterns you have learned.
I'm a big fan of this video right now. Download the pdf too, and practice the scales listed. The idea of chords being fragments of larger scale families (and being able to hear the entire scale families going by) is important. This is easiest to wrap your head around by playing modal chords on a C major scale. Allan holdsworth explains it better. This also ties into the "find which notes can be added to round out the standard chords" thing- if you hear the entire scale, then extrapolating which notes can be added is fairly intuitive.
Also, listen to great players. I like powell, monk, tatum, george shearing, and marian mcpartland, Mccoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Esjborn Svensson Trio, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Evans. These are just a few mainstream examples. Also, learn from other instrumental traditions. If you like something, try to extrapolate a principle or lesson that you can bring with you from that song, and likewise if you dislike something, articulate what it is you dislike, then you can learn to play the opposite. John Hartford says "style is based on limitations", so choose carefully how you learn to play. If you don't like something, don't learn to play like that just because it's part of the jazz aesthetic cannon or some nonsense.
Also, play with someone. Play with bandinabox, which is easy to steal and fairly cheap to buy, and has many many many song files freely available online. Play with a metronome, at least.
Learn to adjust your technique to different pianos. Not every piano you play on will be good or even fair, so being able to get a feel for a new instrument and its limitations quickly is a great skill. On your home instrument, focus all the more strongly on finding technique compatible with that instrument. On a related note, let your mind step back and lead with your hands, letting fingerings and reflexes show you the way forward. On the other hand, let your technique fade into the foreground and practice bringing out the ideas in your ear, even if they navigate unfamiliar territory (do this slowly or it won't work and you'll revert to reflex) Both modes have their merits, and the more you get comfy with both, the less of a distinction there is between them.
Also, practice singing and playing. Meld your understanding of harmony on the piano with your ear and voice. Also, practice thinking big (long musical fragments, specific complex voicings, etc, etc) at & away from the instrument. If you can't think big, your creativity will never have good macro structure & flow. I really believe that our creative impulse is a divine gift, but it often builds on our existing experience and abilities.
Don't give up. Learning ANY instrument is frustrating as hell. I remember my first days of scales and wanting to chuck my brand new guitar across the room (been playing for 8 years). I'm glad I was stubborn and kept at it - in about a year's time I was working my way through Satriani riffs by ear.
Practice SLOWLY. I don't care who you are, but you can't just pick up a piece and expect to play it perfectly the first time through - ask ANY of the performers from ANY G3 how they started a song, they'll answer "slowly." As EMG81 said: "Perfect practice makes perfect," and he couldn't be more right. If you practice something fast and sloppy, guess what? You'll play it inaccurately and sound like you have drunk fingers - you don't want that. The sign of a guitar god is clean fret fingerings and string pickings.
Practice alternate picking. I will never forget the day my teacher showed me how to do alternate picking. Until that day I'd been playing all down strokes or upstrokes on my scales - a REALLY GOOD WAY TO START - but when he showed me alternate picking and how to do it properly I thought "eh, that's not too hard." It was THE most frustrating part of learning the guitar.
I've mentioned them several times now: learn your scales. I recommend picking up this book for quick fingering references. I've learned the sweep patterns in that book and it's made soloing and writing riffs so much easier.
Finally it's been said several times by others, but learn what you like. After you get your fingers used to the neck and fretboard just have fun - the rest will come in time if you stick with it.
Everything this guy said is gold. I would add a couple things.
- If you are completely new to guitar and not adverse to spending money:
You can get a lot of this info on line, but the book is a classic.
- You really want to pick a few songs that you really like and want to play as your goals. It helps you with focus and inspiration. And if you tell us what type of music you are looking to play to start I can recommend more books or websites.
- For guitars you really get a lot more bank for the buck for a few bucks more. Basically from up to dollars the guitars really improve every bit you spend. However, BloodyThorn is right about wasting guitar equipment. This is why there is so much used equipment on craigslist.
- For buying a beginner guitar, don't be afraid of buying used. Try craigslist. But if you have a friend that plays, get him to come along and help check it out. And if you decide to keep with the guitar and you outgrow the guitar after a year or two, then you can always use a guitar that you can afford to lose. Much nicer to take your second $ guitar with you on a boat than your only $ (or $) dollar guitar.
I started guitar really late in life and as such, my hand dexterity was really shit. Guitar Aerobics is helping out a lot with increasing my fretting accuracy and speed. I still struggle with the max speed in the individual exercises, but i have noticed improvement week over week.
It's not a cure all and while it may expose areas where you have technique deficits, it won't really be able to tell you what to do to correct it. On the other hand, it's a good addition to and a good warm up in a longer practice session. It's well structured and covers a different technique each day of the week, each week building on the last. It's was definitely worth the $
I ripped the CDs that come with it and put them on my phone which made it much easier to use them too. The play along drum tracks are a nice alternative to a metronome.
I started at 19, but came from a musical family and came off of tinkering with guitar for 13 years prior and a steady gig in school on the trumpet. Got my first bass at 19 as it was the mid 90's and grunge was hot and there were so many opportunities to be in a band but nobody wanted to play bass.
Don't get discouraged! Ask anyone here; playing bass is not only a lot of work but it's a "growing" experience. Unless you're Mozart people just don't pick up the unwieldy instrument and become proficient over night. Notwithstanding the muscle training just to get past that awkward stage where you have to stop and think about where you put a single finger on a string, there's the whole emotional aspect, as well as the mental, academic and spiritual components of bringing music to life. The only way to become an "experienced players" and gain "experience" is to experience the journey; if you can get into a band quickly do it. Your playing will advance exponentially.
Check out the book called Zen Guitar. It's very easy, short and enlightening as well as watch some of Victor Wootens teaching vids. He has some great concepts that will change how you look at bass and music.
Good fortune to you.
The best way to start, IMO, is to read. Get as much info as you can on the subject. There's a couple of books that are pretty good; This One or This One are good places to start. Another thought is to check out websites like projectguitar.com. They've also got a forum with lots of tips and such.
Finally, it's going to be a big asset if you already know your way around some various woodshop machinery, if you plan on doing it all from scratch. Knowing how to solder helps too.
One final thing. Do't expect to be able to build something utterly incredible your first time around. Start simple; it's easy to bite off more than you can chew. You will make mistakes; it's pretty much guaranteed. Don't worry about it. When you finally finish, you'll have an instrument that you can be proud of.
EDIT: Almost forgot, there's also an /r/luthier subreddit as well.
I wouldn't be too worried about the nut. Chances are that they didn't need to do any change to the nut when going from factory 9s to 10s. I've put 10s on all my Fenders and haven't had any issues with the nut action. Even if it was filed slightly, the chances are that it isn't going to really cause any issues going back to 9s, but you won't know for sure until you get it strung up and see what the nut action is like. As for the rest of it, basic setup on a strat is pretty straight forward. You may need to adjust the truss rod slightly in order to get the proper relief, but it isn't difficult. Just do it slow and make small adjustments at a time. The most tedious part is really adjusting intonation and/or if you want the trem to be floated. It isn't difficult, it just takes patience as you have to keep re-tuning after every adjustment.
As for taking all the strings off, you shouldn't have any problem with this. I've never had any issue with taking all the strings off when I restring, because I usually do a fret board clean (and oil if it is rosewood or ebony) and a quick fret polish. The only real worry is the need to reset the trem if you want it floated, which in this case you would have to do anyways since you are changing gauges. It really isn't difficult to do a setup. Just read up/watch some how-to videos and take your time. Also, if you plan on doing your own maintenance I highly recommend checking out this book. It is definitely a great reference/guide for most repair/maintenance work.
That is a really good source of useful information. It goes as far in-depth as you wish to go. There is information that is useful to every level of guitarist and luthier as well. Clearly explains the basics every guitar owner should know. Using this book, I set up my LTD with FR Special on it in drop C the very first time I did it. Really simple procedure and my guitar stays in tune very very well. Divebombs go back up right in tune every time.
I suggest trying different strings, different tunings, and different setups (varying string height etc) to find what you like and what feels good. Take it to a pro if you don't want to go to that much trouble, although it is pretty easy if you have any DIY skills. Try to let them know what you plan to mostly play on it.. different styles will favor a certain setup. That book tells how guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King and several more have their guitars setup.
From my experience, ear training and visualization should be your focus, not theory. I learned a shitton of theory, and it did not do me much good without practice. It’s like how I know a lot about baseball, but I don’t play baseball, so knowing that what to do in certain situations won’t actually help me do it if I have to process it like it’s a math problem—there simply isn’t a way to transform thought into kinesthetic movements without taking the time to “lay down the tracks”.
The theory will come from practicing, both with guitar in hand and when you are out and about by visualizing chords changes or melodies or the Circle of Fifths or whatever. Then, as you look through theory for things to practice, you’ll likely already have a place to put the names of the things in your head. I should add, try singing the notes you try to play, even if your voice sucks—practice will make your voice better.
The point of theory is music. To that end, I recommend doing what I didn’t do, practicing the exercises in The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick. Also, really play with the Circle of Fifths and the brightness/darkness implicit to it.
There are a lot of ways. To learn theory, you can ask your teacher, or, if you're self taught, look for some books. Ed Friedland has some great books and I suppose most books and DVD's from Hal Leonard are great too. Berklee Press sells awesome books as well. You can find a lot of lessons online, but it's a lot harder to find valuable material, in my opinion.
The best way to learn about genres is listening to enough music and play as much as you can. When you learn enough songs, you'll automatically learn to apply that when you're creating your own lines. Starting from a book may be a good way to get you started, but the knowledge you learn will be too limited. Learning the songs by ear is a good way to train your musical ear, but there is no shame in buying some songbooks too.
The most important thing is to apply everything you learn. Try to create your own bass lines, loop some chords and play around with your scales, maybe analyze some songs, stuff like that.
It's always a good idea to try them out in person to see how they sit with you as if it's uncomfortable you won't want to practice with it. Since you said you can't, the MS model you're looking at looks like a good option. From what I can tell, the only difference is that it's matte finished which shouldn't be much of a difference at all compared to the S model. Yamaha makes some great instruments so I think you're safe with whichever you choose.
A tuner and picks are a must (in my opinion) but it's also nice to have a strap so you can practice standing up. A good beginners book that teaches you chords and some basic notation is also good to have around when starting out. This is a good one that will give you some structure when you practice.
Standing the Shadows of Motown is the book that has had the single greatest impact on my playing overall.
The first part is a cool bio about James Jamerson and the Motown studio origins, and then it is super well done transcriptions and explanations of his bass lines which are some of the most innovative and influential bass lines of all time. The book also comes with cd's (if those are still relevant) of the songs with bass mixed to front so you can play along which was super helpful. Using that book taught me the bulk of note reading, taught me the mechanics of writing bass lines that compliment melodies, rhythms and complicated arrangements and really cemented a sense what is groovy and what is catchy.
I cannot recommend standing in the shadows of Motown enough https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Shadows-Motown-Legendary-Jamerson/dp/
It's called a dominant resolution and it's one of the most common harmonic techniques you'll find in basslines. Going to the fifth (i.e. the dominant chord) creates instability which wants to be resolved by going back to the root; it's a way of creating tension and release.
You've probably noticed chromatic resolutions coming up a lot as well, i.e. playing a note one-half step either above or below the note you're about to play.
Generally, you want to place the note you're resolving to on a strong beat of the bar (usually the first or the third beat) so try playing around with creating basslines or fills that put a note a fifth above or below the root, or a note one half-step above or below on the 4th beat of the bar or the '4 and' of the bar. You could try this on the 2 or the '2-and' too.
For more information like this check out Ed Friedland's 'Building Walking Bass Lines'. It doesn't sound like a walking line would be appropriate for the music that you're listening to right now but the information in this book absolutely is.
When I'm playing this I'll typically use the same finger to fret the note across two strings and roll the finger across the two notes to play each one. This didn't come naturally to me, I had to work at it a lot. I played major /minor scales in ascending/descending 4ths to practice it . I find that if you can play these with the same finger (rather than one on each string) you can playing some pretty sick sounding fast pentatonic runs.
I'd be happy to clarify any of this if you'd like me to.
I am 21 (well, almost) and I've been playing guitar for two years now. This is how I went about it. I am in no way claiming this to be the best or most efficient way to learn though. First, I learned the major chords: D, A, G, F, E, and so on (I just googled "major chords"). I constantly played them whether it was while watching TV or sitting down and focusing on it. At the same time, I looked up tabs to music I enjoyed. One of the first pieces I learned was "Green Eyes" by Coldplay. It's a great one because it's got pretty much all the basic chords (and a lady killer if I may say so ;). Also if you take a look at the top tabs on Ultimate-Guitar, those are some good pieces to learn not only because they are good songs, but you'll learn a lot about playing guitar in the process. After about six or so months of this, I really wanted to jam, so I began learning scales. I began with a natural scale, then moved on to memorizing the pentatonic scales. I'm still working on that actually! I recently also ordered this book to help get more comfortable as well as a theory book. At the same time as learning all the scales and things I'm constantly looking up tabs, trying to pick up pieces by ear, and all around fiddling with my guitar! If I ever get frustrated, I put that bad boy down and do something else. Been playing for two years now almost every day and I love it. Just take it slow and easy.
The same way you learned the E string, you can learn the A string with A-shape barre chords. (Then you can learn the C, G and D shape barres.;)
I have spent some time using just about anything I could find for help with learning the fretboard. I use a little trainer app on my phone, and I also used this book. The author uses a system based on five patterns for finding all positions of any given note on the fretboard. ("Pattern 1 has roots on the second and fifth strings, two frets apart.")
In addition, as cthrubuoy says, knowing about the octaves is very useful.
Try learning just the natural notes, or try drilling yourself regularly. Put your finger behind a fret and then identify the note. Or pick a note and find all of them. 10 minutes of this a day can be a HUGE help.
I also memorized a few landmark notes on the fretboard. Places where E, F, B, and C are stacked on top of each other, for instance, helps to learn the notes around them. Also, knowing that in standard tuning the nut (open), the 5th, 10th, 12th, and 17th frets are all natural notes could be useful.
In the end, what works best is consistently applying yourself to getting it. Until I started working at it every day (a few months ago) I could pretty much tell you the E string, and some of the A string, and anything else I would have to count out.
My advice is to buy some books. There's a lot of info on the internet, but it's all spread out and often chopped up into pieces, which can make it a bitch to make sense of. If you're going to go the internet route, though, check out guitarlessonscom (not affiliated in any way). The vast majority of the lessons are free and the music theory section is completely free, not to mention very good.
Regarding books, this is a great, easy to read book on music theory that won't hurt your head. I'd start either here or with guitarlessons
For guitar books, Fretboard Logic is a must read. Definitely buy this. It focuses on the 5 position system (CAGED). If you're interested in learning the 7 position system for the major scales and other 7 note scales, check out guitarlessons
After that, I'd check out this as well.
Worth checking this out as well.
Here's another important book. I'd probably buy this last, though.
Learning to read music is probably most important. While there is more and more classical repertoire available in tab, the tendency is to get stuck in someone else's fingerings. People talk about classical as being very rigid and set in its ways but the freedom to play a note wherever it works best for you is one of the great strengths of the guitar. This is something that tab can take away from you. The "correct" position that is variously so lauded and derided is - at least today - a compromise of ergonomics and technical requirements. The guitar is not a very ergonomic instrument so apparatus usually needs to be brought in to play in order to get it in the right position but this position varies considerably from player to player. The main concern is that the music is playable; much of it would not be without full control of technique. "Proper" position is something that takes years, even decades, to figure out, I know players in their 60's who will tell me "I found this new support that works with my footstool, now my height is nearly perfect!"
Resist the temptation to attempt pieces that are too advanced too soon. You're going to do it, every player is, but the frustration of moving so slowly with little to no results is dangerous. I've heard so many students come in and play Asturias or Bouree (or any of the other "standards") without any concept of the pieces in a musical sense. They play the right notes mostly but there is no division of melody and harmony, no concept of counterpoint, dynamics or anything else that makes this music brilliant. These students often become completely dejected when they are told by a teacher, jury or audition panel that they are not nearly as good as think they are, in so many words. The problem usually comes from a poorly structured education, either from themselves or teacher(s), and jumping into material they don't yet understand.
I would strongly recommend finding a good teacher because any one book is not enough (there are a few good ones like Aaron Shearer's Learning the Classic Guitar and Pumping Nylon) but none of them cover everything you need and there will be some contradictions. In order to learn most effectively, you must do so without confusion and error. If you learn a mistake or bad habit, it will be more difficult to fix later on than if you never learned it wrong in the first place. If you don't understand what you're doing or why, you won't get very far with it. In the absence of a good teacher, I would get as many reputable instruction/method books as you can and read them all thoroughly.
This is a really short description of each, but hopefully will help.
CAGED system is a way of knowing how to play chords all over the neck. If you know the notes of the fretboard and where the root note is in each chord shape, then you can use that to play any chord, in any position using only the C, A, G, E and D chord shapes. If you're looking for a C chord near the 13th fret, there's an C on string 2 fret The D shape has the root note on the 2nd string, so if you play a D chord shape at the 12th position (which uses the C root note on the 2nd string), that'll be an C chord. Alternatively, you could think about it this way if a D chord is at the 14th position, slide a full step down to the 12th position and you'll have a C chord.
Next, if you know the scale positions and the root note within each, you can combine the CAGED system with scale positions and blend them.
The keys to understanding this are 1) understanding the CAGED system, 2) knowing scale positions (you mentioned pentatonic and mixolydian - just pick one scale type for a start), and 3) knowing the notes of the fretboard. Once you have a solid understanding of those, a bit of practice will get you over the hump with combining them.
The thing that helped me put all of this together (apart from hours of practice with backing tracks), was a book called Guitar Fretboard Workbook. The exercises are short and helped with memorizing note positions on the fretboard, and it has a good explanation of the CAGED system as well.
I hope this helps.
Edit: corrected chord name.
I've been playing for 17 years, and had my share of plateaus, but these days I can't wait to get home and practice, and I feel like I get better every time I pick up a guitar, even if its in a very small way.
I think this is partly because I am in a band again, and writing riffs and songs that will actually get played live. So I'm eager to make these songs awesome, then to take a break from working on songs, I'll just solo over something for a while for fun/technique.
Also, I recently quit drinking and smoking, so I have been channeling a lot of restless energy into the guitar.
I still feel the thrill, but I feel it more often when I have a sick drummer behind me and strangers in front of me.
I highly recommend the book Zen Guitar , it may sound a bit cheesy at times, but it really helps you to have a positive and practical attitude, and to forget about competitiveness and wankery and gear lust and other things that get in the way of you getting better. It also helped me realize that there is no such thing as 'the best'. He describes playing as a path with no end, and our goal is to always walk forward on it. Some people sit down on the path, others lose the way
I did exactly what you're explaining with my dad. The process takes a long time. I'd recommend starting with designing the body. If you want to design your own body, sketch it out, and GIVE VERY EXACT MEASUREMENTS ON THE STENCIL.
This includes the center line. EVERYTHING ON THE GUITAR IS BASED ON THAT CENTER LINE. The neck, pickups, and bridge all have to be exactly on that line.
Also you have to factor the scale of the neck you're planning to get. I got my neck from Warmoth. It's a great neck and I can't be happier with it, but a finished neck is around $
Back to the body: What wood do you want to use? Are you going to book end the wood if you're going to use a translucent finish (burst, dye, etc.) or are you going to just paint it? I dyed my guitar and used layers upon layers of laquer (~15 to be exact of museum quality finish).
Hardware is something else to consider. Stewart-MacDonald is a great site for that. Think pots, switches, tuners, bridges (stopbar too if you're doing a Gibson-style bridge), pickup rings if you're not using a pickguard, pickguard, neck plate for bolting the guitar on, etc.
Basically, there's a lot to consider when building a guitar. It's not easy at all, but if you have fun with it, you can build a hell of a guitar. I recommend buying a couple books on guitar building. This is one of the books I got. It's really good and I highly recommend it.
I know more by heart than you do. I also know how to use them.
You should check out The Guitar Grimoire series. This particular book has every mode of every 5, 6, 7, and 8 toned scale in context, in staff and tab, with the scale overview at the beginning of each scale section broken down into how the modes fit together and how they're created with super easy to translate charts and a list of chords each scale and mode works over.
It's tremendously comprehensive, as is the rest of the series. What's more, it directly shows how each example can be used in real music, because the author knows a lot of traditional theory as well as having explored set theory in a more comprehensive way than you have. He's also got books for chords, one for common chord progressions, one for exercises and more. It's a great series and highly recommended.
Edit: OH YEAH! He also relates everything from guitar back to a piano overhead shot so you can see how it lays out on the piano roll, so in a way this single book doubles for both guitar and piano.
last year i bought like 3 guitar books. two were mostly theory, but my favorite one was Guitar Aerobics. Its basically a book full of riffs, broken down into categories of different mechanical skills (alternate picking, barre chords, rhythm strumming patterns, sweep picking) spread out every week, with backing tracks and sample sound banks of the riff being played. Every day you have something different.
it starts off basing everything on the Am pentatonic and starts building on complexity as it progresses
I didn't really stick to it daily, but i really think it still improved my mechanical abilities a lot. I was basically only using downstrokes to pick but now i find myself naturally alternate picking even across strings.
my favorite aspect of it is that if you don't know how to practice, amd at a certain point in time you only have 10 minutes can open up the book to where you left off, do one of the exercises.
at <15$ on amazon it's cheaper than a guitar lesson but works great for supplementing your spontaneous "i have to learn this song" moments by helping you get the chops to handle harder stuff
Buy a book called The Guitar Handbook by Ralph Denyer.
I bought my copy a few months after I started learning (been playing for close to a decade now), and my only regret is not having bought it even sooner. It's tattered from use, but I still read it often and still find new things to learn. It's always in my flight case.
It has sections on any guitar related topic you can imagine: from biographies of influential guitarists to music theory to illustrated guides on how to rewire your electric guitar's pickups. It's essential, and I consider it worth at least ten times its price.
Edit: There's also a British guitar magazine called Guitar Techniques that I used to read up until about a year ago. I only stopped because importing the mag to South Africa became too pricey for me. It features top quality lessons by professional guitarists, tablature, music notation, exercises, articles, etc., as well as a CD with backing tracks, et al. A copy of the above-mentioned book plus a subscription to GT and some regular, disciplined practise will probably turn you into Eddie Van Halen :)
Good luck and have fun!
From a recommendation by this sub, I've been learning lead blues guitar from a book called "Blues You Can Use". I can't recommend the author and book enough. He also has other books in the series, but I'd start with this one. Then, if you get through his works and still want some more work in the blues vein, the author Joseph Alexander wrote some great stuff, like The Complete Guide to Playing Blues Guitar.
After that, I recommend using a few books on the "CAGED" system of learning scales/chords/patterns. In particular, some that have helped me are Joseph Alexander's The CAGED System and also Fretboard Logic.
Then, if your head hasn't already exploded, use Justin Guitar.
Real books are great. When you feel comfortable find a jazz jam in town, playing with people will help.
Here’s a book I enjoyed:
Building Walking Bass Lines
You should also get this book:
The Improvisers Bass Method Book
The improvisers bass method book is an industry standard. The beginning may be things you already know, but it does a great job providing you with practice techniques that will actually help translate knowledge to playing. I’d highly recommend both in addition to going through the real book. Outside of that just listen to some jazz. A lot of the key is listening. Go put on some Bill Evans or Miles or Mingus and listen to their bassists
While I'm a few years out of building my own, here's the thread that documented basically everything I did for mine: Link. I'd also highly recommend purchasing this book - there are some invaluable tips and hints scattered throughout it.
Overall mine was probably about $, but the main costs came from the pickups and components I used -- as a side note, good wood can be found for cheap if you do some thorough research. Additionally, I contracted out the fretboard to a local man who built guitars as a hobby, and that cost a few hundred IIRC.
As everyone else is saying, StewMac and the internet will be your best friends if you decide to move forward with building one. There are dozens of particle board/acrylic templates online that can be purchased and printed off. A good guitar can be built for only a few hundred dollars if you are patient and learn from your mistakes as you go. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
Start off by listening to a ton of jazz. Afterwards, learn your major, minor, dorian, and mixolydian scales/modes. Check youtube, there's a ton of good tutorials if you don't know them yet. Then buy a real book and start attempting to follow along with the changes. Start with just the root notes and later add the 3rds and 5ths. Here's a book that I think explains walking basslines pretty well, and another one if you're interested in soloing.
Here's a list of jazz songs most students learn early on:
All Of Me
All The Things You Are
A Night In Tunisia
Blue In Green
Blues For Alice
Body And Soul
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
A Fine Romance
The Girl From Ipanema
How High The Moon
My Funny Valentine
Song For My Father
Take The “A” Train
There Will Never Be Another You
Guitar Aerobics by Troy Nelson is a book I picked up to supplement my playing with Rocksmith. I do a daily technical exercise from it (it has of them that cover a variety of techniques, starting at an easy level and working up to an advanced one.)
I'm noticing it help me with my overall playing ability and would recommend it to anyone interested in boosting their chops, regardless of level :)
Guitar Aerobics: A Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique https://www.amazon.com/dp//ref=cm_sw_r_awd_vhcgvb0BKS7SR
Firstly, I never recommend going to GC for a setupGC is the WalMart of guitars. Instead, I highly recommend going to your local guitar shop where there are people dedicated to setting up guitars, and do so on a daily basis.
Knobs are usually just 'push on, pull off' toppers, so it is very possible the plastic 'head' of the control knob simply wasnt tight, or the threading on the pot itself was stripped, therefore not gripping that knob as well. If you bought it at GC, it is possible it was a recurring problem since before you bought it.
Note that there is a difference between 'acoustic' buzz (unplugged) and 'electric' buzz (plugged in). It is okay for a little bit of fret buzz on an unplugged electric guitarthis doesn't necessarily mean that the action is poor. However, if that fret buzzing passes through to your amplifier, you need to adjust your action.
Alternatively, if you are getting very terrible buzz, you may need to adjust the bridge itself (where the 'thumbscrews' you mentioned are) and raise the action. It is not very difficult, but if you don't feel confident take it to a guitar tech.
Here is an article going through a setup (albeit slightly more advanced) of a Les Paul guitar.
Here is a basic YouTube video discussing various pieces and how they affect action on a Les Paul.
In this video, Joe Walsh does a pretty decent job explaining the basics of a setup on a Les Paul.
Also keep in mind that thicker strings on a guitar = more tension on the neck.
Don't be afraid of your guitar! You only learn from adjusting it yourself. It can be intimidating at first, but once you do it several times you will feel much more confident. Like I said, don't be shy about taking it to a trained technician at a local guitar store.
I hope this information was helpful.
Also, for some quality reading material, check out Dan Erlewine's 'How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great'very useful to have sitting around
A little late to the party but you sound just like me dude, was playing tabs and could do a few scales, but when I wanted to start playing triads and stuff, I needed to learn sheet music. I bought this book off Amazon and sat down 10 hours a week going through it. It does a good job of going string by string, showing you the notes applied to actual sheet music. There’s some tab examples but after a month or so I didn’t need them anymore. It really helps if you say the note you’re playing as you play it too.
Hal Leonard Bass Method - Complete Edition: Books 1, 2 and 3 Bound Together in One Easy-to-Use Volume! https://www.amazon.com/dp//ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_C.xyCbV7M9AWF
Since you seem to enjoy working through things on your own, I'd suggest working from front-to-back with a good bass method book, like Ed Friedland's 3-volume set. You'll be able to move through the early material easily, but it will force you to read. Reading is essential to moving forward and you can't really develop a complete understanding of theory if you can't read.
As others have said, joining a band is a great idea for moving past your plateau. In addition, you can use playalongs (music with all the instruments except for bass) from youtube, the web at large, or through programs like Band-in-a-Box or apps like iRealb. These are all good for working on rhythm and developing your own lines.
I'm working through Troy Nelson's Guitar Aerobics at the moment, and it's really excellent. What makes it is the structure: exercises, one for each day of the year. The techniques repeat on each day of the week. e.g. Monday is always an alternate-picking exercise, Wednesday is always a string-bending exercise, etc. The exercises build on each other, they start off easy and get progressively more difficult. But they do so in an incremental and logical way so you don't feel lost (at least I'm not so far, 6 weeks in).
I'm finding it great to help nail the various techniquesyou practice a 2-bar hammer-on lick for half an hour, you'll get the technique pretty well down. Whereas if it was part of a longer song, it'd be easy to half-ass it and move on to the next bit before you'd really got it right.
The structure of the book, where you have your practice plan laid out for you for the next year, is a good motivator too.
Your questions are pretty broad theory questions and the FAQ should cover most of them or at least help point you in the right direction. If you've been playing for 15 years but don't know what a Cmaj7 is, you have a hill to climb, but not an impossible one.
It seems like your questions are theory based, you already know basic chords, so start with learning basic music theory. What notes make a scale?, Do you know your notes on the fretboard?, What notes of a scale do I use to make a chord? What are intervals? You don't have to be an expert in theory to be a great guitarist , but you have to know the basics, and should be able to answer these questions. This book is a great resource.
A lot of bass players swear by this book and for a good reason too. I personally don't own it, but when I used to take lessons my teacher would use it and my playing improved tremendously. If you wan't to learn why bass is played like it is today, get this book.
As for my listening reccomendations:
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)- the man practically invented pop rock bass playing.
John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)- you would think that the guy playing in the biggest hard rock band of all time would be rather straightforward, but he could do it all. JPJ came from a studio player and could do jazz, blues, funk, you name it. He and John Bohnam could straight up hold it down.
Geddy Lee (Rush)- Sure Rush is technical and flashy (that's kind of the point) but Geddy Lee is the epitome of power trio bassists. He carries the melody, fills space, holds down time, and sings. At the same time.
Get this book. It's been a tremendous help to me.
I also recommend getting the free trial of Scott's Bass Lessons and going through the Bass Guitar Foundations course.
With learning any instrument, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run. Having strong fundamental skills will save you a lot of frustration down the road.
I'm not much of a pick player, but I've watched one of my favorite bassists who exclusively uses a pick, and she anchors her pinky finger below the bottom string on the body of the bass. I tried it, and I found it helpful. She (and, I believe, most pick players do this) also wraps her thumb over the top of the fretboard to mute the top string when she's playing the string beneath it, and when she frets a note, she uses that finger to mute the strings below it. Here's a video of her playing (it's an acoustic bass, but everything still applies).
Over the years it's faded a bit, but the artist did such a great job. It was supposed to be a Japanese-calligraphy style. Originally it looked like it had very detailed brush strokes that were cool. I really should get it touched up after 15 years.
I got the design from the book 'Zen Guitar' by Philip Sudo. Do yourself a huge favor and get the book. It's a must-have for guitar players. It totally changed the way that I approach music back then.
I think this is pretty well written, it's stickied in the BHO Theory subforum and covers the essentials well: common chord progressions and scales that go well in the context of the particular chord in the progression (and somebody also asks about what keys songs are in) http://www.banjohangout.org/topic/
That theory subforum doesn't get a lot of threads but there is a lot of good explanations in older threads
What book/s are you using with your teacher? Most of them cover chords and scales in the context of soloing and playing backup rolls or vamping. You could look at the books by Ned Luberecki and Janet Davis and Trischka's Complete 5 string wehre they gradually introduce basic bluegrass chord progressions, pentatonic, blues and diatonic (8 notes/octave) scales.
Also if you play guitar i remember Kolb's book being good: https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Guitarists-Everything-Wanted/dp/X
If I were you I'd look into Justin Guitar for a solid base and to just get you playing songs. He's produces the best internet lessons I've seen and they're all free. He's an amazing teacher and is very entertaining in his lessons. Start with the beginner's course and work your way to intermediate and then into specific areas you want to learn.
I also enjoyed this book. It covers basic music theory and how to navigate the guitar.
Short answer is with your wrist. You also want to ingrain good habits now, that will help you with string skipping, speed, etc, later. First, don't hold the pick between the tips of your fingers and definitely don't use your fingers to move the pick. The fingers hold the pick, your wrist is what moves it. The pick should rest between your thumb tip and the side of your index finger (not the tip). Tighten your grip by making a complete fist, rather than squeezing two fingers.
It's best to not anchor your pinky/ring finger onto the body of the guitar for stability. If you're making a fist, you'll be less inclined to do this. Try to train for accuracy without anchoring and it will pay dividends later. Ideally your only anchor should be your forearm against the guitar body's edge. Lightly anchoring the wrist against the bridge is OK, and sometimes actually necessary to mute strings, either to palm mute the string actually being played, or to silence the lower strings when playing the higher ones not being muted.
You should also be angling your pick on two separate planes. The more important of these being the string horizontal plane. That is, you don't want to hold your pick perfectly horizontal to the string, but rather angle it a bit so your downstroke strikes with the nut (headstock) end of the pick first (the other end being the bridge side). You also want to pick in such a way that your downstroke ends slightly under the strings and your upstroke ends slightly above. Not as important as the horizontal plane, but this second tip will help with moving from string to string.
Start practicing your alternate picking on a single string, using just a single finger on your fretting hand, if necessary.
Use Amazon's "look inside" feature to check out the first exercise in this book. Once you can do that, you can progress to multi-string patterns. With multi-string patterns, you'll have to be more mindful of upstrokes and downstrokes, as they relate to the movement from string to string, but always try to stick to the up/down repitition and try to avoid throwing in consecutive down/down or up/up.
Use a metronome and start as slow as necessary to maintain accuracy. Once you can repeat a pattern flawlessly, bump up the BPM's, rinse, repeat.
EDIT: Fixed Link
Any good theory book will keep you plenty busy for at least a couple months, just getting the basic fundamentals down. No point in paying a teacher to guide you through that process.
That book is by no means the only decent one out there. That same author actually wrote the "For Dummies" series for Guitar Theory, which is pretty well reviewed, though I can't vouch for it personally, as I've never read it.
This is another one I could recommend. It's ridiculously short ( pages, or just two-thirds the length of Fretboard Theory), but in a good way. It's more of a TL;DR quick reference guide, where Fretboard Theory gets a little bit more into application. But both are short books. The basic theory at work is surprisingly compact and deceptively simple.
Another book I recommend all the time is "The Handbook". They should hand out a copy with every Squire Strat starter pack they sell at Guitar Center. If you only ever own one guitar book, that should be it. Not strictly a theory book. It more of an owner's manual for a guitar.
I was in the same boat as you, BTW. Been playing since I was Only bothered to actually start learning after 20 years or so of noodling aimlessly. It's been revelatory. Hope your experience is the same.
If you're looking to improve your technique (chops), i HIGHLY recommend checking out guitar aerobics
Its broken down into daily minute segments. Really easy to get through it, since it comes accompanying audio tracks that progressively pick-up the BPM. The lesson itself has both notation and tabs (so you can use what you're comfortable with, or try to pick up reading some notation)
Starts of real basic, so in the first two days I did the first week or two. In two weeks I improved so much more than I had in the 6 years I'd been playing up to that point. Forcing you do a technique PROPERLY at slow BPM is just as important as being able to do it quickly.
Best $20 I ever spent on guitar.
I wouldn't normally recommend a book, but Bass Fitness has the perfect exercises for getting your left hand fingers to get used to moving independently. If money's tight, just take a look at the first few pages on amazon and you can get an idea of what the exercises are. Play even just those first few chromatic patterns up and down the neck again with a metronome and your motor control should start to shape up pretty quickly.
Like blackfiremoose said, Guitar Pro and slow the song down along with turning on the metronome. It will help you immensely. You can look up cover songs on youtube to see how someone else plays too, to get an idea of how to play the song. Use those two together and you'll learn how to play tightly/cleanly.
As far as breaking down technique, it might be better to take a couple lessons. Plenty of metal guitarists offer lessons and will help you one on one. I know for sure that Dave Davidson from Revocation and Reese Scruggs from Havok do them. I also recommend getting The Guitarist's Grimoire. That will teach you all the scales and modes you'll ever need.
Bass Fitness is, for me, the golden standard to which I hold all guitar practice books. It's a no-nonsense text that offers little in the way of guidance or assistence, but stick with it and you will notice a difference in your playing in due time. It's not perfect by any means -- in fact it is quite rough around the edges -- but it works.
For more general resources, check out Bass Tips, which features of a plethora of different tips and tricks for the working musician -- everything from set-up and maintenance, to technique, to recording and tone, and much more. It's also accompanied by a CD with examples and practice songs you can play along to.
Once you've got the basics down and you're ready to move into the more advanced facets of bass playing, you might want to try out some books on musical theory. I suggest this, this, and these. Hope these help!
Always warm up before playing. Take 5 minutes to do a 1 2 3 4 finger pattern up and down the neck. Bonus points if you use a metronome.
Switch up the pattern for a good finger dexterity practice exercise. E.g. 1 3 2 4, 1 4 2 3, 4 3 2 1, etc
Start by doing these across one string and then slowly start incorporating multiple strings.
This book is a great resource for these types of exercises.
Get a Hal Leonard Bass Method Book. It's fucking great. Definitely the best 15 dollars you can spend to help learn bass. You can read a lot of awesome information without actually owning the bass yet. Once you get your bass, every single page in that book has something for you to practice or learn.
Take private lessons! I teach privately and there’s something so awesome about working WITH someone directly (vs learning thru YouTube or something) — also if you don’t know how to already, learning how to read music would definitely give you a leg up as a musician in general and might give you a different perspective to things you’re already doing well now.
I love the Hal Leonard book for bass, the wound one has books in it and is very affordable ($15):
There’s so many gigs I can say YES to because I know how to read music, so if you can play by ear already learning how to read music will definitely make you a more well rounded musician.
OK, I've recommended this book on this subreddit before and will continue to. This book is amazing. Advanced Modern Rock Guitar Improvisation by Jon Finn is pretty spectacular. I took the class that he wrote the book around and it's pretty eye opening. I can't rep a single book harder when it comes to just straight ahead practical rock playing with a solid theoretical background.
After that, Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene is a classic and every guitar player should have a copy.
I'm self taught and I explored anything I could come up with. I like math, therefore a Matrix like webpage inspired me to work on scales.
means 1st of Dorian. The major scale's intervals are known as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. You'll pretty much see this noted in any scale reference book. The Guitar Grimoire is a good example. http://astore.amazon.com/themachiguita/detail/
The Dorian mode has a flat 3rd and 7th. 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
In short, a whole column would go where the red arrow is in the following pic. http://i.imgur.com/KxEb4.png The other columns would go where the other 6 highlighted arrows are.
Therefore, it's best just to learn CoFmachine Chart 1. Same thing.
So to a beginner bassist I would recommend two different study materials.
First buy this DVD, Groove Workshop. It's basically a lecture with exercises on the different components of music as it relates to the bass. One of the largest take-aways is that the notes you play are WAY less important than how you play them. They don't have the clip on youtube, but here is him doing something similar live. On the DVD it's just incredibly well done. He lists all the notes in a G major scale, then only plays the "wrong notes" (notes not in the scale) as Wellington lays down a chordal pattern in G. He then switches to playing in G major and the moment he does this, the G major sounds terrible. When he was playing out of key it was aesthetically pleasing, but when he switches to in key he changes how he's playing and it sounds more discordant.
Second, buy this book on building walking basslines. It's a great introduction to walking bass lines. The point here isn't to remember the notes, but rather the patterns and the feel of "walking".
But for more immediate tips do this. Play the root on the kick, the 5th on the snare, and embellish with the octave and 7th in time with the drummer's fills. You can move up to the 5th by hitting the 4th and down from the 7th with stops along the way at the 6th and the 3rd. If you really want to outline the chords play the root 3rd 5th, but be warned this sounds tired very fast.
The above is just my opinion and is provided merely as a quick outline to start getting the feel of moving around a chord.
I mean, you can always buy one of the many many instructional books that are out there. Hal Leonard is a pretty well-known company, and it's probably good to have some kind of reference or learning books around for looking things up.
The other thing I'd suggest is basing it around the types of music or songs you want to learn. There's some super basic stuff that you should learn like keeping in tune, knowing the strings, basic open chords, etc; but beyond that it might be worth making a list of decently easy songs you want to learn and what techniques or concepts you'd need to learn to be able to play them.
When I started out (back in or so) I found a website that had a bunch of beatles tabs, and I learned chords and various types of playing styles to go with the songs I wanted to learn.
You would try taking some online courses from Berklee.
I'd also recommend getting Guitar Pro and dloading plenty of tabs from Ultimate-Guitar.com, since it's much easier than looking for old copies of Guitar for the Practicing Musician and such.
Lessons are good, but beware that you'll be made to concentrate on the fundamentals of music, which many pupils think is not related to playing guitar.
Finally, if you're learning to sight-read, probably good to start at the beginning, such as with the Hal Leonard Guitar Method set of books. If you're interested, I wrote a small python app that writes randomized music based on which notes you choose, so that you can get around the problem of having memorized the notes on the exercises (so that you are actually forced to sight-read). It works quite well, since it creates notation for only the notes you want, and coupled with the method books, is very useful for getting a good sense of sight-reading.
All parts has a sale on second bodies right now for $ Eyguitar music link has the other parts you will need ,they also have bodies, for pretty cheap. If you got your parts from those two sources it would be in the range your'e looking at.
I should mention that I've built a grand total of one guitar so I'm by no means an expert but I did spend a lot of time trying to source cheap parts.
As for assembly instructions I would check around the internet or maybe some of the other redditors can help out. I did find the guitar player repair guide really useful.
EY Guitar Shopping list
Strat Tele Gutiar String Tree Retainer Neck custom CR -- US$
1Set,Big Size Strap End Pin,Chrome Finish, for Acoustic,Electric Guitar,Bass -- US$
PACK12PCS* Strap Pin,End Pin Felt Washers,Vitage White -- US$
PACK 6PCS,Telecaster Chrome String Mounting Through Ferrule -- US$
New Chrome Neck Plate w/ Screw fit Fender Strat Tele -- US$
pack15pcs,telecaster bridge mounting screw chrome -- US$
10pcs,19mm Straight Pickup Height Springs,For Telecaster Neck or Bridge pickup adjusting,Chrome Finish -- US$
Amercian Standard Tele pickguard 3 ply white -- US$
Tele Jack plate Cup For your Tele body custom,Chrome,Metric Thread -- US$
New,Natural Color in Satin Finish,Telecaster Neck 21 fret,Rosewood Fingerboard,10mm or mm, machine head mounting hole,White Dot,free shipping -- US$
Tele Bridge Chrome 6 saddle String through body style_ -- US$
Chrome Grover 6 INLINE C6 Mid-Size Rotomatic Tuners -- US$
3 Meters ( Feet) Coated Hook Up Wires,22awg,style : Red -- US$
3 Meters ( Feet) Coated Hook Up Wires,22awg,style : White -- US$
Artec Tele bridge alnico,TRA US$
Artec Tele neck Alnico Chrome,TFAC -- US$
Eyguitar Total: $
add the body from allparts.com $60
Approximate total shipping (I'm guessing here) $70
Grand Total: $
Hope that helps.
Edit: Formatting & added Total
Edit 2: I just thought about it and you may also need to get screws attaching the neck & pickguard. You can get them from all parts.
Also, you'll probably need to use a drill press, people please correct me if I'm wrong, to add the holes for attaching the neck / pick guard.
I learned from a teacher for like 5 years and used a wide variety of texts. The Standard Guitar Method was my preferred series of lesson books, while The Guitar Grimoire is probably the most useful single book if you know how to use it. Cheesy as it may be, a subscription to Guitar World magazine is great because it provides you with fresh material every month, at least some of which will be useful (both in terms of technique and sound). The Alchemical Guitarist was my favorite column back in the day, it provided me with a lot in terms of solo improvisation and theory. It warped my entire approach to the instrument, because I became so much stronger in lead roles.
Both Bass Aerobics and Bass Fitness are aimed at helping with these sorts of things.
Fitness can be very dry and is more of an exercise book with, in my opinion, lots of basic patterns then stretched out. Personally I don't need tab/score to say "play , , etc. until you go through every possibler iteration of fingering across every string", but it has that sort of exercises along with others.
Aerobics, on the other hand, is trying to be much more musical. Each etude is intended to be both exercise along with actually sounding like something. So, for example, it starts off by using pieces that consist of a lot of chromatic runs. The problem is that the speed and difficulty tend to ramp up pretty fast and it devotes what I feel is far too much space to slap. The later chapters are far more challenging than I feel is necessary. I'd suggest more of a low-stress, high-rep approach personally.
Oh and to get back to what I mentioned earlier one of the exercises I keep coming back to is to go through every iteration of fingering in a one-finger-per-fret position, e.g. , , , , etc. then start moving those across the strings with first one and then multiple fingers always playing on one string while the others move up and down:
Work through this and eventually you'll have covered every possible fingering. As always use a metronome to keep your timing consistent starting slow to build up muscle memory and then slowly increasing the speed.
Books are a great idea. Not necessarily books of TABs, or method books though, unless he's specifically asked for something they can be a personal choice thing.
Coffee table type books with lots of pictures and articles on guitar history, blues history etc are always a good gift. Or an all-round encyclopedia book (like Ralph Denyer's Guitar Handbook )
Then again Rocksmith would be a good gift for a player as well.
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The Best Beginner Guitars For Easy Learning
Click here to jump straight to the reviews!
Learning to play guitar is a pretty intimidating concept. In most cases, the person thinking about getting into guitars has never really had extended or informed contact with musical instruments before. Which is fine, that's how we all start.
Although understanding the basics of a guitar is complicated enough as it is, let alone trying to play with some semblance of skill, the real confusion starts when you try to find a good beginner option.
The advice floating around out there is usually geared to intermediates and experts. But what about our underserved community of beginners?
No worries, we've got your back. As you have probably guessed by now, this is exactly what we are going to talk about today. The goal of this guide is to arm you with all the necessary information you could need as a beginner to make an informed decision before making a purchase.
We are going to break some misconceptions and lay down some hard truths. Then we have some hand selected electric and acoustic recommendations for those on the hunt. With that said, let's get started.
The Best Guitar for Beginners Has These Features
One of the main concerns of new guitar players is whether or not their first guitar will cut it. In most cases, the answer is going to be a strong yes. A good beginner guitar will have everything you could possibly need in order to get started and not too much more.
You don't necessarily want all of the added complexity in the early stages of learning to play. With that said, you should also realize that there's a real connection between price and performance, too. You likely do and this is where the fear arises, but it's not a problem.
What we mean by this is that a starter guitar is cheaper because the manufacturer chose to cut corners in few places. Does that make the guitar bad?
Not necessarily, because these aren't choices that affect performance, just maintenance. Beginner guitars are made with that specific purpose in mind, to keep you learning instead of stuck tinkering.
Here's the type of features you will often run into with a good guitar for beginners
Looking at the hardware, you are mostly going to see basic components. In other words, the bridge will likely be a simple fixed design, while the tuners won't be a locking type.
There are some exceptions to this unwritten rule. Certain beginner guitars feature tremolo bridges, but it is highly recommended to stay away from those for now.
The main reason for this is the fact that tremolo bridges require precision manufacturing as well as proper materials. Otherwise, they can really make playing guitar complicated.
With some guitars, just using the tremolo bridge can knock the instrument out of tune. And that's with a costly option, let alone a cheap one. This isn't something you want to deal with as an amateur.
When it comes to pickups for beginner electric guitars, most models will still feature the most basic stuff here too. What this means is that almost every guitar in this category is going to have passive pickups.
One of the most popular styles of beginner electric guitars like this is the Stratocaster. It's easy to see why considering this is one of the most legendary models out there for professionals and starters alike.
The only issue with Strats is that they usually feature single-coil pickups. This type of pickup suffers from what is known as coil buzz. It is a type of interference in the signal, which is impossible to get rid of. This issue is present with top tier guitars too, but is exponentially amplified on cheaper guitars.
For that reason alone, we strongly suggest that you look into a guitar that packs a set of humbuckers, which are double-coil pickups that 'buck the hum' through noise-canceling tech. If you want to know how they work, here is a great explanation, but all you need to know is even the cheapest humbuckers won't suffer from coil buzz.
Features You Won’t See on Beginner Guitars
Now that we know what beginner guitars generally offer, there are certain aspects in which they are lacking compared to more expensive models. From a distance, it's really hard to figure out whether a guitar is a top tier one or not.
There are some giveaways, but these are definitely not a rule either since some professionals prefer simplicity in function and look. Here are some clues to help you figure it out:
Fit, Finish, & Quality Control
While it is not necessarily a feature, the overall build quality in a beginner option is not going to be equivalent to that of a pro model. To give you an example, a more expensive guitar is going to be fairly polished. This means a smooth neck with precisely machined frets and tight tolerances all around.
On the other hand, cheaper guitars will show much more rugged edges and fitment. Aesthetics are kept at a minimum as well.
You won't see mind-blowing finishes, nor things like the binding on the top or neck of the guitar. Instead, most affordable beginner guitars will offer the most basic finish and accoutrements possible.
In all honesty, aesthetics aren't that important, nor are they a metric by which you should gauge any guitar's quality in performance. A top tier finish is often times expensive without adding any tangible audio quality or boost to player performance.
Active pickups and electronics are something that is reserved for mid range and high-end electric guitars. Not only are the pickups a bit more complex to manufacture, but there are also built in preamps which aren't cheap either.
Do you need an active set of pickups? No, but you might want them. This will depend on your taste, style, and genre of music you're playing. There are plenty of guitar players out there who prefer a high-end set of passive pickups over active ones. Passive electronics are inherently a lot more expressive.
The main appeal of active pickups is their boosted output. However, there are plenty of passive humbuckers for example, which are pretty hot as well:
Again, it all comes down to what kind of tone you want. One is not inherently better than the other, especially with all of the post-processing methods we have in effects pedals, amplifiers, and in mixing.
One of the biggest problems most beginner guitars have is hardware. The pickups are fine for the most part, but your bridge and tuners can give you a lot of trouble. There's good and bad news regarding this. The good news is that hardware on beginner guitars keeps getting better and better.
The bad news is that you still won't see eternally reliable components in this segment of the market (or any market). In practical terms, this means that your tuners won't hold a key for as long a period of time as more expensive options. This is especially true if you go hard on string bends or similar maneuvers.
Swapping the hardware for an aftermarket set is possible, but it is rarely worth doing considering the price of such a project. On the bright side, having to check and adjust your tuning from time to time builds good habits which will serve you well later on.
Knowing how to tune fast and change strings can't be avoided. And you'll be doing this regardless, so slipping out of tune is still a better choice than dealing with more technical guitar set-up chores.
Why Choose the Best Starter Guitar Over a Pricier Option?
One of the most common questions new guitar players ask is why even go for a beginner guitar when you can just get a much better one right away? There are several reasons why, besides the guitar maintenance related one emphasized above.
Some of them are obvious, others not so much. Here are the most important ones.
Getting Started Sooner
If we were to take an average beginner who is interested in learning guitar, chances are that they don’t have a massive budget to work with. Getting a mid range or high-end guitar as their first one would probably require a long time of saving money.
In that case, getting a beginner model is a far better solution. Upgrading later is always an option, but mastery takes a long time, so getting started sooner is better.
Truth is that you won’t be able to appreciate the qualities of a high-end guitar anyways. As a beginner, it will all sound and feel the same. With that in mind, why spend all that extra money?
Hands-on experience is much more valuable to you as a beginner than the quality of your instrument. Building your skill, learning technique and getting familiar with a guitar is invaluable.
There's the risk, too, that you'll save up and buy a higher-end model that you later realize is the exact opposite of what you'd prefer, but didn't know because you didn't learn through experience first.
Simple Is Better
When you're just starting out, you want to spend most of your time and effort mastering the basics of guitar playing. The very last thing you want to deal with are complicated tremolo bridges or super sensitive on-board preamps. This isn’t to say that you can’t learn to work with these systems. However, they are a distraction.
There will be plenty of time to get into Floyd Rose bridges and on-board equalizing when you gain some experience. For example, tuning a guitar or changing strings on a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge takes quite a bit of time.
These tremolos are complicated, overly sensitive, and require a deeper understanding of how a guitar bridge works and you risk screwing it up and needing to start over.
Beginner Guitars Make Life Easier
Here’s one thing that not many guitar players like to talk about. When you get your first guitar, it will take some time to get used to the shape, weight and overall feel of the instrument in your hands.
It is not uncommon for beginners to bang the guitar on furniture, store it in ways that would make veteran players audibly cringe, carrying it poorly by the neck or sound hole, and so forth.
With high-end guitars, learning how to not mistreat an instrument can be pretty expensive. Fixing a quality finish costs quite a bit of money, while it’s not even possible in some cases. On the other hand, mistreating a cheap beginner guitar won’t hurt nearly as much.
In terms of electric guitars, most damage to the body is only going to be an aesthetic one. However, if you bang up a decent acoustic guitar, it could permanently change the performance of that instrument. Not only will you change how your guitar sounds, but good luck selling it without taking a huge hit in the process.
You definitely don’t want to damage the instrument too much, but at least you won’t get a headache because you bumped your precious guitar on the table again.
One statistic that is rarely talked about are guitar players who tried learning guitar and then gave up. They aren't a small minority and you likely personally know some people in this group.
The moment you purchase a guitar, it depreciates in value. That’s just how things are and it’s not a phenomenon exclusively related to guitars.
In an off chance that you decide to give up on playing guitar, you will lose less money by reselling a cheap beginner model or throwing it in a closet than a more expensive one.
There will always be some loss involved, but it won’t be as hard on your finances. This is extremely important if you're gifting a teenager or friend a guitar, even if they've expressed a huge interest.
Now let's move on to our top recommendations for both electric and acoustic guitars for beginners.
The Best Beginner Guitars
First we'll take a look at the top three options for electrics and then acoustics.
Note: Each image and text link leads to Amazon.com where you can read additional user reviews, find specific technical detail listings, see additional body finishes, and make your purchase.
Best Beginner Electric Guitar
After all this talk about why a getting a beginner guitar is a smart choice, let's take a look at our three favorite models which have proven to be great for amateurs to learn on. These are the best electric guitars for beginners, starting with our top pick and then our two favorite alternatives.
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
No list of beginner electric guitars would be complete without one Squier Strat. These guitars have been the staple of learning how to play this instrument for decades. Back in the day when Squier first started selling these, it took some time for them to acquire the reputation they deserved.
However, these days that's changed and you'll be hard pressed not to find this recommendation and for good reason. What we have here is a copy of Fender’s famous Stratocaster. The Squier Affinity Stratocaster brings that same body shape, same aesthetics, and same pickup configuration.
What is really interesting about this Strat is the fact that Squier used the same tonewood that Fender uses, with the only difference being they didn't spring for the choicest wood cuts to keep the price low. They're both actually the same company!
The three single coil pickups are decent and these latest models have far fewer problems with coil buzz than their predecessors. Three pickups offer a hotter signal than one as well. The tone is great, offering much of that vintage vibe we associate with Stratocasters.
The finish and build quality is above average (with 8 finish colors options with solids or sunbursts) for starter guitars, although the hardware does fit the expectations of a beginner choice. From a beginner's point of view, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster offers a great balance of performance, aesthetics, and price.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Affinity's passive pickups won’t really handle high gain distortion live an active pickup solution would. That is an issue all single coil systems have, but especially cheaper ones. This is fine for most genres, but may not be the best option for something like heavy metal, but we cover that below with the Ibanez and Schecter options below.
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The Go-To Staple for Beginners
Ibanez GIO Series GRGDX
Compared to the Squier we have just mentioned, the GRGDX from Ibanez is on a completely opposite end of the spectrum. First of all, the guitar looks like a million bucks. They have chosen several great finishes (I love the walnut finish pictured above) and paired them with all black hardware and a bound Wizard type neck.
Scratching the surface reveals a proper mahogany body, which already indicates what this guitar was designed to do. Mahogany is a hard wood that offers plenty of sustain but also a pretty bright sound. In other words, it’s a hard rock metal machine in its core. The level of build quality is really surprising for this segment of the market. You will hardly find a guitar that looks as good as this one, too.
The pickups Ibanez has chosen for this build is a set of their IBZ-6 passive humbuckers. In order to make them a bit more appealing, Ibanez put a black plastic cover on top. The sound you can expect to get is fairly balanced. However, it is no secret that distortion is the IBZ-6's strong hand.
Another reason why this GRG model is worth checking out is the neck. Ibanez Wizard necks are famous for being fast and comfortable. The secret is in the width of the neck. Compared to most other neck profiles out there, these are pretty slim. Even though the unit on this guitar is not necessarily a true Wizard neck, it is pretty close.
All in all, this is one of the best guitars to learn on, especially due to the ease of fingering along the neck.
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An Unbelievably Handsome Guitar
Schecter SGR C-1
Our last beginner electric model comes from Schecter, or to be more exact, their SGR department. Schecter is known for building some of the better guitars for metal, and that has translated well into their affordable lineup. The Schecter SGR C-1 we are looking at here certainly offers some of the traits which undoubtedly make it a true Schecter.
This guitar features an arched top and your choice of three beautiful solid color finishes. The neck is a maple unit with a rosewood fretboard and no special frills, just the features you'd expect and demand. This, plus the shape of the body and the way its balance sits in your hands, make it a very comfortable guitar to play.
The hardware comes in the form of a Tune-o-Matic bridge, which is essentially a simple but proven design. Aside from reliability, this type of bridge also adds a bit of extra sustain. Schecter installs two passive humbuckers which are fairly hot considering their price and quality.
You can count on solid distortion handling and plenty of sonic girth for heavier genres and the delicacy needed for lighter genres. We should point out that a soft-shell gig bag is included, so don't go hunting for one if you decide to snag one of these axes.
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The Right Choice for the Metal Enthusiast
Best Beginner Acoustic Guitar
The choices in the acoustic segment are just as great. As you are about to see, there are some truly awesome acoustic guitars you can get at a decent price.
The ones we have picked have proven their performance countless times and are absolutely reliable for learners. Let's first look at our pick for the best starter acoustic guitar and then our two alternative choices.
Epiphone used to be the brand you turn to if you couldn’t afford a Gibson. While that is still true for higher-end models, Epiphone has built a pretty respectable reputation of their own for affordable options. The Epiphone DR we're looking at here is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners thanks to the balance of decent materials, great performance, and a great build quality.
The body shape of choice is a dreadnought, which is great since you get decent comfort and lots of loudness. The top of the guitar is made of spruce which is about as standard as it gets, even for higher-end models. Its solid top is paired with a laminate back and sides, and a choice of three different finishes.
The neck is a mahogany piece that features a rosewood fretboard. Just by the looks of it, you can already notice the finish. Epiphone is one of those companies that takes it a step further with the bells and whistles, even in their affordable segment. As awesome as this is, the absolute best thing about this guitar is the tone.
Being a dreadnought means that you get plenty of sonic volume, good projection, and a fairly wide lower end. With that said, the trebles and mids are tight, well-defined and fairly warm. The DR is a great choice for a first acoustic guitar, no matter how you look at it.
Check Price on Amazon
The Balanced Choice for Beginners
Here is another great dreadnought design coming to us from Jasmine. If you have started to notice a pattern in body shapes of these acoustic guitars, you are not the only one. The dreadnought shape has been the most popular type of acoustic guitars for decades now, which has extended to the affordable range.
The Jasmine S35 offers a solid top made of spruce, while the sides come in form of a nato laminate. The neck is a standard nato piece with an equally standard rosewood fretboard. Overall, everything looks and feels well put together. Compared to some other beginner models, the S35 is at the upper end of the scale when it comes to build quality and dependability.
Tone-wise, you get a powerful sonic quality with a well-balanced response across the full frequency spectrum. The trebles cut through brightly, while the tight mids and fairly wide lows give the sound a lot of body. All things considered, the Jasmine S35 is an affordable, yet reliable way to get into acoustic guitars on a budget.
Check Price on Amazon
A Balanced & Loud Tone to Grow With
Last but not least, we have the FA from Fender. It follows the same pattern as the models we have talked about previously. In other words, it's a properly built dreadnought acoustic guitar without the costly frills of higher-end models.
The aesthetics are slightly different, with this being a bit more of a tame visual choice. The core performance is still there and not everyone wants the looks of the guitar to detract from the attention that should be paid to the sound.
The top, which is arguably the most important part of acoustic guitar’s body, is made of spruce. That is a pretty solid choice considering the price you're asked to pay. The back and sides are made of basswood and fit well into the overall sound profile.
Speaking of the sound profile, the Fender FA offers a strong tone with plenty of headroom. The lows are a bit tighter than you might find elsewhere, but that is nothing unusual and can be considered a plus, depending on your goal. The mids and trebles are extremely refined. They're sharp, clear, and full of definition. With a proper set of strings, you can really turn this pup into an absurdly nice fingerstyle guitar.
The hardware Fender has chosen is average among the starter market. The tuners are standard die cast units and hold the key fairly well. Just keep in mind that excessive string bends will eventually knock it out of key, like on any other guitar. Overall, the FA is a solid beginner choice that won't let you down.
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Visually Subdued With a Refined Tone
Get the Best Beginner Guitar to Learn on, Not Grow With!
The best beginner guitars should be looked at as tools. Their main purpose is to give you a platform which you can use to learn the basics of guitar playing without bogging down in tech work.
With that said, a proper beginner guitar will be more than good enough to last you well into your intermediate phase. At the start of your journey, a cheaper guitar in your hand is much more useful than an expensive one in a catalog that you're saving up for instead of actively practicing.
Don’t obsess with various features and specs at the expense of hands-on experience. That’s just a wrong way to go about learning how to play guitar. Just get the best beginner guitar you can and start your journey sooner than later!
Jared H.Jared has surpassed his 20th year in the music industry. He acts as owner, editor, lead author, and web designer of LedgerNote, as well as co-author on all articles. He has released 4 independent albums and merchandise to global sales. He has also mixed, mastered, & recorded for countless independent artists. Learn more about Jared & The LN Team here.
What are reddit's favoriteAcoustic Guitar Beginner Kits?
From billion comments
Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar, Natural
$50 - $
Best Choice Products 38in Beginner Acoustic Guitar Starter Kit w/Case, Strap, Tuner, Pick, Strings - Natural
$50 - $
Best Choice Products 38in Beginner Acoustic Guitar Starter Kit w/Case, Strap, Digital E-Tuner, Pick, Pitch Pipe, Strings (Black)
Fender FA Acoustic Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
$ - $
Best Choice Products 41in Full Size All-Wood Acoustic Guitar Starter Kit w/Foam Padded Gig Bag, E-Tuner, Pick, Strap, Extra Strings, Polishing Rag - Natural
$50 - $
Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Player Pack with Rocksmith for Xbox One (Cable Included)
38" WHITE Acoustic Guitar Starter Package, Guitar, Gig Bag, Strap, Pitch Pipe & DirectlyCheap(TM) Translucent Blue Medium Guitar Pick
Blue Acoustic Toy Guitar for Kids with Carrying Bag and Accessories & DirectlyCheap(TM) Translucent Blue Medium Guitar Pick
Martin Smith 6 Acoustic SuperKit Stand, Tuner, Bag, Strap, Picks, and Guitar Strings, Blue (WBL-PK)
Crescent MGBK 38" Acoustic Guitar Starter Package, Black (Includes CrescentTM Digital E-Tuner)
Fender CDS Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, Left Handed - Natural Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
$ - $
Guitar Beginner One-Key Chord Assisted Learning Tools Classical Chord Guitar Chord Practice Tool for Adults & Children Trainer Beginners
$50 - $
Fender FA Beginner Dreadnought Pack, Natural with Gig Bag, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Fender Play
Fret Zealot LED Guitar Learning Accessory - EASIEST and BEST Method to Learn To Play a Guitar for All Levels, Best Fit for " Scale Length Guitars, IOS & Android App included
$ - $
Crescent MGPK 38" Acoustic Guitar Starter Package, PINK (Includes CrescentTM Digital E-Tuner)
$ - $
Directly Cheap 32 Inch Half Size Kids Acoustic Guitar, Pink
Seagull S6 "The Original" Acoustic Guitar w/Dreadnought Hardshell Case and Guitar Stand
Moreup Digital Guitar Trainer with Screen, Portable Guitar Chord Trainer Fretboard Practice Tool for Beginner with Chords Chart Metronome
Tiger Cutaway Acoustic Guitar Kit - Sunburst
$ - $
Jesdoo Pocket Guitar Chord Trainer，Portable Mini 6 Fret Guitar Finger Trainer Chord Practice Tool With Rotatable Chords Chart Screen For Beginner
Guitar Beginner, Guitar Learning Tools One-Key Chord Assisted Learning Tools, Guitar Practice Aid Tool for Adults & Children Trainer Beginners
Crescent 38" Pink Acoustic Guitar with Accessories
$ - $
Amazon Basics Beginner Full-Size Acoustic Guitar with Strings, Picks, Tuner, Strap, and Case - Inch, Spruce and Basswood
$ - $
Carlo Robelli BWN Acoustic Guitar Package
ChordBuddy Guitar Learning System for Right Handed Guitars. Includes ChordBuddy, 2 Month Lesson Plan DVD and Song Book
VANSON Tuners/Machine Heads V03SP Chrome LOCKING 3-a-side Gear Ratio for Les Paul, SG, ES, PRS, Schecter, Ibanez (Chrome)
Joymusic 6 String 38" Acoustic Guitar Kit,Blueburst,Gloss (JGC,BLS), Right
Washburn LG1PAK Lyon By Washburn Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Pack
Rogue RD80PK Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Pack
$ - $
Squier by Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle with Strings, Strap, Tuner, ChromaCast Guitar bag Pitch Pipe, Lesson & Picks Sampler
Guitar for reddit best beginners
This Reddit Thread About Being Nervous in Guitar Stores Will Help You Know You’re Not Alone
Have you ever gone into a music store to try out a new guitar, and just felt nervous? Maybe you were trying out an amp, or some pedals, or just shopping aimlessly. Why is it, when we turn up that volume, we all (ok, well, some of us at least…) revert to being a year old newbie playing “Smoke On The Water”?
Redditor publicOwl asks the Reddit community if anyone else gets nervous in guitar stores, and the overwhelming answer from Redditors is ‘Yes.’ A few had some creative ways around it. And at least one decided they just wanted to lean into it. Here’s a few of our favorite answers from the thread:
Yes. The answer is “yes”. We all feel nervous.
Sometimes it’s not the store…it’s the other customers.
Of course, you could just lean into it and own it!
And then there’s actually good advice:
But really, don’t worry. The employees don’t care as much as you think they do.
Best beginner electric guitars 9 of the greatest electric guitars for beginners
Making sure you choose the best beginner electric guitar for you is arguably the most important decision you’ll make in your guitar playing journey. Naturally, You’ll want your electric guitar to be able to withstand the rigours of being carted around - especially if you’re having lessons at school or going through the motions of band practice and gigging. It’s also crucial that it looks cool and is easy enough to play that you never want to put it down.
Beginner electric guitars have never been better than they are right now. New guitarists are spoilt with choice, with the quality and performance of entry-level instruments at an all-time high. So, whatever kind of guitar you want to hone your skills on, there'll be something just right for you.
With so many brands, styles and other options to choose from however, buying your first electric guitar can bring about a case of what we call ‘choice paralysis’ - particularly if you’re a brand new guitarist who isn’t quite sure what they want.
Luckily, here at MusicRadar we've been writing about electric guitars since (nearly) the dawn of time, and we have racked the brains of our guitar experts to come up with this definitive guide to the best beginner electric guitars. You're getting their hard-fought years of expertise in one place, ensuring you take home a guitar that will take you all the way to stardom.
We’ve included some expert buying advice at the end of this guide. If you’d like to read it, click the ‘buying advice’ tab above. If you’d rather get straight to the products, keep scrolling.
Looking for a great Black Friday music deal? Check out our Black Friday guitar deals page for all the latest news and the best beginner electric guitar offers.
Best beginner electric guitars: MusicRadar's choice
Trying to pick our favourites from this list is a real toughie - although there are definitely a couple of great electric guitars that come to mind.
The Yamaha Pacifica V is a great all-round option, ticking most of the boxes we can think of. It has a great set of pickups which are capable of covering most genres and styles, and the combination of a careful choice of tonewoods and classic design makes it a super comfortable and great looking guitar to learn on. We’d go as far as to say that the Pacifica V is probably the best (or at least the most sensible) choice for new guitarists.
But who starts playing guitar to be sensible? Take it from us, being sensible can be pretty overrated - and if you’re more interested in fun than sensible, then we’d happily point you towards the Squier Bullet Mustang HH. It doesn’t have the familiar body shape of a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, but playing it is an absolute blast and brought a smile to our faces every time we picked it up. It’s a little smaller than most other beginner electric guitars, so it should be super comfortable for everyone - even those with smaller hands.
Best beginner electric guitars: Product guide
1. Yamaha Pacifica V
The best electric guitar for beginners overall
Pickups: 1 Humbucker, 2 single coil
Controls: 1 volume, 1 tone, 5-way selector
Hardware: Vintage tremolo
Finish: Natural, Black, Sonic Blue, Old Violin Sunburst
Reasons to buy
+Versatile+Good looker+Great value
Reasons to avoid
The Yamaha Pacifica V is still, decades after it was launched, almost the perfect beginner electric guitar. The ‘Strat’ style body shape is ergonomic and easy to play sat down, yet is light enough to make playing stood up a breeze.
The three pickups – one humbucker and two single coils – deliver a range of tonal breadth meaning the Pacifica is comfortable across a number of different genres, while the vintage tremolo bridge offers stability and allows you to hone your whammy bar techniques.
At this level, the Yamaha Pacifica V ticks every box. Combine this all together, with the inviting price tag, and you have all the guitar you could ever need to start your playing journey.
Read our full Yamaha Pacifica V review
2. Squier Bullet Mustang
This huge-sounding beginner's electric guitar is perfect for small hands
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Pickups: 2 humbuckers
Controls: Master volume, Master tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: Fixed thru-body bridge
Finish: Black, Imperial Blue, Sonic Gray
Reasons to buy
+Great fun to play+Light+Ideal for punk styles
Reasons to avoid
-Not ideal for taller/longer people
A big part of learning the guitar is learning to have fun when you’re practicing. We’ve probably all got experience of being forced to learn nursery rhymes and the like, but if you make learning fun then you’re more likely to stick to it, right? And, as far as guitars go, there are few more fun to play than the Squier Bullet Mustang.
Its slightly smaller scale means it suits younger players perfectly, and we particularly loved the two humbuckers which can make a real racket when paired with an overdriven amp. For the price, you’ll struggle to find a beginner electric guitar that delivers as much in the way of tone, playability and sheer enjoyment.
Read our full Squier Bullet Mustang review
3. Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT
When it comes to the best beginner electric guitars, this LP delivers
Pickups: 2 Humbuckers
Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: Tune-o-matic bridge
Finish: Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Vintage Sunburst, Walnut
Reasons to buy
+Great tone+Classic design+Built to last
Reasons to avoid
-Might prove too heavy for younger players
The Gibson Les Paul is one of the best-known guitar styles on the planet, seen in the hands of countless legends. Players like Slash, Zakk Wylde and Jimmy Page have shown off what this iconic instrument can do, so it’s no surprise that many learners want to emulate them.
The Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT gives learners the chance to buy into that classic vibe, providing the same tried and tested mahogany body and neck, along with a pair of meaty humbuckers, which deliver thick, rich tone in spades. We should warn younger players, however, that all that mahogany does make for a fairly heavy guitar in more ways than one…
4. Ibanez GRGA
The best beginner electric guitar for budding metalheads
Fingerboard: New Zealand Pine
Pickups: 2 Infinity humbuckers
Controls: 1 volume, 1 tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: Tremolo bridge
Finish: Black Night, White
Reasons to buy
+Great for power chords+Thin neck+Easy access to upper frets
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most versatile tonally
If your inspiration to learn the guitar comes from those super-fast players in the rock and metal world, you’re going to need an axe with a certain set of characteristics. The Ibanez GRGA might just be that guitar. Employing a thin neck with easy access across all of its 24 frets, and a pair of Infinity humbuckers, the GRGA is the perfect guitar for any budding Joe Satriani and Steve Vai fans.
It may not be the most versatile – you’re unlikely to find many indie bands using Ibanez metal guitars, for example – but we prefer to frame it another way. This is a specialist guitar for a specialist style of music, and a very respectable one at that.
5. Gretsch G Electromatic Jet Club
The best beginner's electric guitar if you want a vintage flavour
Body: Basswood with arched Maple top
Pickups: 2 Gretsch Dual Coil
Controls: Master volume, Master tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: Adjust-o-matic bridge
Finish: Silver, Black
Reasons to buy
+Stunning looks+Great build quality+Interesting tonally
Reasons to avoid
-Vintage style not everyone's bag
Slightly off the beaten track for learners comes the Gretsch G Electromatic Jet Club. As an established brand in its own right, Gretsch has a great heritage in delivering vintage-era tones and vibes but is usually more associated with its range of oversized hollowbody guitars. The Electromatic Jet Club, on the other hand, is a solid bodied electric with two humbucking pickups that oozes class.
For players of rock, indie and country, the Electromatic Jet Club will provide a great looking, superb sounding guitar that will last you well beyond your initial learner stage. They also make a great alternative to all the usual Les Paul style guitars beginner players more readily migrate to.
6. Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster
The best beginner's electric guitar in terms of performance and tone
Pickups: 3 Fender-designed Alnico single coils
Controls: Master volume, 2 tone, 5-way selector
Hardware: Vintage tremolo
Finish: Black, 2 colour sunburst, Fiesta Red, White Blonde
Reasons to buy
+Era-specific styling+Much improved tones+High quality build
Reasons to avoid
-Only available with a Maple 'board
As the second Squier Stratocaster to feature on the list, the Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Strat had better offer something different, right? Thankfully it does, and it does it in spades. This model offers a marked improvement in every department, making it something of a luxury choice for a learner.
We’ve included it, however, because while there is an increase in price, there is also a significant leap in overall value. The tones are superb thanks to the three Fender-designed single coil pickups, while the maple neck and fingerboard is a sight to behold thanks to its lightly stained finish.
There’s a growing school of thought that the Classic Vibe range from Squier actually outperforms the entry-level, Mexican-made Fender line-up, and with the ‘50s Strat in particular it’s hard to argue against that. Put simply, this isn’t a guitar you’ll outgrow any time soon.
Read our full Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster review
7. Ibanez Artcore AS53
Serving up semi-acoustic tones you’ll love from the outset
Fingerboard: Bound Laurel
Pickups: 2 ACH humbuckers
Controls: Master volume, Master tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: ART-ST tailpiece
Finish: Tobacco Flat, Transparent Black Flat, Transparent Red Flat
Reasons to buy
+Glorious sustain+Highly resonant body+Looks the part
Reasons to avoid
-Not ideal for higher gain sounds
If indie, blues or jazz are your thing, the Ibanez Artcore AS53 could well be the guitar for you. This semi-hollow electric thrives on ringing, open chords thanks to a rich bridge humbucker, while switching to the neck pickup gets you in the territory of some wonderfully warm, creamy tones.
The AS53 has a wood centre-block, which eliminates some of the feedback associated with hollowbody guitars, but we’d still veer clear of anything too high-gain.
That said, this isn’t meant for the metalheads. The Ibanez Artcore AS53 instead delivers much more in the way of clean, natural tone which makes it easy for us to recommend.
8. Squier Affinity Strat
This classic Strat shape is easy for newbies to grasp
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Pickups: 3 x single coil
Controls: 1 volume, 2 tone, 5-way selector
Hardware: Vintage style tremolo
Finish: Black, 2 Tone Sunburst, Competition Orange, Slick Silver, Surf Green
Reasons to buy
+Iconic design+Familiar sounds
Reasons to avoid
-Easy to outgrow
If you have your heart set on a Stratocaster to learn on, then the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster could be just the ticket. As an authentic offshoot of Fender itself, Squier caters to learners and budget-conscious players with a broad range of guitars that mirrors its big brother.
The Squier Affinity Stratocaster features the same visual stylings and features of its established brethren, including three single coil pickups, a lightweight alder body and maple neck, and vintage tremolo bridge. As a foot on the ladder the Squier Affinity Series is well worth your consideration.
9. Harley Benton SC
Classic single-cut looks and tone and a price that's friendly to all budgets
Body: Mahogany with arched AAAA maple top
Scale: ” (mm)
Pickups: 2x Roswell LAF Alnico-5 humbuckers
Controls: 2x volume, 2x tone, 3-way pickup selector
Hardware: DLX tune-o-matic bridge, Wilkinson tuners
Finish: Faded Tobacco Flame, Paradise Amber Flame, Black Cherry Flame, Desert Flame Burst (pictured)
Reasons to buy
+Great vintage looks+Unbeatable classic rock tones at this price+Oh, yeah, the price is right
Reasons to avoid
-A few finish niggles such the machine head alignment, nothing major
Thomann brand Harley Benton's single-cut electric is inspired by a classic; the Gibson Les Paul, with a little contemporary ESP Eclipse body horn influence too for good measure. But it's no crass knock-off, either, with features that will benefit beginner players.
The modern contoured neck heel allows for comfortable upper fret access, The Roswell humbuckers (another Thomann) are pitched between mid and high-output; good all-rounders for players finding their feet with different vintage and modern tones.
A bright tonal character overall helps the neck humbucker avoid the pitfall of sounding dark and uninspiring, too. Overall, this is a superb single-cut option for those on a limited budget.
Read the full Harley Benton SC review
Best beginner electric guitars: Buying advice
Despite how they may appear, Electric guitars are fundamentally fairly simple things. Especially if you're less experienced with electric guitars, you may be left wondering why there is such variation in cost across the entire range. How can two guitars that look exactly the same often be thousands of pounds/dollars apart in their valuation? Put simply, the devil is in the detail.
Break these guitars down into their component parts and you’ll notice that there are plenty of ways for manufacturers to add value or enhance a guitar. Everything from the choice of woods in the body and neck to the pickups and hardware they install makes an impact on the final cost of the instrument, so it's worth knowing which factors are worth paying for, and which ones aren't.
It's wise not to worry too much about the small details when you’re starting out looking for the best beginner electric guitars, though. There will come a time where you get super nerdy, obsessing over scale lengths and the merits of a compound radius fretboard - but now is not really the time.
It’s highly unlikely that your first guitar will be your only ever guitar, so don’t get too hung up on making certain every single detail of it is perfect. One of the (many) joys of playing the electric guitar is having a constant eye on the next one, so relax and allow yourself to choose an instrument that is easy to play, that you like the look of, and that sounds good.
At a basic level, you’ll want to find something that suits the kind of music you’re looking to play. Some guitars suit rock and metal, while others are better for blues or jazz. If you know the type of music you want to play, you may even have an idea of the shape or style of electric guitar you want. Great! All of these choices you make narrow the field down, and make it easier to find the right beginner guitar for you.
Sticking to established brands like Yamaha, Squier and Epiphone will give you the best chance of finding the perfect beginner electric guitar for you. They (usually) tow the line between value, quality and good locks pretty well, so you won’t be able to go too far wrong with any one of those brands. Nobody ever forgets their first guitar though, so trust your gut instinct. Choosing a guitar you like the look, sound and playability of gives you the best chance of sticking to it.
Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.
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Learning to play guitar the right way be wary of others!
I recently had a big debate over at Reddit with a fellow guitarist. This debate could have been infuriating but it actually was quite useful as it highlighted a certain flaw that experienced guitarists have when sharing their knowledge with less experienced players.
If you are learning to play guitar or you still consider yourself to be a beginner, youll find this post very handy especially if you learn from others, either in person or online.
Before I get into this flaw in detail Ill share the incident as it happened.
Over at Reddit, myself and followers of this blog occasionally share some of my content with their community.
A few weeks ago, I shared my post of 8 ways to play the B minor chord. It received a lot of up-votes (a Reddit users way of giving it the thumbs up) and some positive comments.
There was one user however, who could only bring himself to say negative things about the post.
At first, I thought, What the hell, is this guy smoking something, or is he a troll?
Normally, I ignore negative comments as Im too busy teaching plenty of passionate guitarists.
This guy, though I couldnt ignore, as he was blatantly sharing bad advice with the Reddit community.
Any inexperienced guitarist could have read what he had to say and taken it as gospel which would only make their journey of learning the guitar harder than it has to be.
So what was it that he said that was so silly?
Well, if you refer to the 8 ways to play the B minor chord post I made, I discuss a variety of options as to how you can play this one difficult chord.
I go into detail about which ways work and how you can learn one easier way to play it so you can learn a song that uses the chord, and then later as you get a bit a better, you can learn a more complex way.
This is a logical, progressive way of teaching the guitar that has worked with hundreds of online and offline students long-time readers know and appreciate this.
This guy, however, said things along the lines of:
I would teach them drills they can do to be able to play that Bm (referring to one of the hardest ways). With the right drills and a bit of practice, they will be able to do it in short order. If not, then guitar is not for them and they will quit anyway.
Geez, this guy is pig-headed. At this point, it was clear to me he has been playing for a long time and has totally forgotten what it is like for a beginner guitarist to play and learn the difficult things he just takes for granted.
More from this guy:
I have been playing a long time, and I am very skilled, and I got that way from practicing and practicing all the things that were difficult.
Its clear from this guys stubborn tone that he had a hard time learning to play guitar and did things the difficult way.
This all brings me to the point of this post. People who have played for a long time often want you to succeed but often they think the only way you can do it, is the way they did it.
Sometimes other guitarists actually dont want your guitar playing journey to be any easier for you than it was for them.
In other words, if they struggled to learn, theyll often hate (deep down anyway) it if you find it easy or appear to find it easy.
Even if they have your best intentions at heart, which most guitarists do, they may give you advice that is just plain, bad advice.
Learning to play guitar their way or the highway
I call this the Big Brother theory, as big brothers nearly always think they are correct and their little brother or sisters must learn exactly as they tell them.
Many students tell me their big brother or pal told them that there is only one way to do something and every other way is wrong.
If you disagree, sometimes their ego can take over, and theyll often be upset with you or not want to jam with you anymore.
The thing is, you must be careful when learning from seasoned players.
Guitarists who learned to play over 10 years ago didnt have anything like the tools we have available to us these days.
Back even when I starting learning to play guitar 16 years ago, there was no YouTube about, no online blogs, no Guitar Pro or anything like the amount of tools available to us these days.
If any of those were about they were in a primitive form and you needed the internet to make the most of them which I and many others didnt have back then.
Rewind to the 90s and all the way back to the 60s, 70s and 80s, the only way you could really learn guitar was by affording a teacher (not many guitarists could) or lots and lots of trial and error listening to recordings which meant time and effort.
Can you see why these seasoned guys cling on to doing things the harder way?
Most of it is because that is how they learnt and thats all they know, and because that worked for them, it means it is the only way for you.
They wear these struggles like a badge of honour and want you to do so too to toughen you up, so to speak.
The main thing to take from this post is the fact, you must be aware of learning from more experienced players.
Some will be like the Sergeant from Full Metal Jacket, screaming Cmon Private Pyle while you struggle to get rid of the buzz when learning a C Major chord and some will be more gentle.
No matter who you learn from, and most experienced guitarists (younger and older ones) are good people who want you to succeed, dont be afraid to ask the question to yourself or them:
Is there an easier way to do this?
Lots of you jam with others regularly and many email me and my private students telling me things such as:
My brother told me this is the only way to play this chord
To play this song, you can only use this guitar with this amp with this tone setting
You shouldnt use a capo to play this song
You dont need a capo to play guitar, capos are for cheats
Most of the time these statements are wrong and will make things harder. The fact is, the guitar is a wonderful instrument with many different ways to do any one thing on it.
Im not saying dont jam with others, far from it, you should learn off lots of people, you should jam regularly, and you should learn from many sources just take what they say as fact with a pinch of salt and use your own judgement as much as you can.
If you are unsure if what they are saying is accurate or not, ask someone else.
If you do so and ask questions, youll see how some peoples false beliefs will be destroyed when you get a balanced view.
As you know, Im totally against making things harder.
The guitar is a tough instrument to learn, but there are ways to make it easier and more fun without hindering you in the long run.
That is my philosophy. I hope it is yours too.