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On almost all modern electric guitars, the bridge has saddles that are adjustable for each string so that intonation stays correct up and down the neck. If the open string is in tune, but sharp or flat when frets are pressed, the bridge saddle position can be adjusted with a screwdriver or hex key to remedy the problem. In general, flat notes are corrected by moving the saddle forward and sharp notes by moving it backwards. On an instrument correctly adjusted for intonation, the actual length of each string from the nut to the bridge saddle is slightly, but measurably longer than the scale length of the instrument. This additional length is called compensation, which flattens all notes a bit to compensate for the sharping of all fretted notes caused by stretching the string during fretting.
As a beginner guitar player, one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is that of transition between chords. We learn the chords to our favourite songs or a new complex chord shape, but when it comes to making music with them, our lack of muscle memory and dexterity inhibits us from stringing these chords together in a meaningful and comprehensive manner.
For the second note of the A minor 7 chord, place your second finger on the second fret of the D string. This is the second of the two notes you need to fret to play this chord. Make sure you’re on the tip of your finger and right behind the fret. Now that you have both notes in place, strum the top five strings, remembering to leave the low E string out.
If you are brand new to the guitar, we recommend you start with the Beginner Guitar Quick-Start Series. It’s a collection of 12 step-by-step videos that will give you a solid foundation for all future lessons. You’ll learn how to play guitar, how to hold the guitar, how to tune your guitar, how to strum the guitar, how to play your first chords, and even how to play your first song on guitar.
To play a C chord on a guitar, put your ring finger on the third fret on the A string, your middle finger on the second fret on the D string, leave the G string open, and put your index finger on the first fret of the B string. Before you try to strum the chord, play each note individually until the note sounds clear. When you've mastered the C chord, try moving on to other chords like G or F.
Are you stuck in a musical rut? New tunings and tricks can help you keep learning guitar in fresh, fun ways. Try one of these great tips from guitar teacher Samuel B. to breathe new life into your guitar playing... One of the first things I tell any new student is that I don't specialize in a formal discipline. If jazz or classical training is your objective, then I'm not your guy. Instead, I specialize primarily in American roots music (that which we tend to casually lump together as "folk" … Read More
A slide, (neck of a bottle, knife blade or round metal or glass bar or cylinder) is used in blues and rock to create a glissando or "Hawaiian" effect. The slide is used to fret notes on the neck, instead of using the fretting hand's fingers. The characteristic use of the slide is to move up to the intended pitch by, as the name implies, sliding up the neck to the desired note. The necks of bottles were often used in blues and country music as improvised slides. Modern slides are constructed of glass, plastic, ceramic, chrome, brass or steel bars or cylinders, depending on the weight and tone desired (and the amount of money a guitarist can spend). An instrument that is played exclusively in this manner (using a metal bar) is called a steel guitar or pedal steel. Slide playing to this day is very popular in blues music and country music. Some slide players use a so-called Dobro guitar. Some performers who have become famous for playing slide are Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Ry Cooder, George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Duane Allman, Muddy Waters, Rory Gallagher, and George Thorogood.
A string’s gauge is how thick it is. As a general rule, the thicker a string is the warmer its response will be and the more volume it will produce. However, thicker strings are also stiffer. This makes it harder to fret the string and makes it more difficult to execute heavy string bends. Thinner strings are generally brighter and easier to play, but on some instruments they can sound thin and tinny.
Pickups are transducers attached to a guitar that detect (or "pick up") string vibrations and convert the mechanical energy of the string into electrical energy. The resultant electrical signal can then be electronically amplified. The most common type of pickup is electromagnetic in design. These contain magnets that are within a coil, or coils, of copper wire. Such pickups are usually placed directly underneath the guitar strings. Electromagnetic pickups work on the same principles and in a similar manner to an electric generator. The vibration of the strings creates a small electric current in the coils surrounding the magnets. This signal current is carried to a guitar amplifier that drives a loudspeaker.
The teen and tween years are the make or break years for most people, in deciding whether they’re going to stick with a childhood hobby or interest, for life. As you go through puberty, and begin preparing for life as an adult, and responsibilities pile on your plate, the first things to go tend to be the personal interests you’re passionate about, because they don’t pay the bills. Also, because they’re not an official part of your school curriculum. In other words, what was once a must-have becomes a nice-to-have.
The neck joint or heel is the point at which the neck is either bolted or glued to the body of the guitar. Almost all acoustic steel-string guitars, with the primary exception of Taylors, have glued (otherwise known as set) necks, while electric guitars are constructed using both types. Most classical guitars have a neck and headblock carved from one piece of wood, known as a "Spanish heel." Commonly used set neck joints include mortise and tenon joints (such as those used by C. F. Martin & Co.), dovetail joints (also used by C. F. Martin on the D-28 and similar models) and Spanish heel neck joints, which are named after the shoe they resemble and commonly found in classical guitars. All three types offer stability.
"Open" chords get their name from the fact that they generally include strings played open. This means that the strings are played without being pushed down at a fret, which makes chords including them easier to play for beginners. When you start to learn chords, you have to focus on using the right fingers to press down each note and make sure you're pressing the strings down firmly enough.
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Open tuning refers to a guitar tuned so that strumming the open strings produces a chord, typically a major chord. The base chord consists of at least 3 notes and may include all the strings or a subset. The tuning is named for the open chord, Open D, open G, and open A are popular tunings. All similar chords in the chromatic scale can then be played by barring a single fret. Open tunings are common in blues and folk music, and they are used in the playing of slide and bottleneck guitars. Many musicians use open tunings when playing slide guitar.
Most electric guitar bodies are made of wood and include a plastic pick guard. Boards wide enough to use as a solid body are very expensive due to the worldwide depletion of hardwood stock since the 1970s, so the wood is rarely one solid piece. Most bodies are made from two pieces of wood with some of them including a seam running down the center line of the body. The most common woods used for electric guitar body construction include maple, basswood, ash, poplar, alder, and mahogany. Many bodies consist of good-sounding, but inexpensive woods, like ash, with a "top", or thin layer of another, more attractive wood (such as maple with a natural "flame" pattern) glued to the top of the basic wood. Guitars constructed like this are often called "flame tops". The body is usually carved or routed to accept the other elements, such as the bridge, pickup, neck, and other electronic components. Most electrics have a polyurethane or nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Other alternative materials to wood are used in guitar body construction. Some of these include carbon composites, plastic material, such as polycarbonate, and aluminum alloys.
The main purpose of the bridge on an acoustic guitar is to transfer the vibration from the strings to the soundboard, which vibrates the air inside of the guitar, thereby amplifying the sound produced by the strings. On all electric, acoustic and original guitars, the bridge holds the strings in place on the body. There are many varied bridge designs. There may be some mechanism for raising or lowering the bridge saddles to adjust the distance between the strings and the fretboard (action), or fine-tuning the intonation of the instrument. Some are spring-loaded and feature a "whammy bar", a removable arm that lets the player modulate the pitch by changing the tension on the strings. The whammy bar is sometimes also called a "tremolo bar". (The effect of rapidly changing pitch is properly called "vibrato". See Tremolo for further discussion of this term.) Some bridges also allow for alternate tunings at the touch of a button.
Once you've got your categories narrowed down, then you can start getting into the nitty-gritty differences between strings. For instance, electric guitars will give you the choice between nickel (for authentic vintage sound) and stainless steel (for maximum durability). Some string manufacturers have exotic material options with their own unique characteristics, like Ernie Ball's Slinky Cobalt strings. With so many subtle differences separating guitar strings, you owe it to yourself to browse carefully and look at all the choices on the table before making a decision.
There are many different styles of play. Chords are played by strumming all of the strings. Classical guitarists pluck the strings with their fingers and always play sitting down. Slide guitarists slide along the strings with a slide made of metal or glass. Whether you're interested in classical, bluegrass, flamenco, folk or blues, the acoustic guitar is something you can enjoy playing alone or in a group.