The standard guitar has six strings, but four-, seven-, eight-, nine-, ten-, eleven-, twelve-, thirteen- and eighteen-string guitars are also available. Classical and flamenco guitars historically used gut strings, but these have been superseded by polymer materials, such as nylon and fluorocarbon. Modern guitar strings are constructed from metal, polymers, or animal or plant product materials. Instruments utilizing "steel" strings may have strings made from alloys incorporating steel, nickel or phosphor bronze. Bass strings for both instruments are wound rather than monofilament.
The playing of conventional chords is simplified by open tunings, which are especially popular in folk, blues guitar and non-Spanish classical guitar (such as English and Russian guitar). For example, the typical twelve-bar blues uses only three chords, each of which can be played (in every open tuning) by fretting six-strings with one finger. Open tunings are used especially for steel guitar and slide guitar. Open tunings allow one-finger chords to be played with greater consonance than do other tunings, which use equal temperament, at the cost of increasing the dissonance in other chords.
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Renaissance and Baroque guitars are the ancestors of the modern classical and flamenco guitar. They are substantially smaller, more delicate in construction, and generate less volume. The strings are paired in courses as in a modern 12-string guitar, but they only have four or five courses of strings rather than six single strings normally used now. They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments, and can often be seen in that role in early music performances. (Gaspar Sanz's Instrucción de Música sobre la Guitarra Española of 1674 contains his whole output for the solo guitar.) Renaissance and Baroque guitars are easily distinguished, because the Renaissance guitar is very plain and the Baroque guitar is very ornate, with ivory or wood inlays all over the neck and body, and a paper-cutout inverted "wedding cake" inside the hole.
With that being said, nickel strings definitely have a richer tone with more body than steel strings. This warmth is especially pleasing when used to play older genres of music, blues in particular. The strings are also a great fit for rhythm work, because the warmth inherent to these strings helps to increase the overall body and richness of a mix.
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Adding a minor seventh to a major triad creates a dominant seventh (denoted V7). In music theory, the "dominant seventh" described here is called a major-minor seventh, emphasizing the chord's construction rather than its usual function. Dominant sevenths are often the dominant chords in three-chord progressions, in which they increase the tension with the tonic "already inherent in the dominant triad".
Major-chord progressions are constructed in the harmonization of major scales in triads. For example, stacking the C-major scale with thirds creates a chord progression, which is traditionally enumerated with the Roman numerals I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viio; its sub-progression C-F-G (I-IV-V) is used in popular music, as already discussed. Further chords are constructed by stacking additional thirds. Stacking the dominant major-triad with a minor third creates the dominant seventh chord, which shall be discussed after minor chords.
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This month, HBO released a new documentary about Kurt Cobain's life called Montage of Heck. Unlike past documentaries on the legendary guitarist and singer, this one highlights his humanity and shares perhaps the most intimate look at his life that his fans have ever had. Director Brett Morgan worked with Cobain's family, including his daughter Frances Bean Cobain, who provided home movies, photographs, and journals. At times funny and at other times deeply sad, Montage of Heck manages to gi … Read More
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Another chord you come across every day, the E major chord is fairly straightforward to play. Make sure your first finger (holding down the first fret on the third string) is properly curled or the open second string won't ring properly. Strum all six strings. There are situations when it makes sense to reverse your second and third fingers when playing the E major chord.
The nut is a small strip of bone, plastic, brass, corian, graphite, stainless steel, or other medium-hard material, at the joint where the headstock meets the fretboard. Its grooves guide the strings onto the fretboard, giving consistent lateral string placement. It is one of the endpoints of the strings' vibrating length. It must be accurately cut, or it can contribute to tuning problems due to string slippage or string buzz. To reduce string friction in the nut, which can adversely affect tuning stability, some guitarists fit a roller nut. Some instruments use a zero fret just in front of the nut. In this case the nut is used only for lateral alignment of the strings, the string height and length being dictated by the zero fret.
Instructor ProfileArlen RothThe King of All Guitar TeachersMusic lesson pioneer Arlen Roth is the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar. Read More...Lessons Wes Montgomery-style Octaves
Repetitive open-tunings are used for two non-Spanish classical-guitars. For the English guitar the open chord is C major (C-E-G-C-E-G); for the Russian guitar which has seven strings, G major (G-B-D-G-B-D-G). Mixing a perfect fourth and a minor third along with a major third, these tunings are on-average major-thirds regular-tunings. While on-average major-thirds tunings are conventional open tunings, properly major-thirds tunings are unconventional open-tunings, because they have augmented triads as their open chords.
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