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.
We were privileged to have worked with hundreds of top artists and educators who authored the original magazine articles and then recorded audio lessons in their own studios. While video is the medium of choice today, these 1,200+ audio lessons still deliver amazing instruction from some of the best in the biz — perfect for those long drives and commutes!
In major-thirds tuning, the interval between open strings is always a major third. Consequently, four frets suffice to play the chromatic scale. Chord inversion is especially simple in major-thirds tuning. Chords are inverted simply by raising one or two notes by three strings. The raised notes are played with the same finger as the original notes.[22][23] In contrast, in standard tuning, the shape of inversions depends on the involvement of the irregular major-third.[24]
As already stated, the perfect-fifths (P5) interval is the most harmonious, after the unison and octave intervals. An explanation of human perception of harmony relates the mechanics of a vibrating string to the musical acoustics of sound waves using the harmonic analysis of Fourier series. When a string is struck with a finger or pick (plectrum), it vibrates according to its harmonic series. When an open-note C-string is struck, its harmonic series begins with the terms (C,C,G,C,E,G,B♭,C). The root note is associated with a sequence of intervals, beginning with the unison interval (C,C), the octave interval (C,C), the perfect fifth (C,G), the perfect fourth (G,C), and the major third (C,E). In particular, this sequence of intervals contains the thirds of the C-major chord {(C,E),(E,G)}.[4]

The top, back and ribs of an acoustic guitar body are very thin (1–2 mm), so a flexible piece of wood called lining is glued into the corners where the rib meets the top and back. This interior reinforcement provides 5 to 20 mm of solid gluing area for these corner joints. Solid linings are often used in classical guitars, while kerfed lining is most often found in steel string acoustics. Kerfed lining is also called kerfing because it is scored, or "kerfed"(incompletely sawn through), to allow it to bend with the shape of the rib). During final construction, a small section of the outside corners is carved or routed out and filled with binding material on the outside corners and decorative strips of material next to the binding, which are called purfling. This binding serves to seal off the end grain of the top and back. Purfling can also appear on the back of an acoustic guitar, marking the edge joints of the two or three sections of the back. Binding and purfling materials are generally made of either wood or plastic.
In contrast, regular tunings have equal intervals between the strings,[20] and so they have symmetrical scales all along the fretboard. This makes it simpler to translate chords. For the regular tunings, chords may be moved diagonally around the fretboard. The diagonal movement of chords is especially simple for the regular tunings that are repetitive, in which case chords can be moved vertically: Chords can be moved three strings up (or down) in major-thirds tuning and chords can be moved two strings up (or down) in augmented-fourths tuning. Regular tunings thus appeal to new guitarists and also to jazz-guitarists, whose improvisation is simplified by regular intervals.

The next step is to figure out what gauge, or thickness of string is best suited to your playing ability and style. Thinner gauges are easier to fret and bend, and may be better suited for beginners, until callouses build up on the fingertips. Heavier strings tend to produce greater volume and fuller tone. Nylon strings are typically categorized as light, medium or heavy tension. Steel strings for both electric and acoustic guitars are categorized by the gauge, or thickness of the lightest string, the high E string, measured in thousandths of an inch, with .09 being a common size for an electric set. A set of electric strings may be labeled .09-.042 - this is the gauge of the lightest and heaviest string in the set. Acoustic sets are a little thicker, so a typical medium-gauge set might be .012-.054.


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.
So with that in mind, would you like to learn the guitar on your own or with others? The choice is yours at Guitar Center. If you prefer one-on-one instruction, that's absolutely doable - in fact, you'll find our schedule to be very flexible. Of course, learning in a group is an excellent way to meet like-minded musicians with similar tastes and share ideas on how to improve one another's craft. Who knows, you might even leave a group guitar lesson with plans to start a band with your newfound musical companions. Either way, our group and private guitar lessons are very entertaining and informative.
Fretboards are most commonly made of rosewood, ebony, maple, and sometimes manufactured using composite materials such as HPL or resin. See the section "Neck" below for the importance of the length of the fretboard in connection to other dimensions of the guitar. The fingerboard plays an essential role in the treble tone for acoustic guitars. The quality of vibration of the fingerboard is the principal characteristic for generating the best treble tone. For that reason, ebony wood is better, but because of high use, ebony has become rare and extremely expensive. Most guitar manufacturers have adopted rosewood instead of ebony.
If you're a fan of the Grateful Dead, check out the D'Angelico Premier Series DC Grateful Dead Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar. In the acoustic department, the Alvarez Artist Series AD60 dreadnought acoustic guitar comes highly rated, thanks to its hand-selected spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and powerful tone. Singer-songwriters and fans of acoustic-driven music must check out the latest Ed Sheeran Martin guitar, the comfortable, easy-to-play Divide Signature Edition Little Martin acoustic-electric.
"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.
Our Suzuki teachers are experienced in teaching CCM students as young as 3. Developed by the Japanese Violinist Shinichi Suzuki, the Suzuki method teaches music by ear before reading notes on the instrument so teachers can focus on setting up each student with correct posture and technique to ensure the student's continued success. Parental involvement is required for students under the age of 8 and before the child starts, parents are required to attend a private 3-week parent education class.
For example, in the guitar (like other stringed instruments but unlike the piano), open-string notes are not fretted and so require less hand-motion. Thus chords that contain open notes are more easily played and hence more frequently played in popular music, such as folk music. Many of the most popular tunings—standard tuning, open tunings, and new standard tuning—are rich in the open notes used by popular chords. Open tunings allow major triads to be played by barring one fret with only one finger, using the finger like a capo. On guitars without a zeroth fret (after the nut), the intonation of an open note may differ from then note when fretted on other strings; consequently, on some guitars, the sound of an open note may be inferior to that of a fretted note.[37]
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.

A guitar strap is a strip of material with an attachment mechanism on each end, made to hold a guitar via the shoulders at an adjustable length. Guitars have varying accommodations for attaching a strap. The most common are strap buttons, also called strap pins, which are flanged steel posts anchored to the guitar with screws. Two strap buttons come pre-attached to virtually all electric guitars, and many steel-string acoustic guitars. Strap buttons are sometimes replaced with "strap locks", which connect the guitar to the strap more securely.
Quartal and quintal harmonies also appear in alternate tunings. It is easier to finger the chords that are based on perfect fifths in new standard tuning than in standard tuning. New standard tuning was invented by Robert Fripp, a guitarist for King Crimson. Preferring to base chords on perfect intervals—especially octaves, fifths, and fourths—Fripp often avoids minor thirds and especially major thirds,[102] which are sharp in equal temperament tuning (in comparison to thirds in just intonation).
As a general rule, brass strings are always going to be brighter than bronze strings. Though, counterintuitively, many brass strings go by the moniker of “80/20” bronze. These strings are actually the one in the same. Brass, or 80/20 bronze as it’s often known, is made from 80% copper and 20% zinc. This gives the strings a bright and cutting voice, though when used on guitars that already have a prominent high-end response it can make an instrument sound thin and tinny. For best results, use brass strings on a guitar that’s an OM size or larger (so this would include OM guitars, dreadnoughts, and jumbos).
For the standard tuning, there is exactly one interval of a major third between the second and third strings, and all the other intervals are fourths. The irregularity has a price - chords cannot be shifted around the fretboard in the standard tuning E-A-D-G-B-E, which requires four chord-shapes for the major chords. There are separate chord-forms for chords having their root note on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth strings.[19]
For example, in the guitar (like other stringed instruments but unlike the piano), open-string notes are not fretted and so require less hand-motion. Thus chords that contain open notes are more easily played and hence more frequently played in popular music, such as folk music. Many of the most popular tunings—standard tuning, open tunings, and new standard tuning—are rich in the open notes used by popular chords. Open tunings allow major triads to be played by barring one fret with only one finger, using the finger like a capo. On guitars without a zeroth fret (after the nut), the intonation of an open note may differ from then note when fretted on other strings; consequently, on some guitars, the sound of an open note may be inferior to that of a fretted note.[37]
As previously stated, a dominant seventh is a four-note chord combining a major chord and a minor seventh. For example, the C7 dominant seventh chord adds B♭ to the C-major chord (C,E,G). The naive chord (C,E,G,B♭) spans six frets from fret 3 to fret 8;[49] such seventh chords "contain some pretty serious stretches in the left hand".[46] An illustration shows a naive C7 chord, which would be extremely difficult to play,[49] besides the open-position C7 chord that is conventional in standard tuning.[49][50] The standard-tuning implementation of a C7 chord is a second-inversion C7 drop 2 chord, in which the second-highest note in a second inversion of the C7 chord is lowered by an octave.[49][51][52] Drop-two chords are used for sevenths chords besides the major-minor seventh with dominant function,[53] which are discussed in the section on intermediate chords, below. Drop-two chords are used particularly in jazz guitar.[54] Drop-two second-inversions are examples of openly voiced chords, which are typical of standard tuning and other popular guitar-tunings.[55]

Also, while coated strings do last longer than non-coated strings they’re also significantly more expensive. Personally, I find that coated strings last roughly twice as long as non-coated alternatives. Since they’re also about twice as expensive, I personally don’t save any money using coated strings. However, depending on how acidic your sweat is your experience may vary.
The Guitar Center Lessons curriculum is based on a progressive advancement model. This proven method provides a well-defined roadmap of the material covered and skills taught so you can easily track your past and future progress. Since we use the same curriculum in all locations, students have the flexibility to take lessons from any instructor at any of our locations and progress through the same content. Our program is fun but challenging–both for beginners and serious musicians who want to improve their existing chops.
As previously stated, a dominant seventh is a four-note chord combining a major chord and a minor seventh. For example, the C7 dominant seventh chord adds B♭ to the C-major chord (C,E,G). The naive chord (C,E,G,B♭) spans six frets from fret 3 to fret 8;[49] such seventh chords "contain some pretty serious stretches in the left hand".[46] An illustration shows a naive C7 chord, which would be extremely difficult to play,[49] besides the open-position C7 chord that is conventional in standard tuning.[49][50] The standard-tuning implementation of a C7 chord is a second-inversion C7 drop 2 chord, in which the second-highest note in a second inversion of the C7 chord is lowered by an octave.[49][51][52] Drop-two chords are used for sevenths chords besides the major-minor seventh with dominant function,[53] which are discussed in the section on intermediate chords, below. Drop-two chords are used particularly in jazz guitar.[54] Drop-two second-inversions are examples of openly voiced chords, which are typical of standard tuning and other popular guitar-tunings.[55]
Whether you just started guitar lessons or you've been playing for a while, you may be itching to learn some new songs and take on some new challenges. You might be wondering: where can I go from here? That's where alternate guitar tunings come in! With this guide from Michael L., you'll learn how alternate guitar tunings can take your playing to the next level... One of the amazing things about the guitar is its versatility. Not only can you play rhythm and/or melody in different genres,
"With a note of music, one strikes the fundamental, and, in addition to the root note, other notes are generated: these are the harmonic series.... As one fundamental note contains within it other notes in the octave, two fundamentals produce a remarkable array of harmonics, and the number of possible combinations between all the notes increases phenomenally. With a triad, affairs stand a good chance of getting severely out of hand."
Another class of alternative tunings are called drop tunings, because the tuning drops down the lowest string. Dropping down the lowest string a whole tone results in the "drop-D" (or "dropped D") tuning. Its open-string notes DADGBE (from low to high) allow for a deep bass D note, which can be used in keys such as D major, d minor and G major. It simplifies the playing of simple fifths (powerchords). Many contemporary rock bands re-tune all strings down, making, for example, Drop-C or Drop-B tunings.
My personal opinion on the topic, as one musician to another, is that the best thing you can possibly do when trying to figure out which string to go with is to try out as many different brands and types of guitar strings as you can. Strings are cheap enough that most people are going to be able to afford to experiment, and the truth of the matter is that you’re probably not going to really know what works best for you until you have hands on experience.
Major-chord progressions are constructed in the harmonization of major scales in triads.[21] 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,[22] 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.

The pickguard, also known as the scratchplate, is usually a piece of laminated plastic or other material that protects the finish of the top of the guitar from damage due to the use of a plectrum ("pick") or fingernails. Electric guitars sometimes mount pickups and electronics on the pickguard. It is a common feature on steel-string acoustic guitars. Some performance styles that use the guitar as a percussion instrument (tapping the top or sides between notes, etc.), such as flamenco, require that a scratchplate or pickguard be fitted to nylon-string instruments.
As stated above, construction has just as much of an impact on a guitar’s tone as material. The factors that make up construction are as follows: gauge, string core, winding type, and string coating. And while these factors are all important, keep in mind that different companies use different approaches to all of them. So never be afraid to try out a variety brands, because while the strings may look the same you will get a different response.
First off, there are two more techniques I want to talk about. These are fret placement and finger posture. Place your first finger on the first fret of the B string. For fret placement, you’ll want to have your finger right behind the fret. In the video, you can see that the further away from the fret I place my finger, the more buzz the note has.
I was lucky enough to meet Justin at the Guitar Institute during a summer school in 2004, and to have some private lessons with him afterwards.  He was the teacher who kickstarted my guitar career and persuaded me that I was ready to join a band.  That was 14 years ago and many dozens of gigs later.  I’m now just finishing a degree in Popular Music Performance.  Justin's online lessons are easy to follow and he has a manner about him which makes you believe that you can achieve.  Where he demonstrates songs, I have found his versions to be consistently more accurate and easy to follow than those of any other online teacher.  On this website you really will find all the skills and information you need to become an excellent musician.  Many thanks. Ian.
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 3rd, 2010 -- Good evening, and hi everybody! I get requests to add tabs once in a while, and for years one of the most common requests has been 'Psychic Hearts', and more recently 'Trees Outside the Academy'. I resisted for years, but boredom and the need to please has a funny way of making things happen, so I'm proud to bring you tabs for the entirety of "Psychic Hearts" and its related tracks, as well as the majority of "Trees Outside the Academy". I was originally planning on providing bass tabs as well as the Mascis solos, but I decided I wasn't that desperate for accolade. With all this attention on Thurston, I felt bad for Lee, so I've updated my outdated tab for his excellent solo acoustic piece "Here" (located under "Other Tabs") with the proper tuning, which also happens to be the tuning for the equally excellent "Lee #2", so I've updated that one too!
If you are starting or just stuck in rut, this is the site for you. I had been playing three years and was not advancing as I wanted to, then I saw an ad for Paul Gilbert lessons at Artistworks. I decided to check it out and I have to say, if I had this from the beginning, I would be a much better guitarist. The main reason why, is that Paul is known for his fast playing, but he focuses you on rhythm to start off. That is were I had lacked. I thought I was a decent rhythm player, but I was not. So much thanks to Artistworks and Paul for the great site.
A six-string guitar has five musical-intervals between its consecutive strings. In standard tuning, the intervals are four perfect-fourths and one major-third, the comparatively irregular interval for the (G,B) pair. Consequently, standard tuning requires four chord-shapes for the major chords. There are separate chord-forms for chords having their root note on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth strings.[41] Of course, a beginner learns guitar by learning notes and chords,[42] and irregularities make learning the guitar difficult[43]—even more difficult than learning the formation of plural nouns in German, according to Gary Marcus.[44] Nonetheless, most beginners use standard tuning.[45]
I have checked out Justin's site and found it to be comprehensive and informative. I have always felt that learning about music and especially music theory applied to the guitar, is helpful in finding your own unique voice on the instrument and expanding your creative horizons. Along with his insight into teaching and his fantastic abilities on the instrument, Justin has created a powerful go-to-place for anyone interested in exploring the instrument to their potential. Just don't hurt yourself.

Every songwriter runs into writers' block at some point in their career. To help you dig your way out of the dreaded doldrums of songwriters' block, we put together 25 songwriting tips and prompts plus great songs to inspire you. Check out these songwriting tips and find your muse today!   Bonus: Take the quiz to find out what you should write your next song about! Write about your day. Think your life is boring and you have nothing to say? Check out the lyrics to thi
Justin Sandercoe has thought long and hard about how to teach people to play the guitar, and how to do this over the internet. He has come up with a well-designed series of courses that will take you from nowhere to proficiency. I tried to learn how to play years ago, using books, and got nowhere. I've been using Justin's site for just over a year and I feel I've made real progress. What's more, Justin offers his lessons for free - a boon for any young player who has the urge to play, but whose pockets are empty. I've seen and used other sites for learners: none of them offer as clearly marked a road as Justin does.
The acoustic bass guitar is a bass instrument with a hollow wooden body similar to, though usually somewhat larger than, that of a 6-string acoustic guitar. Like the traditional electric bass guitar and the double bass, the acoustic bass guitar commonly has four strings, which are normally tuned E-A-D-G, an octave below the lowest four strings of the 6-string guitar, which is the same tuning pitch as an electric bass guitar. It can, more rarely, be found with 5 or 6 strings, which provides a wider range of notes to be played with less movement up and down the neck.
Flatwound strings have a flat surface. These strings are very popular among jazz guitarists because they have a very dark and understated tone. However, they are also more difficult to play. These strings are not a good fit for rock or blues, because they’re stiffness and dark tone means that it’s hard to cut through the mix and pull off the fast and intricate runs and bends that define blues, rock, and metal.

Learning to play guitar is loads of fun, though playing chords may seem a little intimidating at first. Fear not, it is not much different than playing single notes: you're just playing them all at once! This article will walk you through the process of working out the fingering, and show you how to play some common chords. Pull out your axe, and rock on!
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
I've given this guitar chord book away as a gift and purchased one for myself. I love the spiral bound binding and I'm sure all but the best guitar players will not run out of chords to learn in this little book. I highly recommend this book to learn guitar chords. It's not a book that teaches you how to play a guitar. It is mostly chords but this is a crucial part of learning to play, right?
Although many people thought rock and roll would be a passing fad, by the 1960s it was clear this music was firmly rooted in American culture. Electric guitarists had become the superstars of rock. Live performances in large halls and open-air concerts increased the demand for greater volume and showmanship. Rock guitarists began to experiment, and new sounds and textures, like distortion and feedback, became part of the guitarist's language. Jimi Hendrix was rock's great master of manipulated sound.
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