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.

Left-handed players sometimes choose an opposite-handed (mirror) instrument, although some play in a standard-handed manner, others play a standard-handed guitar reversed, and still others (for example Jimi Hendrix) played a standard-handed guitar strung in reverse. This last configuration differs from a true opposite handed guitar in that the saddle is normally angled in such a way that the bass strings are slightly longer than the treble strings to improve intonation. Reversing the strings, therefore, reverses the relative orientation of the saddle, adversely affecting intonation, although in Hendrix's case, this is believed to have been an important element in his unique sound.


The original purpose of the resonator was to produce a very loud sound; this purpose has been largely superseded by electrical amplification, but the resonator guitar is still played because of its distinctive tone. Resonator guitars may have either one or three resonator cones. The method of transmitting sound resonance to the cone is either a "biscuit" bridge, made of a small piece of hardwood at the vertex of the cone (Nationals), or a "spider" bridge, made of metal and mounted around the rim of the (inverted) cone (Dobros). Three-cone resonators always use a specialized metal bridge. The type of resonator guitar with a neck with a square cross-section—called "square neck" or "Hawaiian"—is usually played face up, on the lap of the seated player, and often with a metal or glass slide. The round neck resonator guitars are normally played in the same fashion as other guitars, although slides are also often used, especially in blues.
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.

When playing seventh chords, guitarists often play only subset of notes from the chord. The fifth is often omitted. When a guitar is accompanied by a bass, the guitarist may omit the bass note from a chord. As discussed earlier, the third of a triad is doubled to emphasize its major or minor quality; similarly, the third of a seventh is doubled to emphasize its major or minor quality. The most frequent seventh is the dominant seventh; the minor, half-diminished, and major sevenths are also popular.[79]


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.
"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."
On the other hand, some chords are more difficult to play in a regular tuning than in standard tuning. It can be difficult to play conventional chords especially in augmented-fourths tuning and all-fifths tuning,[20] in which the large spacings require hand stretching. Some chords, which are conventional in folk music, are difficult to play even in all-fourths and major-thirds tunings, which do not require more hand-stretching than standard tuning.[21]
All three principal types of resonator guitars were invented by the Slovak-American John Dopyera (1893–1988) for the National and Dobro (Dopyera Brothers) companies. Similar to the flat top guitar in appearance, but with a body that may be made of brass, nickel-silver, or steel as well as wood, the sound of the resonator guitar is produced by one or more aluminum resonator cones mounted in the middle of the top. The physical principle of the guitar is therefore similar to the loudspeaker.
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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.
First, being able to learn directly from amazing artists like Paul Gilbert is incredible. He's a great teacher and has a way of explaining things that are easy to understand and replicate. The video format is also extraordinarily helpful; I've used other sites that use only written materials (usually .pdf format), and they are difficult to navigate. The feedback, though, is what really makes this website head and shoulders above the others (even the other video websites). When I record myself and send it in, I get a response from Paul that critiques in an incredibly constructive way as well as additional exercises to work at really honing that skill. In addition, getting to see what tips he gave to other users is awesome! If you want to learn an instrument, there's no better way.
The black dots found on the chord diagrams tell you which fret to press down, and on which string and with which numbered finger. Additionally, you will sometimes see circles above the nut. These circles tell you to play that open string without pressing any fret. So using what we know so far about strings, finger numbers, and dots, let’s check out that same chord diagram again:
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.

Jake Jackson's publications, as writer, editor or contributor, include The Beginner's Guide to Reading Music, How to Play Classic Riffs and Play Flamenco. As guitarist and songwriter he has been in a few bands, including Slice, The Harmonics and Starbank and has studied a form of Flamenco guitar. Although Jake has a range of fine guitars in his house his favourite music software is Sibelius and, having worked with Cubase for many years, is now moving over to Logic Pro.
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

At MI, you learn from a proven curriculum taught by the best guitar instructors in the world, augmented by visiting artists’ seminars, concerts, and lessons from some of the greatest players in contemporary music. At our guitar music college, you get to network with other players, find your creative voice, and get the training you need to become the player you have always dreamed of being.

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