First, you need to determine what type of guitar you have - acoustic nylon, acoustic steel string, or electric. You want to be sure to use the correct strings for your particular guitar. Acoustic guitars that require nylon strings, such as classical, flamenco and some folk guitars, generally have lighter tops, or soundboards, with less internal bracing than those found on steel-string acoustics, and stand the risk of serious damage if fitted with steel strings. Steel-string acoustics are designed to withstand the added stress that steel strings exert on the top, bridge, nut and neck, and won't sound very good with nylon strings, if they even fit. Electric guitar strings must be made of ferromagnetic metals like steel and nickel, so they can interact with the magnetic pickups, while acoustic-electric guitars typically use a different type of pickup which senses vibrations from the bridge, so acoustic strings may just have a steel core wound with a phosphor bronze alloy wrap for bright tone. Guitars with whammy bars might require a few extra steps to keep everything stable, so check your manufacturer's instructions or look for online videos.
While four years old is a little young for formal guitar lessons, it's not too early to begin teaching your child musical concepts that will be important once they are old enough for guitar instruction at School of Rock. Your 4-year-old can participate in the Little Wing music program to learn fundamental concepts through fun, dynamic musical activities.
Try one that starts with C, moves to F, then G and then back to C. This is the most basic progression, and uses the major chords you know. If you start with an A minor before going to C you can make a more interesting progression which incorporates both major and minor chords. Generally speaking, you want to focus on the chord with the same name as the key (the root), which in this case is C. Think of the other chords as either springing from it or leading back to it. Play around with the chords and see what you can come up with!
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 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.
When you get right down to it, Guitar Center's friendly instructors will do everything they can to help you reach your highest level of musical potential. And remember, guitar lessons are available for both newcomers to the instrument, as well as experienced players who want to push the limits of their performance to even greater heights. If you would like to learn more about any upcoming workshops at a Guitar Center near you, feel free to give us a shout via phone or email. Any info you need can be found on our Guitar Center Lessons homepage and we'll gladly answer any questions you may have.
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.
Some piezo-equipped guitars use a hexaphonic pickup. "Hex" is a prefix meaning six. A hexaphonic pickup produces a separate output for each string, usually from a discrete piezoelectric or magnetic pickup for each string. This arrangement lets on-board or external electronics process the strings individually for modeling or Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) conversion. Roland makes hexaphonic pickups for guitar and bass, and a line of guitar modeling and synthesis products. Line 6's hexaphonic-equipped Variax guitars use on-board electronics to model the sound after various vintage instruments, and vary pitch on individual strings.
"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.
Bolt-on necks, though they are historically associated with cheaper instruments, do offer greater flexibility in the guitar's set-up, and allow easier access for neck joint maintenance and repairs. Another type of neck, only available for solid body electric guitars, is the neck-through-body construction. These are designed so that everything from the machine heads down to the bridge are located on the same piece of wood. The sides (also known as wings) of the guitar are then glued to this central piece. Some luthiers prefer this method of construction as they claim it allows better sustain of each note. Some instruments may not have a neck joint at all, having the neck and sides built as one piece and the body built around it.
The Master of Music in Performance (Guitar) from Musicians Institute combines advanced performance training with additional study in both traditional and contemporary disciplines such as music history, theory, education, research skills, recording technology, production, business relations and online brand management, taking your guitar skills to the highest level.