Ask any veteran musician, and they'll tell you that the early stages of learning a musical instrument go by a lot smoother when you're having fun. For this reason, Guitar Center strives their hardest to ensure every guitar lesson they offer is fully-engaging and an absolute blast for everyone involved. Whether you're into the warm, natural sound of an acoustic guitar or have aspirations of blowing out ear drums on the biggest stages in town, GC's guitar lessons are designed so that players of all ages, skill levels and tastes learn the chords and scales they need to know (and want to know) in a comfortable environment.
With that in mind, the inverse to this rule isn’t always true. During the Folk Boom of the 1950s and 60s, there were actually quite a few musicians who put nylon strings on steel string acoustics. This gave the guitar a very warm and relaxed tone, though should you choose to do this be aware that you’re going to get a lot less volume and a reduced response across the entire frequency range.
Chords are the backbone of most guitar music. As a beginner, mastering the most common chords allows you to play along to popular songs and even start writing your own. Technically speaking, a chord is a group of three or more notes played in one smooth strumming motion. Chords are classified according to the overall effect they produce. Major and minor chords, which create happy and sad sounds, respectively, are the most basic chords you'll need to play beginner-friendly songs.
The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning. The modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, and the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument.
When you play a guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin or any other instrument in this big family, it's the vibration of the strings that creates your sound. That's common knowledge, of course, but have you ever stopped to really think about the implications? It's all too easy to dismiss your strings as just another part of your instrument, but the truth is they're more like its heart - and since playing the instrument means touching its strings, they also have a huge impact on the way it feels to play. With all that in mind, it's easy to see why the choice of strings is such an important one: it can make a massive difference in every aspect of your instrument, especially playability and tone. Picking out a new set of strings involves a number of choices, and those will depend on the specific instrument, so don't forget to filter the lineup by selecting a category. In most cases, that'll leave you with an easy-to-browse range of options - although if you're a guitarist or bassist, you'll still have hundreds to look at... and it might take a little more filtering to narrow things down further. Choosing your gauges will go a long way, not to mention material, which ranges from nylon for classical guitars to phosphor-bronze in acoustics and steel, nickel or even cobalt for electric guitars. Another aspect of strings to consider in your decision is coating. Traditional coated strings have a smoother feel than their uncoated cousins and usually last much longer, but they're also wider and that can make them sound different. If you like the idea of coated strings, but don't want to give up the tone you get with uncoated ones, then check out Elixir and Cleartone strings: these two manufacturers have mastered the art of ultra-thin, "barely-there" coatings that behave more like traditional strings. We've only just scratched the surface of what's available in this section, and there's a lot to see no matter what instrument you play. Different materials and gauges, coated or uncoated - it's up to you. You can buy your strings one at a time, go for a set or even stock up with multiple sets of strings at once. Still not sure where to begin? Try starting with the top-selling and best-rated strings and go from there. Finding the perfect set will probably take some experimentation, but there's no better guide than other musicians to get you on the right track.
Another factor to consider are the alloys used to make the string. Acoustic strings may be phosphor bronze or an 80/20 bronze/zinc alloy, electric strings may be pure steel or a steel/nickel alloy, and the outer winding on the thicker strings may be either round wound or flat wound, which is typically used by jazz guitarists for smooth fingering with less fretting noise. Acoustic and electric strings are both now available with special super-thin coatings to protect them from sweat and corrosion. Coated strings cost more, but generally last much longer. Find out what type of string your favorite player uses, try guitars with different types of strings at your local guitar store, then try a few different sets on your guitar to see what feels and sounds best for your playing style. Major manufacturers include Ernie Ball, Martin, GHS, D'Addario, and Elixir, among others. Make sure you have a string winder to make installing the strings go faster, and some pliers with a fine wire cutter to clip the excess string from the tuning post, a well as some guitar polish - changing strings is a good time to perform some routine maintenance. Keep a clean cloth in your case to wipe down the strings after each use, along with extra bridge pins for your acoustic guitar. Regular string changes are the best way to keep your tone crisp and clear, so grab a pack and tune 'em up!
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 musical theory of chords is reviewed, to provide terminology for a discussion of guitar chords. Three kinds of chords, which are emphasized in introductions to guitar-playing, are discussed. These basic chords arise in chord-triples that are conventional in Western music, triples that are called three-chord progressions. After each type of chord is introduced, its role in three-chord progressions is noted.
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.
Yellow Brick Cinema’s Classical Music is ideal for studying, reading, sleeping (for adults and babies) and general relaxation. We’ve compiled only the best quality music from some of the world’s most renowned composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Debussy, Brahms, Handel, Chopin, Schubert, Haydn, Dvorak, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and many more.
Unlike many string instruments which use a bow to create a sound, guitars are played by plucking or strumming the strings on the instrument, which vibrate to create a sound. Chords are played when the guitarist holds their fingers down on more than one individual string to change its length, which in turn changes the frequency of the vibration created - in other words, it creates a different note. Performers often use guitar tabs, rather than sheet music, when learning music: this acts as a kind of 'map' to teach guitarists where to put their fingers on the strings.