21 May Electric Guitar
Acoustic and electric guitars dominate the music of the western world. In western music, the standard pop band consists of drums, keyboards, vocals, bass guitar, and often two six-string guitars. The guitar is an extremely versatile instrument that can play melodies and/or harmonies with a wide variety of tones and dynamics. Each string is a “voice” that has its own unique range. When the six strings of the guitar all sound together they are like the voices of a six-piece choir.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR HISTORY
Beginning with the Baroque guitar in the late 17th century, the acoustic guitar has come in many different forms and varieties. There are classical, flamenco, 12-string, tenor, steel string, resonator, dobro acoustics and many others. Flattop steel-string acoustic guitars are the most popular.
WHEN TO START
We recommend that kids start playing the guitar no younger than five or six though there are definitely exceptions. Although it is a popular instrument and relatively easy to learn how to pick some notes and strum through some chords it takes a lot of coordination and a certain amount of hand strength before it will sound good at all. Electric guitars and nylon string acoustic strung with light gauge strings are the easiest to play when starting out. With the exception of classical and flamenco style acoustics, the electric and acoustic guitars are basically the same and anyone can start learning on either instrument.
For those ready to start playing the guitar Yamaha and J. Reynolds make decent half-size and three quarter-size starter acoustics. Yamaha, Ibanez, and Fender make full-size guitars that are sometimes good starter instruments. Some common professional guitar models are made by Taylor, C.F. Martin, and Larrivee. When buying a guitar it is important to check the integrity of the frets and the neck by playing every fret of each string to make sure it sounds like it’s intonated properly.
For some great acoustic guitar inspiration check out the music of Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Jim Croce, and Taj Mahal.
For those who already play the guitar and are looking to increase their skill set there is slide guitar, classical fingerstyle, flamenco fingerstyle, blues and jazz improvisation, folk and Travis style fingerpicking, alternate tunings, multiple capo techniques, finger-tapping and slapping, etc…