Guitar Questions and Answers 3


Your Guitar Questions Answered, Part 3

guitar question and answersYes friends, it’s indeed time for another round of our common guitar questions and answers.

Anyone keen on how to learn electric guitar as stress free as possible should definitely check them out!

As always, please feel free to leave your question in the comment field below or contact me. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just bad answers.

Fasten your seat belts, strap on your guitar and let’s get rocking!

Help choosing an electric guitar

Q: Can you help me pick out a good electric guitar? I’m all new to this…

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A: Any answer to a question like this one is basically down to a matter of personal preference. What might appeal to me doesn’t always go down at all with someone else.

However, if you stick to the better known guitar brands from reputable dealers, you are less likely to run into any major problems or regrets.

The best piece of advice I can give is this: Visit your nearest well equipped music store and try out as many instruments as possible. Also, you may want to ask friends and perhaps other musicians if you can try their guitar … just briefly to get a feel for how it sits, the weight and balance, the overall sound, etc.

Most people you don’t know will probably not let you play their instrument just like that. If so, then politely ask if they would do you a favor and very briefly demonstrate how it plays and sounds. Don’t forget to ask other players why they chose that particular guitar to begin with. Most guitar players are cool and they will try to help you if you just ask.

There are some basic, yet major differences between guitars. You have the guitars with single coil pickups (like the ones you’ll see on most Fenders) and then you have humbuckers (like most Gibson guitars are equipped with).

Then you have all sorts of combinations and add-ons – like scale/vibrating string length (longer, shorter), wood types, neck styles and neck angles, finishes, hardware and controls, vibrato system or hard-tail instruments, fret board wood types … on and on it goes :-)

It somehow boils down to this: Having both, I can assure you some of my cheap guitars plays just as well as very expensive ones. Just changing the pick-ups, hardware and electronics on a lower cost guitar these days, and then having it properly adjusted/set up, will most likely give you a whole lot of guitar for your hard earned cash.

Me, I play mostly my cheaper guitars live – somewhat modded, I should add. If you tried one of my second hand and quite cheap Teles or Strats, you might very well think they were ten times their actual price.

Fresh out of the box, most low-cost guitars may not sound or play like much. As much as anything, this is due to the fact that the better instruments come set up from the factory or shop for great playing comfort!

Can’t really hammer this down – do get some qualified help in a reputable store or by someone who knows what he/she is doing. Then, try out as many guitars as you possibly can.

Tips on how to become better at playing guitar

Q: Any specific tips on how I can become a better guitar player? I’m a little past the absolute beginner guitar level.

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A: One of the keys (pun intended) to mastering the guitar is to get the scales and patterns “under your skin”. You might for instance begin slowly to practice the major and pentatonic scales in all positions.

Gradually work up your speed as long as you can stay relaxed and get an even sound from all notes. If you make mistakes, then just back up and start over.

When you have a basic feel for the neck and how to position your fingers, you might want to learn what notes you are playing in all scales and positions on the fingerboard.

This will build a reference or frame to understand how you can transpose things which are working in one key to another key or to another song all together. Also, knowing the notes, scales, patterns, chords etc. makes it easy to  communicate properly with other musicians who don’t play guitar.

I tend to advice beginners at times to use a metronome, click or similar, to better learn timing and flow.

It is considered important (at least I think so) to understand the structure of the songs that you play along to. What key is it in; any intro; how many verses; where’s the chorus; does it have a bridge, is it transposed from one key to another, time signatures etc?

You might want to try to play a song in another key. Why not slow it down or speed it up a little (or a lot). It is quite surprising how the overall feel changes when you change the tempo!

You should definitely learn the chord positions are all over the fretboard. Doing inversions – playing a chord on say the three or four lower strings as opposed to other strings – or playing higher or lower on the neck … how does the same chord or pattern sound and feel?

A capo is something you might want to try. It sure changes the feel and sound of your guitar! If you are adventurous, you might even try to change to an alternate (open) tuning, G or D (or A, E) are the most common ones.

Also try out playing both with your fingers as well as a pick – again, way different sound and feel :-)

Interacting (playing) with others will always be beneficial, in particular if they are better than yourself and the chemistry is good. You’ll quickly begin to pick up new stuff in addition to learn interaction, how to listen to time shifts, how other musicians are playing on and off your own ideas, how to stay in the groove and much more. Important for sure!

Oh, and let us not forget, lots of practice and then practice some more :-)

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20 Responses to “Guitar Questions and Answers 3”

  1. Easy Guitar Songs Says:

    Great set of basic tips in the video. Interesting guitar – never seen a design like that before – great tone. Top tip about getting close to the fret – really makes a difference.

  2. Violin Lesson Says:

    I agree – great tips for guitar beginners – Thanks

  3. Glen R. Says:

    Thank you for answering many of my questions about guitars and playing them. This is what I’ve been looking for.

  4. Leandro Rua Says:

    Thank you for posting these answers to guitar related questions – helps a lot.

  5. J. Rimmer Says:

    Thank you so much for answering some of my guitar related questions – keep up the good work!

  6. Michelina Guiher Says:

    Thanks for the info related to playing and learning guitar. Great writing technique by the way.

  7. S. Sacchetti Says:

    Hey, I like your blog, found it while surfing randomly the other day. I will absolutely keep dropping by. On a side note, I was having troubles opening the site yesterday. See ya…

  8. grants for single mothers Says:

    Great guitar related information! Been looking for something like this for a quite some time now. Thanks!

  9. Ewen Says:

    Nice guitar article man, answered a couple of things for me. Can’t seem to find the website’s feed though?

  10. Seb Says:

    Insightful answers to some things I was wondering about. Good stuff, thanks from a beginner guitar player.

  11. Mario Brooker Says:

    Cool guitar related post – interesting tidbit. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jeffrey Tanner Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to answer these guitar playing related questions – very educational for a guitar novice like myself!

  13. Leigh Singh Says:

    Thanks for sharing these guitar related topics with us all – great bits and pieces of information and advice!

  14. Ron P Says:

    Appreciate the format of these to-the-point questions and answers. Looking forward to read more guitar playing stuff. Thanks.

  15. Arild Steuer Says:

    This was a very entertaining read for a guitar buff like me. Enjoyed it!

  16. Phil Gore Says:

    The violin is a nice instrument to play and due to its light weight and small size, you can easily carry it and play it almost anywhere.

  17. admin Says:

    Sure, the violin is a great thing. However, I don’t quite see what it has to do with electric guitars and learning how to play them … apart from the obvious thing – you trying to get a link in your off topic comment. Oh, and by the way, I deleted the link…

  18. Wren Says:

    Hi,
    I hope you can answer my question. I read music well, I’ve been playing piano and french horn since I was young. Three years ago I took up guitar, I got to an intermediate level the first year and then stopped progressing due to boredom. The problem is I can’t find decent sheet music. I’m a fast learner, but I have struggled to find decent sheet music. I want to play specific music by my favorite bands but i can only find what I consider to be extremely basic guitar tabs that were poorly interpreted by amateurs online, they’re never any good and many times you can’t even tell what song it’s supposed to be. This has been very frustrating. I’ve been to the store and sifted through guitar books, they are all very basic as well. I thought i would be able to purchase the ACTUAL sheet music composed by THE artist like i did with piano. Following someone’s online video is not necessary because I can read music and I don’t want their interpretation anyways. If I had the music i could play it. but I can’t find any resources. I’m not looking for obscure pieces of music either, i want music by nick cave, the pixies, the beatles, wilco, the decemberists. I’ve been waiting to seriously rock out on my electric guitar but after three years i’ve really lost interest and feel like I’m getting no where. And the frustrating thing is it’s not because I don’t have the ability to play, it’s because i can’t find any decent sheet music. **Could you please turn me on to some resources for musicians that play at a more advanced or professional level? The resources and music for guitar seem so elusive as compared to piano. Thank you!!!

  19. Wren Says:

    I just want a way to purchase the original compositions.

  20. admin Says:

    Hi Wren, and thanks for your comment!
    You are absolutely right that the tabs out there are just a load of amateur bull in 99.99% of the cases. Personally I find it much faster, more convenient and far more correct to learn the songs by ear.
    As far as sheet music is concerned, I do believe that it is possible to get hold of most compositions, including the modern songs. If you have a well established music store in your area, then I’m pretty sure they may take the trouble of getting it for you.
    Still, a better idea is to try online services like http://www.sheetmusicplus.com or http://www.musicnotes.com – and I’m pretty sure there are lots of similar services out there.
    Like I said, I find it more convenient for me to learn by ear (I do read notes, but very slow). I tend to find the song on youtube or iTunes and learn it that way.
    In any case, best of luck with your playing – just don’t give up! :-)

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