A Look At The History Of The Electric Guitar

March 12, 2010 by admin  
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The Electric guitar hasn’t been around nearly as long as the Acoustic and Classical guitars. In fact, the Electric guitar was created just 70 years ago (the 1930s) by Adolph Rickenbacker. Since that time, the Electric guitar has greatly evolved to the where it is today. In this article, we’ll go over the history of the Electric guitar.

The History

Guitars, or similar instruments, have been around for thousands of years. The Electric guitar was first manufactured in the 1930s by Rickenbacker. Original Electric guitars used tungsten pickups. Pickups basically convert the vibration of the strings into electrical current, which is then fed into the amplifier to produce the sound.

The very earliest Electric guitars featured smaller soundholes in the body. These guitars are known as semi-hollow body Electric guitars and still are somewhat popular today, mainly due to the fact that they are flexible guitars.

However, with the use of pickups, it was possible to create guitars without soundholes (like the Acoustic and Classical guitars have) that still had the ability to be heard, if plugged into amplifiers. These guitars are called solid body Electric guitars.

The Electric guitar’s popularity began to increase during the Big Band era of the ‘30s and 40s. Due to the loudness of the brass sections in jazz orchestras, it was necessary to have guitars that could be heard above the sections. Electric guitars, with the ability to be plugged into amplifiers, filled this void.

The Electric guitar that is most prevalent today is the solid body Electric guitar. The solid body guitar was created by musician and inventor Les Paul in 1941. It is a guitar made of solid wood with no soundholes. The original solid body guitar created by Paul was very plain—it was a simple rectangular block of wood connected to a neck with six steel strings. Les Paul’s original solid body guitar shape has, of course, changed from the original rectangular shape to the more rounded shape Les Paul guitars have today.

During the 1950s, Gibson introduced Les Paul’s invention to the world. The Gibson Les Paul, as it was and still is called, quickly became a very popular Electric guitar. It has remained the most popular guitar for 50 years.

Around the same period of time, another inventor named Leo Fender came up with a solid body Electric guitar of his own. In the late 1940s, Fender introduced the Fender Broadcaster Electric guitar. The Broadcaster, which was renamed the Stratocaster, was officially introduced to the public in 1954. The Strat, as it is now known, was a very different guitar in comparison to the Les Paul. It had a different shape, different hardware and was significantly lighter. Fender’s Stratocaster Electric guitar is the second most popular guitar in the world, second to only the Les Paul.

Over the years, other companies, such as Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith, ESP and Yamaha have all produced solid body Electric guitars of their own. However, most Electric guitars still feature the familiar shape of a Les Paul or Strat guitar.

How To Tune Electric Guitar

March 3, 2010 by admin  
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There are many ways to tune an electric guitar. The easiest way is with a guitar tuner, if the intonation is set properly. Tuning a guitar trains your ear to the different sounds of each note.

Find a tuner that works with an electric guitar. Learn to tune your guitar with one note off a fixed source, or by ear. This will help train the ear for the pitch of each note and help with finger placement and the pressure to be applied to the string.

One way to tune is set out below: – Start off with open A (this is the second largest or 5th string). – Use a fixed source such as the piano, harmonica, tuning fork, even another guitarNow make the A string match the pitch or tone of the A source note by picking the A string and letting it ringLoosen the string below the tone and then tune while increasing the tensionLoosening and then tightening works best and keeps the guitar in tune longer

Once the A string is tuned move to the D string. – The D string is directly below the A string, it is the 4th stringSound D by placing your middle finger on the 5th fret on AThis will give the D soundHold the finger down and leave it to ring while adjusting D

Now move to the G string; this is directly under the D string and is the 3rd string. – Sound G by placing your middle finger on the 5th fret on the D stringLet the sound ring out by holding your finger downAdjust G by matching it to the sound

Then comes the B string or the 2nd string. This is directly under the G string. – Place your middle finger on the 4th fret on the G stringHold your finger down to let it ring outAdjust the B string to match the sound

Next, the upper E string, the thinnest string and the one below the B string. – Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the B string; this gives the upper E noteLet it ring out by holding your finger downAdjust the E string to match the sound

Finally, lower E, the largest string and also the first: – Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of lower EThis gives an open A soundMatch the sound produced by the A string to the 5th fret noteAdjust lower E accordingly

Be aware that when you tighten a string to tune it it’s put under lots of tension. Normally, this is not a problem. However, if your guitar has rough parts that can snag a string. If you tune it incorrectly and over tighten the string, it will break. Since the string is under so much tension, it can cause a lot of damage. Don’t over tighten strings. If in doubt, tune down.

You need to do one string at a time. Strings have tension and a pulling effect on the guitar’s neck. The force that each string exerts on the neck causes it to bend slightly.

Once you have tuned your guitar, you will probably find that some strings have gone out of tune. You will need to repeat the above procedure until all the strings are in tune.

Good intonation means your guitar will stay in tune as you play different notes along the neck. The string may be perfectly in tune but, on the 10th fret, it might be ½ semitone out. This is bad intonation.

Bad intonation can be caused by a mismatch between the length of the string and the spacing of the frets. It can also be caused by a non-uniform string (that is, the thickness changes along the length). If you can’t fix the intonation, try changing your strings.

Intonation is easily adjusted on the electric guitar since the bridge consists of several adjustable parts. A flat note means the string is too long, whereas a sharp note means the string is too short. Adjust the string slightly by moving the appropriate bridge piece. You may have to repeat this several times on each string. It is time-consuming the first time you do it, but well worth your while.

What You Should Know About Guitar Strings

March 1, 2010 by admin  
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Generally speaking there are two types of guitar strings that are made.

Steel – used on electric and acoustic guitars

Nylon – primarily used on classical and flamenco guitars

Guitar strings are normally wound with either type of nickel, brass, or copper alloy. On most standard set of strings for an electric guitar, the 1st3rd string is usually unwound, but the 4th6th string is wound. Each individual string is of a different thickness, and they each have a specific note to be tuned to. The 12 string guitar is the alternative to this, because they have 12 strings to tune instead of six.

Electric guitar strings that are wound are created by rolling a string made of white metal around a centrally located string. The different types of material used for wrapping around the central string depend on the durability and tone wanted by the musician. Typically you will find that an electric guitar uses a nickel or nickel alloy material.

The thickness of the string is referred to as the gauge of the string. The guitar string is measured by fractions of an inch.

Light Gauge String

(.008 – .038) (.009 – .042) (.009 – .046) (.010 – .046)

Easier to push down, and you will be able to bend them without any problem.

Allow you to be able to play much faster

Do not hold their tune very well

Have very little sustain

Produce very little volume

Not good for lower tunings

Heavy Gauge Strings

(.011 – .050) (.010 – .052) (.012 – .052) (.013 – .056)

Heavier gauged strings are preferred by many of todays guitarists because of the tone and the feel of them.

Good for guitar players that prefer to have their guitars tuned down lower than standard (drop D, drop C, drop B etc.).

Will hold their sustain much longer in the drop tunings

Why Your Strings Break

As annoying as it is, you will have guitar strings break on you, and there are many reasons for this to happen. Here are the four main reasons that you may experience this problem:

Aggressive Playing

- This happens to be the most common reason for breaking strings

- No doubt, you will get so deep into your jam session, that you will tend to strum a little to hard with your pick and snap a string. Unfortunately there is no way to fix this problem other than change your playing style, but I don’t recommend that at all.

Old Strings

- Over time your guitar strings will loose their elasticity simply from the constant stress that is put on your strings.

- If you have not played or changed your strings in a long time, they will rust over, and become very susceptible to breaking.

Over tuning

- This simply means that when you are tuning your guitar, you may wind the tuning pegs to high, resulting in a broken string.

- Because this could very easily happen, it is wise to tune your guitar with the strings facing away from you.

Sharp Objects

- You may find sharp areas on the guitar that are capable of breaking a guitar string. These areas include but are not limited to: The bridge, the nut, tuning peg.

Guitar strings are the heart and soul of any guitar. Without them, there would be no possible way to create sound. To get the best sound out of your guitar, you should change your strings on a regular basis. This is an easy way to experiment and try out different gauges to see what tone fits your style.

A Beginners Pick: Choosing the Best Guitar for Learning

February 28, 2010 by admin  
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So you ask, what would be the most appropriate and best type of guitar to use and prove your skills on being an artist someday? Would that be the bass or electric? The answer is within you.

Try to ask yourself what suits your taste for music. Are you the moody type? An alternative type perhaps? Are you more on the jazzier side or just plainly characterized by the Spanish feel? Choosing depends on the kind of music you listen to or appreciate.

Every beginner has some confusion in selecting the finest guitar they could posses. The difficulty in purchasing a guitar is as difficult as deciding who is hotter, Angelina Jolie or Jessica Alba? To get over with the hassle, below are some tips on picking the best type of guitar that would fit your desire for melody and tune:

1. Reflect on your music. This matters a lot. This is all that matters. In fact, it is the music that we listen to that influences us to play something. When you hear the strumming of a guitar, do you consider yourself listening to the lighter side of things or more on the hard core part? The music that you listen to is the very basis of your choice.

2. Check your budget. How much would it cost? Is it worth the savings? Try to question your better judgment on how to determine a cheap yet good guitar. If you have a limited amount on your hand, go with the one that matches your money. Don’t settle with something you love yet the price isn’t that friendly. But if you saw something that made your heart melt, and you’d really, really, really like to have it, ask someone who works inside, a saleslady, perhaps, who could help you work out on something, like paying for it on an installment basis. Good communication results in better understanding.

3. Decide on the type of features that your guitar would have. Once you have gathered your resources, specifically financial resources, it’s time for you to get your hands on that guitar you’ve set your eyes for months. With a wide variety of guitars nowadays it’s hard to determine whether you have made a good choice, from electric to bass, acoustic to classical, and so much more to choose from. Most beginners elaborate more on the tune, while others side with the style.

Still, if you can’t decide between two great choices, have a friend who is adept on playing a guitar accompany you and let him determine which one would be more appropriate. Never be secluded on your decisions.

4. Choose between acoustic or electric. There are two sides when choosing which is which. The pros and the cons are oftentimes weighed. Compared to an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar is easier to operate but is more complicated with all those strings attached and buttons to push. Once you play an electric guitar, you need to buy other equipments like an amplifier, cable and pick.

The only disadvantage with an acoustic guitar is that it is harder to manipulate than that of the electric guitar. Aside from that, it is the most advisable type of guitar to play with. No picks needed. You can play with it just by strumming the tip of your fingers on its strings. And, it’s cheaper than an electric guitar.

Now that you have your options, start deciding on what you think will suite you. Choosing is not difficult but you have to consider a lot of principles.