Category Archives for Tips

The Ultimate Justin Guitar Lessons Review: For Those Who Want to Keep Learning

If you’re a beginning guitarist who is looking for inexpensive guitar lessons, you should take your time and check out Justin Guitar review. Justin Guitar offers completely free online guitar lessons that have a decent quality to them and a suitable selection of courses to choose from.

Justin Guitar allows users to choose from three levels of lessons:

  • Beginners Guitar Course
  • Intermediate Method
  • Style Modules, which includes blue rhythms, blues lead, fingerstyle folk, and a small selection of metal and rock

Justin’s beginner’s course is completely free to use; it’s so free to use that you don’t even need to give his site your credit card information. If you’re just starting out on guitar or not exactly sure you even want to start playing guitar, take some time to give Justin Guitar a look at.

Beginner’s Course

The beginner’s course is split into ten different stages and in these stages, players will learn:

  • Common FAQs that beginners have with answers
  • What proper technique is
  • A selection of open chords
  • Rhythm training
  • How to properly apply your picking technique
  • A little bit of music theory
  • Power chords
  • Palm muting
  • Some finger style training
  • Minor pentatonic scale
  • Training techniques
  • Practice schedules
  • Practice exercises

Each level that you enter in has a different song that you will learn. You do not have to pay for anything for the beginner course, but Justin Guitar strongly encourages donations. However, if you can’t afford the price tag that comes with other online guitar lessons, Justin Guitar is a great place to start with.

The beginner’s course is perfect for anyone who has never touched a guitar before or for anyone who is looking for some basic knowledge about how to play the guitar or improve their technique. If you’re a guitarist that’s self-taught, you may also want to go through these lessons, just to see if there’s anything that you may have missed when you were teaching yourself. It doesn’t hurt to look!

Intermediate Course

In Justin’s Guitar course, the intermediate method is broken down into five foundations; these are lessons that build up a player’s foundation that is needed to be able to confidently play, no matter what their style is. This course helps to encourage and build proper technique for comfortable and confident playing.

The lessons that are taught in the intermediate course are:

  • Different barre chords
  • Major scale
  • Keys
  • Learning the fretboard
  • Advanced techniques
  • How to bend strings
  • Improving fingerstyle technique
  • Advanced rhythm training
  • Dynamics
  • A song to learn that incorporates all of these lessons

The intermediate course is also free but comes with some DVDs that you can purchase for some extra education. You do learn a lot in this free course, but if you really want to go above and beyond in your understanding of the guitar, the DVDs really help.

This course is great to enter in if you are someone who has already completed the beginner’s course or who has had some basic training on the guitar in a properly structured manner; if you have ever completed any online training or in-person guitar lessons. If you are a self-taught musician, I would still suggest that you start off with the beginner’s course, just to make sure that you have a solid understanding of all of the topics covered in that course.

Style Modules

The courses that Justin’s Guitar offers through their style modules offers a mix of both free and paid courses.

  • Master the Major Scale is only available through a paid DVD
  • Solo Blues is only available through a paid DVD
  • Blues Rhythm Guitar offers free online course and a paid DVD
  • Blues Lead offers a free online course and a paid DVD option Folk Fingerstyle offers a free online course and a paid DVD

Teaching Quality

I am more of an independent physical learner and I found that the teaching style that Justin employs is not only easy to understand, but his directions are very clear and concise. I also enjoyed how all of the videos that I used from Justin’s site all had subtitles, which really came in handy because there were certain times where his accent was very clear.

All of the lessons also have subtitles for each of these languages:

  • Spanish
  • Croatian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Romanian

I also found the lessons to be perfectly paced; Justin didn’t go through each lesson at a speedy pace. Instead, he really took his time to explain everything, which was very nice to see in the beginner’s section.

Conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the videos and learning experience that Justin’s Guitar lessons provided users with. It was really nice to see high-quality beginners videos for free, which is really hard to find. These lessons were also organized very well; some online lessons will teach beginners songs on sheet music before they even teach their guitarists how to read music.

I did not find one single lesson that was lacking in knowledge; each lesson was very thorough and there weren’t many important things that Justin left out in the beginner’s section. My biggest complaint is the style modules, as I’m not exactly sure how learning how to play major scales is a module, but that organization is up to Justin. I understand that the style modules are still being worked on, but the beginner and intermediate lessons that are free are really impressive and worth the experience. I also didn’t enjoy the heavy push to purchase beginner’s products, like DVDs and books. There were DVDs that cost around $50 and any excited beginning guitarist may be tricked into purchasing that DVD when they don’t even really need it.

If you are a guitarist who is looking to improve technique, can’t afford guitar lessons, or want to expand on your guitar knowledge, Justin’s Guitar lessons are something that I would highly recommend that you check out. Even if you can afford to pay for lessons, I would also suggest that you check out these lessons and really learn those basics.

Top Five Best Guitar Capos on the Market Today

Some people think that using a capo to play the guitar is cheating. If you are someone who can play the guitar without a capo, you deserve a countless amount of high fives. Playing the guitar without a capo is incredibly difficult and requires a crazy amount of practice in order to be able to play in difficult keys.

However, I find that instead of wasting all of that time practicing those difficult keys, you can just use a capo! Using a capo adds a whole new range to your playing, without having to add any extra practice time into your day. Not to mention, using a capo is a whole lot of fun! With added enjoyment comes a larger desire to practice, which means you’re going to become a better guitar player.

But, before we even get into talking about the best capos on the market today, we need to talk about what a capo actually does and the different types of capos that you can purchase.

Quick Guide to Guitar Capos

Before you can fully understand the different aspects that different types of capos can bring to your technique, we need to have a talk about what the capo does on the guitar and how to properly use the capo.

Guitar capos are used by guitarists all around the world, as the capo allows the guitarist to change the key of the guitar. If you are a singer and use your guitar to introduce the key of the song to your ear, capos are incredibly useful; by using a capo, guitarists don’t have to tune their guitar every time they change songs and also don’t have to learn complex chords that are on the lower part of the neck.

How to Use Your Capo

Capos also allow a guitarist to produce different tones on the guitar without having to learn any difficult chord structures; matter of fact, with the help of a capo, you can use the same basic chord shapes that most guitarists use when they first learn how to start playing.

Capos don’t come with instruction manuals, so when you first get yourself a guitar capo, you’re going to need to know how to properly use your capo. If you are a guitarist who uses sheet music or tabs, you may notice at the beginning of certain pieces, it tells you to barre or capo on a particular fret. Take your capo, slide it over the desired fret, and clamp your capo down over the fret.

Depending upon the size of the capo that you purchase, your capo should hold down all six (or twelve) strings on your guitar. The capo will act the same exact way that your index finger does when you use your finger to barre chords.

If you have never used a capo before, I would suggest that when you first use it to start playing, you use it on your first, second, and third fret, just to give yourself an idea of how your guitar sounds with the capo. Make sure that you’re cognitive of the capo changing the tone, key, and notes when you’re playing.

When applying your capo to your guitar, make sure that to tighten the capo close behind the fret you have it clamped on. By applying your capo in the middle of the fret, you will can tension the be unevenly disturbed across the neck of your guitar. By applying uneven tension across the neck, you may receive a buzzing sound or a muted sound when you are trying to play. In order to prevent this from happening to you, apply your capo as close to the edge of the fret as you possibly can.

Once you have enough of a basic understanding on how to properly introduce yourself to a capo, it’s time you actually use it! Before you actually apply your capo to your guitar, make sure that your guitar is tuned. Even if you want to change the key of your guitar, you still need to tune it; without tuning your guitar, no matter where you place your capo, your guitar is going to sound bad. The standard tuning for a guitar is E, A, D, G, B, E. If you aren’t experienced enough yet to be able to aurally tune your guitar (tune your guitar by ear) purchase an electric tuner.

Before you start to heavily use a capo, make sure that you know how to play the fundamental chord shapes. Basic open chords like C, F Major, e minor, and A should require little thought to you; make sure that you understand how to play these chords before moving on to chords that are more difficult, such as b minor, D7, C# Sustained 4.

If you are already proficient at playing open chord progressions, having a capo won’t cause you much trouble. In fact, having a capo will make you more versatile on guitar. If you’re a beginning guitarist or an intermediate player, I would suggest that you purchase a chord map at your local music store or print one off online. A chord map is great to have around if you’re struggling to remember how to play a chord or if you’re looking for alternative ways to play the chord.

When beginning guitarists first learn about the capo, it’s common for them to ask if the capo can hurt their guitar. Don’t worry for one second! The companies that manufacture capos have the same worry in mind, so they ensure that their capos are well padded, which minimizes the risk to your guitar. However, if you leave a capo on your guitar while your guitar is being stored, you’re going to put your guitar out of tune and you also risk damaging your guitar over a period of time.

How do I play with a capo on my guitar?

Before you start jamming out, you want to make sure that when you put your capo on your guitar, it’s tight. If you put the capo on the fret too loose, your strings are going to produce a buzzing noise. Also, if you put it on too loosely, the capo could slip off the fret when you are in the middle of a song, which is something that you definitely don’t want.

When I put on a capo, I make sure that the capo is parallel with my fret, to ensure that it doesn’t bend the strings on my guitar. If you happen to place the capo on uneven, you risk the chance of bending your strings, which will make your guitar sound out of tune. I also make sure that I put it right behind a fret, which helps to keep the capo sturdy on my guitar.

Once I got the hang of properly applying the capo to my guitar, it took me a lot longer to truly understand how to play guitar with the capo. For me, it was difficult to re-think chord progressions. Once you have a capo on, you need to remember to subtract half of a step from each chord. This sounds super confusing, so I’m going to explain it with an example.

If you have your capo on the first fret, Ab is going to now become a G. While a G chord is much easier to play finger wise, you’re still going to have to learn how to re-think the chord progression while you are playing. For about a year, I carried around with me and used a cheat sheet. I would always try my best to think of the answer myself and double check with the cheat sheet; doing this really helped me to allow the re-thinking of the chord progression to become second nature to me.

Below, I have the same chord progression chart that I used to help me learn!

How should I go about purchasing a capo?

When first going shopping for a capo, you’re going to want to determine how you want to play your guitar and what type of capo you want. If you plan on using a capo at home while you practice, consider purchasing a screw capo, because it’s the most durable capo and it’s incredibly precise. However, if you plan on using a capo during live performances, you’re going to want to purchase a trigger capo; this is because trigger capo can be adjusted quickly.

There is no set price for capos; if you plan on shopping online for your capo, search around a little bit to determine a price that you feel comfortable with. If you think you’re going to want to purchase your capo in store, make sure you ask to try out the different capo options they have (remember to bring your guitar to test the capos out on). If you are a new guitarist or you have never used a capo before, I would personally suggest that you purchase a cheap capo; that way, if you don’t like using a capo, you don’t end up wasting a lot of money. You can find capos as cheap as $4!

What different types of capos can I purchase?

If you have never purchased a capo before, you have yet to learn the lesson between good capos and bad capos. Yes, whether you believe it or not, there is a difference! Bad capos tend to slide off frets, cause buzzing because of their poor construction, and end up taking your attention away from playing.

So, today we’re going to cover different types of capos and the capos that I really suggest you purchase.

Trigger capos

Trigger capos are the most popular capos out of all of the designs that are on today’s market.

Trigger capos use a spring loaded clamp in order to hold their tension. Trigger capos are popular because the allow players to quickly and easily adjust and reposition the capo only using one hand.

You apply a trigger capo by squeezing the handles and releasing the handles on the desired fret. Trigger capos use resistance to hold down guitar strings, which means that you don’t need to adjust any straps or loosen any screws in order to use the capo. Trigger capos are commonly used in live performances and this is because it’s super easy to move it up and down the neck of the guitar.

If you happen to purchase a capo that’s poor quality, you will find that the capo is too loose, which results in a buzzing sound when the guitar is played. On the other hand, if the capo is too tight, unnecessary tension will be put onto the guitar neck and you’re going to have a really hard time tuning your guitar. The only downfall with trigger capos is that you can’t adjust the tension of the capo, so you really have to make sure you’re purchasing a capo that’s high quality.

However, all of these problems are potential problems. It’s not guaranteed that you’re going to run into them. Trigger capos are the cheapest and easier capos to use, out of all of the competition on the market. This is why they are the most popular capo on the market and why they are perfect for beginning capo users.

Best trigger capo

My favorite trigger capo is the Kyser KG6B 6 String capo; it’s a simple trigger capo that doesn’t have a whole bunch of bells and whistles. I love all of the different color options and themes that the Kyser KG6B offers. My only complaint that because I have smaller, weaker hands, I have a hard time moving this capo around.

Trigger capos are known to give your instrument a harsh, thin sound and bending strings out of tune. That’s a common problem with trigger capos and the Kyser KG6B is no different. However, I do have to say that for a trigger capo, it’s super durable and consistent. If you are someone who doesn’t need to constantly switch keys all the time, I would suggest the Kyser KG6B 6 String capo for you.

Screw capos

If you have a guitar that has a thin neck or a guitar that has high action, I personally have found it to be a lot more efficient to use a screw capo. This is because you can fine tune the tension that the capo exerts onto your guitar, making it to be personalized and more efficient. The only complaint that I have about a screw capo is that they take longer to adjust compared to any other capo. Screw capos allow you to put the perfect level of tension on a guitar regardless of the guitar’s neck size, string action, or fret position.

While the screw capo is personable to each guitar, this design does come with its fair amount of disadvantages as well. Repositioning the capo takes a lot of time, especially compared to the trigger capo; every time you go to move the screw capo, you have to loosen the tension and then tighten it in order for it to stay at its new position.

Using a screw capo on stage isn’t highly recommended and this is because the screw capo takes time to re-adjust and if you’re in a rush and don’t apply it correctly, you’re setting yourself up for poor tension levels.

Best screw capo

The best screw-on capo that I have ever used is the Planet Waves NS Classical Capo. There are a lot of screw capos that are available on the market today that are outrageously expensive and for no good reason. I personally enjoy the Planet Waves NS Classical Capo because it’s the perfect choice to make if you have a classical guitar. As someone who often plays classical guitar, I know that it’s hard to find a capo that will fit your wider neck. This capo is inexpensive and it’s been crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum, meaning that the capo is built to withstand some abuse.

Toggle capos

The toggle capo is the simplest capo design out of all of the different capos on the market; the toggle capo applies tension to the strings with an adjustable strap. There are several increments that can be tightened along multiple notches on the back of the capo. I know several of my friends who like the toggle capo because it’s small and lightweight. However, while I think that’s an okay benefit, it really doesn’t make up for the fact of how problematic the design is.

When you secure the capo over the neck of the guitar, the strap tends to lie in between two notches; either one notch happens to be too loose and the other notch is too tight. Even if it’s a perfect fit when you first purchase it (which it was when I first purchased a toggle capo), it stretches over time. I also have found that if you accidentally stretch the toggle capo too much, it breaks super easy. I would say that this capo is not my favorite.

Best toggle capo

I am personally not the biggest fan of toggle capos. However, I do feel like they are a decent capo to try out if you are a beginner and you’re looking to try out the different types of capos that are available on the market. The Dunlop 14C Curved Professional Toggle Capo is less than $10 and is built to withstand some abuse. I think that the price for this capo is cheap, which means that it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to replace in case yours breaks. I love using the toggle capos on ukuleles, because it’s so easy to move around and doesn’t get in my way when I’m playing ukulele.

Partial capos

Partial capos are rare to find in a guitarist’s gig bag, no matter what their level of playing is. Partial capos are occasionally used, but when they are used, it’s such a unique experience that people usually get hooked. I love using a partial capo, because the partial capo allows you to create sounds that are normally possible to create on a standard guitar.

The only thing that I have to say about partial capos is that I would only suggest advanced players get into using them. While you don’t have to be an advanced player to use the partial capo, being an advanced player allows you to truly unlock the full capability the partial capo has.

Shubb capos

Back in 1980, the Shubb capo was born. The design of the Shubb capo was created in order to give the user the speed of trigger capo, along with the precision of a screw capo. The only complaint that I have about the Shubb capo is that they are more expensive compared to other capos. However, they do have capos that have been specifically created for different instruments and different playing styles, which I think it unique.

Best Shubb capos

The Shubb C1 allows the user to apply a unique tension on the fret of the guitar, while also providing users with a quick release lever. If you are someone who has a curved fretboard, the Shubb C4 is a great capo for you to purchase. My only complaint about the C1 and C4 Shubb capos is that because of the adjustable tension, you can’t clamp the capo onto the headstock of your guitar. You’ll have to keep it in your pocket or keep it in your gig back. However, I love the slim profile of the Shubb capos!

G7th capos

The G7th capo is still considered a brand new capo in the guitar world, even though it was built in 2004. I have a love-hate relationship with the G7th capos; I like them because they’re easy to move around because all you have to do is flip the lever to move it. I also like the G7th capo because it’s very gentle on my guitar because the inside of the capo is lined with rubber and the outside of the capo doesn’t have any sharp metal edges. This capo is also to easy to customize the tension levels on the guitar, as all you need to do is squeeze the capo over the neck and it automatically locks into place.

A lot of people say that they feel like the G7th capos are unobtrusive when it comes to playing. However, I do feel like they get into the way just a bit when I play. I also feel like it weighs down the neck of my guitar, because the capo is a lot heavier than other capos that I’ve used.

Bet G7th capo

Out of all of the different G7th capos that I’ve ever tried, the G7th Performance 2 Capo is my favorite capo to use. As someone who plays acoustic guitar and electric guitar, I hated having to purchase two different capos for my guitars. I never could find a capo that fit both of my guitars. One day, I stumbled upon the G7th Performance 2 Capo and I found that it fit both my acoustic guitar and electric guitar! I also like that it’s not obstructive on either instrument, because of the small and sleek design.

Are there capos available for electric guitars?

It’s not very common to see capos used on electric guitars. This is because playing on an electric guitar is more about playing singular notes rather than whole chords; this means you aren’t going to need any fancy pieces in order to play electric guitar. Also, the strings on electric guitars are much easier to depress (play barre chords) with rather than the strings on acoustic guitars. However, if you have decided that you’re going to be playing more rhythmically rather than singular notes on the electric guitar, you can use any standard capo that’s made for an acoustic guitar on an electric guitar.

Conclusion

There are a few more things that we should talk about before we wrap up this article. When playing in a group setting, whether be in a band or with other guitarists, determine what key you are playing in. You’re going to want to play in the same key as other people because you’re going to want your music to sound cohesive to the group. For each key, there are seven different chords. The position that you place your capo in will change the chords that you are playing; this means that every time you change the position of the capo, you are changing the key that you are playing in. The progression of chords within a scale go as follows:

  • – Major
  • – Minor
  • – Minor
  • – Major
  • – Major
  • – Diminished

Using this pattern will allow you to figure out the chords that are in the key of C, C Major, c minor, d minor, e minor, F Major, G Major, A diminished.

There is some basic music theory that you should know when using a capo. For example, moving your capo one ONE fret will move your chord up a half step; moving your capo up on the neck of the guitar TWO frets, you will move your guitar up one full step.

While getting used to using a capo on your guitar, you should also being to learn how to transpose your music while using a capo. You can get a chart online and these charts will tell you exactly what chord you are playing based upon where your capo is positioned.

You can also use a capo to brighten the tone of your guitar. Did you know that if you move a capo further down on the neck of your guitar, it will brighten the tone of your guitar? By moving the capo further down the neck, you brighten the tone of your guitar, making it easier to create upbeat and happy music; doing this can also help you to match your vocal registry.

That’s a wrap for the top five best guitar capos on the market today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article!

Top Five Best Guitar Stands on the Market Today

If you’re a beginning guitarist, you’ve probably made this mistake of thinking that all guitar stands are the same. By assuming this, you probably just ended up purchasing the very first guitar stand that you see. Or maybe you tend to be a cheapskate and you just end up purchasing the cheapest one you can find. I know when I was a beginner, that was the exact same thing that I did.

As I became a more experienced musician, I began to realize that one of the best investments that I could make was in my guitar stand. The biggest and most frustrating problem behind shopping for a guitar stand is that you can’t always know which stands are the best stands and which ones tend to be the worst.

A Little About Guitar Stands

Before we get into talking about the best guitar stands on the market, we need to talk about the most popular types of guitar stands on the market. Here we go!

Tubular Stands
Wall Hanging Stands
A Frame Stands
Multi-Guitar Stands
Guitar Racks
Walk-Up Stands
Tripod Stands

These are also called tripod stands and these are the most popular design on the market! While the tubular stands are the most popular stands on the market, they arguably are also the most hated stands too.

These stands are cheap and work with a large variety of shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever purchased a guitar starter kit, this is the guitar stand you’ve probably received in your kit. Tripod stands have a neck cradle, which gives the guitar a good amount of stability.

Tubular Stands

Tubular stands are accident prone; they’re easily tipped over, difficult to assemble and disassemble, are unstable, and can be awkward to travel with. If you’re not certain if you’re going to like your stand, I would suggest that you try one out before purchasing it officially.

Wall Hanging Stands

Wall hanging stands are great to use if you’re limited to a small space to store your guitar or your guitars. Since they are hung on the wall, you don’t have to worry about using up any floor space, meaning your room will be less cluttered feeling! Having it hooked on the wall also means that you don’t have to worry about any clumsy accidents, children, or pets running into your guitar and damaging it.

You should know that even though wall hanging stands are great to have to reduce the risk of damage from your pets or children, there is still a fair chance that you can receive damage on your guitar from the wall hanging stand. There is a higher risk for your guitar to crack and warp throughout the seasons because the guitar is so close to the wall. Being this close to the wall increases the humidity, as well as temperature, variations due to changes in the weather and in the seasons.

Also, setting up a wall hanging stand can be rather tricky. If you don’t set up the stand right, you increase the risk of damaging your guitar. Unsuitable mounting can cause your guitar to fall off of the wall.

A-Frame Stands

This the cheapest guitar stands, with the simplest design out of all of the stands available. While these stands may seem to be unstable, but their looks are deceiving. When the A-Frame stands are completely collapsed, they are actually small enough that you can store them in your travel bag for your guitar.

While these stands may look unstable, they’re more stable than you actual believe, especially if you’re looking for a stand that allows you to store your guitar in a small space. These are great stands to use if you’re someone who travels around a lot and needs to carry a guitar stand with you, but doesn’t want a stand taking up too much room in your luggage. However, if you’re super protective over your guitar, I would suggest that you think twice about this stand; if you bump the stand accidentally, you should expect your guitar to fall over.

If you’re someone who has children or pets at home or you’re just a clumsy person, don’t purchase this stand. On the other hand, if you’re going to leave this guitar on the stand in a private place that doesn’t have a lot of activity going around in it, I would suggest you look into this stand.

If you’re a musician that owns more than one guitar, you’re probably searching for a stand that’s more practical. Having a stand that allows you to hold multiple guitars at once can save you a whole lot of floor space; this is especially important if you live in a small space. It can be awkward to grab the guitars off of the rack, especially if you have the stand placed into a corner of the room.

Guitar Racks

On the other hand, if you’re still looking to purchase a guitar stand that holds multiple guitars at once, but have just a little bit more floor space to work with, you may want to consider checking out a guitar rack. Guitar racks are extremely portable and are easy to set up and store away. Compared to multi-guitar stands, guitar racks are more efficient, because they can hold up to ten guitars (depending on what model you get). These racks are great to use for long term storage for your guitars, traveling with a band that has a lot of extra equipment, or you’re just looking to tidy up your living space.

However, if you aren’t super careful about how to place the guitars on the rack, it’s a common problem that the guitars ding against each other. Just as a word of caution, make sure you’re very careful putting your guitars back on the rack, as if you aren’t careful, you can do some serious damage to one of your prized guitars.

This stand is meant to be used while you are standing and not for actual storage. Crazy, right? These stands are popular among traveling musicians; if a musician wants to switch instruments mid-song, a walk-up stands allows him to do so.

Now, let’s get into talking about guitar stand models!

Hercules GS414B Guitar Stand

Hercules GS414 Guitar Stand is one the most popular stands on the market; it has a $31.00 street value and comes with an option to adjust the height on the stand. Another great feature that comes with the GS414B Guitar Stand is the auto grip system that ensures that any instrument (up to 33 pounds in weight) will be secure on the stand. Check out the latest discounts and prices here!

Fender Multi Folding 5 Guitar Stand

If you’re a musician who is constantly on the go and needs a stand that will keep your instruments nice and secure, the Fender Multi Folding 5 Guitar Stand is totally collapsible, making it perfect for transportation. Fender really made sure to create a stand that can withstand some abuse, making it a great piece to have along with you while traveling in a band. This stand has a street value of $60 and comes with padded foam resting points to protect your instruments while they are in temporary storage. Check out the latest discounts and prices here.

On Stage XCG4 Classic Guitar Stand

The On Stage XCG4 Classic Guitar Stand is the cheapest guitar stand in this list, with a street value of $10.99. This is a small, yet incredibly sturdy stand that will protect your guitar when you’re not using it. There is a velveteen rubber bottom that’s completely removable at the bottom of the stand in order to hold the body of your instrument; there is also a cradle on the neck that has a security strap that’s also removable. Another great perk that comes with the stand is that it can be adjusted for height differences, which means that it’s a great option for any guitar! Check out the latest prices and discounts here!

Pro File Wall Mounted Guitar Hanger

If you happen to be a musician who doesn’t travel around with your instruments, but you have a collection of guitars, the Pro File Wall Mounted Guitar Hanger can hold your banjos, bass guitars, electric guitars, and acoustic guitars. If you have children, pets, a small amount of floor space, or you’re just clumsy, the Pro File Wall Mounted Guitar Hanger can keep your instruments safe from damage!

Guitar Grip Hand Guitar Hanger

If you want a wall hanger for your guitar, but want it to spruce up your décor and not take away from it, the Hand Guitar Hanger from Guitar Grip will really add to your collection. The hangers have been designed after human hands! You can choose the color of your hands and decide whether or not you want your hands to appear to be slender, have veins protruding from the skin, or have blurry hands. How cool is that?

Conclusion

Just a word of advice when going shopping for a guitar stand, there is something else you need to know. Your guitar stand is going to constantly be in contact with the finish of the guitar; you should be careful when using a stand with a guitar that has a nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

The finishes on a guitar are either polymer based or nitrocellulose. If you have a polymer based finish, you don’t have to worry about what type of guitar stand to purchase, as polymer based finished are safe to use with any guitar stand. Polymer-based finishes are typically found on guitars that are built in the factory. Nitrocellulose is found on custom built or vintage guitars.

Buying a stand for your guitar isn’t just finding a stand to lay your instrument on. You really have to make sure that you’re purchasing a guitar that fits your lifestyle and what type of instrument you’re putting on the stand. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article!

Top Five Best Guitar Humidifiers

Did you know that your acoustic or classical guitar is under constant threat? Most beginner and intermediate players don’t know this, but keeping the wood of your guitar moist is imperative. You don’t want the wood of your guitar to be living in conditions that make great firewood; instead, you want the living conditions to be nice and humid. If you don’t take proper care of the wood that your guitar is made from, disastrous things can happen!

Your guitar is not created to be able to withstand major changes in humidity; guitars are assembled in factories where the humidity is put under strict control. Guitar manufacturers understand that there when there is the slightest change in humidity, they risk warping or swelling the wood of the guitar before the instrument is even finished. Even guitar stores tend to be a bit co11oler than the average home and this is just to ensure that the guitars are not exposed to any humidity or temperature extremes.

Once the guitar you purchase finally ends up in your hands, you have to keep up with the maintenance! Some guitar owners spend thousands of dollars on their guitars but don’t understand that they have to give their guitars a humid place to be stored.

Having a guitar that’s dried out doesn’t sound terrible, but it can have disastrous results. A guitar that’s dried out can cause the guitar to crack, which alters that glue to dry out, the wood to separate, major changes in the actions, frets to stick out, and joints to become loose. All because you didn’t keep your guitar in a humid environment!

Before Buying Tips

Before you go and start researching any old humidifier for your guitar, you need to know that there are actually two different types of guitar humidifiers. There are:

  • Guitar case humidifiers
  • Soundhole humidifiers

Guitar case humidifiers sit inside of the guitar case and typically rest right underneath the headstock.

Soundhole humidifiers are the more popular humidifier. These types of humidifiers can either cover the sound hole or sit right in between the strings of the guitar.

You can also purchase a room humidifier in order to provide humidity for your guitar. Room humidifiers keep the entire room your guitar is stored in at a steady level of humidity. If you own several guitars, this is probably the best option for you to go with.

While purchasing a guitar humidifier is important, how you use it is also important. If you don’t use your humidifier properly, you’ll also risk damaging your guitar. Make sure that when you use a sponge for your humidifier, that it’s a damp sponge, not a soaking wet one. Having a dry guitar isn’t good, but having a wet guitar is also not what you’re looking for. Also, make sure that your consistently check on your humidifier; no two environments are the same, so you should monitor your humidifier to see when it needs to be re-hydrated. You should need to dampen your sponge at least once a week.

Planet Waves Humidipak Two Way Humidity Control System

This humidifier maintains the humidity level as a consistent 45%. It’s easy to use, especially because you don’t want to worry about sponges or water. If you purchase the Humdipak Kit, you’ll receive three Humidipaks that come along with a mesh pouch that will allow you to avoid harming the finish of your guitar.

The biggest complaint about the Planet Waves Humidipak Control System is that when it’s inserted, it stretched the strings on the guitar out. Also, if you want to truly take advantage of the entire humidifier system, you’re going to have to store your system in your hard case. There is also no measuring device for the amount of humidity the system is putting out.

Oasis Instrument Humidifier

The Oasis Instrument Humidifier is very popular mainly because the most recent models humidify the entire case, not just the instrument. This means that you don’t have to stick the humidifier into the guitar, lowering the chance of you damaging your guitar. Not to mention that the Oasis Humidifier can raise the humidity an extra ten percent if you live in a very dry environment! I also love how that when the humidifier gets low on water, the humidifier collapses, so there’s no second guessing if your humidifier needs water. The downfall to that is that this device does tend to dry out quickly, so make sure that you consistently check the device.

Kyser Life Guard Humidifier

The Kyer Life Guard Humidifier is great if you want to keep your guitar displayed on a stand; this humidifier covers the sound hole, which ensures that the humidity is distributed evenly throughout the guitar. I personally recommend this humidifier to anybody who doesn’t like keeping their guitar in a case and likes to leave it out on display. The humidifier fits very well into the sound hole, so it’s not going to be a sight for sore eyes. However, if you have a sound hole that isn’t shaped like the generic sound hole is, this humidifier may be a struggle for you to get into the guitar.

Music Nomad Humitar

The humidifier from Music Nomad has a very low profile in in the sound hole, which allows you to completely close the top of your guitar case without hitting the humidifier. You also don’t have to worry about dripping with this humidifier, as the synthetic sponge that’s in this humidifier holds more water than a typical humidifier and it comes with an Anti-Drip function. Also, there’s no need to buy any replacement packs because this is a one-time purchase! The only downfall with the Humitar is that it is recommended that you only use distilled water for the humidifier.

Martin Guitar Humidifier

The Martin Guitar Humidifier is shaped like a snake and is made from fine materials, which allows this humidifier to absorb ten times its weight in water. There are holes in this humidifier which allows moisture to slowly come out of the holes; this is a very simple design. You can just stick the tube around the sound hole and it’s super affordable! The only con about the Martin Guitar Humidifier is that it doesn’t have any sort of device to measure the amount of humidity that the device produces.

Conclusion

You should not be hanging your guitar on the wall every day, all day. Keeping your guitar stored in a hard case is the best way to protect it from physical damage and the different changes in the elements. Hard cases are better for your guitar compared to soft cases, but soft cases still offer some protection from the temperature and minimal physical damage. If you have a lot of guitars in one room, you may have to purchase two humidifiers, which is completely normal!

The Top 8 Best Guitar Books for 2017

When I first picked up my guitar, I thought that YouTube was going to be the only teaching method that I would ever need. But, as I became a more advanced player, I quickly realized that that way of thinking was totally incorrect. My first year after picking up a guitar for the first time ever, I went to my local music store and purchased my very first guitar book.

Years later, I probably now have around forty guitar books stacked up on my bookshelf. There were so many things that YouTube never taught me and that I only really learned because of the teachings that were inside of guitar books. YouTube isn’t a great place to learn how to read music, especially for a guitar.

The only downfall that I’ve noticed with having a whole large collection of guitar books is that some of the books repeat the same information that’s found in other books. The bright side to this is that I’ve found that some books do not explain new topics, ideas, or theories very well. In other books, there’s that repeated information but explained in a way that I understand it much better.

The books that I have listed in this article do not need to be read in any certain order. If you are a beginning guitarist, I would suggest that you check out books that are made specifically for beginners. This list has been comprised with intermediate and advanced guitarists in mind.

101 Guitar Tips: Stuff All the Pros Know and Use

This was one of the very first books that I purchased for guitar. The title really caught my attention and I knew that over time, I was going to learn a whole lot. If you’re an intermediate guitarist looking to expand your knowledge, an advanced guitarist that’s not had formal training, or a beginner who wants to have a book that they can use as they grow, I would really suggest this book. It’s really interesting too, because this book also has snippets of advice from famous guitarists. I also enjoyed this book because not only did it give me advice about playing guitar, tips, and tricks, but it also talked about how to get into the world of professional musicianship.

I also enjoyed all the little bits of information that this book had to offer, like tips on how to maintain gear, how to properly warmup, tips for recording, basic and advanced techniques, basic and essential music theory, musical concepts, and a bunch of different playing styles.

When I talked about this to some of my guitar friends, I was very surprised to find out that none of them have ever heard of it. In my personal opinion, this is the best book that I’ve ever purchased.

Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book and CD

You can also purchase this book with a CD.  The Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 1 is one of the most popular books for beginning guitar classes; teachers and professional guitar teachers love using this book to begin teaching. This book starts out with the very basics of learning guitar, like learning the parts of the guitar, how to properly hold the guitar, how to play individual notes, chords, and melodies.

You can personally go through the book itself, go through with a teacher, or learn the book in a class setting. The book goes over melodies that are more traditional, which helps bring familiarity to the sound of the music being played, which helps to make learning easier.

The only complaint that I have about this book is the beginning goes very slow and even, but after around chapter nine, it really picked up its pace and became a lot more advanced. However, if you’re not in a class setting, you can take your time and really work through the difficult parts. There are two more books in the Hal Leonard series that continuously advance as you get through each book. They’re very popular and are easy to find in music stores, specialty stores, and even online.

You can go ahead and purchase the Hal Leonard Guitar Method books, which is three books in one spiral-bound volume that also comes with CDs. I personally think this is an amazing value, especially since you can learn at your own pace and not have to slow down in order to wait for another book to arrive in the mail. You can always skip over things you already know or go back and re-learn things that you have forgotten.

Guitar Fretboard Workbook

The Guitar Fretboard Workbook is a book that’s very popular on Amazon and that’s because of how well it teaches the hardest parts of learning guitar. All in eighty pages, this book talks about how to navigate the fretboard properly and quickly. While being able to apply proper techniques to the guitar will take you months and years to completely master, being able to understand how to properly apply these techniques is the important part. The exercises in this book have helped me memorize scales, chords, and a whole bunch of guitar theory.

Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar by Troy Stetina

If you’re an advanced guitarist that’s looking to improve your speed and technique, this book really goes over how to truly improve your technique. I used this book to improve my jazz picking technique as a lead guitarist in a jazz band, I also have friends who used this book for improving their country techniques, but this book is mainly aimed at guitarists who play in the rock and metal genre. If you’re looking to improve your speed and your picking technique, and you’re willing to put in several hours of work, this book will truly be a big help to you. I really would suggest this book to any advanced guitarist who is looking to advance their skills or even looking to take their abilities to a new musical direction. This book is advanced and is certainly going to teach you a few new things.

Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask

If you’re a guitarist looking to truly learn guitar, meaning the instrument and the theory that comes with it, this is an excellent book for you to check out. This is a book that really gets into the nitty gritty parts of theory and even comes with quizzes and worksheets that really help you to understand what you’re learning. As a guitarist who originally just planned on learning to be able to perform covers, I quickly realized that I was going to have to read music in order to be the musician that I wanted to be.

As I began to learn music theory on the internet, I found that the material that I was learning just wasn’t going deep enough. In this book, I found detailed explanations of chords, diatonic harmonies, chord construction, melodies, and rhythms. I wanted to learn more and I wanted to proficient when I was done learning. This book truly has it all, including writing, exercises, different diagrams, quizzes, and worksheets for you to work on.

Music Reading for Guitar (The Complete Method) by David Oakes

Being able to fluently read music is an important and useful skill to have. Even if you are taking guitar classes, there are some teachers out there who don’t know how to properly explain how or why music works. That’s why I truly suggest new musicians check out music theory books; they’re great resources to learn from and you can always go back and check up on things that you may forget over time.

While it isn’t necessary to know how to read music to be able to play guitar, it is a skill you’re going to want to have if you want to progress faster. If you want to become a professional guitarist or perform with a band, I would suggest that you take your skill levels past the basic skills taught in the Hal Leonard books and purchase a book that just teaches you how to read music.

Music Reading for Guitar is a complete course filled with every musical term you’ll need to know as a guitarist. No matter what genre you play, this book starts with the very basics of learning how to read music and covers everything all the way up to advanced topics.

My only complaint about this book is that if you’re looking to play finger style or classical, you’re going to want to look at a different book. The Music Reading for Guitar focuses mostly on single-note playing. However, if you plan on playing in the pop, rock, or metal genre, this book will be a lot of help to you!

Guitar Reading Workbook by Barrett Tagliarino

If you’re looking for a book that also delves into the world of not only learning how to read music but also how to write music, the Guitar Reading Workbook by Barret Tagliarino does exactly that. This book also covers the basic steps in sight reading, all the way to advanced techniques to use when sight reading difficult pieces of music. I would also suggest this book to those who plan on playing in the rock, metal, pop, and electric genre, rather than those who want to play finger style or classical.

Pumping Nylon: The Classical Guitarist’s Technique Handbook by Scott Tennant

The technique that comes with learning classical guitar is very different than other styles of guitar. If you plan or wish to learn classical guitar, I would highly suggest that you take private lessons; it’s a tricky style to learn and it’s very easy to become frustrated while learning. However, if you are dead set on learning how to play on your own, there is one book that I would highly suggest to you. This is the same book that I used to learn how to play Spanish guitar technique with.

This book has exercises in it that I practiced over and over again. It also has several famous pieces of musical literate inside, which always helps people to learn aurally. You can play along with the CD, see lessons on the DVD that comes with the book, or just read the book!

In Conclusion

As you become more comfortable with guitar, new ideas and techniques that you learn will become easier to apply. If you’re a beginner that’s just starting out and are reading this article, I would highly suggest that you pick up a book on music theory and a book that talks about the major lesson that you want to learn. The great thing about learning with a book is that you can take your time and learn at your own pace. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my favorite guitar books.

The Anatomy of a Guitar- Terms You Need to Know

You are most likely reading this article because you are a beginning guitarist. Welcome to the guitar world! As a beginner, there are at least twenty-one parts of a guitar’s anatomy that you should know about. There are two types of guitars: acoustic and electric. People who make guitars, called Luthiers, created acoustic guitars so that they can be played and not need any amplification to be heard. However, electric guitars need an amplified in order to produce a loud enough sound that can be heard clearly.

What is a guitar?

If we’re really going to start at the beginning, you have to understand what a guitar actually is. In this article, I’m going to use the term ‘guitar’ as an umbrella term for acoustic guitars, bass guitars, and electric guitars. A guitar is a device that amplifies the sound of a string’s vibration. That’s all a guitar does- it amplifies the sound of a vibrating string either through an acoustic guitar’s sound box or an electric guitar’s pickups.

Despite guitars having different shapes and sizes, all guitars share a set of characteristics. Completely understanding the anatomy of a guitar will help you to better understand how you can make music on your instrument. Acoustic and electric guitars both have the same basic approach to the basic construction of the instrument; they both have similar string tension and neck construction. While the basic construction of the guitars are similar, there is a radical different in the tone production that each guitar produces.

For just a quick summary, I made a chart for you. This chart shows you what the common parts of a guitar are, which are shared between acoustic and electric guitars. I also showed you the parts of a guitar that are specific to only acoustic and only electric.

Common Parts Acoustic Only Electric Only
Head stock Pickup Sound Hole
Tuning Machine Pickup Selector Bridge Pin
Fret Output Jack Sounding Board (Guitar Top)
Nut Volume Knob
Neck Tone Knob
Fretboard (also called Fingerboard) Whammy Bar (also called Bar)
Position Marker (also called dot)
Body
Bridge
Saddle
String
End Pin

After understanding what the different parts of a guitar are, you also need to understand what each of these parts do. This will help you to better understand how to better take care of your guitar.

Back: is the part of the body that holds the two sides in place. The back is typically made of two or three pieces of wood.

Body: On an acoustic guitar, the body has an amplifying sound chamber that allows the acoustic guitar to produce sound. The body of a guitar (both acoustic and electric) provides an anchor for the neck and the bridge, which creates a playing surface for the right hand.

Bridge: The area that’s on top of the guitar where the strings meet, or are connected to the face of the guitar.

End pin: A metal post where the read end of the strap connects. On acoustic-electric guitars (acoustic guitars that come installed with built-in electronics) the pin often serves as the output jack where you plug the guitar in.

Fingerboard/Fretboard: A flat piece of wood that sits on top of the neck, where you place your left-hand fingers in order to produce chords and notes. The fingerboard is also called the fretboard, because the frets are embedded on this piece of wood. It’s common for fretboards have inlays (AKA position markers) on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets.

Frets: Thin metal bars or wires that run perpendicular to the strings. The frets shorten the vibrating length of each strings, which enables the instrument to produce different pitches. It’s common for guitars to come with medium frets, which means that you have to press the string down in order to hear a sound. Jumbo frets are taller, so that you don’t have to press down as hard on the string to produce a sound.

Head stock: The section that holds the tuning machines and also provides a place for the manufacturer to display their logo.

Input jack: This is the entry point of the cable that leads the electric guitar (or acoustic electric) to the guitar’s amplifier or another device, like a pedal.

Neck: Is the long narrow part of the guitar that’s connected to the body and the head stock. It can be made from several pieces of wood that have been cut and glued together or a single piece of wood. It’s common for acoustic guitars to be glued to the body, while on electric guitars the neck is bolted on.

Nut: A stiff nylon (can also be another type of synthetic substance) that stops the strings from vibrating beyond the length of the neck. The strings then pass the grooves on their way to the tuners in the head stock. The nut is one of the two points which the vibrating area of the string ends; the other end is the bridge.

Pick guard: Is the flat piece of plastic that’s located on the face of the guitar’s body. The pick guard stops the body of the guitar from being scratched from your pick while you are playing.

Pickup switch: This is the switch that’s located on the body of electric guitars. Changing pickups allows the guitar to produce different tones.

Pickups: These are only found on electric guitars. A pickup is a magnet that is wrapped in wires on the face of an electric guitar, placed right underneath the strings. The pickup detects the vibration of the strings and sends this impulse to the amplifier in order to be modified. A guitar has between one and four pickups, the most common number of pickups being two.

Pickups produce a different sound depending upon where they are placed on the body. When placed towards the neck, pickups have a brighter tone and tend to produce harmonics clearer. When placed towards the bridge, pickups will produce a darker sound and tend to dampen harmonics.

Pickups come in three different options, each producing a different sound:

  • Single-coil pickup: Is composed of a single coil of wires that have been wrapped around a magnet. Single-coil pickups will ‘pick up’ noise from other electronic devices. A common report with single-coil pickups is that they produce a faint droning tone. This type of pick-up is commonly used by folk and country guitarists.
  • Piezoelectric pickup: These pickups are not magnetic, to they will not pick up any electromagnetic noise that other electronic devices produce. The Piezoelectric pickups are used only in acoustic-electric guitars.
  • Humbucker pickup: This type of pickup use two of the same opposing coils, which operate in an opposing magnetic field in order to create a pickup that does not produce a humming sound. They reduce the ‘hum’ noise while supporting the sound produced. The only downfall is the humbucker pickups produce a darker tone, which makes them the preference in heavy metal and rock music.

Position markers (also called Position inlays): These are marks on the fretboard, which provides for an easier time for spotting different frets on the fretboard. The standard placement of position markers are: one dot in the horizontal middle of the fretboard at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th frets, two dots at the 12th fret, and one dot at the 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st fret. Sometimes, on higher end guitars, the dots are replaced with inlays just for cosmetic purposes.

Saddle: The saddle is a piece of plastic or bone that is used to rest the strings on, for acoustic guitars. Having a smooth saddle prevents the guitar from creating a buzzing noise.

Sides: Separate curved wooden pieces on the guitar’s body that join the top to the back.

Sound hole: Is the hole in the body of an acoustic or acoustic electric guitar. This is where the sound waves that are made by the strings resonate in the body.

Strap pin: Metal post where the front, or top, end of the strap connects. Not all acoustic guitars have a strap pin. If your guitar seems to be missing one, try tying the top of the strap around the head stock.

Strings: The six metal (acoustic guitars that sport steel-strings) or nylon (for classical guitars) wires that when are taut, produce notes of the guitar. While the strings are not strictly part of the physical guitar’s composition (since you can attach and remove the strings at will), they are a part of the makeup of the whole system. The guitar’s entire structure and design is based around making the strings produce a certain sound quality.

Tone knob: This is used to adjust the tone of the pickups. Sometimes, electric guitars have different tone controls to adjust different pickups.

Top: The top is also known as the face of the guitar. On an acoustic guitar, this piece is also the sound board, which produces almost all of an acoustic guitar’s qualities.

Truss rod: Is the steel rod that runs along the neck and goes into the body of the guitar. Electric guitars and steel string acoustic guitars have truss rods, because they are needed to fight against the pull the strings have on the neck; basically, truss rods are just a reinforcement for the neck. Nylon string guitars do not need truss rods.

Tuning machines (aka Tuning pegs): These are geared mechanisms that lower and raise the tension of the strings, which draws them to different pitches. The string wrap tightly around a post that sticks out through the top of the guitar, or face, of the head stock. The post passes to the back of the head stock, where the gears connect to a tuning key. A tuning key can also be called tuning pegs, tuners, and/or tuning gears.

Volume Knob: This is used to correct the volume of playing. On some electric guitars, different pickups have different volume controls.

Before we talk about the differences between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar, here is a visual guide that will help you to better understand the anatomy of your guitar.

 

How does a guitar work?

The strings of the guitar are attached at each end of the guitar. The strings are attached to the guitar’s tuners, which allows the tension of each string to vary. The guitar’s tuners allow each string to be tuned to the desired pitch. At the other end of the guitar’s body, the strings attach to the bridge (also called the tailpiece).

Between these two anchor points, the strings pass over two points. One point is the nut (which is located at the end of the neck) and the other point is the saddle (which is where the string come with contact with the bridge). The distance between these two points is called the scale length of the guitar. It’s common for bridges/saddles to be adjustable in order to allow for string length compensation.

Acoustic guitars work the same way. The strings are attached at the end of the body, through holes in the bridge and the top, with bridge pins. With most acoustic guitars, the saddle of the acoustic is not adjustable. The saddle is made from the same material as the nut, which is often bone or plastic.

The string’s vibration on an acoustic guitar causes the top of the of the guitar to vibrate too. The vibrations move the air inside of the guitar’s body (also called sound box) which is what causes the sound to become louder.

The pitch of any string can be altered by fretting it against the fingerboard by using your finger. An electric guitar’s sound is produce through an electric amplified. Electronic pickups (amps) sense the vibration of a string and convert it into a small electric current. This electric current travels down your electric guitar’s cable to an amplifier (also called an amp) where the small current it turned into a bigger current.

A body of a guitar is usually wider at the bottom, thinnest in the middle, and thicker at the top of the guitar. The body of a guitar provides the resonance that shapes the tone of a guitar, which means that the body is the more important part of the guitar. The body determines the volume of notes while playing acoustic guitars, while determining the sustain of notes in electric guitars.

When constructing a guitar, there are several aspects of a guitar’s build that affects the tone of the instrument:

  • Construction method: whether the body of the guitar has been layered, hollow, solid, one-piece, etc
  • The size and shape of the body of the guitar
  • The type of wood used

It’s typical to see only high-end manufactures to use high quality wood. However, it’s also common to have cheaper manufacturers to have an impeccable sound, because they are sometimes built better. The denser and heavier the wood is, the richer and deeper the sustain and the sound is. Below, you will find a list of the types of wood that are used to manufacturer guitars:

  • Alder: Alder is a light, dense wood with a porous construction. This wood provides a balanced tone with a clean sound that has good resonance, providing a decent dynamic range.
  • Ash: This wood is usually used in the construction of guitars around the mid-range pricing. Guitars made from this wood are usually good quality, but the open grain structure of the wood requires that massive amounts of lacquer to be used. This lowers the sustain of guitars.
  • Basswood: Basswood is a light wood that has a consistent, tight grain. This wood is very soft, which means that the guitar dents very easily. Basswood has a warm and soft tone, with a very limited dynamic range. If you are looking for a guitar that’s going to play clean notes, I would suggest that you look for a guitar that has been built with a different wood.
  • Cedar: Most commonly used tone wood.
  • Mahogany: Is a wood that’s very dense and heavy, which makes it one of the best woods to use for guitar construction. Mahogany gives off mellow tones that are often described as ‘thick’, providing guitars with long sustains with incredible dynamic ranges.
  • Nato: Is a wood that’s used to substitute for mahogany. Commonly found in cheaper guitars.
  • Maple: Comes in two different varieties: Easter Hard Maple and Western Soft Maple. Maple is not used to construct an entire body of a guitar. Eastern Hard Maple is very hard and dense; it’s commonly used to make necks. Western Soft Maple is much lighter than Eastern Hard Maple and provides guitars with a bright tone, which is why it’s commonly used for guitar tops.
  • Rosewood: A very dense wood that’s commonly used to make fretboard, back, and sides of acoustic guitars.
  • Poplar: It’s a poplar misconception that Poplar is a budget wood. Expensive guitars are also made from this wood, because it’s tone resembles the same tone that Alder produces.
  • Spruce: is one of the best tone woods, but isn’t used very often because it’s difficult to find, which makes it expensive.
  • Walnut: Is a wood that’s harder, heavier, and denser than Mahogany. Walnut provides guitars with good sustain, warm tone, with a smooth and bright top end.

Electric Guitar: The Basics

Now that you understand that basic anatomy of a guitar, it’s time we talk about the details that make an electric guitar different than an acoustic guitar. Between electric guitars and acoustic guitars, electric guitars are much more complex. There are more working parts that go into an electric guitar in comparison to acoustics. We’re going to break down and talk about the anatomy of a guitar and what each part does.

The body:

The body of an electric guitar is what holds all of the pieces of a guitar together. The body is also what sets the ‘mood’ of a guitar. The shape and color of a guitar’s body is what mainly defines the appearance of an instrument. You are more than likely not going to see a heavy metal guitarist playing a hot pink guitar with feminine detailing.

Also, the body of a guitar is also what sets the actual tone for the instrument; different woods make the guitar produce different sounds. While to a beginning or even intermediate guitarist, the sound difference that different woods produce isn’t very obvious, guitar manufacturers use specific woods on a guitar for specific reasons.

This is what an electric guitar’s body looks like:

The neck:

When looking a guitar, the neck is the long piece of wood that extends out from the body of the guitar. The neck is used on a guitar in order to provide space for the guitar scale. Guitar necks may appear different in order to compensate for player comfort, but the main variations that differ with guitar necks are what wood the neck is made from, what kind of finish the wood has, and how thick the neck is. Guitars with thinner necks are made to provide people with smaller hands more comfort. Different types of finishes that are offered on guitar necks provide players different levels of ease when moving your hand up and down the neck.

Using different types of wood to create the neck serves no purpose really- it’s mainly just for cosmetic purposes. As long as the wood is strong enough to withstand the pressure that the tension of the strings, it doesn’t really make much different what wood the neck is made from.

Here is a picture of an electric guitar’s neck:

Truss rod:

The truss rod is a metal rod that is actually set into the neck itself. The truss rod has the ability to be adjusted to bend either upward or downward, which forces the neck to bend in the same direction. This is used to fight against any bowing of the neck or to provide relief away from the pressure of the strings. However, the adjustment of the truss rod is more commonly used to stop buzzing of the strings when they are too close to the frets of the guitar.

The fingerboard:

The fingerboard (also called the fretboard) is a thin piece of wood that is placed at the top of the neck. This provides a surface for the strings to press up against.

As for the frets, they are thin metal bars that lay across the fretboard; the frets are placed in certain positions that fit with the scale of the guitar. Having frets on a guitar makes playing the guitar much easier in comparison to playing a fretless guitar.

Below, we have an image of a fretboard on an electric guitar, as well as all of the frets numbered.

The head stock and tuners:

On the end of the neck that’s not attached to the body, is the head stock. The shape of the head stock is going to change based on the manufacturer, but it’s easy to locate the head stock because that is where most manufacturers place their logo. Head stocks often serve as a type of birth mark for the guitar, making each line of guitars produced different.

However, head stocks aren’t just all about cosmetic purposes. Head stocks are the base for the tuning pegs, which are used for tuning the strings. Tuning pegs are a small peg that are located at the end of the guitar, with strings attached to them. When turned, the tuning pegs either add or subtract tension from the strings, which changes the pitch at which strings play.

This is an image of the head stock and the tuning pegs:

The bridge and the saddles:

At the opposite end of the guitar, the bridge is the opposite part to the tuners. While the tuners are what changes the pitch of the strings, the bridge stays static. The bridge holds the strings in place with bridge pins. On some models of electric guitars, tremolo systems have been installed into the instrument. This is in order to allow the player to achieve a tremolo effect; by placing pressure to the bridge via a ‘whammy bar’, the player will temporarily add extra tension to the guitar strings, resulting in a tremolo.

The saddle sits right in front of the bridge. The purpose of the strings is to start the scale length of the guitar. In order to maintain tension on the strings, they must be positioned between two objects; the saddle serves as one point of tension. While it’s not for all guitars, the saddles may be adjustable, which will help to better tune the intonation (the string’s pitch).

Below, we have an image of an electric guitar’s bridge and saddle.

The nut:

Like I mentioned above, the strings of a guitar have to have tension over two points. The saddle serves as one point of tension and the nut serves as the other. The nut sits at the end of the fretboard, where the neck transforms into the head stock. The nut is a small rectangle of material that have grooves in it, which is where the strings sits. The material that the nut is placed in makes a difference in the tone that the guitar produces. On cheaper guitars, manufacturers tend to use plastic for their nuts; high end guitars are either ebony or bone.

Down below, there is an image of what a nut looks like.

Electronics:

In electric guitars and acoustic electric guitars, there are several electronic components that work together to allow for the sound of the guitar to be captured and promoted through an audio jack, rather than depending on an external microphone to produce large volumes of sound. The electronics that work together to produce an electric guitar’s sound system include:

  • Output jack
  • Magnetic pickup (this captures the sound that the strings produce)
  • Tone controls
  • Volume controls

There are some guitars that have much more to its electronic system than this, but this is the basic sound system that all electric guitars have. Some of extra electronics that may be featured in an expensive guitar are:

  • Built in tuning tools
  • Extra pickups
  • Greater control over the tone dials

Electric guitars are also a pick guard (also called a scratch plate) that is typically a piece of plastic that is attached to the body of the guitar, placed directly underneath the strings. The pick guard is to protect the finish of the guitar from being scuffed or scratched from the player’s strumming hand while playing down strokes.

Body types:

Did you know that there are different body styles for electric guitars, just as there are for acoustic guitars?

Acoustic electric guitar:

An acoustic electric guitar is just an acoustic guitar that comes with electric pickups. The electric pickups are installed in this guitar in order to amplify the sound. With an acoustic electric, you should not compare the sound to any other type of electric guitar; this is because of the acoustic’s hollow body. If you are looking for an acoustic guitar with the electric projection, check out an acoustic electric guitar!

Want to know what an acoustic electric guitar looks like? We’ve got an image down below for you to check out!

Hollow body electric:

When electric guitars were first produced, they were hollow. Fast forward to today’s time and hollow guitars are a very popular choice among jazz guitarists; this is because hollow body electric guitars produce a large, warm sound.

Semi-hollow electric guitar:

Semi-hollow electric guitars don’t have as thick of a body as hollow body guitars do. However, both guitars are hollow on the inside. Semi-hollow electric guitars don’t give as much feedback as hollow body guitars do; semi-hollow electric guitars are more popular in rock and roll.

Solid body electric guitar:

After some development was put into the hollow body electric, Fender came out with a guitar that was branded as the Telecaster. Later on in time, the Stratocaster was born! The Stratocaster’s body shape is what most people think of when thinking about an electric guitar.

Acoustic Guitars: The Details

Now, we’re going to talk about acoustic guitars, so that after you have finished reading this article, you have a solid understanding of the differences between acoustic and electric guitars, what the parts of each type of guitar are, what these parts look like, and the function of each part of the guitar.

The head stock:

The head stock on an acoustic guitar is a rectangular shape that holds the tuning keys and the logo of the manufacturer. On the head stock of an acoustic, you will find that the strings to your guitar are wrapped around the peg heads, which are the objects that look like buttons on the head stock. The peg heads hold the strings in place and taunt; when you move the tuning keys, you are rotating the peg heads. By rotating the peg heads, you are adjusting the tension on each individual string, which is what tunes the string.

For beginning guitarists, the head stock of the guitar is the part of the guitar that takes the most abuse. A lot of beginning guitarists aren’t used to the length of a guitars’ body, so they tend to bump and hit the head against other objects. Without the head of a guitar, the guitar is completely useless. Make sure to take care of the head of your acoustic guitar!

Down below, we have an image of an acoustic guitar’s head stock.

Tuning pegs:

Tuning pegs, machine heads, tuning keys are the same thing, so don’t get worried if you read the word ‘tuning keys’ if you are doing research! These tiny little keys are what bring your acoustic (and electric) guitar to life! Tuning keys are commonly gold or silver and they hold the strings on your head stock.

Tightening or loosening the tuning pegs causes different levels of tension, which dictates the sound of said string. Doing this is called tuning! As a beginner, tuning your guitar can be extremely tricky, as tuning by aurally (by ear) is very difficult. Make sure that you keep in mind that it is easy to break your strings, so make sure that you don’t tighten your strings too quickly or too much.

Below, we have an image of tuning pegs that are commonly found on acoustic guitars.

The nut:

The nut of your acoustic guitar is right below the head stock; the purpose of the nut is to keep your strings in place. Every nut on a guitar, whether it be a banjo, acoustic, bass, or electric, has vertical grooves on its surface and this is to keep the strings in place.

While the strings of your guitar may be attached to the peg heads, they still need something to hold them in place when they are being played; the vibration of the string causes the string to move around and with the nut stops the string from moving around. In order to produce a quality sound from the instrument, the strings need to be held in a controlled and tight manner.

Below, we have an image of what a nut on an acoustic guitar looks like.

The fingerboard (also called fretboard):

If you happen to be doing more research on a guitar to prepare yourself for a future purchase, you are going to find that people talk about a guitar’s fingerboard or a guitar’s fretboard. These are synonyms for each other, so don’t panic! It’s a common mistake for people to believe that the fretboard and the neck to be the same thing. However, that’s not true! The fingerboard is the long, wooden section of a guitar the holds the guitar’s frets and strings.

While the fingerboard is on the neck, it’s not actually the neck. The fingerboard has one purpose and one purpose only: to provide your fingers an area to press on the strings to allow you to play.

Not exactly sure what an acoustic guitar’s fretboard looks like? We have an image for you down below!

The frets:

It’s very easy to identify the frets on a guitar by the silver bars that run across the fingerboard. The further you go down the neck of a guitar, the further you get towards the body, the less space between the frets there is. The purpose of a fret is to shorten the length of vibration of a string from the point where you press down with your finger; the vibration is sent to the bridge and this is what controls the sound and the pitch of each string you play.

In summary, when you press your fingers between frets and play a string, you will produce a different sound; each space between the fret produces its own musical note, for each individual string. The frets control the pitch of the string that you play and will produce a different sound depending on which space you press your fingers on.

Just to help you out a little bit more, we have an image of an acoustic guitar’s frets down below.

The neck and position markers:

The neck is the part of the gutiar that holds the guitar’s head stock, strings, and fingerboard. The bottom of the neck attaches to the body of the guitar and the top of the neck attaches to the fingerboard.

As for the position markesr, they are the little dots that are placed on frest on the fingerboard of the guitar. The purpose of position marker is to give players an easy reference to judge where they are playing their hands. These dots are called inlays; single inlays are posted at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st fret. Double inlays (two dots instead of one dot) are located on the 12th fret.

Below, we have an image of an acoustic guitar’s neck.

The strings:

Strings are needed in order to produce melodies, chords, and arpeggios from the guitar. Strings are pressed down by your fingers on the fretboard and this is done in order to produce different sounds and pitches from the instrument. The strings are also used over the sound hole, which is where the strings are either plucked, strummed, or picked with a guitarist’s fingers. In order to receive a desired pitch or sound, strings must be properly tuned and maintained. For acoustic guitars, there are two different types of strings that are available on the market:

Steel: Steel strings are the most common string to be found on acoustic guitars. This type of string produces a hard, crisp sound. Steel strings and nylon strings break just as equally, so it’s important that you take care of them.

Nylon: Nylon strings are found on classical guitars, which commonly play flamenco and other styles that are similar to flamenco. Nylon strings have a softer sound, which is why they’re a popular choice with classical guitars.

The body:

There are so many different body types when it comes to acoustic guitars. The body of an acoustic guitar is shaped like an hourglass; the shape of an acoustic guitar helps to project the sound that’s produced in the sound hole.

Just for a quick reference, we have a chart of all of the different acoustic guitar body types down below!

The sound hole and pick guard:

The sound hole of an acoustic guitar is what separates an acoustic guitar from an electric guitar. Electric guitars produce their sound from an amplifier, where as acoustic guitars produce their sound from the sound holes. However, the exception to this rule is acoustic electric guitars; acoustic electric guitars have a sound hole, as well as an option to plug in to an amplifier.

In the sound hole, the sound from the strings reverberates into the sound hole and amplifies the sound produced. If you are looking to produce a loud, clean sound, it’s best to play directly over the sound hole.

The pick guard is the black slab of plastic that you see sitting right underneath of the sound hole. This is a protective layer of plastic to prevent the pick or the fingernails of the player from scratching the surface of the guitar. Pick guards are typically a shiny, plastic material. If your pick guard looks beaten up, you can easily replace it! All you’ll need it a replacement pick guard; it has a sticky back and is applied just like you would apply a sticker.

Want to know what the sound hole or the pick guard look like? Scroll down! It’s the black curved shape that’s right by the sound hole.

The bridge:

The bridge of an acoustic guitar’s job is to hold the strings down on your acoustic. The strings of the guitar run over the saddle of the guitar and are held into the guitar with bridge pins (which are also called string pegs). The bridge is the black rectangular shaped object at the bottom of the guitar. The bridge pin/ string pegs are the white buttons that sit on top of the bridge.

Confused about what the bridge of an acoustic guitar looks like? Look down below!

The saddle:

If you know what the nut does, then you understand the role of the saddle on an acoustic guitar. The saddle holds the strings in place at the bottom of the guitar; the saddle is located right on top of the bridge. The saddle has six grooves in it, to hold the strings in and to give the strings support. Unlike electric guitars, acoustic guitars do not have an adjustable saddle. The saddle is typically made from the same material as the nut is, which is either bone or plastic.

The string pegs (also called bridge pins):

String pins act in a similar manner to your tuning pegs. The bridge pins hold in your strings to ensure that a constant amount of tension is held on the strings. If you ever happen to lose your bridge pin, your string is going to come loose and you are not going to be able to produce a pitch from that string. The string pegs keep the strings in place as they travel over the saddle, travel along the fret board, and are held in by the nut and the tuning pegs.

Replacing a bridge pin isn’t difficult, but I would suggest that you do it when you are replacing your strings. If you seem to struggle with replacing your strings or replacing your string pegs, go to your local guitar shop! They will have someone replace your strings and show you how to do it, so you can do it by yourself in the future!

Not exactly sure what bridge pins look like? They’re the white, circular buttons that you see in the image down below!

And that’s it! That’s a wrap! I hope you have enjoyed learning about the basic terms of that all beginning guitarists should know when first starting out their journey learning guitar.

How to Choose the Right Guitar Strings

When deciding between what type of guitar strings you’re going to purchase, there are several things that you should know before making a final purchase. The type of string you choose has a major impact on your guitar’s sound and playability. We’ve created this guide to help you, a beginning guitarist, decide what type of strings you should purchase.

Firstly, you need to choose your guitar strings based on what type of guitar you’re playing. You should not purchase a pair of electric guitar strings for your acoustic guitar! Your choice in strings also depends on what type of sound you’re looking for and how easy of a time you want to have playing the guitar (thinner strings mean less effort from your fingers).

We’ve created a quick and easy step-by-step guide on how to choose your guitar strings.

  1. Figure out what type of guitar you have. While this may seem like a silly step, you need to figure out whether you have an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar.
  2. Decide what type of tone you want your guitar to have. If you want a broader, thicker tone, you’re going to want to choose a heavier string gauge. Choosing a heavier gauge just means that your string is thicker! If you’re a beginning guitarist, I would suggest that you go with a lighter gauge (thinner string). This is because thinner strings are easier to play on and don’t wear your fingers out as quickly.
  3. If you happen to have an electric guitar, it’s the common practice in the industry to have nickel wound strings. 10-46 is the most common gauge!
  4. If you have an acoustic guitar, look into purchasing steel strings. On the other hand, if you have a classical guitar, you’re going to want to pick up a pack of nylon strings!

A Little About String Selection

Nylon Strings

As for the different strings themselves, nylon strings have a mellow and soft tone but are also very easy on your fingers. Nylon strings are commonly paired with classical guitars. If you’re looking to become a folk guitar player, you’re going to want to purchase a pack of pick ball-end nylon strings, which are heavier than regular nylon strings and will withstand a little bit of the extra abuse you’re going to put it through with your vigorous strumming. Bronze strings are also a good choice to make if you’re looking to finger pick while playing on a folk guitar. If you plan on finger picking a lot, choose a lighter gauge, and a heavier gauge if you plan on strumming often.

Strings for Finger-Style

If you want to play finger-style, silk and steel strings are your best bet. They are easier on your fingers compared to regular metal strings; however, you should not use these on electric guitars. Flat-polished strings are an excellent choice to make if you’re looking for strings that are easy to play on and these are available for both electric and acoustic guitars!

Monel Strings

Monel strings are a step up in the string world; if you have fingers that are strong enough to handle the metal strings, you’re going to receive a sharper and louder tone than what nylon produces. If you’re a beginner, I would suggest that you purchase a set of medium-light gauge strings. However, the thickness does come in several options! Just make sure that you don’t use Monel strings if you plan on playing electric or classical guitar. If you’re looking for a tone that’s harsh, sharp, and crisp, buy yourself a set of brass strings.

Options for Electric Guitars

Out of the string options for electric guitars, I would suggest that you purchase flat wound strings. While flat wound strings are a popular choice for jazz guitarists, they are extremely comfortable to play and provide a very smooth tone when they are amplified. Compared to round wound strings, flat wound strings have a tone that’s more mellow; the only downfall of flat wound strings is that they are hard to grip when playing bends, due to the smoother surface of the wrap wire.

Some Other Tips on How to Choose Guitar Strings

Make sure that you purchase the correct type of strings for your guitar. While this may seem like a silly statement to make, it is very important! For example, if you purchase acoustic steel strings for your classical guitar, you’ll end up damaging your classical guitar; this is because the steel strings have a string tension that is too high for a classical guitar! Nylon strings won’t produce enough vibration to vibrate the top of an acoustic guitar, which means that there won’t be a lot of sounds produced. As for electric guitar strings, they have a completely different makeup compared to acoustic guitar strings. This is in order to ensure that the pickups on the electric guitar function properly.

If you plan on playing your guitar in different tunings, you may want to purchase a set of strings that are going to retain the same amount of tension on the strings as you alter your tuning. For example, if you plan on playing a lot of music in the metal genre, it’s common for guitarists to play in D/C/B/A tuning or D/C#/B/A tuning. Choosing a heavy gauge of strings will help to ensure that your strings keep the same amount of tension on them, even as you switch tunings. If you plan on playing slide guitar, drop G tuning is common tuning for many slide guitarists to play; I would suggest that you purchase a set of strings that have a high amount of tension on them- that way, it’ll be comfortable for you to play slide on them.

Acoustic Guitar Strings: A Quick Overview

Strings come in two main categories: strings for acoustic guitars and strings for electric guitars.

For an acoustic guitar, there are:

  • Steel strings
  • Nylon strings
  • Bronze strings
  • Phosphor Bronze strings
  • Brass strings
  • Aluminum Bronze strings
  • Silk and Steel strings
  • Polymer-coated strings

Steel Strings

Steel strings on an acoustic guitar are often combined with a blend of bronze and nickel, or just straight up bronze, in order to introduce more clarity to the guitar’s sound. On an acoustic guitar, the steel strings that are used are heavier than the ones that are used on electric guitars. Acoustic guitars depend solely on the sound chamber, as well as the thickness of the strings, in order to produce a maximum amount of sound.

Nylon Strings

Nylon strings are commonly found on flamenco and classical style guitars. However, they can also be used on vintage instruments. The reason why you can’t use nylon strings on electric guitars is because the nylon material doesn’t collaborate with the magnetic field that is produced by the pickups, which means that there will be no sound produced. If you’re looking for a unique, mellow, and warm sound produced from your acoustic guitar, pick up a set of nylon strings!

Nylon strings are commonly found in folk music, jazz, country, flamenco, classical music, and bossa nova; this is because the nylon strings have a mellow tone and respond well when touched. It’s common for newer players to use nylon strings when they’re first starting out because nylon strings cause less tenderness on your fingers. However, whatever string a beginning player chooses, they’re going to feel some tenderness and discomfort until they build calluses. The only downfall with nylon strings is that the stretch more than steel strings do, which means that they need to be tuned more often than other strings; this is especially true when they are first installed. Also, nylon strings are very sensitive to changes in the weather, like temperature and humidity, which affect the tuning of the strings.

Bronze Strings

As for bronze strings, they have a bell-like tone- they’re clear and bright. The only downfall with bronze strings is that they age very quickly because bronze oxidizes easily. Phosphor Bronze strings have a darker and warmer tone compared to bronze strings and sound crisp like bronze strings, but the phosphor extends the life of the strings.

Brass Strings

Brass strings have a bright tone that has more of a metallic sound. Aluminum Bronze strings have a good bass and treble balance, with the higher tones produced with better clarity compared to Phosphor Bronze strings. Silk and Steel strings have a steel core and are wrapped in silk on the lower strings; this produces a delicate tone that’s popular among finger style players and folk guitarists. Polymer-coated strings have a certain presence of warmth, but have less sustain and less brightness because of the coated strings; the strings are coated in order to reduce corrosion.

When it comes to the thickness of a string for acoustic guitars, thicker strings are always going to produce a broader sound. Thinner strings on acoustic guitars will cause the acoustic guitar to lose a lot of its ability to project sound, especially if the guitar doesn’t have the correct string tension. If you’re first starting out, however, I would suggest you try using thinner strings. Your fingers are going to become tired easy and it’s going to take a while to build up your stamina.

There are no pickups or amplifiers on an acoustic guitar in order to help produce a large sound; this is why acoustic guitar strings are bigger compared to electric guitar strings. Since the strings on an acoustic guitar are bigger, a louder and larger sound is produced.

Electric Guitar Strings: A Quick Overview

For electric guitars, there are:

  • Round wound strings
  • Flat wound strings

Round wound strings are constructed by wrapping wire around a metal core; however, this is only done for the three (sometimes four) thickest strings. The thinnest strings have no wrapping around the core and are referred to as “plain” strings.

These type of strings are known for their bright sound; most round wound strings are wrapped with nickel-plated steel. However, it is also common for round wound strings to be wrapped with pure nickel, as this produced a warmer tone that’s often described as ‘vintage’ sounding.

As for flat wound strings, they are also constructed by wrapping metal around a steel core. Flat wound strings are commonly found in jazz music because they produce a warm, smooth tone.

Acoustic Electric Guitars

What happens if you’re playing an acoustic electric guitar? What type of string should you purchase? Well, that depends on your specific guitar and the manufacturer of your guitar’s pickup. Thankfully, guitar manufacturers have made things easier for you! There are a few manufacturers sell strings that are made only for acoustic-electric guitars.

String Gauges

Now that you understand what type of string that should be used on your guitar, it’s time for you to learn how string gauges.   Strings are made with a variety of thicknesses; the thickness of the string is called the gauge. The differences in the gages are down to thousandths of an inch. The gauge of a string largely influences the sound, tone, and ease of playability for a guitar, whether it be acoustic, classical, bass, or electric.

Let’s start talking about the differences between light gauge strings and heavy gauge strings!

Light gauge strings:

  • Are easier to play
  • Tend to break more often
  • Make a safe choice for vintage guitars
  • Are easier to bend notes and fret with
  • Are more prone to cause fret buzzing; this is especially common on guitars that have low action
  • Easier to play at faster tempos
  • Apply less tension on the guitar neck
  • Produce less sustain
  • Produce less volume
  • Don’t hold tuning very well
  • Aren’t the best strings to drop tune on

Heavy gauge strings:

  • Produce larger amount of sustain and volume
  • Are harder to play
  • Great if you want to play your guitar in drop tunings
  • Require more finger strength to play, fret, and bend notes
  • Apply more tension on the neck of the guitar

When going shopping for guitar strings, manufacturers describe string gauges in a set by using terms like “heavy” or “extra light”. Exact gauges do happen to vary just a little bit depending on the manufacturer, I have provided you with a list of gauge ranges that are typically found for electric guitar and acoustic guitar string sets:

  • Extra light: .010, .014, .023, .030, .039, .047
  • Custom light: .011, .015, .023, .032, .042, .052
  • Light: .012, .016, .025, .032, .042, .054
  • Medium: .013, .017, .035, .045, .056
  • Heavy: .014, .018, .027, .047, .059

Things to Consider Before Making That Final String Selection

Before you even go about deciding what gauge string you’re going to purchase for your guitar, there are other factors that you need to consider before making a final decision. Some of these factors include:

Age and condition of your instrument.

When it comes to vintage instruments, they are often very frail. The high amounts of tension that heavy gauge strings causes vintage guitar necks to bow, the bridges to lift, and the neck to shift. If you’re not certain what gauge of string would be too heavy for your vintage guitar’s neck, bring it to your local guitar shop, a guitar luthier, or talk to the guitar’s manufacturer.

What your desired tone is.

Heavy gauge strings will produce the deeper, bass tones that dreadnoughts are known for. Light gauge strings will highlight the treble notes in a guitar, which is popular among finger picking and strumming techniques.

Body style of your guitar.

It’s a common rule in the guitar world is to string smaller guitars with lighter gauge strings and guitars with larger bodies with heavier gauge strings. A full bodied dreadnought or a jumbo dreadnought is going to sound better with medium gauge strings, because these strings have the ability to resonate better, which allows the guitar strings to take advantage of the larger sound chambers of the larger body.

What’s your playing style

With lighter gauge strings, styles like finger picking are a lot easier to play. If you plan on strumming often, medium gauge strings will hold up better to that exercise, even though as a beginner, you may find that your fingers get tired easily. If you plan on having a mix of finger picking and strumming, I would suggest that you pick up a pack of light medium gauge strings; light medium gauge strings have light gauges on the top three strings and heavy gauges on the bottom three strings.

Low Tension and High Tension

You’re also going to see some manufacturers place words such as “low tension” or “high tension” on the package of guitar strings. Here’s what that means!

Low tension:

  • Also called light tension or moderate tension
  • Produces less volume and projection
  • Best used for smooth techniques
  • Easy time fretting, especially on guitars with high action
  • Doesn’t produce pronounced attacks
  • Very common to produce buzzing noise

Normal tension:

  • Also called medium tension
  • Is a combination of high and low tension strings

High tension:

  • Is also called strong or hard tension
  • Produces high amounts of projection and volume
  • Best used for rhythmic playing
  • Produces pronounced attacks
  • Difficult time fretting, which is more common with guitars with high action
  • Causes issues with bridges, necks, and bracing on vintage/fragile instruments

You can also find that some string manufacturers produce extra light and extra high tension strings, as well as other options such as medium hard or medium light. Whenever you’re finished playing your guitar, you should always detune your strings. This is especially important for those who play with high tension strings; by keeping your guitar in tune while you’re not playing it, you’re more likely to warp your guitar’s neck and ruin your guitar’s top bracing and bridge.

How do I know when I need to change my strings?

Your strings will sometimes show that it’s time for a change. Some of these signs include:

  • Visible discoloration or rust on the strings
  • Your tone sounds flat
  • You’re seeing the string wraps unwind, which exposes the core of the strings
  • You’re having a hard time tuning your guitar and keeping it in tune
  • You’re having a hard time remembering when the last time you changed your strings was
  • You break it

There are a number of things that effect the longevity of your strings. Some of these factors include:

  • You play your guitar often
  • You sweat a lot when playing
  • Your sweat is acidic
  • You change your tunings often
  • You smoke
  • You play in environments that are smoky
  • You bend a lot

Here are some other tips that you should know about know about caring for your strings:

  • Always, always, always keep an extra set of strings in your guitar case. This will give you an extra string in case one breaks
  • Invest in a string winder; they’re really helpful to have when you’re changing your strings
  • Keep a clean cloth in your case and make sure to wipe down your strings after every time you are finished playing
  • Make sure to wash your hands and dry them before you start playing; this will help to prevent string oxidation
  • Buy single strings in bulk; this will help you to save money, especially because light gauge strings break more frequently

What happens if you’re taking good care of your guitar and your strings, but they keep breaking? It’s a common for guitar strings to break and the reasons for string breakage can range to several major reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • Playing your guitar too aggressively: this is the most common reason strings break
  • Over tuning your strings; by winding the peg too much, you’re going to break a string. Don’t worry! This problem even happens to highly experienced guitar players. Try tuning your guitar away from your face in order to minimize the chances of a guitar string snapping in your face.
  • The age of your strings: the longer your have your strings on your guitar, the more the material degrades. If you leave your strings unused for long periods of time, they’re also more prone to rusting, which makes them break easier.
  • Leaving your guitar out of the case exposes it to more humidity, which eats away at the strings.

What happens when a guitar string breaks?

When you’re first starting out, you’re going to go through a lot of strings. That’s totally okay! You’re learning what about the body of your guitar, the abuse your guitar can take, and how to apply to techniques to your instrument.

It’s easy to break your strings and it’s even easier to change them! I know that it looks and sounds very intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner. Knowing how to change your strings is an essential part of learning how to take care of your guitar. One of the funniest thing about playing guitar is that the strings seem to break at the most inconvenient times.

It’s a common fact to know that older guitars improve as they age; however, the same cannot be said about strings. If you’ve noticed that your strings sound dull, are harder to tune, and aren’t super easy to plan, you need a new set of strings. A new set of strings will remedy this! I personally would suggest that you change your strings every three to four weeks, if you’re playing five times a week. If you’re playing more, change your strings more! If you’re playing less, change your strings less.

When going shopping for strings, you’re going to find that string sets are sold in both in sets and individually, as well as being available in several different gauges. Before you change your strings, make sure that you have a set of replacement strings. If this is the first time changing strings, make sure that you pick up a few packs, just to be safe. You’re also going to need:

  • Tuner
  • Soft cloth
  • A quarter
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire cutter (or a pair or scissors)
  • A string winder is suggested, as it makes changing strings a lot easier, but you don’t need it in order to change your strings

Some people suggest that you change all six strings at once, in order to apply even pressure on the fretboard. Other people suggest that you change your strings on at a time, in order to not to apply too much pressure tension on the neck.

Changing the Strings: Some Tips

If you do happen to change all of the strings all at once, make sure that you use all this time to clean your guitar. The oil on your fingers leaves build-up on your fretboard over a period of time. Use a rag or an old toothbrush to clean that oil off of your guitar. You should also take this time to polish the face of this guitar.

You’re going to want to clip the strings from the tuning pegs and unwrap the small amount of wire that’s left wrapped around the tuning pegs. Next, you’re going to want to pop the bridge pins out of the guitar; you can do that by using a pair of needle nose players or a quarter to pop up the bridge pins. Next, you’re going to pull the guitar strings out of the guitar.

After that, you’re going to take your new guitar strings and slide them into the guitar, place the bridge pins on top, and pull the guitar string tight. This is to make sure that the guitar strings aren’t going to pop out of the bridge pins.

Next, you’re going to run the string up the fretboard, settle it into the nut, and wrap the string around the tuning peg. Slowly, begin to turn the tuning key counter clockwise, in order to wrap the string. When you’re first starting to turn the tuning key, do it slowly. Once you have a little bit of tension on the strings, stop turning the tuning key. You need to give you strings time to adjust to the new tension and stretch properly.

Once you have all of the strings stretched, you’re going to notice that you have a bit of a problem, keeping them in tune.  Over the next few days, you’re going to have to keep re-tuning your guitar. Since you have a new set of stings on your guitar, you’re going to want to protect and prolong the life of your strings with a string cleaner and conditioner. The oil on your fingers is what causes a lot of wear and tear on the strings, so you’re going to want to make sure that you wipe down your guitar strings after you finish playing. You can use an old t-shirt or a rag to wipe down your strings and your neck.

Summary

Before purchasing strings for your guitar, make sure you know what tension your guitar can handle, what type of guitar you’re playing, and what gauge you want to start playing on. Light gauge strings are easier for beginners to play on; once you’ve had some time on light gauge strings, you can build you way up to medium or heavy gauge strings.

And that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve learned a lot about all of the different guitar string options and how to properly take care of your strings.