The guitar is undoubtley the most popular and widespread of instruments today. If you sit back and think about your favorite music or musicians, it’s likely that the sounds of the guitar feature somewhere in there. It’s portable, flexible and with technology today, the guitar has made leaps and bounds; it has been used in music from heavy metal all the way through to rap and electronic music. It’s interesting to note that this was not always the case, with other instruments, such as the piano once being the instrument of choice for families across the world. The guitar has streaked to the forefront however, with musicians spanning all genres of music making it accessable to pretty much everyone. You can find guitar players in concert halls performing classic pieces, and on the streets jamming on home-made insruments.
The guitar’s first iteration dates back to around 3000 years, with guitar like instruments first documented in Persia as well as Egypt. It makes sense then that the instrument came to Europe via Spain, gradually being perfected over time, into the instrument we love now.
In Seville a carpenter named Antonio de Torres Jurado is now considered the father of the modern guitar, the classical acoustic guitar. Torres perfected the symmetrical design of the guitar we are familiar with today. He increased the guitars volume by making them larger, and outfitted them with thinner and lighter soundboards which arched in both directions. This was created by using a connection of bracing struts in a kite shape. The new system worked so well and was so superior to that which was being built at the time, that everyone followed suit, first in Spain and then in the rest of the world. Curiosly you can find a guitar that Torres made with a papier-mache back and sides in Barcelona at the Museum of Music, which is still playable today.
Up until the 1930s guitars were all made of wood, with hollow bodies, which helped to create their unique sound, when the guitarist plucked the strings across it. This changed with the invention of the electric guitar in the United States of America. Now the guitar’s sound was able to be produced electronically through pick ups and amplifier. With this new found flexibility, the guitar could be made from a wide range of materials, as well as in myriad shapes. BB King is considered to be the pioner of the electric guitar, and with this new dynamic edition to the family, the guitars popularity was cemented in history.
The Beginners Guide to Guitar
Today the guitar features heavily in most music, and is a well loved string instrument the world over. It works well played on its own or as part of an ensemble or band.
Whether you’re young or old, there’s no better feeling than learning to play an instrument. While many try their hand at learning the guitar, beginners often give up after only a couple of tries, as the guitar can be deceptively difficult to learn. However with a little perseverance, players can pick up some tricks and with the help of a teacher or some online tutorials, its not long before you can play your favorite song. Don’t begin to think that you are too old or have no time to study the guitar, its a well known fact that learning an instrument at any age is possible and even has many health benefits to boot! So keep your brain active and begin a new hobby that you can enjoy with your friends.
Choosing a Guitar
While deciding to learn to play is the easiest step, how do you know which guitar to choose? Your local music store should have an expert who can help you choose the right instrument for the type of music you want to play, be it a classical spanish guitar for flamenco, or an acoustic guitar for some pop or folk music at your next campfire sing-along. They will be able to guide your choice. If you have signed up for lessons, your teacher will also no doubt be able to help aide you in choosing the right guitar.
In general however, acoustic guitars are usually the most popular choice for beginners. They dont require extra equipment like an amp or cables, and they can be played quite softly at home, or louder when needed. Classical guitars have wider necks and for those with smaller hands, these might be just that much more tricky to reach all the notes if you are just starting out. Don’t worry though, if you begin with an acoustic guitar, you can always change later once you are more advanced. And if you are still unsure, you can even rent guitars. While a rental guitar may not be the best quality, it offers a great opportunity to get a feel for the instrument and offers you the opportunity to try various kinds or brands, before you invest in your own.
Need some Tricks up your Sleeve?
As with any new hobby, it may be difficult at first, but the more you practice, the more rewarding it becomes. Perhaps you will be come the next Jimi Hendrix, one of the most famous guitarists in the world, or invent a new kind of guitar. You may even make guitar history and own a famous guitar from one of the top brands such as Fender or Stratocaster, like the Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Stratocaster which sold for $959,500 in 2004.
A few tricks and tips can get you off to a great start. Ever heard of the famous 3 Chords Trick or the viral hit “Four Chords” by Axis of Awesome? Well it’s true, with a little knowledge and practice you could both be performing and even writing your own hits. What many musicians discover is that the chords or notes of each key go very well with each other, and playing them together makes a good tune. This is the perfect trick for a beginner. Being able to play not only one song, but a bunch, just after learning a few chords, is a great confidence booster, and it will inspire you to keep practicing, adding more and more knowledge and songs to your reportoire!
There’s nothing you can’t find online!
All guitarists both beginner and advanced can find information, chords, tips, techniques, tutorials and tabs on the internet. There is a vast array of free info for guitarists and a large community sharing stories and videos about their favorite instrument. So without further ado, get out there and you too can be playing like a pro! If you like you can even sign up for online lessons, so there really is no reason not to start playing straight away! Guitar can become a very enjoyable part of your life, and a huge benefit to your health too!