Friday, December 31, 2010

Guitar Anatomy - What are the parts of the guitar named?

Many people might not know or simply have not thought about it, that there are many different parts and names to the guitar. Probably because when they look at an guitar all they see is an wooden box with strings attached. So what's to know right?. But there are more to a guitar than it being an wooden box with strings. So here I'm going to name the different parts of the guitar. For both the electric and acoustic guitar. Some parts have more than one name. Depending on who you talk with. But here's a picture that gives the names of the most common parts of the guitar.

Headstock (Head)
The head’s primary purpose is to hold the tuning mechanisms/gears and ends of the strings of the guitar. Do you know that the guitar’s resonance is transmitted through the head when the guitar is played? Try this. Put one of your hands on the head and strum the guitar with the other hand. Have you felt the strong vibrations on the guitar head? The guitar head helps in sustaining the played notes (Hence, "headless" guitars tend to have less sustain than normal guitars)
You might have also observed that the design of the head of the guitar might vary across different guitars (usually slotted on classical guitars and fully solid in acoustic and electric guitars). Well, don’t worry. The design of the guitar head is catered to tuning the guitar and has little effect on the tone of the guitar.

Tuning Peg
Tuning pegs are found resting on the head of the guitar and as the name suggests for itself, they are used to tune the guitar by tightening or loosening the strings.

The nut is found at where the guitar head meets the neck of the guitar. It is simply a piece of material (e.g. plastic, bone) in which small grooves are carved out. These small grooves hold the strings in the proper position and guide the strings up to the tuning mechanism.
The height of the nut influences the action of the guitar and worn out guitar nuts would cause open strings to buzz. Do seek professional advice if you intend to make any adjustments to the nut.

If you have a cheap guitar that buzz, I'll give you a tip on how to fix this DIY style. Simply cut out some small plastic strips from some PVC food packaging that you have. Loosen the strings and slide the plastic strips in the grooves of the nut so the strings comes up a bit more. The extra clearence the strings get to the frets solves the buzzing sound you get.

Fretboard (Fingerboard) and Frets
The fretboard is also known as the neck of the guitar. The fretboard could be broken up into many smaller sections by thin metal bars called frets. By pressing down a string above a particular fret and playing it, the string will give a pitch at that fret.

Position markers
Position markers are indicators that can be found on certain frets. The position markers can be found usually on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets. These markers serve as a fast way for guitarist to locate the frets when playing the guitar.
Note that the 12th fret has a marker that differs from the rest of the markers on the fretboard (normally shown by 2 white dots in most guitars). This is because the 12th fret of a string produces the same note (octave) of a higher pitch an open string.

Pickup - Soundhole - Tone and Volume Controls
Most acoustic and classical guitars have hollow bodies. A soundhole is an opening in the hollow body designed to project the sound of the guitar. Basically, you can think of the sound hole as an amplifier which makes the pluckednote sounds louder.
On the other hand, most electric guitars have a solid body with rectangular magnetic objects called pickups. These pickups are designed to pick up magnetic fluctuations caused by a vibrating string above it. After which, electrical signals are sent from the solid body guitar to amplifiers via cables. Pickups have the same purpose as that of a soundhole. The tone and loudness of the guitar can be controlled using the Tone/Volume Controls.

Pick Guard - Scratch Guard
This part of the guitar is there to prevent the finish of the guitar from being damaged. If you where to play with a plectrum and strumming hard, then this would cause the plectrum tip to scratch the body of the guitar. Not all guitars have this in place. And if you like you can add this to you're guitar if you're affraid of it being scratched.

The body of the guitar comes in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of which, the guitar body holds the bridge, strings, strap holders, pickups (in electric guitars) and volume/tone controls. In general, the quality of the wood as well as design of the body can have a big influence over the tone of the guitar. This is one of the reasons why some guitars can cost up to 10X more than that of another one.

The bridge is a piece of hardware where the strings are anchored to the body guitar. In hollow bodied guitars, the bridge transmits vibrations from the strings to the guitar body for amplification. The height of the bridge also determines the action of the guitar. So if you ever need to change the action of your guitar, this is one of the key places to make adjustments.

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Guitar Pro 6: chord diagram, digital tuner, guiitar fretboard

Some thoughts about guitar courses and guitar lessons online

Pointers when you buy guitars like electric guitars and acoustic guitars with all the guitar gear avaliable

Nowdays you can find electric guitars for sale and acoustic guitars for sale on the www. You can even find some nice pa speakers and guitar gear if you want. But back in the day and probably even still today, it's a common thing that you would look around, maybe in the newspaper or go to town to look if you could find an acoustic electric guitar for sale that you like. Most would go to a music store that have electric guitars for sale or acoustic guitars for sale and then spend some time in the music store playing before they make the decision and buy a guitar. Now let me tell you that going to a music store would probably be best for a beginner because he or she would then also get advice from the store about what guitar gear and guitar accessories that would be best to look at also for the beginner guitar player.

But we guitarists that have been playing now for many, many years are more and more starting to look on the www when it's time for us to buy guitar however we are not always after new ones though. I have been having my eye on one acoustic electric guitar for sale now for some time, it's a Yamaha but it's the handcrafted one and it's got a great guitar sound. However if I go ahead and buy guitar at the local store that would cost me a bit more, so that's why I have been turning more to WWW music stores that have this acoustic electric guitar for sale. Most of the time. However because it's a handmade guitar few stores have it in stock. So I'm still searching but maybe someday I will find a place that have my acoustic electric guitar for sale so I can be happy with my buy.

The thing is that when you do come across a place that let you buy acoustic guitars and you find your acoustic electric guitar for sale or a place that have a lot of different electric guitars for sale you start to look at what more they got in stock. Like oh lets see, I could use new pa speakers and some guitar gear would be nice. I don't think you could have to little guitar gear because you are kind of limited in your guitar playing otherwise. Well I think it's like with everything else that in the end you come out with an even more expensive acoustic electric guitar or whatever it was than the one you had you're eye on.

Want the hear something silly? Did you know that now you can even get guitar jewelry I mean what is that? They didn't have guitar jewelry when I grew up, or at least it wasn't that "big". When I was a kid you would be lucky if you got a music stand or guitar case to go along with your new guitar. I think this have more to do with the fact that a lot of artists today have rap jewelry or music jewelry that they wear. You know there are also gold guitar picks now.. Well I don't think gold guitar picks are somethig that new but if you start to look at the whole picture. You begin to see with all this guitar jewelry and music jewelry with gold guitar picks and, did I leave something out? Oh yeah rap jewelry is not to be forgotten. So you know there is a lot of stuff out there.

Now I don't think you can have enough of either acoustic guitars or electric guitars but because you now easily can buy electric guitars on the www and easily buy guitars on the WWW you might want to think a bit about which guitars you want before you go on a spending spree. Make up a plan, look at your style of playing and go from there.

So now you have your guitar and guitar gear but how do you play?

Well everyone started out somewhere didn't we. I however did not take any guitar courses when I started out. Well actually now that I think about it I did take a basic guitar course back in middle school. But this was a few years before I really picked up the guitar and made a effort to learn to play guitar and play my first songs. And back then we only played some really easy chords, you know simple stuff. Now more than 13 years on looking back at how I have evolved as a guitar player I do see that I could have very much evolved quicker with guitar lessons online than without them.

However back then we didn't good guitar lessons online that you can get today. There are even some good free online guitar lessons out there now that would be suitable beginner guitar lessons for you young people. However I know that there are a lot of you "old" guys and gals out there that also want to learn how to play guitar and just because your not young and "nimble" does not mean you can't learn to play guitar also. I know there are some very good musicians out there that didn't start to play until they were middle age and it turned out that they could play really good.

When it comes to guitar lessons online you should not get turned off if you come across guitar lessons online that don't suit you. Because we all learn different. Some of us are quick learners and other (like me) it takes us a bit longer. And how well we learn to play guitar is not only up to you but also the guitar teachers. If you are lucky you find some guitar courses with guitar teacher that you like and stick with them.

But again we all learn different so what works for some might not be what works for you. Me on the other hand I tend to play guitar as a hobby, and because of that I don't like to play if I'm not in the mood. That's another thing that's great with online guitar courses because you get to decide when it's the best time for you to learn to play guitar not the other way around. Otherwise you would need to keep an appointment to your guitar course and be "forced" to play even though not really in the mood. On the other hand playing guitar makes me in a good mood, so don't get too upset about you sending your kids away to their guitar courses

You should look around at what guitar courses are available and if your a beginner then some beginner guitar lessons are where you should be looking for first. And even though you know a little how to play guitar already. I'm sure it would be good for you to start out with a beginner guitar lesson first because there are always something that you can learn. You would not want to "play wrong" for a number of years only to find out way later that you should not move your arm when you strum the guitar now do you? Well Steve Vai does that, and he's pretty good you know, but that's one thing that guitar teachers point out that you should not do. Move your wrist instad, that gives you better control. It's the small things like, holding a guitar pick and sitting straight that you miss out on without some good guitar lessons and I'm not kidding.

Something like that could happen to you if you don't get your basics right from the start. So go ahead and look around for some good guitar lessons online I have a selection on this page at the top if you are interested. And remember it should be fun, but it will take some practice but that's one thing that good guitar teachers should be able to help you with.

Songwriters and music producers usually started out after learning guitar

So now you have you're guitar and know how to play

We all evolve, with anything we do we get better and sooner or later we start to seek more challenges. The natural step for a new guitar player would be to either join a band or start a band. However some of you will go on and make your own music and become music producers or songwriters full time. There are a few things that differ though. If you're in a band, probably a small one.. What you really need is recording labels or a record deal to get you onto the big stage. Someone to promote music that you make, of course you can promote your music yourself. One thing you can do to promote your band is to join a music contest instead. That will help PROMOTE MUSIC because it will get people talking if you are good enough. There are some major record labels accepting demos that you can go to but if you promote your band doing music contests and win you might even get music promotion companies to get their eyes / ears open to your music and contact you.

There's no secret that music agents and music publishers are present in the crowd from time to time, and if you do good this will get you offers from recording labels for sure. If you're a songwriter or lyricist you probably want to sell music and the big question is how to sell music to record companies if your an unknown lyricist. There's no big secret really, if your music is good and you make yourself seen chances are you will get in contact with independent record labels and if you start to get out there and get yourself known, then upcoming bands will also be in contact with you.