Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Learning Guitar - Acoustic or Electric?

Let's forget about electric vs. acoustic for a moment. One of the most valuable investments a new guitarist can make is in a guitar stand. Keeping your guitar out of it's case, in plain view at all times, is tremendously important - you'll find yourself playing MUCH more. If you decide on an electric guitar, you might even consider leaving the cord in the guitar, plugged into the amplifier. That way, you can simply pick up the guitar, flick the amp on, and begin playing.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. I hesitate somewhat in recommending specific guitars, because even guitars that are the same make and model vary greatly from instrument to instrument. Having said that, here are a few specific models of guitars that I've found to be almost uniformly well constructed, while still having an excellent dollar-value. Although there are hundreds of guitars which would make fine beginner instruments, the following are a few I've had some experience in playing.

Acoustic Guitar Recommendations

Seagull S6)
These Canadian-made instruments are very highly regarded, and although they're not ultra-common, with a few phone calls to local music stores, you should be able to find one. Price generally runs in the area of $350 USD. Perhaps a little more than you'd like to spend, but the resale value for this guitar will be quite high. Trust me, if you can afford it, this is a great guitar to start on.

More acoustic guitar recommendations...

Electric Guitar Recommendations

Squier Standard Stratocaster
These aren't WONDERFUL guitars, but considering the beginner-friendly price, they're fine. They tend to have sub-par electronics, but these can be upgraded over time. And, if you ever want to sell, these guitars should have a good re-sale value. You can often find these guitars new for around $200 USD. Word on the street is, if you can find a used, American-made model, grab it up.

More electric guitar recommendations...

Hope these recommendations help out! Please note - these are just my opinions, and they might not be shared by everyone. For more insight into finding a great guitar, check out the Gear Review Archive. Best of luck in finding the right guitar for you!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Finding the Right Tone for You

The quest for the ultimate tone is a constant struggle for guitarists. I've yet to meet a guitarist who is wholly satisfied with every aspect of their sound. Coaxing a great tone out of your guitar and amplifier is certainly a frustrating experience for most of us - even with great equipment, that "perfect sound" always seems to be just out of our grasp. Let's examine several ways of changing your guitar sound without shelling out wads of coin for a new axe or amp.
Changing Guitar Picks

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to tinker with your guitar sound is to experiment with different sizes and gauges of picks. Using a very thin pick produces a sound drastically different than using a heavy one. Many jazz guitarists tend to favour using heavy picks (1.5 or 2 millimeters) because it tends to thicken and darken up their sound somewhat. Thinner gauged picks tend to give guitarist's a brighter sound, although it tends to produce tone with a shade less depth (I personally can't stand really thin picks, but some people swear by them, as they feel it gives them much more speed). When choosing picks, be sure they are well-made, and the edges of the pick aren't unintentionally rough, as this can interfere with your ability to play notes cleanly. I have found Jim Dunlop picks to be of excellent quality, but there are many excellent brands of guitar picks available.
Changing String Gauges

Another easy way to alter your sound is via experimenting with different string gauges. A guitar strung with extra light gauge strings will sound completely different than the same guitar strung with medium or heavy gauge strings. The String Anatomy 101 website offers explanations of different types of strings. For links to various string manufacturer's websites, as well as online guitar string retailers, visit the guitar string links page on this site. (It should be noted that changing string gauges on a guitar generally neccesitates an intonation adjustment. You can learn more about how to do this by reading the Intonation FAQ.)
Tweaking Your Setup

Making little adjustments to your guitar's setup, such as clamping down floating bridges, or adjusting pickup height, can also make a world of difference in the sound your guitar produces. If you own a Stratocaster, the Strat Tips website offers some great tips on how to go about making these adjustments, and what the "optimal" settings are. You'll find a ton of other ideas for tweaking your axe in the Guitar Repair Archive.
Changing Pickups

If none of the above procedures offer a tonal solution drastic enough for you, you can always consider replacing a pickup or two. The problem is, there are hundreds of electric guitar pickups on the market, and it's hard to guess what a pickup will sound like in your guitar until you've already bought it and put it in. The Harmony Central site offers an excellent resource; the Electric Guitar Pickup Database, a collection of reviews by guitarists, on specific pickups. The archive is huge, and chances are, you'll find at least several reviews of the pickup you're considering for purchase.
Emulating Your Heroes

Sometimes, the best way to go about finding a sound that is right for you is to emulate someone else's guitar sound, and then, over time, make adjustments to it. Use the archive of famous guitarist guitar set-ups on this site to experiment with other guitarist's sounds, and try to evaluate what you do and don't like about each.

This should get you off to a great start in re-examining the sound you're getting out of your guitar. Remember - much of your guitar tone comes not from the guitar itself, but from the fingers in your fretting hand, and in the way you strike the strings with your pick. Adjusting the amount of pressure you're exerting, the type of vibrato you're using, the part of your finger that comes into contact with the string, etc., can affect your guitar tone almost as much, if not more, than any of the above suggestions. Good luck!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guitar Maintenance

One of the most frustrating things a guitarist can experience is playing an improperly set up or poorly intonated guitar. I remember playing gigs with guitars so badly intonated I'd have to avoid playing particular chord shapes, because if I did, they'd sound horribly out-of-tune. It goes without saying that worrying about whether the next chord you strum is going to make your audience cringe does not make for a particularly fun gig.

After a few embarassing moments, though, I learned my lesson. By taking a few steps address these problems, I've created a lot less hassles and worries for myself. I thought I'd share a few of my remedies here with you.

If you've ever played a G chord that sounded fine, only to play an E chord which sounds out of tune, you've experienced an intonation problem with a guitar. Intonation problems can be a nightmare, and can sometimes be a symptom of very serious problems with a guitar, but often can be corrected with a minor adjustment. has a quick description on how to adjust intonation on an electric guitar (this includes information on Floyd Rose systems). Adjusting the intonation on an acoustic guitar is somewhat trickier, but with a few tools, is something most guitarists can do themselves at home. Luthier Jim Sullivan explains exactly how to handle this in an acoustic guitar intonation video (scroll down to the second video on the page).

Fret Buzz

Fret buzzing is another problem that plagues many guitars due to poor manufacturing or set-up. Although fret buzz can also be caused by significant problems, in many cases, simple adjustments like raising string action can make these problems go away. The website has put together The Big Buzz List, a comprehensive list of the specific problems that cause fret buzz, and offers suggestions on how to correct it. Although the list is geared towards acoustic guitars, virtually all of the same conditions occur in electric guitars.


Another guitar problem common in the winter months is neck shrinkage, top cracking, or body bowing, due to loss of moisture within the wood of the guitar. Although significant damage due to dryness is probably going to require professional repair, a few simple tricks might help you rescue your instrument from the brink of disaster. Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars has put together a very informative YouTube video on humidifying your guitar. If you're interested in keeping your guitar at a proper level of humidity, but are short on cash, this tutorial on building a humidifier for your guitar should help.
Scratchy Pots

"Scratchy pots" - dirt that gets into the tone and volume knobs on electric guitars resulting in scratchy sounds - can be an annoyance to guitar players in live situations. Often, relieving yourself of this problem is fairly quick and painless procedure. David Taub of has put together this video outlining how to clean scratchy pots.
Neck Bowing

Unfortunately, guitar necks can bow over time. Occasionally, it may be necessary for the "truss rod" - the metal bar that runs down the neck of the guitar - to be adjusted. This might just be something you consider letting a pro handle - it is possible to do serious damage to an instrument by improperly adjusting the truss rod. For those willing to take the risk, has put together a nice tutorial on adjusting the truss rod on a guitar.

There are unfortunately still dozens of things that can go wrong with a guitar, no matter how well maintained its owner keeps it. One of the best books I've come across on the subject is the highly regarded Complete Guide to Guitar and Amp Maintenance by Ritchie Fliegler. It is an excellent resource, one that all guitarists would do well to have in their personal library.

I hope this feature has been informative to all of you. With a little luck, a few preventative measures, and a bit of maintenance your guitar should keep providing you pleasurable playing experiences for decades.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Jackson's Guitarists

Update 07/02/09: If you're looking for information about the guitarist featured in Michael Jackson's last rehearsal videos for his "This Is It" tour, check out this Orianthi profile.

Whether or not you were a fan of the self-proclaimed "King of Pop", you can't dismiss Michael Jackson's ability to do things right. Even on his earliest recordings, Jackson's albums featured the best musicians money could buy. Although the album credits on even his last releases still read like a who's who of top session musicians, Jackson's philosophy of choosing guitarists to work with changed post-Thriller. More specifically, Jackson's approach became: identify the most popular guitarists on the face of the planet, and hire them to play on your record.

Jackson's 1979 release Off the Wall, featuring studio pro guitarists like Larry Carlton and Phil Upchurch, was the album which introduced Jackson to the world as a solo artist. That album marked the last recording Jackson would make with more obscure musicians. By the time Jackson released the landmark Thriller in 1982, his star-seeking approach to choosing guitarists was firmly in place. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, a musician who had turned the rock world on it's collective ear, appeared on the recording, contributing a stunning solo on the song "Beat It".

It was a full five years before Jackson, a perfectionist in the extreme, managed to release his next album, 1987's Bad. Amidst the usual cast of studio musicians (including veteran Eric Gale) was guitarist Billy Idol's guitarist Steve Stevens. Thanks to Stevens' work on Idol's 1986 success Whiplash Smile, the guitarist could be found on the cover of almost every guitar magazine that year. Listen for Stevens' contributions to the Jackson hit "Smooth Criminal".

True to form, it was another five years before Jackson released his next album, 1992's Dangerous. For this release, Jackson decided on Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash (a move that left a lot of GNR fans scratching their heads). You can hear Slash wailing on "Black or White" and "Give it to Me".

The almost decade long stretch between Dangerous and 2001's Invincible has been well-documented, and needs no further analysis here. On a musical level, Jackson struggled in the studio for much of that time, trying to find a sound that would push him back to the forefront of the pop music world. While Invincible clearly failed in this regard, it did feature some nice contributions from Carlos Santana, who added a guitar and whistle solo to the latin-tinged "Whatever Happens".

Invincible proved to be Jackson's last attempt to live up to his self-appointed status as the "King of Pop". And, although he never managed to recapture the magic of Thriller, guitarists should still be able find something to appreciate in his later records.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Houston HVAC Contractors

What you hear the name of Houston HVAC contractors? If I had not given a little about Houston HVAC, Houston HVAC contractor is the service that will help create a place to stay with you for comfort and coolness, in the summer and cold. If there is a long cool place to live in then I recommend to see how and what the information provided by the Houston hvac site.

I provided Houston HVAC site via a link to you in easy-open, in Houston hvac site you will find complete information, so you will not hesitate to use the services from Houston HVAC contractors. Because I heard that Houston HVAC service is very good and satisfying, you try to prove it.

To find what you are confused on the information in other places if Houston hvac site is provided in all, so that as a reference for you to visit the site directly for Houston hvac satisfaction. Houston hvac is very easy you visit so what are you waiting for? Now is the right time for you to get accurate information and clear and complete service in Houston is a professional HVAC contractor. I hope you are happy with the information I provide.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

EyeGlasses On Zenni Optical

Do you already know about Zenni Optical on TV!!! That's right. Zenni Optical is very reliable in providing the best quality in the production of glasses with a very cheap price. At Zenni Optical, you can get the goods with the price $ 8 Rx eyeglasses. So, you do not need to search for the best quality glasses with Zenni Optical because here in the site will give you many options with cheap glasses high quality. High Five to Zenni Optical by says.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Drug Rehab Center

Many people suffer from alcoholism, and these people need help to the temptation of alcohol and other issues. Drug Rehab Center offers more natural way to feel normal again. This center has for many people to normality in their lives. There are many people who addict on alcohol suffer for their money to. Look back at the first aspect, alcohol is dangerous beverage and sometimes waste our money.

Many people are alcoholic part of the majority and are now productive members of society. The families are happy, these people in the family. This center has the forms and methods to heal someone constantly. Once someone at this center points, is the right guidance and advice to the person never in life. Alcoholism rehab is the need for the rehabilitation of alcoholics and he is obliged to give the attention and affection, with the most appropriate medication. It helps to resume a normal life very quickly. It is very helpful in providing confidence in the person. If it can get the person back to the normal life, say Drug Rehab center is success.

While you can live his life with pride and to their family and their community, in the so-productive. Its advice begins the rehabilitation program and supervises and directs the attention of the recipient and the care of professional and well trained staff. It has many experts and experience on the computer and can be the problem and everyone can, their treatment carefully.

The alcoholism rehab center for drug addicts and secures the end of the program you will receive more attention and advice. It is efficient and works. Many people are without alcohol abuse and a healthy lifestyle. Teenagers are also used to drink alcohol. So May you please contact the hotline is always available, or you can use a simple online form and the help you need.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Franklin Roofers for Repairing You Roof

The roof is the most important part of a house. It hold big role in creating a comfort and save house for the owner. Roof protects home from sunlight, rain, storm, snow and all weather conditions. However, roof can be damage after protecting our home for several years and it must be repaired to avoid worse conditions. To repair your roof, many people recommend Franklin Roofers.

Replacing roof using the service of Franklin roofers will save your money, because they will repair your roof soon and the fee is affordable. So you can get your roof back soon while avoid more damage of your roof. This company serves the clients from many states, but if you are in Castroville you can call Castroville roofers which is closer to your area.

This company is good and it has trusted reputation in Castroville. By hiring them you can repair you roof by stronger roof material. Replace your old roof with the new of high quality roof will make your roof protects your home longer. The cost of labor is cheap so you do not need worry to repair your roof as soon as possible if you know the indication of broken or old roof of your home. To make your roof stay a long you have to maintain it regularly.

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