Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lesson 1 - Preparatory

If you are an ABSOLUTE guitar beginner, worry not. This chapter will give you a quick orientation to important facts about the guitar. Else, you can skip to the more important chapters as you wished to.

First, by definition (I got this from Wikipedia):

The guitar is a musical instrument of the chordophone family, being a stringed instrument played by plucking, either with fingers or a pick. It consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number but sometimes more, are attached.

There are generally 3 types of guitar:

The Classical Guitar

The Acoustic Steel String Guitar
The Electric Guitar

·         nylon stringed
·         wider fret boards
·         generally for playing classical music
·         steel stringed
·         narrower fret boards
·         generally for playing accompaniment
·         also for playing finger style
·         steel stringed
·         narrower fret boards
·         generally for playing rock music
·         sound is amplified electronically to amplifiers

Parts of the Guitar

Guitar Playing Posture

Your Fingers

Finger Nails affects your playing in terms of picking. See below:

Left Hand Fingers

·         For pressing your chords and notes on your guitar frets.
·         Thus, they should be NO finger nails at all to obstruct, scratch, and dampen any pressing or movement.

Right Hand Fingers
·         For plucking and strumming your strings.
·         Thus, they should be SOME finger nails (but not too long) to pluck your strings with a clearer tone.

A Closer Look at the Right Hand Finger Nails

For Right Hand Fingernails, the idea is to trim the nails similar to the length as shown above. The curve of the nails should try to follow the curve of your finger flesh tip. 

The above finger nails guide is originally used for playing classical guitar.
However, it can be reuse here for playing acoustically with no disadvantage but greater ease of playing.  

7 Items You Need to Kickstart!

Before you start a holiday tour, you need to pack your luggage with the necessary clothing, travel documents, cameras etc.
Before you go to school, you need to bring your necessary lecture notes, tutorials, books, writing materials etc.

The same goes for preparing your Guitar Playing Journey. I would recommend the below checklist of items you will need to get you started!

Obvious reason!

Guitar Bag
For keeping and carrying your guitar around when you travel.
If you truly love your guitar (and if it is expensive) and want to protect it from scratches, knocks and humidity, at the very least, get a PADDED bag.

If you have a higher budget, get a semi-hard case or a hard-case.

Extra Pack of Strings
You never know when your strings are going to snap! So always bring an extra pack.

For Brands & Gauge of Strings, it’s a matter of personal preference. You can always ask the guitar shop assistant for recommendations and advise.

I also HIGHLY recommend that you change your strings every 3months so that the sound stays optimum.

And remember, whenever you change strings, do it 3 at a time (last 3 then first 3 or vice versa).
Never remove all 6 strings at the same time. This will cause your guitar neck to BEND or WARP due to sudden release of tension.
When that happens, your strings will get buzzing sounds and you will need a guitar craftsman to fix it for you.

String Cutter + Bridge Pin Puller + Peg Winder

String Cutter is for trimming off any extra length of strings from the Head.

Bridge Pin Puller is for pulling out bridge pins.

Peg Winder is for winding and unwinding pegs at the head.

And there are 3-in-1s of the above tools which can be purchased from many guitar shops. It saves the hassle of bringing a whole box of tools.

Below is a 3-in-1 I am using:

Guitar Tuner
This is a MUST-HAVE for all guitarists (unless you are perfect pitched).

There are many types of guitar tuners in the market:
- Blowing ones.
- Tuning forks
- Microphone-based electronic tuners
- Clip-on-electronic tuners (vibration based)

Blowing ones and Tuning forks are a hassle to use and are cannot be use at noisy environment.

Thus, electronic tuners are highly recommended for ease of use.

Microphone -based electronic tuners work by playing the desired string near the tuner, and the electronic display will tell you if it is in-tuned or not.

Clip-based electronic tuners work by fundamentals of vibration of the guitar body when you play the strings. You simply clip the tuner to the Head of the guitar and play the strings. The electronic display will similarly tell you if it is in-tuned or not.

I HIGHLY recommend clip-based electronic tuners due to the fact that it works by vibration and your tuner will never be affected by noisy environments.

Below is an example of a clip-on tuner:

This tool is for making your life easier when your chords starts to get difficult and you need to use easier chords to play with.

It is also a MUST-HAVE for all accompaniment and sing-guitaring players.
I will explain in greater details together with the topic of transposition at a later lesson.

The best recommended capo is the one I have.
A Dunlop Capo:

Guitar Picks
A MUST-HAVE too. Whether it is soft, medium or hard picks. You will love to use them for strumming and also playing guitar leads.

Try to get a variety of them according to their thickness.  It is a matter of personal preference once you experience using different types for different playing.

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