The internet has led to changes that would have been impossible to understand just a decade ago. Buying a guitar in Costa Mesa without hearing it is one such change. But keep a few things in mind when you do it and it can be a convenient way to score a good instrument at a good price.
There’s really two kinds of people who should be buying their guitars in Costa Mesa, experts or really serious guitar players and beginners. The first group knows exactly what kind of guitar they want, and at that level of price and quality they can be assured that that particular guitar will be terrific. Beginners don’t really care as much, so long as it has six strings and can play. The truth is each guitar is unique as its made out of a particular sheet of wood that experiences conditions unlike any of its fellow models at the factory. Each sheet is alive, and guitars can age with grace or misery depending on how they’re maintained. This needs to be kept in mind when looking at a store in Costa Mesa, but even still it’s possible to find great sale.
The most obvious advantage the guitar has over other instruments is its portability. Unlike a baby grand piano, you can easily pack your guitar around on your shoulder in a carrying case. I bought my first guitar when I was a sophomore in high school. It was a Stella, purchased for twenty-nine dollars from George Porcella, the proprietor of Porcella's Music Store in Gilroy, California. Since then, I have owned, sold, traded, pawned or lost a dozen or so more.
My love for the guitar soared in 1978 when I first heard world-renown classical guitar master Andres Segovia's The Intimate Guitar album. I listened to it on the recommendation of a teacher I had just begun taking classical lessons from in Santa Cruz. Capitalizing on the guitar's ability to produce both melodic and harmonic sound, Segovia was able to make his guitar sound like two separate instruments. In addition to being the world's most recognized classical performer, Segovia did much throughout his life to increase the popularity of his beloved instrument. He produced instruction books and materials, transcribed classical music to fit the guitar and held concerts, seminars and workshops throughout the world.
Prior to that time I began studying classical guitar, I had been able to play folk and country songs in the style of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson using three simple chords. My newly learned music theory, coupled with a more developed ear, opened up a new world of learning and enjoyment for me. The right and left hand techniques used in guitar playing gave my body a better sense of balance and integration than playing a wind or brass instrument.
The guitar offers players the opportunity to experiment with techniques and create different styles and picking patterns, from Flamingo to Travis picking. Likewise, you can change and invent new musical styles by changing the type or thickness of your strings. You can also change guitar types from a classical nylon string, to a steel string acoustic. Electric pick-ups as well as electric guitars with amps and foot pedal attachments allow the player to increase volume and add special sound effects. Guitars can be played with a pick or with a variety of finger-pickings styles.
Still, the guitar has other has advantages too. Unlike most brass and wind instruments, you can play complex four, five and six note chords on a guitar. Although the use of a capo is frowned on by classical players, its use in other styles gives players the unique ability to quickly change keys to adjust to a singers vocal range or preferences.
This versatile instrument is also one of the few you hold over your heart. To the serious player like myself, this not only enhances the tone you produce from the strings, but makes your playing one with your voice.
How to Fix Acoustic Guitar Buzz
An important part of creating your own home recording studio requires understanding how the amp works, but more importantly, what job each type of amp has. This is, however, a simple concept to understand. For example, electric guitars require the use of an electric guitar amp whereas electric bass guitars require the bass amp. Acoustic-electric guitars use acoustic amplifiers, and, of course, acoustic guitars do not use amps. This basic information, however, is not all that is needed for a successful amp set up. Let's take a closer look.
Amps are a very tricky subject as there are just so many out there. The basic idea of them is to take the ultra low voltage coming from the pickups and bring them up to line level. Seems simple, but there is a lot that goes into how that signal is boosted.
The main two types of amps are tube and solid state. Tube amplifiers are the grand daddies of amplifiers and use vacuum tubes as their main amplifier. Solid state amplifiers use modern chips in place of the tubes. The difference is that tubes tend to add a warmth and smoothness to the sound but can also add a good amount of noise too. Solid state amps are more clean and solid, but can sound cold. All amps, whether for guitar, bass, or acoustic work the same but differ in where they focus their characteristics. This is not to say that you should plug a guitar into a bass amp. Sometime it will work, and sometimes it just won't.
The Relationship between Electric Guitars and Electric Guitar Amps
Electric guitars work on pickups. A pickup works by using a magnet that is wrapped in wire. The magnetic field rides just through the strings so when the string is strummed or plucked, it alters the magnetic field and produces an electrical signal at the same frequency as the note being played. The "tone" of the pickup is determined by how many times the wire is wound around the magnet. A standard electric pickup is wrapped around 5000 times, which is nothing to sneeze at.
A Humbucker pickup uses 2 of these wrappings to reduce the amount of noise that can be produced by the pickup. This, obviously, increases the quality of any guitar using Humbucker pickups.
Bass Electric Guitars and Their Amps
Bass guitars work pretty much the same way that an electric guitar does. The reason for a bass sounding so deep is the fact that they use thicker strings, which vibrate at a lower frequency by nature. Specifically, a bass amp is specially designed to focus on the lower frequency spectrum and boost it. A normal guitar amp focuses more on the mid to high frequency spectrum.
Furthermore, a guitar wire is wound around 5000 times using #42 wire. The more times it is wound, or the more tightly wound it is, the more the lower frequencies get tapered off. To exaggerate this effect, a bass uses thicker wire as well. Sometimes the pickup is split so that it looks like a z on the body. This way the two higher strings have a boosted sound and the lower ones produce a thicker sound because of the unique shape.
Acoustic-Electric Guitars and Acoustic Guitar Amps
Acoustic-Electric guitars and their amps work entirely different from electric guitars and amps as they use what is called a "piezo pickup." A piezo pickup is essentially a dynamic microphone that only reacts when the string is plucked. This creates a more natural sound in relation to the actual acoustic sound. Today, even some electric guitars have piezo pickups added to them because they are so unique.
Now that you have the know how, you should also know that some amps are inter-compatible between guitars. What you can't know, however, is how well one guitar type, like a Fender, will be compatible with a different brand, like Line6, as I mentioned above. As Soundetta.com has suggested many times, ample amount of research can benefit you in decision making but I still insist that there is nothing better than pulling up a seat in your local guitar store with your girl in one hand and line into one amp at a time. Rock on.
There are many things to consider when buying your first guitar. However, if you do your research you can come away with an instrument that will be a solid tool for starting your lifelong relationship with guitar music.
One of the first things to consider when buying your first guitar is whether you want an electric or an acoustic guitar. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and a large part of the decision comes down to personal taste and the type of music you want to play. First answer that question. What do the musicians you usually listen to play? Is that what you want to sound like? Pricing is not that much different between the two when you consider just the guitar. However, an electric guitar typically requires many more accessories (more on that later) which can rack up the price.
A second key issue to consider when buying your first guitar is whether to buy online or in a music store. I will say that each guitar is different and individual and this makes buying a guitar online a risky proposition. You have never gotten to touch or hold that guitar and there is no guarantee that you will like it. However, you cannot deny that the internet has become a great resource for comparison shopping and you can find some pretty great deals online. This is my "happy median" advice. Go into a local guitar store and play a bunch of different guitars.
Make a note of the model and brands of the ones that you like. Then go do a search online and see if you can get a better deal. Chances are, you will be able to. You can now order online with some degree of confidence that they guitar that will be sent to you is similar to the one that you played in the store. Sure, I may be talking about minute differences, but chances are you are going to spend a lot of time with this thing. So, you should like it.
Price range is a big factor to consider when buying your first guitar. This is largely a matter of the commitment that you plan to make to the instrument. If you are setting yourself up for a lifelong relationship, then invest and break the bank. You may never buy another guitar again. However, if you are wishy washy about whether you even want to play guitar, then don't sell the farm for the first one. You can get a good "intermediate" quality guitar for a few hundred dollars. I would not recommend going any lower in quality. Some of the guitars that you can get for $40 dollars in Wal*Mart are only appropriate for the most uncommitted individuals or for young children.
Another comment about pricing and budgeting: don't forget the accessories! These can add up. If you are buying an electric guitar you have to buy an amp. These can run you as much as the guitar itself. My advice on this is to always barter. Ask the shop owner if you can get free cords or tuners thrown in if you buy a package deal. This will be more difficult if you buy online, but you may be saving a substantial amount of money already anyway.
Finally, should you buy used or new? This question is akin to buying a car. You can get a great used car that will be reliable and will run for years because it is a decent car and the owner took care of it, but these take research and time. You can also get a vintage used classic that will run forever. This will break your bank. Don't buy any used guitar that is beat up or broken. Always be sure to buy from a reputable source if you go the used route.