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The internet has led to changes that would have been impossible to understand just a decade ago. Buying a guitar in Kentfield 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 Kentfield, 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 Kentfield, but even still it’s possible to find great sale.

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.

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Guitars 101 - Fundamental Information On Electric Guitars

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When I started to play the guitar, I did things the hard way, trying to play chords and play songs. It was frustrating because my fingers just couldn't find the right position to make the guitar sound good.

Since then, I've learned how to get started playing the guitar that's much faster and much easier and I'm going to show you how you can play the guitar right away.

I love playing the guitar! I'm self-taught until a few years ago when I started working a music teacher. I bought my first guitar in 1989. But it's only been in the past five years that I've really focused on playing the guitar well. And now, I'm pretty good. I can jam with good musicians and I can sit down and entertain myself for hours with my guitar.

Today, I'd rather play guitar than watch TV. Here's why: after watching TV, I'm relaxed and I've wasted an hour. After playing guitar, I'm relaxed and I'm an improved guitar player.

A DIFFERENT WAY: FORGET THE ACOUSTIC GUITAR

How I got to play today was a different route from the way most guitar teachers teach guitar. Most guitarists start out with an inexpensive acoustic guitar and immediately try to play songs with chords.

Here's the problem: cheap acoustic guitars are very hard for a first time guitarist to play. The strings are too thick. The neck is too big. Your fingers don't have the strength to get a good sound.

The truth is, most beginning guitar players have a cheap acoustic guitar lying around somewhere in the house. And that inexpensive guitar is keeping them from being a guitar player.

So don't start off with a cheap acoustic guitar, take a different approach.

ELECTRIC GUITAR TO THE RESCUE

It's better to start playing with a good electric guitar. This will get you going quickly and comfortably to inspire you to keep practicing until you're good enough to play with other musicians.

Go to a guitar store, such as Guitar Center and pick up a used electric guitar for about $300. That's the price where you can get a decent guitar that that will play well and sound good. A professional guitar shop will make sure the guitar "action" is adjusted to play easily. I suggest you forget about the "starter guitars" because they're usually not easy to play.

I don't recommend buying a used guitar from anyone other than a professional guitar shop. You don't know enough about guitars to be able to pick one out that you can play well. The guitar shop wants your business for the rest of your life as a musician, so they'll make sure you get what you need.

Most people start with an acoustic guitar because they don't need a guitar amplifier to play. Because electric guitars need a guitar amplifier that doubles the cost of getting started.

That's not a problem today because you can run your electric guitar through your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad and get guitar effects worth thousands of dollars for $30 (more about this in another post). You can even get a guitar tuner ap for your mobile device for a dollar.

You'll pay more for a cheap guitar tuner for your acoustic guitar then for the cool guitar applications. Just plug in your headphones and you'll think that you're playing in front of a cranked Marshall stack.

FORGET THE CHORDS

Before you try to make her fingers contort into positions called guitar chords, get your hands strong.

Strengthen your hands by just playing scales. I know, that sounds boring! Yet if you will sit down with your guitar for 15 minutes a day and teach your fingers how to move, in two weeks you'll have much more finger strength, dexterity, and control to easily form guitar chords. If you don't do this, you're going to be frustrated and stop playing the guitar. This is what it takes to play guitar fast.

STRONG FINGERS FROM SCALES

You don't have to play standard scales, all you have to do is move your fingers to make them respond to your mental commands, getting stronger in the process.

Start with your hand at the neck of the guitar and your fingers on the biggest string (that's the E string), and pluck the string while pushing down on the string with your finger, but only hard enough to get a clean sound. This is called fretting the string and it does cause many new guitarists to "fret" about playing the guitar.

With your thumb behind the guitar neck about in the position where it is behind your middle finger, clamped down on the string. You don't have to squeeze the neck, only press hard enough so that the string rests on the metal fret and makes a nice clean sound when you pick it lightly.

Start with your index finger, then to your middle finger, then to your ring finger, then to your pinky, and reverse the direction. Go slowly, making sure that you have a nice clean tone for each string.

Then move to the next string, and repeat. Move to the next string and repeat until you've gotten to the smallest string.

Then starting with your pinky, moved to your ring finger, and so forth so that you practice moving your fingers up and down, and down and up. Work your way back down to the big string.

Move your hand up a fret and repeat the process until you get all the way up to the 12th fret, that's where there usually is a double dot as a fret market.

Now reverse the direction and go back down until you go to the get to the first fret.

That's enough for the first round of exercises.

REPEAT

Do this for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening. Over two weeks your fingers will gain strength and you'll increase the dexterity so your brain will know how to move each finger. Now you can start to comfortably form chords. (More on that in another article.)

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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.

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