electric guitar setup | electric guitar songs for beginners

The Jackson Dinky is a modern classic, but their newer JS1X Dinky Minion is an even smaller, cooler playing experience – one which is perfect for beginners (especially if you have smaller hands). It features a 2/3 scale Super Strat double-cutaway body made of solid poplar, with a 22.5” scale length. As you may expect from Jackson, it comes in a range of eye-catching colors, such as Ferrari Red and Neon Orange. The playability is great, with a fast-playing bolt-on slim maple neck, featuring a rosewood fretboard and 24 jumbo frets. As we mention in the full JS1X review, this cool electric guitar is voiced by two Jackson-designed humbuckers, with simple controls, to offer a decent rock tone.
On guitar, the note patterns are a little more complex because each string has a different arrangement of notes. For a beginner, it is much more difficult to know which string to use when the pitch goes higher or lower. Unlike a piano, the guitar needs to be tuned before you play, which is another learning curve students must conquer quickly. Otherwise, they will only be able to tune once a week when they see their guitar teacher.
This popular book teaches seven guitar techniques — alternate picking, string skipping, string bending, arpeggios, sweep picking, legato, and rhythm — one for each day of the week, with an emphasis on keeping it fun so that the learning process comes naturally.
My favourite adage applies: buy cheap, buy twice. I rate the Yamaha Pacifica guitars (which start around £200/$350). They have a thin neck (which is good for rock) and consistently excellent build quality. I don’t think there is much of a question about the quality of these guitars and most of the other teachers I respect recommend them as well. There are many cheaper guitars out there but for the few pounds you will save you are much better off going for a Pacifica in my humble opinion. I never owned one myself (and I don’t have any kind of deal going with them at all), but have played many that students bought in over the years, which is why I recommend them to you!
Number 1 is the index finger, 2 is the middle finger, 3 is the ring finger, and 4 is your pinky. You don’t use the thumb to fret, except in certain unusual circumstances. In those cases there would be a “T” inside the black dot.
Gibson’s first production electric guitar, marketed in 1936, was the ES-150 model (“ES” for “Electric Spanish”, and “150” reflecting the $150 price of the instrument, along with matching amplifier). The ES-150 guitar featured a single-coil, hexagonally shaped “bar” pickup, which was designed by Walt Fuller. It became known as the “Charlie Christian” pickup (named for the great jazz guitarist who was among the first to perform with the ES-150 guitar). The ES-150 achieved some popularity but suffered from unequal loudness across the six strings.
As for necks, the majority of guitars will have either a maple or mahogany neck, with a rosewood, maple or ebony fretboard. Again, there’s no right or wrong, and a neck wood is never going to sway your decision. But you should choose something that feels smooth and comfortable to play. There are a variety of shapes and profiles, and what you go for will depend on personal preference and playing style. For example, a modern C-shaped neck is always a safe choice as the majority of guitarists will feel comfortable using it, while a thin U-shape is great for faster players (think punk rock and metal).
We start this list with a true classic in the world of electric guitar: the Les Paul Standard. For beginners, this is as close to a Gibson Les Paul as you want to get – and the affordable price really allows you to. With authentic Les Paul single-cutaway style – in an array of traditional and modern colors – there’s a solid mahogany body with a maple top, a slim D-shaped set mahogany neck, with rosewood fretboard, and 22 medium jumbo frets. Lovely to hold and fun to play. The sound comes from two Alnico Classic humbuckers at the neck and bridge, which are excellent at handling both clean and overdriven tones, with the warmth and tone you’d expect from Epiphone. In all, an outstanding electric guitar for beginners, as we state in our full review.
While the books above will pretty much translate to any style, I can’t help but be biased toward rock electric guitar, since that’s what I’ve played for half my life. Usually that means riffing with the help of a pick. Learning how to fingerpick will serve you well, far outstripping the relatively pedestrian world of flatpicking. Whether you use it to move on to fingerstyle guitar or integrate it into a hybrid technique, mastering the right hand in this finite way will make you a better player. In addition to the progressive book, you can download the song samples, which are enriched with the ability to slow them down, change keys, and set looping points to help you master parts one at at time.
Some “hybrid” electric guitars are equipped with additional microphone, piezoelectric, optical, or other types of transducers to approximate an acoustic instrument tone and broaden the sonic palette of the instrument.
2. Practice switching between different chords keeping a steady beat. Try not to stop, the goal is to learn to switch between the chords getting the best sound possible (without stopping). Fix any problems as you are strumming.
Electric guitars are generally the easiest to play: the strings are thinner, the ‘action’ is low (see below) and therefore they are easier to press down. Barre chords on acoustic guitar can be very demanding and require a lot of finger strength. Cheaper acoustic guitars can be very hard to play higher up the fretboard. Classical guitars have nylon strings, which are softer than steel strings, and easier to press down. However, the neck is much wider on a classical guitar, which can be a struggle for beginners. The action is likely to be higher, as well. In general, they are softer-toned and don’t project as well as a steel string acoustic, which makes for quieter practising, which could be a consideration.
5 Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.
The lesson curriculum is not really my style, but all teachers vary. It focuses too soon on too much theory, and I believe in getting my students playing and having fun, thereby develop a love for the instrument quickly, rather than indulging in theoretical studies.
If you need help finding just the right gear, give us a call at 1-800-472-6274, where real musicians are standing by with the musical knowledge and expertise to help you satisfy all your musical needs!
One of the most frequently asked questions from beginner players is whether to choose electric or acoustic. The advice here is my view. Others may disagree, and they are welcome to their opinion; mine is subject to change without notice! Check out the FAQ at the bottom of the page too!
With similar specs and style to the 1952 original – but without the $10,000 price tag – this LP-100 from Epiphone demands attention. As highlighted in our full review, with a classic Les Paul shape, the body is crafted from solid mahogany with a maple top, and features a bolt-on mahogany neck, with rosewood fingerboard, and 22 medium-jumbo frets. The guitar has solid hardware, including a LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and StopBar tailpiece, and 14:1 die-cast machine heads. Good looks and hardware aside, this electric guitar sounds fantastic. This is thanks to the two humbuckers – a 700T at the bridge and 650R at the neck – which offer full, warm tones that adapt to the majority of styles. Perfect for a beginner, although by no means an entry-level guitar.
Very good list. Glaring ommission but forgiveable would be the studio musicians who you have heard for years but never knew their names. Cats like Tommy Tedesco, Howard Roberts, Jerry Cole, Bill Pitman & Glen Cambell, Yes he could play. Other Country cats like Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Jerry Reed, & Roy Clark. Jazz giants like Kenny Burrell, Pat Martino, & Barney Kessel – also a studio guy from the wrecking crew. Accoustic players like Leo Kottke, or Christopher Parkening.
the best you can get – as a fact – is, when you can learn through reading, hearing, seeing & doing. The best way to learn in my opinion is definitively if i have a Book and a guy explaning me what it means and showing me how it works.
Klaus, this is a great list and everyone will have a favorite left out here and there. Your list reminded me of some “forgotten” favorites and introduced me to some who deserve a listen. On a bummer side, I found out Gary Moore had passed away. I never got into his blues too much, but loved his solo work in the 80’s. Also great to see Frank Zappa acknowledged for his “off the wall” yet amazing guitar work. Maybe it’s time for a “top 200” list? J.R.
I recently saw this guitar player and he has truly been I guess hiding because he makes a lot of the names on your list look bad. His name is Tobi Hero. More people need to check this dude out. Help him if you can because he is something else.
Having been just released, this new edition doesn’t have any reviews yet at the time of this writing. The previous 3rd edition had 79% 4 and 5 star reviews from customers. All in all, if you want to stick with learning from a guitar book, this would be my recommendation.
Most of these electric guitars have a body that is composed of solid wood. This is because wood produces a full and rich sound. A few of these guitars consist of laminate construction in the body, while a small number are comprised of acrylic bodies. Acrylic allows for an eye-catching, transparent look.

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An excerpt: “Steeped in mystery, hogwash, and pop voodoo, guitars have become period pieces of almost totemic significance — some timeless, others dated as a crew cut; some spiffy as a showroom Bugatti, others funky as a Studebaker up on blocks.”
In the 1960s, the tonal palette of the electric guitar was further modified by introducing effect units in its signal path, before the guitar amp, of which one of the earliest units was the fuzz pedal. Effects units come in several formats, the most common of which are the stompbox “pedal” and the rackmount unit. A stomp box (or pedal) is a small metal or plastic box containing the circuitry, which is placed on the floor in front of the musician and connected in line with the patch cord connected to the instrument. The box is typically controlled by one or more foot-pedal on-off switches and it typically contains only one or two effects. Pedals are smaller than rackmount effects and usually less expensive. “Guitar pedalboards” are used by musicians who use multiple stomp-boxes; these may be a DIY project made with plywood or a commercial stock or custom-made pedalboard.
About 30 years ago, a fellow co-worker began teaching me how to play electric guitar. I believe it was an Aria Pro Strat. He had been playing for 20 plus years at this time and was a very good teacher, he owned a 1958 Les Paul. I have not played since he was in a car wreck in 1990 as he could not return to work. He was however able to continue to play, its just our schedules never allowed the time to take lessons. He passed away in 2011, and since I retired last year, I’d like to take up lessons. I found your article very helpful in selecting an electric guitar. It mentions a lot of things most people do not consider when buying.
In the most commercially available and consumed pop and rock genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in both the recording studio and live venues, especially in the “harder” genres such as heavy metal and hard rock. However the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and especially bluegrass music, and it is widely used in folk music. Even metal and hard rock guitarists play acoustic guitars for some ballads and for MTV unplugged acoustic performances.
The 2nd basic beginner guitar chord you should learn is C, or C major. You don’t have to say “major” in the name of the chord. If you just say C chord it’s assumed that it’s a major chord. You only want to strum the top 5 strings (that means the highest sounding 5 strings, not their relationship to the floor) The X in the guitar chord chart means not to play that string, or to mute it.
Full hollow-body guitars have large, deep bodies made of glued-together sheets, or “plates”, of wood. They can often be played at the same volume as an acoustic guitar and therefore can be used unplugged at intimate gigs. They qualify as electric guitars inasmuch as they have fitted pickups. Historically, archtop guitars with retrofitted pickups were among the very earliest electric guitars. The instrument originated during the Jazz Age, in the 1920s and 1930s, and are still considered the classic jazz guitar (nicknamed “jazzbox”). Like semi-acoustic guitars, they often have f-shaped sound holes.
Guitar picks average $2-$4 for a pack of 12. A guitar strap averages $10-$30 but can be more if you want something fancy, and a guitar tuner runs about $15-$100. Extra strings (they break at inopportune moments) are about $2.50-$12.50 for a set of six.
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