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Electric guitar design and construction vary greatly in the shape of the body and the configuration of the neck, bridge, and pickups. Guitars may have a fixed bridge or a spring-loaded hinged bridge that lets players “bend” the pitch of notes or chords up or down or perform vibrato effects. The sound of a guitar can be modified by new playing techniques such as string bending, tapping, hammering on, using audio feedback, or slide guitar playing. There are several types of electric guitar, including the solid-body guitar, various types of hollow-body guitars, the six-string guitar (the most common type, usually tuned E, A, D, G, B, E, from lowest to highest strings), the seven-string guitar, which typically adds a low B string below the low E, and the twelve-string electric guitar, which has six pairs of strings.
Before we go into the parts of an electric guitar, it’s worth noting that there are three different body types: solid body, hollow body, and semi-hollow body. The main difference between them is the way the bodies are constructed, and the amount of resonance they produce. If you’re into punk, rock, metal, or any style of fast or heavy music, then it should be solid body all the way. It allows for louder sounds and more sustain, while avoiding the feedback issues that affect some hollow bodied instruments at higher volumes. The hollow and semi-hollow bodied guitars on the market will appeal to players who prefer softer styles, such as jazz, country and blues, as well as soft rock and pop, as they offer a full, rich and more resonant sound with lots of bass. Beginners will be best off sticking to a solid bodied guitar, as they are easier to handle in most scenarios. For the rest of this anatomical breakdown we’ll focus on solid body guitars.
There are a lot of great guitarists on the list. It is always distressing, however, to see lists which highlight only guitarists widely known in the Western world. The lack of representation from many traditions around the world is disappointing, but understandable. It would be nice if someone put together a list that was at least representative of world over sensibilities, and which didn’t rely so heavily on popularity as a measure of skill. Even so, I applaud the depth of this list, and hope someone takes up my challenge to expand the horizons of musicians that look for new experiences.
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Jackson’s JS22 Dinky is an affordable guitar that would suit advanced players as much as it would beginners! With a good dose of edge and elegance, it’s perfect for anything from soft rock to thrash metal. It’s a great looking instrument – featuring an arched-top basswood body with a deep double-cutaway design, allowing ample access to 24 jumbo frets on the neck, which is a bolt-on graphite-reinforced maple ‘speed’ neck. It’s fast, sturdy, and fun to play on. The guitar is voiced by two high-output Jackon-designed humbuckers, which offer the classic Jackson tone, and make light work of both clean and distorted tones. The black hardware, tremolo bridge, and classic Jackson headstock finish it off nicely. Check out our full review of the JS22 here.
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Of course, this top-down lecturing is all very abstract without examples. Let me give you the worst case scenario. My school talent show, 2008. Two friends of mine performED an ambitious but utterly inappropriate Metallica cover in front of the other students, their parents and the faculty. It was excruciating. Although the solos (presumably the only thing they had bothered to practice) were technically flawless, the whole song was undone by their terrible rhythm. The timing of the song became displaced, the chords were so badly fingered that it was difficult to hear the riff and consequently the whole performance fell apart. They looked like morons. They had sacrificed learning basic rhythm and paid the price. Make sure you don’t do the same.
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So with most beginners their introduction to their instrument comes from a book. Their parents get them a shiny new guitar on their birthday or for Christmas, and there’s generally an accompanying Mel Bay beginner’s guide. That’s really not a bad thing at all; guitar players all over the world have started just like that.
Semi-hollow: A semi-hollow body in an electric guitar makes use of electronic pickups that are mounted on the body. Because the body is semi-hollow, the body itself vibrates. This means that the pickups convert both the string and body vibrations into an electrical signal. The sound hole can be blocked off to prevent feedback.
Aside from possible engineering advantages, some feel that in relation to the rising cost of rare tonewoods, man-made materials may be economically preferable and more ecologically sensitive. However, wood remains popular in production instruments, though sometimes in conjunction with new materials. Vigier guitars, for example, use a wooden neck reinforced by embedding a light, carbon fiber rod in place of the usual heavier steel bar or adjustable steel truss rod. After-market necks made entirely from carbon fiber fit existing bolt-on instruments. Few, if any, extensive formal investigations have been widely published that confirm or refute claims over the effects of different woods or materials on electric guitar sound.
Double-coil or “humbucker” pickups were invented as a way to reduce or counter the unwanted ambient hum sounds (known as 60-cycle hum). Humbuckers have two coils of opposite magnetic and electric polarity to produce a differential signal. Electromagnetic noise that hits both coils equally tries to drive the pickup signal toward positive on one coil and toward negative on the other, which cancels out the noise. The two coils are wired in phase, so their signal adds together. This high combined inductance of the two coils leads to the richer, “fatter” tone associated with humbucking pickups.
Materials for necks are selected for dimensional stability and rigidity, and some allege that they influence tone. Hardwoods are preferred, with maple, mahogany, and ash topping the list. The neck and fingerboard can be made from different materials; for example, a guitar may have a maple neck with a rosewood or ebony fingerboard. In the 1970s, designers began to use exotic man-made materials such as aircraft-grade aluminum, carbon fiber, and ebonol. Makers known for these unusual materials include John Veleno, Travis Bean, Geoff Gould, and Alembic.
I was in the store this week, getting a string change, and found a G…REAT thinline double humbucker telecaster with locking tuners and had been re-fretted. AWESOME. Pretty huge selection of guitars and basses there at the moment (as of yesterday). See More
If the Complete Technique book is good for quick starts, this would be the bullet train. Another Hal Leonard selection, this is a trim 48 pages for teaching you how to hold a guitar for the first time. Tuning up, easy chords, and strumming. If you got a guitar on Friday, use this to put together your first three-chord jam by Monday. Will it sound good? No, no, it will not. But you’ll have started, which is key. Some of the other books on this list are dense with both concepts and pages, which might delay your starting. Don’t let that happen.
Use of audio feedback to enhance sustain and change timbre. Feedback has become a striking characteristic of rock music, as electric guitar players such as Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix deliberately induced feedback by holding their guitars close to the amplifier. Lou Reed created his 1975 album Metal Machine Music entirely from loops of feedback played at various speeds. A good example of feedback can be heard on Jimi Hendrix’s performance of “Can You See Me?” at the Monterey Pop Festival. The entire guitar solo was created using amplifier feedback.[24]
Semi-hollow body electric guitars are basically a middle ground between a solid body electric and a fully hollow body electric guitar. Jazz, country, and rock guitarists alike may gravitate towards semi-hollow body electric guitars for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that semi-hollow body guitars still produce that rich, resonant sound of a hollow instrument, but they typically have a solid or sometimes chambered center block in between the top and back. This design helps fight off that unwanted body-resonant feedback we spoke about before while even adding some extra sustain. Gibson offers a wide selection of semi-hollow body electric guitars, which include the iconic Gibson ES-335. Guitar brands such as Gretsch and Ibanez are also widely recognized for their semi-hollow body electric guitars.
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This book comes from the former editor of Guitar One magazine who has been playing since he was 14 years old, so he has a reputation of knowing a his way around a guitar neck AND knowing how to write. Let’s face it, when you are trying to learn guitar through reading a book, the author’s ability to write and communicate is crucial. Anyway, this book delivers a “workout program” for your fingers, giving you a technique driven approach to learning the guitar and actually improving in record time. The exercises are designed to help with dexterity and accuracy.
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.”
Venue: 5hrs with server and Tap bar4 course meal, desert table, lighting, cloth napkins and centerpiece all for $2000Cake and cake pops: $240Additional decorations for dessert table: balloons, wooden ornaments and frames $600Prizes for baby… [more]
TheGuitarLesson.com, created by Tom Fontana, is dedicated to bringing the highest quality guitar tutorials to beginner guitarists. Through creating fun and engaging guitar lessons, we aim to spread our love of the guitar to as many new players as possible.
Beginners, take note! We’ve changed a few things in this article of beginner-friendly electric guitars, which included removing a few older models such as Squier’s Vintage Modified ’51 and the ESP LTD M100FM. We then added some new and popular models, such as the stripped-down Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH, the super-cool Dean Vendetta XM, and the compact Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion.
FINALLY………A decenct list of great guitarists……Sick of seeing Brian May and Eddie Van Halen at the top of theses lists!!!! The Blues Musicians are the the masters but seem to get left off most lists because they are not very well known!!! Great list although bit concerned abour Duane Allmans position!!! Surely the greatest slide guitarist of all time??? Should be top ten…
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I am pleased to see some jazz and blues guys on a list. This is rare because most people only like what they are used to and most people have not been exposed to much of anything except the middle of the road. One name left off your list is Tommy Bolin, a truly underated player. Remember, there is no such thing as good or bad music, just what you like.
Many modern guitar brands offer a selection of left-handed electric guitars for all of the left-handed guitar players out there! The guitar manufacturers typically focus on creating left-handed versions of their most popular electric guitar models, but sometimes these guitar makers even create specific models made just for lefties!
Oh, and one final note before you dive in: BUY. A. TUNER. This is strictly non-negotiable. Nothing will make any sense if you don’t start listening for the pitch relationships, which will be difficult to do if you’re out of tune. For help choosing one, check out our best guitar and instrument tuners here.
Movable: Movable power chords are simply the two or three lowest notes of the movable barre chords. Movable power chords are either E-based or A-based. The following figure shows the F5 and Bb5 power chords that you play at the first fret, but you can move these chords to any fret.
The chord below (an Am) is going to be used for demonstration. Firstly, you’ll notice the name of the chord labeled up the top. Next you’ll see a “grid” below it. This grid represents your guitar fretboard. The 6 lines running downwards represent the six strings on your guitar with the fattest and lowest sounding string on the left hand side. The horizontal lines represent the frets on your guitar neck. The top line is the top of the neck.
Here’s how great Jeff Beck is: When Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds, Beck replaced him, and nobody missed Clapton. Later, when Beck left the Yardbirds, he was replaced by Jimmy Page, and everybody wanted Beck to return to the band.
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In recent decades, the most “notable classical and cross genre” guitarist was Paco de Lucía, one of the first flamenco guitarists to have successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a “titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar”,[13] and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as “one of history’s greatest guitarists.”.[14][15]
A floating or trapeze tailpiece (similar to a violin’s) fastens to the body at the base of the guitar. These appear on Rickenbackers, Gretsches, Epiphones, a wide variety of archtop guitars, particularly Jazz guitars, and the 1952 Gibson Les Paul.[16]
An excerpt: “No amount of tuning will suffice if your guitar is not intonated properly. Intonation at the nut is best left to the hands of your local repairman, but bridge intonation in most cases is a do-it-yourself job.”

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In the 21st century, European avant garde composers like Richard Barrett, Fausto Romitelli, Peter Ablinger, Bernhard Lang, Claude Ledoux and Karlheinz Essl have used the electric guitar (together with extended playing techniques) in solo pieces or ensemble works. Probably the most ambitious and perhaps significant work to date is Ingwe (2003–2009) by Georges Lentz (written for Australian guitarist Zane Banks), a 60-minute work for solo electric guitar, exploring that composer’s existential struggles and taking the instrument into realms previously unknown in a concert music setting.
Getting your guitar action set up by a good luthier can make a huge difference to your guitar’s playability (you’ll usually find someone at your local store). I have a number of private students that found an AMAZING difference when they had set their guitar up correctly, and of course I get all mine done too. If you are struggling to play barre chords on an acoustic guitar, then a too-high action could certainly be a part of the problem.
This is a great DVD, and Keith’s style is very laid back, and easy to listen to. You can’t help but like the guy, and once you start watching the DVD, you don’t want to stop. He is extremely knowledgable, and it is like having an instructor right there with you. The DVD begins with the very basics, and works up to some quite complicated playing, so there would be something in this for everyone, from complete beginners (like me) to those looking for more challenges with their playing. For the price, I don’t think you can go wrong.
Finally, have you ever heard a definitive answer to the question “how long does it take to learn guitar?” Us neither! Learning your first chords can take a few hours, but the instrument can take a lifetime to master. But that’s the joy of playing guitar – you never stop learning. It’s down to you to practise and progress, because practise makes perfect!
Some guitars have a fixed bridge (3.4). Others have a spring-loaded hinged bridge called a vibrato bar, tremolo bar, or whammy bar, which lets players bend notes or chords up or down in pitch or perform a vibrato embellishment. A plastic pickguard on some guitars protects the body from scratches or covers the control cavity, which holds most of the wiring. The degree to which the choice of woods and other materials in the solid-guitar body (3) affects the sonic character of the amplified signal is disputed. Many believe it is highly significant, while others think the difference between woods is subtle. In acoustic and archtop guitars, wood choices more clearly affect tone.
Twelve-string electric guitars feature six pairs of strings, usually with each pair tuned to the same note. The extra E, A, D, and G strings add a note one octave above, and the extra B and E strings are in unison. The pairs of strings are played together as one, so the technique and tuning are the same as a conventional guitar, but they create a much fuller tone, with the additional strings adding a natural chorus effect. They are used almost solely to play harmony and rhythm parts, rather than for guitar solos. They are relatively common in folk rock music. Lead Belly is the folk artist most identified with the twelve-string guitar, usually acoustic with a pickup.
Electric guitars need an amplifier to be heard above a singing voice, although they make enough sound just for practice instrumentally. There are also a number of units (like the Line 6 Pod and similar) that can be plugged into your stereo, but this isn’t much use if you want to play in a band. I did the majority of my practice on an electric guitar without an amplifier, and I think this helps you work on your tone, because you have to draw the volume out of the instrument.
Always factor in the size of your instrument. If you are a young player – or are buying a guitar for a child – consider that small hands playing on a full-size guitar may be more difficult than if you had an electric guitar made for kids.
Gilmour was made famous by his haunting guitar scores in Pink Floyd. This “replacement” guitarist surpassed expectations and helped shape Pink Floyd’s unique sound. You can always expect hairs at the back of your neck to stand whenever you hear one of his solos – be it for the first or hundredth time you’re listening to it. All the emotion that Gilmour’s poured into his guitar work lives on in the music and is channeled through anyone who’s ever wanted to cover a Pink Floyd song. I know several guitar players (myself included) who whenever playing the Comfortably Numb solo – whether they are alone in their bedrooms or on stage – have always been unwillingly brought to tears, near the point of crying. How could you not expect things to get esoteric and mystical when it comes to music?
Others I like but not my favorites are “Smoke on the Water”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Reelin In the Years”, “Crazy Train”, “Johnny B. Goode”, “Enter Sandman”, “Back in Black”. Others can list Guns N Roses, Jimmy Hendrix, More AC/DC, and lots that I’m not thinking about.
23 Duane Allman Howard Duane Allman was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death in a motorcycle crash in 1971, when he was 24 years old.
The colors are bold, and while the designs of the guitars’ bodies aren’t radical, the necks are a bit of a departure and the headstocks could have been taken from a Stratocaster. (Fender has done this before — and there’s currently one acoustic, the Sonoran, in its range that evokes the look of the company’s electrics.)
Not only can he make amazing guitar riffs, he can play so many other instruments! He revolutionized Punk in his era and still is. Not only with a pretty face and a voice to go with it, but his guitar trumps all.
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!
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