Posted May 26, 2011 01:17 PM
Instruments are played in order to express emotion. Each instrument has a different feel and approach to it. Some can be extremely easy, while others, the exact opposite. Then again, it really depends on the person. One of the easiest instruments to play is guitar. Also know as an "axe," the guitar was used since the dawn of music, but in more primitive forms. Since then, it has far advanced. It can be found with six, seven, twelve strings and beyond. In the end, however, it is still played the same - it does not matter, if you are a lead or rhythm guitarist. All you need is a pick, proper technique, and knowledge of some chord positions. These three things, when executed properly, will enable anyone to play guitar. It is the persons take on guitar after they master the basics that gives way to their own unique approach to playing leads and rhythms with a certain technique and feel.
Both electric and acoustic guitars are comprised of the same basic parts - a body, strings, a neck, a fret board, a headstock, pick guards, position markers, frets, and a nut. Therefore, they are played the same way, the only difference being that acoustics do not have to be amplified but electrics do. It is tougher to play on acoustics because the strings are thicker as well as higher. The higher the strings, the less fluid the players hand will be on the neck, making for slow chord changes and leads. On the electric guitar, string height can be corrected easily by adjusting the saddles with an Allen wrench. Once the height is adjusted to a comfortable position, the player needs a pick. Picks play a major role in playing. They come in small, medium, and large sizes. Some are made of glass, but most are of plastic. Some come in unique shapes with certain advantages and disadvantages. The one thing they all do is make guitar playing easy for beginners.
The next step in a successful playing experience is hand position and technique. Beginners are always confused about the fret board. It is quite simple really. The metal bars between each rectangle, technically known as "frets," start at the bottom near the headstock where they are greatly separated. As they go up on the neck, the bars come closer together, and the notes become higher in pitch. Those frets are notes and can be manipulated to sound good. There are about twenty-one of them on the average guitar - some have less, others more. The one thing to remember about frets is the buzzing. The strings have to be pressed down by the fingertips only between the metal bars, otherwise, a very annoying buzz will occur and the notes will sound dead or very faint. Most players position their hands in a gliding motion on the neck - beginner or not, chances of the buzz happening are high. They play like that because it is easy, but far restricting. You cannot solo properly let alone switch rapidly between rhythms at faster tempos. The way I keep everything intact without getting weary hands is by placing my left hand directly in front of the neck, not sideways, not too low, but just directly over it at perfect alignment. You can tell you do it right when it is easy to stretch between distant frets and you can place your entire hand over the fret board easily.
Once the left hand is positioned properly, it is time for the right hand to do so too. On electric guitars, the right hand needs to be placed right in front of the bridge. This dampens the sound and lets the player control the amount of ringing/feedback. The thumb and the first finger hold the pick with just the point coming out at a slight angle. On acoustics, it is the same, except that there is no bridge, but the hand is still positioned along the strings at the body. The last thing needed is for the right hand to be synchronized with the left. A beginner has to get a feel for picking different strings and at the same time fret the corresponding notes with the left hand. Once that is possible, chords can be learned. They can be power chords or open chords. Open chords are well suited for acoustics or for electric guitars with a clean tone. Power chords sound best with distortion and are slightly easier to play than open chords. It does not matter which are learned first because in the end, it is still the same chord just in different positions. Once the positions are memorized, the player can fret them with the left hand and pluck all the strings at once with the right - this is a chord. Different notes that sound good are different chords and progressions can be made out of them. They can be played at any pace and alternated with single notes and techniques such as hammer ons, pull offs, slides, and bends. Enough experimentation will give birth to songs.