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What guitarist do you want to be ?     


If are new to guitar decide between Acoustic or Electric guitar. Think about the music you want to play. There is no truth in starting with an acoustic guitar first. They are nearly always physically harder to play. This is guitar myth no 1.

The steel strung acoustic      

This is best for strumming, accompanying singing  and finger picking styles such as folk and old style blues.

 The image above shows two types. The steel strung acoustic  is the type to get. The spanish or classical guitar is really for classical or flamenco music. The nylon strings and wider neck distinguish it form the steel strung. 


What type or size of acoustic guitar should I buy ?

People come in a variety of sizes so do guitars. I suggest finding the right size and shape of guitar for yourself. Scale length alters how far you need to reach out along the neck. Body shape for instance a jumbo acoustic guitar may be too large for you if you are ft 6''. For an acoustic guitar the distance from where the elbow reaches over the body to the sound hole is critical. If you struggle to reach over the guitar. Wrong size. Is it balanced? Guitar should not be neck heavy. General comfort. You are going to be happy spending  hours sitting with this instrument on your thigh. Visit a guitar shop for advice and try before you buy.

The image below gives standard sizing for guitars.



 The electric guitar

This is best for rock and blues, metal ,country, lead guitar rock'n'roll,jazz

Just like the acoustic guitar a comfortable fit is essential for the electric too. The profile and shape of the bottom of the body where the guitar rests of the thigh can be problematic again try before you buy.




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Do guitar strings change pitch with temperature?

The answer is yes.. The fact is metal will contract and expand depending on temperature. There are important points to consider. Strings are under tension. Other variables are any expansion of wood, other metal parts, and plastics which is hard to separate from string expansion.

An octave contains 1200 cents the human ear can detect about a 5 cent variation. So a 10 degree change in temperature may not be audible .

Here is the results from a scientific experiment

The data gathered from this experiment does support the hypothesis; as the temperature increased, the tuning fell flat. As the temperature was colder, the tuning became sharp. According to the data in the graph, “The Effect of Temperature

Do guitar strings change pitch with temperature?

The answer is yes.. The fact is metal will contract and expand depending on temperature. There are important points to consider. Strings are under tension. Other variables are any expansion of wood, other metal parts, and plastics which is hard to separate from string expansion.

An octave contains 1200 cents the human ear can detect about a 5 cent variation. So a 10 degree change in temperature may not be audible .

Here is the results from a scientific experiment
on the Tuning of an Acoustic Guitar,” the data suggested that, as temperature increases above 70°F, the tuning begins to fall flat. If the temperature is at 70°F or below, then the tuning becomes sharp. Therefore, the tuning will stay the most consistent if the temperature is kept at a temperature of 75°F. The averages also reflect the overall trend of the data. The range shows that the overall variation in the results of the data were minimal in musical terms; the largest range, 19 cents, is 0.01583 of an octave, or 0.19 of a semi-tone. The smallest standard deviation was 3.84; the largest was 5.70. This shows that the margin of difference is small. The error bar lengths all range from 1.11 to 1.65, indicating a small margin of error. The line of best fit shows that, for every 10 degrees the temperature increases, with the value “1” being used as 60° in the equation, 0 being used as 50°, 2 being used as 70°, and so forth, the tuning falls flat 6.624 cents. It also shows that, when the temperature is 50°F, the tuning will be sharp 14.08 cents. The line of best fit therefore conveys an inverse relationship; as the temperature increases, the tuning falls flat. The results of this research apply to any guitar player, whether they are on a professional level or just play as a hobby. It will help any guitar 


It's all a load of pentatonics.

It all a load of pentatonics. The ubiquitous pentatonic scale endorsed by pub rock bands and noodlers

goes a long way for that trad rock sound and is the number one scale. The truth is playing the

pentatonic scale as a five note scale isn't what the great guitarists do. BB King Jimi Hendrix Eric Clapton all use supplementary notes and use micro tonal and step bends to play more interesting sounds and don't forget that awareness of chord structure around which their great phrasing rest. So if anyone says It all a load of pentatonics beware. 





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Here is my soundcloud so you can listen to my creative output. All instruments voices lyrics prodction arrangment by phil schneider all songs free to use noncommercially but I must ber credited.




What is a good beginners song ?


I have listed some guide points for choosing a good beginners song.

The best songs for acoustic guitar are those that are simply acoustic guitar with vocal. Unplugged or acoustic versions can be a good starting point for material.This removes the clutter created by other instruments in the arrangement and makes it easy to focus only on the guitar.

For a full version of a song, that is all the instruments drums bass etc. It is not possible to recreate this on one guitar. There are two choices.

Playing the exact guitar part. Exactly as it is played note for note on the recording. This can be a disappointment if the guitar part is small or complimentary.

An arrangement of the song for guitar. Sounds like the song but maybe in a different key and not sound like the recording.

Two different things.

Number of chords less is easier. Beatles average 8 1/2 per song. Realistically 3 or 4 chords is best for starters. If the chords repeat in the same order this is even better.

Strumming is easier than picking.

Singing makes all the differrence.It does nedd to great or even in tune. (listen to anything by Bob Dylan) It makes the song sound complete and helps you to understand song structure.

Straight forward rhythm. Faith George Michael simple chord complicated guitar rhythm bad choice. Jam thats entertainment much easier.
Electric guitar Riffs are good as the song is identifiable instantly but one guitar doth not make Led Zeppelin.

Are thick strings best ?

Are thick strings best ? My conclusion. The increased  ease of playing lighter strings is greater than increased tone especially on any amplified guitar. The exception is a  large acoustic where volume is needed then a heavy gauge may be right. Heavy strings are louder but do not give a better tone.

Here are some reasons for the conclusion. "A lot is also made of the fact that SRV used very large strings, usually gauged .013 to .058, and certainly bigger strings do transmit a bigger signal through the pickups. Note, however, that Jimi Hendrix used a relatively thin .009 set, but he didn’t sound small by any standards. Also, Vaughan tuned down a half-step to Eb, and lessening the strings’ tension to that extent equates to a playing feel of a string gauge lighter, roughly speaking." from Myth Busters   Dave Hunter Here are String gauges for some great electric players:    Jimmy Page: well-known user of 8-gauge strings.     Danny Gatton: played 10s with a wound G, also played 9s.    Jeff Beck: “On my early stuff, I was playing the thinnest strings you could get, .008s,” Beck told “And then the Jimi man came along and told me, ‘You can’t play with those rubber bands. Get those off there.’ So my string gauges have been creeping up ever since. Now I’ve got .011, .013, .017, .028, .038, and .049. I’m trying to get heavier on the top end.”    Billy Gibbons: hipped to light-gauge 8s or 9s by B.B. King. King’s take on it is that it takes a lot less stress and strain to play the light stuff. Gibbons’ custom set from Dunlop has a 7-gauge high E!    Brian Setzer: 10s straight out of the box.    Peter Frampton: 8s back in the Comes Alive days.    Carlos Santana: 9s 8. Allan Holdsworth: 11s    Eddie Van Halen: well-known for using 9-gauge.    James Hetfield: .009-.042 from String Myths, Part 1Wallace Marx Jr


The physics behind the answer    "The thicker the string, the more tension it needs, to produce the same note. Thicker, tighter strings, have a more "focused" sound. They reach their resonant frequency more quickly, because the extra tension leaves them less scope to flap around. Thicker, tighter strings, plucked the same distance, are louder, because they contain more energy. There is more metal being waved back and forth in front of the pickup. There is more kinetic energy to be transmitted to the sounding board. Looking at this in the opposite direction, heavier strings need to vibrate less in order to produce the same volume as a narrower string. So you are less likely to experience fret buzz at the same loudness. Thicker, tighter strings, plucked the same distance, have more sustain, because they contain more energy and it takes longer to disperse. Of course, that energy doesn't come from nowhere. It takes more strength to pluck a thicker string. Playability The more tense a string is, the harder it is to fret -- you have to press harder. Beginners are likely to prefer narrower gauges and looser strings, until they develop callouses on their fingers. Players wishing to play very fast solos often choose light strings, because they can make gentle, fast fretting movements. The looser a string is, the easier it is to bend. This is an advantage if you want to incorporate dramatic bends into your playing. However, with very light strings, it can be too easy to bend notes -- to the extent that a beginner can have trouble playing a chord in tune, accidentally bending one string or another.    Answer 2  What effect does string gauge  have on sound and playability? Well, this depends on what your guitar is. With acoustic guitars, the strings move the top of the guitar, creating the sound to be projected, so those who need more volume went with bigger guitars with bigger strings, with higher action so the strings will ring out. On a purely unadulterated flat-top acoustic guitar, this is the secret to getting volume. That's the main effect on your sound: louder. More easily heard above the rest of the mess. And heavier strings with higher action will put a greater gap between string and the fretboard, making you work harder to get it to do anything at all, so it messes up your playability. If you're looking for more playable and not needing quite the volume, or can make it up with amplification, you don't need the boost big strings get you and you can lighten up, and so can the maker. There are things put into Martin dreads just so that they can survive being attacked by bluegrass pickers.

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Are you Sitting comfortably?
If you play guitar for any length of time it makes sense to be comfortable.There are two broad
possibillites, the classical position and the casual position then additionally using supports such as
straps and stands.
1 Classical position.

This is good for classical guitar. The one postural negative is the foot stool which is a default with classical posture gives an uneven posture. The gluteals are engaged differently on the left and right and there is more
imbalance on the spine. I suggest both feet as flat as possible also the neck angle of the guitar can be quite be
high possibly to facilitate the angle of the plucking hand.
"Classical Technique and Position of the Guitar
There is a wide range of sitting positions, however, the vast majority of guitarists would agree that “the position of
the player should be fixed, while the instrument is arranged to suit that fixed position”(Glise, 1997, p.4). In a
detailed analysis of the sitting position, Russell (1988) suggested the use of an armless chair with a flat seat and
without a backward inclination. While sitting, the footstool should be placed in such a way that the left knee
would be at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the left thigh. According to Carlevaro (1978), the right foot
should be placed “slightly behind the performer” while holding the guitar in order to create a balance in relation to
the rest of the body, as shown in figure 4:

After a good sitting position is achieved, the guitar should be placed between the legs and rest mainly on the left leg while its lower bout touches the right thigh. The upper bout should be resting lightly on the middle of the chest and the head of the guitar must be set somewhat above the height of the left shoulder.

The final contact  point that stabilises the instrument is the right arm which rests over the upper side of the guitar; the left hand
remains as a more neutral contact point. Nevertheless, in cases where the right hand needs to be lifted the left becomes essential.


Following the above principles the instrument will be centered to the body, allowing both hands to work equally
with a balanced posture. Quoting Quine (1995) “A comfortably balanced sitting position is of a fundamental
importance to the development of the sound technique; arms, hands, and fingers can only work efficiently from a
stable base, which a sitting position free from unnecessary tensions provides”.

There have been some attempts to use supports for guitar. Here is  a table

here a tripod.

Applied to a non classical approach .The image below gives a good compromise. Note the hips are lower than
the knees.

With the image above the seat doesnt look too comfortable. Here is some good chair advice.
"The first thing you need for your ultimate playing position is the ultimate chair. Many people just grab a chair and go for it. The ultimate chair however has to have a few key characteristics. The first is that the chair should have no arms, the last thing you need is the arms of the chair interfering with the movement of you left or right arms.


The second is the height of the chair. When choosing a chair stand in front of it so you are to the side. The seat of
the chair should fall right in the middle of your knees. Another way to test it would be to sit on it, if you feet are
flat and your lap is flat, then it is the right height. However, if your lap angles to the floor it is too high, or if your
knees end up pointed to the ceiling it is too short. Your personal chair will depend on your height, and vary
person to person.


Sit on the edge of the chair and do not slouch when you sit. Sit with your back straight, it is okay to look at the
guitar and your hands, it is not okay to lean over and look at your hands. Keep your shoulders level, and don’t
lean to the left or to the right. However, there will be times when you will lean to the left in order to reach those
notes above the twelfth." from

2.The casual position

Two great guitarist John Lee hooker / Tommy Emmanuel.The guitar is balanced on the right leg and the neck
angle is almost parallel to the floor.The neck also points away from the body by about 45 degrees.
It is also possible to sit and use a strap to position the guitar.

It is worth spending time experimenting and finding an optimal position you may even have a couple of ways to sit and play.

I feel I am not progressing.

This is such a common feeling. Here are some reasons.

Not enough practice. Easy answer play more.

Ineffective practice. Not working through problem areas in detail. Lack of focus, ie practicing too many things at once. Playing pieces that are too hard.

Expecting too much. Unrealistic timeline. It can take years to master things.

Self-criticism. A little is helpful. Too much will mean every note will sound wrong. Play don't criticise. Adapt the here and now.

The plateau. You have reached a certain level and it seems hard to get any higher. Think sideways. Play pieces at a similar level but a different style. Swap speed metal for funk. Blues for Motown.

The quest for speed. This can be so hard. No matter how much effort you put in you are not the worlds fastest. We all have are own speed limiter. A combination of fast twitch muscles(lack of) and different levels of neural processing may be the biological reason. The good news is with practice you will get faster. Two contradictory approaches to combine. 1.Build up speed slowly with a metronome. 2. Play as fast as you can even with errors.