In the 40 years that I have been teaching all styles of guitar to every type of student, there have been a few questions that come up over and over which seem to be the cause of great concern and anxiety.
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High on the list is “Am I too old to learn guitar in San Jose ?I have been anxiously asked this question by a 28 year old student, a 38 year old, a 46 year old, and let’s see…off the top of my head, I can remember students at age 52, 65, 77, and finally, good old Frank who was 84! I have had plenty of experience with this question, and more importantly, with the answer
.I am going to tell you the answer right up front to set your mind at ease, just in case you are one of those guitar students desperately attempting to remain hopeful about your chances of success. Yes, anyone can learn to play the guitar at any age, period and any place in Santa Clara
Top 7 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Guitar TuningsEach year, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) complies a global report on musical instrument sales. This report gives us a snapshot of the numbers of people buying guitars, and ownership trends.In 2010, 2.38 million guitars were sold in the US, and these had a retail value of $839 million.Sales of acoustic guitars increased (6.9%), while electric guitar popularity declined (-2.1%). This trend reflected changes in the 2010 Billboard top 200, in which acoustic guitar strummers appeared at nearly twice the frequency of rock/metal bands. Similarly, the trend in amplifier purchase moved away from high-end valve amps, and towards smaller, less expensive combos.The average price of a guitar fell, but further analysis led those compiling the report to speculate that changes to were mainly due to new players entering the market, and established players not adding to their high-end guitar collections, rather than guitar prices falling due to the availability of cheaper imports.Here in the United Kingdom, we are generally two years behind our American cousins. However, UK sales figures reflected the currently depressed state of our economy: guitar sales were down on 2009 by 13.1% in terms of revenue, and 10.6% in sales volumes. Nevertheless, in 2010, £159.69 million was spent in the UK, on more than 768,000 guitars! That's a staggering number of guitars, and does not include private sales of pre-owned instruments.Sales trends between 2007 and 2010 show a steady decline in electric, and bass guitar sales. Conversely acoustic guitar sales over the same period have increased. Despite a fairly uniform fall in sales of all types of guitar during 2010, the popularity of acoustics is still growing. In 2007, acoustics accounted for 52.8% of all guitars sold, and this has risen steadily to 57% of all guitars sold in 2010.Elsewhere in the media, there have been pockets of speculation that the rising popularity of acoustic guitar music is both a catalyst for, and indication of more women taking up the instrument. Playing the guitar is an almost exclusively male past-time, so manufactures and retailers are delighted by the possibility of rising female interest: the size of their market could double. Meanwhile, manufacturers of electric guitars appear to be hoping for the emergence of a new Guitar Hero, on the scale of Hendrix or Clapton, to save their declining market share.As a guitar teacher, the report is very encouraging. It shows that the potential number of students is vast, despite the continuing UK recession. It enables us to check that we are in step with the dominance of acoustic guitar music, and adapt if necessary. It shows us that there is a need to encourage, and support women to take-up the guitar.I cannot help but feel that the NAMM should have a far greater interest in supporting guitar teachers. We have a part to play in ensuring that their customers return to up-grade and expand their guitar ownership. It is my firm belief that the majority of those 768,000 guitars will never get played, and merely function as ornaments to decorate homes.Maybe the new Hendrix is out there, and just needs a few guitar lessons to set him (or her) on the path that will reinvigorate music and the music industry.
Vintage Guitar Values - How Much Is Your Guitar Worth?In the 40 years that I have been teaching all styles of guitar to every type of student, there have been a few questions that come up over and over which seem to be the cause of great concern and anxiety. High on the list is "Am I too old to learn guitar?I have been anxiously asked this question by a 28 year old student, a 38 year old, a 46 year old, and let's see...off the top of my head, I can remember students at age 52, 65, 77, and finally, good old Frank who was 84! I have had plenty of experience with this question, and more importantly, with the answer.I am going to tell you the answer right up front to set your mind at ease, just in case you are one of those guitar students desperately attempting to remain hopeful about your chances of success. Yes, anyone can learn to play the guitar at any age, period. That is the truth. However, as with everything else in life, the devil is in the details!The Correct Approach Is EssentialYes, anyone can learn at any age if they use the correct method to learn the guitar. The bad news is that virtually every guitar method on the market is severely deficient in the information that will guarantee success for everyone. Only the very talented and the very dedicated can learn from the many flawed guitar methods on the market today. The average guitar student is in for a tough time.This is because the biggest obstacles to learning guitar are physical obstacles, meaning, getting your fingers to actually make movements they have never made before, and getting them to do them smoothly and quickly. What all guitar methods are failing to address is that when you learn guitar you are really attempting to teach your fingers, hands, and arms new abilities. You are not really learning "guitar", you are actually engaged in "body learning", so, you must know and follow the well established laws of how the body (your muscles, nerves, and brain actually learn to do new and unfamiliar movements.For instance, one of the laws of body learning is that all movements must be practiced extremely slowly, with great focus on relaxation throughout the body. If you do not do this, if you allow your shoulders to tense when your fingers are stretching, that tension will stay in the shoulders and be reinforced every time you practice. It will feel "normal" to you and you will not know your shoulders are tense. All you will know is that you cannot control your fingers.This happens to a very large percentage of people of every age who try to learn guitar. It will tend to happen more with adult students and seniors because they have had more years to acquire tension in their bodies even apart from practicing guitar. However, if a student knows how to practice the necessary finger movements in a way that does not allow excess tension into the hands, arms, shoulders, and the rest of the body, they will be successful at learning to play no matter how old they are.Learning According To the Body; Not the GuitarGuitar instruction is a disorganized, unscientific, and (compared to piano or violin) a young and immature profession. Many, perhaps most, "guitar teachers" are not teachers; they are guitar players. There is a vast difference. Guitar players know how to play the guitar; guitar teachers should know how to cause other people to play the guitar. However, most of the people I have met who have failed at guitar have taken lessons for years. They were told they had no talent, when the fact is their teacher had no knowledge of how to teach. Unfortunately, such "teachers" often write the method books that the unsuspecting guitar aspirant buys and places their trust in!Such books are often mere collections of guitar information, pages full of chord diagrams, scales, songs, etc., containing no information about how to actually get your fingers to be able to do these things. Worse, the information and exercises are given according to how the guitar works, not how the human body and the human hand work.For instance, all guitar books begin by teaching you chords or notes in the first position at the first fret. By custom, the area of the guitar fingerboard furthest from the body is called the "first" position. So, everyone assumes that a student should learn that first. The problem is that this requires the arm to extend farthest away from the body, which requires the deltoid muscle in the shoulder to work hard to support that weight. This effort (especially in the beginner or older student) will inevitably cause muscle tension throughout the body, even to the point of the student holding their breath! After that, everything locks up and the student will be unable to control their fingers, or will struggle to control them, which is really no control at all. They will become either a failure at guitar, or a handicapped player.Students will suffer greatly from these flawed guitar learning methods, and being insecure of their own potential to begin with, will blame themselves. It does not have to be this way. There is a method of learning guitar that is scientific and based on the laws of body learning. It works for everyone. It is called "The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar", and you can find out more about it by following the link at the end of this article.I wish you all success in your sincere desire to learn to play this most beautiful and rewarding of musical instruments.
How to Set Up Your Guitar - Setting Guitar ActionJump to navigation Jump to search The lap steel guitar is a type of steel guitar which is typically played with the instrument in a horizontal position on the performer’s lap or otherwise supported. The performer changes pitch by pressing a metal or glass bar against the strings as opposed to a traditional guitar where the performer's fingertips press the strings against frets. The bar placed against the strings is called a "steel" or "tone bar". There are three types of lap steel guitars: Freddie Roulette holding console or double-neck steel guitar. A lap steel guitar's strings are raised at both the nut and bridge ends of the fingerboard, typically to about half an inch. The strings are too high to contact the surface of the neck, so frets, if present, are only for reference and are often replaced by markers. Some lap steel guitars can be converted between lap and fretted playing, or are modified versions of conventional guitars—the only difference is usually string height. Round-necked resonator guitars set up for steel playing fall into this category. Instruments designed exclusively as lap steel guitars typically have modified necks that make fretted playing impossible. The hollow neck acoustic lap steel, developed by Chris Knutsen and popularized by Weissenborn, extends the body cavity behind the neck all the way to the head. The square-necked resonator guitar has a strengthened square profile neck, allowing heavier string gauges and/or higher tunings that would normally be considered impossible (or certainly ill-advised) on a conventional guitar. The electric lap steel guitar typically incorporates the entire neck into the solid body of the guitar, again providing extra strength to allow a greater variety of string gauges and tunings. Console steel guitars, typically with more than six strings and/or multiple necks, are rarely played in lap steel fashion (without their legs), but are often referred to as lap steel guitars by many makers and authorities. See table steel guitar. Kaki King performing on lap steel guitar. The lap steel guitar is typically placed on the player's lap, or on a stool in front of the seated player. When playing with stand-up musicians, such as in a bluegrass band, it has become an alternative for the player to also play standing up; supporting the guitar with a guitar strap around the neck, with the guitar suspended horizontally, resting against the stomach area; providing stage mobility, such as for mic accessibility for singing. Unlike a conventional guitar, the strings are not pressed to a fret when sounding a note; rather, the player holds a metal slide called steel (or tone bar) in the left hand, which is moved along the strings to change the instrument's pitch while the right hand plucks or picks the strings. This method of playing greatly restricts the number of chords available, so lap steel music often features melodies, a restricted set of harmonies (such as in blues), or another single part. David Gilmour playing lap steel guitar - 26 January 1977 The steel guitar, when played in Hawaiian, Country, Bluegrass, or Western Swing styles, is almost always plucked using a plastic thumbpick affixed to the right hand's thumb, and metal or plastic "fingerpicks" fitted to the first 2, 3, or even all 4 fingers of the right hand. This allows the player greater control when picking sets of notes on non-adjacent strings. Some Blues players, especially those who use a round-neck resonator guitar played upright, conventional-guitar-style, with a bottleneck or hollow metal slide on one left-hand finger, forgo the fingerpicks and thumbpicks, and use their bare fingers and thumb instead. On the other hand, a minority of Blues players, and many Rock players, use a conventional flatpick. Tut Taylor is one of the few Dobro players that use a flatpick. Ben Keith playing lap steel guitar + pedal steel guitarIt is widely reported that the lap steel guitar was invented by a man named Joseph Kekuku in 1885. It is said that, at the age of 7, Kekuku was walking along a railroad track and picked up a metal bolt, slid the metal along the strings of his guitar and was intrigued by the sound. He taught himself to play using this method with the back of a knife blade. Various other people have also been credited with the innovation. The instrument became a major fad in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. The instrument became especially popular in Hawaii, as musicians played in tent-rep shows. It was electrified in the early 1930s, and in 1932 the first production electric guitar was introduced, the aluminum Ro-Pat-In (later Rickenbacker) A22 "Frying Pan" lap steel. This made the so-called "Hawaiian" guitar the first electric stringed instrument (just a few years before Les Paul and Charlie Christian modified their instruments and after the theremin was patented in 1928). The earliest documented performance with an electrically amplified guitar was in 1932, by Gage Brewer. The Wichita, Kansas-based musician had an electric Hawaiian A-25 (frypan, lap-steel) and a standard electric Spanish from George Beauchamp of Los Angeles, California. Brewer publicized his new instruments in an article in the Wichita Beacon of October 2, 1932 and through performances that month. The first electric instrument on a commercial recording was made and played in 1935 by Bob Dunn, a musician in Houston, Texas who played in the Western swing band Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies. Dunn owned a music store that bore his name in the Houston area. The lap steel, dobro and pedal steel guitar are associated most closely with Hawaiian music, country music and bluegrass, though some players have used them in rock music, jazz, blues, and other musical genres. The round neck, metal-bodied resonator guitar is used almost exclusively by blues, rock, or blues-rock musicians. Harmon Davis playing steel guitar The Lap steel guitar is not tuned in standard guitar tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E, low to high). Rather, it is usually tuned to an open chord, often an extended chord like a 6th, 7th, or 9th. (All tunings are shown low-to-high; that is, thickest string to thinnest, or 6th string to 1st string). The earliest Hawaiian lap steel tuning was A low bass, E A E A C# E. Blues and Rock players tend to favor one of two tuning families: open G/open A, or open D/open E. Open G is tuned D-G-D-G-B-D; open A raises each of those notes a whole-step (2 frets) to E-A-E-A-C♯-E. During the 1920s and 1930s, much of the sheet music written for lap steel utilized open A tuning as the de facto standard tuning for the instrument. Other tunings such as E7 ( B D E G# B E ), C#m (B D E G# C# E), and many other tunings were developed. Open D is tuned D-A-D-F♯-A-D, and open E is a whole-step higher: E-B-E-G♯-B-E. Joe Perry of Aerosmith uses Open E on his electric lap steel. David Lindley is another player who uses transposed variations of these tunings. Bluegrass and Country Dobro players using a square-neck instrument tend to favor an altered G tuning, often called "High-G", where the 6th string is tuned up to "G" instead of down to "D", and the 5th string is also tuned up, to B: G-B-D-G-B-D. They also sometimes raise it up to "High-A": A-C♯-E-A-C♯-E. These are examples of tunings possible on a lap steel that could cause serious damage if attempted on a round-neck resonator or standard guitar. Henry Kaleialoha Allen in his book uses a modified C6 tuning, with a B♭ in the bass: B♭-E-G-A-C-E. Jerry Byrd has a C6 variant with C# in the bass: C# E G A C E. Dobro players also generally use a set of strings with different gauges than those used on standard electric or acoustic guitars to help them to project more sound and to achieve their higher tunings. Many Western Swing lap steel players, and some Old-Time Country lap steel players, use a C6 tuning. There is no "standard" C6 tuning; one popular one is C-E-G-A-C-E. This tuning is a good one for learning Don Helms' lap steel melodies from old Hank Williams records, although Helms used a lap steel with legs (a "console steel"), with two necks having 8 strings each; Helms actually used an E13 tuning, which adds the 7th (D) and the 13th (C♯) to the E tuning, making it B-D-E-G♯-B-C♯-E-G♯, low to high. An extended C6/FMaj7 is used by Western Swing pedal steel guitarists on their 10-string pedal steels. This tuning, C-F-A-C-E-G-A-C-E-G, is difficult to achieve on the 6-string steel but a subset thereof is achieved as previously mentioned. A6 is a commonly used alternate for C6 and was used by greats such as Billy Hew Len, Leon McAuliffe, Herb Remington, etc. The E7 tuning is used by many players, especially those who begin learning with the Mel Bay Steel Guitar Method instructional books. The E7 tuning in those books is spelled either B0-D-E-G♯-B-E or with the 6th string lowered to the tonic E: E-D-E-G♯-B-E. Note the similarity of this second tuning to the open E tuning above: the only difference is the 5th string, which is lowered from the tonic E to the 7th note in the key of E, which is D. There are many other tunings used by players. Pedal Steel guitarists switching over to lap steel often bring over a modified version of the 10-string E9 tuning that is the standard for Country pedal steel; pedal steels, and a few non-pedal "console steels" actually have multiple necks, each in a different tuning, and very often on a pedal steel the 2 main necks will be in E9 and C6 tunings. As noted under the C6 tuning, an A6 tuning is also used. See the links below for a list of additional tunings.