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.
The Best Electric Guitars In Los Angeles
High on the list is “Am I too old to learn guitar in Azusa ?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 Los Angeles
Did you know that when you picked up your acoustic guitar, you're picking up an instrument with 5,000 years of history attached to it? Acoustic guitars are descendants of stringed instruments that were found in a variety of cultures thousands and thousands of years ago. As civilizations merged and the world became smaller, the guitar began taking on a unified shape and style. Since then, there has been a lineal evolution of several hundreds of years of instruments that can be directly compared to today's acoustic guitars.The Medieval PeriodDuring the Medieval Period of European history, there were several different forms of guitars. These guitars had between three and five strings and were much smaller than the guitars we know today. There were variations of these instruments which had pairs of strings, known as courses. The popular guitars of this period were commonly separated into two groupings. The first, the Guitarra Latina was likely developed from Spain, while the Guitarra Morisca was brought to Spain by the Moorish culture.The Renaissance and BeyondWhile in the Middle Ages, the guitar instruments were not terribly popular, being overshadowed by other contemporary instruments, in the Renaissance the guitar began to take a real hold. It was in Italy in 1779 that the first six string guitar was created. Gaetano Vinaccia created this instrument in Naples. Following that, the man known as the "Father of Modern Guitar" made his permanent mark on the course of the guitar and how it would be designed and played.Antonio de Torres Jurado made many key changes that in essence from the creation of what is known today as the modern classical guitar. Among these changes were the design elements that are recognizable as an acoustic or classical guitar today. The body was made larger and wider to help make sound travel farther and be louder, while the construction was also sturdier, more complete and more technically savvy.The Acoustic GuitarThe instrument that Antonio de Torres created and made popular was the Classical guitar. The acoustic guitar is commonly misinterpreted as being the same as the Classical guitar. This is not true, there are many key differences in the design of these two separate guitars. The most important of which is that the acoustic guitar has steel strings, while the Classical guitar is strung with nylon strings.The body was also made larger and sturdier still. The acoustic guitar was much better for performing in larger areas as it was increasingly louder than the Classical guitar; the two guitars also produce different ranges and textures of sounds which various styles of music correspond to.The acoustic guitar was actually developed in America from European immigrants. The last major development of the acoustic guitar is the electrical-acoustic guitar. These acoustic guitars can be plugged into an amplifier for increased volume or can be left unplugged and played as is.So next time you pick up an acoustic guitar, remember the history you hold in your hands.
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.
If you've had a bit of experience playing or fixing unrestored vintage guitars, then chances are you are aware of the sight of very small cracks appearing all throughout the finish. It is described as finish checking and it is particularly typical on aged guitars that have a lacquer finish, but could possibly appear on new instruments also under the right (or wrong) circumstances.Lacquer is a very "breathable" finish. It has the ability to contract and expand with the wood of the guitar while it moves through a range of temperature and humidity levels. This is an important feature on high quality instruments given that it isn't going to lock the wood of the guitar below the finish as would a polyurethane finish, which won't expand and contract similarly.Nevertheless, the disadvantage is that after some time the lacquer finish can begin to crack or "check" as it is typically described as. If you're in the camp that doesn't want to see this on your guitar, you will be wise to pay attention to this warning when dealing with a lacquer finished instrument which has no current checking.Should your guitar be subjected to cold temperatures, say in the rear of an automobile, for an extended duration (even in the hardshell case), never pull the guitar out and expose it to room temperatures as soon as you get it inside. The guitar will need to have time for it to slowly adapt to the new warm temperatures, so leave it in the case until it has had enough time to do so. Otherwise your lovely laquer finish will likely commence to crack as the wood in the guitar heats up and begins to swell before the lacquer has a chance to adjust.Poorly humidified guitars can also be a factor in finish checking, normally as a result of drying out. So keep the humidity correct at between 45-50% and ease into temperature changes and you should be good.While I undoubtedly would not be happy to see this occur to a brand new $4,000 guitar that I just acquired, on a vintage guitar I look at things just a bit different. I could never think about a finish-checked guitar from the 1950's or 1960's as less than desirable. Nor would I ever think of refinishing one.As I said there are two schools of thought on this subject however the natural finish checking, if you ask me, creates a degree of individuality and history that you simply can't obtain on a fresh, new guitar. Each knick, ding, buckle scrape and finish fracture is a part of the battered history of the instrument. Every musician who picked it up and played it left a tiny bit of himself behind. All those campfire melodies, lounge room singalongs, bar room gigs and late-night jam sessions are all right there, and the finish cracks are a part of that story.I would personally not ever wish to obscure that beneath a glistening finish. We have new guitars for that.
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