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 Bell Gardens ?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
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.
Although twelve string guitars are much less common than their six string counterparts, they can be a valuable addition to any guitarist's collection. Let's take a look at what 12 string guitars have to offer.What is a 12 string guitar?Although the exact ancestry of this type of guitar is unknown, it seems to have originated in the US or Mexico in the late 19th century, and was initially regarded as little more than a novelty instrument. However, the instrument gained great popularity throughout the 20th century, and is now an integral part of many musical styles.As the name suggests, these guitars have 12 strings rather than the usual six. On most twelve stringed guitars, the strings are arranged in pairs or 'courses'. The paired bass strings are generally tuned an octave apart, whereas the treble strings feature unison tunings. However, some guitarists may use non-standard tunings, or remove some of the strings in order to produce a more individual sound.When playing a guitar with 12 strings, each pair of strings is normally struck together, although some guitarists will play on individual strings within each pair - this takes considerable skill however.Advantages of the 12 stringed guitarThe 12 string guitar's popularity is based on its rich sound. The extra strings give it a striking chorus-like effect, and its distinct ringing sound makes it an excellent choice for use as an accompaniment instrument. In fact, in its early days the 12 string guitar was very popular among buskers, who found that they did not need other musicians to play with, thanks to the guitar's full orchestral tone.The 12 string type of guitar is mostly used for rhythm guitar playing, because the paired strings make most lead playing techniques difficult. For this reason, many guitarists use a 12 string as their secondary instrument, reserving it for those songs which require something extra when it comes to the accompaniment.However, there are many well-known musicians who are particularly identified with the 12 string guitar, in either its acoustic or electric forms. These include Leadbelly, Pete Seeger and Roger McGuinn. Guitarists such as Jimmy Page and John McLaughlin are also known for their work with the Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar, which features a choice of twelve string and six string necks.Overall, it is well worth buying a 12 string axe to add to your guitar arsenal, even if you don't intend to make it your main instrument. Most guitarists find that the 12 string version of the guitar is not that much more difficult to play, and the beautiful tones it can produce make any little extra effort more than worthwhile.
Have you ever wished you could play a melody on your guitar? Now you will learn how to play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star without sheet music! Let me take you to the first note of the song with the help of guitar tab notation!Here you have the first note written with number guitar tablature:03The first number tells you which fret to play, in this case you will not press down any fret which is indicated with the number 0. This is called to play an open string. The second number indicates which string to play. In this melody you will start with the third string.The strings are numbered starting with the bottom string on your guitar. You will use three strings to play the melody. The first string or the bottom string is called E, the second string B and the third string G. We will give the G-string a number instead and as you already have seen call it 3.Now it is time to start playing the melody. Here is the first line of lyrics with the corresponding melody written with number guitar tabs:(G)Twinkle, twinkle, (C)little (G)star03 03 32 32 01 01 3232 means, press down the third fret on the second string and play the note! As you can see I have included the suggested chords to use in brackets before the syllable where you are to change chords. Great if you are two guitarists playing together!Here are the next guitar tabs:(D7)How I (G)wonder (D7)what you (G)are!12 12 02 02 23 23 03I suggest that you use your right hand index to play the notes on the first fret, the middle finger for notes on the second fret and your middle finger for the third fret notes!You might feel that it is a bit difficult to use your left hand fingers this way but if you are patient you will find that you are able to keep your hand in the same position as you play which will help you when you play more advanced melodies!Another advantage is that your fingers will have their fixed frets to work with which will help you find your way better on the fretboard and you will be able to play without looking at your fingers all the time!(G)Up a(D7)bove the (G)world so (D7)high32 32 12 12 02 02 23(G)Like a (D7)diamond (G)in the (D7)sky!32 32 12 12 02 02 23The actual length of the individual notes in the melody is not indicated with this type of guitar tab notation but as you already know the melody I suggest that you learn how to play the rhythm by singing the melody aloud or in your head!(G)Twinkle, twinkle, (C)little (G)star03 03 32 32 01 01 32(D7)How I (G)wonder (D7)what you (G)are!12 12 02 02 23 23 03Now you have learned how to play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on your guitar!As I mentioned, I call this type of notation number tablature and it is a convenient way to display melodies in text form but a more common way to show guitar tabs is by using a staff with six lines representing the strings and numbers on the lines indicating the frets. You will find this notation on many guitar sites!I suggest that you memorize the melody line by line instead of looking at the numbers. This way you will have access to the melody whenever a guitar is available!
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