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 Cerritos ?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.
One very common way of transitioning from one chord to another on the guitar is by means a "walk down".A walk down involves starting on the first chord, then playing a transitional chord, and then arriving at the destination chord.You have probably heard walk downs many times, possibly without even realizing it. But becoming aware of them, and learning how to perform some of the more common ones is essential to enhancing your guitar playing skills.A simple walk down is typically comprised of a three chord movement (original to transitional to destination), but others can be played as four or more chord movements.In a three chord movement, the transitional chord is one that is often just a one note variation on the original chord. For example, the bass note of the original chord may "walk down" a half or whole step in the transition.In another variation, a note higher in the chord formation may walk down while the bass note remains the same.This is what we will cover today using the "D" chord. In this walk down we will do a walk down starting on D (major), and arriving on D7 at the end.The transitional chord in this example will be a Dmaj7.Here is the TAB for the walk down:E------2-----2-----2-----B------3-----2-----1-----G------2-----2-----2-----D------0-----0-----0-----A--------------------------E--------------------------Notice that only one note changes throughout the walk down, the notes on the 2nd string. Just looking at that string you will see that in the first chord (D major), it starts on the 3rd fret, then in the transitional chord (D maj7), it moves to the 2nd fret, then on the destination chord (D7), it winds up on the 1st fret.The trickiest part about this walk down is that the fingering will change completely for each of the three chords.In the first, you will use a standard D chord formation - open 4th string, 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string, and 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 1st string.Then in the transitional chord - continue to play the open 4th string, then just barre the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings with the 1st finger.Finally on the D7 - Play the open 4th string again, place the 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, the 1st finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd string, and the 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string.Overall, this is a fairly simple, and common walk down. Practice it slowly to begin with until you are comfortable with the changes. Once you have it down, be sure to incorporate into your playing whenever you can.
There are many different guitar tunings that are used in Rock and Metal music besides standard tuning. Guitar players in these genres like to use these tunings because they give a heavier and darker sound to their music.Some of the more popular tunings used are Dropped D, Dropped C, Dropped B, E Flat, D, C and open G. Here are the descriptions of how the strings should be tuned and some of the bands that use them.Dropped D tuning:E ----------1st stringB ----------2nd stringG ----------3rd stringD ----------4th stringA ----------5th stringD ----------6th string (thickest)This tuning enables power chords to be played with a single finger on the lowest three strings and produces a dark sound with it. If you're music doesn't fit together with this dark sound, you can place a capo on the 2nd fret and can still easily play power chords.Some bands that use Dropped D tuning are:Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Silverchair, Soundgarden and Velvet Revolver.Dropped C tuning:D ----------1st stringA ----------2nd stringF ----------3rd stringC ----------4th stringG ----------5th stringC ----------6th string (thickest)Dropped C tuning is the Dropped D with each string lowered one whole step. Dropped C tuning produces a very low and heavy sound and is used by many of the new Heavy Metal bands.Some bands that use Dropped C tuning are:30 Seconds to Mars, Atreyu, Buckethead, Bullet for My Valentine, Children of Bodom, Godsmack, Bad Religion, Metallica, Mudvayne, P.O.D., Papa Roach, Rammstein, Shadows Fall, System of a Down, Three Days Grace and Ozzy Osbourne.Dropped B tuning:C# ----------1st stringG# ----------2nd stringE ----------3rd stringB ----------4th stringF# ---------5th stringB ----------6th string (thickest)This tuning will need heavier gauge strings to be effective. Also you might have to widen the string grooves as well as adjust the tension in the neck of your guitar.Some bands that use Dropped B tuning are:Audioslave, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Mudvayne, Slipknot and Stone Sour.Eb tuning:Eb ---------1st stringBb ---------2nd stringGb ---------3rd stringDb ---------4th stringAb ---------5th stringEb ---------6th string (thickest)This tuning is Standard tuning turned down a half step. There are a few reasons that bands use this tuning instead of Standard tuning. One reason is to sound heavier by using heavy gauge strings. By tuning down a half step it is easier to bend these heavy gauged strings. Another reason why some bands use this tuning is to compliment the lead singers voice.Bands that use Eb tuning are:Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Dream Theater, Guns N' Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Megadeth, Metallica, Motorhead, Nirvana, Poison, Slayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stone Sour, Van Halen, Weezer and Yngwie Malmsteen.D tuning:D ----------1st stringA ----------2nd stringF ----------3rd stringC ----------4th stringG ----------5th stringD ----------6th string (thickest)D tuning is also known as whole step down tuning and as you have probably already guessed, it's Standard tuning tuned down a whole step. D tuning has been used mainly in Heavy Metal music.Bands that have used D tuning are:Alice in Chains, The Beatles, Bullet For My Valentine, Bob Dylan, Children of Bodom, Dream Theater, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Racer X and Soundgarden.C tuning:C ----------1st stringG ----------2nd stringEb ---------3rd stringBb ---------4th stringF ----------5th stringC ----------6th string (thickest)C tuning also produces a low sound that is mostly used by Hard Rock and Metal bands. The tuning is 2 whole steps below Standard tuning, which gives it a heavy sound but still maintains the same intervals as Standard tuning.Bands that have used C tuning are:Atreyu, Black Sabbath, Bullet For My Valentine, Deftones, Dream Theater, Jimi Hendrix, P.O.D., Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, Steve Vai and The Who.G tuning:D ----------1st stringB ----------2nd stringG ----------3rd stringD ----------4th stringG ----------5th stringD ----------6th string (thickest)Other than the Drop D tuning, G Tuning is one of the most popular alternate guitar tunings.Some bands that have used G tuning are:The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam.These are just some of the alternate guitar tunings that are available to you to experiment with. Play around with them and see which tunings fit your style of music.
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