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 Santa Monica ?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
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.
Jump to navigation Jump to search Example of a cedar top flamenco guitar with traditional tap plates/golpeadores installed A flamenco guitar is a guitar similar to a classical guitar but with thinner tops and less internal bracing. It is used in toque, the guitar-playing part of the art of flamenco. Traditionally, luthiers made guitars to sell at a wide ranges of prices, largely based on the materials used and the amount of decorations, to cater to the popularity of the instrument across all classes of people in Spain. The cheapest guitars were often simple, basic instruments made from the less expensive woods such as cypress. Antonio de Torres, one of the most renowned luthiers, did not differentiate between flamenco and classical guitars. Only after Andrés Segovia and others popularized classical guitar music, did this distinction emerge. The traditional flamenco guitar is made of Spanish cypress, sycamore, or rosewood for the back and sides, and spruce for the top. This (in the case of cypress and sycamore) accounts for its characteristic body color. Flamenco guitars are built lighter with thinner tops than classical guitars, which produces a "brighter" and more percussive sound quality. Builders also use less internal bracing to keep the top more percussively resonant. The top is typically made of either spruce or cedar, though other tone woods are used today. Volume has traditionally been very important for flamenco guitarists, as they must be heard over the sound of the dancers’ nailed shoes. To increase volume, harder woods, such as rosewood, can be used for the back and sides, with softer woods for the top. In contrast to the classical guitar, the flamenco is often equipped with a tap plate (a golpeador), commonly made of plastic, similar to a pickguard, whose function is to protect the body of the guitar from the rhythmic finger taps, or golpes. Originally, all guitars were made with wooden tuning pegs, that pass straight through the headstock, similar to those found on a lute, a violin or oud, as opposed to the modern classical-style guitars' geared tuning mechanisms. "Flamenco negra" guitars are called "negra" after the darker of the harder woods used in their construction, similar materials to those of high-end classical guitars, such as rosewood or other dense tone woods. The harder materials increase volume and tonal range. A typical cypress flamenco guitar produces more treble and louder percussion than the more sonorous negra. These guitars strive to capture some of the sustain achieved by concert caliber classical guitars while retaining the volume and attack associated with flamenco. Classical guitars are generally made with spruce or cedar tops and rosewood or mahogany backs and sides to enhance sustain. Flamenco guitars are generally made with spruce tops and cypress or sycamore for the backs and sides to enhance volume and emphasize the attack of the note. Nevertheless, other types of wood may be used for the back and sides, like rosewood, maple, koa, satinwood and caviuna. A well-made flamenco guitar responds quickly, and typically has less sustain than a classical. This is desirable, since the flurry of notes that a good flamenco player can produce might sound muddy on a guitar with a big, lush, sustaining sound. The flamenco guitar’s sound is often described as percussive; it tends to be brighter, drier and more austere than a classical guitar. Some jazz and Latin guitarists like this punchy tonality, and some players have even discovered that these guitars’ wide-ranging sound also works well for the contrapuntal voicings of Renaissance and Baroque music. Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía Flamenco is played somewhat differently from classical guitar. Players use different posture, strumming patterns, and techniques. Flamenco guitarists are known as tocaores (from an Andalusian pronunciation of tocadores, "players") and flamenco guitar technique is known as toque. Flamenco players tend to play the guitar between the sound hole and the bridge, but as closely as possible to the bridge, to produce a harsher, rasping sound quality. Unlike classical tirando, where the strings are pulled parallel to the soundboard, in flamenco apoyando strings are struck towards the soundboard in such way that the striking finger is caught and supported by the next string, hence the name apoyando (from Spanish apoyar meaning "to support"). At times, this style of playing causes the vibrating string to gently touch the frets along its length, causing a more percussive sound. While a classical guitarist supports the guitar on the right leg, and holds it at an incline, flamenco guitarists usually cross their legs and support the guitar on whichever leg is on top, placing the neck of the guitar nearly parallel to the floor. The different position accommodates the different playing techniques. Many of the tremolo, golpe, and rasgueado techniques are easier and more relaxed if the upper right arm is supported at the elbow by the body of the guitar rather than by the forearm as in classical guitar. Nonetheless, some flamenco guitarists use classical position. Flamenco is commonly played using a cejilla (capo) which raises the pitch and causes the guitar to sound sharper and more percussive. However, the main purpose in using a cejilla is to change the key of the guitar to match the singer’s vocal range. Because Flamenco is an improvisational musical form that uses common structures and chord sequences, the capo makes it easier for players who have never played together before to do so. Rather than transcribe to another key each time the singer changes, the player can move the capo and use the same chord positions. Flamenco uses a lot of highly modified and open chord forms to create a solid drone effect and leave at least one finger free to add melodic notes and movement. Very little traditional Flamenco music is written, but is mostly passed on hand to hand. Books, however are becoming more available. Both accompaniment and solo flamenco guitar are based as much on modal as tonal harmonies; most often, both are combined. In addition to the techniques common to classical guitar, flamenco guitar technique is uniquely characterized by: Flamenco guitar employs a vast array of percussive and rhythmic techniques that give the music its characteristic feel. Often, eighth note triplets are mixed with sixteenth note runs in a single bar. Even swung notes are commonly mixed with straight notes, and golpes are employed with the compas of different types of rhythms (i.e. bulerias, soleas, etc.) as is strumming with the strings damped for long passages or single notes. More broadly, in terms of general style and ability, one speaks of:
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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