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 Solvang ?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 Barbara
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.
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.
The main purpose of setting guitar action is to get maximum playability and sound quality out of that instrument. If you do not feel comfortable while playing on your guitar or if it is making buzzing sounds, it needs action adjustments or setup. If you prefer to do the setup yourself, you may require tools like screwdrivers, wire cutters, feeler gauges, nut files, and Allen or Hex keys.The main adjustments for setting guitar action include the following:Truss Rod Adjustment: This is a metal object that runs along the length f the guitar. The main job of this part is to counter the tension of the strings and to control the neck curvature. Check truss rod if your instrument shows the tendency to buzz when playing low positions. You can adjust truss rod by turning the truss rod nut with help of an automotive feeler gauge and a Cap. Adjustment of this part cannot change the action, but it can avoid buzzing noises. This is a very delicate job and you should be careful not to break anything while adjusting it.Nut Height Adjustment: If you find it very difficult to play chords and notes on the first few frets, it indicates that the nut slots are not deep enough. Use a nut file or needle file to deepen the nut slots. If they are too deep, it will cause buzzing sounds. Raise the slots by placing a shim under the nut or replace the nuts.Saddle Adjustment: Adjusting the action or height of the strings can have great impact on the playability of the instrument. If you want to lower the action, after removing the strings, take the saddle out. Draw a line on it to mark your preferred height. Rub the saddle on the sandpaper to reduce its height. If you need to higher the action, place a shim under the saddle to raise the height of strings.Intonation Adjustment: Intonate your guitar after any adjustment is made. This can be done with help of a tuner, cable, and screwdriver. After tuning with a tuner, play a harmonic note at the 12th fret. Then, make a fretted note at the 12th fret and compare its pitch with that of the harmonic note. If the pitch of the fretted note is sharp, you have to raise the height of the strings and move the saddle away from the neck using saddle adjustment screws. If the pitch is flat, you should shorten the screws by shifting the saddle towards the neck.
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