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 Walnut ?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
Each year, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) complies a global report on musical instrument sales. This report gives us a snapshot of the numbers of people buying guitars, and ownership trends.In 2010, 2.38 million guitars were sold in the US, and these had a retail value of $839 million.Sales of acoustic guitars increased (6.9%), while electric guitar popularity declined (-2.1%). This trend reflected changes in the 2010 Billboard top 200, in which acoustic guitar strummers appeared at nearly twice the frequency of rock/metal bands. Similarly, the trend in amplifier purchase moved away from high-end valve amps, and towards smaller, less expensive combos.The average price of a guitar fell, but further analysis led those compiling the report to speculate that changes to were mainly due to new players entering the market, and established players not adding to their high-end guitar collections, rather than guitar prices falling due to the availability of cheaper imports.Here in the United Kingdom, we are generally two years behind our American cousins. However, UK sales figures reflected the currently depressed state of our economy: guitar sales were down on 2009 by 13.1% in terms of revenue, and 10.6% in sales volumes. Nevertheless, in 2010, £159.69 million was spent in the UK, on more than 768,000 guitars! That's a staggering number of guitars, and does not include private sales of pre-owned instruments.Sales trends between 2007 and 2010 show a steady decline in electric, and bass guitar sales. Conversely acoustic guitar sales over the same period have increased. Despite a fairly uniform fall in sales of all types of guitar during 2010, the popularity of acoustics is still growing. In 2007, acoustics accounted for 52.8% of all guitars sold, and this has risen steadily to 57% of all guitars sold in 2010.Elsewhere in the media, there have been pockets of speculation that the rising popularity of acoustic guitar music is both a catalyst for, and indication of more women taking up the instrument. Playing the guitar is an almost exclusively male past-time, so manufactures and retailers are delighted by the possibility of rising female interest: the size of their market could double. Meanwhile, manufacturers of electric guitars appear to be hoping for the emergence of a new Guitar Hero, on the scale of Hendrix or Clapton, to save their declining market share.As a guitar teacher, the report is very encouraging. It shows that the potential number of students is vast, despite the continuing UK recession. It enables us to check that we are in step with the dominance of acoustic guitar music, and adapt if necessary. It shows us that there is a need to encourage, and support women to take-up the guitar.I cannot help but feel that the NAMM should have a far greater interest in supporting guitar teachers. We have a part to play in ensuring that their customers return to up-grade and expand their guitar ownership. It is my firm belief that the majority of those 768,000 guitars will never get played, and merely function as ornaments to decorate homes.Maybe the new Hendrix is out there, and just needs a few guitar lessons to set him (or her) on the path that will reinvigorate music and the music industry.
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:
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.
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