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 San Marcos ?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 San Diego
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. High on the list is "Am I too old to learn guitar?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. That is the truth. However, as with everything else in life, the devil is in the details!The Correct Approach Is EssentialYes, anyone can learn at any age if they use the correct method to learn the guitar. The bad news is that virtually every guitar method on the market is severely deficient in the information that will guarantee success for everyone. Only the very talented and the very dedicated can learn from the many flawed guitar methods on the market today. The average guitar student is in for a tough time.This is because the biggest obstacles to learning guitar are physical obstacles, meaning, getting your fingers to actually make movements they have never made before, and getting them to do them smoothly and quickly. What all guitar methods are failing to address is that when you learn guitar you are really attempting to teach your fingers, hands, and arms new abilities. You are not really learning "guitar", you are actually engaged in "body learning", so, you must know and follow the well established laws of how the body (your muscles, nerves, and brain actually learn to do new and unfamiliar movements.For instance, one of the laws of body learning is that all movements must be practiced extremely slowly, with great focus on relaxation throughout the body. If you do not do this, if you allow your shoulders to tense when your fingers are stretching, that tension will stay in the shoulders and be reinforced every time you practice. It will feel "normal" to you and you will not know your shoulders are tense. All you will know is that you cannot control your fingers.This happens to a very large percentage of people of every age who try to learn guitar. It will tend to happen more with adult students and seniors because they have had more years to acquire tension in their bodies even apart from practicing guitar. However, if a student knows how to practice the necessary finger movements in a way that does not allow excess tension into the hands, arms, shoulders, and the rest of the body, they will be successful at learning to play no matter how old they are.Learning According To the Body; Not the GuitarGuitar instruction is a disorganized, unscientific, and (compared to piano or violin) a young and immature profession. Many, perhaps most, "guitar teachers" are not teachers; they are guitar players. There is a vast difference. Guitar players know how to play the guitar; guitar teachers should know how to cause other people to play the guitar. However, most of the people I have met who have failed at guitar have taken lessons for years. They were told they had no talent, when the fact is their teacher had no knowledge of how to teach. Unfortunately, such "teachers" often write the method books that the unsuspecting guitar aspirant buys and places their trust in!Such books are often mere collections of guitar information, pages full of chord diagrams, scales, songs, etc., containing no information about how to actually get your fingers to be able to do these things. Worse, the information and exercises are given according to how the guitar works, not how the human body and the human hand work.For instance, all guitar books begin by teaching you chords or notes in the first position at the first fret. By custom, the area of the guitar fingerboard furthest from the body is called the "first" position. So, everyone assumes that a student should learn that first. The problem is that this requires the arm to extend farthest away from the body, which requires the deltoid muscle in the shoulder to work hard to support that weight. This effort (especially in the beginner or older student) will inevitably cause muscle tension throughout the body, even to the point of the student holding their breath! After that, everything locks up and the student will be unable to control their fingers, or will struggle to control them, which is really no control at all. They will become either a failure at guitar, or a handicapped player.Students will suffer greatly from these flawed guitar learning methods, and being insecure of their own potential to begin with, will blame themselves. It does not have to be this way. There is a method of learning guitar that is scientific and based on the laws of body learning. It works for everyone. It is called "The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar", and you can find out more about it by following the link at the end of this article.I wish you all success in your sincere desire to learn to play this most beautiful and rewarding of musical instruments.
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.
Many of the visitors to my website ask about vintage guitar values. Do you have a guitar about which you would like to have information? Do you have a question about Fender guitar value, Gibson guitar value, or maybe the value of a Martin guitar? Even if you don't know what kind of guitar you have, a little research will help you to find the value of your guitar.What makes a guitar valuable?Several factors figure into the value of a guitar. In general, the guitar must be one which is sought after by collectors and musicians. The demand for a guitar is determined in general by quality, beauty, and playability. This demand must outweigh the available supply.Age is an important factor in the value of a guitar, but a guitar is not necessarily more valuable just because it is older. It must have been made with a high standard of quality in the first place. An old mediocre quality guitar is just that--an old mediocre guitar! The actual year that a guitar was made may not be as important as the PERIOD in which it was made.For example, electric guitars which are most valuable today include Fender Telecasters made before 1954, Fender Stratocasters made between 1954 and 1959, and Gibson Les Pauls made between 1958 and 1960. Acoustic guitars of the greatest value include Pre-World War II Martins and Gibsons.This is not to say that other guitars are not valuable. Many vintage guitars will bring a good price. The trick is to know approximately how much YOUR guitar is worth.How Do I Determine the Value of My Guitar?In order for you or anyone else to determine the value of your guitar, you must have certain information available. Ideally, you would know the brand, model, and serial number. The brand and model, however, can often be determined through the serial number. Then you must determine the condition of your guitar--prices differ greatly according to condition. Here are some guidelines: (these guidelines are from the "Blue Book of Acoustic and Electric Guitars")100% - New - New with all factory materials, including warranty card, owner's manual, case, and other items that were originally included by the manufacturer. On currently manufactured instruments, the 100% price refers to an instrument not previously sold at retail. Even if a new instrument has been played only twice and traded in a week later, it no longer qualifies at 100%.Excellent - this Excellent condition range is represented by both High Excellent and Low Excellent condition. High Excellent refers to an instrument that is very clean, looks almost new (perhaps a few light scratches/dings only), and has hardly been used. Low Excellent refers to a guitar that has been played/used, and has accumulated some minor wear in the form of light scratches, dings, small chips, etc. The older an instrument, the less likely it will be in High Excellent condition Even Low Excellent is seldom encountered on instruments over 50 years old, since most acoustic instruments were originally purchased to be playedAverage - The Average guitar condition factor indicates an acoustic guitar that has been in a player's hands and has worn due to player use (hopefully, no abuse). High Average condition instruments have normal dents, small chips, and light dings on the body, and/or scratches on the top and back. However, there should be no problems unless indicated separately. Low Average condition instruments may reflect major finish problems, replacement parts, previous repairs (especially on older instruments), alterations, and neck/fret wear is typically visible.Once you have this information at hand, you can attempt to find the value of the guitar by consulting various sources on the internet or you can have it appraised by an expert. Researching the value of your guitar on the internet may be free. The downside is that this research requires a big expenditure of time and a wide knowledge of guitar pricing resources. If you have your guitar appraised, remember that the appraiser may also be a dealer who is, after all, wanting to make a profit by reselling the guitar. For this reason, the appraisal MAY be biased.Because so many of my website visitors have inquired about the value of their guitars, I have begun to offer a GENERAL guitar evaluation service. This service is FREE. If you are interested, please visit:Vintage Guitar Values at the May Music Studio Website.
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