Everything You Need to Know About the Blues Scale on Guitar

blues scale guitar

Learning the blues scale on guitar is something of a rite of passage for every guitarist. If you’re a beginner with reasonable dexterity and you’re serious about learning, you’ll find the blues scale to be extremely useful.

For intermediate guitarists, this scale is essential, but it’s also important to understand that scales are merely the alphabet of the blues language. It’s important to go beyond that and play real blues melodies as well, so you can start to better understand the style.

In this article, we’ll talk about the technique for learning the blues scale, as well as some more advanced theory on how to apply it to real music.  

What is the Blues Scale?

In its simplest form, the blues scale is simply a pentatonic scale. That might sound complicated, so let’s break down the theory.

Look at a piano if you have one, or look up an image of piano keys. Take a look at the black keys on the piano. They naturally fall into the pentatonic scale pattern. If you want to hear the pentatonic scale in the easiest way, just play anything you want on the black keys only.

The gaps between the groups of black keys show you something very important about the scale. Some of the notes are farther apart than others. This is because there are two types of “intervals” (or, spaces between notes) in the pentatonic scale. There are whole steps and minor thirds.

The whole step is made up of two half-steps. This is also equal to two frets on the guitar. The minor third is made up of three half-steps, which is equal to three frets on the guitar.

Whole steps and minor thirds are also referred to as “steps” and “skips.” Being aware of this pattern of steps and skips is the most important aspect of learning the blues scale.

Practice with the Pentatonic Scale

Let’s put the theory we’ve just learned into practice. The main resting or finishing note of a key is called the “root.” 

As an example, we’ll look at the key of A minor. In the key of A minor you have the notes A – C – D – E – G. Those would be all natural notes (with no sharps or flats) and all white keys on a piano.

In any key you make a pentatonic scale in, you start with the root and go up a minor third (three half steps), then a whole step, then another whole step, then one more minor third, then one last whole step.

So in the key of A minor, the interval pattern from the root  is:

(A) Skip (C) Step (D) Step (E) Skip (G) Step (A)

The same interval pattern would apply to any key, so even if the notes change, the sound of the scale will be similar. In other words, the interval structure is what determines most of the mood of a scale.

When you go to learn this on the guitar, the main thing you will learn to do is memorize “boxes” or patterns of whole steps and minor thirds that go across the strings.

We will talk about these more in the next section, but realize that it is an incredibly important and fundamental exercise to master at least one pentatonic box that you can use for playing songs.

Difference Between the Pentatonic & Blues Scales

The main difference between the blues scale and the pentatonic is the addition of one note. In the whole step between the third and fourth notes, you will play the note that falls between the third and fourth notes.

For example, in A minor, you’ll add an Eb in between D and E. So the interval pattern for the blues scale in the key of A minor would look like:

A (Skip) C (Whole Step) D (Half Step) Eb (Half Step) E (Skip) G (Whole Step) A

The reason this extra note is present is because it has a special place in a lot of blues melodies. It’s important to mention that it’s not enough just to have the extra note in the scale. The way you use it to create the blues sound is to play it in blues licks.

The best way to understand this is to learn the scale, and then play songs that use it so you can see the way it gets applied.

Playing the notes of the blues scale in totally random ways does not produce a “bluesy” sound; only playing the scale in the way it shows up in the traditional canon of songs will get you to the right place as a blues guitar player.

RELATED: 5 Easy Blues Guitar Licks

The Blues Scales in Common Keys

When you start out learning the blues scale on guitar, you will want to learn the scale in the most common keys that it’s played in. Let’s start with the E blues scale.

E Blues Scale

This scale is usually considered the easiest to start with because it uses open strings and gives your fingers more time to adjust to changes.

E Blues Scale

Source: Total Guitar and Bass

In tablature, it will look like this.

E blues scale

Source: National Guitar Academy

If you want to play in most of the keys of the blues though, you need to learn the scale in a position that doesn’t use any open strings…

A Blues Scale

The thing that is so nice about the guitar is this: once you know this shape, all you have to do is move it around to the key you want to play in!

A Blues Scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

Here is what the A blues scale looks like in tablature. 

 

A Blues Scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

Here are charts and tabs for two more of the most common keys. Give them a try and see if you can transfer the shape just by finding the root/starting note on your thick E string.

G Blues Scale

G Blues Scale

Source: ThoughtCo.

g blues scale

Source: Online Guitar Books

C Blues Scale

C blues scale

Source: Guitar Command

C blues scale

Source: SimplifyingTheory.com

Practicing the Blues Scale on Guitar

Practice these scales in a way that inspires you. There are plenty of fun ways to master the blues scale on guitar, and you should choose the ones that inspire you the most.

Remember: motivation comes from action! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Repeat the A minor blues scale from the lowest note to the highest note, and then back down until you can remember the notes in order without looking at a tab or diagram.
    • Switch between reading the diagram and then trying to remember, to see where your memory has gaps.
  • Play one note at a time in the scale, along with a metronome at 60 BPM.
  • Try to remember the finger pattern while playing with your eyes closed. Open your eyes to look only if you get lost.
  • Pick a random song and try to place the scale shape you learned on the root note.
    • You can try different notes until you find the root by ear, or look up the key of the song and place the scale box on that root.

Knowing the blues scale is like knowing the alphabet, and life is a lot better when you can spell! This scale gets used with specific licks and phrases that define the blues sound, and having a teacher to help you see the connection between the scale and the music can be very helpful.

If you would like to find someone to help you take your blues skills a step further, look for a guitar teacher at TakeLessons. A local or online teacher will help you stay motivated as you progress, and give you more fun ways to practice all you’ve learned!

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Bass vs Guitar: The Differences, Difficulty, and How to Decide

bass vs guitar

For aspiring musicians trying to decide between bass vs guitar, there are many factors to consider. What style of music do you want to play? What do you find most enthralling about that style? And, where do you see yourself fitting into that style?

These are all key questions to answer when considering which instrument to learn. Here, we’ll uncover the pros and cons of playing each instrument.

One important thing to realize is that whichever instrument you start with, you’ll learn concepts that apply to other instruments as well. This is all part of your musical journey and will help you become a multi-faceted musician.

To help you find the better fit for you, let’s start by breaking down the differences between the bass player and the guitar player.

Already made up your mind? Cast your vote on the best instrument to learn below!

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Bass vs Guitar: How to Decide

Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is the foundation for all music. Without bass, there is nothing to weigh the music down and bring it all together. Oftentimes, the bass player is the most essential element in creating a successful band. They determine the “feel” of the music by laying down a pattern of notes according to their rhythmic pattern with the drums.

Bass players are often understated individuals who appreciate the improvisational nature of their instrument. While other instruments have to stick with their respective written parts, the bass player has a greater ability to play what they feel is right (especially in blues and jazz progressions).

For this reason, the bass player usually learns to be fluent with scales and chordal patterns so they can lay down an awesome bass line! When considering bass, you must ask yourself: is this the role I want to play?

Are you the “understated foundation” of the band? If you feel like this is the right place for you, then the next thing you should do is consider the style of music you want to play.

A Note About 4, 5, or 6 String Basses

guitar vs bass

A bass player has a unique choice in the number of strings they want on their bass guitar. You can purchase basses with 4, 5, or even 6 strings. For the most part, the only real difference between basses with more strings is the availability of higher or lower notes on the instrument.

Most 4-string basses are tuned like a guitar, that is: E-A-D-G. With 5 or 6 string basses you can choose to add lower notes, like B-E-A-D-G, or higher notes. While a 5 or 6 string bass can seem enticing, a majority of the time all you will need is 4 strings.

Pros of Bass:

  • Bass is arguably the most important instrument in a band. A song without bass just isn’t right.
  • Bass allows you to improvise and be active in the creation of a song.
  • You can choose between a wide variety of bass guitars including 4, 5, or 6 string basses.
  • Tabs for bass guitar are readily available.

Cons of Bass:

  • Since the strings on a bass are bigger to provide the right tone, bass players have to work to get really strong fingers.
  • The neck of a bass is also very long, so starting out on a full-size bass might be difficult for musicians with smaller frames.

Guitar

guitar vs bass

The guitar is a very flexible instrument. A talented guitarist can fulfill several roles including rhythm section, lead guitar, or a mix of both! But generally, if you like to be the center of attention, the guitar is a good fit for you.

Guitarists play a defining role in the style of a band. If you listen to artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Kirk Hammett (from Metallica), and then compare them to Tommy Emmanuel, you’ll see just how much flexibility there is with this instrument.

Guitar players are often at the forefront of the band. While the bass provides the foundation of the music, the guitar player builds upon it. By building chord progressions from bass licks and matching them with a drum beat, the guitarist can create some awesome songs!

Pros of Guitar:

  • While bass does have more freedom within a song, if there is a solo it usually goes to the lead guitar player.
  • The strings on a guitar are smaller than on a bass, so there is less finger strength required to learn the guitar
  • There are numerous styles of guitar. You can play like Tommy Emmanuel or Kirk Hammett – the possibilities are endless!
  • Tabs for music are readily available.

Cons of Guitar:

  • The guitar is just as much a rhythmic instrument as a lead instrument, so it requires you to learn more chord shapes than bass.
  • There is never a shortage of guitar players, so getting a gig can be difficult.

Musical Styles for Bass vs Guitar

guitar vs bass

What style of music do you hope to learn to play? What do you listen to in the car? Do you listen to rock, country, blues, jazz, or classical?

Both the guitar and bass have unique responsibilities within each genre of music. Neither guitar nor bass is any better than the other for a certain style of music; they simply perform different tasks.

For example, blues music offers improvisational freedom for both the bass and guitar. The bass player gets to make unique bass lines and the guitarist gets to play solos.

Where Do You Fit In?

If you’re still trying to decide between bass vs guitar, try taking a few introductory lessons. There are many guitar and bass teachers online and locally. Taking beginner level classes or lessons will give you a taste of each instrument so you can make a more informed decision.

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The 10 Best Guitar Brands for Acoustic & Electric Players

best guitar brands

Many beginning guitarists ask the same question: which are the best guitar brands? Is there a particular brand that outshines the others?

Finding the best guitar really comes down to your interests and determining the type of music you want to learn. Although the material you’ll learn for electric, classical, and acoustic is very similar up front, certain guitars are more appropriate for specific genres of music.

In this article, we’ll dive into several top guitar brands to help you decide which guitar is right for you, no matter your style.

Top 10 Best Guitar Brands

Most guitar brands offer a variety of different types of guitars. However, each company is most likely known for a particular style. Here are some of the best guitar brands to get you started!

Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

Taylor


Taylor is a brand known for high quality instruments and well-defined tone. They have been building guitars since 1974. Many of their top-end guitars are made in the United States, while cheaper Taylor models are made in Mexico.

While Taylor guitars are very nice, this particular brand comes with a fairly hefty price tag to match. If you’re ready to invest in your first long-term acoustic guitar, then this is an excellent option!

Breedlove


Breedlove is a lesser-known guitar brand that emerged just a few years ago. Their acoustic guitars offer a great sound, while their process for sourcing materials and testing for quality is a key aspect that sets them apart from larger companies. Instead of mass producing factory-made guitars, every Breedlove guitar is unique in its own way.

The Passport Dreadnought Mahogany guitar has become one of Breedlove’s most popular models because of the rich tone produced by its dark wood. You can see in the video above how the Breedlove style truly sets them apart from the rest of the industry.

Yamaha


You may know them for their motor division, but Yamaha was originally founded as a music company. They began with pianos and after being successful in that market, they built their guitar brand. Today, they’ve been building guitars for over 50 years and are still going strong.

Yamaha manufactures guitars that start in a very reasonable price range and end in the upper levels of the atmosphere. If you’re looking for variety, look no further. The various types of guitars that Yamaha offers have consistently good reviews and are great for all occasions.

Martin


If you have spent any time in the guitar world, you’ve definitely heard of Martin. They have been one of the top guitar brands, in the acoustic space, far longer than anyone else. In fact, they’ve been building guitars since the 1830s!

Many of Martin’s antique models have sold for thousands of dollars, even with some damage. Martin guitars have always been lauded for their perfect tone and comfortable feel. These guitars will definitely require more of an investment to purchase, but they are well worth the cost in the long run.

Arcadia


On the other side of the spectrum from Martin, Arcadia is a company that makes very good beginner guitars. Their focus is on providing you or your child with an affordable guitar to begin learning.

Their models range from the DL41 (a full-size acoustic guitar) to the DL36 (a ½ size guitar). These guitars are very affordable and can be purchased for $100 or less on Amazon.

Eventually, you will want to upgrade to one of the other top guitar brands on this list. However, if you’re just starting out on the instrument, Arcadia is a good way to go! Check out the DL41 in the clip above.

Best Electric Guitar Brands

Fender


Fender is a guitar brand that has risen to legendary status in the electric marketplace. While they are primarily known for their Telecasters and Stratocasters, they also offer some unique solutions for the acoustic guitar player as well.

Of the Fender electric guitars, the Stratocaster is a fan favorite. If you’re looking for a dirty blues sound like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix, you can’t get anything better than a Strat!

Gibson


Because of their unique innovations like dual-coil pickups, the Gibson sound has developed into one of the most recognizable tones available. This is one of the many reasons Gibson made our list of top guitar brands. 

The Gibson Les Paul is probably one of the most iconic guitars to emerge during the rock era. If you prefer the modern rock sound of Slash and his peers, then the Gibson Les Paul is the way to go! The only big drawback of Gibson guitars, for most beginners, is their price tag.

Epiphone


If you would like a Gibson-esque sound but are just starting out on the guitar, you need to check out Epiphone, a company that is owned by Gibson.

Their guitars follow many of the same processes as the traditional US-made instruments, however they are made overseas. This allows them to sell at a much more budget-friendly price.

Ibanez


For all the shredders out there, Ibanez is the perfect fit for you! Players like Joe Satriani, Paul Stanley, and Steve Vai all use Ibanez guitars because of their unmatched hard-rock capabilities. Along with a Floyd Rose tremolo system, Ibanez electric guitars give you the ability to do things other guitar brands simply do not.

In some ways they are a cross between Gibson and Fender. They have a similar body style to a Stratocaster while using the dual-coil pickups of a Les Paul. These guitars are primarily for rocking out and testing the limits of guitar engineering. If you want to shred with the best, go ahead and try one!

Jackson


Jackson is another brand that has re-interpreted the nature of guitar music. This is a brand you will rarely find outside of the metal and rock genres. Their guitars are designed to sound great with heavy distortion or on a clean channel.

If you want to play modern rock, a Jackson guitar is a great choice. Famous for their Floyd Rose Tremolo system, they offer guitars that range from $199 to $1,299 so there is something for everyone.

Ready to Start Playing?

Hopefully you found this list of the best guitar brands helpful. By now you know where to shop for guitars, but have you found a place to advance your playing skills? TakeLessons offers private, one-on-one guitar lessons with experienced and qualified teachers.

If you’re not ready to purchase private lessons yet, check out the free online guitar classes at Takelessons Live. At no cost, you can join a group of like-minded learners and begin taking classes on your own schedule.

Did we leave any notable guitar brands off this list? Let us know who you’d add in a comment below!

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DIY: Homemade Capo Tutorial in 4 Easy Steps [Video]

How to make a DIY Homemade Capo

If you want to learn how to make your very own homemade capo from scratch, keep reading. In this article, we’ll share four simple steps to put together a DIY capo on the fly – with just two materials!

When you’re jamming with friends and there’s a new vocalist in the mix, you might find yourself having to play in unfamiliar keys. If you left your trusty capo at home, no problem! Follow this easy guide and you’ll learn how to make a capo in no time.

DIY Homemade Capo Tutorial

You can solve the key-change conundrum with relative ease if you know how to make a capo on the fly. Essentially, you need a rigid strip of material that can be clamped onto the neck of your guitar.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  1. A pencil or sharpie
  2. 2-4 rubber bands (medium thickness)

Yes, you only need two simple materials for this homemade capo. If you can’t find rubber bands, a good alternative is a hair band.

Now that you have all you need, here are the steps for how to make a capo.

Steps to Make a DIY Capo

  1. Make sure your guitar is in tune.
  2. Place the pencil or marker upon the desired fret.
  3. Fold the rubber band in half and loop it over both ends of the pencil.
  4. Add more bands as needed to achieve the desired tension. Check this by plucking each string and listening for a clear tone.

That’s it! This is such an easy way to put together a homemade capo on the fly, with materials that are readily available. Need to see the process demonstrated visually? Watch the steps in the quick video below:

5 Reasons Every Guitarist Needs a Capo

Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a capo, in case you weren’t already convinced that you need one.

  • A capo creates a moveable nut or barre. For example, if you place the capo on the second fret, you’ve moved all the chords up one step (a C is now a D).
  • It allows you to play chord shapes that you’re already familiar with, but in a different key. So with a capo, a bit of transposing savvy, and a handful of chords, you can play some previously hard to reach tunes.
  • Using a capo allows you to explore different chord voicings, or inversions, which can make a chord sound brighter or darker, and add interest to picking.
  • It is helpful for changing tunes to a more comfortable range, or key, for vocals.
  • A capo adds depth when playing with other guitarists. Some can play open chords while others place capos at different locations, which creates a broader sonic range and textural interest.

Now you know some of the benefits of using a guitar capo, so even if you’re only slightly familiar with this tool, you can begin exploring its capabilities.

You’ve also learned how to make a capo very quickly and easily if you wish to try out these concepts without spending any money.

While practicing your skills, be sure to look into private guitar lessons or online guitar classes to help you achieve your musical goals, as personal feedback is a very important part of the learning process. Have fun with your DIY capo, and rock on!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches guitar, drums, piano and more in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She’s been teaching since 2010 and has her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University. Learn more about Tracy here!

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The 50 Best Guitar Songs Ever (From Different Eras & Genres)

best guitar songs

Everyone’s list of the “best guitar songs” will be different, but there are certain moments in history when we all seemed to fall in love with the same music together. These songs have stood the test of time, and become enshrined as the classics of guitar repertoire.

Although the following list is by no means comprehensive, it is a representative sample of some of the best guitar songs of all time – including everything from classical to rock.

The 50 Best Guitar Songs of All Time

Before we dive into which songs made the list and why, check out this clickable infographic for a preview of 25 top guitar songs.

Best guitar songs of all time

Best Acoustic Guitar Songs

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd


This popular song was destined to some form of greatness because of Pink Floyd’s established reputation. The fact that the main acoustic guitar riff is so playable has also helped this song become a staple for many beginning guitarists.

Fire and Rain – James Taylor


This song was one of the singles off James Taylor’s second album that made him particularly famous in the 70s. To this day, he still frequently plays “Fire and Rain” in concert. It’s known to both older and younger audiences who are familiar with his music.

Hotel California – Eagles


A reflection on the excesses of the Rock ‘n Roll lifestyle, this song features both acoustic and electric guitar work that stands out and complements each other.

Blackbird – Paul McCartney


An ode to struggling Black women in Detroit, the unassuming charm of this song makes it a favorite for beginning guitarists. The unusual left hand intervals make it challenging but not unattainable.

American Pie – Don McLean


An enchanting (and sometimes cryptic) ode to Rock ‘n Roll history, this song is still popular as a tune for beginners to learn their basic guitar chords on.

Wonderwall – Oasis


Released on their second album, “Wonderwall” has become Oasis’ biggest hit. It’s the most streamed song released before 2000, and it’s the archetypal example of 90s pop chord playing.

More Than Words – Extreme


Ironically the most popular song of a much heavier band, this song was released in 1991 and has since forced its writers to embrace their softer side. Known for their heavy, funk-metal style, Extreme reached a much wider audience with this vulnerable ballad.

Dust in the Wind – Kansas


Another crowd pleaser on this list of best guitar songs, “Dust in the Wind” particularly hit a nerve during the spiritual seeking of the hippy era. The intro has charmed fingerpicking beginners since the song’s release.

Redemption Song – Bob Marley


Taking inspiration from Marcus Garvey, Bob stripped away all the rich instrumentation of his reggae roots and reduced this song to simply the acoustic guitar and singing. The song has remained popular both as a protest song and a staple among beginning guitarists.

Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel


This song begins with a simple but haunting guitar hook that is immediately recognizable to fans of the folk-pop duo. Paul Simon’s fingerpicking technique remains a great teacher for beginners of the craft.

Best Rock Guitar Songs

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin


The song every guitar teacher gets tired of teaching, but still listens to in secret and quiet admiration of its epicness.

Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns ‘n Roses

Another perfect example of a heavy band whose most famous song is a vulnerable love song. This one somehow manages to maintain its epic rock quality amidst all the intimate lyrics.

Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix


This is one of several songs Jimi did that changed rock history. The raw power that he holds together with his indescribable talent made this a piece that captured the imagination of rock guitarists for generations.

I Love Rock ‘n Roll – Joan Jett


A perfect integration of power chords and simple blues licks make this an ideal introduction to rock guitar. It’s also great for getting people to sing with you in a bar!

Sunshine of Your Love – Cream


Another song that is often used to introduce rock guitar to beginners, this song has a soulful punch that continues to draw Clapton fans back to his early days.

Back in Black – AC/DC


Of the tremendous library of ridiculously catchy riffs in the AC/DC canon, this one stands out near the top.

Seven Nation Army – Jack White


Many millenials who didn’t grow up with the early rock records find this song to be the gateway to the rest of the rock experience. Easy to play, easy to love!

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana


This is another song that is famous partially because of its poignant lyrics that spoke to the rebellion of a generation. It’s also a perfect song to learn power chords on.

Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple


This song gets a bad rap because so many guitarists know the first hook but not the rest of the song. The rest of the song is certainly worth a listen, though!

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne


This song has both one of the easiest power chord riffs and one of the hardest guitar solos. It’s a song that fans love to sing and guitarists love to play!

Best Folk Guitar Songs

Sweet Home Chicago – Robert Johnson


This unassuming folk blues song comes to us only from field recordings, but it was incredibly influential on many British rock stars. Johnson’s raw guitar style and troubled lyrics heavily influenced the Stones, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and others.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ – Bob Dylan


This unapologetic protest song summarized the rebellion of the hippy generation and became a folk standard that is still sung and played to this day.

If I had a Hammer – Peter Paul and Mary


Sung by many folk artists, this metaphorical song served as a rallying cry for social change and remains a campfire favorite.

Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Bob Dylan


One of Bob Dylan’s more personal songs, the intricate fingerpicking in this tune lends a unique quality to lyrics about love gone wrong. Have a listen and you’ll quickly find out why this made our list of best guitar songs. 

Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Guthrie


Many audiences wonder if Arlo made up the verses on the spot. In any case, the 16 bar guitar loop is the jumping-off point for a lengthy political rant that anyone with a sense of humor can enjoy.

Scarborough Fair – Simon and Garfunkel


Based on an English poem, this song is accompanied by Paul Simon’s mysterious fingerpicking and a vocal melody that many remember as a childhood lullaby.

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell


This song is definitely a foot-stomper! It has had activists singing the charged lyrics since its release – at the height of the environmental movement in 1970.

Mr. Bojangles – Jerry Jeff Walker


This song was written in New Orleans when the composer was arrested and put in a cell with a street dancer. The story has been a favorite among folk artists since its premiere on a radio show in 1968.

Minor Swing – Django Reinhardt


First recorded in 1937 by the Hot House Band, this is one of Django Reinhardt’s most famous tunes. It’s also a standard introduction to gypsy jazz.

Guitar Boogie – Arthur Smith


This song was first released in 1945 and has since been played by many other thumb-picking greats, including Tommy Emmanuel.

Best Classical Guitar Songs

Asturias – Isaac Albeniz


A landmark of the classical repertoire, this piece is more reminiscent of flamenco traditions from Andalucia than the northern Spanish region of Asturias. This is probably because it was given its name by a German publisher after the composer’s death.

La Catedral – Agustin Barrios-Mangore


The masterpiece suite by a South American composer, La Catedral is a musical illustration of a grand building and a service within the building.

E Minor Bouree – J.S. Bach


This piece is a popular selection from the Lute Suite in E minor. It often tricks beginners because it sounds good at a slow speed but it’s meant to be played rather quickly.

Etude in A Minor – Dionisio Aguado


Often the first piece a classical student will ever see, this simple fingerpicking etude is a great introduction to the process and pleasure of classical guitar!

Recuerdos de la Alhambra – Francisco Tárrega


This piece is the most legendary of tremolo classical guitar pieces. Using a technique that involves rapidly plucking a single string, the difficulty of this song is matched only by its profound beauty.

D Minor Chaconne – J.S. Bach


One of the most profound pieces in the classical repertoire, this piece was originally written for violin. It has since been transcribed for pretty much any other instrument that has a virtuoso to play it, and guitar is no exception!

Mazurka Choro – Heitor Villa-Lobos


This prolific Brazilian composer had many great pieces, and this one is the first in a suite called “Suite Popolaire Bresilienne.” Give it a listen and see if you can resist the urge to learn all five movements.

Prelude from the E Major Lute Suite – J.S. Bach


One of the most famous and uplifting pieces in classical repertoire, this piece falls under the fingers almost serendipitously and fills a room of any size with the warmest musical bath you can imagine.

Study in B Minor Opus 35 no 22 – Fernando Sor


A gem of the beginner’s classical guitar repertoire, this is a piece that teachers often introduce to their students. Give it a listen and you’ll see why it’s so unforgettable!

Romanza – Anonymous


“Romanza” is another charming piece frequently learned by beginners. The gentle repetition of fingerpicking over the beautiful Spanish melody make this a favorite for both players and audiences.

Best Electric Guitar Songs

Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers


Mournful and rich in feeling, this guitar riff is great for getting early picking techniques going. It’s also an excellent choice when you want to play something recognizable to a lot of guitar fans.

Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits


This is a favorite of music lovers and musicians alike! It includes a rhythm riff that’s not too difficult, along with some solo passages that will give any player a run for their money.

Gravity – John Mayer


John said he was particularly proud of this song because he felt he could apply the lyrics to any situation he found himself in. The soulful guitar work captured the interest of many electric guitarists, both aspiring and established.

La Grange – ZZ Top


This band had a knack for writing hooks, and Billy Biggons had a knack for playing crazy blues solos. Both are reasons “La Grange” made it on our list of the best guitar songs of all time!

Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd


Anyone who has played in a band has probably heard more audience members scream “Freebird” than any other song in history. Most people actually request it as a joke!

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles


The fact that the lyrics of this song refer to a guitar is almost accidental among its deep reflective nature. Maybe it’s a factor in the song’s popularity with so many guitarists.

Eruption – Eddie Van Halen


“Eruption” ripped open the gates to progressive guitar playing. The song still stands as a staple for aspiring electric guitar virtuosos to master.

Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry


This pioneering piece opened up the sound of early rock to wider audiences. It’s another favorite song for electric guitarists to learn.

Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan


This song can be difficult to learn at first because of its muting techniques, but it brings along the full power of the Texas Blues to anyone who masters it!

Layla – Eric Clapton


“Layla” is revered for both its powerful lyrics and its captivating virtuosic guitar hook. Clapton fans expect to hear it at every concert.

Now that you’ve seen our list of the best guitar songs of all time, what would you add? Let us know in a comment below!

These are the songs that inspired most kids to pick up an axe in the first place. If you’re interested in learning the guitar, this list will give you some easy songs to start with as well as some masterpieces to aspire to.

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The 7 Best Guitar Picks for Every Kind of Guitarist

Cool guitar picks

The best guitar picks are the ones that help you achieve the tonal sound you’re looking for, while providing just enough grip and comfortability.

When you take a trip to your local music store or shop for guitar picks online, you will run across thousands of options. Don’t be intimidated! Every guitar player starts off trying a variety of different types of guitar picks.

Guitar picks are made out of many different materials including nylon, plastic, wood, stone, or metal. Some picks are floppy and some are stiff. They can also be small or large in size.

The cool guitar picks on this list each provide a great deal of tonal variation. So if you’re trying to get a nice and bright, jangly sound, or a darker, more muted sound, there is a guitar pick on this list for you!

The 7 Best Guitar Picks for All Guitarists

1. Sharkfin Guitar Picks

Sharkfin - Cool guitar picks

Sharkfin picks give you a lot of versatility, and the way they’re cut provides an easy grip. With a sharkfin pick, you get the traditional sounds that come from a regular pick, in addition to unique tonal qualities brought to you by the knurled edge.

You will be able to achieve different effects by dragging the knurled edge along your strings or brushing them as you strum. These unique guitar picks usually run between $1-$2 and are sold by Landstrom, Dunlop, and others.   

2. Stubby Picks

 

Stubby - best guitar picks

Its small size, hardness, and overall look make the stubby a necessary addition to this list of cool guitar picks. The stubby pick feels comfortable and has a bit of a rough grip which makes it easier to hold.

Numerous brands make stubby picks, such as Dunlop and V-Pick. You can find them for a little over a dollar, then try out multiple brands to see which one you like the best.

3. Nylon Flex Guitar Picks  

Nylon flex best guitar picks

This is a great option for guitarists who want a really floppy pick for strumming, and many reputable brands sell them. The Herco Flex 50 specifically produces a nice, bright tone and gives you all the flop you could need. It also has just enough grip to not slip from your fingers.

A Herco Flex 50 should run you about a dollar, though sometimes the thicker versions cost a bit more. If this option isn’t available at your local music shop, a good runner-up to this model would be the Jim Dunlop Nylon 60mm pick.

4. Star Picks

Star pick - Cool guitar picks

You should definitely consider adding a Star Pick to your collection of best guitar picks. The .73mm pick is an excellent choice from Star Picks because of its hardness. A hard pick produces a bright, biting sound. Some players prefer a pick to have that bite when it comes to playing solos, because it makes the solo pop out of the mix a little more.  

When using a naturally bright guitar like a Fender Statocaster, hard picks are great for getting a little extra tone above the rest of the band. The Star Pick has these advantages, but also seems to grip to your thumb pretty well. It has a small star cut-out which makes it really easy to hold. These unique guitar picks are fairly cheap, usually costing a little less than a dollar.

5. Tortex Picks

Tortex - best guitar picks

The Tortex picks by Dunlop come in a variety of colors and thicknesses, and are fairly inexpensive. Many guitarists like the feel of this pick. You will notice a considerable change in tone when using it, but you may like it if you’re into a more mellow tone.

When you’re using a Tortex pick, the tone does not really become muted, but the ringing quality of some strings are brought down. So if you have a guitar that seems a little too bright, the Tortex might be the perfect pick to help take away some of the harshness.

There are a couple other comparable picks that don’t darken the tone, such as the Clayton 1.07mm pick and the Dunlop Ultex pick. The Clayton is especially easy to keep a grip on.

6. Metal Thumb Picks

Metal Thumb Pick - Cool guitar picks

Metal thumb picks are probably one of the most useful and unique guitar picks to own. These metal finger picks are perfect for boosting the volume on your guitar just a little bit. For only a dollar you can’t go wrong.  

Some people find that using a regular pick is difficult because they are easily dropped, or they get cramps in their hands. The advantage of using a thumb pick is that it doesn’t fall out of your hand when you play.

You can find these cool guitar picks in metal, plastic, and some that are a hybrid of plastic and metal, although the hybrid picks tend to be more expensive. One good thumb pick to check out is the Dunlop 3040T.

7. Felt Picks

Felt picks - Cool guitar picks

Even though they’re marketed for ukuleles, felt picks are very useful for guitarists as well. Felt picks typically run around $1-$2, which is a bargain for the cool tonal variety they bring to your playing.  

The muted sound that you get when playing with a felt pick is truly unique. It’s not muted to an extent that you can’t hear your instrument, but it certainly changes the tone and can make your guitar sound like a totally different guitar. This pick would be very useful in recording sessions if you’re trying to go for the sound of two different guitars, but only have one.

Final Tips

No matter what type of guitar or genre of music you play, there is something on this list of best guitar picks for everyone. Most types of guitar picks run for less than a dollar, so if you can afford it we recommend buying a bunch and trying them all out.

If you want to start out small, try the thumb pick and felt pick first. These guitar picks are the most distinct in the tonal sounds they create, so you’ll be able to really experience and appreciate the variety that different guitar picks can provide.  

This selection of cool guitar picks should give you plenty to try out and practice. You can find them at your local music store or online. Remember that a good guitar teacher can help you learn proper picking and strumming technique, and TakeLessons is the place to go if you want to find an experienced guitar teacher in your area.  

Willy MPost Author: Willy M.
Willy M. teaches acoustic, bass, blues guitar and more in Winston Salem, NC. Willy has been teaching for over 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to adults in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

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Guitar vs Piano: Which Instrument Do Musicians Prefer? [Vote]

Guitar vs piano

So you want to learn a musical instrument and you’ve narrowed it down to the guitar vs piano. Which one should you play?

One of the biggest advantages to playing the guitar is its quick learning curve, but an equally excellent reason to learn the piano is its layout that helps you understand music theory.

If you’re debating between learning piano vs guitar, here are five important factors to consider about the pros and cons of each instrument.  

Already made up your mind? Cast your vote below!

 

Which instrument do you prefer: guitar or piano?

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Guitar vs Piano: Which is Better?

The Learning Curve for Piano and Guitar

learning piano vs guitar

Piano – Learn Notes and Scales First

As a beginner pianist, you’ll most likely learn how to play melodies before you learn chords. You’ll learn notes and scales first. Then, you’ll make different combinations of those notes to form chords.

Dealing with scales before chords in this way allows for a more chronological approach to music theory. In contrast to changing keys on the guitar by simply using a capo, on a piano you’ll have to use theory to transpose the key.

Don’t be intimidated by all this, because the piano lends itself toward music theory very well; the linear layout of the instrument is the perfect visual aid. However because you’re learning theory, playing your favorite songs on the piano can take longer than on guitar.

Guitar – Learn Chords Quickly

Students who want to start playing songs right away typically lean toward the guitar vs piano. The guitar is an integral part of most pop songs, so it’s easy to find songs you can play once you learn the right set of chords.  

Also, if you find that the key needs to be changed to fit your vocal range, you can simply attach a capo to the guitar and use the same chord shapes. While using a capo isn’t necessary to change keys on the guitar, it’s a simplified option that many guitarists use.

Affordability of the Guitar vs Piano

price of guitar vs piano

Guitar – $100 to $1,000

A good starter guitar typically costs between $100-$200. Guitars have become more affordable over the years with competition between local and online music stores. But before buying a guitar, it’s highly recommended that you play it first.

If you happen to be able to afford a guitar between $300-$500, you’ll see a significant improvement in playability and sound. There are many quality guitars available in this range. A guitar in the $500-$1,000 range would be best fit for a more advanced guitarist.

Piano – $100 to $1500+

A good beginner keyboard can be found between $100-$200. Factors to consider in this price range are the number of keys and whether they are weighted or non-weighted keys. As a beginner pianist, you can learn just fine on a 61-key keyboard.

As you develop though, the songs you’ll play will require a greater range on the piano. That’s when a full size, 88-key keyboard or digital piano would be needed. Digital pianos are generally around $500-$1,500 and are designed to more closely replicate acoustic pianos in sound and feel.

Lastly, if you can afford it and have room for one, acoustic pianos are the way to go. These start at roughly $1,500 but the unrivaled tone and feel make it worth the investment if you are really serious about learning piano.  

Reading Music for Guitar vs Piano

learning piano vs guitar

Guitar – Chord Charts and TABs

Chord charts are the main form of notation for reading chords on the guitar. They are quick and easy to learn how to read. Chord charts indicate when to play a chord by showing chord names above the lyrics.

The other notation most widely used on guitar is tablature notation, also known as TABs. TABs is a notation that is specific to guitar because it resembles the instrument closely. The six lines represent the guitar’s six strings, and the numbers indicate which fret to press down.

Learning how to read TABs is simple and allows you to mine the databases of endless pop and rock songs online. However, one downside to chord charts and TABs is that they are not as precise as standard notation.

Piano – Reading Standard Notation

Chord charts are also used for reading music on the piano. But in addition, the piano staff is added underneath the chord names. In this way, notation for the piano is generally more complex.

Standard notation is fairly easy to learn on piano because the two closely resemble each other. Just like the notes on the piano ascend from left to right, the notes on the staff ascend from low to high. So if a goal of yours is to learn sheet music, you’ll achieve that early on in piano lessons.

Portability of the Guitar vs Piano

guitar vs piano

Guitar – Travel Friendly

The guitar is one of the most portable instruments. Even the bulkiest guitars can be taken on road trips and public transportation. Airplanes widely consider guitars a carry-on item that can be stored in overhead compartments.

In addition there are a wide variety of travel, mini, and backpacker guitars that are very small and lightweight. As long as you have a good guitar case, you should be able to take your guitar with you anywhere!

Piano – Portable Options are Limited

There is a wide variety of piano sizes to choose from to suit your needs. If you’re looking for the smallest and lightest possible option, you can turn to midi controllers that range from a couple octaves to all 88 keys. However, these must be plugged into a computer which produces the sound.

The next size up are keyboards that also range from a couple octaves to 88 keys. They are generally a little bigger and heavier than midi controllers, but are easier to transport than most digital pianos (which is the next size up).

The largest options are acoustic pianos, which include a variety of upright and grand pianos. Their weighted keys give you more expressiveness and greater potential for dynamics, but keep in mind that you will have to sacrifice the convenience of a portable instrument.

Best Musical Genres for Piano and Guitar

Learning piano vs guitar

Piano – Classical

Classical musicians often start learning piano vs guitar. Because of the instrument’s rich history in classical music, students can expect to encounter classical compositions early on in the learning process.

Just like the guitar though, the piano is a very versatile instrument that can be heard in many other genres of music. Pop music in general seems to more commonly include keyboards than guitars.

Guitar – Rock

Most rock enthusiasts prefer the guitar over the piano. Guitar is the quintessential rock instrument. Early rock and roll pioneers who played the guitar include Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. They paved the way for later “rock guitar gods,” from Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page.

When people think of rock music, they think of distorted electric guitars. This is such a specific sound that the guitar holds the market in, but it’s also an extremely versatile instrument. That clean, acoustic guitar sound is popular in other genres as well, such as country music.

Take a Lesson!

By now you can see the pros and cons of learning piano vs guitar. To help you reach a decision about which is better for you, consider these five factors: learning curve, affordability, music notation, portability, and your desired musical genres.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to decide is try out both instruments. On TakeLessons Live, you can try beginner-level classes for free in both piano and guitar. Try it today!

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Three Legit Places to Find the Best Free Guitar Lessons

where to find free guitar lessons

Looking for free guitar lessons that actually work? If you want to learn the guitar, but aren’t sure where to start and don’t have a lot of money to spend – you’re in luck! There are various methods of learning the guitar and many of them are free.

Some free guitar lessons aren’t as beneficial and worthwhile as others, however, so it’s important to do your research beforehand. As a beginner, it’s crucial that you learn the correct techniques so that easy mistakes don’t become bad habits later on.

Keep reading and we’ll break down three of the best places to find free guitar lessons so you can begin playing immediately. These resources are reputable and will give you the foundation you need to become an excellent guitar player.

3 Best Places to Find Free Guitar Lessons

TakeLessons Live

free guitar lessons online

TakeLessons Live is a fantastic option for beginners to find free online guitar lessons. It offers live group classes that give you a solid foundation of guitar skills. You can sign up for whichever classes interest you, and learn techniques that will help you throughout your entire musical journey.

The best part is that you have access to a live teacher so you can ask questions and get instant feedback. There are many options for dates and times of classes, so you can easily find one that works with your schedule. There are also multiple instructors to choose from.

These online classes give you the benefits of a classroom setting, without ever having to leave your home. Plus, your first month is completely free so you can try out as many classes and teachers as you like.

SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons to Learn Guitar Online

YouTube

free guitar lessons on youtube

With over a billion hours of video content, YouTube has something for every type of guitar student. Videos are pre-recorded so they’re accessible at all times and there’s no limit to how many you can watch, making them another excellent option for beginners. Here are a few channels where you can find free online guitar lessons.

5 YouTube Channels with Free Online Guitar Lessons

  1. Justin Sandercoe – Justin has over 750 guitar lessons on his YouTube channel, and there is something for every level of guitar player.
  2. Guitareo – This channel has tons of lessons to get you started with the guitar, as well as more advanced topics such as how to play blues guitar or rhythm guitar.
  3. GuitarJamz – GuitarJamz helps you do exactly what it says: jam on the guitar. The videos start off with the basics and then apply what you’ve learned to well-known songs.
  4. Rock on Good People – This helpful channel teaches various guitar techniques and licks. Some interesting interviews will also help you stay motivated to continue your guitar journey.
  5. Andy Guitar – Andy has various courses that are perfect for beginners. They include everything from playing your first major chord to how to choose the right guitar for you.

These are just a few of the top guitar channels on YouTube. There are many more to choose from, so find the one that works for you and your learning style.

[Note: One common challenge with pre-recorded lessons is that there is not a live teacher to interact with, or ask questions. This can be difficult when you’re stuck on a difficult concept.]

Local Music Stores

free guitar lessons at local music stores

Another option for guitarists is to visit a local music store. Many music stores offer free guitar lessons and workshops to their patrons. Stores such as Sam Ash and Guitar Center have monthly events at their various locations.

These include everything from demonstrations on how to use the latest gear, to technique workshops, and more. Classes such as these are helpful to students because they can ask a teacher questions and work alongside other students.

Find out if there’s a music store in your area and ask about the dates and times of classes they offer. Unfortunately, students in rural areas might not have access to a music store. If you’re in a similar situation, try going back to #1 on this list. Taking online guitar classes is an excellent alternative.

Now you’re ready to get started with free guitar lessons. There are many benefits of playing the guitar. It helps reduce stress, improves mental health, and is just plain fun. Plus, free guitar lessons make learning the instrument that much sweeter.

Whatever reason you have for learning the guitar, it will be well worth the effort. Whether you choose online guitar classes, YouTube, or a local music store, you won’t regret the decision to learn this popular and versatile instrument. 

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20 Different Types of Guitars & The Legends Who Played Them [Infographic]

Different types of guitars

While certain types of guitars are standard in modern culture, the instrument has a wide variety of expressions that is nearly impossible to tame. From the ancient Greek kithara to the guitar-like lute from pre-modern Spain, the many different types of guitars vary just as much as the people who play them.

Some types of acoustic and electric guitars are more common than others. Steel string dreadnought acoustics and Stratocaster-style electrics are likely to be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the guitar. But some guitarists find they can’t do what they want with just 6 strings. 

In this article, we’ll start with the most common types of guitars, and then move toward the most exotic. We’ll also share the moments that made these guitars legendary.

*Click the “Play” button next to each guitar to hear the legend who played it!*

Different types of guitars

20 Different Types of Guitars – Acoustic & Electric

#1 Fender Stratocaster

  • Guitar Type: Solid-Body Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Eric Clapton

It’s hard to overstate the influence of the Stratocaster. A tremendous pedigree of electric guitarists have made history on this type of guitar. It’s been reissued in hundreds of different designs and is by far one of the most popular types of electric guitars. The slanted, double-cutout body and three-pickup control setup give the Stratocaster both a visual signature and sonic versatility.

This guitar probably had its first major introduction to the public from Buddy Holly, but Clapton was one of its most influential proponents. Check out this clip from the song “The Weight” where Clapton pulls the soulful voice of this guitar into its full bloom.

#2 Martin D-45

  • Guitar Type: Steel String Dreadnought Acoustic
  • Legend Who Played It: Neil Young

For most guitar enthusiasts today, this is what “playing the guitar” means: the snap and brightness of a 6-string steel, which has strong projection and durability. Many guitarists favor the versatility and clarity of dreadnoughts, but especially singer-songwriters.

The Martin D-45 is one of the most common types of acoustic guitars. Check out Neil Young playing a well-loved song that he added to the Rock n’ Roll tradition, below.

#3 Fender Telecaster

  • Guitar Type: Solid-Body Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Buck Owens

The foundational favorite of country and rock guitarists, this model is known for its single cutaway body, 2 single-coil pickup system, and characteristic “twang.” Modern country greats like Brad Paisley have predecessors like Buck Owen to thank for popularizing this guitar. Check out Buck and his band playing “Act Naturally.”

#4 1969 José Ramírez 1a “AM”

  • Guitar Type: Classical Nylon Acoustic Dreadnought
  • Legend Who Played It: Andres Segovia

Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and fingerstyle genius Earl Klugh favor classical guitars for their round, sweet tone and stability when playing complex lines. These tend to have higher actions (the distance between the strings and fingerboard) and wider necks than many other acoustics.

When played with the correct nail technique, they create an unmistakable tone that has been enjoyed by European audiences since the 1600s. For a taste of the secret sauce, listen to the grandfather of modern classical guitar playing the legendary tremolo piece, “Leyenda.”

#5 Gibson ES-175

  • Guitar Type: Hollow-Body Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Wes Montgomery

The Gibson ES-175 has become the iconic example that represents an entire class of guitars: hollow-body electrics. The rich, mid-range tone of these guitars was made legendary in jazz by players such as Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery. (Although the guitar has subsequently found its way into a myriad of other popular styles). Check out the haunting ballad “Round Midnight” below.

#6 The National Style O

  • Guitar Type: Resonator Acoustic
  • Legend Who Played It: Son House

Resophonic guitars, made mostly by European companies, were favorites of the 20th century Bluesmen. Every legendary country, blues, and rock musician drew inspiration from players of this style.

Son House was one of many legendary examples of Bluesmen who used open-tuned, resonator guitars. With their raw feeling and creative exploration with bottleneck slides, these players set the precedent for the coming generations of popular musicians. Keep in touch with the roots and watch Son House play “Death Letter Blues.”

# 7 Fender Precision Bass

  • Guitar Type: 4 String Electric Bass
  • Legend Who Played It: James Jamerson

Some discover the bass as a first instrument, and others as a crossover from the guitar. Jamerson actually started on the upright bass as a classical player on his path to becoming the legendary bassist that drove dozens of Motown hits.

His unmistakable warm, round tone was a combination of the bass’s design and special modifications like flatwound strings and foam mutes. The hearts of many were won by his melodic bass style and thumpy drive as a rhythm player. Numerous legends even as great as Victor Wooten trace their devotion to bass to Jamerson’s influence.

#8 The Höfner Bass

  • Guitar Type: 4 String Electric Bass
  • Legend Who Played It: Paul McCartney

The tone of this bass is instantly recognizable to any Beatles fan. The emphasis in the mid range and the plunky attack gave a unique flavor to dozens of Beatles songs, such as “When I’m 64.”

Paul also liked the balance it created on stage, given the fact that he played left handed and the bass was a symmetrical body design. See this late performance of “Don’t Let Me Down” to feel the magic for yourself.

#9 Maton EM-TE

  • Guitar Type: Electric-Acoustic Dreadnought
  • Legend Who Played It: Tommy Emmanuel

Maton guitars are typically outfitted with an internal microphone as well as a piezo saddle pickup. This allows for tremendous variety and clarity in the percussive tones Tommy Emmanuel gets out of his guitar, while leaving his fingerstyle tone beautifully intact.

Be prepared to be blown away by his performance of “Mombasa,” and let your imagination stretch what you thought was possible with an acoustic guitar.

# 10 The 12 String Guitar

  • Guitar Type: Steel String Dreadnought Acoustic
  • Legend Who Played It: John Denver

Known for his melodies and lyrics, John Denver arranged his songs with an extremely wide instrumental palette. At heart, he was just a guy with a guitar singing to people, but the use of a 12 string brought a twist of flavor to his repertoire. Check out the orchestral version of “Annie’s Song” and be inspired.

# 11 Gibson Lucille

  • Guitar Type: Semi-Hollow Body Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: B.B. King

The Gibson Lucille possesses a slightly more moderate tone than the full hollow-body, while still blending acoustic sweetness and electric drive. This unique guitar has other special modifications too, like the elimination of the f-holes to reduce feedback. B.B. King, also known as the King of Blues, has a legendary affection for this and many of his other guitars.

# 12 Gibson EDS-1275

  • Guitar Type: Double-Neck Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Jimmy Page

Though innovators like Michael Angelo Batio and Justin King have branched out into their own uses of double neck guitars, Jimmy Page’s live performances of “Stairway to Heaven” made the heroism of the double neck guitar a fundamental part of rock history. The legend is available for all to experience in the performance below.

# 13 The TRB JP2

  • Guitar Type: 6 String Electric Bass
  • Legend Who Played It: John Patitucci

For those who just can’t get enough notes, the 6 string bass is a platform of the imagination. Heavily used in both metal and jazz, one of the first recognized 6 string bass virtuosos was John Patitucci. Patitucci played for Chick Corea on many of his influential albums.

The additional scale length on the high C string gives melodies a quality that is hard to find on any other instrument, and the low B can…well, shake the floor. Experience Patitucci’s fusion style with his electric quartet playing “Ides of March.”

# 14 The Twang Machine

  • Guitar Type: Cigarbox Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Bo Diddley

The Twang Machine is just one of the many examples of unconventional body types. Having both the look and sound of a tin can, this unique guitar was one of the many showman tactics that made Bo so popular. Check out this performance at the presidential inauguration concert of 1989, when he’s still in great form!

# 15 The Purple Rain Guitar

  • Guitar Type: Special Body Electric, Telecaster Style
  • Legend Who Played It: Prince

The late legend played a sizable collection of uniquely styled guitars. Taking the visual appeal of the guitar to another level, Prince had several special body designs made especially for him.

Having spent a lot of his career experimenting with symbols that expressed his values, Prince’s singular body designs pointed not only to his artistic flair but also to his personal beliefs. Watch him play his famous “Cloud” guitar in the video of “Purple Rain” below.

# 16 Martin LX1E

  • Guitar Type: Miniature Acoustic
  • Legend Who Played It: Ed Sheeran

In popular music, it’s the little things that count. Tons of artists are competing for the narrow band of sounds available in the pop genre, so finding a secret weapon that helps you stand out from the crowd can go a long way. Ed Sheeran has the gift of bringing a unique flavor to his radio work as well as his live shows.

His signature mini-Martin is a key tool, and it’s one of the more unique types of acoustic guitars. It draws audiences in with an effect that can only be described one way: if you want to be heard in a loud room, whisper. The piezo pickup is also great for looping percussion. Check out Ed’s live version of “Tenerife Sea” for a taste of how it all works.

# 17 The ESP MX220

  • Guitar Type: Active Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: James Hetfield

In an era where Metal was just beginning to distinguish itself from Hard Rock, Metallica guitarists were leaning toward using active pickups to define their sound. Active pickups have a brighter sound and compress the signal to give the tone more sustain.

This sound gave 80s thrash metal bands greater control of dynamics through effects processing, and greater ease with speed techniques like shred picking. The look of this guitar also became a signature for Hetfield, as you can see in this live rendition of “Enter Sandman.”

# 18 Epiphone Zenith

  • Guitar Type: Tenor Guitar
  • Legend Who Played It: Ani DiFranco

Even at her commercial peak with “Little Plastic Castle,” Ani DiFranco was never an A-List celebrity. Anyone seasoned in the culture of singer-songwriters would tell you that her individuality as an artist surpasses that of most folk legends in the 60s, and her guitar technique is a marvel of spontaneity.

She would also most certainly win the Guinness Record for most guitar switches per show, and her Epiphone Zenith would be one of the more interesting guitars in the line-up. Rather than trying describe it, watch DiFranco playing her fan favorite “Little Plastic Castle.”

#19 Ibanez TAM 100

  • Guitar Type: Active 8 String Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Tosin Abasi

Certain players have been able to define the creative direction of a genre purely on the basis of their ability and artistic vision. Tosin Abasi is one such artist who brought the use of 7+ string guitars into greater favor among progressive metal players. For guitarists who just can’t get enough notes, this guitar itself can be the inspiration for the music.

#20 The Hamer 5-Neck

  • Guitar Type: Multi-Neck Electric
  • Legend Who Played It: Rick Nielsen

Cheap Trick’s lead guitarist developed a guitar with 5 necks modeled after different sounds he liked: a 12 string, a Les Paul Junior, a Fender Stratocaster, a whammy bar neck, and a fretless electric.

The Hamer 5-Neck is certainly one of the most outlandish types of electric guitars. Though admittedly unwieldy to play, many electric guitarists will identify with the hunger to have access to more sounds. Watch Ricky capture the vibe in this classic performance of “Surrender.”

Each of these guitars is famous because a great player created a moment with an audience that carried that memory with them long after. If you’re a guitarist, remember to take every opportunity to explore the different types of guitars on your journey.

Taking a look at the many types of acoustic and electric guitars out there will help you expand your creative horizons, find an instrument that captures your unique sound, and deepen your experience as a guitarist. Feeling inspired to take guitar lessons? Check out the guitar classes at TakeLessons Live for free today!

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking Video Guitar Lessons

Video guitar lessons

A quick search for “video guitar lessons” will reveal thousands of results on how to play the guitar. For many students it can be overwhelming to sort through countless video lessons to find the one with the information they’re looking for. As a beginner, it can also be difficult to determine when you are or aren’t getting accurate information.

Although there certainly isn’t a shortage of video guitar lessons out there, you shouldn’t rely on pre-recorded lessons alone to learn how to play the instrument. In this article, we’ll explain five ways that learning from pre-recorded video guitar lessons can hinder your progress.  

5 Things to Know About Video Guitar Lessons

They’re a One-Way Conversation

Beginners to the guitar need feedback and constructive criticism, but video guitar lessons are a one-way conversation. You can’t stop mid-lesson if you have a pressing question to ask, or need clarification.

Perhaps the most important aspect of in-person lessons with a guitar teacher is that you have an informed pair of eyes watching you play. When something isn’t going the way it needs to, you have an outside observer who can point it out to you. With a teacher’s guidance, you’ll begin to learn to correct mistakes on your own.

Lessons Aren’t Tailored to Your Individual Needs

Pre-recorded video guitar lessons are specifically made to be applicable to thousands of students with different learning styles. But the most effective guitar lessons aren’t one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter plans taken one after another. Each student has different ambitions and will need different “stepping stones” to achieve them. 

What one student finds impossible to overcome, another student might breeze through with little thought. Without a good teacher to help plan a course of action, students frequently jump between pieces that are either too easy or too difficult. They have trouble gradually building their skills. A teacher will notice where a student’s struggles lie and recommend music to practice that will build those skills.

You Might Pick up Bad Habits

When learning a new chord or song, beginners tend to play however it feels “right” to them. If playing with a certain fingering feels correct, a student has no reason to think they should be playing it differently. Even if they notice something is off, on their own, they rarely know what to replace the incorrect habit with.

This is another reason why it can be dangerous to learn the guitar without any feedback from a live instructor. A teacher is often the sole voice of clarity for students who naturally revert back to motions that their hands are familiar with.

If you’re learning from video guitar lessons alone, it can be easy to fall into the habit of playing something the wrong way, just because it “feels easier.” When working with a private teacher, you’ll learn new ways to to master tricky concepts more efficiently.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things to Look for in a Guitar Teacher

You Might Become Discouraged

When attempting to learn the guitar from videos alone, self-taught students are more prone to choosing a song that is too difficult for their skill level. These students often get frustrated and discouraged when their playing doesn’t sound as good as they want it to right off the bat.

In the rare case that a student begins with something easy, they frequently move on too soon and jump to something much harder right away. Ninety percent of the time when you speak to people who have given up the guitar, it’s because they tried to teach themselves. 

Don’t Miss Out on Music Theory!

Music theory is a necessity when learning how to play the guitar. Most video guitar lessons either focus on a specific technique, or exclusively on theory. But to really understand music theory, it has to be tied into the music!

Students understand theory best if it’s a part of their musical language and expression from the beginning. If as a beginner, you focus on watching YouTube tutorials for all your favorite songs, you are bound to miss out on a deeper understanding of the music itself.

Learning music theory is like learning a foreign language. Because music theory can be difficult to understand, it’s best to learn in an interactive environment where you have the ability to ask questions. Try taking online music theory classes from a live instructor and you’ll find yourself learning much quicker than with pre-recorded lessons.

In Conclusion

With the help of a guitar teacher, you have a much greater shot as musical success. Video guitar lessons are best when used as a supplemental tool in between private lessons. Your teacher can help protect you from bad advice, which is abounding online (some of which can even cause injury).

Don’t keep trying to press forward on your own when excellent, reliable help is so readily available! Find a trusted and qualified guitar teacher near you and start your guitar learning journey on the right foot.

Kirk RPost Author: Kirk R.
Kirk is a classical and acoustic guitar instructor in Athens, GA. He holds a Bachelors and Masters of music in Guitar Performance, and has been teaching guitar since 2011 to students of all ages. Learn more about Kirk here!

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