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!

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. 

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!*

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!

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!

Roadmap of the Notes on a Guitar

notes on a guitar by stringWhether you want to learn how to improvise rock solos, play perfect classical etudes, or anything in between, knowing the guitar notes on the fingerboard will be a huge help in your journey.

In this article, we’ll show you how to memorize the notes on a guitar. We’ll also teach you a few shapes to help you play scales and chords in any major key you want!

Guitar Notes for Standard Tuning

A great place to start getting to know the notes on a guitar is by memorizing the notes of each string played open. “Play open” means without holding down any of the frets.

If your guitar is tuned to standard tuning, these notes should be E-A-D-G-B-E, starting from the lowest pitched string and moving up to the highest.

Memorize the sentence “Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears.” This will help you remember the order of the open strings in standard tuning.

The guitar, like the piano, is based on a chromatic scale. In chromatic music, there are 12 notes in an octave, each a half step apart. Each fret on the fingerboard of the guitar raises the pitch of the string by one half step. If you were to hold down all strings on the 12th fret, the notes are the same as the strings played open, just an octave higher.

Guitar Notes on the E and A Strings

For many beginners, the notes on the E and A strings will be the most important notes to memorize. This is because these notes are the root notes for the most common movable chord shapes.

One way to think about finding the notes on a guitar is to think about each open string as the base note of a scale. Take a look at the guitar tab below to see what a scale looks like on the low E string:

notes on guitar e string scale

(If you need help reading charts like the one above, check out this article on how to read guitar tabs).

Following this tab, you will play the notes E, F, G, A, B, C, D, ending with E an octave higher.  These are called “natural” notes. If  you were playing the piano, these notes would be the white keys. Sharp and flat notes occur between the natural notes; on the piano, those would be the black keys.

Most natural notes on the guitar are two frets apart. The exception is the single fret intervals between E and F (open string and the first fret) and between B and C (seventh and eighth frets).

For another example, take a look at the natural notes in an octave on the A string:

notes on a guitar a string

As you follow this tab, you will play the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and A. Notice again that there is just one fret between B and C (the second and third frets) and between E and F (the seventh and eighth frets).

To memorize the guitar notes on the E and A strings, practice playing just the natural notes going up and down the strings. Say the name of each note as you play it. Repeat this a few times at the beginning of your guitar practice each day until you feel comfortable.

The Notes on a Guitar Fretboard

You can continue learning the natural notes on the guitar one string at a time following along with the diagram below. Note that this diagram shows sharp notes (ie. F#) but not flat notes (ie. Gb).

guitar notes on the fretboard

A sharp note is a half step higher than the natural note. A flat note is a half step lower. Depending on what key you are playing in, the same note may be referred to as F# or Gb.

Here’s the same diagram, this time showing flat notes instead of sharps:

flat notes on a guitar

Practice Guitar Notes with Movable Scales & Chords

Simply memorizing each note on the guitar won’t improve your playing very much. You also have to understand how the notes relate to each other! The layout of notes on a guitar may seem random, but these simple scale and chord shapes will help you to remember them.

Try this guitar tab for a scale in G major:

movable guitar scale 6th string root

Notice that the scale starts on G, on the third fret of the low E string. For your left hand fingering, we recommend using your index finger for all notes on the second fret, your middle finger for all notes on the third fret, your ring finger on the fourth fret, and your pinkie on the fifth.

Now, try starting on the 4th fret and play this scale pattern again, moving each note up by one fret. Congratulations!  You just played a scale in G# major. Even if you weren’t able to name all the notes you just played, knowing the correct intervals ensures you’re playing notes within the correct key.

Using the same fingering, you can play a scale starting with any note on the fretboard. The first note of this scale is the root note and determines the key of the scale. Practice this scale by moving it up and down the fretboard, one fret at a time.

Here’s another movable scale pattern for you to practice, this time starting on the A string. This scale is shown in D major, but it can also be moved all over the fretboard.

movable guitar scale 5th string root

You can also learn chord shapes that can be moved around the fretboard. The simplest of these shapes are called “power chords.”

To play a power chord in F with the root note on the low E string, place your index finger on the first fret of the E string. Next, use your ring finger to hold down the A string at the third fret and use your pinkie to hold the D string at the third fret. Strum just the three strings you are holding down.

Maintaining the same shape with your left hand, move each finger up one fret. Strum only the strings you have fretted. Now you’re playing a power chord in F#.

Practicing Guitar Notes with Power Chords

Now move each finger down one string, so that you are holding the second fret on the A string with your index finger and the fourth fret on the D and G strings with your ring and pinkie fingers respectively. Strum these three strings. You are now playing a power chord in B.

You can move this power chord shape up and down the fretboard as long as your root note starts on the low E or A strings. Remember, the root note is the note your index finger is fretting. This note will determine the key of the chord.

Now that you’re more familiar with guitar notes, it’ll be easier to learn chords and scales. You’re one step closer to mastering your favorite songs! Remember to keep practicing, and good luck on your musical journey!

women in music

Happy Mother’s Day! Shout Out to 5 Amazing Rock and Roll Mamas

Where did you get your love of music? Was your mom musical? Maybe she played an instrument, sang in church or in a band, or splurged (or currently splurges) so that you could take guitar lessons?

Regardless, this Mother’s Day, we can’t help but think about rockin’ women in music who are also moms.

1. Madonna

“Material girl”? More like “Mom-terial girl”! Did you know that Madonna is a mother of four? Her oldest daughter, Lourdes, will be turning 22 this year. Can you imagine having Madonna as a mom? It must be at least a little trippy; one minute she’s singing, “Gimme All Your Love”, and then the next minute, she’s asking you to clean your room.

But no matter what generation you were born in, you’re probably familiar with at least one of Madonna’s songs (“Lucky Star”, anyone?) and that kind of staying power is a dead give away that Madonna rocks, and all while being a mom.

2. Patty Smyth

In the early 80s, Patty Smyth sang the poppy “Goodbye To You” and later, the lady power anthem, “The Warrior”, and young women everywhere were inspired by the pep and fire in the songs. Cut to 2014, to a true story. I had just performed at Joe’s Pub in N.Y.C., when a woman came over to me and said, “I really loved your set.” I tried to play it cool, and I had to try hard, because it was none other than Patty Smyth!

We wandered outside into the cool night air, and she told me, “You remind me of my daughter.” And then I remembered, oh yeah! This lady has seen and done it all, from rockin’ the world’s stages to motherhood. Which daughter? I thought to myself, because she has three. She didn’t elaborate, but wow, it must be pretty cool to have the rockin’ Patty Smyth for a mom!

3. Gwen Stefani

Though Kingston, Zuma and and Apollo might remind you of a town in Jamaica, a dance class and a space mission, they are also the names of Gwen’s offspring. When Gwen sang “Don’t Speak”, the world connected with the song on a serious level. But if you are one of her children, the word’s might take a different meaning…

The powerful lyrics from her song, “I’m Just A Girl” make it hard to imagine Gwen all grown up and disciplining a gaggle of human duckings. However, it’s easy to see that she is a mom who totally rocks.

4. Kim Gordon

This mom surely did things that most moms do—she changed dirty diapers, sang lullabys and celebrated little achievements with her daughter, Coco. But she did something else that most mom’s don’t—she helped define a generation and a genre by creating Sonic Youth with Thurston Moore during a time in music history when no-wave was all the rage.

Unlike many moms, in addition to her musical output she also found time to write a book. (Where does one find the time?!) In Girl In A Band, she elaborates on her life and what it’s like to be as a mom who rocks. Hats off to Kim on this mother’s day!

5. Beyonce

Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was in the spotlight from the time she was born. And last year, the world waited for her twins to arrive like a kid waits for gifts on Christmas. But aside from being a rockstar and a mom, Beyonce still finds time to volunteer with the Make A Wish Foundation and from most accounts, appears to be a kind and humble person. And those are totally qualities that make any mom rock!

How does your mom rock? Tell us about her in the comments below!

11 Quick and Easy Tips for Reading Guitar Chord Charts

11 Quick and Easy Tips for Reading Guitar Chord Charts

While it’s true that you don’t need to read music to play the guitar, you should learn how to read guitar chord charts. A guitar chord chart is a visual representation of a chord.

This helpful visual is a little like music-by-numbers; it tells you which finger goes where and on what string, so in case you come across a chord you don’t know, you’ll be able to play it. Here’s an example of a guitar chord chart, also known as a guitar chord diagram:

Guitar Fingering Diagram E minor

Guitar chord charts are a cinch to read once you learn what all the lines, numbers, and circles mean. Are you ready to start learning how to play songs on the guitar? Here are 11 things you need to read guitar fingering charts.

11 Tips for Reading a Guitar Chord Chart

Visualization

The grid of six vertical and five horizontal lines represents the guitar fretboard. If you’re having trouble understanding the basic layout of the image above, hold your guitar in front of you so that the strings are facing you and the headstock is pointing up.

The image of the guitar chord chart represents this same view of your guitar, with strings running vertically and frets horizontally.

Which End Is Up?

Guitar chord charts are more commonly situated vertically (like above) rather than horizontally, especially in songbooks. It’s good to learn to interpret both vertical and horizontal grids though.

Righty or Lefty?

Since guitar chord charts are typically written for right-handed guitarists, they provide a challenge to left-handed players, who have to do a bit of re-visualization by flipping the chart around. If a given source doesn’t provide a left-handed version, you can download left-handed guitar chord charts online.

Chord Name

The letter at the top of the chart is the name of the chord.

RELATED: 20 Easy Songs with Basic Guitar Chords

Vertical Lines

The vertical lines on a guitar fingering chart represent the six strings of the guitar. The low E string (the thickest one) is on the left of the diagram, followed by the A, D, G, B and high E string, which is on the right of the diagram.

The string names are sometimes noted at the bottom of the guitar chord chart.

Horizontal Lines

The horizontal lines on the chart represent the metal frets on the neck of the guitar. The top line will generally be bolded or marked by a double line, which indicates the guitar’s nut. Fret numbers are sometimes noted to the left of the sixth string.

Chords Beyond the 4th Fret

If the guitar fingering chart is depicting frets higher than the fourth fret, the top line on the chart will not be bolded (or doubled) and fret numbers will be shown, either to the left of the sixth string or to the right of the first string, to help orient you on the fretboard.

SEE ALSO: How to Read Guitar Tabs

Black Dots

The black (or red) dots on the diagram tell you which frets and strings to place your fingers on. The numbers inside the dots indicate which fingers to use on each of the frets. They correspond to the four fingers of the fretting hand.

Number 1 is the index finger, 2 is the middle finger, 3 is the ring finger, and 4 is your pinky. You don’t use the thumb to fret, except in certain unusual circumstances. In those cases there would be a “T” inside the black dot.

Fingerings can also sometimes be found written along the bottom of the strings of a chord chart, or between the nut mark and the chord name instead of inside the dots.

X’s and O’s

An “X” above the bolded nut mark indicates a string you don’t pick or strum. An “O” in the same location means to play the string open.

Alternate Fingerings

You may come across a suggested chord fingering that you simply cannot contort your fingers to play. In this case try experimenting with alternate fingerings. The most commonly used chord fingerings, however, will work for most guitarists.

How a Barre Chord Is Charted

As you probably already know, barre chords are chords that involve using one finger, usually your index finger, to hold down multiple strings in a single fret simultaneously.

A barre is noted on a guitar chord diagram by a curved or solid line running through a fret from the first note to the last note of the chord, or by a series of dots in the same fret that all bear the same number.

Ready to give it a shot? Check out this infographic from Guitar Domination to learn 32 essential chords. [Preview below]

Learn to Read an Acoustic Guitar Chord Diagram

 

About The Author

Guitartricks.com is an online subscription service that has provided video guitar lessons for beginners and advanced players since 1998. The site has more than 11,000 video lessons and 600+ song tutorials. Learn more about the site with this Guitar Tricks Review.

What is a capo

What is a Capo? Everything You Need to Know Here.

What is a capo

A capo is a helpful device that allows you to easily change the key of a song while using the standard “open position” chords that every guitarist knows. With a capo, you can play those same chords in any fret position along the neck of the guitar. Keep reading to find more answers to all of your capo-related questions!

What is a Capo?

A capo (pronounced “cape-oh”) is a small clamp that you can attach to the neck of the guitar at a specific fret. What does a capo do? It keeps all of the guitar’s strings depressed at that specific fret, all of the time. The parts of the capo that squeeze the strings against the fret board are made of rubber, so they don’t damage the wood on your guitar. 

Let’s say you attach the capo at fret two. It will squeeze down all of the strings at fret two and keep them pressed down. So it’s like you’re playing a note at fret two with your finger, but on all six strings simultaneously.

If you were to lay your index finger across all six strings at fret two and press down hard enough so that all the notes at fret two sounded clearly on each string, that technique would be called a “barre.” This barre technique is used by guitarists all the time, but if you are just beginning you may not have tried it yet and when you do, it will take a few weeks to master.

Attaching a capo is a much easier way to achieve the same result. You could say that the capo produces a permanent barre at a specific fret. Now let’s look at what exactly happens when you have a capo attached to your guitar.

How Does a Capo Work?

Let’s use the capo attached at fret two as an example again, although you can put the capo across any fret. Once the capo is on, when you play your strings open, the notes that sound are not E, A, D, G, B, and E (the notes of open strings six through one). Instead, they are F#, B, E, A, C#, and F#.

We say these notes are “one tone higher” or a “whole step” higher (the distance of two frets) than the normal open string notes. If you think of fret three as if it were fret one, and form a C chord as you normally would (but above the capo), it will sound as a D chord.

If you played a song with Am, G, and C chords (which would be in the key of C major), you will hear Bm, A, and D chords (which would move the song to the key of D major). Every time you move the capo one fret higher, you have raised the music by one key. The most common reason for changing the key of a song is to make it easier to sing in your vocal range.

To hear the sound of a guitar with a capo on, listen to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. The capo is on fret seven and it gives the guitar a bright, mandolin-like quality. The chord progression would be in the key of D major, but with the capo on, it comes out in A major.

Who Should Use a Capo?

For beginners, using a capo means that you can play more songs with a limited knowledge of chords and delay learning those difficult “barre chords” you may have heard about. But capos are not just for beginners.

Many songwriters use capos so they can play chords in the style they’re accustomed to anywhere along the neck of the guitar. By moving the capo, they can easily try singing a song in different keys until they find the one that works best for their voice.

In fact, flamenco guitar players routinely use a capo in the first few frets for two reasons – to play songs in the traditional keys, but also for the way the capo tends to push the strings closer to the neck, making chords and fast melodic runs easier to play. Try this if your guitar is a beginner model that is a bit more difficult to play.

SEE ALSO: 5 Guitar Gadgets That Will Change Your Life

Which Capo is the Best?

There are a few different capo designs. One of the best capos is the Shubb, which retails for about $16 on Amazon. It’s made of rugged steel and clamps on very securely. This is handy because if you accidentally bump the capo while playing, it won’t pop off and ruin your performance.

If you’re on a budget, one of Amazon’s best sellers is the UGY plastic capo which retails for about $7. This capo uses a spring action and can be attached or moved very quickly by squeezing two levers together. There are many manufacturers making capos in this style.

A third option is the Dunlop elastic capo, starting at around $3. It uses a stretchy elastic cloth that attaches to a rubber coated, pole piece. Several holes are provided along the elastic to allow for different tensions, as the neck gets wider the higher you go.

Whatever style you prefer, you need to make sure you order the right one for the type of guitar you have. If you order the wrong one, it won’t squeeze the strings correctly. A “steel string” guitar capo has a slight curvature to the part that lies across the fret board, as the fret board on a steel string guitar is slightly convex. A “nylon string” guitar capo is wider and very flat.

Many beginning guitarists often ask their instructors, “What is a capo?” Now that you know what a capo is and how to use one, you’ll be on your way to playing more songs than you thought you could! You’ll also be able to more easily play and sing along at the same time.

Although the capo can be a very helpful tool, try not to rely on it too much. It’s still very important to expand your knowledge of different chords on the guitar. Need some help mastering some of the more challenging chords? Check out TakeLessons. Our expert guitar instructors can help take your skills to the next level!

MikeJ.

Mike J. teaches acoustic guitar, bass guitar, blues guitar, classical guitar, as well as country guitar in Ogden, UT. He received his Applied Music Degree from Mohawk College and has gone on to receive many certifications and awards since then. Mike is a full time music instructor with over 30 years of experience teaching, performing, and writing music. Learn more about Mike J. here!

How to Tune a Guitar

How to Tune a Guitar – Easy Tricks and Pro Tips

How to Tune a Guitar for Beginners

What’s the first thing you should do every time you pick up a guitar? Resist the urge to shred for a moment, and make sure you’re in tune. This guide will teach you exactly how to tune a guitar using different methods like a pro.

If you’re just beginning to play the guitar, an out-of-tune instrument can be incredibly frustrating and make every note sound like a mistake. Knowing how to tune a guitar properly will ensure that you always sound your best when you play.

How to Tune a Guitar

The mechanics of tuning a guitar are simple. To adjust the pitch of a string, turn the string’s corresponding tuning key on the head of the guitar. (Hint: here’s our guide to the parts of a guitar).

Turning the tuning key away from you will tighten the string and raise its pitch. Conversely, turning the tuning key toward you will loosen the string and lower its pitch.

How to Tune a Guitar using Standard Tuning

standard guitar tuning notesMost guitarists tune their instruments to “standard tuning.” If you’re just beginning to play and aren’t sure which tuning to use, you should stick with standard tuning for now. As you get more comfortable with your instrument, feel free to experiment with other tunings to keep your practice fresh.

The strings on the guitar are numbered one through six, starting with the highest string.

Guitar Tuning Notes

You’ll commonly name the strings in ascending order, starting with string six: E, A, D, G, B, E. Take a look at this image to see which note each string should be tuned to. Note that your highest and lowest strings are both E, the same note spaced two octaves apart.

Each note corresponds to the pitch your string should produce when played open, without holding down any of the frets. When you’re tuning, it’s best to start with the sixth string and work your way down.

How to Tune Guitar with a Chromatic or Pitch Tuner

When you’re learning how to tune a guitar, it’s very important to have a reliable method of finding the right pitch for each string. Most guitarists either use an electronic tuner or another instrument. Each method comes with pros and cons.

For most beginners, using a tuner is the simplest way to find the right pitch for your guitar. Tuners come in a few different varieties. Chromatic tuners “hear” the note you’re playing and display the pitch your string is currently tuned to. You will be able to see if your guitar is sharp or flat, and also see when you’ve adjusted the string to the correct note.

Pitch tuners play the pitch for each string and you must match each note by ear. You can also get a tuning fork, which you strike to produce the correct pitch for your guitar string. If you happen to be near your computer when the need to tune arises, it’s also easy to find a free online guitar tuner, like this one by Fender.

If you do decide to invest in a tuner or tuning fork, ask yourself if you’re a more visual person or if you’ve developed an “ear” for musical notes and intervals. Visual people and beginning musicians will benefit greatly from the use of a chromatic tuner, and over time may begin to develop a better ear for music by using a tuner as a guide.

If you feel confident in your ability to hear and distinguish pitch (or if you like a challenge), you might be happier with a tuning fork or a tuner that plays pitch.

SEE ALSO: 5 Basic Guitar Chords and 20 Easy Songs for Beginners

How to Tune a Guitar Without a Pitch Tuner

If you find yourself playing solo without a tuner, you can make a guitar sound decent by tuning it to itself. Start with your sixth string held down on the fifth fret. You’re now playing an A on your E string. Adjust your fifth string, the A string, until your A string played open matches the pitch of the E string played on the fifth fret. It can be helpful to hum the correct note as you tune your open string, so you can better hear if your string is tuned too tight or loose.

Next, tune your D string to match the pitch of your A string played on the fifth fret. You can continue tuning each string to the fifth fret of the string above it, except for the B string. To tune your B string, hold the G string down on the fourth fret. As long as each string is tuned to the correct interval from the next string, your guitar will still sound fine by itself.

How to Tune a Guitar by Matching Pitch with a Keyboard

If you don’t have a guitar tuner handy, but you do have access to a piano, you can use the piano to find the correct pitch for your guitar. Tuning to a piano or keyboard is a great way to get the right pitch for your guitar, and is especially useful if you will be playing along with a pianist or other instrument.

Just tune your sixth string to the E two octaves below middle C. From there, you can tune your guitar to itself or continue to match each pitch to the right notes as you go up the keyboard.

Alternate Guitar Tunings

What do Joni Mitchell and Black Sabbath have in common? It’s all in the tuning! Both artists often used alternate tunings to get unique sounds from their guitars. Once you have a good idea of how to tune a guitar, it can be lots of fun to experiment with alternate guitar tunings. There are hundreds of possible alternate tunings for the guitar, but two of the most common alternate tunings are Drop D and Open G.

Drop D Tuning

Tuning your guitar to Drop D is pretty simple. Start with your guitar in standard tuning, and just tune your sixth string down a full step from E to D. Famous songs in Drop D tuning include the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”.

Open G Tuning

If you love Keith Richards’ guitar playing in the Rolling Stones, you’re already a fan of Open G tuning. In Open G, your guitar strings are tuned to the notes of the G chord, so when you strum open you’re already playing a complete chord. Starting from the sixth string, tune to the following notes: D-G-D-G-B-D.

How Often Should I Tune a Guitar?

Guitars are very sensitive instruments. The wood in your guitar expands and contracts slightly due to changes in temperature and humidity, which change the tension in the strings and cause them to go out of tune. You might even notice your guitar going out of tune as you play it, particularly if you tend to play very hard or frequently bend pitches.

Due to the guitar’s sensitivity, it’s best to tune at the start of your practice, and again any time you sense that it doesn’t sound quite right. You will notice even professional musicians occasionally need to take some time during performances to tune a guitar.

How Can I Make My Guitar Stay in Tune Longer?

Keep your guitar in tune longer by changing your strings regularly. Depending on how often you play, you might want to change your strings anywhere from once a month to once a week. When you’re not playing, store your guitar in a hard case in a cool, dry place to avoid changes in heat and humidity.

If you follow these tips but still have issues with your guitar going out of tune, there may be an issue with your instrument’s intonation. Intonation refers to your instrument’s ability to hold pitch. Intonation may be affected by wear and tear as you play your guitar or the way your guitar was manufactured. Visit a local guitar shop and ask them to take a look at your guitar’s intonation and they should be able to help you find the right solution to your tuning woes.

how to tune a guitar infographic

How to Tune a Guitar Step-by-Step:

  • Step 1: Start by tuning the low E String.
  • Step 2: Next, tune the A String.
  • Step 3: Tune the D String.
  • Step 4: Tune the G String.
  • Step 5: Tune the B String.
  • Step 6: Tune the High E String.

Free Online Guitar Tuners

There are a number of great free online guitar tuners you can use to help you tune your guitar. Here are a few of our favorites:

8notes.com – You can use this tuner to hear the correct pitch, or activate your computer’s microphone to enable pitch detection.

JamPlay – This free online guitar tuner from JamPlay also allows you to tune by ear or use your computer’s microphone for pitch detection.

TrueFire – TrueFire makes a great free guitar tuner you can use on your computer in addition to their fantastic Pro Guitar Tuner app.

GuitarTricks – This tuner uses real guitar tones so you can match your instrument to its sounds.

Now that you know how to tune a guitar, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time. Need some more help with basic guitar skills? Check out the online guitar classes for free at TakeLessons Live. You’ll learn how to play different chords, new strumming patterns, and some of your favorite songs!

8 Must-Have Acoustic Guitars for Fall 2016

8 Must-Have Acoustic Guitars for Fall 2016 (For All Budgets)

8 Must-Have Acoustic Guitars for Fall 2016

In the market for a new guitar? Check out these recommendations for the best acoustic guitars released this year, courtesy of Colleen from Coustii.com…

 

Buying a new acoustic guitar is a really exciting experience. But to make the process hassle-free, you’ll want to spend some time considering a few important questions. Are you just starting out, or are you an experienced guitarist? Will you be playing solo, or with a band? What is your budget? Once you have the answers to these, it’s time to pick your guitar. Here is my list of the eight coolest acoustic guitars released in 2016.

Ibanez Artwood Vintage

Guitar Brand: Ibanez
Name: Artwood Vintage AVD6
Price: $499.99
Ideal for practicing, as well as playing small, intimate gigs.

Ibanez’s creation is a perfect mix of technological design and acoustic tradition. It has a dreadnought body with a solid sitka spruce top. The back, neck, and sides are made out of mahogany, and the bridge and fretboard are made out of rosewood.

The Artwood Vintage is ideal for carrying around as it does not take too much space. It also boasts a nice, rich sound.

Dean AXS Dreadnought

Guitar Brand: Dean
Name: AXS Dreadnought – Gloss Natural
Price: $179.00
Ideal for beginning guitarists on a budget.

This is the most affordable acoustic guitar on this list. It has a fantastic-looking spruce top, which is reinforced with a 2-ply binding. It’s a full-scale guitar with a rosewood fingerboard and solid die-cast tuners. These allow the ax to remain tuned at all times.

This guitar is great for practicing, recording, and live jamming. It’s fun to play, even for experienced players, and has an overall good feel to it.

Gibson Songwriter Koa

Guitar Brand: Gibson
Name: Songwriter Koa
Price: $3,649.00
Ideal for guitarists who like nice things and aren’t afraid to admit it.

The Gibson Songwriter Koa has set the bar for a great acoustic guitar. Its soothing, musical sound originates from the koa wood from which it is made. Gibson even added a new compound radius fingerboard to give you the feel of an electric guitar.

Perhaps no guitar is perfect, but I’ve yet to find a flaw in this one. If you can only buy one guitar in your life, this is the one you should choose!

Gibson Hummingbird Red Spruce

Guitar Brand: Gibson
Name: Hummingbird Red Spruce
Price: $3,649.00
Ideal for advanced guitarists who plan to perform.

This electric-acoustic guitar offers a comfortable rounded mahogany neck and a solid rosewood fingerboard. Keeping a firm grasp on the guitar is easy and your fingers just slide down the polished fingerboard. Its design is bright and eye-catching, and you can see the almost 60 years of experience that Gibson put into making the Hummingbird.

This is probably why megastars like Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Keith Richards, and Sheryl Crow count the Hummingbird as one of their favorites!

Dean Craig Wayne Boyd – Gloss Natural

Guitar Brand: Dean
Name: Craig Wayne Boyd A/E – Gloss Natural
Price: $449.00
Ideal for an intermediate guitarist who enjoys a good-looking ax.

This name might sound familiar: Craig Wayne Boyd rose to fame after winning Season 7 of the NBC reality singing show “The Voice”. Now, he’s released the guitar that helped him achieve this fame. This model even features his initials at the top.

Its body is made of mahogany, and the quilt ash top makes this guitar great for the eyes and the ears. Its C-shaped neck makes it a very comfortable guitar to use. What better way to follow in Boyd’s footsteps than by choosing this guitar?

Yamaha FG180-50TH

Guitar Brand: Yamaha
Name: FG180-50th
Price: $1,300
Ideal for an experienced guitarist who prefers to play folk music.

Yamaha released this guitar to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the FG180. It’s a limited edition model that holds much of the folk tradition that helped make the FG180 great in the first place.

This is an ideal guitar for practically anything, from practicing to recording. It sounds great in small venues and even in big mega concerts.

Martin X Series Custom 2016 X1-DE

Guitar Brand: Martin
Name: X Series 2016 X1-DE
Price: $599.99
Ideal for environmentally friendly guitarists.

This guitar is easy to play and easy on the environment, as it’s made with HPL (High Pressure Laminate). It also has a strong Stratabond neck and robust Richlite fingerboard.

The X Series offers an unexpected deep tone that sounds great, plugged in or not.

Orleans Stage Acoustic

Guitar Brand: Schecter
Name: Orleans Stage Acoustic
Price: Coming this Fall!
Ideal for performing artists who like to stand out.

Unlike most traditional acoustic guitars, the Orleans Stage comes in a vibrant Vampyre Red Burst Satin color. It’s expected to be released in the fall of 2016. The Stage acoustic has a 25-1/2″ scale, 20-fret fingerboards, and black chrome hardware. Its base material, body and neck, are all made out of maple.

Readers, what are the best acoustic guitars you’ve tried out this year? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Further Reading:

Colleen has a passion for guitars and ukuleles. She enjoys jamming, teaching, and getting others involved in music. Her website, Coustii, focuses specifically on guitars and ukes.

Photo by Kyle McCluer

 

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