Learning how to play guitar is a great experience for adults and children alike. Used in many different genres of music, including but not limited to rock, blues, jazz, soul, reggae, latin, and metal, playing the guitar can be a fun hobby, a professional musical career, or anything in between! Whatever you are looking to accomplish, Musika’s network of teachers work with students of all ages and experience levels to get you where you want to go.
The guitar is a (typically) six stringed instrument that is played by strumming the strings either with your fingers or with a pick. The other hand presses down various strings on the fretboard to produce different notes which can be played on their own or which can make up chords when played together. Since many popular songs are made up of only a few chords, they can be easy even for beginning students to learn to play on guitar. This guide can help familiarize you with your guitar before your first lesson!
The guitar developed primarily in Europe and it went through several variations as it developed into the instrument we play today. The guitar was predated by other stringed instruments, primarily the lute, vihuela, and the four-course Renaissance guitar. During the Baroque era the guitar continued to develop, primarily in Spain although it was played in other countries as well, and the five-course guitar was popular in Spain by the mid-16th century. Around 1850, Spanish guitar maker Antonio Torres created the acoustic guitar that resembles what is currently used. While six-stringed instruments had already been in use since the 17th century, developing in Italy and spreading throughout Europe, Torres enlarged the body of the instrument and created the “fan” top bracing pattern. This improved the tone and projection capabilities of the guitar and this basic model is still used today.
The first successful electric guitar was created by George Beauchamp in 1931. With a solid core, the electric guitar cannot project sound very far on its own and instead relies on amplification. Electric guitars are used primarily in rock, jazz, blues, metal, and other popular music genres. No matter which version you learn how to play guitar on, it is easy to switch between them as they are played with the same notes and chords.
We recommend starting guitar lessons around age 6, depending on the development of the student's dexterity in their hands and fingers. The strings can be difficult to hold down for smaller children, so it is important for students to have enough strength in their fingers when they begin learning to play guitar. The guitar is also a great instrument for teens and adults, no matter how old!
We recommend that most young students start out with a 1/2 or 3/4 size acoustic guitar. There are two types: nylon string (classical) and steel string (folk). Nylon strings have lower tension and are a little easier on the fingers than steel string, but many people prefer the brighter sound of the folk guitar and feel the extra effort is worth it.
Older students (10 and up) are usually comfortable handling an electric guitar. Fender, Epiphone, and Ibanez are a few popular brands for beginning electric guitar students. You'll also need guitar cables, an amplifier, guitar strap, picks, and extra strings, too.
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