Author Archives: Isabel Andrews

Picking Out Your Guitar

Picking out your guitar can be a scary task, especially if it’s your first. When I got my first guitar, I didn’t really take a lot of the important factors into consideration. I ended up getting an okay guitar that didn’t really suit my needs. I didn’t look into the minor details, like machine heads, the size, and compatible string types.

The first fact I will propose is that you shouldn’t go for an entry level guitar with a brand name. While their professional guitars often have superior quality, it just isn’t the same with their beginner models. They don’t go through the same production lines and often use cheaper materials. You can get a better quality beginner guitar from a smaller company. At this point, you probably don’t need to pay for the extra features in an expensive professional guitar. Stick with the basics and keep your budget small for your first guitar.

Learn more about the best acoustic electric guitars from bestguitar.reviews.

A great place to start is by looking at simple acoustic and classical guitars. You should choose the guitar that is suited for the style of music you like most. If you like rock, check out electric guitars. If you like classical music, flamenco, or folk, you may want to get a classical nylon guitar. Acoustic guitars are pretty versatile to play anything from ballads, to country, to pop music.

If you are looking for a guitar for your child, classical guitars are usually the way to go. They have less tension in the strings, which makes them less painful to play and easier to push down. You should also make sure the guitar is the right size. Most guitars come in different sizes corresponding to your height. Nylon string guitars have the most variety of sizes suiting players from two feet tall with a ¼ size until they grow to be over five feet tall with a full size.

You can also choose a guitar with a slimmer neck. This is great for people with small hands. It’s a good idea to get into the store and try out different sizes to see what feels comfortable for you. Even though you may be tall enough for a full sized guitar, a smaller size may actually be more comfortable for you.

The Taylor Guitars GS Mini is the second guitar I purchased. It has a really great hardware, which is hard to think about when you are buying your first guitar. I love how compact it is, while still giving me full resonating tones. It’s the perfect portable guitar. It’s small and light enough to just grab and throw in the car anywhere I am going. Some people complain about Taylor’s choice to use laminate on the back and sides, but it’s really good quality and doesn’t affect the sound negatively. The top is made of mahogany, with an African ebony fretboard. It is also pretty loud for such a small guitar! It is a little more expensive than most beginner models. However, it is certainly a guitar that will last and has a great quality build and parts.

The Cordoba C5 is a solid and less expensive beginner classical guitar. It is a great choice because it has a quality build that will grow with you. Cordoba is a highly trusted name in guitars even their budget buys live up to. The mahogany neck and Canadian cedar body feel really expensive in my hands. The tonewood really offers a heavenly sound! I wish I had seen this option when I was shopping for my first guitar! It has the average cast tuning machines, which actually perform better than I expected. It holds the tune really well. There is something about nylon string guitars that allow you to know something is wrong with just a few strums. If you want the warmth of an expensive classical guitar, but don’t have the budget, the Cordoba is a fabulous choice for you.  

If you aren’t sure what type of music you will end up jamming on with, the Alvarez Artist Series AD30 could help you on your musical journey. It has a really impressive build for a beginner guitar. It is the only one on this list with a fully natural body. The front is Sitka spruce with mahogany sides and back. The neck is made of mahogany as well with a rosewood fingerboard. The semi-gloss finish pulls it all together. The tonewoods offer a really beautiful sound and great projection. You could totally use this for a gig without any issues. This may be Alvarez’s only entry-level guitar, but they didn’t mess around with entry-level hardware. You really get a high-quality guitar at a valuable price! This is one of my favorites to take to jam with friends.

Guitar History

When you look at guitar history, you’ll realize how far this ancient instrument has come. There are as many theories about where the instrument actually originated from as there are people with their own theories. The history of the guitar is over 4,000 years long! Knowing the history of the guitar is important for any musician. You should know as much about your instrument as your instrument will learn about you. Knowing this history can also help you choose the right guitar for your playing style. Here is some of the history.

While some people claim that the guitar is a refined version of a lute, this was later revealed to be false. Dr. Michael Kasha revealed that the lute is part of a different line of development. They both share common ancestors but have had no influence on each other’s development. Was the guitar created from inspiration from lap harps instead? It seems unlikely, but let’s look into it.

The first stringed instruments (that archeologists have discovered so far) are bowl harps and tanburs. These bowl harps were created with tortoise shells, silk strings, and a bent stick. You can see these in some museums today. They were used in Sumeria, Babylon, and Egypt before 2,500 CE.

Later, these harps became more intricate and even made of gold with 11 strings. These are tanburs. These likely evolved from bowl harps. They have straightened neck, which allowed the player to press the strings down to allow for more notes to be played. Egyptian paintings show these instruments being used with others in ensembles.

The oldest guitar is about 3,500 years old from Egypt. It was found in the tomb of Har-Mose, who is assumed to have been its owner. This guitar has three strings and a flat neck. The sound box is round and made from cedar wood. Egypt wasn’t the only culture creating guitar-like instruments at that time.

To decode which early instruments were actually linked to the development of the modern guitar, this instrument needs to be clearly defined. We can thank Dr. Kasha for clearly defining that all guitars have a long, fretted neck, a flat soundboard made of wood, a flat back, and incurved sides. Then, we can look at evidence like stone carvings, paintings, and actually ancient artifacts to discern when and where these instruments originated.

That brings us to the oldest known image of a guitar in the form of a stone carving from Alaca Huyuk in Turkey. It depicts a person holding an instrument that matches Dr. Kasha’s description. This image was carbon dated and found to be 3,300 years old. This image could help give us more insight as to where the instrument originated. This is further evidence that the guitar wasn’t inspired by the lute, which has a short neck, rounded back and doesn’t have incurved sides.

The word guitar actually comes from ancient Sanskrit. Tar is the Sanskrit word for string. There are many “tar” instruments that have been around for thousands of years. Each of these instruments has a prefix that tells you how many strings that variation has. Dotars have two strings, Sitars have three, and Chatar have four strings.

Later these “tars” would make their way to Europe, where it underwent more transformation and variations. Most variations included guitars with three to five strings. They can be seen depicted in many medieval manuscripts, sculpture, and architecture.

When the beginning of the Renaissance rolled in, a new type of guitar became popular. This guitar had four sets of strings tuned in unison. The frets also began to grow longer. Where they once had 8 frets, they now had between 10 and twelve. In Italy, during the 16th century, people started using five-string guitars and settled on the same basic tuning we use today.

Italians continued as the driving force in the refinement of the instruments. In the 17th century, they introduced the six string guitar. By the beginning of the nineteenth century is when guitars really took the modern shape we recognize today. Spanish musicians honed the very first classical guitars, which became the standard. When steel strings were introduced, you would probably not be able to tell the difference between vintage and modern models while choosing an acoustic guitar. These allowed the guitars to make more noise and fueled the creative fire that allowed musicians to create new types of music.

The Music Within Us

The music within us keeps us soothed, healthy, and happy. Life would be completely different without music. Nothing breaks up an awkward silence quite like a great tune. Some could argue that music is what makes us human. It not only reflects the fabric of our lives and relationships, but it also connects us through our own barriers.

Music is a key feature to any life-changing event. You pour over song titles to create the perfect wedding playlist to help you remember that day. You may play a specific song to commemorate a lost loved one. Maybe you have a song you always play when you wake up on your birthday. Music can be used to complete an atmosphere. It can change the energy of an entire room of people. There is a song for any occasion.

Music is nothing new to humans. Every culture in the world creates music. You can listen to music from different places of the world and get a whole new look into their culture and how they experience the world around them. Music helps us change our emotions, create lasting memories, and a whole lot more. Read on to hear about the therapeutic benefits of music.

  • Music helps us be more creative. Neurologist Marcus Raichle discovered a state of mind called mind-wandering mode. He found that music is one of the easiest ways to get into this headspace. This state of mind allows our thoughts to wander in a way that is conducive to creativity. That’s why so many artists listen to specific songs to help them get into their creative zone. 
  • Music aids learning and memory. It’s no secret that using music in the classroom is a great way to get kids involved in the learning process. Music is a great way to get children to focus and help them remember facts for long periods of time.
  • Music is a language everyone can understand. Even if you can’t understand the lyrics, you can get a feel of the emotion and the thought the composer put into the sounds you are hearing.
  • Music helps build relationships. While music is great when you are on your own, you can also use it to bring people together and make new friends. When you meet someone who has similar feelings about certain music, you automatically have a deeper, more empathetic connection with them. It can also help people in a team work together more effectively. Playing music in a group is a great way to practice working alongside others as well.
  • Listening to music can reduce stress and anxiety. There is a slew of research that proves that music with a slow tempo and low pitches help people calm themselves down during even the most stressful times in their lives. Some studies looked at women who listened to music while giving birth. The music helped them manage their pain!
  • Music can motivate you to change your life for the better. There are few things with the motivational power of music.
  • Studies have also found that music can make people smarter and more understanding. 

Go listen to your favorite music and start reaping all of the great benefits music has to offer!