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Guitar 101

September 3, 2011

“I learned guitar when I was 10.”  Taylor Swift

“It’s not that easy.” Many say it’s tough work to learn guitar. I would interview pianist people, and they would say in piano, you need not to have long fingers, nor hard finger presses to get to play it properly, unlike guitar. I pondered to my response saying it’s not even needed at all. During those critical moments, I began doubting while proving to them that I, for once, also had difficulties. Panic reached my nerves. I felt it, but luckily, I had control over my mood. There was a slight glance of my past that I imagined when I was first learning guitar a-b-cs. One by one, I shared to them what it’s like to first learn playing the instrument.

“Positioning”

Actually, it’s also like piano wherein you need to practice and memorize the positioning of the left hand and its fingers to the so-called frets of the guitar. These positions depend on what chord or key you are going to use. Like for instance you want to play the A chord in the guitar, its positioning would be placed at the 2nd fret with the second, third, and fourth finger pressing the second, third, and fourth string respectively. That’s one example. Another is B, and it is played like the A chord, only adjusted 2 frets upward. But it varies from the original positioning of A wherein it uses the third, fourth, and fifth finger to play the A chord on the 4th fret, and the second finger positioned at the 2nd fret holding all the strings. Others, like C and D, differ also from each other. It’s a usual thing; however, there are cases that two chords have the same positioning like that of B flat chord and A sharp chord.

 “Tuning”

Guitars need to be tuned. Before anything else, it needs to be tuned the right way otherwise, it would produce a relatively bad sound. Here in tuning, many ways can be followed. It can be either the old-school way or the new-school way of tuning a typical acoustic or electric guitar. For the old-school way, one needs to have good knowledge of the standard tunes of EADGBE and how to modify it just by ear. Yes, it’s more complicated when you compare it on how you tune using the new-school way. For that, one uses a device called a guitar tuner. A product of technology, it allows the guitarist to know accurately the proper pitch for a specific string, given a set of basic or advance tune/s. Given a properly tuned guitar, one can really enjoy applying different chords that he know without messing each of their true tunes or pitch in nature. He can start practicing the tabs or chords of his favorite songs with ease.

“Producing Music with Pacing”

There are two ways of “properly” vibrating the strings of a guitar to produce a special kind of sound called music. Such ways incorporate pacing in its unique styles. These two are strumming and plucking. In strumming, group of strings are being vibrated simultaneously with a given set of chord or key, while in plucking, only a set of strings are being vibrated one at a time. Both follow a set of beat that combines and harmonizes the notes produced upon vibration. The beat can be, for instance, 2 by 4 in time measure with a set of different notes like whole notes or eighth notes, etc.  It can be that such measure or set of notes are the same for all parts of a given piece or song, or not. These variations make unique effects for the switch of moods, words, and meanings when a song is being played using guitar. Given ample practice for such techniques will strengthen a guitarist or a guitarist-on-the-making to master more the art of playing the guitar.

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