Electric Guitar

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The Guitar

One the most awe inspiring sights is a brand new Gibson, Les Paul edition guitar. It's fine finish and unique headstock just screams "American pride". Most people only see the flashy body and hear the trademark sound and never understand exactly how they work. The electric guitar is probably one of the most complex, but most interesting, instruments of modern times.

As complex as the guitar is, playing it is not that complicated. The guitar is an instrument in which the level of skill in the musician rises rapidly but still takes many years to master. One of the first things one learns when one starts lessons is to read tabature. This way, the player could buy guitar magazines and begin to learn to play on his own. Tabature uses six lines on a piece of paper indicating the six strings of the guitar. Then, numbers are used to indicate the certain fret which a certain note is to be played on. A series of numbers of various lines will start to come together to form music. The good thing about tabature is anyone can read it. A bad thing is it takes a lot of time to figure out small pieces of music. Often times tabature does not make sense, it can be confusing and finally it can defiantly be frustrating.

There are basically two types of basic sounds that can be made by the guitar. The first is a chord. This is any combination of two or more notes played together. The other sound is a single note. This is formed by plucking or picking one string at a time.

If the sound of the guitar is bad, ninety-nine out of one hundred times, the guitar is out of tune. For chords to sound good, the strings must be in tune with each other.

Most players use what is called the fifth fret trick. Every string on a guitar is tuned up five frets(except B which is tuned up 4). The fifth fret trick is performed by playing the fifth fret of the lower string and the higher string open. If the two notes sound the same, they are in tune. While most musicians use their ear to tune, there are a number of tuning devices. Tuning devices work by measuring the pitch of a note. If the note is off, the indicator will move left to indicate fatness and right to indicate sharpness. One might ask why use a tuning device when an ear will do the trick. If the player isn't picky, or has a good ear, using their is ear is fine. However, if the player wants the guitar to be exactly in tune, a tuning device is the way to go. A tuning device is much more accurate that the human ear because it can detect much smaller frequency changes. It is also is much more consistent, in that the human ear can tire.

Out of all the guitars in the world, they could all be divided into two basic categories - electric and acoustic. Though similar, the two types of guitars have their differences. The acoustic uses no electricity, has a wide hollow body, has different types of strings, and the strings are tighter. The electric uses pick-ups to turn vibrations into electric signals, usually has a solid body, and uses an amplifier to create and amplify its sound.

There are many brands of guitars, but the two that dominate the guitar industry are Fender and Gibson. Some smaller brand names that make great guitars are Peavey, Fernando, Ibenez, Jackson, Chavel, Rickenbocker, and Washburn. Most of these brands also make bass guitars.

The part of the guitar that is most often taken for granted is the pick-up. A pick-up or electromechanical transducer converts tones or vibrations made by the strings into electrical pulses of electricity. Most pick-ups have six magnetically charged pole pieces. The six pole pieces are for the six strings. Most guitars have three pick-ups (six pole pieces each), spread between the tailpiece and the neck. A toggle switch allows you to choose which pick-up you want to sound dominate. Also, different pick-ups have different sounds and constructions. Bass pick-ups are placed differently than guitar pick-ups because they...
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