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Perfect Fit

A quality acoustic guitar must have good sound, durability and looks good.
 
The days are gone when you would have to empty your bank account to get a quality acoustic guitar. Now, many leading brands offer high-grade models that are available at budge prices.
 
Yet, you need to know how to choose a quality guitar. There are some on the market that look good, but don’t have the durability and have problems staying in tune.
 
The best starter guitar for any guitarist is one that fits well in the guitarist’s hands.

 When referring to something that fits well, we’re usually referring to an item of clothing. But a guitar must fit like a glove, otherwise, the beginner will soon giveup and quit. You must consider: 

  • Age and hand size of the beginner
  • Guitar construction
  • String action
  • Type of string
  • Music to be played
  • Budget.

Average Cost 

On average, a new acoustic guitar will cost between $150 and $5000 depending on the type of guitar you choose. A basic beginner’s guitar will cost between $150 and $750. The short-scale guitars start around $350 and go up depending on the manufacture.

To find the best starter guitar at a cheap price, look a leading trustworthy companies, such as:

  • Yamaha 
  • Fender 
  • Martin 
  • Epiphone
  • Ibanez
  • Taylor
  • Gibson
  • Takamine

Listed here are some of the best guitars for new beginners. They are the Fender CD-60S, Yamaha FG800, Epiphone DR-100, and the Ibanez  AW54OPN. These guitars are of good quality for a very affordable price.

Go online to eBay, find the guitar and check the customer ratings. You will find information to help you make your decision.

Fender CG-60S
Total 5 out of 5 
5 Star Rating

 

These little Beginner Acoustic Guitars sound Excellent for the Price! 

Yamaha FG800
Total 5 out of 81
5 Star Rating

This little guitar is outstanding. It’s ideal for anyone wanting to learn to play the guitar.  

Epiphone DR-100 
Total 4 1/2 out of 314-half stars

Great Starter Guitar. The tone, quality and setup is amazing. 

Age and Hand Size

This may be a strange question, but does the starter guitar fit well in the beginner’s hands? When referring to something that fits well, we’re usually referring to an item of clothing. But a guitar must fit like a glove, otherwise, the beginner will soon give up and quit. 

Smaller hands have less finger strength and power when playing a regular guitar. Play the chords on a regular guitar resulting in hurt and, sometimes, cut fingers.

The starter guitar must fit the body and hand size well. If the beginner is a small child or an older person with small hands, a child’s mini guitar or a short-scale guitar.

Child’s Mini Guitar

If the beginner is a small child perhaps a child’s mini guitar Loog Guitar would be a good choice.

The Loog Guitar designed for younger children with small hands, grows with the child. The Loog is new on the market and a great starter guitar for small children. You can get it disassembled so you and your child can put it together. As the child grows, the guitar can also grow by changing out the smaller parts for larger ones. 

 Ben Brill Music for Kids on YouTube does a complete review and recommends the Loog for his students.

Loog Guitar
Total 4.9 out of 5
5 Star Rating

 

The construction and finish are very high quality. Perfect for little hands and weak fingers.

Short-scale Guitar

The short-scale or shorter string length is easier for smaller hands to finger the chords for a full tone. They make it easier to reach between frets, which minimizes finger pain for beginners. They also use a smaller gauge string which is easier on beginner’s fingers.

A short-scale refers to the string length of 22” to 24.6” from the saddle to the nut. A short scale guitar is not a smaller bodied guitar, which we will review later.

If you use the same string gauge on a standard size guitar and on a short-scale the tuning is different. Tuned the same, the standard size guitar will have more tension. The standard size guitar has more volume capability. It also has more snap in the string action and resonance.

The Little Martins, the Taylor GS-Mini and the Ibanez AW54JR guitars are the best for small hands. These short scale guitars are more expensive than the standard sized guitars.

Taylor GS-Mini
Total of 26 Reviews5 Star Rating

The Taylor GS-Mini is great for smaller hands but is also great as a travel guitar. The guitar quality and sound are great.

Ibanez AW54JR
Total of 23 Reviews 5 Star Rating

This little guitar is one of the best buys on the market. For about $200 you get a guitar that compares in sound to an $8000 guitar. 

LXK2 Little Martin
Total of 7 Reviews 


The LXK2 is a great little guitar with amazing sound and volume. It stays in tune. Great travel guitar or for small hands.

Thinner Neck Acoustic Guitar

The flat, thinner neck guitars also make great starter guitars for smaller hands. The neck measures across the front of the neck, below the nut, not around the neck. 

Standard acoustic guitars usually measure about 1.9”. width across the neck just below the nut. Thinner necks measure between 1.61″ to 1,85″. 

Contrary to the short-scale, the thinner neck does not affect the sound of the guitar.

Fender FA-15
Total of 5 Reviews 4-half stars

The finish is perfect. The neck is straight. The action is low and easy to chord for small hands, perfect for a beginner. 

Small Bodied Guitar

A small bodied guitar is also a great starter guitar. They usually measure ¾  or ½ the size of a regular Dreadnought, Concert or even a Parlor guitar. 

The smaller diminutive body is easier to hold. Great to travel with, but still sounds good. Many artist are singing the praises of the small body.

Recording King Dirty 30’s Harmonella. Price: $199 Street
Washburn Guitars WP11SNS Price: $299 Street Price
Luna Henna Oasis: Price: $399
Epiphone EL-00 PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar: Price: $299 Est U.S. 

Yamaha APXT2 -size Thin-line Cutaway

Yamaha APXT2 
Acoustic-Electric
Total of 30 Reviews 4-half stars

This little travel guitar plays great with good action and tuning. Sounds a little thin acoustically, but great plugged in.

Six ways to help your guitar stay in tune

Guitar buyers want a good quality guitar that holds up over time even if its a starter guitar.

One of the most important things to be considered is whether the guitar stays in tune. Unfortunately, many cheaper guitars do not.

Maximize your playing time by taking the following steps to keep your guitar in tune. Take the following steps to keep you guitar in tune longer.

Here are a few tips that will help your new strings “settle in” quicker and stay in tune better.

According to the experts at Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars:  “New strings require at least of few minutes of breaking in (or stretching) before they achieve the ability to hold the desired tension, seat properly in the nut, tuners, and the ball end.”

String Action

A guitar is not manufactured correctly if the neck is warped or the strings are too high. The saddle or bridge, that supports the strings, could be cut incorrectly. (Pic of the bridge)

If the grooves are cut too deep, the string will be too low and will buzz when played.

If the string action is too high it will cause pain, calluses and even bleeding to the fingertips. Many beginners who experience finger pain stop playing.

Ways to check the action:

Purchase in store or online

On average, you will pay more to purchase a guitar in a store. My suggestion is to go into a store where the beginner can hold different guitars to determine which guitar is the most comfortable. If the instrument isn’t comfortable they will lose motivation to practice. Then, check the prices in different stores and online and choose the best deal for the best guitar for the student.

Purchasing a used guitar

Use the list above and your in-personal evaluation of the guitar that is the best fit. Check out the list of things, on our website, to be aware of when purchasing a used guitar. If you decide to purchase a used guitar buy it from someplace like eBay where you as a buyer have the opportunity to obtain a full refund if the guitar is not what was stated in the description. Don’t purchase from a pawn shop or an individual unless you take someone with you that can evaluate the quality of the guitar.

Loog Guitar Kit Loog Guitar Kit

Larry was 10 years of age when he got his first guitar. He was so determined to learn how to play, even though it required some stretching of his hands across the fretboard, not to mention the cuts and blisters to his finger tips. Many kids, especially younger ones, give up because of the pain. But Larry kept practicing, even when his finger tips were bleeding.

Guitar Perfect for a younger Child – Loog Guitar

Pro Electric Loog

Mini Loog

In 2011, Rafael Atijas, a self-described amateur guitarist, designed the Loog Guitar especially for younger children so they can have fun while learning to play without all the pain.

The Loog comes in mini acoustic  like the little one on the left and the pro electric.

Upon first sight, you might think they are toys, but don’t be fooled. 

They are constructed out of real wood. It tunes, plays and sounds just like the bigger guitars. It is not a downsized-replica of a regular guitar. 

Atijas’s goal was to design a guitar that was comfortable, safe, and fun for small kids to learn on. The body comes in fun shapes with rounded corners or square. Their signature feature is “3 strings.”

Why does the Loog Guitar have 3 strings instead of 6?

If you are a guitarist, I can hear you now, “3 strings?? You can’t play a guitar with 3 strings.”

Because of the design and the three strings, the younger child can start playing right from the start. The Loog is easier for a younger child to tune, play, and hear the notes. The narrow neck makes it easier for little hands to form the chords.

The best part is that it is not painful, no finger welts or cuts, no stretching the little hands to fit around the neck.  So, it’s fun from the start!!!

The first three strings of the Loog are the same as the first three strings on a bigger guitars making the fingering the same. Therefore, it’s much easier for them to graduate to a 6-string when they are ready.

For more information from an instructor about the Loog, check out this YouTube video.

The Loog guitar grows with your child

The Loog’s design allows the guitar to grow with the child. As the child grows just swap out the short neck with a longer, wider neck, without the need to buy a whole new guitar.
To make it even better, every part of the Loog is interchangeable with other Loog models. So, you can exchange a rectangular shaped body for the triangular body. And, instead of buy a whole new kit, you can get just the body. Sweet!!

In fact, every part of the Loog Guitar is interchangeable (check out the kit). The parts are compatible with all other models of the Loog.

The kit includes an app with video lessons, a tuner, and flashcards. With the Loog app, kids can begin playing their favorite songs right from day one. A songbook is also included so they can learn to play real songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and more.

The Loog designers believe that building the guitar is an important part of understanding and loving the instrument. Helping to build the instrument gives the child a deeper connection with the instrument. 

Other Options For An Older Child

Tenor Guitar

A four string Tenor Guitar is another option for an older child. The four strings are easier to learn than a six-string… but just as much fun.

The Tenor Guitar is a ¾ sized guitar that is as easy to play as a ukulele. It is also as versatile as a regular electric guitar, only smaller. A few years ago the Tenor was primarily played in traditional jazz bands. But, today, the tenor seems to be played in any type of music.

Ukulele

Another option for an older child is a ukulele. Many of the pictures you see of kids with a four string guitar, it is really a ukulele.

The most obvious difference between the ukulele and the guitar is the size. The ukulele is 35% to 50% smaller than the standard acoustic guitar. The difference in size between the guitar and ukulele affects the volume, tone, and playability.

Again, the ukulele only have 4 strings as compared to the 6 strings of a guitar. As with the Loog, the ukulele is considered an easier instrument to learn. On both the Loog and the ukulele, there are a variety of simple one- and two-finger chords available to play. This gives the beginner an easier learning path to the guitar or other stringed instruments.

The standard ukulele is tuned differently and the chord fingerings are different. There are larger ukuleles which four strings tuned like a guitar. For more information on tuning  check out Ukulelebuddy.com.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Do you really “wannabe”?

When my son, Fred, turned 10 years of age he was totally consumed with the idea of playing guitar. When he didn’t have homework or chores to do, you would find him sitting in front of the TV playing “air guitar” to music videos on YouTube. 

A video caught his attention about how to build a box guitar. He got the instruction from Teaching Station, collected the cereal box, paper towel tube, rubber bands, and crayons and went to work building his very first guitar.

I wondered just how long it would be before he was on to the next thing that caught his fancy. But, every day, after school, he disappeared into his room working on his guitar.

Two days later, walking in the house getting home from work, I heard a strange noise coming from Fred’s room. I very quietly opened the door. Fred sat on the side of his bed strumming his box guitar. 

“Fred, you got it finished,” I said stepping into his room. “Congratulations.”

“Yeah, I got it, but it doesn’t sound as good as I had thought it would,” he said with a scowl on his face.

“You did it, that’s the important thing,” I said.

“But it doesn’t sound that good,” he whined, a tear in his eye.

“Don’t give up. Let’s start working on a plan. Okay?”

Fred wiped his eyes, “A plan?” he asked. 

“There’s a lot of planning to be done before you actually get a real guitar. Are you willing to do the work?”

“Oh yes, Mom. I’m ready.. When can we start?” he asked running to give me a hug.

 

Preparing for your music journey

Many “wanna-be” guitarists think it looks easy, and they can learn on their own. And many do.

But, with a good guitar and good instruction, whether in person or online, you can develop good “guitar techniques” which will cut your learning time.

“Mom, some of my friends were talking about their guitar teacher. I got his number. Can we call him and set up an appointment? Please, Mom? He only has a couple of slots open. Please?”

“How would you practice? You don’t have a guitar.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Before deciding who to take lessons from or which instrument you need to purchase, you need to know where you are going. Let’s answer these questions to get started.

Ok. 

Mom began reading questions to Fred to build “The Plan.”

  • Do you want to play a musical instrument? What kind? Keyboard? Guitar? 
  • What type of guitar? Acoustic, Electric, or Bass?

Fred piped up, “Guitar. It has to be a guitar.”

“Write it down,” Mom said. “Describe the guitar. And write down the answers to these questions.”

Fred ran to get his notebook to begin the process.

  • Why do you want to play?
  • Do you want to play professionally or just for fun?

Fred sat quietly after writing down his guitar description. He described an acoustic model like the country singers play.

“Did you hear the questions?” she asked.

Fred continued to sit in deep thought. “Can’t I be a professional guitarist and play for fun also? Do I have to be one or the other? What do I have to do as a professional? Just play on stage?”

Mom laughed, “Of course, you can do both. Write it down. We’ll look up what a professional does. Playing on stages is part of it, but not the only thing.”

Mom got out her computer and Googled “Professional Guitarist.”

“Guitarists are skilled performers who also frequently write and record their own music. In addition to practicing and performing, they teach, handle tasks such as booking shows, and collaborate with other musicians. They perform live and play in studios for recording sessions. They practice regularly to learn new music, keep their skills sharp, and to keep in top-notch shape for gigs.”  Careersinmusic.com/guitarist 

Let’s map out your music journey

As with any journey, whether it’s cross-country, an international trip, or a trek into the wonderful world of music, you need to set your goals then create a plan to achieve them. 

You may think that planning just to play a music instrument isn’t important, but it is. Benjamin Franklin said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

If you want to play an acoustic guitar, you would not purchase a keyboard or sign up for drum lessons. So, let’s begin mapping out your journey so you can get the right instrument and the right lessons. 

Set your goals

Fred sat at the kitchen table with his notebook and a pen. “Mom, I’m ready. How do we create a plan so I can get my guitar?”

I laughed, “You seem to be very excited about this.”

Create a music skills inventory list

The first step in setting goals is to create an inventory list of your skills and resources. Put them in your journal so you can check them frequently. Don’t have a journal? Start one.

If you are a complete “newbie” you probably won’t have any music skills, yet, but you might be surprised.

  • Have you taken any music classes in school?
  • Have you tried playing any instruments?
  • Do you have a friend who has shown you a few chords on the guitar or keyboard?
  • Write them down in your journal where you can add to them later.

Make Your Goals Achievable 

We recommend using a SMART Goal Planner. The formula below will help you make your goals clear and help you reach them.

    • “Specific (simple, sensible, significant).”
      • What exactly do you want to do? Or what do you want to happen?
      • Why do you want to do this? How important is it to you?
      • Who else is involved: parents, teacher, spouse, etc?
    • “Measurable (meaningful, motivating).”
      • How much time do you have to practice?
      • How will you know when you have found the right instrument and/or lessons?
    • “Achievable (agreed, attainable)” 
      • How can you accomplish this goal? List out everything you will need, such as instrument, teacher, etc.
      • How realistic is the goal? Will you have enough money to purchase your instrument and hire a teacher? Will you have enough time to practice?
      • Break your goals down. This is especially important for big goals. Put it into small steps that are workable.
    • “Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based). If this is a relevant or good goal you will be able to answer “yes” to every one of the following questions.”
      • Is this the right time?
      • Does this match your other efforts/needs, such as school, work, and/or family?
      • Are you the right person to be a musician? A Professional Musician? 
    • “Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).”
      • When will you have the time to practice? 
      • Will you have enough time?
      • What can you achieve as a musician in six months from now? Six weeks from now?
    • “Evaluated”
      • Answer the above questions in your journal – WRITE IT DOWN.
      • Do you have the time and financial resources to meet this goal?
      • Tell someone you trust. Telling someone you know and trust about your goals seems to increase the likelihood that you will stick to them.
    • “Reviewed”
      • Review your goal regularly to see if you are meeting them.

Finishing up the planner

Fred, with his Mom’s help, worked through the Smart Goal Planner for kids for several days after school. He answered the questions above to come up with his plan. Mom drew a planner similar to the one below for him to put in his notebook.

“Mom,” Fred called. “I think I’m finished. Please see what you think.”

Smart Goal Planner - Dena Warfield

Keep going. Don’t quit no matter how hard it is. 

Don’t Quit!!

Celebrate. And Repeat.

Side Note: if the student is a smaller child, you as a parent, will need to help with the goal setting and directing his/her progress.

by Dena Warfield

Best Guitar Methods for Beginners

Best Guitar Methods: Image-by-Valéria-Rodrigues-Valéria-from-Pixabay

Many “wanna be” guitarists think it looks easy and they can learn it on their own and many do. But developing the best guitar methods requires good instruction which can also cut the learning time.

Many guitarists who are self-taught often develop bad habits that have to later be unlearned. Once it’s a habit, any habit, it’s difficult to shake off or change.

A few years ago, you either learned on your own with the help of books and watching others play on movies or videos. But today is totally different. You now have your choice of online lessons and apps to help you learn.

Now, it’s a matter of choice. Who has the best lesson? Who has the best price? Where can you get the most help? I support TrueFire for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that they emphasize technique, first and foremost.s

Back To Guitar Lessons

One of the major problems people have with learning an instrument, but especially guitars, is patience. All of the books, videos, and online lessons emphasize taking it slow and thoroughly learn the basics to establish the best guitar methods.

No matter what you are trying to learn, be it an instrument, how to write, or anything else, learning the basics gives you the building blocks to continue and, possibly, be really good.

Many novice guitar players want to start shredding solos right from the start. Trust me, it won’t happen. Learn the basics.

Watch any really good guitarist. Style doesn’t matter. They all have the best guitar methods. They have put in the time and effort to learn the basics.

Best Guitar Methods: Image by Armando Maldonado from Pixabay

Good Ratings

When dealing with any company, local or online, I go by their ratings. I started supporting another company, which I won’t name, but they made it very difficult to quit. One review I read stated that the information received in the first lesson was not helpful.

All of my purchases from TrueFire have met or exceeded my expectations. The beginning lesson in all learning paths, or playing style, is free.

I wasn’t sure when they said it was free. How many times have you gone to order something online that says it’s free, but you have to enter your credit card number or when you get to the bottom line there is shipping & handling.

I started to order something the other day that was touted as being free. When I got to the bottom line shipping & handling was around $40. What’s up with that?

Tips for Developing the Best Guitar Methods

Image by Ryan McGuire from PixabayHow to toughen up your fingers.

Yes, your fingers and wrist are going to hurt when you start playing. The higher the action on the guitar, the more pressure it takes to press down the strings. Just about any guitar can have the action adjusted. Take your guitar to a local music shop and have them adjust it.

Adjust your grip on the neck of the guitar. Pressing the strings against the fretboard is hard work and it does make your fingers sore and your wrist ache. As you continue to play it will get better. But here are some tips:

  1. Most beginners press down on the strings too hard. Relax your fingers. Don’t press down so hard. Just make sure the string firmly contacts the fret.
  2. Don’t play with wet fingers.
  3. Hook your thumb over the top of the fretboard to get leverage. This causes you to press the strings more with the flat pad of your finger, rather than your fingertips.
  4. As your fingers toughen up, move your thumb to the back of the neck. This causes you to press the strings with your fingertips, which is more accurate, but harder at first.
  5. Keep your fingernails trimmed. It’s much easier to develop calluses with short nails. Long nails also make it more difficult to get good sound.
  6. Don’t bite, pick, or shave off your hard-earned calluses.
  7. Soak your fingertips in apple cider vinegar for about 30 seconds before and after
  8. Get the right strings. When you’re first learning, light gauge strings are easier to play than medium or heavy gauge. The light strings will cause less soreness. Lightly icing your fingertips before and after playing can also ease the soreness. Topical ointments containing benzocaine, such as toothache cream, can also be applied before and after playing.

Some guitarists use a spot of super glue on their fingertips as a makeshift callus, until they develop their own. If you develop a cut or split in your finger apply New-Skin or some other liquid bandage to seal up the cut until it heals.

Supposedly, Eric Clapton suggests “rubbing your fingertips with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol three times a day for a week or two for beginning guitarists or someone who hasn’t played for a while. Supposedly, this dries out the skins and helps the calluses to develop quicker.”

Your body position

Get a good strap and practice standing.  Yes, it’s harder at first, but when you sit you tend to slouch over the guitar looking at your fingers. If you do this consistently, it will become one of those bad habits you have to break. Always practice standing.

Take it slow

As we mentioned earlier, take it slow. Learn the basics, the best guitar methods. Don’t focus on trying to play fast. Good technique requires accurate fingering, hitting the right notes every time. Be precise with your fingering. The speed will come when you have everything else in place. You won’t have to develop speed it will happen all by itself.

Correct Fingering

Always focus on correct fingering. Don’t try to develop new moves. Stick to the tried and true fingering methods, which will lead to the best guitar methods.

Use a metronome

Image by 955169 from PixabayFrom the beginning, your very first exercise, use a click track or metronome so you develop a good sense of rhythm and timing. When you first start, take it slow. You can adjust the speed on the metronome. The idea is to get used to playing with a steady tempo. Remember, good guitar technique comes first then tempo.

 

Disciplined Practice

Make sure you practice some every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Pick up your guitar and practice the last lesson. The calluses won’t develop if your practice is haphazard.  Set up a regular practice time. Develop a good practice habit.

not about how long or how hard you practice. The key is “how” you practice. TrueFire offers “Smart Practice” which is a step-by-step practice system just for guitarists. The system is designed so you get the biggest payoff for the time you invest in your practice.

Practice

TrueFire Video viewsIt doesn’t matter whether you are trying to learn to play guitar, piano, or learn something totally different, such as baseball. We all know we have to practice. The problem is that we really don’t know how to practice correctly.

Many who try to learn guitar on their own think that just picking up the guitar and strumming, trying to pick out the melody of our favorite song is practice, or having friends over to jam is practice. Wrong!!!

TrueFire lessons use Soundslice interactive Tab, go to their site for a full demo. The video gives you three views which you can slow down or speed up to facilitate maximum learning. The video lessons make it much easier to see what you are to practice and follow the instructor.

K. Anders Ericsson has researched what it takes to reach a high level of expertise in a skill. He states that practice is deliberate and not inherently enjoyable.

To become a good guitarist or to develop any skill, you must do the work and realize that the enjoyment will follow.

Make up your mind that you will do whatever it takes to practice correctly. Quit just doodling around when it’s time to practice. Yes, at first your fingers are going to hurt, but keep in mind that it’s not going to last forever. Use some of the techniques above to ease the pain so you can work through it. Tips for Beginning Guitarists.

Setting Goals

Image by Dena Warfield Smart Goal SettingNo matter what you are doing or attempting to do, setting goals, especially Smart Goals, will help you achieve your desired results quicker and in an organized fashion. Goals will help you do activities that are specifically designed to improve your performance.

Before going any further, look at where you want to go as a musician, and specifically, as a guitarist.

Many people, when they are attempting to learn something new, like playing the guitar, learn bits and pieces assuming that it will all magically come together at some future date.

How do you know what you should be studying and practicing if you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do with it? If you don’t have a firm goal or path you will end up frustrated.

In any new endeavor, your goals must include both long term and short term goals. It’s best to set your long term goals first then work backward to include all the steps necessary to achieve your long term goal. This will give you the items that you need to work on NOW.

Inventory Lists

Included in setting goals you need to take an inventory of your skill set and where you are in the present.

Productivity guru David Allen in his “Getting Things Done” lectures states that you need to take an inventory, which he calls a “Brain Dump”, of everything you already know is required in order to achieve your goal.

What You Know

To start, create a list of everything you know, in this case, about playing the guitar. Divide this list into sections: scales, chords, arpeggios, songs, exercises, fingerpicking styles, licks, tuning your guitar, and bits and pieces. This list will include everything you’ve worked on or doodled around with or have a “some-what” knowledge of.

You need to be able to play all of the exercises listed above without looking at a tablature sheet or stopping to remember or starting over.

What You Are Learning

This list will change as you learn new skills. Enter everything that you are currently working on goes into this list. You will move these skills to “What You Know” and add more from “What You Need to Know.”

What You Need To Know

List all the things from your short-term goal list. As you come across things you want or need to learn add them to this list. This list will also continually change as you progress down your learning path.

One of the most important things is that you take the information out of your head and put it on paper so you have a better and more workable list.

Once your goals are on paper, proceed to develop an actual practice schedule.

Motivation

Image by 🎄Merry Christmas 🎄 from PixabayAre you really motivated to do the work necessary to achieve your goals? Remember, as mentioned above, practice isn’t just doodling around and “playing” with your guitar. If you are serious about achieving your goals, about developing good guitar technique, you have to be motivated to practice correctly.

Remember, anyone you have ever admired for their skill at playing any musical instrument or any other skill, have “put in the time, effort, and discipline to learn and execute basic skills and then apply them to build their performance mastery.” Anything worth having is worth working for.

As you achieve each incremental goal, your confidence, and the sheer joy of making it happen will not only be personally rewarding but will also inspire greater accomplishments.

If you are motivated and really want to achieve your goals, you will set aside the time and disciple to do the work. Find a practice routine, such as Smart Practice from TrueFire or a practice routine from your teacher. Then, discipline yourself to do the work necessary to achieve your goals.

by Dena Warfield

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A Guide for Beginning Musicians

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
A Beginning Musician
Beginning Musicians - Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

Maggie’s first lesson was how to tune the guitar. A tuner had come with the guitar, so she thought it was no big deal.

She worked through the lesson and got it perfectly in tune according to the tuner, Something went wrong….

As with any journey, whether it’s cross-country, an international trip, or a trek into the wonderful world of music, you need to set your goals then create a plan to achieve them. 

You may think that planning just to play an instrument isn’t important, but it is. Benjamin Franklin said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

One of the major problems people have with learning an instrument, but especially guitars, is patience. All of the books, videos, and online lessons emphasize taking it slow and thoroughly learn the basics to establish good guitar techniques.

If You Want Something Bad Enough...

We all have things we think we’d like to do or have. We set goals and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, and often, it doesn’t really matter. And if a goal does come to pass it may not be life-changing… 

Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument or do something so bad you could feel it? Think back to when you first had the desire to play a guitar or piano or another instrument. Taking a guitar off the rack… It was heavier than he had imagined…

Practice Makes Progress; Not Perfect

Learning something new is often fraught with frustration. If you’ve ever tried to learn how to play an instrument like the guitar or piano, you have experienced frustration when you practice but don’t seem to make any progress… 

Losing Motivation To Practice

Do you seem to be losing motivation to practice your guitar? In your guitar practice, if you are trying to practice too many things, each item gets less and less of your attention. Then, it’s not long before you have no motivation to practice the guitar or any other instrument.

How To Practice Guitar

Are you beginning to lose motivation because it is so hard? Did you know that everyone faces the same challenge? When we are learning something new it takes time, it’s often frustrating. When we get frustrated it often takes longer to become the guitar player that you’ve been dreaming about.

Think back to when you first had the desire to play. Remember when you went to the music store for the first time. You picked up a guitar off the rack. It was a little heavier than you had imagined.

You may have been really young, maybe 4 or 5, or maybe closer to 10, like I was. Or have just retired and want something to do during your golden years. No matter your age. A new adventure is about to begin, like moving to a new city with places to explore, new experiences to enjoy. Your new adventure as a guitarist is about to begin.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. But, why do we keep making that same mistake over and over again?
It’s become a habit.

As Dr. Caroline Leaf stated in her podcast “Why We Keep Making The Same Mistakes + Tips to Break Bad Habits,” we keep making the same mistakes because we are not learning from our mistakes. She goes on to say that our minds were designed to self-regulate our thoughts. It is up to each individual to observe, analyze, and change thoughts that are not beneficial.

All Music Things Smart Practice

Having problems practicing?

The answer is really very simple. It’s not just how long you practice. Or how hard you practice. Or even what you practice. It’s how you practice. Vince Lombardi said it best, ”Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” TrueFire’s Director of Education, Jeff Scheetz calls it Smart Practice and he’s designed a step-by-step guitar practice routine just for guitarists.

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Martin GPC-16E Grand Performance

The Martin GPC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar, first introduced at Nashville NAMM 2019, is an exciting addition to the redesigned 16 Series guitars. It is a 25.4” scale length, Grand Performance acoustic-electric guitar great, for the guitarist who wants the warm, full tone with robust projection.

Hardware

The Martin GPC-16E comes equipped with factory-installed Fishman® Matrix VT Enhance electronics.

The Enhance feature also adds an output and sensitivity boost, perfect for those with a percussive touch.

The battery box is located between the endpin and 1/4″ jack so replacements do not require removal of the strings.

The GPC-16E comes strung with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 light gauge strings.

Instead of having a cutout in the side of the guitar for the controls, like some guitars, the
Fishman® Matrix VT controls are right at your fingertips in the soundhole. This includes the volume and tone controls (VT) in the upper part of the soundhole and the Enhance control (a bridge plate transducer) in the lower part of the soundhole. transducer) in the lower part of the soundhole.

Body and Neck

The Martin GPC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar is an American-made Martin guitar crafted with satin-finished East Indian Rosewood back and sides and a Sitka Spruce top. Even with its solid wood construction, it is more affordable than some of the other Martin guitars, such as the D18 or D28.

The 14-fret Grand Performance has a thinner 000 depth, which provides a satisfying body resonance and fuller bass tones.

The cutaway model allows easy access to the higher register. The high-performance neck taper, with bold herringbone rosettes, makes for easy playability up and down the fretboard, great for fingerpicking or strumming, live or unplugged.

The model number GP tells us that the guitar is a Grand Performance body. This body shape has been in Martin’s lineup for a number of years and is similar to a Taylor Grand Auditorium, which is Taylor’s most popular and versatile body shape.
Both mid-size models blend some of the characteristics found in their small body guitars with those of the larger dreadnoughts for a more versatile guitar for the modern guitarist.

Sound

The East Indian Rosewood back and sides create a resonant sound with deep rich bass and bell-like trebles and excellent note definition. Whereas, the Sitka Spruce top yields a balanced tone and good projection.

The volume potential is not what you would expect from a dreadnought or a Jumbo guitar, but you can expect to get a lot of volume from the GPC-16E when you really dig into it.

If you play with a light to medium touch it is going to be louder than the bigger body guitars because you don’t have to expend as much energy to get the top moving, a benefit of a smaller body guitar.

Conclusion

The Martin GPC-16E Rosewood acoustic-electric guitar has a beautiful tone that complements the human voice of the performing guitarist, yet is perfect as a solo instrument or for recording tracks.
It is ideal for the player who plugs in or plays at home, with the comfort of a slightly smaller guitar but with an exceptional tone.

It is also available in the left-handed model.

Features

Body
Body type: Grand Performance
Cutaway: Yes
Top wood: Sitka Spruce
Back & sides: East Indian Rosewood
Bracing pattern: Forward shifted X
Top finish: Gloss
Body finish: Satin
Orientation: Right-handed

Neck
Neck shape: Modified Low Oval with High-Performance Taper
Nut width: 1.75 in. (44.45 mm)
Fingerboard: Ebony
Neck wood: Select Hardwood
Scale length: 25.4 in.
Number of frets: 20
Neck finish: Satin

Electronics
Pickup/preamp: Yes
Brand: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT2
Configuration: Under saddle transducer
Preamp EQ: 2-band
Feedback filter: No
Tuner: No

Other
Headstock overlay: East Indian Rosewood
Tuning machines: Nickel Open Gear
Bridge: Ebony
Saddle: Compensated White Tusq
Nut: Bone
Number of strings: 6-string
Recommended Strings: Authentic Acoustic -Lifespan 2.0 – Light (MA540T)
Special features: Inlays
Case: Softshell
Accessories: None
Country of origin: United States

Sources:
Wikipedia (January 5, 2019) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadnought_(guitar_type)
Graph Tech TUSQ Martin-style saddle. Retrieved from Sweetwater.com Retrieved from Musiciansfriend.com
https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/16-series/gpc-16e/
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=Martin+GPC-16E
http://onemanz.com/guitar/2019-martin-models-review-16-series-all-of-them/

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Little Martin LX1R and LX1RE

The Little Martin Acoustic Guitar, LX1R, and LX1RE, their smallest travel guitar, are big on tone, quality, and versatility. If you’re looking for a quality acoustic guitar for a child or an adult with small hands, the Martin LX1 should be at the top of your list. It is the best in terms of quality, sound, and feel. For an authentic Made in Mexico Martin, it is surprisingly affordable.

Body & Neck

The LX1R has a smaller scale length, 23 inches, which is actually about two inches shorter. That means the frets are closer together, perfect for the smaller hand. The smaller size also makes this guitar perfect for travel.
The new LX1R with a hand-rubbed solid Sitka Spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides features the same great sound you will find in the top-of-the-line Martins.
The neck is made of rust birch laminate creating a very interesting pattern and feel. Richlite fingerboard and bridge make this little guitar sturdy for travel under different weather conditions.
This newest addition to the Martin family is built with the same quality Martin craftsmanship with an emphasis on producing a great sound in a small guitar, not like some of the student guitars on the market.

Hardware

These LX1R and LX1RE Little Martins are strictly acoustic with no electronics. See below for more on the LX1RE. Both Little Martins feature a set of quality Martin-sealed chrome tuners. As with the other Martin tuners, they are smooth and easy to use while holding their tuning well.
You will also find that it comes equipped with a TUSQ nut and compensated saddle, a Richlite bridge, and strung with a set of Martin SP strings.

Sound

The Little Martin is durable, easy to play, and stays in tune. You might ask about the sound. Truthfully, it doesn’t have the full-rich sound of the Martin dreadnoughts, but it wasn’t designed to. However, it’s a perfect “pick up and play” guitar that you can take anywhere. It’s great for practice, jamming at home, taking on the road, or around a campfire.
While the Little Martin is Martin’s smallest guitar, it sounds well-balanced in tone and has that satisfying warmth that you’ve learned to count on from a quality built Martin.

LX1RE, The Electric Model

You get the same compact and affordability of the LX1R, but with the addition of a Fishman Sonitone pickup mic system, which is great for plugging in to quickly amplify your sound.

Conclusion

Straight out of the box, the Little Martin comes with a padded gigbag made of a tough ballistic cloth exterior, plush interior, backpack straps, and a front zipper compartment and fits over the guitar like a glove.

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The Martin D-16E Acoustic-Electric guitar, made in Nazareth, PA, not in Mexico, is one of the more popular body styles.  It’s made from all solid tonewood. and contains no laminates. It also uses all-steel rather than nylon strings.

The Martin D-16E, like many of Martin’s other models, is manufactured with a streamlined process that helps keep the cost down and the value up. 

This Martin 16 Series Dreadnought is crafted with satin-finished ovangkol back and sides which helps with the resonant sound giving deep bass and rich overtones. Ovangkol is a special wood that can vary both in color and grain complexity giving a unique look. This model includes a mahogany burst Sitka spruce gloss top for balanced tone and projection and a high-performance neck taper for ease of playability up and down the fretboard. 

The D-16E comes with Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT2 electronics installed. Strung with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 light gauge strings and soft-shell case. This system consists of an undersaddle Acoustic Matrix pickup, a soundboard transducer attached to the bridge plate. It has controls for volume, tone, and blend inside the soundhole.

The shallower body makes playing more comfortable, especially for the right arm and shoulder.

Unless a comparison was performed with the shallower body dreadnought compared to a full dreadnought, it is difficult to determine if there is any tonal difference. 

When plugged into the amp, the voice on the D-16E appears to deliver the full dreadnought sound.

As with most of the Martin 16 Series, the D-16E is a great value. You are paying for great materials and great sound whether acoustic or electric. 

If you’re looking for a dreadnought with great sound and comfort, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Martin D-16E. 

If you aren’t sure about the shallow body dreadnought check out other acoustic guitars. 

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