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The Guitar with a Capital “G”

By Alexis, published on 01/06/2017 Blog > Music > Guitar > All You Need to Know About the Guitar

Guitar instruction isn’t only about playing the instrument. Even absolute beginners should also learn a bit about the general history and culture of this famous 6-string machine.

So we’ve gathered some fundamental information for you here that you should know before learning to read music or play the guitar.

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History of the Guitar

The origins of the guitar go back over 3000 years before our time.

It was in Persia that this instrument was described for the first time, even though it looked more like a lute than the traditional guitar we’re used to seeing today. There was no electric or blues guitar back then!

In the 10th century, the guitar was exported to Spain, where it witnessed various transformations over the course of the following centuries: classic guitar, folk guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar. Through the years, the technology behind learning guitar has become more and more advanced.

The guitar is a member of the plucked string instrument category, as it’s possible to play several sounds at the same time. This is all part of an introductory music theory lesson!

The origins of the guitar. Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt. The origins of the guitar. Photo from The Guitar and Mandolin: biographies of celebrated players and composers for these instruments (1914) courtesy of Visual Hunt.

From the time it appeared, the guitar was considered to be a popular instrument that unified the population through widely-known songs, transcending someone’s place of birth and social class.

With its ability to adapt to all musical genres, the guitar can accompany several instruments as well as get played solo in a range of styles such as rock, blues, jazz, country, classical or reggae.

10 Guitar Styles: Learn How to Play Them

Each musical style possesses its own codes and characteristics, which is why playing rock, blues or funk is so recognizable, regardless of whether or not one has an ear for music.

The main musical genres for the guitar are: rock’n’roll, rock, blues, jazz, heavy metal, funk, pop, reggae and country.

Enjoy several music styles! Enjoy several music styles!

To learn to play all of these styles, you will have to work and develop your fingers and perfect your calluses: this is the efficient way to gain speed, flexibility, coordination and strength.

Learn the fundamentals that correspond to each of these musical styles: the main rhythms, how to strum strings with the right hand, different techniques for the left hand, and the common chords. And of course memorize and master the various parts of the guitar, such as the fretboard and pickups, first! Watching guitar videos will be of huge help.

Beginner guitar players should also pick up a tuner, capo and metronome. Now get practicing on those basic chords and riffs, and learn a song!

The 10 Best Guitarists on the Planet 

There are musicians and songwriters who have literally transformed the landscape of guitars and music, and who are icons of specific musical styles.

Listing the 10 best guitarists on the planet is no easy task, as it varies according to our individual tastes in music and favorite musical genre.

Still, the world of guitarists does agree on a handful of players to cite as global references both in terms of technical skills and melodic talents.

The biggest guitarists on the planet are:

  • Jimi Hendrix: the guitar genius who revolutionized the practice of this instrument with his extraordinary touch and technical innovations.
  • Eric Clapton: this excellent melodist and songwriter quite simply seems to be able to play everything, although his style stems from blues and rock.
  • Jimmy Page: this iconic member of Led Zeppelin has made significant contributions to guitar practice, like using the bow of a violin.
  • Robert Johnson: according to legend, this genius guitarist would have sold his soul to the devil to acquire his singular talents.
  • Chuck Berry: this pioneer of rock’n’roll championed the merger of blues and country music.

Chuck Berry: A rock'n'roll pioneer. Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt Chuck Berry: A rock’n’roll pioneer. Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt

  • Carlos Santana: this World Music guitarist has a playing style and sound that is both lyrical and soft.
  • Muddy Waters: thanks to techniques like the bottleneck, this guitarist is unparalleled in his mastery of the blues.
  • BB King: this master of the blues probes the human soul with his awe-inspiring music.
  • Keith Richards: as lead guitarist of The Rolling Stones, he expertly reduces his music pieces to their quintessential sounds.
  • Eddie Van Halen: how does it seem like there are two or three other guitarists on stage when it’s just this one musician playing?

5 False Ideas People Have About the Guitar

Hasty criticisms and abrupt judgments give learning to play guitar an even more difficult reputation. We’re sure you’ve often read and heard about these completely harebrained ideas.

Here are 5 of the most commonly false ideas people have about the guitar:

  • I don’t have an ear for music: just like for your hands, a musical ear is a learned skill.
  • I have no rhythm: with technique, an understanding of solfège, confident handling of the instrument and regular practice, you will acquire notions of rhythm.
  • My fingers aren’t made for guitar playing: whatever the size of your fingers, nothing should stop you from playing the guitar.
  • I’m left-handed: contrary to popular belief, playing the guitar as a leftie is not a flaw. Just listen to musicians like Kurt Cobain, Gary Moore, or Jimi Hendrix!
  • “I’m too hold for this sh**”: there is no ideal age for learning to play guitar, as long as you are motivated.

Realistic Career Options for Guitar Players

When you know how to play guitar, several career options are available to you.

Opportunities for good guitarists Opportunities for good guitarists

  • Play in your own music group, perform at concerts, and even make your first album full of your own guitar songs.
  • Become a guitar teacher: within a music school, in an association, via tutorials and Internet videos or in a blog, or even by giving private lessons.
  • Join a group to perform at diverse events such as weddings, dances, and other parties. Everyone loves guitar solos!
  • Accompany famous musicians on stage.

As you will find, careers for guitarists are numerous and varied.

Still not convinced to buy a guitar?

8 Scientific Reasons for Playing the Guitar

Playing the guitar also has a number of often-overlooked benefits.

Discover without delay the scientific reasons for playing the guitar!

For example:

  • The guitar will make you happier.
  • The guitar helps you release stress.
  • The guitar may reduce certain persistent pains.
  • The guitar improves your intellectual performance.
  • The guitar helps your blood circulation.
  • The guitar improves your self-confidence.
  • The guitar allows you to develop your creativity.
  • The guitar betters your seductive skills!

Guitar playing is an excellent medicine against ennui and depression. It brings numerous physical and mental benefits.

So make your neurons happy by tuning your Fender Stratocaster or strumming the strings of your Gibson.

Quick! Take your dose of serotonin, endorphin or oxytocin by playing a chord progression.

Are you almost ready to dive into a guitar playing adventure?

And here’s a bonus: read a bit further to discuver the final advantage of learning to play guitar…

The 10 Best Guitar Songs for Seducing

Ah yes… the guitar is a massive weapon of seduction.

To help you, we’re revealing 10 songs that every guitarist must play to a woman:

  1. I’m yours, Jason Mraz: hippie-Australian seduction
  2. You’re beautiful, James Blunt: fragile seduction
  3. Wild world, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam: a poetic declaration of love
  4. Wonderful tonight, Eric Clapton: the serenade of the ultimate guitarist
  5. Angie, The Rolling Stones: the vintage declaration of love
  6. Wherever you will go, The Calling: a melody for the grunge crooner
  7. Wonderwall, Oasis: the iconic song for learning the guitar
  8. Shape of my heart, Sting: arpeggio, melody and declaration
  9. Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley: mystical guitar-voice seduction
  10. The scientist, Coldplay: flirting the British way
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