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Posts tagged as “Guitar”

How often should I practice?

“How often should I practice?” is the most common question asked by my guitar students. Every student I teach has their own unique needs and goals. And they have their own unique schedules and problems too – there is work, or school, and chores, homework, friends and families to see, other hobbies, interests, and activities and they all compete for time. It’s absolutely normal that finding the time to learn an instrument, to take lessons and to practice, can be…

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Many a great guitar has been ruined by well-meaning but bad advice. And many a great guitar is also ruined by people who overestimate their experience and abilities with a screwdriver or a file. These are obvious lessons but so easy to forget that I think it’s time I reminded you with some real world examples (yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocent)…

Capos and Tuning Problems

A recent forum post asked the following question: My guitar goes out of tune when I put on a capo. Is this normal? What can I do about it? Is this problem worse on the lower frets? Does string diameter matter? The answer to all these questions is "yes". Let's look at why.

How Babies Can Help Us Practice Better

Music and language are frequently compared. The similarities are quite obvious with a little thought but our first spoken language we mastered as young children without any formal tuition. We had to pick it up as we went along. Mastering an instrument is very difficult to achieve in the same manner but there is a lot we can take from babies learning to talk that can help us to learn faster and play music better.

PolyTune – A Practical Review

TC Electronic's "PolyTune" first hit the stores back in 2010 and caused quite a stir. While there were many magazine and web reviews, most just copied-and-pasted the same marketing blurb and didn't tell us how well the PolyTune really performs in every day use. I've been using one for over a year, for stage, studio, and tech work. Oddly enough, I think PolyTune's best feature is the one most people don't use...

Tuning Stability Checklist

Tuning stability with tremolo bridges is not rocket science but when there is a problem it can certainly can seem like a black art. But there is a simple way of thinking through tuning problems which might help...

Your Own Personal Fret Buzz

It is a myth that buzz-free low action is always possible. People frequently read manufacturers' specifications and assume those numbers are a goal rather than a guideline. They assume such a setup will suit their personal playing technique without any string/fret buzz. In my experience, that is just not the case.

Lost in the dark?

Nothing worse than a screaming bum note or wrong chord 'cause you can't see what you're doing, right? I'm sure we've all had a moment like that at some point in time. But what can we do to avoid it?

Game Changer, the Giggle Maker

...for 60 years we were given only the basic pickup combinations that are easiest to wire up on a simple toggle switch. But electric guitars are capable of millions of variations on those basic sounds, if we get creative about how we wire the pickup coils. The Game Changer allows that to happen...

Tuning – the Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #45

The following is a reprint of data sheet #45 from the Guild of American Luthiers. They don’t know who wrote it and it never made it into publication. But it’s so incredibly useful that it’s one of their most requested articles (you can download a PDF version from them here). To anyone who ever gets frustrated when tuning their guitar, this article explains why and I strongly advise you to read it. I promise you that accepting the information presenting…

To Shim, or not to Shim?

People often wonder why two seemingly identical electric guitars sometimes require noticeably different bridge or saddle heights to achieve a similar string height off the neck. The answer has to do with manufacturing tolerances when making the neck and body...

Choosing a Mandolin

A few months back on one of the guitar forums I frequent, a guitarist asked for advice, wanting to buy a cheap mandolin for a country/rock band. Here is my reply, which I’ve expanded on for this blog.