For questions about guitar playing in general. For questions specifically about solid-body electric guitars, see "electric-guitar". For questions specifically about acoustic guitars with or without pickup systems, see "acoustic-guitar".

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5
votes
1answer
241 views

What are good oils to use on a neck that has been stripped of veneer?

I would like to strip the veneer off of the back side of a strat's neck - I'm guessing that, like furniture, I would need to lock in/out the moisture so that the neck won't warp. Any oils work better ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

How to play upstrokes with our hand when playing an acoustic guitar?

I have seen a lot of guitar videos and read a lot of guitar books but one thing they all have in common is that while teaching strumming they tell you to "loosen up", "keep going up and down" etc. Or ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

What are the most popular types or styles of pickups, and what is the genre of music most associated with them?

I see humbuckers, single coil, active pickups, etc. I see P90's, PAFS, etc. Which are basically for jazz, blues, metal?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Distortion pedals similar to Boss's DS-1

Does anyone know of any distortion pedals that have tone similar to the Boss DS-1? I love the smoothness, boost, and grind that this pedal offers, but I'm curious if there's a similar pedal that ...
4
votes
1answer
807 views

Where/When did the modern guitar originate?

I keep thinking of Greeks playing Lyres - there had to be a point where someone added strings and the modern shape...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there one or more “proper” finger picking styles/techniques?

Essentially, if there is some collection of proper techniques that have distinct rules or characteristics about them, that's what I'm looking for. There's not one particular artist or type of music I ...
7
votes
1answer
444 views

Should I replace unwound strings on my acoustic guitar as often as the wound ones?

The wound strings wear off quite fast, and start sounding dull even faster, so I replace them quite often. But whenever I do so, I replace the unwound strings as well, even though at that point, they ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What Phaser is used at the beginning of “Rooster” by Alice in Chains?

I built a CE2 chorus clone that sounds fantastic and should work for Rooster. But I believe the Alice in Chains guitarist (was it Cantrell or Layne playing?) is also using a phaser, which I don't yet ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is a guitar body made out of mahogany generally lighter than a body made out of alder ?

I know that each piece of wood is different and two similar pieces of a same essence will have different weight. But in general, for the same body shape and size which wood essence will tend to give ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Where does picking speed come from? Forearm, hand, or bicep?

Where specifically on the arm/hand should rapid picking speed come from?
22
votes
9answers
10k views

What is the difference between upstrokes and downstrokes while strumming a guitar?

One of the most basic guitar skills are strumming up and down freely. And I have noticed in songs that there usually appears to be a difference in sounds between the two strokes. But when I'm ...
17
votes
5answers
16k views

How do I choose my first guitar for self-learning?

Let's say I've never played the guitar, or I've only learned to pluck a string and play a chord but have forgotten most of it. Now, I've become interested and would like to try it out. I don't want to ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

The skinny on neck constructions. Is it all about tone?

I recently went from a Peavy bolt-on classic bass to Warwick Thumb NT. The tone difference is completely out of this world, and comparatively, so was the price. I want to understand the ...
4
votes
4answers
236 views

Putting guitar and song together

So, I'm still working on this. I started singing with my playing using hey ya as my first song. (In fact that was the first song I ever played) Ironically I always lose it at the verse that goes ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

Tips for playing outdoors in cold weather?

A few years ago our church band had a gig playing early in the morning to a volunteer crew to get them pumped for the day ahead. It was about 7AM and in the 30s F. It's a good thing I was only playing ...
20
votes
6answers
46k views

What is the first scale one should learn on guitar

The title really sums it all up but I'll try expand it slightly. Lets say I'm learning guitar and would like to improve my guitar work. Which of the scales should I learn first and why?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you prevent injuries from bad posture while playing classical guitar?

I'm tagging this as specific to classical guitar since that's what I am familiar with. The correct posture is very important which playing classical, including the footstool, the position of your ...
7
votes
2answers
943 views

Upgrade tuners or get a new guitar?

I have an Ibanez V70CE Acoustic-Electric guitar. While it was not expensive, I like the way it feels and it sounds just fine. The problem is it doesn't like to stay in tune. I always use high quality ...
17
votes
3answers
21k views

What's a good strategy for adjusting pole pieces?

One thing I fiddled with for a short bit once upon a time is adjusting the pole pieces on my Humbucker/P-90 equipped guitars. As a matter of fact, doing just that was the only way I could get my P-90 ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

Factors in choosing a replacement saddle for an acoustic guitar.

I saw this in the comments section on the question "Do acoustic or classical guitars need to be set up?" The saddle material makes a difference in the sound of an acoustic too. I have a bit of a ...
27
votes
10answers
61k views

Why do some artists tune their guitars half a step or whole step down?

Is there a reason some guitarists tune down half or whole steps, other than preference or style? It bugs me sometimes when I would like to play along with a song only to find that it's played down ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Tips on playing with wah-wah for beginners

I love the sound of a guitar played through wah wah as much as the next guy, but I have some problems picking that skill up. I would love if anyone can either give me some tips on how to start using ...
19
votes
2answers
13k views

What is concert pitch?

I was watching a song video lesson earlier today and it mentioned that the guitar should be tuned to concert pitch. What does that mean? Is it different from the normal EADGBE tuning?
23
votes
3answers
19k views

Why is an amplifier's effects loop useful?

When should you plug gear into your amplifier's effects loop and not into the standard input?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What are Tone Pots / Potentiometers?

Can someone please explain to me what tone pots are, and how they affect the sound of a guitar? Thanks very much :)
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Cheap alternative to a SG Standard

Is there a money friendly guitar similar to the SG Standard?
7
votes
3answers
177 views

Effective learning from videos

I've taken lessons and taught myself songs from books and tablature. I have also listened to a song repeatedly and attempted to learn it by playing along. One method I have not tried is learning from ...
13
votes
3answers
331 views

What to look for in an independent luthier?

I've long been considering looking for an independent luthier to build me a custom guitar. I have a pretty specific idea of what I want the guitar to be, but I don't know how to find the right ...
7
votes
1answer
190 views

Strings stick to pickup poles when the tremolo is depressed.

Sometimes, when I depress the tremolo quite far, the strings magnetically stick to the pickup poles... Is this normal? Is there a way I can prevent it, aside from not depressing the tremolo so far? ...
10
votes
4answers
544 views

Free exercise books

I've asked a question here: What is a string skipping exercise?. A follow up question: Are there some good free exercise books available on-line for the post-beginner stage? A link to a good non-...
20
votes
8answers
9k views

How to hide a flat pick in the right hand when switching to finger picking, Warren Haynes style

Watch any Warren Haynes video on YouTube and you'll notice that he often likes to mix it up and play solos with a pick but mid-way switch to using his fingers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMxG90vP-...
30
votes
8answers
43k views

How does scale length affect my playing?

This one's a bit rudimentary, but scale length is a bit of a mystery to me. I understand what it is, but I don't understand what it does. I own guitars with different scale lengths (Telecaster vs ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

How To Improve My Sightreading?

I've been reading music since I was five years old, but I learned how on the piano, never on the guitar. I find that when I play guitar, I think of the notes as they relate to each other spatially: "...
18
votes
7answers
17k views

How can I minimize going out of tune when using the whammy bar?

Perhaps my selection of musicians is biased, but usually when I see a whammy bar used, it's usually with a locking tremolo bridge like a Floyd Rose. Everybody else seems to take the whammy bar out and ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Kahler tremolo bridge problems - how to test and fix?

My Peavey Falcon -- a Strat clone -- has tuning problems. The instrument has a Kahler tremolo that I suspect is contributing to my tuning problems. (The roller nut and tuning machines are other ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Emulating the tone of a Rickenbacker

I am wondering whether anyone has any knowledge about getting the sound of a Rickenbacker… without actually owning one. Specifically on a Telecaster. I know that the two are completely different ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Mark Knopfler picking finger patterns — Sultans of Swing intro

I know Mark Knopfler plays fingerstyle, but What combination of finger/thumb picking patterns does he use when playing lead? Here is an example from the Sultans of Swing intro (from here): e--------...
29
votes
11answers
7k views

“one finger per fret” - is it worth following this rule?

When I first got into guitar, I was given advice to follow a "one finger per fret" rule with the left hand. Basically, to fret notes with all four fingers, and to follow a pattern such that in any ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a string skipping exercise?

What is a string skipping exercise? I've heard about this exercise a lot, including on this website. What is it? What skills does it develop? Can you give an example?
8
votes
3answers
6k views

What is meant by “Top-End” and “Bottom-End”?

When guitarists describe the sound of their guitars, a lot of terms are used. What does a guitarist mean when they talk about top and bottom end?
12
votes
3answers
8k views

What is true bypass?

What is true bypass on a pedal? What are it's advantages? What are it's disadvantages?
27
votes
11answers
8k views

Coated Strings—Gimmick, or worth the money?

Never used them myself, but I had a friend who used to swear by the plastic-coated strings he bought for his electric to try and help keep them cleaner. While I realize this probably does do ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Special concerns for short-scale basses?

Came into ownership of a Gibson EB-0 a while back, and learned to my surprise that the bass that had been on my want list for a while was actually the same scale as your average guitar. Other than ...
7
votes
3answers
340 views

Does this guitar tuning have a name?

I've had a few suggestions as to an "official" name for this tuning, but what do you lot think? From high e to bass... e B F# C# G# D#
8
votes
4answers
795 views

Hot guitar pickup

What does it mean when a guitar pickup is deemed "hot"?
26
votes
2answers
8k views

Why is my guitar's saddle at an angle?

Most acoustic guitars I've seen, including my own, have an angled saddle (the white strip holding up the strings): This makes the bass strings longer than the treble strings. Why is this? ...
10
votes
1answer
7k views

“х” on tablature - how do I play it?

I'm learning "Last Christmas" arrangement for the acoustic guitar, and have encountered lots of notes marked as "x" in tablature. --------------------------------0---------------- -3--------3-----1---...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Poor quality guitars that don't tune

So since I got it at a discount price, I noticed this Yamaha I have won't tune properly. Specifically if I tune the strings to a perfect EADGBE (using a good digital tuner), then I cross check the ...
18
votes
8answers
9k views

Should I look at the fretboard while I play guitar?

Is it a bad thing to constantly look at the frets while playing? Sometimes I find myself curved over a body of the guitar so much that my neck starts to hurt. It seems that some experienced players ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Properly fingering jazz chords?

I've seen these come up in a few places (Crazy Train and a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs come to mind offhand), however I've never figured how to work them in fluidly;the fingerings always seem awkward,...