Questions tagged [guitar]

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

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138
votes
12answers
37k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.E. the gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
81
votes
8answers
4k views

Ten Minute Practice Techniques For Guitar?

Unfortunately, I can't play every day. However, I am trying to practice at least 5-10 minutes here and there. What are some good theory or scale techniques/practice methods I should have ready to ...
67
votes
21answers
42k views

How often should I replace the strings on my guitar?

When and why should you replace your guitar strings?
66
votes
21answers
71k views

Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?

The title says it all. Should I change strings one by one, or take them all at once? Does this matter at all? If I take all strings off, will it damage my neck in any way, because the pressure is ...
65
votes
23answers
5k views

Ways to get out of a scalar rut?

I'm a well versed and experienced guitarist. I have a decent sense for rhythm and melody, but I have a VERY hard time with soloing. I know you've heard it all before I'm one of those guys that got ...
64
votes
24answers
178k views

Best method to learn to play barre chords?

I've been trying to learn the F chord for a while now, and I am having a very hard time playing the barre chord. I've read that pulling back slightly with your finger and using the body of the guitar ...
59
votes
10answers
8k views

Will learning to play another instrument help me to become a better guitarist?

I am a programmer and I do this for living. As a programmer, I've noticed how much difference it makes to learn another language - the quality of your work improves greatly, just because you know how ...
59
votes
9answers
5k views

Why does string strummed with finger sound different from the one strummed with pick?

What is the physical reason for difference in sound when using fingers instead of pick and vice versa?
56
votes
8answers
96k views

Position of white dots in guitar fretboard

I was wondering why the white dots in the fretboard are usually placed in fret numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, and 21. I know that their general purpose is for counting, but what I wonder is: Why ...
53
votes
13answers
46k views

How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?

What do you look for when going for a guitar? I own an acoustic and am looking for a better one. What should I be looking for? Wood quality, brand, strings, etc.?
53
votes
7answers
11k views

Why do Guitar chords work the way they do compared to a Piano?

I'm a Tabla (North Indian percussion instrument) player and I know just the basics of western music because I'm learning it bit by bit. I borrowed a Piano to learn music theory and it's going pretty ...
50
votes
8answers
6k views

Guitar practice: more often but less time or once in a few days but for a few hours?

As many people, who have lots of every day responsibilities, like going to work, family and etc. I find myself struggling for the time to practice. Some days I just feel to tired to pick up a guitar ...
43
votes
10answers
123k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?
42
votes
7answers
5k views

Major scale of one note is the Minor scale of another note?

I am learning guitar at the moment and I learned the major scale. Then I checked the minor scale and the positions are the same! Not only that, the C major scale is the same as the A minor scale. So ...
41
votes
16answers
18k views

What do you do when a string breaks or you drop your pick on stage?

One of my nightmares when I'm on stage is breaking a string or losing my pick. The former has happened to me before once, and also once right before I had to go on stage. Are there any tips my ...
41
votes
10answers
34k views

As a guitarist, how can I learn to sight-read music?

I'm learning guitar right now, mostly from Justin Sandercoe's free online lessons, starting from the beginner's course. He has a lot of good tips for how to practice and drill chords, and scales, but ...
40
votes
9answers
90k views

How should I “store” my guitars?

I have a bunch of guitars of varying quality from unplayable to quite nice. I intend to hang some (or all) of them on walls for decoration, but I'm not sure if this is good for the guitars, so perhaps ...
39
votes
11answers
22k views

My son is 6, and his guitar teacher wants me to buy him a 4/4 guitar!

My six year old has been taking guitar lessons in a small group of his age (3-4 kids, 5-7 year olds). The teacher is considered very good and is famous in my city. He has been working for many years ...
38
votes
17answers
68k views

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop callouses?

This is a common problem and solving it will ultimately lead to a much higher success rate for beginning guitar students. So I wanted to share the information here on Music and Theory. Many of my ...
38
votes
3answers
20k 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? ...
37
votes
15answers
150k views

Why shouldn't I put electric guitar strings on my acoustic guitar?

I've always found even the lightest acoustic (bronze) guitar strings to be a bit too heavy to play comfortably. Electric (nickel) guitar strings tend to be lighter. But nobody uses electric strings on ...
36
votes
9answers
72k 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 ...
36
votes
12answers
12k views

Why does conventional playing style give the string manipulation to the left hand?

For the majority of players, the right hand is used for most tasks that require exacting manipulation: writing, throwing, etc. However, guitar, violin, lute, etc., use the right hand for plucking ...
35
votes
12answers
191k views

How not to touch neighbouring strings?

When playing guitar, my fingers often touch other strings on the guitar. I found that my fingertips are too broad for the strings. When I press one string by my middle finger, the meat of the ...
34
votes
10answers
13k views

When tuning a guitar, should you always end with tightening the string rather than loosening it?

I used to have a guitar teacher that said you should always finish tuning each string by tightening/sharpening the string. So for example if the top E is a little sharp, you should turn the peg to ...
34
votes
5answers
6k views

How to play songs that contain one guitar when we have two or more guitarists?

I am playing drums in an alternative punk band we just started. I am wondering how to play songs that basically are from bands that contain one guitarist, as we have two guitarists. What can be the ...
34
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the best way of learning the notes on the fretboard.

What is the best way to learn the notes on the fretboard. Are there any good tips on how to do this?
33
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do guitarists put tape on their amplifiers?

I've never truly understood why so many guitarists put tape on their amplifiers. I have seen many YouTube videos where, before recording and placing a microphone towards their amp, they will put tape ...
33
votes
13answers
34k views

Arthritis In Hands (Playing With Pain In Hands) - Are There Recommended Approaches?

I have been playing guitar for 12 years now and I'm 28. I am under treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis (R.A.) and was wondering if anyone who has R.A., or other pain in their hands, has any approaches ...
33
votes
6answers
23k views

Does leaving a capo on “hurt” the strings?

On occasion I've accidentally left a capo on (overnight). Does this decrease the life of the strings, staying in tune time, hurt the neck, or anything else that's bad?
32
votes
15answers
67k views

Why is dropped D tuning used so often?

Many metal/rock songs use dropped D tuning. What reasons are there for it?
32
votes
7answers
34k views

How is this B flat guitar chord physically possible?

This chord diagram is from the GarageBand chord trainer (I'm a beginner). How is it possible to put a barre down on the third fret without also muting the top E string?
32
votes
11answers
10k views

Why are there many guitarists, but only one drummer in a band?

In a band, there will be many guitarists. However, there will always be only one drummer. Why can't there be more than one drummer in a band? Are there any cultural or musical reasons behind it or ...
31
votes
11answers
112k 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 ...
31
votes
15answers
18k 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 ...
31
votes
13answers
115k views

What is the Difference between Maple and Rosewood Fretboards

Is there a difference that's based on feel or sound - why are they the two most widely used choices?
30
votes
10answers
53k views

What is intonation and how can I find out if my guitar has correct intonation?

What is intonation? What is the best way to check my intonation and fix it if necessary?
30
votes
8answers
8k views

When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?

Let's say I have the following piece in 4/4, Should it be notated as: or Are there any specific rules? From my previous experience, I believe the second one is the correct notation since it shows ...
30
votes
5answers
3k views

Recycling guitar strings

This one goes out to all my eco-friendly shredder pals. Does anyone know of an organization that takes guitar strings and recycles them? I run through quite a few packs per month on a heavy gigging ...
29
votes
12answers
7k views

What kind of a guitar can I play without thumbs?

Because of arthritis, the thumb joints on both hands are gone, after playing acoustic guitar with a pic for 40 years in Church folk groups. I can't squeeze the neck with my left hand and can't hold ...
29
votes
8answers
6k views

Why do tube-based guitar amplifiers sound so good?

Is it just a cultural thing ("they've always sounded that way") or is there some basis in music theory for this?
29
votes
10answers
9k views

Can I just tune my guitar how ever I like?

I wrote a song, and have a guitar I never got to using, and I decided to write a guitar part to the song. The thing is, I know what intervals and harmonies sound good so I just got my guitar out, and ...
29
votes
11answers
10k 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
2k views

What tools should every guitarist have?

What tools should every guitarist have to do most small/medium projects for their guitars? (change strings, tuners, knobs, pickups)
29
votes
6answers
23k views

Do guitar strings wear when not used?

Do strings wear because of the pressure applied to them or any other factor, or do they stay in quite the same shape as long as you don't use them?
29
votes
3answers
58k views

What is the difference between Overdrive and Distortion?

What's the difference? They sound vaguely similar to me and I can't tell a distinct difference sound wise. What is the difference in tone, harmonics, etc.? Are they the same? Which one is better and ...
29
votes
5answers
14k views

Boiling/washing used guitar/bass strings - is it worthwhile?

I've read that some people boil their strings from time to time to make them sound again like they were new (and save some money). Is this really worthwhile, or are there any disadvantages to this?
29
votes
13answers
150k views

Noise while not touching guitar strings or metal parts

I get a buzzing noise from my guitar when idle. However, when I touch the strings or touch any metal parts (strings, bridge or the metal portion near the output jack), the noise goes away completely. ...
28
votes
10answers
63k views

How to bend and release without flicking the other strings?

I'm trying to bend up then back down on the G string (so it plays both notes, I'm not muting the bend back down to G) but I always catch my fingernail on the D string. So when I let the bend back ...
27
votes
12answers
8k views

I can learn guitar fast, but I haven't got the nerve to sit and practice for hours, how to practice for long sessions?

I've been playing an acoustic guitar for 5 months or so. I noticed a little problem on my way to success. I feel as if I'm not getting to my potential of playing. I'm not impatient - I know it takes ...