Interesting Facts About Guitars
Stringed instruments have been used for centuries with stone carvings first revealing that existence in ancient Asian cultures. Tanburs, setters and sitars were the basis for the modern guitar, itself descended from stringed instruments that became popular in 12th century Europe and later spread to the Americas. The word guitar ultimately stems from an old Persian term and is word that also has its basis in Greek, Arabic and modern European languages. The modern 6-string guitar emerged by the 18th century and, today, may have eight or more strings.
1. A fine family — Today’s guitars comprise an entire family of stringed instruments including acoustic, classical, bass, flamenco and electric guitar versions. Steel or nylon strings may be used with as few as four strings featured, but no more than a dozen found.
2. Body styles — Guitars all look alike, right? Well, on closer examination you will notice that there are a variety of body styles. Dreadnought and Concert Classic are the most common while Jumbo, Artist and Nex are other styles.
3. The wood difference — Take two exactly the same guitars and use different woods and you can have a difference in tone and voice. You’ll pay more for solid hardwood, but you’ll enjoy a richer tone and an instrument that is less prone to cracking. Softer hardwoods are more affordable and include walnut, mahogany and maple. Koa and nato are also used.
4. Guitar parts — At first glance, a woodwind instrument such as a clarinet may appear much more complex than a guitar. On closer scrutiny, most every guitar is much more complex and is comprised of numerous parts including its head, turning keys, a fingerboard, nuts, frets, upper and lower bouts, strings, soundboard, sound hole, a rosette, saddle and a bridge.
5. Most expensive guitar — New guitars can be had from under $100 with better guitars priced from $200 to well into the thousands. In 2005, an Asian Fender Stratocaster guitar was sold for $2.7 million at an auction in Qatar. That auction raised funds for Reach Out to Asia, a charity benefitting tsunami victims. Look closely at the guitar and you will see that the signatures of many famous musicians grace its face including Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Sting, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page and David Gilmour.
6. Jimi Hendrix’ guitar — Guitarist Jimi Hendrix overdosed on drugs in 1970 with some wondering what happened to his signature 1968 Stratocaster guitar. It turns out that Microsoft’s Paul Allen purchased the guitar in 1998, paying an even $2 million for the legendary rocker’s sweet-sounding guitar.
7. Bob Marley’s guitar — Jamaican Bob Marley was an avid guitarist, but he only owned seven models, a low number for most professionals who typically own dozens to well over 100 guitars. Marley’s custom-made Washburn 22 series Hawk guitar is the most valuable one and is worth up to $2 million. The Jamaican government classifies this instrument as a national asset.
As with any musical instrument, guitar competency is achieved by extensive practice. You can work with an instructor directly or teach yourself. Some websites offer instructions that can help students grasp their lessons with ease.
To learn how to play a guitar also means familiarizing yourself with the instrument itself as mentioned earlier. Learn the various fret positions and practice daily for at least a half-hour, developing an ear for sound, pitch and intonation. Learn to play along with some of your favorite songs, frequently returning to the spot in the song where a defining chord is played. Gradually work in complete songs and continue to build your guitar playing skills with disciplined practice.
University of Hawaii: Buying an Acoustic Guitar — http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/buying_an_acoustic_gtr.htm
The Telegraph: The 10 Most Expensive Guitars Ever Sold: In Pictures — http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9131748/The-10-most-expensive-guitars-ever-sold-in-pictures.html
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