If there’s one thing that everyone loves, universally, it has to be music, right? The love for music spreads all across the globe, and spreads far and wide.
But not only people like listening to music, people from all across the world aspire to be able to play music, and to be able to make and produce their own music.
A lot of the people reading this might even see themselves be the next Slash, Hendrix, Page or Malmsteen, and rock out with a six-string like their guitar idol, in front of millions!
Well, the good news is that with the right training, practice, patience, dedication and of course, with the right six-stringer, it is all very do-able!
So if you’re a beginner, or a seasoned pro and looking to take the next step to becoming the newest guitar sensation (or are just inspired by Guitar Hero), your first step should be to purchase a good electric guitar. The following electric guitar buying guide should come in pretty handy for the purpose.
Before setting off with your purchase, it is important to determine how proficient the buyer really is, in terms of his or her guitar-playing exploits.
For a beginner or someone who is new to guitar-playing and wants to learn his trade, it is generally recommended to start off with an acoustic, and once you reach a certain level of proficiency, and have a good command on playing an acoustic should you move to an electric guitar.
However that is far from being a rule of thumb. If you feel excited and enthused about learning to play an electric guitar, go for it!
If you’re a beginner, and see an electric guitar that you like, or one that you know sounds the way you like, or one that you favorite artists, guitarists or musicians use, by all means go for it.
Go for what appeals to you, and what excites you. Because if you do that, it is more likely you will stick to it, even when motivation levels are low at a later point in time. Buy that Les Paul that your favorite artist used at his last live performance. Look them up, do your research as to which guitars they’ve used and go for it!
Whatever you buy, just make sure that it comes with a refund or an exchange guarantee, valid for at least a few weeks after the purchase.
As someone who’s probably played for a while now, you would know what you want and what to avoid in terms of your next guitar purchase.
If not, seek advice for peers, or look online on the internet for help – you might be surprised to know that there are some great resources to help you out.
Price is important. Electric guitars are usually a bit expensive (at least comparatively, when compared with acoustic guitars or semi acoustics), and especially when you factor in the cost of buying an amp, effects pedal/processor and/or other accessories. But having said that, electric guitars are generally available for all budgets.
Cheap unbranded alternatives are also available, but personally, I would never recommend getting one.
Instead, if you have an upper-limit for the amount you would want to spend on one, get something like a cheap Squier Stratocaster or Telecaster, a Yamaha SG-series electric guitar , or an Epiphone Les Paul – all great alternatives to their expensive counterparts.
Squier is actually owned by Fender, and produces cheaper, budget-friendly versions of Fender’s more expensive guitars, such as the Strat. Similarly, Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson, and serves pretty much the same purpose – producing cheaper and budget-friendly versions of Gibson guitars, like the Epiphone Les Paul.
If money’s not an issue, well you might want to go for a good Gibson Les Paul Studio, a Yamaha Pacifia, or a good Fender (such as the legendary Stratocaster), an Ibanez or a Jackson.
At the end of the day, you should do your research and buy the highest-quality instrument that you could possibly get. A good electric guitar would feel great, sound great and would be easier to sell or trade, if need be.
Before making the purchase, it is equally important to know how electric guitars function, how they work. Electrics are different to acoustics in terms of how the sound I produced; acoustic guitars produce their own sound, however sound on an electric is produced when the string vibration goes through an electromagnetic pickup, and is converted into an electrical signal which goes through an amplifier, which finally produces the sound.
An electric guitar therefore produces no sound of its own, and relies on an externally-connected amplifier for the purpose. The sound is amplified, and its tone, pitch, resonance and other qualities can be changed, and effects can also be added, all depending on the type of amplifier and effects processor that is being used.
Another aspect which would determine which electric guitar your purchase would be the music genre(s) that appeal to you the most. But first, let’s take a look at the different types of electric guitar bodies.
The most common electrics are solid-body electric guitars, which can be shaped and designed in any way imaginable – ranging from traditional round bodies to one that has pointy, star-shaped edges. Solid-bodies are the most common types of electric guitars, and much of the music today is made on these. Coupled with a good amplifier and an equally-able effects process, virtually any kind of sound can be made using these. They are suitable for all genres, including rock, metal, country, jazz, or blues.
Hollow-body electrics have arched tops, are unsuitable for high volumes, and produce a full tone with rich bass; ideal for jazz musicians. Semi-hollowbody guitars have a solid wooden center in order to avoid feedback issues.
In terms of which guitar would be best suited for particular genres or to a specific playing style, I find, and this is strictly my personal opinion, that something like a Gibson Les Paul is more suited for rock music and all its sub-genres (including hard rock and metal), whereas the Fender Stratocaster is much more suited for Blues, Country, and Indie music and is generally an easier and a more natural guitar to pick up and play.
Once again, strictly my opinion. With any electric guitar, you won’t have to be genre-bound, since it can be paired up with virtually any good effects processor to produce just about any sound under the sun.
Famous Les Paul Players: Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde , Gn’R and Slash.
Famous Strat Players: Eric Clapton, van Halen, Jimi Hendrix.
The abovementioned information should be useful in case you wanted to pick up something used by Slash or Hendrix, and weren’t sure which guitars these rock gods donned, and what their axe of choice is.
The scale length is the length of the strings, measured from the bridge and the head nut.
25-1/2” is the standard scale length on almost all Fender guitars such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster (perhaps the most famous guitars on this scale length), and other steel-stringed guitar manufacturers such as Jackson, ESP and Ibanez. This high-tension scale length provides a trebly-sound. Fender’s budget-friendly.
The other standard scale length, the 24-3/4” is most commonly used by Gibson, most notably on the Les Paul, SG, Flying V and the ES335 guitars. This length has a lower string tension, uses slightly heavier strings and as a result, produces less trebly sound, but with added bass and with greater output from the pickups. This length is also used by guitar manufacturer Dean.
There are 3 distinct types of pickups on electric guitars, and guitars could come with any combination of these:
Not as important a factor in electric guitars – purely due to the fact that sound is produced with the help of pickups and an amp – the wood used to construct an electric guitar still determines how long the strings vibrate for, and their motion, and ultimately affecting the guitar’s sound and tonal qualities. I won't go into a lot of details about this, but if you're interested, you can read up on the wood types used to construct modern electric guitars here.
There are a couple of other factors to be considered as well, as this LearnGuitar.org article demonstrates. Follow these tips, and do your research in order to make an informed purchase. Good luck!
So you’ve finally taken the next step, and are ready to move out of the garage and in front of a live audience. To call it a daunting experience would probably be the understatement of the decade!
I’ve been there, and I’ve done it. It’s a huge step forward, and just thinking about it can be nerve-wracking. However at the same time, it’s an exciting prospect to be finally able to showcase your guitar playing skills and talents, and put your guitar playing exploits in the front of the world and in the spotlight.
All guitar gods started this way – Slash, Hendrix, Hammett, Page… there came a time each of these guitarists when they performed for the first time in front of the world.
It’s a major step, it could be the defining moment in your life, and something you’ll look back to when you when you become the rock star that you aspire to be. However an inexperienced guitar player needs to ensure that he has all bases covered.
Here are some tips, based on my own experiences as a guitar player, and hopefully, each and everyone one of these will be of help to a budding guitar player, ready to take on the world with his first gig.
Hopefully, your first live gig will be one of the most truly memorable experiences in your life!
Buying your first acoustic guitar? Or just looking to upgrade to a better one? Ultimate Guitar Blog has you covered!
In this post, we’ll be looking at what factors you should consider before buying an acoustic guitar – things like purpose, budget, guitar types, comfort and playability.
Before setting out, it is important to determine what the purpose of your purchase really is: are you a beginner, looking to buy your first guitar? Or are you an experienced guitar player, who is looking for an upgrade? Your level of guitar playing proficiency is likely to determine what sort of a guitar you end up purchasing, and more importantly, how much money you’ll end up shelling on one. Which brings us to…
As a rule of thumb, the more you pay for something, the better, right? The same rule also applies to a guitar. So at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
However that is not to say that good acoustic guitars (such as those which are fantastic sounding and comfy to play) cannot be had on the cheap. Yamaha, for instance, make some excellent low-budget acoustic guitars, suitable for beginners and advanced guitar players alike. Even companies like Fender, Gibson and Epiphone make some excellent low-cost acoustic guitars which give an excellent bang-for-the-buck.
As your first guitar or if you’re a beginner, go with an inexpensive acoustic guitar. If you’re looking to upgrade, be prepared to shell out some money.
An acoustic guitar consists of different parts, all of which determine how the guitar sounds and feels.
For instance, the material used to construct the body of an acoustic guitar determines its sound and its tone. Different styles and body sizes also of a big role to play in how the guitar sounds.
However the guitar’s body also houses many other individual parts – for instance the bridge, which transfers string vibration from the strings to the hollow sound chamber. The sound is transferred through the saddle, which also keeps the strong anchored to the body-end of the guitar.
The part of the guitar’s body referred to as the ‘top’, actually acts as a hollow sound-chamber, and is very important in how the guitar sounds. Most guitar tops are either solid or laminated. The latter are less affected by changes in temperature and humidity, and are also more affordable, because of how they’re built. The former, a solid-top guitar, will cost more, but provide a better resonance and a greater sound projection.
The neck or the fretboard of the guitar determines how comfortable it is to play and hold, and has a big impact on the guitar’s overall ‘feel’. Guitar necks are either glued to the body, or bolted on. The neck of the guitar houses the fretboard, and individual frets. The individual frets are fixed in the wood, and the guitar produces different sounds when strings are held down where different frets are (pro-tip: additional resource on guitar neck/fretboard and learning the fretboard here).
Lastly, on the far end of the neck you’ll find the tuners, aka. the machine heads. Turning the tuners will change the tension and the rigidity of the strings, changing the guitar’s tone and pitch, and how it sounds.
The type of wood used to make the guitar is hugely detrimental to how it sounds and feels.
Acoustic guitars are made using a wide range of wood types, and various species or variants of the same wood that might be used in different parts of the guitars.
For instance Cedar is used to make the body (top, back and sides) of classical or finger-style acoustic guitars, mostly because of the bright upper registers it produces. Ebony is a hard, strong type of wood, feels slick and smooth and is hence used to construct the fretboards of all good guitars.
But one of the most commonly-used wood types in almost all modern (and old) acoustic guitars is Mahogany. It is used to construct the top, back, the sides as well as the neck and bridge of the acoustics guitars. Mahogany, when used on the top, gives the guitar sound an extra punch, most suitable for country and blues guitar playing. Mahogany guitars produce a solid tone, and add a boost to the middle and upper ends of the dynamic range. Koa is similar in terms of how it sounds to Mahogany, but more expensive because of how scarce it is.
Often times, Maple too is used to construct acoustic guitars, although it is primarily used in the construction of electric guitars. It is a dry, flat-sounding type of wood because of its heavy weight and low sound velocity.
Rosewood acoustic guitars have become more expensive because of declining supply and increasing scarcity of Brazilian Rosewood in particular. Rosewood acoustic guitars have a warm low-end, enhanced, rich and strong mids and highs, and a greater resonance – all mostly due to the wood’s high sound velocity.
Spruce is another commonly used wood type for electric guitars, especially guitar tops. Its characteristics include being extremely light-weight yet strong, and Spruce provides a good, clear and full sound at all dynamic levels. Variants of Spruce include Sitka Spruce and Red Spruce.
This could perhaps be one of the most important aspects for you, when you set about purchasing a guitar.
While most body styles are specific to certain guitar companies and manufacturers, as a rule of thumb, find a guitar with a body style that is confortable to play, and produces the tone and sound that you would want. It is due to this reason that I strongly recommend making your purchase in-store, rather than doing it online – unless of course you are absolutely sure of how the guitar you’re planning to buy online feels and sounds.
In addition, choose a guitar with a large soundboard, as it will make a much better low-end tone and volume. The placement of the cutaway is also an important detrimental factor. If you’re used to playing lead, or are accustomed to using an electric guitar, choose an acoustic with an upper-bout cutaway.
As an ending note, it is also interested to look at acoustic guitars developed by Ovation. Their Balladeer guitar had a round back (bowl-shaped) instead of a flat one, and was constructed out of Lyrachord, a special fiberglass, instead of wood – which made it totally resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.
Semi acoustic guitars, or what might also be referred to as acoustic-electric guitars, are hybrids between acoustic guitars and electric ones, bringing the best of both worlds. These share the same physical features as acoustics guitars, and can be played like acoustic guitars as well. However they have pickups and can be plugged into amps, useful for when playing a large space, or for a live performance.
Semi acoustics come with premaps to produce strong electric signals, located on the side of the guitar. The preamp has volume and tone controls onboard, and some even have pretuners. Preamp help amplify the sound of acoustic guitars. However semi-acoustics still sound the same as any acoustic guitar does.
A checklist of the things and characteristics you would ideally want in your guitar:
A common thing that happens when you start playing the guitar is that after a while, after months upon months of struggling, learning notes, frets, chords, scales and what not, you start losing motivation.
This is especially true for new guitar players, novices and beginners. I know because I’ve seen it happen with a lot of students, and most importantly I’ve ‘been there, done that’.
After months upon months of struggle, it is easy to lose motivation, because learning how to play the guitar is a tedious, dreary and long process. It takes a while before you get to where you see yourself go, and what you aspire to be. A long while, in fact. It is all too easy to lose focus, especially when you struggle to get the results you might be looking for. Furthermore, your ears start getting bored, frustration starts setting in, and you might not be learning something new and making strides like you were.
And perhaps above all, it is even easier to get stuck in a rut – you might try hard, try learning something new but things just don’t go your way. Trying to play harder and better, trying to improve only makes things worse. This can happen with new guitar players, as well as experienced ones who might be looking to hone their skills, or take their guitar play onto the next level.
I’ve seen people serious about their guitar play, and motivated about learning how to play the guitar, regress instead of progressing, and become progressively worse than before. So much so that they started to hate the way they played and what they were playing, and almost on the verge of quitting – all despite trying harder than ever before.
As a first step towards getting yourself out of the rut, it is a good idea to go back to square one, and remind yourself why you started playing (or started learning to play) the guitar in the first place.
Secondly, it is also vital to know that everyone, yes, every single guitar player out there goes through this. For some it might be more short-lived than the others, but being in a guitar-playing rut is something every budding guitarist goes through and is probably familiar with.
The important thing is to pick yourself up by telling yourself that you care about playing the guitar, and that there is a reason that you started off doing so in the first place. Equally important to remind yourself what this reason was.
Maybe your passion for learning to play the guitar was born out of the desire to idolize one of your favorite musicians, maybe the reason was that you wanted to get in and be part of a band, maybe it was your desire become a performing artists, or perform in a televised contest, etc. Whatever it was, it is still as important a reason as it was when you started off.
Seek inspiration, refresh your mind, do away with the staleness, start off afresh, change your perspective, and change things around you.
Change classes, teachers or schools. Seek advice and inspiration by speaking with peers, people you can interact with in real-life, or even over the internet – on forums and discussion boards. Add your favorite musicians on Twitter and send them a tweet or two. Maybe their response would spur your guitar learning back to life!
Change the room or change the environment you usually play in. If it’s your room, go outside, hit the beach or a park and practice there instead. Change your pickup settings. Buy an effects processor which comes with hundreds of different effect presets.
Furthermore, go out and buy a new guitar, or trade-in your current one with something new and different, even if you think what you’re getting isn’t best suited to what you want to play, a change of instruments might just do the trick.
In addition, try a new amp or change the amp settings, and if you play electric, try your hand with an acoustic and vice versa. Change your tuning settings. Try different chords and experiment. Try playing without the pick (or vice versa). Be creative!
Turn to online resources – like guitar-playing and guitar-learning websites, such as GuitarTricks who boast a wide range of online guitar lesson (as many as 5000!), some even geared to boost creativity (an excellent Review of GuitarTricks here). Youtube would come in pretty handy here, and if you don’t already know, it is an immense resource when it comes to playing the guitar!
Go back to watching your favorite gigs – concerts, performances, jams of all your favorite musicians. Stuff that probably inspired you to play in the first place. Observe and try to learn how the pros do it.
Have you ever tried playing a different genre? I know people obsessed with metal music, their lives devoted to playing heavy metal and hard rock, who were pleasantly surprised when they took on playing jazz and blues.
Another reason that I’ve seen guitarists lose motivation is because of their narrow vision, and obsession with certain specific music genres only. Metal and rock players seem completely disassociate themselves with anything that is pop, country or blues. That is the absolute incorrect approach to take. As a musician, don’t limit yourself to a couple of genres, expand your musical horizons. A good musician might have a select few favorites, but still listens to everything, because regardless of the genre, pop, rock, blues, or any other genre is still music. Listening to different music styles might just prove to be the inspiration you were looking for all along!
If all else fails, take a break. Time off might do you a world of good, and help you get some perspective and analyze things differently.
Pack your gear up and stay away for a week, two weeks, or as long as you feel like. You might just return all fired up, motivated and raring to have a go again!
Guitarists – and musicians alike – have started to turn to online sources to purchase their instruments, and the trend has really picked up in recent times.
Online purchasing, like online guitar lessons, has a few advantages. Firstly, you can not only score some fantastic deals online, you have a much higher chance of finding a rare axe, such as a Limited Edition Stratocaster or a Les Paul online, as compared to brick-and-mortar shops which carry these instruments.
And that doesn’t even begin to mention the convenience and ease online buying brings with it. Its quick, easy, convenient, saves your time, effort and gas, can be done from the comforts of your living room, and all it takes to buy a brand spanking new axe is just a few clicks of the mouse!
To make the process of buying a guitar online just a little bit easier, here are a few resources which will come in handy when buying a guitar online.
If you’re new to the guitar playing world, you might have a tough time coming to grips with every single thing that you come across – from learning how to play one to the terms that are often thrown around.
The process of learning how to play the guitar can be quite the task in itself! The last thing you need is to worry about different commonly-used terms, slang and the guitar-specific language that is being used in the industry.
So what do terms like ‘Resonance’, ‘Coil Tuners’, a ‘Humbucker’ or ‘Tremolo’ exactly mean? Feel your head spinning? Fret not (no pun intended!), as I delve into the world of guitar-language and look at some of the most commonly-used terms and words in the guitar-playing world (the following glossary of words is presented in no particular order):
By no means a comprehensive, all-inclusive list, but a good glossary of terms to get you started with guitar play.
Anyone who thinks making money from music is wrong should probably save himself some time and close this page right now. Because let’s be honest here:
In this post, I’ll be putting together a few pointers and tips, all geared towards enabling you to have a long and successful career in the music industry, that will also enable you to make a good living out of it.
If you love your music, if you love playing the guitar and love being in a band and playing with the band, you’ll probably want to be able to do it full-time. Most musicians are not able to do this, and they end up working 9-5 because they’re unable to make a lot of money through music, and hence are unable to make a living out of it.
The musicians that we see on TV and the internet, those who’ve made it big, seem to be living the dream – they’re doing what they love doing, which is making music, and they seem to be making a pretty decent living off of it as well.
That’s where you want to be, that is where every musician wants to be. Having mentored many young and budding musicians, I can safely say that most of them have no idea about their potential to achieve success in the music industry, and are skeptic about just the idea of going into the industry on a fulltime basis.
What I can tell you is that, making a great deal of money, let alone just a decent living, in the music industry is not only possible, it might even be easier than you think. It is not something only rock stars or pop musicians can only do, and you don’t have to be on American Idol or the X-Factor to make it big in the music industry (plenty of examples that support my argument there, Adele being one).
But what’s important is that you believe in yourself, hone your talent, remain dedicated to the cause, and perhaps most importantly, think with a business and entrepreneurial mindset.
Your music career, and what you play, has to be treated as a business, where you offer your own set of services to people and your fans, record labels, talent agencies, people looking for live performance artists, marketers and promoters, and other people in the industry.
The sooner you start thinking like that, thinking about your music career like a business, the sooner you’ll achieve success. And that essentially is the first lesson in the process of being able to make money from your music:
Make no mistake, the music industry and very tough. It is anything but easy to make it big and start earning money, and you cannot expect to simply walk in. However with the right amount of skills, dedication, perseverance and hardwork, it is certainly not impossible. The likes of Slash, Adele, Jimi Hendrix, and Taylor Swift all did it (or are doing it now) but they all started somewhere too, and now, they’re some of the biggest names in the world. There’s no reason why you can’t be among them!
Just remember to focus on doing what you love. Practice music with the intent of getting better, and try working with other musicians and guitarists if you can. JamPlay - an online guitar-learning resource, for instance, allows professionals to practice playing the guitar with other guitarists and artists in the industry.
Use the points above and work hard towards your aim of being financially independent by making your living off what you love doing!
The Gibson Les Paul is a truly legendary piece of axe, an iconic musical instrument and I think it would be safe to say that it is just about as famous and well-known as some of the people of have donned it in their lives!
I’ve used many Les Pauls over the years, ever since the good folks over at GuitarTricks recommended it to me. And I have to say that it is easily the best, most comfortable and the most perfect-sounding electric guitar in the market right now. But more on all that later.
If you are the proud owner of a Les Paul, I’m sure you are in agreement with what’s been said. If you’re planning to buy one, congratulations! It’s a brilliant guitar and you won’t regret purchasing it.
The Gibson Les Paul first saw the light of day in 1952. This was the time when guitar manufacturer and one of Gibson’s biggest rivals (still to this day!) Fender had released its first solidbody guitar, the Telecaster. Gibson had to compete, and needed a solidbody guitar of its own, and hence the Les Paul was born.
Gibson worked with legendary guitarist and the man behind multitrack recording, Les Paul to develop and produce the Les Paul model, its very own first solidbody guitar, featuring a unique and distinctive look, with a carved maple top (similar to Gibson’s archtop guitars) and a mahogany body and finish.
Little did Gibson know that the Les Paul (along with Fender’s Stratocaster) would go on and prove to be two of the most revolutionary pieces of equipment ever!
Since the the first Les Paul was introduced in ’52, 127 different models have been released!
If you know your music, you’ll also know that every great guitarist out there has used one, at least once in their lives (yes even Strat users). From Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Slash, David Gilmour, Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde, musicians from all genres have played a Les Paul which just goes to show how versatile the guitar really is.
While the real strength of the Les Paul has always been in playing Rock n’ Roll and hard rock music, it is equally suitable for blues (used by Muddy Waters), jazz (used by the man, Les Paul himself!), and country (Charlie Daniels) as well.
Apart from how well it sounds, Les Paul, for me, has to be one of the easiest and best guitars to play. You could just go and pick one up, and immediately feel at home when you play it, it’s that good!
It looks good, all Les Pauls have a great design and a brilliant finish, and now, they hold a very high value historically as well. A fantastic looking and sounding guitar, to put it simply!
A few of the more renowned, well-known Les Paul guitars are:
Epiphone used to be a completely different company producing its own line of guitars, until it was acquired by Gibson. Now Epiphone produces 20 models of the Les Paul, all of which are cheaper, low-cost alternatives to their more expensive counterparts, and look and sound similar to the other Les Pauls. However upon closer inspection, you will discover that the originals have superior tone, build-quality and materials used. The Epiphone Les Paul Studio costs $350, which is significantly lower than the standard Gibson version.
Epiphone guitars are made outside the US (unlike the standard Gibson guitars), and use a different polyurethane finish, which takes a few days to apply, is much more durable and not labor intensive, as compared to Gibson guitars, which use a thin and light finish, which takes weeks to process and allows the wood to breathe – making it the best wood for good tonal qualities. This is why Epiphone guitars have more mid and bass as compared to Gibson, which have a lighter, more crisp tone. Epiphone also uses less expensive materials in their guitars and cheaper woods. All this means that Epiphone Les Pauls are less expensive to produce and sell.
Although there are many variations of the Les Paul, some of common features in all models include:
You can alos get a custom Les Paul built to your specifications, from Gibson’s Custom Shop. If of course you have the greens to spend on something like that.
Over the years, Gibson has produced a whole slew of signature models, usually created by partnering with famous artists, most notably with the input of famous guitarists like Zakk Wylde (which game birth to the Gibson Custom Zakk Wylde Signature Les Paul). These signature models are built to the exact personal preferences of these guitarists. The first signature Les Paul was the Jimmy Page Les Paul made in 1995.
Learning to play the guitar is a whole lot of fun, and something that is probably on almost everyone’s bucket list.
Guitars are fun to play, once you learn it, you can make all sorts of music on it, and knowing how to strum an axe can make parties, road-trips, backyard BBQs, and trips to the beach or the park a lot less boring and a lot more fun!
Many people also feel that playing the guitar is ‘cool’, or enhances their image, and while it might be true since it has a lot to do with the ‘rockstar’ image that the instrument portrays, personally, I don’t subscribe to that idea.
Acoustic guitars are easy to carry around, produce their own sound and don’t need to be hooked up with any electronics (unlike electrics), and hence understandably, are the most popular pieces of musical instruments out there.
All sorts of people, young and old, and from all fields and walks of life see playing the guitar as something that they want to do, and a large percentage of these people pursue this dream at some point in their lives as well. Guitar classes being offered at schools and colleges have started to pick up, even online courses such as GuitarJamz (a really good review by OnlineGuitarLessons here) seem to be becoming more popular. And while a lot many people play the guitar either because it is something that they are interested in doing, they want to emulate their favorite guitarists or musicians or want to be a part of a band, there are numerous other benefits as well:
Together with its competitor, the Les Paul, the ‘Stratocaster’ is a word that is almost synonymous with guitars and the music industry.
The Stratocasters, or the ‘Strats’ as they’re more commonly referred to, are the most popular and well-known electric guitars in the world out there. The company behind this iconic piece of music equipment, Fender, is one of the biggest names in the music industry, and the largest producer of electric guitars and music instruments out there, right up there with the likes of Jackson and Gibson.
The Strat is the brainchild of Leo Fender, the man behind the company and was designed in 1954 by members of his team. Since then, it has become the template and standard for electric guitar designs.
Stratocasters are popular mainly because how brilliant they sound, how easy they are to just pick up and play, and of course, their versatility when it comes to good guitar play.
The Stratocasters are the guitars of choice for many a musicians mainly because of how well suited it is when it comes to playing different genres of music. From rock, metal, jazz, blues, and country, the Strat will pretty much handle everything you throw at it. This versatility makes it the numero uno guitar-of-choice when it comes to guitarists and stars all across the world.
Furthermore Stratocaster are equally well suited for all guitarists, no matter how proficient their guitar-playing skills might be. A total beginner or a seasoned pro with 20 years of experience under his belt would feel at home when using the Strat. Stratocasters are also of significant value to collectors.
And it definitely doesn’t hurt its cause that the Strat feels really good and easy to use, looks amazing, and has a great tone and sound as well.
Ever since the first Strat saw the day of light in 1954, some of its defining features have included having three single-coil pickups (something that makes a Stratocaster instantly recognizable), a patented tremolo tailpiece, its double cutaway ‘comfort contour’ body (another defining feature of the Strat), and the ability to allow for string length and height adjustment individually.
The Stratocaster’s comfort-contour body are made of ash wood or alder, its bolt-on neck is usually made of maple and rosewood or maple is used for the construction of its fingerboard. Fender use a nitrocellulose lacquer finish on its vintage guitars, and a polyester finish on the modern ones.
They also feature a synchronized tremolo, 2 tone and 1 volume control, a 5 position pickup switch, and standard 22 frets on all their guitars.
All Fender guitars come with the 25-1/2” scale length and the Strat is no exception.
The Strats are also known to be some of the easiest guitars to repair, as well as being highly customizable and easy to customize.
All Stratocaster guitars can be broken down into 4 main models:
(i) the Fender Stratocasters (Standard, Deluxe and Classic),
(ii) the USA Strats,
(iii) the Fender Custom Shop guitars, and
(iv) the Squier Strats (Squier by Fender).
The Fender Standard Strats are now the industry standard for electric guitars being built by manufacturers (big and small) all over the world. The Standard Strats feature an Alder body, a ‘C’ shaped neck, Maplewood or rosewood fingerboard, polyutherane neck finish, chrome hardware, plastic parts, and sealed tuning machines. The ‘Standard FR’ edition comes with Floyd Rose tremolo, and the ‘Roland Ready’ model features a built-in Roland GK-2A pickup which can be controlled from the guitar itself.
The Deluxe series have special pickups, come with active electronics onboard, and other factory-fitted modifications and vintage-styled hardware.
The Fender Standard Classic are the result of collaboration between Fender’s infamous ‘Master Builders’, and are manufactured at Fender’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Baja California. The classics come with custom-shop features (more on those in a bit), but are reasonably priced. They feature an alder body, a 7.58” fretboard and vintage-styled, knobs, pickups, tremolo and tuning machines.
While all 3 of the abovementioned (Standard, Deluxe, Classic) are built and manufactured in Mexico, the USA Strats represent entry-level and advanced Stratocaster built and manufactured in the US. They too feature an Alder body, C-shaped neck, a big headstock, 22 frets, a Greasebucket tone circuit, 3 Alnico pickups (tuned for distortion), thin lacquer finish – all in 70s-styling. The USA Stratocasters come in many different models, such as the Highway One, Standard Series, American Deluxe, Vintage, Special and the Artist – each with its own design and features.
The Custom Shop models are hand-built Fender Stratocaster, crafted and manufactured in the US. These represent the penultimate Stratocasters, the crème de la crème of Fender’s guitars, and as Fender itself puts it, these are “the best playing, best sounding and the best looking guitars the world has ever seen!” Three different guitars – the Custom Artist Signature, the Artist Tribute and Time Machine are produced by Fender under the Custom Shop product line.
Finally, the Squier series represents Fender’s low-cost, cheaper and relatively inexpensive line of guitars being produced by Fender, or what Fender refers to as high-quality, low-cost alternatives of its more expensive guitars. The Squier Stratocasters are in production since 1982 and are perfect entry level Stratocasters. The concept is similar to Gibson’s Epiphone Les Paul series of guitars, and the Squier Strats are built to Fender’s designs and specs, and are hence not copies.