How to Teach Yourself Guitar

Getting guitar lessons with a private instructor can often times be too expensive for our budgets.  Because of that many people opt to learn guitar on their own time by themselves.  While I do believe private lessons with an experienced guitar teacher is the fastest way to improve quickly, teaching yourself is certainly manageable.  It may even fit some peoples lifestyles better.  Here is how you teach yourself guitar.

Your First Steps

How to Teach yourself Guitar

1. Get a Guitar 

I would assume most of you are already past this step, but I just gotta make sure we are all on the same page.   : )

If you don't already have a guitar here is a good beginner electric guitar, and acoustic guitar.

This is the Squier Affinity series Stratocaster.  It's a great beginner guitar because it offers high quality at an affordable price, and produces a sound that is synonymous with many guitar legends.

Click the image for link!

This is the Yamaha FD01S.  Similarly to the Squier it offers high quality sound at a beginner's price.  It is a fastball down the middle.  Exactly what you should expect from an acoustic guitar.

Click the image for link!


2. Make Sure the Guitar is Playable

This mostly just means to change out old strings.  Many people that want to pick up guitar use that one old guitar that is just lying around their house.  The strings on that bad boy are super old, and make playing far harder than it needs to be.  

Changing strings is a super easy process, but can be confusing for someone that has never done it.  Thankfully we have guides on how to change strings for both electric guitars, and acoustic guitars.

CLICK HERE FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR STRING CHANGING GUIDE

CLICK HERE FOR ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRING CHANGING GUIDE

If you do not want to try that, going to a friend that plays guitar, or a local music store to get the strings changed would be great alternatives.  

Here are a good pack of electric guitar strings for beginners!

Click the Image for link!

And here are a good pack of acoustic guitar strings for beginners!

3. Learn to Understand Tab

Tab is a way that musicians can put the music down on to paper, so that other musicians can see the music and learn it quickly.

Tab is a system about reading where your fingers are put on the fret board to play songs.  A tab could look like this E: ----1-----  That would mean to put your finger on the first fret of the E string. 

Often times tabs are structured so you can see what all the strings on the guitar are doing.  Like this:

E: ---3---

A: ---2---

D: ---0---

G: ---0---

B: ---3---

e: ---3---

That is how a G major chord would look like in tab.

Understand tab is very important because it is a way that you can communicate musical ideas to other guitarists quickly and easily.  It is also important because it is likely how you will learn your first songs.  

4. Learn Songs that You Like

Now that you can read tab, it is time to move on to learning songs!  Learning how to play songs is one of the most simple and effective ways for beginners to learn how to learn to play the guitar.

It teaches new guitarists about timing, musicality, being in tune, and tonnes of technical skills.  

Pick out a few songs in your head that you would have fun playing, and see if you can find a tab of them online.  The two most classic songs to start out with are "Smoke on the water" and "Seven nation army". Both are super iconic riffs that almost everyone knows, and both are great starting points for new guitarists.  

Another place you can find tab is in songbooks.  If there is a particular artist or band that you really like, and you want to be able to play their songs.  You can buy a songbook of theirs.  Songbooks can be bought online or in a music store.  These songbooks will give you almost exactly 100% of what your favorite guitarists are playing.  

5. Learn Songs in Other Ways

Tab is a really great tool, but relying on it too much is something that far too many musicians get in to, and that limits you as a musician.  

Try to learn a few songs by ear.  It may be super annoying to go through, but it is worth it.  This is another step in developing your ear.  What are you going to do if you need to learn a song for a gig, but you can't find a tab for it?  You'll need to learn it somehow, and likely that 'somehow' is to sit down and learn it by ear.  It is far better to already have this skill developed than to try to develop it when a gig is on the line.

Another way you could learn new music is through sheet music.  This is not a realm that many guitarists travel into, but it is certainly a part of being a well rounded musician.  Gigs that might require you to learn off of sheet music include playing for musicals and jazz ensembles.  Although these may not be what you really want to play in, they will help you develop a wider sense of musicality.

How to teach yourself guitar

6. Challenge Yourself

There have been many times while playing guitar that I wonder if there's any possible way I could play what I'm about to begin learning.  The speed, timing, or technique seems nearly impossible to replicate, but then after a few short hours of practice later I have this concept, lick, or idea down super well.  

Finishing a task like that gives you a massive sense of accomplishment.  Being able to do something that you thought was impossible a few hours or days ago is an awesome feeling.  It is one of the most rewarding parts of playing guitar.  

So start trying to learn some things that seem super difficult to you, but still within the realm of possibility for you to do.  After you complete your first big task you will have a new appreciation for the art of concentrated practice on something that is difficult.

7. Enjoy the Process

The pursuit of becoming the best guitarist you can be is a journey without end.  There is no true destination.  Just stops along the way.  Make sure you enjoy these stops.  If you are constantly thinking "I just need to be this good, and then I'll be content".  You'll never be content with your playing.  There is always something you'll find that is flawed.  If you simply love the craft and getting better every day, you'll feel much more content.  Sometimes enjoying the process is stepping away from the guitar too.  Although making yourself practice most of the time is good.  Sometimes it makes you resent and dislike the instrument.  It is supposed to be fun.  Have all the fun you can have with it!


How to teach yourself guitar

Be in Tune

How to teach yourself Guitar

Always tune up before you begin.  This is for a few reasons. 

  1.  Being out of tune is frustrating, and will make you not want to play
  2. Being in tune trains your ear, so you know when you are out of tune

Reason number one is the biggest reason to always tune up before you play.  You cannot teach yourself how to play guitar if you don't want to pick up the instrument.  

Training your ear is an extremely important part of a well rounded musician, and the simplest way to do that is to think "does this sound good (in tune) or bad (out of tune)?"  The more you think about it the more your ear will become refined, and you will be able to hear if you're out of tune by just a little bit.

Setting Goals

How to teach yourself Guitar

The very most important thing in knowing how to teach yourself guitar is knowing what level of playing you can realistically achieve, and what level of playing you want to be at. 

Maybe your goal is simply to learn a few chords and strum along with your favorite song.  Great!  Another person's goal could be to become a professional musician.  Awesome! Both of these are worthwhile goals, but the paths to achieving them are very different from each other.

To figure out the path to your goal, you must figure out what small things will help you get to your goal.  Work on these small tasks consistently, until you reach your ultimate goal.  

A teacher is very helpful in this regard because they see the weaknesses in your playing, and see where you want to go.  Then they attack your weaknesses, and this is how you get better at guitar.  However,  if you have the discipline to work on your weaknesses by yourself, more power to you.

The lesson of this is to give yourself something to work towards.  Always be trying to improve.

how to teach yourself guitar

Outside Help

How to teach yourself Guitar

Although this is called "How to Teach Yourself Guitar" no one really teaches themselves guitar.  Everyone needs to learn from someone or something.  

An important thing to remember is to not let your ego get in the way of you getting good help.  Many players want to continue being "self taught" because it has some sort of cool status to it.  In the end though, denying good outside help for your ego's sake is going to make you a worse player with a bigger head.  No one wants that.

Buying an online course, or going to private lessons once in a while aren't things you should completely rule out.  These resources will clearly show you how to improve in specific areas of your playing, and will help you immensely on your journey.

Maybe your source of outside help is a friend or an acquaintance that is a little above your playing level, and can show you a few new things.  It doesn't need to be something that is paid for.  Just drop your ego about being "self taught",  and allow for as much help as possible. 

Play Everything

How to teach yourself Guitar

Many people like to put themselves in a box.  They say "I'm a punk rock guitarist" or "I'm just a jazz cat".  Although it is perfectly okay to have a specialty, purposely limiting yourself to one style negatively impacts your playing.

Purposely shunning a genre or style gives you less to use in your musical tool kit.  Techniques and styles differ from genre to genre.  Not playing multiple genres limits your technical knowledge, and makes you less well rounded. 

This is massively impactful if you hope to gig eventually.  It is hard to make a living playing one style of music.  There are only so many jobs in one specific genre.  Being able to play a little bit of everything is far more practical for a working musician.  

There is something to learn within every genre that you can take into your own playing to help create your own sound.  

Country music helps me learn how to write simple, but effective songs.  Soul music helps me learn to play everything with feeling.  Metal music helps me bring my chops and technique up to par with others.  Jazz helps me practice my theoretical knowledge, and pushes my limits of understanding.

Not only is this impactful in gigging, but also in developing your own personal sound.  Hearing different techniques and styles may influence you to incorporate those into your own style, and help you craft something that is all your own.  

The important lesson to learn here is that pigeon holing yourself as only a metal player, or only an R&B guy will be detrimental to both your bank account and your artistic pursuits.  

Telecaster Headstock. How to teach yourself guitar

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

How to Teach yourself Guitar

This point kinda goes hand in hand with the last one.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve.  One of my first gigs ever was with a country band.  I am by no means a country guy.  I was absolutely terrified when I got sent a list of 60 songs to learn within a month.  This was way outside of my comfort zone.  Not only musically, buy also just because I had not gigged much up until that point.  

I showed up to the first rehearsal so prepared.  It went great.  Through this experience I learned a whole bunch of intricacies within country music.  This helped me expand my musical pallet, and become a much better guitar player.  Not only that, but it also helped me learn how to perform in front of an audience.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be extremely stressful and mentally taxing, but if you take it seriously.  It will pay off extremely well for you in the future.  

Conclusion

The beginning of learning to play can be super overwhelming.  There are so many different roads to go down, and so many different things to learn.  No matter what though, there are tenets that stay true within any style of guitar playing.  I hope we were able to teach you some of those today.  The importance of things like stepping outside of your comfort zone, playing in tune, and playing with new musicians cannot be overstated.  

I hope our article helped you learn how to teach yourself guitar.  Have a lovely rest of your day 🙂

Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

Tele best guitar for country music

The answer to "What is the best electric guitar for country music?"  Can have a few different answers depending on what era and style of country music you enjoy.  Although it would be great to list all the guitars that have been big fads throughout Nashville.  There has been one single guitar that has reigned supreme for the past 4 or 5 decades.  

This guitar shouldn't surprise you.  It is an absolutely classic guitar model that is so closely associated with country music that you can't tell the tale of one without the other.  

The best electric guitar for country music is of course the. . .

Fender Telecaster - The Best Electric Guitar for Country Music
Fender Tele best electric guitar for country music

The Fender Telecaster was first released in 1951.  It was the very first widely produced solid body guitar.  At first many thought it was a silly idea.  A guitar guitar that cannot be played acoustically?  What a stupid idea, right?

That is what many doubters thought until they got their hands on it.  Many instantly noticed how easy it was to play.  The big and bulky fully hollow body guitars of that era were massive and could be very uncomfortable to play.  The new Telecaster was nice and compact.

The best thing about it was that the Telecaster delivered a sound that not many people had heard before.  A bright and punchy sound that brought the guitar to the forefront of the band.  Rather than the rhythm section.  

Because of all these factors every guitar company from here to Timbuktu was designing solid body electric guitars, and thus a guitar revolution was born.  

Why is it the Best electric Guitar for Country Music?

Fender Telecaster Head Stock Best electric guitar for country music

The Fender Telecaster is the best electric guitar for country music because it has an unmistakable twang to it that is perfect for country music.  There is almost something magical about the bridge pickup of a Fender Telecaster.  That is why if you were to take a trip to Nashville, you would see tele's in almost every single band you watch.  They are everywhere in Nashville.

Chicken pickin is a style of guitar that is almost exclusively played on a Telecaster in the bridge position.  Here is a video of Brad Paisley chicken pickin.  Before you think that Brad Paisley is just a "pop" country artist.  You should look at this.  The dude can fricken play.  He's one of the best country guitarists you'll ever see.

That is pretty fricken cool...  And it shows how a Telecaster reigns supreme as the best country electric guitar   Besides maybe fancier Telecaster copies.

Another reason why they are the best electric guitar for country music is that they are on all the country records you a listening to.  Almost every country song made in the last 20 years has a telecaster on the track somewhere.  If you hope to replicate the sounds of those great records then getting that type of guitar is a good start.  

Best Telecaster guitarists list

The first one we will mention is the player we already have talked about.  

Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley is a super underrated country guitar player.  He can play with the best of them, but is often times written off as a "pop country artist".  Say what you want about the guy, but he can certainly play.  He's been rocking Fender Telecasters, or Telecaster copies, since he was coming up in the Nashville scene, and still is to this day.  

Brad Paisley is so well known for playing a Telecaster that he has his own signature model produced by Fender

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters shows that although the Telecaster might be the best electric guitar for country, country is not the only thing the Telecaster can do.  

The Telecaster is a killer blues guitar if utilized correctly.  Just listen to the telecaster in song.  It is the perfect sound for this deep delta blues.  It is a very similar sound found in country music, but is just in a new context.  Again there is something magical about the bridge pickup no matter what genre it is within.  

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard is mostly known for his songwriting.  That doesn't change the fact that he wrote and performed some of the most iconic country licks of all time.

Who doesn't know the intro lick to mama tried?

Keith Richards

Keith Richards shows once again that although the Telecaster is great for country, it can also be used for other genres as well.  As the guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards innovated the guitar, and brought new sounds to the forefront of popular music.  

The guitar he is most known for playing is, of course, his Fender Telecaster.  Here is a recent video of The Rolling Stones performing "Paint it Black".

Best Electric Guitar for Country for Everyone

Something great about the Telecaster, and really all Fender guitars, is that they come in a wide range of prices.  They start at around $230 and can go all the way up to $5,000.  There is one in the price range of almost anyone.  Here are our favorite ones, and who they would be best for.

Best Country guitar for Beginners

When we are looking for a good beginner guitar we are looking for a guitar that plays good, feels good, and is low in price.

 We really want a guitar that plays and feels good because learning guitar is already hard enough.  We do not need the instrument fighting against us.  When you are just starting out is when you are most likely to quit playing, and because of that we want to make your first playing experiences as good as possible.  An instrument that fights you is going to upset you and make you want to quit more.  

We want a guitar that is lower in price because beginners are far less inclined to spend a lot on a guitar.  They are very easily deterred by a price tag that says $500 or $600 on it.  

Lower Priced Option: Squier Bullet Telecaster

The Squier Bullet Telecaster is the best electric guitar for beginners looking to get into country music.  It is everything you need to start out, and not much more.  The best part about them is that they are extremely cheap, so almost anyone can afford one. 

The downside of this guitar is its quality control and quality of parts.  Obviously when you are buying a guitar for a super low price, odds are that the guitar is not going to be the highest of quality.  This makes playing a little more difficult, and it creates a sound that is not as pleasant as the other guitars on this list.  Also it means the guitar will have more issues with its electronics than the other models.  

Even with these issues though, the guitar is a great beginner guitar that will help you on your way to playing more and more in the future, and maybe not having the budget for a different guitar is totally okay!  Any guitar is a good guitar when you are starting out! 

For beginners without a big budget it certainly is the best electric guitar for country music.

Higher Priced Option:  Squier Classic 60's Vibe Telecaster 

The Squier Classic 60's Vibe Telecaster is a great guitar.  Not just for beginners, but for anyone that is interested in a great playing well made Telecaster.  I was recently hired to play in a country band, and I no longer had a Telecaster.  I went and picked up one of these, and I love it.  

Since I am just using it for a few gigs, it is great.  It isn't my main guitar, but I figured if I was going to be in a country band I would need a Telecaster.  I am very happy that I chose to buy this Telecaster rather than a more expensive one because this one absolutely gets the job done that I need it to get done.  

If you are a beginner looking to buy a good quality guitar, this could be the guitar for you.  It is an extremely great value for the price.  I cannot emphasis how much of a great value this guitar truly is.  Seriously a guitar you can play for your whole life.  

Here is a review left on Amazon about the guitar.  

Simply put, Fender got it right. I would recommend this guitar to anyone playing electric country music. The classic vibe series is hands down one of the best. If you are on the fence about either the Strat or the Tele there is no need to be. Fender knocked it out of the park. I own both of them and I am the worst critic of guitars. If you were to upgrade the pickups ( really no need ) you would have a guitar that will keep up with any $1000 Tele or Strat. The folks who Paid $1000's for their guitar would probably never agree but, I'm telling you straight, Even though the guitars are made overseas the attention to detail is amazing. The only question I would have is, where were these guitars when I was learning??? Got to get you one!!!

Mick Dodd

Verified Amazon Purchaser

The Intermediate

Intermediate guitarists are looking for guitars that are high quality, but maybe not made in the U.S.A.  Guitars made in the U.S.A. tend to be super expensive for realistically not that much difference in quality.  I think intermediates should be looking in the $500-$900 price range.  This gives you guitars that are made in countries like South Korea, Mexico, and Japan.  

These Guitars tend to be great guitars that can last a lifetime, but maybe just don't have the, tip top, highest quality parts and electronics.  

Fender Player Telecaster - Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

This guitar is very similar to the Classic Vibe Telecaster mentioned before, but simply made with higher quality parts.  These guitars have a few advantages over the Classic Vibe Telecasters though.  

The first is that they will stay in tune better.  These guitars have higher a higher quality bridge than the Classic Vibe Telecaster, as well as higher quality tuning machines.  These overall greatly increase the tuning stability of the guitar.  

These guitars will also have more reliable electronics.  One of the worst things is when you plug in your guitar, and it just doesn't work.  You have no idea if it is shot, or if it is a simple 15 minute fix.  Buying a higher quality instrument will allow you to feel that terrifying feeling far less.  

Here is a review left on Amazon for this guitar.

I’ve been looking into getting a Tele for awhile now. I was a little skeptical of going with the new Player series since I was already sold on picking up one of the MiM Standards, but after reading a handful of favorable reviews (and there weren’t many since it was so new) I chose the Player. I’m so happy I did. This thing is gorgeous, aesthetically and tonally. It’s surprisingly light and feels really solid. Didn’t have any issues with shipping or handling. Had to adjust the saddles a tiny bit after I played for the first hour or two, but since then I haven’t had to adjust anything. My first Fender, and it certainly won’t be my last

geddy

Verified Amazon Purchaser

Advanced Players

Advanced players are looking for top of the line instruments.  The best guitar you can buy.  Most of the time advanced players make some of their living by playing music, or simply have played for a long time, and want to upgrade to a very high quality instrument.

Most of the top of the line guitars you will see, will be made in the U.S.A.  Along with that they use the highest quality parts.  These normally make the guitar stay in tune better, play better, and have less electrical issues.  

American Professional II Telecaster - Best Electric Guitar for Country Music

American Professional II Telecasters are made in... you guessed it, the United State of America.  This guitar is a mix of the classic Telecaster and modern innovation.

Fender says "If we were able to improve it with a new design or modern materials we did; if it didn’t need improvement, we left it alone". 

They essentially took the classic Telecaster and beefed it up with all the modern technology they have available to them.  The modernized features include newly designed skinny tall frets, this is said to make bending far easier, newly wired pickups, these are supposed to replicate the sounds of the classic Telecasters of decades past, and finally also small adjustments to the saddles to make the intonation more accurate.  

Here is part of a review for the American Professional Telecaster.

The Pro Telecaster’s calling card is the sonic possibilities and sound quality. It’s made to be a gigging warrior, providing modern and vintage sounds to suit whomever picks up this wonderful Tele. Personally, I don’t think there is any sound change with the switch in tone woods, with all the classic Telecaster tones pouring out of this guitar. Snappy chords and arpeggios in the bridge, smooth country twang in the neck, it’s all there.

matt dunn

Guitar for Idiots Writer

Conclusion
Our final word on the matter is that we believe the Telecaster to be the best electric guitar for country music.  Whatever your price range is.  You can find a Telecaster for you.  





Best Electric Guitar for Country Music - Colin J
Best Electric Guitar for Country Music - Dwane's Music

How to Change Electric Guitar Strings

Changing strings is something that every guitarist needs to learn eventually because it simply just needs to be done.  Otherwise your strings will become old and grimey.  This makes playing far more difficult than it needs to be, and they make your sound far worse.  That is why I made a step by step tutorial on how to change electric guitar strings.

I am changing the strings on my Paul Reed Smith Custom SE 22.  You can read a review of that guitar right here: Click Here to Read Review

Benefits of New Strings

How to change electric guitar strings

The reasons to change your guitar strings come down to a few basic things.  Tone, feel, and durability.  

As strings age the will loose the brightness in their tone.  You could also say that the strings loose a lot of the treble side of their sonic range.  Once this happens your playing begins to sound kinda like a big mush.  Nothing sounds all too special, and the expression within the music is hard to find.  It all just sounds "Blah".

The feel of the strings is the biggest factor for myself.  As the strings age they will often times build up a sort of film on their surface.  This film makes playing far more difficult than it needs to be.

In some spots your fingers get kinda stuck, and in others they slide super easily.  It creates a very inconsistent experience around the neck of the guitar.  Also sometimes the frets where in to the strings, and this creates weird texture differences they make it harder to play as well.

Finally the durability of the strings also wane off drastically.  Older strings are far more likely to break on you than newer strings.  As they age the likelihood of them breaking only grows faster and faster.

Here is the step by step guide of how to change electric guitar strings.

Materials Needed

how to change electric guitar strings
materials needed. how to change electric guitar strings

The materials you will for sure need are a pack of strings, a wire cutter, and a guitar that needs a string change.  I am changing the strings on my PRS Custom SE 22.  The wire cutter is to cut the strings to the desired length.

The strings I use can be found below

Optional Materials

How to change electric guitar strings
Optional materials. How to Change electric guitar strings

The optional materials include a string winder, lemon oil, and guitar body polish.  String winders are used so that you can put the new strings on quicker and more efficiently.  Lemon Oil is to keep your fretboard in good playable condition.  Finally the guitar body polish is quite self explanatory.  It is to polish the body of the guitar so it looks nice and pretty.

Optional Materials:

String Winder
 

Step One

How to change electric guitar strings

Step one is to take the old strings off.  You do this by loosening the strings a ton.  Until they are so loose they are rattling all over the place.  Then take your wire cutter and cut them one by one.  I like to cut the strings near the third fret or so.  That is just personal preference though.

Cutting strings.  How to change electric guitar strings

After you cut the string, you are then going to feed the string through the back of the guitar, and pull it out.

Pull the string out the back. How to change electric guitar strings

The other part of the string will still be dangling around the tuning peg.  Simply unwrap the string and take it off.  Be careful though.  Sometimes these ends of the strings can get sharp and poke you, and sometimes that really hurts.

Once you have done this to all 6 strings it is time to move on to the next steps.

Step Two (Optional)

how to change electric guitar strings

Step two and three of this guide are optional, and they involve the lemon oil, and guitar body polish.  

To begin step two you are going to grab the lemon oil and dab a little bit on a few frets at a time.  The neck should look like this:

Oiling the fretboard.  How to change electric guitar strings

If you would prefer a video tutorial on how to use lemon oil click here: Lemon oil tutorial

One by one take a cloth or rag and spread the oil around all the wood of the fretboard.  Once all the frets are oiled, flip the cloth over and wipe away any excess oil.  You cannot really see much of a difference when you do this, but it keeps your fretboard from being too oily and slippery when playing.  

Oiling your fretboard is beneficial because it keeps the wood from drying out.  This keeps the wood from warping, and makes it prettier.  Here is what the owner of Taylor Guitars has to say on the matter.

"I’d have no worries about using lemon oil on my fretboard. It’s safe. Use it only on the unfinished wood like the fretboard and bridge. The wood can dry out over time, and an oil like this, or linseed oil, or even mineral oil, can protect the wood and beautify it as well. Don’t overdo it. Once a fretboard has been oiled a few times, you can slow down the frequency. The nice thing about lemon oil is that it cleans while it oils, so it won’t build up as easily, but be sparing. I don’t think your fretboard will need oiling more than twice a year, and eventually, once a year." - Bob Taylor

Step Three (Optional)

How to change electric guitar strings

Step three of this process is to clean the body of your guitar.  This really serves no purpose besides making your guitar nice and pretty.  The first thing you will need is some guitar body polish, and a nice polishing cloth.  

Take the body polish and spray two to three spritz on to the cloth.  Next wipe down all the finished wood on the guitar.  I would avoid the back of the neck however because the polish could mess with the feel of the guitar while playing it, so I avoid polishing the neck.  This is a good opportunity to get into places that you normally can't access that collect dust like underneath the strings, and on the headstock.  

Polishing Guitar

Step Four

How to change electric guitar strings

Step four is putting the new strings on.  You will start by taking the low E string out of the pack.  Make sure you have the correct string.  I like to use color coded strings because I have put the wrong string in the wrong spot too many times, and we really want you to not have to go through the same mental anguish.  

So after you have selected the right string, you will feed the string through the corresponding hole on the back of the guitar. 

Feed string through back of guitar.  How to change electric guitar strings

Pull the string all the way through, and then pull it taught up to the correct tuning peg.  Cut the string about an inch or an inch and a half above the tuning peg.  Like this:

String Cutting

Then you are going to feed about a cm of the string through the hole within the correct tuning peg, and turn the tuning peg the same way you would when the pitch of a string needs to go higher.  

The first wrap around will go above the hole, and the rest will go below.  Like this:

Wind string on top then on bottom.  How to change electric guitar strings

After this tighten the string, and make sure it is sitting in the correct slot within the nut.  Then bring it all the way up to the correct pitch.  

After I put the first string on I like to then put on the string on the opposite side of the fretboard.  What I mean by this is after I put on the lowest guitar string, I will put on the highest guitar string.  This ensure that there is not too much pressure on one side of the guitar neck, and helps prevent the neck from twisting and warping.  

putting on opposite strings

It is hard to see, but both the highest and lowest string are on this guitar right now.  After that alternate back and fourth until all the strings are on the guitar.  

It'll take 10 minutes of playing or so before the strings are fully stretched out.  This means that for the first 10 minutes you will have to constantly retune because the strings are changing lengths, and that makes their pitch different.  

We hope this guide was helpful for you.  Let us know if it helped you or not in the comments!




How to Change Electric Guitar Strings - Colin J
How to Change Electric Guitar Strings - Dwane's Music

7 Best Basses for Small Hands (2021 List)

Wanting to play bass, but having small hands might seem like a big issue at first.  Most people with small hands struggle enough to just play a normal sized guitar.  The bass guitar however, is far larger than a regular guitar.  This makes beginning far harder than it needs to be.  If you think that your hands are too small for bass, don't worry because we are here to help you find best bass for small hands. 

Best Bass Guitars for Small Hands List

#1 Pick: Fender Mustang Bass

The Fender Mustang Bass is a mid price level bass that delivers high quality sounds, and playing experience.  It comes with two single coil Fender bass pickups and a three way selector switch.  As well as a tone and volume control knob.  That's it.  Super simple, but super effective.  This guitar does not mess around with fancy additions that serve almost no purpose.  It is exactly what it is, and it does what it does extremely well.

There are many reasons why we believe this to be the best bass for those of us with small hands.  

The first would be because it has a 30 inch scale length.  Scale length is the distance from the bridge to the nut.  Normal bass guitars will have a scale length of 34 inches.  Cutting down on the scale length greatly helps those with small hands because they have to stretch less to reach the same notes.

The second reason why we believe this is the best bass for small hands is simply because it is a great value.  It is an instrument that is capable of being played professionally at a mid level price.  Fender makes great instruments in this price range.  I own a Stratocaster that was the same price as this bass, and I like it way more than my Stratocaster that I paid $1000 for.  To prove it here is a short and simple review I found on amazon on the Fender Mustang Bass. 

If you are looking for a Fender precision bass, you have found the best Fender Precision Bass for small hands.

A great Bass. Particularly a great value for the money. Great sound and ease of use and quality of build. Impressed.

Michael Platt

The final reason we think this is the best bass for small hands is that the neck radius is perfect for small hands.  This bass has a 9.5 inch neck radius.  That sized neck should fit comfortably within the hands of someone with smaller hands.  

Overall this bass is amazing for anyone, but for people with small hands it is absolutely killer.  You simply cannot beat the playability and price of this bass.  

Best Bass Guitar for Beginners

Squier Bronco Bass

The Squier Bronco Bass is the perfect beginner bass.  It has that small 30 inch scale length, and is the lowest priced bass we are mentioning today.  The small size and low price make it the best bass guitar for beginners

Often times a price as low as this one might scare away buyers because they often times think that a super low price tag means super low quality.  However, this is not the case with the Squier Bronco Bass.  Most basses within this price range will sound and feel like utter garbage, but this one gives you a very genuine bass sound and feel.  

This Bass comes equipped with a slim C shaped neck that is great for small hands because the slimmer the neck, the easier you can reach around it.  

Some other important things to know about this bass is that it comes equipped with one single coil pickup, has 19 frets, and is made of Ash wood.  Ash wood is a relatively light wood, so the bass itself will be lightweight, and not crazy heavy like some other basses.

Here is another review found on Amazon.

Sure, you can spend an extra thousand dollars or more for a "professional" bass. But in terms of quality, it's only going to be 5% better than this one. I am blown away by this thing! To say that it exceeded my expectations is a massive understatement. I could not be happier.

Robert burton robinson

Overall this is a great bass guitar for any beginner, but particularly for people with small hands this bass will do wonders.

Most Iconic Bass - Best Bass for Small Hands

Hoffner Violin Bass

The Hofner Violin bass is one of the most instantly recognizable basses in the world.  That is of course because Paul McCartney is famous for playing them.  Aside from looking super unique, these basses are not to far off from a normal bass guitar.  Listen to the demo above to hear that.

Just like all the other basses on this list, the Hofner Violin bass has a 30 inch scale length.  Making it great for People with small hands.  Also since people with small hands are often times small people.  The small and compact body is better for them as well.  

The control panel on this bass is quite a strange sight.  It has two knobs and three switches.  The knobs are controlling the volume for the pickups, and the switches control the pickup selection, as well as having a switch for solo and rhythm.

Overall this bass is super cool, and if you are a massive Beatles fan this could certainly the best bass for small hands in your case.

Best Funk Bass - Best Bass for Small Hands

Sterling By Music Man

The Sterling by Music Man is the bass that the Joe Dart signature model is based off of.  Joe Dart is the Bassist for the new age funk band Vulfpeck.  He is an absolute animal.  If you don't believe me, take a listen to some of the concert down below.

The Sterling by Music Man bass as well as the Joe Dart signature bass are both super straight forward simple shortscale basses.  They both only have one humbucking pickup, and they are funk machines.  

They produce a super awesome fat passive bass sound that gives a super strong foundation for any group.  

I believe the Sterling by Music Man to be a relatively underrated bass.  It is not often times brought up in the conversation with fender J and P basses, but it absolutely should be in the conversation.  

This bass, just like all the other ones on this list, has a 30 inch scale length, and is pretty reasonably priced.  It is in the mid price range.  Around that of what an intermediate player should be spending on a bass.

For a small handed funk lover this could be the best bass for small hands.  Classic tunes like "I want you back" by the Jackson 5, "Ain't no mountain high enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and "September" by Earth Wind and Fire all sound amazing on this bass.  If Someone like Joe Dart chooses to base his signature model off of this instrument you know that it is a good quality bass.

Here is a quote from a review of this bass left on Bassgearmag.com

The first thing that immediately jumped out at me was how comfortable the 30” scale neck felt when wrapping my hands around it. For folks like myself (who have smaller sized hands), this is a dream come true scenario. 

joe burcaw


Best Low Priced Versatile Bass - Best Bass for Small Hands

Epiphone EB-3

The Epiphone EB-3 has the classic body shape of a Gibson SG.  Which can be seen on the right.  

Gibson SG - Best Bass for Small Hands

The Gibson SG is an absolutely classic guitar.  Many guitar greats have been known to play Gibson SG's, but one in particular always come to mind.  Angus Young of ACDC.  He made the SG super popular, and a cherry red SG is almost synonymous with his name.  

Sadly, we are not talking about the Gibson SG, we are talking about the Epiphone EB-O.  I just thought you should have some reference as to what guitar this bass is trying to look like.  

The Epiphone EB-O is very similar to many of the other basses on this list.  One thing to note about this bass however, is that its scale length is not 30 inches, but rather 30.5 inches.  Realistically that will not make that large of a difference when playing, but it is just something to make note of.  

Some other things to notice about the bass is how simple it is.  It comes with one pickup and two knobs.  One for tone, and one knob for volume.  

I have only gotten my hands on one of these, but I remember it playing very well, and I was really digging the size of the bass itself.  I noticed that this bass is pretty versatile for the price.  It really could work in a number of different settings very very well. 

If you are looking for a bass that can do it all for a very low price this could certainly be the bass for you.

Best Low Price Rock and Roll Bass - Best Bass for Small Hands

Ibanez GSRM20

The Ibanez GSRM20 is also known as the Ibanez Mikro bass.  This great Ibanez short scale bass obviously gets that name because it is a super small and compact bass.  The Ibanez GSRM20 is actually the smallest bass on this list, and one of the lowest priced basses on this list.  The scale length of this bass is 28.5 inches.  This makes it significantly smaller than all the other basses on this list, and a long shot away from normal 34 inch scale length basses.  People with short fingers should have no trouble playing this bass guitar.

This bass comes with two pickups in a PJ configuration.  That means that the bridge pickup is a Jazz style pickup, and the front pickup is a P style pickup.  Both pickups have their own unique sound, and it is cool to have both on a beginner level bass.  Along with the two pickups this bass comes with 3 knobs.  A volume knob, and tone knob, and a pickup selector knob.  

For the price this bass packs a punch.  It creates a super pure and classic bass sound.  What else could you ask for from a super cheap bass?

Here is a review found online for this bass.

I own Rickenbackers Fenders Gibsons Hamers and a few boutique basses, and the one I always grab on band nights is my miKro. Friggen bass is light, has surprisingly powerful PUs, and an excellent honest neck. A great bass. Pound for pound and inch for inch the best bass I own.

Ricky CS

Conclusion

There are tonnes of awesome basses for people of all sizes if you just take the time to look.  If you have smaller hands maybe a shortscale bass is what is best for you.  There is no need to try to play a super big instrument that is uncomfortable when you could just as easily pickup a smaller one that feels much better for you.

Also know that there are many option in terms of sounds.  Although it is super easy to base your purchase purely off of looks, make sure the sound of the bass is the kind you like as well.  If you want to play metal, buying a bass that is suited for jazz is probably a terrible idea.  Visa Versa as well.  

In the end just make sure you can have fun on the instrument.  As I've said before and will say again, music isn't a competition of who can play notes the fastest.  It is a way to have fun and express yourself,  so just make sure you're having fun with it.

FAQ Section

Why are Basses so big?

Bass guitars are so much larger than regular guitars because they simply have to produce a much lower pitch.  Two factors go into how low a string sounds.  How long the string is, and how thick the string is.  Because of this basses need to have really long strings.  These long and thick strings make basses far larger than normal guitars, and much more difficult to play for those of us with smaller hands.    

To fix this people often times will shorten the length of the string but make it fatter. this will allow for the string to resonate at the correct frequency.  The most common bass scale lengths are 34". (also known as standard scale) 32", and 30" (also known as shortscale).  

Can you Play Bass with Small Hands?

Of course you can!  Obviously it may put you at a slight disadvantage if you have small hands, but thats alright.  Playing music isn't about being the best to ever do it.  It isn't a competition.  Music is about having fun, and expressing yourself while playing.  People with any sized hand can do both of those things on a bass guitar.  

If you want to become super super technically proficient at the instrument, it might be a little harder for you than someone with massive hands, but nothing beats practice.  If you practice efficiently more than another person, no matter how big their hands are, you will be better than them at the instrument.  Plain and simple.

Should I get a Shortscale Bass?

If you are reading this article, odds are you have small hands.  A shortscale bass is something that can help you a ton.  There is nothing wrong with using a shortscale bass.  People that try to say otherwise are super silly.  If a shortscale bass suits your body better, there is no reason to try to play a super big uncomfortable instrument.  It will only lead to frustration, and that leads to quitting.  We don't want that. 

How do I get Better at Bass?

Luckily for you we have an article written on just that topic.  The article is titles How to get Better at Guitar, and can be found here: Click Here to Read!





Best Bass for Small Hands - Colin J
Best Bass for Small Hands - Dwane's Music

5 Best Electric Guitars for Fingerstyle (2021 List)

The answer to the question "What is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle?" is a super subjective answer that depends upon what you are looking for.  

What sound are you looking for?  Fingerstyle can be played in a jazz style, a country style, an R&B style, or any style you choose.  

When trying to figure out the best electric guitar for fingerstyle let the sound guide you.  

What are the Best Electric Guitar Strings for Fingerstyle?

There is no best set of strings for fingerstyle.  Whatever strings feel the best to you are the best electric guitar strings for fingerstyle.

Because of the emphasis on sound and personal style we are going to break down these guitars by telling you exactly what genres they shine in, and what genres are not the best for them.  We will also reference some famous players who have been seen using these guitars, so you can go listen to what they sound like in action.

Here are The Best Electric Guitar(s) for Fingerstyle

Best Electric Guitar for Country Fingerstyle

This guitar is synonymous with country music now-a-days.  If you take a trip down to Nashville you will see one of these guitars in the hands of almost every performer.   It, of course, is the...

#1 Pick: Fender Telecaster

Fender Tele

The Tele is the best electric for fingerstyle, and the absolute best choice for country music.  It creates such a great classic country sound.  The bridge pickup of a Telecaster is really where you really find the country magic.  In Nashville you'll see everyone's Telecaster switched to 1st position to get that classic bridge pickup twang.  

A technique that is often times used on a Telecaster in the country style is chicken pickin.  Chicken pickin is a technique found in country music a lot that involves picking with both a pick and your fingers.  This is also known as hybrid picking, but chicken pickin has a special sound to it that makes it what it is.  Hybrid picking can be found in all genres, but chicken pickin almost exclusive to country music.  

This guitar is great for fingerstyle because it is a super easy guitar to play.  There is not much weird about it.  It is a fast ball right down the middle in terms of how it feels in your hands.  No surprises or tricks.  Exactly what you would expect.  Because of all of this it is super easy for any guitarist to pick up and begin to play.  

If you listen to any country music made within the past 30 years, odds are that they is a Telecaster somewhere within that mix.  It is the quintessential country guitar for both finger style and any other play style.  

If you are trying to find the best Telecaster for fingerstyle, just know it's whatever Telecaster best fits your price range.

Some notable Telecaster players include: Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters.

Best Electric Guitar for Rock Fingerstyle

Within rock and roll you won't find a lot of pure fingerstyle music, but you absolutely can hear tonnes of fingerstyle picking parts in the background of songs.  In rock music fingerstyle is often used as a way to create another layer within the song.  Rather than just simply strumming the chords, finger picking them brings a new texture and feel along to the song. 

For a rock guitar you need a few things.  You need a solid body, humbucker pickups, and 22 or 24 frets.  This guitar has all of those and it also looks super cool.  (Which shouldn't be important, but we all know it is).  

PRS Custom SE 22/24
PRS Se 22 best electric guitar for rock fingerstyle

We have a review of the Custom SE 24 right here: PRS Custom SE 24 Review.  PRS Custom SE's come in both 22 and 24 fret varieties.  Both come with great humbucking pickups that can be switched to single coils by pulling out the tone knob.  (For those of you who don't know, Humbucker pickups are heard in music like rock and metal.  They have a darker and richer tone.  Single coil pickups are heard in genres like funk and souls more often, and have a brighter and lighter sound that humbuckers).

These guitars are great for rock and roll because they are exactly what you need for the genre.  The PRS Custom SE's come with powerful pickups that give you an absolutely classic sound while having a modern design that is easy to play.  Not only that, but the SE models are super affordable.  They sit at the price range of most other intermediate guitars.  

PRS is known for their incredibly build quality at any price point, and these guitars are no exception.  For their price point they are absolutely top of the line.  

Why we chose this guitar for the best electric guitar for fingerstyle list is because, similarly to the Telecaster,  this guitar is super easy to pick up.  It is another guitar that is just a fastball down the middle.  It plays just like every other guitar.  Nothing weird to throw you off.  It is exactly what you would expect. 

Notable players of similar PRS guitars include: Carlos Santana, Mark Holcomb, and Zach Myers

Best Electric Guitar for Jazz Fingerstyle

Similarly to how rock guitars have certain prerequisites, so do jazz guitars.  Typically the two biggest things required for a jazz guitar include the guitar being a hollowbody, and having humbucking pickups.  

Because a lot of jazz guitars go up to the $10,000 range I am going to pick my favorite reasonably priced jazz guitar because although the Gibson L-5 may be the best jazz guitar, almost no one has the money for it.

D'Angelico Excel EXL-1
D'angelico excel

The D'Angelico Excel EX-1 is a jazz machine.  It is almost the perfect jazz guitar for my preferences.  It creates that classic fully hollowbody tone, and not much else.  It is another guitar that is just exactly what you would expect.  It comes with one pickup, a tone knob, and a volume knob.  That is it.  Super simple.  It is certainly not a jack of all trades, but a master of one.

This guitar is of high enough quality to last someone a lifetime, but still is super affordable for a jazz guitar.  

This is another guitar that just feels good to play.  Nothing is too weird about it, or super different than your normal electric guitar.  The position of the strings on your picking hand might be a little strange at first, but it would be that way with any fully hollowbody guitar. 

I have created many jazz reharmonization and chord melodies on this guitar, and it always creates the exact sound I am looking for.  For jazz guitar I think this is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle.  It also isn't as crazy expensive as all the other jazz guitars out there.  I think all of this is what makes the D'Angelico Excel EXL-1 the best fingerstyle electric guitar for jazz.

One famous player I have seen using this guitar is Tomo Fujita.  Berkley college of music guitar professor.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle

Acoustic guitars are the most popular style of guitar for fingerstyle playing.  Everyone from Dave Matthews Band to the Foo Fighters can be heard using fingerstyle acoustic guitar.  

Acoustic guitar just has a special comfort and feel to it that electric guitars cannot often times replicate.  

For acoustic guitars to be ideal for fingerstyle they need to have enough bass to create a full sound, but not too much that it is overbearing on the rest of the sound.  

Taylor 214CE
Taylor 214ce

The Taylor 214CE is the perfect acoustic electric guitar for fingerstyle.  The first reason is because it is super comfortable to play.  These guitars feel amazing in the hand, and seem to play effortlessly.  Playing one of these is what turned me into a Taylor fan boy.  I don't think they make many "bad guitars".  

The second reason they are perfect for fingerstyle is that the sound they create is very balanced.  There is enough bass for solo fingerstyle, but yet not too much that it is overbearing, and bogging down the rest of the music. You can play light and skippy feeling lead lines, or really dig in for a big sound.  The reason this guitar can do that is because of its body shape.  The bigger the body, the more bass you will have.  This guitar has a nice medium sized body, and can really do it all for an acoustic guitar.  The Balance it creates is a trademark thing to look for when choosing a fingerstyle guitar.  This unique balance makes it the best Taylor for fingerstyle.  

As mentioned before, I am a big Taylor fan boy.  Part of that is because of their build quality.  Everything from their bottom of the line guitars to the super expensive higher end guitars all play super well, and sound great too.  This guitar is right around their middle price range.  It is a quality guitar that can last a lifetime.  

Notable players of the Taylor 214CE include Myself and my old guitar teacher Rick  🙂   Rick is an absolute animal.  Probably the best player I've ever played with.  Do not doubt him.

Most Versatile Guitar for Fingerstyle

Having a trusted guitar that you can play almost anything on is a super valuable tool that cannot be underestimated.  Unfortunately guitars are often times super specified for exactly what a specific player wants.  So not many guitars are made to do it all.  

There is one classic guitar model that has done it all over the years, and it cannot be excluded when speaking about the best guitar models for a specific purpose.  It is just that great and versatile that it is in the conversation for so many different genres and playing styles.  

That guitar of course is the...

Fender Stratocaster
Fender strat  Best electric guitar for fingerstyle

The Fender Stratocaster is the king of versatility.  It has been used it almost every genre and style effectively.  They can do it all. 

It isn't just the sound of a strat that makes it so versatile, but also its customization potential.  You can get a Stratocaster with humbuckers in all three, only two, or only one pickup position.  

My favorite of all these are the HSS Stratocaster that comes with a humbucker in the bridge position.  I leave the bridge pickup exclusively for higher gain genres like rock and metal.  Everyone knows that a humbucker is just kinda what you need for most rock and roll/metal sounds.  

So you can have that humbucker for heavier tones, while keeping the middle and bridge pickup single coils for John Mayer style blues, and Cory Wong funk.  The best of both worlds.

Stratocaster are a great pick for anyone because they have a price range from $180 all the way up to north of $5,000.  Every player can find a Stratocaster within their price range.  That is why we have mentioned them on so many other lists.  Like our Best Guitar Under 300 list, and our Best Guitar Under 1000 list.

This is another guitar that is great for fingerstyle guitar because it is just so easy to play.  Really all that you need for a fingerstyle guitar is a comfortable guitar.  A Stratocaster should feel good in the hands of any guitarist because they pretty much set the standard for how a guitar should feel.  In the realm of versatility this is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle.

The final word on the Strat is that it is a legendary guitar that can almost do it all.  It's versatility makes it one of the best electric guitars for fingerpicking.

Notable Stratocaster players include: Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, and Cory Wong.

Why Should I Play Fingerstyle?

Fingerstyle guitar is a special way of playing the guitar that transforms the instrument, and brings it into a whole new realm.  Playing fingerstyle arrangements is probably the quickest way to up your guitar playing with your fingers.  

Fingerstyle arrangements can get incredibly complex and can teach you a ton of new techniques that you never knew existed.  They best way to advance your playing is to push yourself to do new things, and techniques.  You're not gonna get any better playing the same things over and over again.  We explain this in deeper depth in our How to Get Better at Guitar Article.

The bottom line is that learning new and challenging styles is a good thing that can greatly aid in your development as a guitar player.  

Conclusion

A "fingerstyle guitar" is really just any guitar that fits the genre and is comfortable to play.  That is why you see a ton of classic models of guitar on this list.  There is no need to mention lesser known guitar models because the classics get the job done.  

As we always end up saying.  There is no right or wrong answer.  If you really dig a guitar, but you don't see it on the "Best Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle" list.  That's okay.  If you really dig it, you should get it.

You know you, and no one else does.  

I hope you can get the chance to go out and get your hands on some of these guitars though.  Currently the Covid-19 pandemic is still going strong, and many guitar stores have made it more difficult than it used to be to come in and play their guitars.  Especially in certain states.  

Most of the guitars on this list wont absolutely break anyones bank, so you could most likely feel comfortable buying them online, and receiving a bitchin guitar in the mail.  

Have fun and good luck!

Let us know what you think about this article in the comments! Did it help answer your questions?




Best Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle - Colin J

How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings [Ultimate Guide]

Learning how to change acoustic strings is something that every guitarist needs to learn eventually because it simply just needs to be done.  Otherwise your strings will become old and grimey.  This makes playing far more difficult than it needs to be, and they make your sound far worse.  That is why I made a step by step tutorial on how to change acoustic guitar strings.

I am changing the strings on my Taylor 110e which I wrote a review of right here - Taylor 110e Review

Benefits of New Strings - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

The reasons to change your guitar strings come down to a few basic things.  Tone, feel, and durability.  

As strings age the will loose the brightness in their tone.  You could also say that the strings loose a lot of the treble side of their sonic range.  Once this happens your playing begins to sound kinda like a big mush.  Nothing sounds all too special, and the expression within the music is hard to find.  It all just sounds "Blah".

The feel of the strings is the biggest factor for myself.  As the strings age they will often times build up a sort of film on their surface.  This film makes playing far more difficult than it needs to be.

In some spots your fingers get kinda stuck, and in others they slide super easily.  It creates a very inconsistent experience around the neck of the guitar.  Also sometimes the frets where in to the strings, and this creates weird texture differences they make it harder to play as well.

Finally the durability of the strings also wane off drastically.  Older strings are far more likely to break on you than newer strings.  As they age the likelihood of them breaking only grows faster and faster.

Here is the step by step guide of how to change acoustic guitar strings.

Guitar String Order

Just to be certain we all know the order of how the strings are going to go on the guitar.  The guitar string order is as follows

E String - Highest up - Lowest in pitch

A String - Second from top - Second lowest in pitch

D String - Third from top - Third lowest in pitch

G String - Third from Bottom - Third highest in pitch

B string - Second from Bottom - Second highest in pitch

E String - Bottom string - Highest Pitched

How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

This tutorial is going keep the beginner in mind, and explain things very thoroughly, so anyone can understand it.

Materials Needed - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings
required materials to change acoustic guitar strings

The materials you will for sure need are a pack of strings, a wire cutter, and a guitar that needs a string change.  I am changing the strings on my Taylor 110e.  The wire cutter is to cut the strings to the desired length.

The strings they I use are linked below.

Optional Materials - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings
optional materials to change acoustic guitar strings

Materials that can help you while changing strings, but are not needed include fret board oil, a cleaning cloth, and a string winder.  Of all of these a string winder is the most useful.  It makes the whole process far more efficient and faster.  The fretboard oil and cleaning cloth are just for basic maintenance purposes.  Making sure your fretboard doesn't dry out, and making sure the guitar is nice and clean.

Acoustic Guitar: How to Change Strings

Step One - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings 

You can either do this one at a time or all at once.  In this photo I am just loosening one string at a time.

Loosened string

It does not really matter where on the string you cut it.  Different people have different methods.  I have a specific way I like to wrap used strings up, so I cut the strings around the 15th fret.

Pull the corresponding peg out of the bridge and take the rest of the string out.  This is best done with a string winder, but can also be done by hand or with a fork.  Please be careful if you use a fork or any other tool though.  The pins are fragile, and have been known to break.

Repeat this process on all of the strings.

Also put the pegs back into the hole you got them from.  The pegs form to fit the specific holes.  This is not a super big deal, but it can help save some headaches. 

Step Two (Optional) - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

Oiling your fretboard is beneficial because it keeps the wood from drying out.  This keeps the wood from warping, and makes it prettier.  Here is what the owner of Taylor Guitars has to say on the matter.

"I’d have no worries about using lemon oil on my fretboard. It’s safe. Use it only on the unfinished wood like the fretboard and bridge. The wood can dry out over time, and an oil like this, or linseed oil, or even mineral oil, can protect the wood and beautify it as well. Don’t overdo it. Once a fretboard has been oiled a few times, you can slow down the frequency. The nice thing about lemon oil is that it cleans while it oils, so it won’t build up as easily, but be sparing. I don’t think your fretboard will need oiling more than twice a year, and eventually, once a year." - Bob Taylor

Fretboard oil
Get a few dabs of oil on your fretboard, and then with a cloth rub it into all the wood.  Go fret by fret and lessen the amount you use as you are going because obviously the amount of wood per fret is getting smaller and smaller. 


Here is a video tutorial that teaches you how to use the lemon oil - Lemon Oil Tutorial

cleaning headstonk

Along with this being an opportunity to oil the fretboard.  It is also a good opportunity to clean all the spots you normally cannot reach while strings are on the guitar.  Because of this I take a slightly damp rag and wipe down areas like the headstock, and between the bridge and soundhole.  These are places that dust likes to build up, and it is just nice to get the dust off your guitar.  

One more thing that this is an opportunity to do is to tighten the nuts on the tuners.  After a lot of playing sometimes these loosen, and if they loosened enough they would simply fall out of your guitar.  To prevent this just tighten them a little whenever you change strings.  

Step Three - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

One thing you really really want to make sure of is that, when you put new strings on an acoustic guitar, you are putting the right string in the right hole.  I have put the A string in the place of the E string far more times than I would like to admit.  So just double check you are putting the correct strings in the correct places please.  This is another small thing that will save you headaches.  

put new strings in
Put the bridge pin back

Place the ball of the string into the bridge and then insert the bridge pin.  The Pin will have a little ridge within it.  This ridge should be facing the neck and headstock of the guitar.  The Idea is that the strings rest within the ridge.  

Once you do this you are going to take the string and pull it through its tuning peg until it is reasonable taught.  Then cut the string about 1-2 inches above the tuning peg.  Pull the string back so that about a centimeter or so is poking through the hole.

cutting strings. How to change acoustic guitar strings
pull the string back

Now you need to wind the string by turning the tuners until the string is tight enough to make the desired pitch.   

Often times I will alternate how I put the strings on.  Meaning that After putting on the low E string I will put on the high e string.  Followed by the A string, and then the B string.  As seen below.

String alternation

Doing this keeps the neck from being pulled too much in one direction or another.  This is another tip that is not super important, but if you want to be extra careful, it is something to be considered.

After this you just keep going until all the new strings are on, and the guitar is nice and tuned.

Keeping the Guitar in Tune - How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

We would recommend just strumming away on the guitar for a few minutes right after you change the strings.  When you restring an acoustic guitar the strings will keep going out of tune for a few hours of playing before they finally settle in.  The strings just have to stretch out to their proper length, and this makes the strings go a little flat.  

One way to make this process go quicker is to bend the strings up and down a few times right after putting them on.  This will get a lot of the stretch out of the strings, and will make them go out of tune less.  

Now that you've learned how to replace strings on an acoustic guitar, go try it for yourself.



How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings - Colin J
How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings - Dwane's Music

How to Get Better at Guitar | Ultimate Guide |

Do you feel like you have reached a plateau?  Have you felt like you keep playing the same things over and over again without making any progress? Are you getting bored of your instrument?  Do you want to know how to get better at guitar?

If you answered yes to these questions, that is completely okay.  Being in a musical rut is something every musician experiences.  The biggest thing to remember is that eventually you will get out of it.  Keep the hope.  

One easy way to get out of a musical rut is to feel like you are accomplishing something.  To feel like you are getting better at your craft.

There are tonnes of ways how to get better at guitar.  You just have to keep an open mind, and trust the experience of others.  

Here are my favorite answers to "How to get better at guitar"

#1 Learn Music Theory

How to Get Better at Guitar

Music theory is the study of how specific sounds work together to create what we know as music.  Music is simply organized sound, and through learning how others have organized sound/ made music, you can then take that knowledge and apply it to your own playing.  Understanding theory is one of the best ways to become a good guitarist.

For some reason guitar teachers do not often teach theory to those just starting out, but for nearly any other instrument, they are immediately taught introductory theory that matches their playing level.  

Guitarists are often taught how to play for a few years, and then the concept of theory comes about.  The guitarist's playing ability is so far ahead of their theoretical knowledge, and that makes theory super boring.  

It might be a little boring, but it is something that every musician should go though.  It allows a guitarist to understand what they are playing, understand how they can change the song up to make it sound cooler, and how to communicate with other musicians better.  

For high level players music theory is a must know. It won't only make you better at playing guitar, but also it will make you a better musician.

How to get better at guitar theory

#2 Practice, Don't Play

How to Get Better at Guitar

This is a lesson that took me a long time to wrap my head around.  There is a massive difference between practicing an instrument, and playing an instrument.  

Here is the difference - Playing is doing exactly what you already know, but practice is focused, and attacks the weaknesses in a player.  

The areas a player is weakest in are the areas that they can improve the most in.  

It may be frustrating, but it is the fastest way to get better.  Instead of going through that guitar solo you already know, why don't you try to learn a new solo by ear, or practice on your timing?  These are things that are tedious in nature, but will help you grow as a musician greatly.  

Some of the areas many guitarists overlook, and their area to practice include:

  • Bending in tune - Ear Training
  • Extra strings ringing out that shouldn't be - Muting Practice
  • Timing - Practicing with a metronome
  • Playing too hard - Picking technique
  • Understanding Harmony - Music theory
  • Personal style - Playing your own music instead of someone else's

You can easily find exercises to improve your guitar playing for all of these overlooked areas online, and they will help you improve greatly.

One more thing to remember is that is it is not about how long you practice, but rather how effective your practice is.  One hour of super focused practice will improve your skills much more than four hours of noodling around.  

People often ask how to get better at guitar, but a rarely willing to put in the dedication to really learn.  If you learn how to effectively practice, you will go so much further than the others.

#3 Break Out of the Pentatonic Scale

How to Get Better at Guitar

This one may not apply to everyone.  However, I know it will apply to a large portion of guitarists.  

Many of us learn the major and minor pentatonic scales, and then feel like we never have to learn another scale again.  This is rubbish. 

The pentatonic scales offer a great base for soloing in many different genres, but if you really want to become a good soloist you have to break out of the pentatonic scale, and be able to express your musical ideas all over the neck.  

Understanding how the major scale is organized and works is probably the first step towards breaking out of the pentatonic scale.

I am not saying that the pentatonic scale should never be used because it's "too easy".  My favorite guitar player, John Mayer, plays out of the basic pentatonic scale all the time.  Just learn how to solo without it, and use the pentatonic scale when appropriate.  

#4 Play a Different Instrument

How to Get Better at Guitar

This may sound counter intuitive that to get better at guitar you have to not play guitar, but trust me.  Different instruments have different strengths and weaknesses that can better help you understand your role as a guitar player.

For instance, piano players often times understand theory far better than guitar players because it is much easier to understand while learning piano than it is to learn guitar.  

Another thing you will gain from this is the understanding of where you fit as an instrumentalist.  Learning the bass might help you understand that you are not responsible for the low end of the music, so turn the lower pitched part of your guitar down on the eq.  That is the bass player's zone.  Drummers often emphasize the importance of timing.  Learning the drums can help you understand timing better, and how you can improve your timing with the guitar.

It may sound silly, but learning an instrument besides guitar is how to get better at guitar.

#5 Create a Guitar Practice Routine

How to Get Better at Guitar

A practice Routine is you writing down ahead of time how much you will practice in a given day, and what you will practice.  This way there is another layer of commitment because it is written down.  

An example of a practice schedule might look like this:

  • 15 minutes of ear training
  • 15 minutes of improvisational solos
  • 30 minutes of singing practice with guitar
  • 30 minutes of songwriting

That might seem like a lot for some of you, so maybe your practice schedule would just look like this:

  • 15 minutes of practice on Sweet Child O'Mine solo
  • 10 minutes of music theory

However long or short you choose to make your practice schedule is fine.  As long as your practice is focused and effective.  

Remember practice is learning things that are difficult for you. Practice is constantly pushing your limits.

#6 Analyze your Favorite Musicians

How to Get Better at Guitar

Learning from your musical inspirations is an extremely effective way to get better.  Almost everything I know is from watching professional players, and first mimicking them, but then taking what I have learned to create my own sound.  

The most potent example of this for me comes from Alicia Keys.  I learned the importance of musicality from her.  What she plays on piano and sings is not terribly complex or hard to do, but the way she does it is so emotional, and perfectly her.  

This falls into a category I like to call the "Intangibles" of music.  Meaning that it is hard to put words to what I mean, but you know when you hear it.  I learned all about these from her, and how high level musicians take something simple, but perform it in a way that is breathtaking.  

Maybe you love the way Kirk Hammett plays.  How can you take something within his playing, and integrate it into your own playing?

Learn from your inspirations, but don't try to become a carbon copy of them. Learn how it effects you musical style and be yourself.  

#7 Refresh

How to Get Better at Guitar

Maybe take a little time away from the instrument.  It can be super easy to get burnt out on consistent practice.  

Come back to it in a week or so, and by that time hopefully you'll be excited to practice again.  

#8 Play with New Musicians

How to Get Better at Guitar
How to get better at guitar: Play with other musicians

Musicians you have never played with bring their own special areas of expertise, and areas of weaknesses.  Learning how to quickly adapt to fit within each other's sound is a super important lesson to learn for anyone that hopes to play out and gig eventually.  

New musicians also might introduce you to new groups that will go on to inspire your sound.  I was playing in a pit for a musical, and the drummer and bass player kept talking about this band I thought they were calling wolfpack, so I asked them about it.  Turns out their name is Vulfpeck, not wolfpack.  Vulfpeck has gone on to inspire my personal sound a ton.  

From there I also listened to a lot of the member's solo works.  I learned all about the playing of Cory Wong and how he thinks about the music he creates.  

These lessons improved my playing by an insurmountable amount, and it all stemmed from playing with new people.  

#9 Change your Sound

How to Get Better at Guitar

Changing your sound can inspire you in an assortment of ways you wouldn't expect.  This can be done by using a different guitar, changing your amp settings, or using a new guitar pedal.  

New strange unfamiliar sounds can inspire you to create something you normally wouldn't.  

Maybe changing your sound could mean changing genres. Find some songs in different genres that challenge you to improve your guitar playing, and learn the heck out of them.

In this video you can see how even super high level musicians can gather inspiration from a new sound, and what it brings out in them as song writers.

#10 Go Buy Something

How to Get Better at Guitar

This is a bit of a funny one because everyone knows that practice trumps gear 95% of the time, but something buying new gear can do is inspire you to pick up the guitar more. 

Maybe you just bought a sick new Classic Vibe Squier Telecaster.  You're going to want to play it.  The more you play or practice the more you get better.  

I'm not saying this is an excuse to go buy a brand new American made guitar.  Unless you have that kind of money to throw around, but odds are that most of you don't.

Your purchase could be a new pedal, a pedal board, a cheap guitar, or even a new amp.  Any of these could inspire you to pick up the guitar more and improve.  

#11 Play Songs in Different Styles

How to Get Better at Guitar

This one kinda has two meaning.  The first and most obvious one is to expand your musical horizons, and learn some songs that are not in the normal style of music you play.

It's really fun to learn challenging things in new genres.  I am absolutely not a metal guitarist, but I have had a ton of fun trying to learn solos in Avenged Sevenfold songs.  Even though the style of guitar is not what I normally like to hear, you can't deny a super cool guitar solo when you hear one.  

Maybe you are normally a metal guitarist.  Try to learn some funk tunes.  Earth, Wind, and Fire has some little guitar solos that are kinda like funk shredding.  One that comes to mind is in their song "Shining Star".  

Learning a song like "Shining Star" might introduce you to new chords as well.  A lot of that song is just sitting on an E7#9 chord, and maybe as a metal or rock guitarist, you've never heard of that (besides in "Purple Haze").

The other meaning is to take a song and play it like it's in another genre.  Take a pop tune, and make it punk rock.  Take a Metal tune, and make it R&B.

This allows you to take from genres you are familiar with, and blend the aspects of them into something you are not familiar with.  It's like dipping your toes into different musical waters.  You still have a big base of knowledge of the original tune, but it is in a completely new style now.  

#12 Reharmonize

How to Get Better at Guitar

Reharmonizing is a practice done mostly in the jazz realm, and it requires a large theoretical base of knowledge.  

To create a jazz reharmonization you would take a melody you know well and put new chords to it.  You select the chords based off of if they have the melody note within them, and your own personal style.  

This gets you better at guitar because It often times has you playing chords you would not normally play, and it helps develop the connection between the music you hear in your head, and the music you are playing.

Reharmonizing isn't just used in jazz though.  You can use it for any genre.  You could do the reverse.  Take a jazz song and turn it into a four chord pop song.

#13 Play with a Metronome

How to Get Better at Guitar
Metronome

Timing is something that is overlooked by a lot of guitar players.  Often the timing of a player gets confused with the tone.  If a solo you're playing doesn't sound quite right.  It's like because of timing, not tone.  

The best way to make your musical timing better is to play with a metronome.  This is another one of those things that it seems like every other type of instrumentalist does right away, but not guitarists, for whatever reason.

Here is a link to an online metronome: Click Here!

Maybe it's because guitar is supposed to be the cool instrument, and you play guitar because you don't want to do all the music nerd things like learning theory, and playing with a metronome.  No matter what, these are still extremely valuable skills that not many guitarists develop early on.  

Improving your timing will certainly pay dividends once it is time to join a band.  Playing with a band is so much different than playing with the record.  The studio version of a song always has the same tempo, and always varies a little in the same places.  Sometimes you have a drummer that doesn't keep steady time super well, but you have to follow him.  You keep playing at the normal tempo, and the drummer goes off to a new tempo, you sound wrong.  The drummer controls the time.

Quick Tips

#14 Change your strings often - Best strings for Stratocaster List
#15 Always tune up before playing
#16 Challenge yourself
#17 Develop your own sound
#18 Develop your ear
#19 Enjoy what you do


How do I get better at Guitar?