Archive for the ‘Guitar Tips’ Category

In this 3 minute clip, William Kanengiser reveals how practicing less has improved his playing. He speaks about focus, awareness, attitude and having ergonomically “happy hands”. Defintely worthwhile viewing for anyone seeking to improve their playing in these busy times!

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I get letters every day from Luna players about how to best care for their guitar. The article below, courtesy of essortment.com, has some of the best practical advice on the web:

STORAGE: If you’re not going to play for months on end, loosen or remove the strings. This will keep the bridge, nut, neck, and body from warping, bending out of shape, or even snapping – yes, they can snap. I’ve seen bridges snap clean off because the strings were left tight for months at a time. Don’t let this happen to the instrument you paid so much money for.

Also, if you have an acoustic, you might want to consider a humidifer. Humidifiers are generally placed in the sound hole of your guitar so that the wood can maintain a proper humidity level. This keeps the wood in shape – especially in wintertime, when you’ve got space heaters annihilating every drop of moisture in the room your guitar calls home.

If your guitar is stored in high-traffic areas, you might want to invest in a case, or a rack so that the instrument can be safely stored in the corner or on your wall. The case will prevent damage to the instrument in the event that someone should step on it, drop it, or spill something.

As for soft shell cases – the standard, flimsy cardboard – they’re a whole lot better than having nothing at all. Not only do they make your guitar a lot easier to carry, they also prevent damage done to the instrument through spilled liquids, cats walking all over it, and other such mishaps that occur in our everyday lives. The twenty to thirty dollars you spend now could save you a whole lot of money later.

Also, should you decide to use a case, remember to check all the latches before you move it. There have been plenty of times when musicians – new and expert – haven’t done this. Their instruments fell out of the case because it wasn’t latched – the guitars have hit everything from asphalt to grass.

Racks – either floor stand models or hooks that you screw into your wall – are worth the ten bucks or more that you can spend on them. This way you can display your instrument in a fairly safe place as well as save some money on storage options. If you decide to hang your guitar on the wall, please select a rack that is padded to prevent damage to the instrument’s neck. Also, be sure to install it so that the screws are through wall studs – if they aren’t, your instrument could very well fall without warning.

TRANSPORTATION: Don’t forget, hot cars and other extreme climates can mean the death of your instrument! Don’t leave them in your car – or anyplace where they could be stolen.

INSURANCE: Yes, you can insure your guitar. Just think: If something unexpected happens – such as a flood or tornado – your prized instrument is covered! Many musicians – serious and casual – have purchased insurance policies for their instruments. It may cost a little now, but think of how much time, money, energy, and care you’ve invested in your guitar. Isn’t it worth at least thinking about?

INSTRUMENT CARE: You have to take care of your instrument if you want it to give you years of pleasure and entertainment. Treat your guitar with care. Don’t drop it, leave it out where it can be abused, neglect it, or fail to replace broken or worn parts (such as bridge pins or strings).

Maintain your guitar. Keep it tuned – unless you’re not going to play it for a long period of time, that is. Keep the strings changed out regularly – not only do the older strings sound bad and go dead quickly, they’re also not great on the machine heads if they’re left on for too long. Keep your guitar clean – make sure dust and other elements can’t get to it, and make sure you’re clean before you even pick it up.

If you’re unsure about something concerning your guitar, don’t be afraid to ask somebody who knows what they’re doing. The man who runs the music store a few blocks away, the guitarist in the garage band playing next door to you, or even your cousin if he or she plays – whatever the case, you’ll always be able to find someone to help you if you aren’t afraid to open your mouth.

Take care of your instrument and it’ll take care of your musical needs for a long time to come. Use common sense, ask questions of the right people, and have fun playing your guitar.

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I get a lot of letters from beginning Luna players asking for advice. This list, courtesy of http://www.learn-acoustic-guitar.com, has lots of good, overall sggestions. The main thing is to do what you love (and love what you do!)

1 – Learn how to play the acoustic guitar with both your fingers and your pick. Practice using both. This will make you a more versatile player.
2 – Learn how to use a capo. A capo is a clamp that you can apply to different frets of your guitar to change the pitch. You will definitely need to become familiar with this wonderful tool. If you do not already own one, head out to your local music store and buy one today.
3 – Make sure you choose the right guitar for your size. Guitars come in different sizes from classic to jumbo. It is very important that you find a guitar size that you are comfortable playing.
4 – Learn how to change your strings and change them often. If you do not know how to change your guitar strings yet, stop what you are doing and search for articles and videos online right now. This is very important.
5 – Wash your hands before you play and clean your strings after you play. Dirt and oils from your fingers and hands can wear down your strings.
6 – Build up those calluses. Many beginners complain of pain in their fingertips when first starting out. This is normal and will go away after you have been playing for a little while and start to form calluses. The more often you practice the faster you will build up calluses.
7 – Learn how to tune your guitar. Make sure your guitar is in tune before you start every practice session. Tuning your guitar is really quite easy. You can either purchase one of those small battery powered guitar tuners, or you can tune your guitar online. Just do a search at your favorite search engine using the key phrase “online guitar tuner” and you will find many helpful sites on this topic.
8 – Use YouTube to find free acoustic guitar lessons. They have a huge variety.
9 – Find a good guitar teacher. While it is possible to learn at your own pace at home using free lessons online, books and home study courses, nothing will replace a guitar teacher. A guitar teacher will help keep you from forming bad guitar playing habits and praise you when you are making progress.
10 – Stretch and warm up your hands and fingers before each playing session. This is important. Proper warm up and stretching exercises are essential in helping you avoid injury and improving your guitar playing. For more information on stretching and warm up exercises, do a search on Google using the key phrase: “guitar warm up”. You will find plenty of tutorials on this subject.
11 – Learn music theory. I know music theory can be boring and difficult, but it is essential learning if you want to become a good guitar player.
12 – Learn about the parts of your guitar. Spend as much time as possible familiarizing yourself with all the various parts of your guitar and how it is constructed.
13 – Learn how to practice. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many guitarists are not practicing correctly. There is definitely a right and a wrong way to practice. Make sure you understand how to make the best out of your practice sessions.
14 – Keep your finger nails on your fretting hand trimmed. Your fingernails on your fretting hand must be kept short. If not, they will most certainly make playing more difficult as they will prevent your fingers from pushing down the strings properly.
15 – Don’t over do it. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort during your playing or practice session, then stop and take a break.
16 – Try and learn something new. If you continually do the same thing, day after day, then your guitar playing will become stagnant and you will not progress.
17 – Join discussion forums online. Search for guitar discussion forums online and begin discussions with experienced and professional guitarists.
18 – Listen to a variety of different music. Not just your favorite styles either. You would be surprised at how much this can influence your guitar playing.
19 – Learn alternate ways to tune your guitar. Not every song is played in standard tuning.
20 – Go to live performances. This will give you a chance to get up close and personal with the musicians enabling you to see first hand how a professional plays.

(photo courtesy of Hugo Chisholm)

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