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EQUIPMENT

Do you have the right equipment ??
Many Guitar Students do not progress as quickly as they should, simply because their instruments are of inferior quality.

Cheap Guitars often sound terrible, they are difficult to tune properly & once in tune don't hold the pitch after being played. Even when I pick up Guitars in shops I wonder what they are trying to prove when they have 11 or 12 gauge strings on the guitars, it is an absolute fallacy that you must shed Blood & Skin to be able to play the Guitar. Beginners often think you need to have super human strength to play chords because their guitars have very heavy gauge strings on them & the "action" (this is the height of the strings above the fretboard) is way too high. The strings should be easy to push down on the frets allowing you to play comfortably all the way up the fretboard. However, if the " action " is too low you will hear annoying buzzing sounds from the strings vibrating against the other frets. Make sure that the guitar you buy allows you to adjust the string height (action) and that the neck has a truss rod, which is required to straighten a warped or bowed neck. For more detailed information on strings, necks and pickups, check out Chris Kinman's Tone Workshop articles, lots of practical and useful tips, a great online resource, not to mention his incredible noiseless pickups!.

These days even some of the lower priced electric guitars are very playable and sound quite reasonable through a good amplifier, so don't be fooled that just because it has a high price tag it is automatically going to be an easy instrument to play, what it should have is the ability to be set up to suit your own preferences.

My advice to anyone who is considering buying an instrument,is to purchase a good quality instrument. It is a long road to becoming an accomplished player without the added difficulties of having an inferior instrument to play. Keep in mind that a good quality instrument retains its resale value and is usually easy to sell if you decide not to continue your studies in the future.

If you are choosing an electric guitar, be aware that some Whammy Bars will make tuning your instrument a nightmare, and chords won't sound right if they are the slightest bit out of tune !. Invest in a good Guitar Tuner, you won't have any idea if the chords or scales are right if your instrument is out of tune. It takes quite a long time to tune a guitar properly and many years of experience to tune just by ear alone.

Maybe I'm getting old, but practice quietly, there is no way I want to hear a beginner playing at 200 watts with distortion on all the way, loud doesn't mean good ! Buy an amp that has a great clean sound with reverb as well as a fat sustain with the distortion on, remember you only need to mike the amp through the P.A to get the volume you need for a gig.

Acoustic guitars are going to cost a lot more for a quality instrument, so be prepared to spend a few bucks if its an acoustic you are after, always get a good case with the instrument it will save you heaps by keeping your instrument clean and in good condition.Speaking of clean, change your strings often, and keep your instrument clean, wipe the strings with a soft cloth after playing to remove any perspiration or grime before putting it away in its case.

OK so I'm starting to sound like your old man ? well, maybe he might like to play too, after all, he's probably contributed to your lessons and the cost of the instrument, right ? Dads are cool too !! See if he's got any favourite guitar players of his own, even a few black round things he's hoarded away in the stereo cupboard, you never know !