Changing Guitar Strings

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People usually go through a phase in life in which they do not want to ask for help from anybody. Most of the time, it takes place during the teenage years. That’s when we think that we know things as much as the adults do and go about our days believing that until an awful situation brings us back to reality.

In my case, I settled back to reality as a teenager while I was working on my guitar. My parents bought a brand-new one for me when I turned 16 years old because I said that I wanted to be a rock star. I would get lessons every week, and I was genuinely getting good at changing the chords and playing some songs. However, a string snapped one day. 

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My dad offered to drive me to the nearest guitar store, where an expert could replace it for me. Too stubborn for my good, though, I insisted on buying the string only and doing the replacement by myself. In my mind, I already watched a lot of people do it online, and it seemed pretty easy, so there was no way for me to mess it up.

Well, the thing is, I did mess up from the moment that I took the wrong string. I did not want to tell my parents about it because I wanted to seem perfect in their eyes. However, I blanked out after a whole of trying to put one string in a guitar, so I ended up bringing my guitar to the store eventually.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes that I did, here are a few tips when changing your guitar strings.

Pick The Right Thickness

The guitar strings come in different thicknesses – that’s how you get various pitches when you are playing. The thinner it is, the higher the sound it makes. If you replace that with the thickest string, the sounds that they are supposed to produce may be different.

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Get The Right Tools

When your goal is to replace your old strings, you will need a pair of scissors, the strings, and the string winder. You cannot attach the new string on the guitar with your bare hands because metallic strings are difficult to work with at times. That is especially true if you are trying to make them taut.

Ask For Help If You Need To

My final advice is for you to get an expert to change the strings if you feel lost while doing it. I know how protective you may be of your instrument. You probably even get angry when a relative tries to touch the case of the guitar. However, instead of making yourself loopy because of those strings, you better hire a professional to get the job done for you.

Final Thoughts

Do you love playing guitar more than doing any other activity in the world? That’s cool – we are on the same boat. The secret to being able to make beautiful music with this instrument, though, is ensuring that the strings are always in perfect shape. Not only will you be able to prevent any snapping when you do that, but you may also avoid having the string snap near your face.

Good luck!

 

Taking Care Of Your Guitar

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When I was a teenager, I could not be found without my guitar. It was always next to me, strapped on my back, or sitting on my lap. Sometimes, I would even make room for it on my bed at night, especially every time I would feel lonely.

During that period, I could not think of a better best friend than my guitar. I was allowed to take it anywhere. Every time I would play it, a crowd would gather around and listen to me. It prevented me from befriending ill-meaning folks as well, which made my parents support my hobby.

If I can be honest about that time now, though, there is one thing that I didn’t – and still doesn’t – like about owning a guitar. It was the fact that I had to take care of it more than a pianist would ever need to do with their piano. Still, I had no choice but to do it because buying a new guitar was nowhere near my to-do list, and it honestly felt good to see its case shining.

If you have recently acquired a guitar and are yet to familiarize yourself with it, here are a few tips to take care of your guitar.

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Wipe The Body

The first thing that you need to do is get a microfiber towel to clean the body of the guitar. The reason is that your hand produces oil all the time to keep it from being as rough as sandpaper. If you rest it on your guitar, though, you can undoubtedly see fingerprints on the case once you lift your fingers off. Without sounding like a total germophobe, there is no way to guarantee that bacteria will not spread through those fingerprints, even if they are yours. If you do not also want to entertain that possibility, you should start cleaning your guitar now.

Check The Strings

It is typical for the strings to snap on a guitar, no matter how expensive they may be. The constant strumming and tuning can wear down the line and cause it to break, after all. However, the snapping string can be a health hazard, especially if it happens when the guitar is so close to your face, and the broken line can practically hit your eyeball. To avoid that, you should examine every string regularly and replace the old ones before they snap.

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Make Sure To Fine-Tune The Guitar

Another part of taking care of your guitar is fine-tuning it. The instrument is quite sensitive, in the sense that moving it around can nudge the knobs on one end and make it sound like a tin can once you start playing.

I know that this task is challenging for new guitar players, but you can find tutorials that will teach you how to tune your guitar. Some apps can guide you, as well.

Final Thoughts

It is not crazy to want to look after an instrument that you may have relied on more than anyone for a long time. So your guitar has sentimental value, and you cannot let go of it – that’s not shocking at all. If anything, it feels good to know that you care enough about your guitar to read this blog.

Cheers!

Why Even Non-Musical Folks Love Jamming Sessions

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Every month, my friends and I look for bars and restaurants where acoustic singers play. They do not have to popular. In truth, they can even cover other people’s songs, and we feel happy about it. When they have an open, we volunteer to sing while accompanied by the guitar as well. It is like an unspoken tradition that we all follow.

In such establishments, though, musically inclined folks are not the only ones you will find. Some people bob their heads to the music; others can merely clap or sway their bodies when the music plays. If they get invited to sing on the stage, though, they refuse profusely. And I have always wondered about that, you know? “If you love jamming sessions so much, why don’t you want to join in the fun and let people hear you sing?”

Upon talking to one of those non-musical folks, I have understood a few things.

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Acoustic Songs Soothe The Soul

Acoustics refers to songs that are played using a guitar, box, or drums. The sounds cannot fill an entire room like a piano; you may even need to plug it to an amplifier. Instead of a melody, you will typically hear beats.

While some people may not find that entertaining, a lot more individuals think that acoustic songs soothe their souls. One of the possible reasons is that the steady beats may align with your heartbeat, and it can make you feel good.

People Want To Understand The Song Lyrics

As mentioned above, acoustic singers in bars and restaurants tend to cover the songs that others have released. The genre can be anything, from ballad to rock to pop and everything in between. You may never hear about covers topping the Billboard charts or becoming more famous than the original. However, people still go there instead of buying albums at the stores. Why?

Well, most songs these days are layered with technology at some level. Sometimes, the producers add instruments; other times, they auto-tune to “fix” the singer’s voice. Although that is good for the market, the lyrics are not always audible. Thus, music lovers feel the need to listen to the acoustic versions of the songs, regardless of the original singers sing it or not.

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Everyone Wishes To Have Fun Without Getting Whacky

Wanting to have fun is a normal part of life. That is especially true if you have had a long week, but club hopping is not your cup of tea anymore. You want to go to a mellow place where you can drink, eat, and listen to good music without getting crazy.

Most of the time, people can find that mix in restaurants with acoustic players only. Rather than getting drunk on alcohol, after all, they can get lost in the songs. They can also meet like-minded people and perhaps become best friends.

Final Thoughts

Music is one of the many things that folks from different walks of life enjoy together. No matter what your reason is for going to the acoustic bars or restaurants, you should continue doing it, especially if it makes you happy. 

Cheers!

Why I Almost Stopped Learning How To Play The Guitar

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Playing the guitar is one of the hobbies that I have picked up during a summer break in high school. None of my relatives or friends are musically inclined, so I have not been influenced by anyone. However, I love listening to guitar solos more than anything, so I have made time for it.

The thing is, there were many times when I thought of giving up my dream to play the guitar properly. Here are a few reasons that you may be able to relate to.

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My Fingers Hurt At First

Most players deal with hurting fingers when they learn how to play the guitar for the first time. It is supposed to be one of the sacrifices that you need to make if you love the instrument. You can feel it from day 1 when you press the strings on one end and strum on the other end.

The tips of your fingers sting when you are not learning; they hurt some more when you press the strings again. It is as if you are trying to open a wound in the same areas. No matter how normal it may be, hurting fingers can genuinely make you think twice about playing the guitar.

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I Did Not Like My Callouses

Callouses come after all the pain that you go through for the first time. The raw skin hardens over time, building something like intangible protection for the soft skin. Thus, even if you play the guitar for hours every day, you may not ever need to worry about your fingers hurting again.

Although that should be a positive effect of having callouses, let’s not forget that I have a professional career, too. Playing guitar is a hobby – I don’t make money out of it. I work in the guest relations biz, which entails that e, I get too self-conscious and don’t want to extend my hand sometimes.

Learning Some Songs With Complicated Guitar Arrangements Got The Better Of Me

When I was learning how to play the guitar, I thought it was one of my hidden talents. I watched tutorials for songs that only had three or four chords and a little strumming. It made me feel like I could play anything after that.

Well, the complicatedness of some songs brought me back to reality hard. One day, I was an acoustic star. The next day, I was a guitarist-wannabe who could not even get through the first verse of a song without messing up. I knew that it was 100% my fault for skipping steps, but it made me want to stop playing altogether.

Final Thoughts

Did I end up avoiding guitars?

Nope. I continued learning how to play the guitar once I got over the issues mentioned above. I went back to square one, studied all the basic chords, and practiced songs gradually. As for the callouses, I stopped worrying about them after a while. It even came to my advantage at times, considering it turned out to be an excellent conversation starter.

Why A Therapist Recommends Playing Guitar To Mental Health Patients

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Having a therapist for a sister, I know how difficult this profession can be. After all, your job is to assist individuals in dealing with conditions that no one – not even the professionals with decades of experience – can offer a long-term cure for. Since the illnesses of the patients are incomparable to common colds, diabetes or even cancer that has a physical manifestation, every treatment tends to follow the trial-and-error method. Meaning, if exercise 1 does not work, you move on to exercise 2. If that cannot provide relief to the person’s troubled mind still, you opt for exercises 3, 4, etc.

When all else fails, my sister tends to recommend learning how to play guitar to the patients. At first, I could not fathom the logic behind it. I was like, “Hmm, so can it be any form of a guitar? What about the brand, does it matter, too?” Such questions undoubtedly earned a frown from the therapist in the family, but she did enlighten me on why playing guitar can be beneficial for mental health patients.

1. It Promotes Calmness

The #1 triggering factor for most psychological disorders is stress. You can effortlessly acquire it when you need to study nonstop for your final exams, your boss announces that the business is doing well and so they will have to terminate people, or you are already old enough to get married yet you don’t even have a prospective partner. When various stressors hit you from all directions at once, you may not be able to contain the situation, and the stress activates your condition.

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Now, based on a 2005 study, making music in a recreational manner is said to reduce the stress level of the musicians at a genomic level. What it entails is that the effect of playing guitar can regulate the genes that are responsible for making you respond to stressors. Thus, once you practice using the instrument for at least an hour every day, nothing may bother you again, psychologically speaking.

2. It Improves Brain Function

Any mental disorder that you have heard of (e.g., depression, anxiety, anorexia, mania, etc.) may have different symptoms and manifestations, but they are all the same in one respect. Each of them affects the normal brain function of an individual and alters their ability to make sound decisions, remember significant things, and understand real situations.

Playing guitar, nevertheless, is an activity that therapists suggest as new researches show that it can counter all those negativities. For one, music can sharpen your memory and increase your mental alertness. It also allows the blood to reach various parts of the brain, which helps you to feel more alive than ever. You will also be able to accomplish multiple tasks at once without getting overwhelmed. The more you practice with the instrument, therefore, the more your psychological health may improve.

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3. It Encourages You To Socialize More

Have you seen buskers in the subway or on a sidewalk? These are typically the random musicians who sing and play their instruments in public. All the passersby are welcome to stop by to listen to them, dance, and even give some monetary donations. When you look at the situation from afar, it is as if everyone knows each other due to the way they sing and have fun together.

In reality, it is this kind of openness that most – if not all – mentally troubled people do not possess. They tend to isolate themselves from the world; that’s why no one can reach out and pull them out of the darkness immediately. They refuse to talk about their issues in front of their loved ones as well. Nonetheless, everything – including the emotions that you have bottled up inside – may come out through playing guitar. After all, music is a language in its own right, and you don’t always have to hear the lyrics to figure out the feelings of the musician.

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4. It Is An Excellent Form Of Distraction

Furthermore, being able to play the guitar is beneficial in times when you know that your condition is active. Considering you are already aware of your triggers, then you can tell when your anxiety or depression, for instance, is about to come. At that moment, you can reach for your guitar and start playing any song that comes to mind until your nerves calm down.

Using music as a form of distraction is more effective than smoking or doing drugs. As mentioned above, the tunes can travel to the parts of your brain that nothing else can go to. It will work even if you know that you are trying to distract yourself.

Final Musings

I hope you won’t take this advice as an excuse to avoid seeing a therapist. The truth is that you still need to talk to one to be able to know other forms of treatment that might also work for you. Music therapy is beneficial for some but not for all. Nevertheless, you are free to try playing guitar for healing purposes and seek the same perks above.

Good luck!

Top Acoustic Guitar Players

When we think about the people who are best at playing guitars, we easily picture the best lead electric guitarist that we somehow heard for the last few decades. Maybe our parents or someone in the family used to be a fan of some of the most talented guitarist that can smoothly pick the strings in different ways. With that, we can assume that some of the greatest guitarist out there that we didn’t know is predominantly acoustic players and that many of these individuals are pioneers in their respected genres. So we suggest that you get ready to chill while we count down some of the greatest acoustic guitar players out there.

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James Taylor – James Taylor is a man that is possibly the best singer-songwriter of all that contributes a lot in the music industry in the last decades. James Taylor surely knows his way around playing an acoustic guitar. That is because some of the greatest songs attribute a fair amount of success to Taylor’s ability to craft and perform tasteful lead licks. The thing with James Taylor is that along with his great songs; he is one of the top finger pickers of acoustic guitar that ever make his way to the mainstream. He used his guitar-picking talent to get a valuable spot in the list of the best guitarists of all time.

Stephen Stills – Another singer-songwriter that knows how to showcase his talent through acoustic music is Stephen Still. He is often the unsung hero of the guitar world due to his uncomplicated finger-picking style. Still’s edge among other guitarists is his love for basic skills. He can potentially transition it into a complicated technique. During Stephen Still’s heyday, he earned the respect of many legendary guitarists, and that includes Jimi Hendrix. Also, for public information, Cosby’s and Nash’s most successful songs are noteworthy because of Still’s incredible skills as well.

Michael Hedges – Michael Alden Hedges is one of the most accomplished music guitarists on the list. His capability of using a hammer on, harmonic slaps, alternative tuning, and a lot of different techniques made him the most influential solo artist that ever lived in history. Hedges can add a totality on the new vocabulary of the acoustic guitar sounds by just playing and trying new styles. He can make people wonder how all the tones can come from a single acoustic guitar. People know him as a talented guitarist that amazes them in an instant performance. Hedges earned a spot in the list of greatest musicians that released an album in both instrumental and vocal compositions.

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Bob Dylan – People know Bob Dylan because he single-handedly revolutionized the industry of folk music. His performances and lyrical abilities seem effortless, and that makes him one of the greatest singers in history. Dylan’s acoustic guitar talents also have no exceptions because he’s known to contribute most of the picking patterns in the world of acoustic guitar tricks. He also masters the art of open tunings that allows him to craft some of the catchiest licks in folk music. The techniques he learned from jazz, folk, and blues musician to create a significant style that trademark’s his own.

Robert Johnson – People may not know who Johnson is at his time, but his music is everywhere. His poorly documented life didn’t stop him from achieving a rise to a legendary spot. A lot of people might recognize the elements of his music through the influence of modern finger-picking styles. A pioneer of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson refined the guitar techniques of other musicians on his time. He also managed to influence later generations with his consistent display of the combination of songwriting and guitar playing absorbed in the shortest span of three minutes.

Chet Atkins – Chet Atkins is an artist that brings finger-style guitar picking to a different level. Chet would often play a baseline with his thumb and pick the harmony and melody of the song with the remaining four fingers. As a session player in Nashville, his effortless dexterity seems to influence some of the legendary guitar musicians out there. These include Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Atkins influence in today’s acoustic guitar-picking patterns is visible in the style of modern country guitar masters like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.

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Tommy Emanuel – Tommy Emanuel is an Australian acoustic virtuoso who idolizes Chet Atkins who eventually got to record songs with him. Though Tommy Emanuel first trained himself with the styles of Atkins, he ultimately took the method to a whole new level. He managed to create a version of the infamous Travis picking style. Aside from his love in country music, Emanuel is also proficient in blues, jazz, and even classical styles. Tommy’s proficiency and groove on the acoustic guitar is something that people should see.

These talented acoustic guitar musicians made history in our music industry. All of them created an impact that made the modern finger-picking style become more identifiable, top-notched, and extraordinary skill.

50 Christmas Songs That Sound Impeccable With An Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic songs are one of the sweetest things we could hear, and when it comes to Christmas songs, there is no nothing purer than the sound of the guitar with it. It is perfect for the simple gathering of the family on Christmas Eve where all the family members gather around to celebrate and commemorate the birth of Jesus by singing Christmas songs. We have heard several versions with the grandeur of a piano and the full orchestra, but nothing beats the simplicity of these songs sung with a humble acoustic guitar.

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Living Life Without Music: It Made Me Sick!

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How does music affect us? There’s a song that says music can heal our soul. What does it mean? It means music can help us deal with stress and cope with the overwhelming emotions that we experience in life. Whether it is joy, sadness, anger, hatred, grief, disgust, or fear, music can help us deal with it. If food nourishes the body, it is music that rejuvenates our mind. Read More