A GUITAR can be many different things. It can be electric, or acoustic, or even electro-acoustic. It can be bluesy, classical, jazzy, folky baroque, or just plain heavy. It can be big enough to fill a football stadium (if, say, Eric Clapton is playing it) or small enough to fill the circle around a campfire. A guitar can be loud enough to make your ears ring for hours afterward, or quiet enough to get a child to go to sleep.
In a similar way, an aspiring guitarist can be many people. He could be a beginning songwriter looking to get in touch with his inner poet, or maybe a longtime heavy metal fan trying to stay in touch with her inner head-banger. Someone may take up the guitar to play for her friends, or for that dreamed-of stadium crowd—or maybe just to play for himself, to prove that he could do it.
How then (you may ask), can this compact volume, The Only Basic Guitar Instruction Book You’ll Ever Need, cover the many possibilities of this wondrous instrument, and help fulfill the varied goals of those people (yourself, for one) eager to play the guitar? The answer is by carefully and thoroughly leading you through the basics, from “What kind of guitar should I get?” on up through “How do I play a blues progression?” In this book, you’ll get all the guitar techniques, basic musical knowledge, and exercises, and songs you need to progress from a beginner guitarist to an intermediate player who perhaps is on the way to even greater things. Of course, this book itself is not enough to make you into an accomplished guitarist.
There is that little matter of practicing (and more practicing … and more practicing). And you should look to find a guitar teacher you feel comfortable with who can help keep you on the right path and enable you to be the best guitarist you can be. Don’t forget to look for advice from fellow guitarists. In becoming a guitarist, you’re joining a community—a far-flung and widely divergent one, to be sure—of people who’d be happy to share their knowledge, and to help you along on the way to reaching your guitar-playing dreams
Understanding the Basics, and Buying the Right Guitar
DID YOU EVER SEE those boxes in a discount store that say “My First Acoustic Guitar” or “My First Electric Guitar”? To tell the truth, one of those probably shouldn’t be your first acoustic or electric guitar. You need to find a guitar that is of good enough quality to make the hours of practicing worthwhile, but not so expensive that it breaks your budget. In this chapter, besides learning the basic guitar facts and terminology, you’ll find out all you need to know in order to find a guitar that is the right one for you
The Anatomy of a Guitar
In order to read and understand the rest of this book, talk knowledgeably with a guitar salesperson, or take guitar lessons, there are a number of terms and words you’ll need to be familiar with. The most basic vocabulary to master is this: What are all those different parts of a guitar called? That’s what we’ll talk about first. (By the way, a number of these terms, and other bits of musical jargon, are defined in the Glossary.)