Guitar Classes

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Where would we be without guitarists No late-night party is complete without someone asleep under the stairs, a bowl of jelly tots and a rousing chorus of American Pie. Guitarists are elevated to the level of shamans on such occasions, channelling as they do the singer inside us all. Even if they have only put in two weeks in their bedroom learning Old King Cole, we see them as the love child of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. We tax their frets with California Dreaming, Ride On and, as time ticks by, the notoriously tricky Amhr n na bhFiann. If you want to enter their exalted world, consider taking up the instrument of the gods and total babe-magnet, the guitar. Although there is evidence of guitar-like instruments wowing the Romans over 3000 years ago, the guitar recognisably emerged in Spain in the 1400s. Narrower and deeper than the guitars of today, it was originally a four-course instrument, strung with four pairs of strings. The strings ran from a violin-like peg box to a tension bridge glued to the belly of the guitar. The guitar had to play second fiddle to the lute, which was thought to be classier and more worthy of respect. However, it gained ground at the end of the 18th century, when it evolved into the six-string beauty that we have at present. Further changes in the 19th century included the appearance of machine tuners in place of the wooden pegs and the guitar’s trademark womanly curves. The top three strings of the modern guitar are made out of gut or nylon; the others are metal. In normal tuning, the strings are tuned to E A D G B E. A right-handed player stops the strings at the appropriate frets to produce various pitches and the right hand plucks the strings. There is no discernable difference between the techniques needed to play an electric or acoustic guitar. However, if you are starting out learning the guitar, then it is best to start on an acoustic one. It is cheaper, and you neighbours won’t have to suffer power-axe versions of Leaving on a Jet Plane. If you find that you have an aptitude for the acoustic guitar, then you can move on to the electric guitar and set up a band. Everyone knows that the best groupies fancy the lead guitarist. Take to the stage and give them your Steve Vai or Joan Jett impression and watch them fall at your effects pedal. A guitarist is never lonely. Get ready to amaze your friends and bask in some well-deserved glory. . .

Frank Bolger

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