Looking for Guitar Lessons in the Dallas Area?
Guitar is one of the most versatile instruments in the world, and as teachers
we recommend it for many musicians of all ages, children, kids, teens,
and adults. We think it is best that a student begins on the kind of guitar
that plays the music they love: blues, bluegrass, classical, classic or
modern rock, country and western, folk, gospel, jazz, pop, R&B (rhythm
and blues), or whatever style of music they enjoy.
Ultimately, the most important factor to a new music student’s long
term success, either as a professional or the most casual of players,
is whether the student
loves what they play. The instrument that you can’t wait to play is probably
the instrument you’ll spend the most time with. Good practice habits
are initially built on raw desire to play. Don’t worry about what
guitar you’re “supposed” to start with—start with
what excites you.
Despite its relatively young age compared to other instruments, the acoustic
guitar is one of the most popular, widely-heard instruments in the world.
The guitar itself has a long history, stretching back millennia through
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean history; however, the acoustic guitar
as we know it has only existed in its form during the late 19th to the
20th century. It certainly did not become popular until the 20th century,
where the role of the guitar grew through blues and jazz, stretching into
rock ‘n roll, country, folk, and almost every kind of popular music
that exists today. It is a rare thing to find a modern music group of
any kind that doesn’t have an acoustic guitarist on hand.
It’s a testament to the influence of this instrument that when you
mention guitars of any kind, the image that comes to mind first is the
acoustic guitar. Many guitarists who eventually moved on to other guitar
types began with the acoustic guitar. This is why we recommend acoustic
guitar for students who don't have a preference of guitar type, as
the acoustic seems the most adaptable to multiple styles and allows the
learner to move more easily to electric or classical guitar if desired.
If your aim is to play contemporary rock or pop, the acoustic guitar is
the most versatile instrument you could choose. Almost any contemporary
song was likely written using an acoustic guitar!
What sets acoustic guitars from its closely-related sibling, the Spanish
guitar, are the steel strings that allow acoustic guitars to naturally
possess a great deal of volume. As a result of the steel material and
the tension, acoustic guitars have gained a reputation for being more
difficult to play than electric guitars or classical guitars, which use
a much softer gauge string and require less force to create sound. However,
this should not scare you! What makes acoustic guitar advantageous to
new players is that once they’ve mastered acoustic guitar, moving
onto a new kind of guitar is simply a matter of changing technique rather
than building strength or endurance in their hands.
For a versatile, beautiful, and rewarding instrument, consider learning
to play the acoustic guitar!
Also known as the Spanish guitar, this type of guitar looks identical to
common acoustic guitars at first glance. However, among a few differences,
there is one physical change that makes a world of difference: classical
guitars employ nylon strings, once called cat-gut (because musical string
was once made of sheep intestine before manufacturing methods improved
and steel and plastics became an option). Nylon strings, which are much
softer, produce a sound that is much mellower and has less “twang”
than steel strings would produce.
Nylon strings produce that smooth sound that you’ll hear in Latin
and jazz music. Steel’s advantage is its sharp, loud sound that
makes it perfect for pop music—nylon’s advantage is that it
does not demand attention as much as it gracefully dances through the
music, which is why it is suited to classical compositions. It also makes
a perfect accompaniment to soft, understated vocals that would normally
be swallowed up by the volume of a steel-string guitar.
In addition to its musical strengths, the nylon offers a technique to new
players that would be much more difficult on a steel-string acoustic:
fingerpicking. Fingerpicking, like the name implies, is the technique
of plucking individual strings with your fingers rather than using a pick
or strumming all the strings at once. It’s a technique that requires
strong fingers and precise movements, but nylon strings are actually quite
forgiving both on your fingers and on your ears. Fingerpicking allows
for the atmospheric, mellow melodies that Latin and South American music
is known for.
Have a passion for sweet melodies, exotic sound, and romantic music? The
classical guitar is for you!
The electric guitar hardly needs an introduction—any musician who
has dreamt of being a rock star probably imagined themselves holding an
electric guitar, producing crunchy riffs and powerfully distorted chords
to giant crowds. It is loud, it is fast, and its appeal is self-evident
to nearly any American born after 1950. The history of American rock is
built on the technical genius of electric guitar players like Jimi Hendrix,
B.B. King, Chuck Berry, and Jimmy Page. These players have shown that
electric guitars are capable of truly incredible music that would be impossible
to do with any other instrument.
For beginners, electric guitars offer a unique mix of advantages. The advantages
of an electric guitar are in its physical attributes and what it represents.
Electric guitars have soft gauge steel string, and because the sounds
are produced electronically through an amp, very little force is required
to produce music. In addition, the neck of an electric guitar is narrower
than an acoustic guitar; these two attributes combined means that beginners
will have an easier time playing chords and learning basic techniques.
It is worth keeping in mind, however, that electric guitars will require
more accessories than an acoustic one. You will at the very least need
an amp, and perhaps headphones, if you want to practice late at night
without waking the neighbors.
The other advantage the electric guitar holds for the beginner is romance.
Let’s face it—electric guitars are awesome. They’re
alluring because they have a history of being played by rebels, geniuses,
and misunderstood artists who moved the world with their fingers. That
might seem shallow, but it is actually vital for new musicians to truly
be excited about their instrument. Discipline comes with time and commitment,
but the only way to ensure that you start playing your instrument is if
you are truly in love with playing it. While all instruments have the
power to move any musician, electric guitars possess that initial allure
and romance more than virtually any other instrument in the world.
Whether you dream of shredding insane riffs in your garage, starting your
own band, or establishing your own genre of rock, the electric guitar
is absolutely worth the time and effort to learn.