How to Start Playing Guitar – Part One of Three

One of the most important first decisions (after deciding that you want to start playing guitar) is which type of music you want to play. Usually, people want to start playing the music they listen to. For example, I love jazz music, but even after 30 years of playing, I still find it difficult to really play jazz the way I want to. (If jazz is your passion, and jazz guitar is what you want to learn to play guitar, then I strongly suggest getting a personal instructor)


If you already have your style of music decided, the first step is what type of guitar to buy. Generally, your choices are acoustic or electric. (Obviously with an electric, you’ll need someway to hear the guitar. Buying the right amp is a whole other conversation!) With acoustics, there are six string, 12 string, resonators, acoustic/electric, classical or nylon string, and jazz acoustic guitars. Though there are hundreds of different styles of guitar, this list is complete enough for this conversation. With electric guitars, your choice really depends on the type of music you aim to play. I have three electrics; Fender American Strat used for Rock, Blues. Fender Strat with a humbucker pickup in addition to two single coils, used for heavy rock. And a hollow body jazz guitar, used for jazz. For the purposes of this article, I will focus only to acoustic guitars.

Below is a list of what style of acoustics guitars are generally used for which type of music.

Folk, mellow rock, rock, oldies, “camp fire songs, Alternative, Pop”- Acoustic 6 string own this category. Though 12 strings add a wonderful sound, many players in this style use fingerpicking, which is much more difficult with a 12 string.

Country, Blues, Bluegrass- The Resonator rules here. Though too twangy for

some, I play a 6 string reso for blues almost exclusively. For country, the reso adds a wonderful depth to the music, though 6 strings are more popular for modern country songs. Round neck, square neck, biscuit or spider bridge, tri-cone or single cone, wood body or metal body. It’s all a matter of personal taste. One thing is very important, a square neck can only be played with a slide and can not be fingered like normal guitars. The strings are raised very high making any type of playing besides slide impossible. If you want a versatile guitar, get a round neck, that can be played like any other 6 string guitar but still gives you that great reso sound and the option to play bottle neck slide.

What brand/model of guitar to buy.

Price is a HUGE deciding factor. Guitars range from $79.00 to well over $10,000. For the most part, guitars priced over $3,000 are usually signature models or special editions and are more of collectors models. If you are just starting out, decide on your budget but even if you have millions, I would suggest you avoid anything over $3,000.

If you are someone who really sticks to their decisions, and if your budget allows, then I suggest you look at guitars in the $700 to $2000 range. If you are somewhere in between, then aim for a guitar in the $250 to $700 range.

Sound. More expensive guitars are always made from real, solid wood. Cheaper guitars use laminates or, if they are real wood, cheaper quality woods. I’ve owned cheap guitars and high end guitars and the difference in sound is astounding. Sure, you can buy a cheaper guitar, add high quality strings and have the guitar set up by a luthier, but it will only sound like a cheap guitar with good strings. Also, a main factor in sound is intonation. That means that the guitar is it tune with itself. There are ways to check intonation that are pretty easy but no easy way to fix it. While you’re in the guitar store, either tune the guitar to standard tuning (EADGBE) or have the salesperson do it. Then play each string while holding the sting down on the 12th fret. If it is right on for every string, the guitar has good intonation. If it is off a little, any decent guitar tech can adjust it. But, if it is off quite a bit, then the guitar will always sound out of tune whenever you play a chord. Quality and Durability. I bought an inexpensive 12 string several years ago, and within two years, the bridge (the part of guitar that holds the strings down to the face of the guitar) pulled away from the guitar. Though it could be fixed, the fix would cost $150. The guitar only cost me $300. Poorly made necks have a tendency to pull away from the guitar, making it either very hard or nearly impossible to play. If a neck gets warped, it is time to throw the guitar away or get ready for a hefty repair bill. And if you spent a few hundred (or less) on the guitar, any repairs won’t be worth it. While we are on the neck, inexpensive guitars usually have “high” action. That means that the strings are high off the neck. High strings are common on cheaper guitars because it costs time and money to set up a guitar properly. Many beginners quit playing because their fingers hurt and they are unable to properly finger or sound many of the chords. My opinion to all my students is to make sure the guitar you buy has acceptable action or get ready for very sore fingers and having to build incredibly strong fingers and hands!

Resale Value. Inexpensive guitars are almost impossible to resell when you are either ready to upgrade or are ready to quit playing. I once bought a guitar for $200 for my son. Big difference.

I assume you know what type of music you want to play and have your budget in mind. Below, I will list several guitar makes/models that I have experience with and have recommended to students and friends.

Budget Guitars $100 to $200- Rouge, Epiphone (some models) Carlos, Fender acoustics, Applause. Hohner, Jasmine

Mid Priced Guitars- $200 to $700 Garisson, Ovation, Washburn, Takamine, Breedlove, Seagull, Alvarez, Yamaha, Epiphone

Higher End Guitars $900 to $2000- Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Breedlove Guild, Blueridge, Alvarez

Again, unless you really don’t believe that you will stick to playing the guitar, then I strongly suggest you at least look into a mid priced guitar. Check used guitars as well. Never buy a budget guitar used, but you probably can get a great deal on a mid priced or high end guitar on eBay or your local music store.

The reason I only discussed acoustic guitars is that I have been playing acoustics for over thirty years and have a lot of experience with them. As for electrics, my experience is only with Jazz guitars, Fender Strats and Telecasters, and Gibson Les Pauls.

History Of The Epiphone Guitar

The Epiphone guitar officially got its name for the first time when he registered in 1924. A man by the name of Anastasios Stathopoulo began making musical instruments in 1873 first. In 1893, Anastasios’ Marianthe wife, gave birth to their first child Epimanondas. In New York, Anastasios buy a place where she makes and sells equipment on the ground floor, while his family lived upstairs. Big business for him at that moment because at the top of the mandolin craze. Anastasios signs began his instrument with “A. Stathopoulo, producer-Repairer of all types of musical instruments” and to build a warehouse company.


In 1915, Anastasios Stathopoulo died, leaving her responsible Epimanondas. Epimanondas, called Epi, 22-year-old when he took over the business. Epi was a great luthier and businessman.

In 1917, Epi to change the company name to House Of Stathopoulo and start changing the product line as well. The mandolin that they make are not as popular as ever, so Epi to concentrate on a device that … banjo. He also received the first patent for banjo construction today.

In 1923, House Of Stathopoulo very successful and Epi named himself president and general manager of the company. The next year, Epi to change the company name again to reflect major changes in the company. Epimanondas decided to combine his nickname “Epi” the Greek word for the sound “telephone” and create a Epiphone.

With the success of Epiphone’s Recording Series banjo, banjo Epiphone Favoran bought out the company in 1925, to follow the demand. Sales of the banjo is so big and Epiphone name known so much for them, Epi to change the company name to Epiphone Banjo Company in 1928.

Finally, in 1928, introduced a line of recording Epi guitars, mostly made of carved top and a combination of pine and laminated maple. Epi decided that companies should be more focused on selling the Company Gibson guitars and their main competitors.

Competition between the Epiphone and Gibson in the 30s was very intense. In 1934 Gibson enhance the body width of one of the existing models to compete directly with the Masterbuilt Epiphone guitar.

The following year returned the favor by the Emperor Epiphone released the

model, which has a wider body. They also created a buzz by the Emperor’s new ad with posters of half naked models to play guitar.

The size of the war did not stop there because in 1936 Epiphone produced larger version of their Broadway, De Luxe and Triumph models by the inch to make them 3 / 8 “wider than a Gibson.

At this time, Epiphone guitar is one of the top in the world and some of the world’s best musicians to play them. Even the appearance of Epi would open the case on Saturday afternoon and let these famous musicians play the guitar.
Epiphone continues to grow and want even more than market share. In 1935, Epiphone introduced a series Electar to compete with the Rickenbacker electric guitar. When 1937 arrives, Epiphone sales doubled. The rest of the 30’s followed with Epiphone and Gibson competed with each other and the two companies introduced the same type of Hawaiian guitar.

In 1943, Epi died and left his brothers Orphie and Frixo to run a business. By keeping Orphie finance and maintain the mechanical parts Frixo, Epiphone continues to compete with the Gibson and the things that seems to run smoothly. Orphie and Frixo not get along and Frixo sell his share of the business Orphie. Companies continue to go down the hill and in 1953, to solve the problem of strikes by workers in Manhattan, the factory was moved to Philadelphia. Many talented artisans company decided not to go to Philly and the result is a decrease in the quality of their products.

Problems continue to deteriorate in the 50’s while the company is getting stronger Gibson. Orphie Gibson called general manager Ted McCarty and asked if he wanted to buy a business Epiphone guitar for $ 20,000. McCarty agreed and Epiphone was acquired by Gibson in 1957. Gibson initially planned only to take control of the business upright bass but eventually the entire revamping Epiphone Company. In 1958, Gibson released the entire new line of acoustic and electric guitars and move production of these instruments of their own factory in Kalamazoo Michigan.

In 1964, the Beatles found the Epiphone guitar and John, Paul and George bought some models Casino. In 1965, Epiphone guitar to sell very well anymore, representing 20% of the total units shipped from their Kalamazoo factory. Epiphone once again one of the top names in the guitar.

This cut sales Epiphone and Gibson guitars and the company decided to give Gibson line more attention. In 1983, production costs continue to rise, so Epiphone moved to Korea. Currently, David Berryman, Henry Juszkiewicz and Gary Zebrowski bought Gibson. Although their main priority Gibson, Juszkiewicz saw the potential in the Epiphone and immediately went to Korea to find out what to do. Soon Epiphone guitar to sell well again.

90’s eventually became a big decade for Epiphone. 90’s also is launching a signature model of Noel Gallagher, John Lennon and John Lee Hooker.

In 2002, Gibson luthier Mike Voltz moved to Epiphone acoustic guitars to look after their production and marketing. Voltz finally revive their acoustics with a new range of Masterbilt guitar. Demand for Epiphone guitar grow so much that in 2003 they opened a factory in China strictly for Epiphone. In 2005, Epiphone introduced back Paul McCartney’s 1964 USA Texan guitar.
In 2008, Epiphone guitar is still going strong and is more popular than ever. Included in their lineup recently, of course, big guitars and Les Paul guitars signature of some of the greatest guitarists ever. Some artists immortalized with this guitar is John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Slash, BB King, Tony Iommi, Zakk Wylde and Nikki Sixx.

For the “Plugged” Performance

In recent years, there has been a respectable popularity surge “unplugged” performances. Like the exhibition, as one might assume from the name, features the artist in a small place acoustically performed for small audiences. One of the interesting aspects of this show is that sometimes the artists performed on electric guitars without using amplifiers.

We seem to have come full circle. An unplugged performance, I would hypothesize, is an attempt by the artist and the audience to “go back to the music.” And certainly nothing wrong with that. But the reason both places and the small audience is that if they do not, no one will be able to hear anything. The fact remains that the electric guitar is designed for use with amplifiers. If they do not, very difficult to hear what is playing for (mostly) electric guitar solid body, not hollow like that of acoustic instruments. So while perhaps unplugged show artistic merit, they failed to take advantage of the electric guitar one of the most powerful and important asset: the amplifier.

A guitar amplifier is an electronic amplifier designed for use with electric guitars. Electronic amplifier, in turn, is a tool designed to improve strength and signal amplitude. In this case, the signal received from the guitar. Guitar amplifiers have been around since the early 1930s. At that time, and through the 1940s, Hawaiian music was all the rage and amplifiers that are used primarily with guitar lap steel Hawaiian guitar. Then in the mid-1950s, thanks to the revolution rock and roll, electric guitar took off and so does the amplifier. Black and white episodes of American Bandstand performing artists on stage in a subtle shift with the amplifier mounted on an electric guitar. But that does not stop there. Over the next decade, the artists began to experiment with the distortion that can be caused by deliberately overloading their amp. This eventually resulted in distortion Preamplifier merger control, which almost qualifies as a guitar amplifier musical instruments in the rights of their own. Of course this has become impossible to imagine modern music without using the tool.

Currently, most guitar amps come in two general types. The first is a combination, or “combo” amplifier, which contains a guitar amplifier head and speaker in one unit. Head amplifier contains an electronic circuit preamp, built-in effects processing and power amplifier. Another type of amplifier consists of two separate speaker wires join. In this form, the head amplifier is placed in one unit while the other guitar speakers. Units with the head are usually placed on one or more a guitar speaker.

Between two common types of amps, there are a number of different subcategories favored by many genres and instruments. Traditional Amp, known as the clean, warm sound, often used by rock, blues, country, indie bands and alternative. Hard rock-style amps, like the name a friend, used by hard rock, metal and punk artists, and often include a number of distortion effects and preamp controls. Bass amps boast extended bass response and tone control that optimizes the bass sound. Finally, acoustic amps, a contradiction in terms, is designed for use with acoustic instruments that have built-in pickup or microphone.

Acoustic Electric Guitar

So, you’re in the market for an acoustic electric guitar, huh? Welcome! You’ve come to the right page! If you have never played one, right off the bat.

Acoustic electric guitar are incredibly versatile, in that you’re ready for anything anyone throws at you. Have you ever had a bar gig or an open mic night where you had to take both your acoustic AND electric guitar to play something in particular, but an all-in-one solution would have been optimal? Even worse, have you ever been met with a band situation where you tried to mic your acoustic guitar but things just weren’t working out? I’ve been in both of those situations, as well as countless others. Those are just a couple of scenarios where having one of these marvels would be a life saver.


Luckily, we live in a day and age where they’re fairly cheap for decent ones and just about every type of guitar manufacturer out there makes their own versions, which all vary in price, look, equipment, tonality, and much more. Fender, Takamine, Ibanez, Yamaha, Schecter, Squire, Epiphone, Gibson, Ovation, Applause, BC Rich, and many more guitar manufacturers you have come to know, love, and expect quality instruments from. Not only that, but you can buy them new, used, or reconditioned everywhere from in stores to online. In another post, I will go into detail how to find an acoustic electric guitar that fits you best and is well within your budget.


Ah, Gibson. Makers of the greatest acoustic electric guitars on the market, some would say. But how do their guitars really stand out amongst all others? That’s what this post is for!

Gibson is perhaps the most popular and renowned manufacturer of acoustic electric guitars on this whole planet, with their flagship guitar being, of course, the Les Paul. Just to give you an idea of how varied you can expect their acoustic electric guitar line to be, Les Pauls come in a variety of different models, such as the Classic, Supreme, Standard, Studio Baritone, Studio, Goddess, Gt, Menace, New Century, Vixen, Special (with Humbucker pickups), Doublecuts, Melody Maker and more. All of them have their own discrete specializations with respect to their sound.

Let’s start with discerning the the basic difference between an acoustic and and electric guitar. An acoustic guitar has a hollow space inside which is called the soundbox. Its main purpose is to intensify and magnify the vibrations produced. This guitar finds its application in everything from country and folk music to hard rock and even metal. With an electric guitar, the sound is produced due to vibration of string over a magnetic pick up. You can then hear what’s produced via an amplifier. This guitar is used to give a live performance in front of a large crowd where desired effects are not achieved by a simple acoustic guitar. Now, with an acoustic electric guitar, you have the features of BOTH acoustic *and* electric guitars! Those features are uniquely incorporated together by Gibson so as to produce the perfect acoustic electric guitar for anyone from the recording musician to the live musican, folk to classical to rock and everything in between! Acoustic electric guitars sound and look the same as an acoustic guitar when unplugged, but plugged in is when you get an acoustic sound with a loudness factor the likes of which you have to hear to believe!

An acoustic electric guitar manufactured by Gibson, unlike their regular acoustic or electric guitars, is made up of a solid and compact wooden body. It has a combination of six strings having different notes, and when plucked, gives a uniquely harmonious and melodious sound. When you plug in an acoustic electric guitar, it is also referred to as an Elecoustic. It does not have knobs to deal with like you’re familiar with on electric guitars, but with the built-in electronics that come standard on an acoustic electric guitar, there are even more ways to refine your own than simple volume and tone. This two-in-one guitar gives the advantage of both acoustic and electric guitar. A Gibson acoustic electric guitar provides you with the benefit of playing out at as large of a venue as desired while maintaining great acoustic tonality. Even the feedback problem which is encountered in case of high volume is negligible. Now these guitars can be played without using expensive microphones, thus in turn making them quite practical and economical! The chord articulation is balanced and soothing to the ears. A Gibson acoustic electric guitar perfectly marries the soft tones of an acoustic with the amplified sound of an electric.


Music is a way of life for many of us and a Taylor acoustic electric guitar is one of the best ways to enhance that way of life. Though there are many music instruments for a musician to choose from, none have captured the attention of most quite like an acoustic electric guitar. There are many types of guitars to suit many tastes and guitar is the basis for many types of music like rock, pop, country, contemporary, etc.. There are many types of guitars available but the acoustic electric guitar is one of the most useful and unique. While the acoustic guitar is a classic containing a wooden body, a sound hole and the strings, and considerable in size, an electric guitar is the one which works when plugged into an amplifier, thus allowing one to be heard much better.

What’s so unique about an acoustic electric guitar is its combination of both electric guitar and acoustic guitar features! It works like an electric guitar when it’s connected to an amplifier, but can also work as an acoustic guitar when it’s not plugged in. Because of this, an acoustic electric guitar gives you an advantage over ordinary acoustic and electric guitars. One of the most popular types of acoustic electric guitars is made by Taylor. These guitars are amongst some of the most formidable players in the market of acoustic electric guitars and their products are very well-known. Taylors use a number of wood types like Sitka spruce, Indian rosewood, ebony and mahogany to give an unmatched level of aesthetics to their guitars.

Taylor’s acoustic electric guitars provide a good balance between both types of guitars. The design of the guitar incorporates both old classical skill with the new technological advances. Many Taylor models have many innovations such as the patented new technology (NT) neck and UV-cured finish. Along with their classical and elegant looks, they also have great functionality. Their necks are designed in such a way that they provide incredibly functional playability. The wood and design give the guitars a unique voice that is devoid of muddiness and boom. The uniqueness of their acoustic electric guitar line in general lies in the fact that their sound doesn’t change when plugged in. The very same dynamics are maintained regardless of how you use the guitar and their EQ controls are magnificent!

Taylor’s solid wood acoustic electric guitar line includes a vast range of woods, which offers unique tonal solutions to suit all types of players! In addition to various wood types, Taylors feature cutaway bodies for easier fret access on the higher frets and for the electronics, they have what’s called an Expression System pickup. As they say on their site, “you’ll always sound your best, whether unplugged or amplified.”

All of the aforementioned functions give the Taylor acoustic electric guitar a HUGE advantage over other acoustic electric guitars. They also give you the option of saving money as you don’t have to waste it on an acoustic and electric guitar separately. So, when you want a well-rounded and extremely versatile guitar, look no further than an acoustic electric guitar by Taylor.


An acoustic electric guitar can actually be used to produce all kinds of music – country, lounge, contemporary etc. This is the very reason why acoustic electric guitars are so popular these days.

Now, one would want to know the exact difference between an acoustic electric guitar and electric guitar. Well, the main difference is, an electric guitar can only be played when it’s plugged in while the acoustic electric guitar does not need to be plugged in. So, the advantage is that the acoustic electric guitar can be used as an acoustic guitar when used without an amplifier and when it is plugged in, it’s used like an electric guitar. Thus, it serves both the purposes.

An electric acoustic guitar is primarily an acoustic guitar with some additional electronic features that allows it to be plugged into an amplifier. In addition to the normal features of an acoustic guitar, it also has a microphone, pick up or a transducer. A pick-up is unable to detect vibrations or non metallic materials in case of any instrument with nylon strings. Hence, a transducer or a microphone is used to serve the purpose. The signal picked up by these is finally amplified through an amplifier like in case of an electric guitar. An acoustic electric guitar looks and sounds mostly like an acoustic guitar.

Now, the question is which brand should one prefer for buying acoustic electric guitars?

One of the best choices would be Godin. Godin is a great brand for buying an acoustic electric guitar. Godin actually started making guitars in 1982. Since then, the company has come a long way. Godin’s headquarters is in Montreal and its factories are located in four different places — one in New Hampshire and the rest three in Quebec. Godin makes acoustic electric guitars under several different labels and hence it is mandatory that you do your research well before picking up any single choice. Godin guitars are known for their excellent and unique quality of wood. Not only that, the best part about Godin is that they make guitars in all price ranges. So, if you’re looking for anything from an expensive and elegant to simplistic and economical acoustic electric guitar, you can certainly choose from Godin. Similarly, if you are looking for a mid range guitar, you will be able to find one in Godin`s collection easily. Godin has a reputation for building guitars that have longevity as well as quality. Whatever your price range and needs are, you will certainly be able to find an acoustic electric guitar by Godin that will satisfy all your needs and requirements.

Oh, and as a testament to Godin’s quality, their guitars have won several awards such as Exit 22, Freeway Classic and Guitar Player Magazine’s editor pick for LG. Likewise, some extremely influential guitarists to hone the brand are Steve Stevens, Leonard Cohen, and Elliott Sharp, just to name a few.


An acoustic electric guitar (commonly known as Elecoustic) has more advanced features than that of a simple traditional acoustic guitar, but less complicated and complex than an electric guitar. Acoustic electric guitars are equipped with piezoelectric pickups and a preamplifier which intensifies the sound before it reaches the main guitar amplifier. There are different tone controls but usually equalizers with up to six frequency bands are used. The Ovation acoustic electric guitar is a commendable example of this. They come in different styles with great price variability.

There are many other acoustic electric guitar models like Breedlove, Blue Ridge, and Morgan Monroe, but the Ovation acoustic electric guitar is undoubtedly one of the best acoustic electric guitars for public performances, thanks to their crisp and clear sound. They are made of strong and sturdy wood which — in turn — produces a natural and a deep sound. They have manually etched bracings with peg heads superimposed upon them. The body is made up of high quality lustrous wood. The interior is made up of flawless abalone pearl, mahogany neck, with nickel hardware. These acoustic electric guitars have a neat and shiny finish with well groomed top, herring bone purling along with a glistening pure white neck strip. At first glance, they appear to be a regular acoustic guitar, but make no mistake that the Ovation acoustic electric guitar is modified with the presence of an electric pick-up, microphone and transducer.

In the case of nylon strings on an acoustic electric guitar, a pick-up alone cannot distinguish between the vibrations produced by nylon, hence transducers and microphones are also necessary. They are used to play country and folk music and hence are used by big country perfectionist to give stage performances. One famous artist to use an Ovation acoustic electric guitar is Dave Matthews. You can purchase these guitars from a local music store or online. Just make sure you’re careful about the pickup which comes along with these guitars.

The founder of Ovation is Charlie Kaman. His previous knowledge about helicopters (especially the way propellers work) gave him a clear knowledge about vibrations produced which, he put into the design of his acoustic electric guitar. He wanted technology with music, hence he engaged a squad of skilled and experienced aeronautical engineers so as to construct and assemble an entirely new type of acoustic electric guitar. The result was initially eliminating the flat body, which was the main obstruction in the production of smooth and coherent sound from the bass end to treble end. They went for a round body, which in turn was more durable. Every single acoustic electric guitar of theirs possessed a mid-depth body along with either rosewood or ebony fret board or bridge. Ovation acoustic electric guitars are made up of a perfect combination of artificial and natural wood, like sika spruce, since 100% natural wood was a cause of unwanted vibration and distortion. Ovations have been popular since the 80s, due to their strong and loud sound with minimum feedback. Now, you can grab an Ovation acoustic electric guitar and improve and sharpen your guitar skills to become a much better guitarist!