The guitar is the instrument of cool. If you’re shy, it can make you want to step into the spotlight. If you’re outgoing, it can give you a home. With the guitar, you’ll learn a sense rhythm and dexterity, and develop a musical ear to express your own personal creativity. This gives a sense of confidence and passion that lets you unleash your inner rockstar.
A plucked, stringed musical instrument that probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century, the guitar was derived from the guitarra latina, a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and just four strings. The early guitar was narrower and deeper than the modern guitar, with a less pronounced waist. It was closely related to the vihuela, the guitar-shaped instrument played in Spain in place of the lute.
Since the 1500s, the guitar has undergone many changes. By the turn of the 19th century, various double-string configurations — including passive strings that vibrated sympathetically underneath the fingerboard as the strings above were plucked — were replaced by the current six-string design and tuning we have today (from lowest to highest: E, A, D, G, B, E).
The popularity of the guitar has much to do with its versatility. Because players actually touch, bend and vibrate the strings directly with the flesh of their fingers on steel or nylon, it is a very emotive and personal instrument; no two players sound alike. So it’s not surprising that it is the instrument of choice for many formidable musicians from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical (Segovia), to blues (B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan), to rock (Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton) and many more.
You should approach the guitar with a concept called economy of movement. This basically means moving as little as possible. Through your favorite songs, you’ll learn ways to navigate all six strings and emulate the sound of your favorite guitar heroes. It makes no difference if you’re strumming chords to sing along with, or shredding away like Jimi Hendrix. Eventually, the goal is to incorporate all influences into your own style, so you’ll sound like you!
What to expect in your first lesson
In your first lesson, we’ll get a sense of how well your fingers move. Right away, you’ll begin to play your first notes, and learn the easiest way to play them. From there, we’ll explore your musical taste and personal goals: Why do you want to learn the guitar? What are your favorite songs? Lastly, we will begin planning out your own personal plan for success and take the first step down that road.
- Always use the very tips of your fingers.
- Play as close to the frets as possible, but not directly on top of them.
- Strum with your wrist, not your arm.